Monday, June 26, 2017

The Age of Wonder

I was born at the dawn of the Space Age.

It was also the dawn of the Information Age, the Age of Aquarius, and the Age of Other Cool Things Too Numerous To Mention. That last category includes Peace, Love and Music (later, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll).

This period, the second half of the 20th century and the first smidgen of the 21st, brought many social changes and technological innovations. We can now carry TV sets in our pockets, and we have even more ways to waste time with them. There are new, even more boring kinds of lettuce. We have remote control voting machines. And we can now talk to our appliances, eliminating the onerous task of pushing buttons.

We eat health food out of single-serving plastic containers. We drive around in hybrid cars that reduce the CO2 emissions of going across the street. And we can share our most intimate secrets and deeply held beliefs with Mark Zuckerberg and hundreds of people we don’t know through the charm of social networks, the next best thing to being there.

We are now much more accepting of lifestyles and cultures that differ from our own, as long as they don’t appear in public. We have new gender categories undreamt of by our forebears. We have hate crimes in addition to crimes of niceness.

Truly we are living in an Age of Wonder.