In an effort to gain a moment of perspective, we need to take a brief respite, and a much needed break, from the coursing tide of exponential change. In this brief moment we will attempt to furnish a random, but representative, snapshot of the impact of recent developments.
Constant upgrading (especially in technology) has been the uniform life experience and therefore the normal expectation of the younger generation. In general, however, the older generation with a somewhat different life experience is often caught slightly off balance, experiencing some nostalgia for the recent past when the speed of change was more moderate.
A peek into the current state of affairs may provide some objective understanding of the impact of recent change for all concerned. For purposes of illustration, we have randomly selected mundane topics: interactive conversation, letter writing, reading books, dressing for work and men’s shaving.
There would appear to be many substantial losses, in the current substitution of e-mail or texting, as compared with personal conversation, the comfort of voice recognition, tone, emphasis, and spontaneous response among others (blog #4).
Concomitant life style adjustments are often needed on the part of the older generation .For example, one might refrain from calling a friend at a certain time of day, knowing from experience that the friend is not usually home at such hour; cell phone users know that the friend can be reached at any time and anywhere, bus, theater, work even at portable restrooms. Predictably, and unhappily, electronic communication will supersede land phones, the latter to go the way of dinosaurs and dodos.
Currently, communication by letter seems to be an ancient artifact. Formerly the letter writer would thoughtfully employ selected language appropriate to his relationship with the recipient who would observe and recognize the individualized handwriting, style and personal nuance of the sender. The same familiar features would exemplify the response. Meaningful letters could be kept as mementoes and re-read as desired.
In the case of electronic messaging there is rarely an aspiration for aesthetic vocabulary and scant opportunity for authentic memorable interaction.
Happily, there are at present a great number of book readers, among whom many experience the real pleasure of reading from printed books. Digital books, such as Kindle and Nook offer electronic replication of books that are shown on a back lighted surface and there are a great number of readers whose experience with great literature is solely by way of a data-like transmission on the electric screen. The same is a markedly different experience and it is submitted, less satisfying than reading from a real book, in your favorite chair under a soft light; Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, Edgar Allen Poe and Tolstoy do not have the same impact and resonance in electronic data mode. Pages change by button.
On information, there are studies which have determined that the technique of digital reading at times cause the eye and brain to skip words.
The chief argument in support of the use of digital books, seems to be that they are easy to carry. Since when did portability trump aesthetic pleasure? In any event, most books are published in softcover and are easily transportable.
For some there is even tactual pleasure in the holding and use of hard cover books, notably in the ritual of opening the newly purchased book at midway, in hearing the familiar “crack,” in separating, by fingernail the two, or so pages that may be still joined at their edges and by the “new” smell; this exotic ritual may pleasantly be described as “literary foreplay.”
Dressing for business
For eons, it was the expectation that the acceptable attire for the office was a suit, or jacket, and a tie. The decline of this expectation was productive of great happiness and celebration among the manufacturers of tan chino slacks and sportswear.
While, generally, stereotypes are usually to be condemned, yet in this area and context they are useful as identification and assurance concerning traditionally accepted and recognized roles of professionals and business people (in their expected attire) in our society.
A close shave, as well as neat attire, was always society’s expectation for men’s respectability. Of late, grubby, non-shaven actors and models are presented by the media as attractive and sexy. In the forgotten past, a shave (and hot towel) was procured from one’s barber. Now men self-shave with implements of ever increasing comfort.
But the concern at present is not with changes in shaving technique, but with the purported change in fashion to unshaven. This latest style is not recommended, even to applicants for entry level positions.
- cannot contain his boundless happiness and immense relief at the realization that the yellow item in his hand, emitting a redolence of banana ester, is still called a “banana.” God bless.