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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Let It Snow, Please

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. 

8 comments:

  1. We have polled friends about how many remember sledding with their grandparents. No one has such a memory, including us. Our grandchildren will remember sledding with their grandparents. Fun - when we can get up at the end of the run. Herb & Sarah Myers

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    1. Herb; How nice to see a comment from you & Sarah. I'm sure your grandchildren will remember the fun and the sledding NOT the groans as you attempted to get up after the runs.

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  2. The Internet is not bringing about isolation any more than guns are causing deaths. The greatest evil is ignorance and that has always been in abundance. We might rid ourselves of the illusion that we are civilized. The appliances of modernity simply amplify our propensities. When you're ignorant you must suffer. You hit the nail slightly on the head when you spoke of optimism and pessimism. These are but feelings. Our solipsistic yearnings have nothing to do with the machinations of the universe. The ego is a funny thing. It is a warm bathtub overflowing with the Dunning-Kruger Effect. We think we know more than we do. We swaddle ourselves in what we think we know. We sun ourselves in what we take as fact. We cite science as the ultimate judge and arbiter of truth when we ourselves don't understand that science. We expect life to go down well-worn paths when change is the only constant, i.e., "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes".
    ----------
    --> Living is easy with eyes closed
    --> Misunderstanding all you see
    --> It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
    --> It doesn't matter much to me
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    --> You hit the nail slightly on the head when you dreamed of playing with grandchildren and that they would play with their grandchildren. All we have is now and our time here is limited. Let it snow, indeed.
    ----------
    --> What is the Greatest Evil on this Planet?
    --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EQO6YMIzqg
    ----------
    --> Masters of War
    --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEmI_FT4YHU
    ----------

    ----------
    --> "Been spending most their lives, living in a future paradise"
    --> Stevie Wonder
    --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKWY9SF-rGo

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    1. Anonymous; Although much of what you say is hard to dispute on a factual basis (e.g. ignorance has always been in great abundance, our egos "swaddle" us, change is the only constant, etc.), I'm afraid you & I look at the world via a divergent lens. Because even though I know the Internet and guns, are not, in and of themselves, responsible (respectively) for our isolation or the deaths they engender, they are both man-made and can be, if the will exists, man-mitigated, given the results they both produce are frequently deleterious to the collective good. Rather than believe we are incapable of continuing to "...amplify our propensities..." I choose to believe, in what you might call naivete, that we can do better, or at least in the case of the Internet, address the "post-truth" ethos that medium has come to embrace and, more pertinently, to market/monetize/commodify. I'll leave guns for another time; I'm quite sure you and I will not see eye-to-eye on that one either. On a positive note, I plan to look up the Dunning-Kruger effect; I'm unfamiliar with that. And finally, I do appreciate the references you included for some pop songs, especially the quatrain from "Strawberry Fields Forever", John Lennon's reflexive cynicism and fatalism aside. He and I would have differed there just as you and I do.

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  3. Interesting exchange. I looked up Dunning-Kruger effect and it has to do with performance more than "knowing" but I get anonymous' point. Let's hope our children, their children and their grandchildren go out and play in the snow as opposed to being in front of their little screens! Not only do many children suffer from nature deficit, they also don't know how to play.

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    1. Ines; Thanks for joining the conversation. You beat me to it looking up the Dunning-Kruger effect. And I appreciate your related point re children and their screens (and nature deficit), a phenomenon that I've previously ranted about here. Be sure to check out that highly disturbing 60 Minutes segment we spoke of recently vis a vis that modern-day trend. Just be sure you have a glass of wine handy as you're watching it.

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  4. Pat .. Well, this post has certainly resulted in some very interesting and thought provoking comments. So glad to see that. And while I am, also, not a pessimist, it is difficult these days to maintain the positive, sunny, outlook with all that is facing us. It would be so easy to bring up all of the political differences. Especially when I see how different it has become. So volatile. I mean, there were always differences in opinions - Democratic vs. Republican vs. Independent - but it was never so vicious. At least as far as I can recall. As for Climate Change, again trying to remain positive, let's just say I have serious doubts. And it hurts to say that for my children and my grandchildren. And even when we have someone who wants to do good, it doesn't seem possible. Mostly because it's probably not profitable enough.
    I do agree that Social Media does have a big part in all of this, but I try to also see the benefits of these platforms as they do tend to bring people closer together. At least that's what I see/use it for. I'm a Glass Half Full kind of a guy - lol.
    I see the isolation more in younger people than with those my age, older, or also a little younger. Hopefully that will begin to change before people realize what they've lost. I can't imagine my childhood without playing outside until the street lights came on.
    Be well.
    Bob

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    1. "Anonymous" Bob; Thanks for the comment. I especially appreciate you reminding me in your second paragraph the benefits social media can bring to us vs. my rant about the ills of social media; good ballast you've provided vs. my crabbiness. Also love the mental picture you painted in your final sentence. That brought me right back to being a kid.

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