In a fast-moving world
“A friend of the first man to fly an airplane, Lindbergh lived long enough in a fast-moving world to befriend the first man to walk on the moon.” — A. Scott Berg
Isn’t it astounding how rapidly the world is changing? Maybe it’s my imagination, or my limited knowledge of history, but when I look back at past centuries I don’t see the seismic advances in technology that now seem to be happening faster than we can keep up with them. With the possible exception of the advent of movable type, which enabled widespread literacy and the flourishing of vernacular languages, I can’t see any period in history that has experienced the same acceleration of advancement in many areas as has occurred in our generation.
If we (and the earth, as we know it) survive long enough to be around in two decades or more, will we have early and late life experiences that, like Lindbergh’s, vividly demonstrate “one giant leap for mankind?” There are those among us who can remember life before penicillin and other life-saving antibiotics and vaccinations; before television of any kind; before most people in the US had automobiles; and before reliable and affordable corded telephone service to even relatively close areas, let alone wireless technologies that enable face-to-face conversations with a group of people all over the world, such as some of us have experienced via Skype.
Those are just a few of the areas we could name, but the list could go on and on. I remember seeing UNIVAC at a regional fair; it was a room-sized computer that could do almost nothing compared to even the smallest handheld device we have today. I remember black and white television with only three channels, large homes with only one tiny bathroom, and having no place in public that was suitable for changing my baby’s diaper. But my parents remember radios, outhouses and cloth diapers with wringer washers to launder them.
What do you remember? What “giant leaps” will you witness before the end of your life? It’s fun to wonder and speculate about what lies ahead. Perhaps one day we will be having this conversation in a 3D virtual environment, or even in person (“beam me up, Scotty”). But we already have marvels enough to enjoy. What is part of your everyday life now, that you could not have imagined in childhood?
One year ago today: