One of my greatest concerns are the enormous challenges the next generation (post-baby boomers) will have to confront/manage/adapt to: that of sifting and sorting through all of the digital junk and distractions and learning how to discriminate the important from the “noise”; to make sense and manage a balance between- the allure of technology and its benefits and the seductive, addictive nature of the ‘ping” of the device.
Taking time to think and reflect, and think some more about the direction of the “great American experiment” in democracy and what it takes to make it work is essential if the future success of the “experiment” is to continue. (This means knowing and disciplining oneself to make the time to separate from the technology, which gobbles up so much of our time and inundates our minds with “stuff”) Slowing down, calming the mind, and ruminating, daydreaming, and being patient, all are becoming rarer qualities as the demands and pace of society’s expectations accelerate. But the brain needs to do this; it is how it is wired to work best – but it requires conscious intent to give it time to do what it does best, to collect, assimilate, digest, refine and frame ideas and relationships. Multi-tasking is the rock-skipping across the waves. It is cool and fun to do especially when you are good at it, but it never actually offers the depth or thoughtful reason essential to good decision-making, particularly for long-term thinking and planning.
Thinking about what is important beyond the immediate and present is much more difficult than ever before. Technology doesn’t help if it is used only for deflection and amusement (example – Television; once thought to be a powerful tool for learning; now virtually a tool for disappearing into fake “realities”) and not for it’s remarkable power of informing on a broad spectrum and engaging people in open discourse so vital to a vibrant democracy.
How this unfolds and who we are – as a nation of people of good will and progressive liberal values (all articulated in the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Constitution, etc.) – will hang in the balance with this generation’s management and understanding of what is important; for themselves and for their children.
We are clearly in a Transition. Time, circumstance, and fortune will tell what America will look like 10, 20, 30 years from now.