Growing pains.

I prefer my curses the old fashioned way…

A friend once told me, “It’s an ancient Chinese curse: ‘May you live in interesting times.’” Curse or not, it’s true. We do live in interesting times. In my grandmother’s lifetime the world went from horse and carriage to space travel. We found better ways to kill. We found better ways to heal. The biggest advent I believe is communications.

For the first time, humanity is connected in real time. Every continent and every country communicates in video and audio simultaneously. I don’t think we (humanity) were ready for it. It happened too fast. We haven’t overcome xenophobia. Racism. Classism. Whatever-ism. Suddenly we are all in the same room trying to figure out how we all fit in. Like high school with nuclear weapons.

So much anger.

Take the recent uproar over a very distasteful video about the prophet Mohammed. One really crappy video done in very poor taste by an obvious bigot. Throw it into the internet. The entire Muslim world erupts. People die. Embassies burn. In the west, we denounce the video but still uphold its inherent quality of free speech (however hateful it may be). In other countries, they say we should put whoever made it to death.

Global communication explained: NO TOUCHIE!

For the first time, we CAN all talk to each other. We just don’t know HOW to talk to each other. Our technology brought us together. Now we’re all standing around not really knowing how to get the party started. Forget being in high school; we’re suddenly at my first 8th grade dance.

We live in interesting times. It shouldn’t surprise us. The world has always been interesting. There has always been war, protest, catastrophe; every single century since we started keeping records. The only difference is we are now globalized and have a 24 hour news cycle. When something happens, we know about it instantly.


Every generation complains that the next generation is going to hell in a hand basket. People cry out that we are living in the end times. We dream of a somehow lost “golden age” where life was more simple, pure and free from all our modern day problems. Reality check; this is complete fantasy. Old problems were solved, new problems took their place. If there was ever a golden age, we’re living in it now.

Instead of cursing ourselves, we should embrace continuous change and own it. We have to be strong, innovative, and willing to make the hard choices to earn the right to be a global society. Bob Dylan has a song: “Times they are a-changin’.” I believe this song rings true as much now as it did in 1964.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Start changing.

2 thoughts on “Growing pains.

  1. While change is hard to deny or get around, I don’t know if ours is the golden age, in any sense of the word. The more I think about it, the more I see it as civilization overall moving forward when it comes to progress, technology and such; but humanity is doing just the opposite – deteriorating. It just seems like we have lower quality people these days. There is a lot of ambition, but very often it’s the wrong kind. We are sicker, we are more aggressive, we are a lot less satisfied with our lives. Not to mention that we are harming our home, and the consequences may be irreversible. I guess I’m just trying to say that this trajectory, the path we are on, I don’t think it’s what you can call natural change, just the routine thing happening from generation to generation – something somewhere we’ve done wrong, but we are not seeing it. Maybe someday…


  2. I’d echo that uncertainty about whether we are living in a “Golden Age”, and I’m not sure when that age is supposed to have started. We have made many technological acheivements and cured many age-old problems, but even the mere pace of change seems to suggest something other than a “Golden Age”: such vast change can bring about great insecurity, and indeed the fact that we clamour for the past, for better or simpler times, and the present obsession with nostalgia could be a reflection of that.

    And what have we achieved? We’ve made great strides in reducing hunger, medical problems, and material poverty, but we’ve also created the means for bigger and bloodier wars, and saving lives just increases the population burden which, coupled with increased consumption, is creating a massive burden on the natural environment and on resources, which in turn also leads to poverty and suffering for many. Modern communications and travel has brought the world together, but it isolates us from our immediate surroundings- we sit in our little boxes and communicate down wires or over the airwaves, we converse with people on the other side of the world via typing text onto a screen, but we don’t talk to our neighbours face-to-face. We have become paranoid: we won’t let kids play out in case they’re molested, we sue at the drop of a hat, we fear terrorists even though road accidents probably kill more people. We value actors, singers, models, socialites, and vacuous reality-TV personalities more than we do the people who really make the world what it is. And so on.


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