An old classmate of mine was from the American South and he told me why the South is not the way it should be today. His grandmother explained to him that the American Civil War did not wreck the South (since it lost) and destroy its well-known hospitality which supposedly was more gracious than it is today. It was air conditioning that ruined the South because in the past people used to sit in their front porches during the hot summer days especially during the night and as a result, everyone would talk to each other resulting in a more communal environment where everyone would know about everyone, trade cooking recipes, invite others over for a meal, know what was going on in the community, discuss politics and history, make friends, introduce potential romance partners, etc. It was a very open social setting that many newcomers could move anywhere and be welcomed with open arms. Of course all of this was eventually overtaken by technology, air conditioning, which made everyone stay indoors rather than outdoors resulting in everyone doing their own thing, kind of like how every American suburb is today where people don’t know their neighbors and you see that faint blue color in every living room of every home – the television screen glowing inside with eye balls permanently hooked onto them.
I’m concerned how our younger generation is growing up in these times as I feel that a vast majority of them is hampered greatly. For example, we have something called TiVo that can record television shows. When I was growing up, there was no recording device in the house. I don’t think I saw a VCR (video recording device) until years after my family got a TV so that meant that if I wanted to see a TV show like a popular cartoon –I had to be on-time no matter what. The TV show was going to go on with or without me so I learned the lesson of punctuality from such a small, trivial matter which lead to the future in my properly scheduling events in my head and good time management.
Another good example is the electronic entertainment. It appears to me that all those days of playing outside in the playgrounds, climbing trees, building forts in the woods, fishing in the creeks, catching frogs and snakes in a pond, biking to a friend’s house (all this stuff that I did as a kid) – all are now being replaced by a vast amount of electronic entertainment venues today ranging from television, movies, music, video game systems, cell phones, smart phones, computers – just showing how widely available it is to everyone nowadays. Electronic devices have replaced our outside souls making it easier for all to live a great life, vicariously through images on a screen. It also means that a great amount of younger generation people is staying indoors and not socializing or burning excess energy off, thus becoming fat, lazy, and unsociable to the point of being irritable in the presence of others. It has been shown on many statistical graphs that Americans are getting fatter every year to where it is quickly becoming the new norm especially with the advent of fat acceptance and increased sizes of XL, XXL, XXXL, and even XXXXL.
My friend stated to me that if people don’t have to do it such as remember something, the brain will not process that function such as remembering as it doesn’t have to. I think he’s right especially after I read a book penned by Peter McAllister in his book, Manthropology: The Science of why the Modern Male is the Man he used to be. The author wrote that people in the past were much more physically gifted because in part that humans had to be especially when they lived in such different societies and different parts of the world which varied in culture, way of living, but more so in initiation rites. He wrote that there were people, Roman soldiers/legionnaires, could run long distances that were equivalent of marathons but with full gear for days or maybe even weeks or how in certain societies that men could jump well as Olympic jumpers of today. And it didn’t just stop at the physical aspect. Mental strength as well came into play as poets/intellectuals in olden times could recite long poems that lasted for days and sometimes even remember new lines after hearing them just once – something of that nature would never be possible today. These were ordinary people that did what would be called amazing feats today but were normal in their respective worlds.
These people developed such skills because they started harnessing them at a young age, thus built their bodies and/or minds at a young age. What about today’s generation growing up in a technological advanced world? Will they be able to develop themselves to be as great as these people in the past? I often hear about the militaries of today and how many soldiers are starting to develop foot, ankle, and knee problems at the early years of being a trooper; one doctor explained that the kids nowadays wear sneakers which causes their lower limbs to be brittle and not strong and tough as being barefoot or wearing hard shoes. His observation does make sense as I’ve heard from older people that the youth of today is not as hardy as the older generation was.
I’m not sure if this a good step towards the future as I can definitely foresee a world that would be very similar to the one portrayed as human beings in the animated movie, Wal-E. Just look at how crippled they look: a complete result from allowing themselves to become that way from sitting in a chair all day and not getting any exercise and being fed high sugar and fat content food and drinks. I truly feel that if people are not challenged enough, they will only end up hurting themselves in the long run. It’s like putting a sheltered person who was told the answers to everything in life and then one day, he’s given a test without answers. The end result will not be a good one I can assure you. We need people to take on challenges rather than let them slip by easily by accepting mediocrity as the brand new standard unless common sense dictates otherwise.
I hope that there is something better for the human population and that all this advancement in technology will lead somewhere productive instead of hampering and making human beings a weaker species, totally reliant on technology and creature comforts. It would be the equivalent of throwing a rich person out into the wild to live on his own and when found 3 days later, he would complain how there wasn’t any internet, cookies, ice-cold beer, his luxurious car, air conditioner, heater, etc. It’s kind of funny but after going through something like that in survival school, I didn’t really miss all that much of the creature comforts. It just made me more appreciative about what I have but also understand that I don’t have to have certain items to live. I could always find alternative ways to live since I’ve lived a life without certain items for stretches of time such as a cell phone. I wonder if the younger generation can do the same especially since a lot of them have grown up with cell phones, internet, cable TV, and heater/A/C all their lives. In my opinion, I don’t think they can as I believe they are losing their way in the world. My conclusion: throw them in the wild for a few days and see the result of it afterward – how much they complain about this and that. My take is that people who are addicted to certain aspects of the modern world cannot be given them up easily or readily all due to want, not based on need. So I guess my plan to throw them out in the wild will probably fail and it all boils down to the individual person. Then again, I feel like almost everyone nowadays is too reliant on technology to make them happy. I hope that there are still challengers out there willing to take on the world and make it positive effect for themselves and others.