Still Life, 1670, detail by Jean François de Le Motte
This week's Magpie Tales photo prompt, shared by Tess Kincaid, made me think about now, the future, and the past as they all relate (or not) to our modern, 21st Century techno-lives.
Sitting in a coffee shop this past week, I was relaxing. I was people watching. I was reading. Yes, reading an actual newspaper, one of those things you have to unfold, shake open, hold up to your eyes and read in complete sentences. Remember those? Of course you do! Anyone reading poetry blogs knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Relaxing the paper from my face, I looked around the coffee shop. There were a number of younger people in the place, and all but one had a gizmo in their hands, thumbs jabbing furiously at tiny buttons with letters of the alphabet on them.
Sexting, maybe? I doubt it. I doubt they have that much imagination going for them, judging by the the dull, expressionless faces I could see!
But it occurred to me that with all this technology, all these flashy toys, all the information available to us online, or in actual libraries, (remember those?) we seem to have created, or SOMEONE/THING has created, a nation of the dumbest humans on the planet. My daily conversations with the young employees at work suggest that a seemingly large number of high school and college age people today are carelessly unaware, and mostly UNINTERESTED in what's going on around them beyond the tips of their thumbs!
Through this admittedly biased view, though, I wonder this: What will all these young people, and the older ones, too, who have been embraced by this brave new world of "NoNothing", have to show for all this information and communication? What will they remember from their text messages? What legacy will be left of their lives and interactions with family, friends, loved ones? What will their children or grandchildren have as touchstones to their ancestry that will give guidance to their own lives?
as memory dusks,
I'm so thankful for letters. There are ones I've sent to my parents over the years from any number of places I've lived, worked or traveled to. My mother has boxes full of old letters from my dad. We have, just as millions of other families have, these physical legacies and histories of the day to day lives of our ancestors, and ourselves!
What are these techno-junkies creating to physically hold in their hands 20 or 30 or 50 years from now - to physically hold and touch an object that a beloved themselves had once held? Where are the physically written stories of their lives that future generations will someday appreciate and cherish?
to our lives at times
is minor annoyance,
but in other circumstances,
it's the ravishing
disease that steals
There comes a time in all our lives when we try to remember an event, a name, a small detail. The iCloud, or whatever it is called this week, will not always be there for us to hold and review. It's not actually there now. It's just a concept.
"...but for those
we signed, folded,
sealed, sent, and
preserved, life is
restored to any
and all who make
live in the moment,
or read the past..."
If anyone wants to leave a legacy of sorts to the younger generation and their future, leave it in writing. Give them something to hold between their thumbs that will not be gone the moment a "sent" button is pressed.
Tell them they have been texted with pen and paper.
Offer them a future because they can physically see and hold the past!
Rick Burnett Baker currently is self-employed as a narrative photographer, and is a member of the National Press Photographer's Association (NPPA). Baker, a native Texan, is a graduate of State University of New York (Albany) with a BA in Asian Studies, (minor in classical Chinese literature), a Graduate Certificate in US Urban Policy, and a Masters (MRP) in Regional and Urban Planning, Third World. He has worked with a mining company in Honduras, with a civil engineering firm in Saudi Arabia, and traveled andworked throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Northern Africa with Halliburton for nearly a decade, based out of Singapore. During his years living in Singapore he was also known for his radio and television voice-over work. Baker returned to the US in 1985 to complete academic interests and continues to live in New York.