SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 461: Tess Part Two– “We Are All Guilty”

“We’re killing the human race with technology…” —Tess

I look across the room at my daughter, her friends, my neighbors, strangers on the streets, society as a whole, and I’m perplexed. I remember the discussions of my parents. Those “things are not like they used to be” debates that as a teen, seemed to roll of my back like a distractive echo of static advice. There were no worries per my priorities. “I know what I’m doing” adolescent responses worked my reasoning, and as most youths would say, “I can handle it” were most frequent grounds in navigating the majority of my decisions and interactions.

Here I am, officially 53 on May 13th, reflecting on time past in regards to my path of life. I’ve lived the hip 70 walls phones (one phone line in my house), the first Sony Walkman ($150 worth of cassette jamming madness), thermal fax machines, and the classic of all classics, the 3-pound Motorola cell phone (it was like $1 a minute to use).

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 2.22.23 PMHeck, I even remember my father coming home with $800s of RCA VCR player/recorder. $800 in the eighties, now I think I can reason why we ate so much mac and cheese at our movie nights.

Yep, I was lucky. We had one of the first home movie experiences, and in front of 60 inches of three-lensed (and blurred) projection TV we welcomed the era of HBO, MTV and pirated recordings. Technology then, technology now, and speaking with my daughter I’m smacked squarely in the forehead with a duplicate mirror of teen myself… “I can handle it Dad!”

“We’re killing the human race with technology.” Tess suggests, and with pause of breath I must agree. We are all suspect. In hearing me write this, I am absolutely certain I am preaching to the choir. Yet still, tech is here to stay and no matter how hard we try to resist, its tentacles are irreversibly grasping us. The world is evolving. People are changing. Some for better, some for the worst. But undoubtedly, the evolution is here and in each of us there is cause to either rejoice or to fear our new ways of connecting and communicating.

“We are all guilty,” Tess compassionately pleas. Again my respiration relaxes in acceptance. She is right, and in her 20s I consider her wisdom a flowing well of rejuvenation. And as opposed to the failure of Ponce de León’s quest for the fountain of youth, I am forwarded in fulfilling the quest of Operation-365.

There truly are many who are embracing our purpose. A realization (through people like you and Tess), that although technology is here to stay, we do have the control, and responsibly, to appropriately disconnect.

To fully disconnect? Personally, I think it is an impossibility at this point of time, and to do so might even isolate us. Plus, with the media bombardment constantly at our doorsteps (virtual art, talking kiosks and the endless high-tech interfaces that are ever evolving) the way we interact is, and never will be the same as in the days of our youth, and I’m not talking only of my 5 decades of inhaling air. I look at my kid. Seems every year she is mercilessly affected by whatever the next online craze is. YouTube this and Instagram that. To ignore the messenger at the door is a feat that, unless relocating my family to a remote island to live of the jungle, is just, well, not sustainable.

So I write to make my voice heard. I make videos to let others be heard. I share what I know. I share what I hear. In a way, I guess I’m clinically addicted. The digital airwaves are just too powerful for me to resist. Perhaps I’m weak. Perhaps I’m justifying my addiction. Or perhaps I am pacifying the shift that this 365 enlightenment has brought upon my lifestyle. I don’t know? Maybe the answer will come to me when I finally grow up?

Yet as I look into the mirror of my reflection, I take a third inhalation of Oxygen. Here we are?

Tess my new friend, thanks for making us think.

Richard

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