Yes, my 2 year old son has a laptop. Granted, it's a Fisher-Price.
But as my son plays with his toy cars and reads his picture books the same way the past few generations of children in our families have done, I consider the rapid evolution of the last ten years in terms of every day tech.
In the last decade we've seen the demise of encyclopedias, ground lines, phone books, catalogs, film-cameras, CDs, wires, movies with real actors, movies with real effects, fax machines, ideas over 140 characters, hand-written letters, newspapers, snail mail, making money off of videos you're in, video stores, books, actually going to college and not just going to "class" in your underwear, and a host of other taskmasters. It really is amazing what a few dedicated humans invented, and billions more use. AND it's insane that, in reality, Google and Wal-Mart pretty much rule the world, and could save the world if they wanted to. But that's for another essay.
So in 2020 will we be saying "remember the internet?" or "remember iTunes?" or "remember cars and diapers?" Probably Maybe. Or: "Remember Earth?"
With the tv off and toys quieted, my son and I talk, sans technology except the language that we share, which is ageless.
There is rarely a time that I hear the song "Imagine" when I don't get a little choked up and sentimental towards a hopeful world-peace-reality. The anarchic, atheistic, socialistic, rebellious nature of the song has somehow worked its way into the heart of Americana, where even the most pious of listeners will admit they love the song and that somehow it is definitive of some overarching philosophy we should all belong to...and I agree, some of the time. Well, most of the time. Well, almost not at all.
As a writer and musician and teacher, I approach the song for what it's worth: a radical look at the fabric of society, and how to create a lowest common denominator so that we can, one day, end war.
A few steps:
Nobody Really Believes in Heaven, but yet Almost Everyone Does.
To "Imagine there's no Heaven / It's easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky" is pretty simple unless, like MOST people you've been raised with an idea of Zoroastor's Hell-Heaven dynamic. Most people want bad people to suffer for their crimes and then be rewarded for their own good doing. Even the most lapsed Catholic isn't going to give up her idea of some Titantic-ending-like Heaven where Leo welcomes her to the party.
However! If pressed, people WILL admit that Heaven is a tricky idea, like Santa Claus' system of naughty and nice. And those fundamentalists will be a little shy to tell you that they believe in a stark Hell-Heaven contrast. Just imagine how hard it is to say "I believe in Heaven and Hell, and you're going to Hell. Now...you wanna hang out?"
However! If John wanted us to imagine there was no Judgment, and no Party Hereafter, a lot of people take solace in both, and, well, it does make the glory of War a little sweeter. Just ask the Klingons.
Nobody Really Lives For "Today" I mean, we like to think we do, but most of us are living a month at a time, or not thinking about living at all. We just do it. Or at least we think that we'll live forever. If not forever, at least until our 70s. And if we did live just for today, or "for today" we might do the things that would jeopardize peace tomorrow, like stealing, lying, killing, cheating, and the worse parts of self-interest.
Nobody Really Wants No Countries. C'mon Lennon! We LOVE boundaries! As nice as it sounds, people need a sense of geographical identity. Unless they're Mennonites. Or from Jersey. And it should be "Imagine there aren't any countries" (grammar note). Nobody Really Wants Nothing To Die For Imagine there is nothing to kill or die for? What? John come on! Humans LOVE to kill, and die for the dumbest shit. Shoes, money, honor. These humans are NEVER going to give up dying for anything. Hell, even you died at the hands of some pudgy asshole for no reason. Oh, wait. Nobody Really Wants No Religion 330,000,000 million gods and 6,000 religions in the world and people are going to give this up? Religion is a way of life, even for atheists. Even the most lapsed Buddhist is going to say "Buddhist" at the hospital when they ask what religion he is. Maybe not. But if there were no religion, we would be all too quick to create it again. We need purpose to fill up our social hierarchy unless we want to admit that we're just walking protozoa in need of DNA replication and a few giggles before death.
Nobody Really Wants No Possessions People LOVE their stuff. Even Communists. Even the hippiest of hippies at the most liberal commune loves one iota of "stuff." Even Monks begging in the street value their tunic and bowl. This one is too hard John. Even 18 month olds are greedy. Nobody Really Wants A Brotherhood of Man They just don't. Not even Fraternity Brothers and real brothers like each other that much. Imagine if you had 3 billion brothers and 3 billion sisters! The holidays would be awful.
Nobody Really Wants A Dreamer People want cheap food, a couch, and entertainment. And freedom. And hugs. That's pretty much it John.
Nobody Really Wants To Be "One" With The World Whatever "one" means you can rest assured that less than 1 out of 10 people would want to suffer with someone else and share the awful existence that goes on in the world. Sure we'd like to share the beauty and wonder of existence, but most people only marry one person at a time. Imagine marrying ALL the World! Get it? Imagine? People like to be segregated, and think they're better than other people. United People is still a pipe dream. Even among United People you have terrible class structures. And this song is about destroying all class structures. "You may say that I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one/I hope someday you'll join us/And the world will live as one."
(: I hope so John. Despite what I wrote, I'm with you. :) RIP.
As someone who loves a good conversation or debate, I'm often found in the middle of an all out political brawl, and usually on Facebook. Seriously, we're talking 100-deep comments on one thread alone, usually between a conservative or Libertarian fundamentalist Puritan, his three friends, and me. And sometimes there's another Liberal as well, but usually the "other Liberal" packs it in early while I make the mistake of arguing way past any sane limit of time and letting it ruin my thinking life for the morning.
So here are some ground rules. When arguing:
1. Don't ever insult. It just angers your enemy and makes them think they've won because when we become defensive we think we're safe from being wrong for some reason.
2. Don't be sarcastic. It comes off as anti-thetical, silly, and can even sound insulting, especially online where tone is hard to "hear."
3. Check your motives. Are you arguing because you want to be right or because you want someone to know you're right? Is it worth possibly alienating a friend or even looking stupid over? Even among the most closely aligned fundamentalists you have slight heretics.
4. Be right. That means take it seriously...check and recheck your facts and philosophy. There must be no room for error or bad logic! Philosophies' lives hang in the balance! Remember, it's all about getting the right answer and discovering the real Truth (whatever it is). And remember: you could be wrong.
5. Avoid God and Abortion arguments. Fundamentalists on either side of any issue will just get mad when butting faces on Mybook and Facespace. And usually both sides think they're right and get real huffy and sarcastic. GUARANTEED you'll get to a point where both sides say "there's no evidence on your side so whey are you arguing" and then someone will bring up Hitler and genocide, and the fun mood will be lost. It never ends or builds up either side or argument. Sometimes it's fun, but in the end no one grows or learns.
That's a start! And If you're interested in the right opinions, just ask me! I'm right about everything and will go to great lengths to prove it! :)
All blogs and blog materials including essays, posits, quotes, common sense, one liners, et al., are either original content or originally borrowed content or stated so.
All writing copyright Jeremy McKeen 2009-2014.