Thursday, December 20, 2012

On the future, death, and technology

     For about a week now, the news is all about Mayan predictions  and the horrific slaughter of children (not only at Sandy Hook Elementary but ongoing in many places in the world).  In the US, let's hope these deaths were not in vain and finally we can change gun ownership laws.
     On to the Mayans- it's obviously not the end of the world, but the world has been changing so rapidly over the last decade as to be almost unrecognizable.  When I was writing a novel set in the 1940's and 50's there was not much difference with the world decades later in terms of technology.  There were cars and phones and until the TV became ever present, the radio.
     All of that has changed.  I was at a party the other night and the first concern of one mother was to get the child's ipad connected to wireless.  That required the daughter of the host since she is the one who deals with technology in the household.  It makes me wish I had someone for that very purpose.   I feel like if one more electronic object enters my flat, I'll scream. 
     However, my life is probably not much different than many people's.  What I do when I get up (as soon as the coffeemaker is on) is check my computer.  My iphone is usually in my pocket or within reach.  And what does this mean?
     This means these days I'm afraid of not keeping up.  I'm a Uranian type (in astrology this is a clear archetype of sudden electric bolts of energy) and have always dealt with change but now I find I'm struggling.  I've spent hours on fixing computer glitches, installing and re-installing programs to coax the machine to do what I want it to do. 
     Technology has made the division of those who have and those who have not almost unbridgable.  There's almost no child from a poorer family who can catch up to a well off one and in France, that equalizer, homework for schoolchildren, may soon be banned.

   I'm afraid of aging in a society where compassion is lacking.  We're surrounded by crude rude media, a glorification of the military, and the surprising amount of religion that is dogmatic and rigid and far from caring for those who most need it.    

     I found a poem I'd written ages ago:


Insidious fingertips
tug on the shoulder
at the most hushed hour,
not even a sudden rap
or a sharp scream
could bring us back.

Overhead arms entwined
reach and flow
in bloodless unison.
Visages from the cracked photos
begin their march
through the brain
each with its own tale
long forgotten.

Where are the hags
with snake hair,
the men of steel impulse,
the wheel's harvest of panic?
These night shadows
are not as we imagined.
All's so quiet here.

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