Did you ever notice…
Every generation says the whole world is going to hell, and the older group always says this is because of how the younger people are acting and what they are doing. Many people complain about so many things that they think are unique to modern life. In reality, most of these things that draw out complaints make no meaningful difference…the world has been completely messed up for at least 6000 years that we know of! So, while I might love to write an article in a style from a bygone era, where I complain about something very normal today (old Andy Rooney style), I am instead going to make a point about what is different about today’s world compared to our history .
Things that have changed in modern history
- We can communicate instantly with anyone in the world, for almost no extra cost. Internet and cell phones make the exchange of information in real-time common to almost anyone.
- We can travel to any location in the world in little more than a day, thanks to air travel.
- We can read any book or learn any skill we want with free or almost free resources on the Internet.
- We can share our writings with anyone in the world, for almost no cost, and no publisher.
The technology of today makes the world smaller, and the cost of sharing information almost free.
What does this smaller, faster world lead to?
Because of this speed of transfer or reduced time to consume, people have lost their ability to wait for anything with patience. People today act as if a website does not give you exactly the information you want, in the language you speak, rendered on any device you have in less than 4 seconds, then that website sucks and the company that made it is a waste of life!
With all this information and capability, we can learn anything we want to faster and easier than ever. Yet, we are much more likely today to be depressed, anxious, medicated for these conditions, and even to commit suicide than we were even 50 years ago.
One thing that has not changed in thousands of years
It is not the attainment of the goal or knowledge that fulfills our lives. While we might be frustrated when we do not reach our goals, it is not the reaching of those goals that makes a person happy or fulfilled. It is the practice of striving for the goal that inspires us, makes us happy, and leads to feeling fulfilled. If you are lucky enough to strive for a goal with a friend or a group, you often develop shared experiences, inside jokes, and feel better about life than you otherwise might. Working on others toward a shared goal, is a double blessing.
If you compare our current modern life to that of the past, it should be obvious that we live in the “best time” and the good old days were probably overrated…yet there is something more human sounding about the past. In the past, people caught the plague and died, or small pox. Lovers who were separated by war, might exchange letters for months or years before they would see each other again and start their married lives together. Today, we do not need to try as hard. For one thing, neither person might not have the patience to write the letter and send it regularly, and neither would either person be likely to read it fully and intentionally, mostly because we do not have the patience or concentration required to do those tasks anymore when so many distractions are available to us.
Since everything has been made easy, no striving is required of us. No deep dive or studying a subject seems to be required to work out all the details and create something new and awesome. There seems little need to write love letters to keep your lover engaged with you and desire strong. Tasks are simplified and systemized, and automated or outsourced quickly.
So…what is left? The main skill that will remain human and unique is creative problem solving and communicating well with the people you love or work with in real-time, preferably face-to-face.