Thursday, May 8, 2008

What's the world coming to?

Hello my dear reader,

I'm stumbling on some thoughts of uncertainty this morning. And with all good intentions, I want to share them with you, but hope that you can find it in your heart not to judge me for them.

Wednesday nights I have dinner with my great aunt and uncle in Thousand Oaks. They live out there, in the Nation's safest city, and I happen to work near by. So it's the least I can do to visit my beloved grandmother's brother once a week and keep them company for dinner. Of course, they treat me like a princess: my aunt cooks up a storm, my uncle picks fresh fruits for me from the back yard, they open a bottle of wine, and we chat over dinner. They don't even let me set the table or pick up after myself. They're so excited to have a visitor, that they'll do anything to make it worth my while. They don't even know how much it means to me to get to see them every week. He's all i really have left of my grandmother (besides my mom, obviously). But my grandmother and her brother were very close. They are so much the same person, it's uncanny! So i have my own vested interest in visiting. But they don't realize that i just genuinely love them... I'd visit even if dinner wasn't included...

Needless to say, this post isn't so much about them. Rather, it's about something my aunt - we'll call her Alice in Wonderland - had to say. Albeit that she is generally an optimistic person, last night she painted a very dark picture for me. She said she feared the economy was going to be at its worst and that people would be in complete chaos. She said she feared that a major catastrophe could annihilate our computer system, virtually destroying every ounce of technological progress that is controlled by computers right now. She said she feared that if we lost our computer technology systems, we would lose access to everything we take for granted: water, gas, electricity - because, as she fears it, it's true, computers manage the flow of our water, the rationing of our electricity and the distribution of our gas. And it's not so much that I'm afraid that we won't have water, gas, or electricity, but that she might be onto something.

What she said resonated with me a bit, as I've been worried about where life is going. The current stream of politics is disheartening, as no one is passionate about what they're doing anymore. it's all feigned interest for the sake of capital gain. Yeah we have a female candidate and yes we have an "African American" candidate. But it doesn't really signify what it should. And regardless of the individual, the country is in bad shape and frankly, I'm not confident that any of the candidates can save us from a disaster.

Here's another thought: education. I'm a firm believer in the power of knowledge and the need for education. But I've noticed a growing trend. Every new generation wants its children to get educated and to take office jobs. What happens if Alice in Wonderland is right and someday our technology goes to hell and office jobs are no longer in demand? Who will till the land and grow the crops and do the man labor if every new generation is being groomed for white collar uniforms? Immigrants? Didn't we all start out as immigrants somewhere down the chain of our ancestry?

We've lost the value in having a trade. We master a subject area, get a million and one degrees to back it up and then... do nothing with it. We need to learn how to make things with our hands - things we need, not things we want. I say this because, likely just as you do, i take it for granted that there's an Albertson's two bocks away from me, where I can buy a box of fresh basil or a package of steak meat. I say this because I' ve never had to fish my own dinner or grow my own herbs - and i bet you've never had to either. I'm not talking about extreme camping trips either - you know, the ones you can get in your car and drive away from when you finally get hungry enough. No - I mean that down right necessity to survive! My generation has never felt it because everything is available to us on a PLATINUM PLATTER!

I'm not saying it's going to happen, and I'm not saying it's not... but someday we may have to re-invent the wheel for humanity and I would hate to be the one with a bunch of degrees under my belt and the incapacity to build a straw roof over my head. My new mission is to learn a trade that i can do with my hands. Call it my plan B. Anyone else in?
Pensively Yours,


mar said...

well, i've always wanted to learn to blow glass, but i don't think that's quite what you meant.
i do know that both my mum & dad know lots of things like that, but they grew up in the country/on a farm. it's sad that only one generation removed (ie me) that i've lost that. i'd like to learn to pickle beets-that i've grown myself! (need some land first), grow my food & i'd love to be able to build something. can't sew either! but you can't seem to get by in this world on those things nowadays. funny if we end up falling back on them again.

moosh in indy. said...

I'm going to be so popular when the world ends, because chances are I'm the only one who knows how to make just about anything from scratch. And my husband? Totally knows how to debloat a cow.

DBN said...

Funny, these same thoughts have been running through my head lately as well. It is amazing how dependent we have become on others to take care of us.