I'm immensely grateful Act Three of my personal life is as rich as any reasonable person could expect. I'm healthy, financially comfortable, and my support system is strong.
Despite that, my reflections about our collective future have recently curdled a bit, a disturbing turn for a lifelong optimist. I'm not pessimistic, per se, but a few trends of modern life are giving me serious pause. Is my search for solace today a "misery loves company" plea? Or, is the clearly visible blizzard bringing on an early case of cabin fever? Either way, I'd welcome knowing at least a few people share my concerns.
* How disturbed are you by the increasing isolation the Internet is bringing to modern life? And how ironic is it that many of the things helping to create more distance between people are grouped under a rubric called social media?
* When did you (or anyone you know) most recently settle a dispute about some fact via consulting a dictionary, encyclopedia, or Almanac? How do we ever return to a consensus about facts?
* Without that consensus, what hope is there that we will collectively face the threat of climate change?
If you are near my age or older, it's easy to put the last concern out of mind, given the years that remain to us. So perhaps it's the snow and visions of playing in a future snowstorm with any grandchildren I may have that is preventing me this moment from being that selfish and present-day focused. Today, I want a different future - one where the Internet brings people together vs. dividing us. A future where we can disagree about politics but not about facts, particularly scientific ones. A future where my daughter's children get to play with their grandchildren in the snow.