The world has gone mad. I can feel it, the End Times are upon us. You just can't trust anyone these days. Do these sentiments sound familiar? They sure do to me. They've even echoed in my own mind from time to time. The doom and gloom of the current atmosphere is real and wide sweeping. It seems the norm to complain about how things are, while simultaneously drifting away into the past with rose colored glasses. I mean, I do it with the 90s all the time. The grunge & alternative, the plaid, the prosperity, landlines, Girl Talk. It is so easy to fall into this trap of replaying the highlight reel of the glory days while simultaneously missing out on all of the beauty the present moment is trying to offer us. In reality, right NOW is one of the best times to be alive. Ever. Period. Here's my top 5 reasons why:
Access to information
Just like anything else this can be a double edged sword. We will save the dangers of free flowing, unchecked information and the insanity of the 24 hour news cycle for another post. Today's focus is all about appreciating the positive. I mean, when is the last time you stopped to appreciate how often you visit Dr. Google? Can't remember the name of that awesome movie with the actress you really love. IMDB it. Trying to explain where Syria is in relation to your home so that your child does not have to be afraid of war happening in your backyard? Google Earth. Curious about the quantum field and astrophysics? You can just hop onto the web and search away. Way back in the day before the age of internet (can you even remember it?), all of this information would have been stashed away in a library accessible only to those initiated into the world of Card Cataloging and the Dewy Decimal system. Of course there are issues with so much information accessible to us at our fingertips. But it is an amazing phenomenon to be a part of. Witnessing the information & technology revolution has been truly mind blowing.
While we are on the topic of the internet, we may as well take a moment to ponder the awesomeness of the technological developments of our day. I mean, 100 years ago there were NO phones, NO mass produced cars, NO commercial flights, hardly even electricity. We used to joke around as kids pretending we had watches that were secret phones like Inspector Gadget or Agent 86, Maxwell Smart--always sure that a phone could never fit on our wrists. Fast forward 25 years and I am wearing a phone that fits on my wrist. Spend any amount of time with children under 18 years of age and you will realize very quickly just how fast the innovations are coming. My 8th graders last year did not know what a CD player was. A CD PLAYER. We don't even need a device to play music anymore, these mini-computers we carry around in our pockets put the whole world at our finger tips, and music is no exception. I am constantly having this conversation with my son about the developments he will more than likely see in his lifetime--probably even mine. Uber is talking seriously about driverless cars. And the crazy thing is, I don't even think it's that crazy to entertain the notion! Flying cars won't be far behind. The Hyper Loop, if constructed, would carry passengers from NY to LA in 1 hour. Imagine the implications. We could live in NY, commute to a meeting in LA at 8 am be back to NY in time for lunch. As a species we are just at the beginning of our discoveries in science, technology, biology, ecology. You name it. The sky is the limit.
Conversations about Ecology
Speaking of ecology, I am well aware that we have a long way to go in terms of taking care of our planet and her resources. BUT. It has, in most circles, become a social taboo to NOT recycle. I mean, some counties have even begun to fine citizens for neglecting to recycle. Progress! The conversation around taking care of our environment is happening and it is expanding in scale. In 2015 the United Nations called together a summit on climate change in which 196 nations agreed to take measures to reduce global greenhouse emissions. Of course there are issues regarding the implementation of this agreement, and many would argue it is too little too late, but it is still progress none-the-less. I have seen CEOs of major corporations investing in innovative technologies that could transform salt water into clean, drinkable water. New and sustainable sources of energy are being developed daily. Harnessing the power of the sun, wind and ocean are just the beginning. Check out the CEO of 5 Hour Energy for some inspiration: Billions in Change We can build sustainable cities. We can correct the imbalances on our planet. We can tap into the abundant resources of this planet in a way that is more efficient, more sustainable and more equitable for everyone. And our abilities to do this are growing at exponential rates.
Right now the political climate in the USA feels more like a 3-ring circus than a well-oiled democratic republic, but bare with me for a moment. As a classroom teacher, I spent several years teaching history. Every time I got to the unit in which I taught about the 1960s my students would release a longing sigh, as if to say they wish they could be transported back in time to the psychedelic 60s. Every. Single. Time. With all of its glamour; the bell bottoms, Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, Vietnam, air raid drills. What a harmonic and blissful time. Ummm, No. The appeal of the 1960s is the sweeping transformation and struggles of the decade. Debate about involvement in foreign conflicts, loss of faith in political leaders, the struggle for civil rights, intimidating and severe threats to the existence of the world as we know it, questionable fashion ( I mean what is athleisure anyway?). It all starts to look a little familiar when we break it down like this. Perhaps all of the conflict, and change and insecurity in this decade is part of its beauty. Maybe one day our kids, and their kids and maybe even their kids will look at us as icons, having survived that totally groovy decade, the twenty-teens.
New & Emerging Fields
All of this access to information and technology, and the exponentially rapid pace of development in the information age has given birth to brand new fields of study and occupation. 100 years ago Information Technology (IT) didn't even exist. Now it is one of the most popular professions. Web development? Biochemical, biomedical, biotechnical engineers? Satellite and x-ray technicians. Astronaut. All relatively new professions in the grand scheme of things. Yet, if you had told old Jedediah Smith in 1870 that one day you would fly into outer space attached to a tremendous rocket, he first would have asked what a rocket was, then he would have handed you a stiff drink to treat your mental situation. All of this of course begs the question; what professions and areas of study are on the horizon? Deep space exploration? Anti-matter and anti-gravity studies? Teleportation specialist? Organic limb regenerating physician? Deep sea city developer? Who knows! The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations and our capacity toward cooperation. So don't believe the haters, the nay-sayers, the dooms-day-preppers when they tell you things are worse than ever. Because I have got a pretty sound argument that we are doing just fine, and the best is yet to come.
What is your favorite thing about the time we have been assigned to this place we call Earth? Drop a line in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you. Namaste (Originally posted in February of 2017)