The Next Step

I keep thinking about our times as mankind at the turning point. Naturally I think every era views the time they live as such, but certainly now civilization and the earth have more possibilities than ever. We are all still trying to come up with the next big idea, but the world is moving too fast for any idea to be new or stay relevant. The windows of opportunity seem to be getting smaller and harder to find as far as amassing wealth, but perhaps that our house is expanding to the point there is not much outside left. The middle class and even the poor to some extent today have access to luxuries that for most of civilization were reserved for royalty. But everything stays relative, and we convince ourselves that it is not enough. Power leads to the desire for more power, and control never leads to anything but more control. Those of us without power cling on to ideas like rock and roll and sports for our fulfillment. But the changing world can be seen in every facet of all these ideas. It is impossible to make comparisons about people and aspects of these things across time. We certainly can’t look at things in terms of better or worse. One might argue that it is certainly better to be alive as far into the future as possible (at least up to this point) for a comfortable and enjoyable life, and if I was forced to make a decision on this issue, I would probably agree, but I honestly don’t know if people today are any happier than people throughout the history of civilization that have had to work harder and have less luxuries. Everyone knows that everything is relative, and the starving man’s cracker tastes far better than the rich man’s filet mignon he has every night. Well, I say everyone knows this, but much of our culture does not seem to realize it. I suppose that moderation is a more central philosophy in some cultures, but not in ours. Obviously my knowledge of culture is mainly limited to Americans having spent my twenty-one years here (Author’s note: I’m 28 now, so it’s interesting to read what I wrote 7 years ago), but it is having observed Americans for this time that leads me to my conclusions. I do think the majority of them find ways to convince themselves they are happy, but it only works for a limited time, and then they have to find new ways. Our changing world offers a lot of new ways, but most people aren’t very interested. They would rather watch predictable television or other people doing things that they wish they could do themselves. But I think our changing world is going to leave behind those that don’t catch on. We just need to find a way to attach.