Bionic. I think we are in search of a modern-day bionic life.
If you’re old enough to remember the show “The Six Million Dollar Man” from the 70’s – a big high-five. If you’re not, look it up….youtube it. Find out what all the excitement was surrounding the rebuilt astronaut Steve Austin (other than his 70’s good looks.)
The premise was that we could rebuild a broken man and make him “better… stronger…faster” (music swells as Steve Austin runs at lightning speed.) Ah, 70’s television – I miss it.
The thrill of the show was that we finally had the technology to do something never done before. We had become advanced enough as a species to go beyond our wildest dreams. It was post-space travel capability and pre-cell phone domination. It was the cusp of something superhuman.
And so here we are today – with our bionic lives in place. We may not have a computer eye in our heads (yet), or legs that outrun an Olympic sprinters, but we have created a world that is in overdrive…flying by, morphing, twirling like a Tasmanian Devil.
How do we keep up? Or better yet, do we need to?
There is an argument, naturally, on both sides of this coin. Of course we need to keep up, say the workforce guru’s, as the only way to compete in today’s job market is to outrun the competition. Technology is the driving force – a new gadget magically appears practically every quarter (never mind annually, that’s so old school.) I blame Apple for that – creating and marketing the next best thing – with unveilings coincidentally surfacing around holidays and school seasons. It’s a thirst that can never be quenched – “What – you only have an iPhone 4S? Oh. Sorry.” As if the latest anything will bring us joy, prestige, happiness and self-esteem. What it brings us really is dwindling bank accounts, increasing credit card debt and just another soon-to-be outdated piece of tech equipment earmarked for the junk drawer.
So what are we doing to ourselves? The big boys are making tons of money off our desire, or rather our “need”, to be at the front of the line. Maybe it’s our ancient yearnings bubbling up – the need to beat our chests and be king of the jungle. Maybe it’s the desire to belong – to not be an outsider. I mean, who does NOT own a cellphone these days? My dad does, even though he can barely use it – I’m pretty sure there are voicemails I left him 3 years ago that he never retrieved. I try to cut him some slack – there are a lot of buttons to push – it can be confusing.
Our need for speed is outpacing our ability to learn. Our multi-tasking is actually, according to neuroscientists, re-wiring our brains. What? Yes, re-wiring our brains. So maybe we are altering ourselves bionically after all. We can’t focus, we lose sleep, we burn the candle not only at both ends, but have torched the whole darned ball of wax.
Can we slow down? Is it too late for that? I don’t think so. There’s a bit of street talk about quitting Facebook, powering down our phones at dinner, and going off the grid during vacations. We are trying to loosen the grids grip on us – as it squeezes us into forced decompression. We need it gang….we really do. We need to step away from the bloated buffet of technology and remember what a tree looks like, before we’ve cut them all down. (Oh God, I realize I’m suddenly sounding like a wild-haired hippie tree-hugger right now, but that’s not my intention.) I’m just like the rest of us – I want my iPhone and my cake too. I love my Kindle and my Apple TV and my high-speed Internet connection. It all makes for convenience in my day. BUT – and I draw the line here – not at the expense of my ability to understand that it’s just metal and wires and invisible electromagnetic waves (which is probably the source of many a migraine other than just hearing your mother’s voice on the end of the line.) It’s not flesh and blood like you and me. It has no heart or soul or whatever you may call it. Shouldn’t we remind ourselves once in a while that technology is A source, not THE source.
And not for nothin’, six million dollars to rebuild a man? I’ve seen apartments that cost more than that. Inflation. – BB