To quote Pogo “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Our high speed lives are moving faster than our minds can process fully.
We no longer have adequate time in our lives to think about what we see, hear, or feel.
That goes for nearly every age group, but is especially true as you get to the younger people in the school and early work years.
I believe that we are progressing technologically, faster than we are able to adjust our behavior to retain our humanity and sense of propriety.
Children just starting school have instant gratification devices in their hands, like cell phones and i-pads. For them, as for those who have grown up connected to electronics, e-mail is too slow, waiting to make a telephone call is unthinkable, texting is their life-blood. Even that is getting to be too slow and the swipe method is speeding things up.
Language skills are suffering whether spoken or written. I mean OMG, U no?
I see a correlation between the attention deficit disorders (and shorter attention spans in general), and the instant gratification world we have become.
Patience has become a word found in the dictionary, but seldom in the human make up.
We can’t wait for a movie to come to a theater near us, or even to arrive in the mail, we must have it streamed to our computers immediately.
Film camera, are you kidding me? Polaroid, HA, that takes 60 seconds… I want to see my picture now, not wait!
Fast food is not healthy, but anything else takes too long. Cooking takes too much time and then requires the extra work of preparing and cleaning up, which all takes away from our instant gratification time. Facebook and twitter wait for no one to update!
Driving somewhere on vacation is too slow and time consuming, we must fly there.
Taking turns doing something is passé, we must be able to all do it at once, and quickly.
I notice too, that the child who has to have something or do something right now, is the first one to become unsatisfied and bored with what he/she got. It wasn’t the thing or activity that they actually wanted; it was the rush of getting their gratification fix.
If you look at what people are reading most, it is the twitterverse with its 140 character bites and short blurbs on Facebook that get the most action. Anything longer than a couple of paragraphs gets scanned briefly and dumped as you move to the next one.
People want more input, not better writing or deeper meaning. Video games that sell are faster paced with more action; there are no moral-to-the-story games that are hits.
Our population acts like we are all junkies on heroin pumps where we can push the button and get a fix, and then another and another… and have no consequences for our actions.
Walking hand in hand with our “I want it all, now!” mindset is the problem of what is acceptable.
Image is everything, and there are no limits upon what is allowable when it comes to boosting your own “brand.” Children tell me, “cheating and lying are part of “real” life; everyone does it.” “You have to be cool or you get hated on,” is another statement that worries me.
Kids kill other children over sneakers, not because they don’t have any shoes and their feet are freezing, or even because their families are starving and they need to sell the sneakers to buy food. Not that any of those reasons are acceptable, but you could at least see where desperation drove them to drastic acts. They are committing this most vile deed; to get something that they want and believe will boost their own status.
Homeless people, persons of different color, ethnicity, lifestyle, and some for no discernible reason, are set upon and attacked, lit on fire, shot… why? Because the perpetrators need an adrenalin (or gratification) rush. They want to be seen by peers as “badass” and make the news to gain fame, and in their own eyes, status.
We have forgotten in this hyper-speed life we lead, how to be angry without becoming violent, how to discuss and argue without inviting in rage. The “pursuit of happiness” bit does not mean that you can never be unhappy about anything.
Somewhere it has become a belief that there cannot be two opinions without combat, that all arguments must be settled. And that we have some right to never be unsatisfied without lashing out in anger. One form of problem resolution is that both sides agree to disagree.
We have lost the ability to respect others, and respect the value of life, be it human or other species.
We need to slow down, step back and learn what is really important again.
Perhaps it is time to do more, with less. By that I mean, give up on having every “thing” that comes out on the market or is available, and do more with what we already have, our family and friends.
We should talk to each other face to face about ideas, read real books, get outside and go for walks with friends and family. Paint pictures, build sand castles, do whatever it takes to slow down the input barrage on our brains and give ourselves time to process.
I really believe that it is imperative for our young people to be given guidance and assistance in pacing themselves to meet life in balanced and sustainable way.
Right now humanity is hurtling forward like a rocketship on re-entry and our heatshield may not hold up.
We must all do our part to not go the way of the dinosaur by our own hands. Reach out to someone today and make a difference. Peace upon you brothers and sisters.