Friday, May 20, 2011


I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. Back in my day, and from my own experiences, it's not as if everything was perfect. When I was good at something, I not only took pride in it, but I felt comfortable saying that in a small way, that ability defined me. When I wasn't good at something, I could become embarrassed. The thing was, I became good at the things I took the time to learn. Anything else, all the little random things, I either picked up or just never found the time to master. Then there were, of course, some that I absolutely didn't care about, plain and simple, but I would never dismiss those things out of hand, but after thorough reflection, which I might have shared with anyone, if they'd bothered to ask.

Lots of people around me seemed to choose other means to conduct themselves. How I like to consider it now is this: most people aren't very social, but the way they get around this is by tangentially surrounding themselves with those who share their interests, so they can talk and not worry what the others will think. It's an alienation that's self-perpetuating, and so confusing that very people people realize that it's happening. It's why any social group is prone to growing and shrinking for arbitrary reasons. Not many of the members are all that invested in that group. How could they be?

But the problem today is that our children are being wired to switch these impulses on and off on a whim. They have a bracelet that receives and gives signals in direct connection with the brain. They have anything in mind that they simply are not interested in, or suspect that this might be the case, they can block their synapses from even processing it. Complete efficiency. No more doubt, no more chance to wonder if they might actually find that thing useful, or even interesting. It makes school so much easier, when a teacher can just see who is switched on and who isn't. What're they gonna do? It's considered a civil liberty.

Plenty of studies have called the switch into question, and charts have been made and percentages calculated, relative to the cognitive development and prospects and trends for the future, but no one seems to care. Call me crazy, but I can see what's wrong fairly easily, and I'm just not in favor of the switch. My grandkids, should they ever appear, they won't have it, if I have any say in the matter. Maybe we'll become a sort of hermit clan, the modern Amish. Most people consider the switch to be so routine, they don't even bother thinking about it. Maybe they have the idea of the switch itself blocked.

It's a giant leap back, or maybe just another inevitability. I don't blame technology. I blame people who adopt it simply as a matter of course. I blame the social pressure to conform. I blame people already being inherently stupid enough, without anything needed to reinforce it. But what do I know? I've always been in the minority, and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. Maybe in the grand scheme, my kind does win. I'd like to see the sociohistorians take a crack at that.

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