As I type this, it is the beginning of my 50th year of life on Planet Earth. In other words, today (December 1) is my 49th birthday. And, as many of us are wont to do on occasions such as this, a bit of inwardly directed thought has been taking place. Far from mere navel-gazing, birthdays are a time for reflection on one’s place in the grand scheme of things… assuming that there is indeed a grand scheme and not just the byproduct of gazillions of hydrogen atoms colliding with each other.
As I try to figure out my place in the world, I have to wonder more about this world in which I claim a place. Far from the idyllic future we were promised as children, this new millennium world seems more screwed up than I could have imagined as far back as the 1960s and 70s.
There have been incredible technological advances. Thanks to technology, the world is a much smaller place than it ever was. We all have the world’s greatest research library at our fingertips as the Internet is (more or less) available to everyone. At the touch of a button, we can read about (and actually see and hear) events and happenings from around the globe, often in real time. Information – loads of information – is ready to view, stream, or download whenever and wherever we want it.
Medical and lifesaving technology has also advanced by leaps and bounds. Someday, perhaps it will be available to everyone. Still, one has to wonder about a system where one of the most common “medical” procedures is breast augmentation. Hey, whatever the dollar buys, right?
Sometime during the post World War II years, as the dawn of the Technology Age began to show glimpses of the kind of future we could achieve, people envisioned the promise of a world free from war, disease, hunger, and the myriad problems that have beset humanity since we evolved into a species that could produce beer. Had we as a species kept our eye on the prize, this world would be a dramatically different place. Somewhere along the line, however, the energy-efficient high-speed monorail to Tomorrowland ran right off the tracks.
So, what happened? Even though we became more technologically proficient, we remained human. Imperfect. Greedy. Hateful. Warlike defenders and consumers of territory and treasure. Mouth-breathing Luddites who can’t accept the truth. Alleged public servants who put partisan concerns over the greater good. Wacko nutjobs who use religion and the Supreme Being to justify satanic acts of malice toward their fellow human beings. Merchants of death and destruction.
They all can go to Hell.
And that brings me back to the aforementioned reflections upon my place in this world. What’s it all about, Alfie? What are we supposed to be doing here? Is it enough to try and make a difference locally? Should a person even try to make a difference on a grand scale? Let´s look at a few people last century who did try: John Kennedy – assassinated. Mahatma Ghandi – assassinated. Martin Luther King, Jr. – assassinated. And let’s not forget what happened to the person who suggested we love one another as we love ourselves.
I wish I had some answers. Happy freakin’ birthday.
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In much happier news, tonight (Saturday, December 4) is the Habitat for Humanity Gala at D’Asign Source. The Official Habitat Gala After-Party is at the Key Colony Inn! Sergei is going to put out a complimentary spread of treats, and I’m in charge of the tunes, playing hopefully some of your favorites on both guitar and piano! I hope to see you there tonight!