I’ve been pondering this rapid sea change in our contemporary society. It’s all happening so fast, more than we can follow, for those of us of a certain age. And I think it might be because us elders are, in essence, mechanics.
My parents were among the first of the automobile generation. No horse-and-buggies like the grandparents. Cars were simple machines. You did basic repairs yourself. The old meat grinders, coffee grinders, all hand cranked like Model T’s and Model A’s. Electricity was for lights and a few motor-driven gadgets. Things you could fix yourself.
You see what I mean? We were all mechanics.
As electronic devices came along, they still followed a mechanical mind-set. Components were assembled – vacuum tubes, condensers, resistors, all connected by wires on a circuit board. (And here’s another vanishing profession: TV repairmen. Born in the 1950s, died in the 1980s. Did they re-train?}.
Today we live in such a full-blown electronic age, where gadgets are throw-away. This year’s model is much advanced; you must have it, toss the old one. Our cars, our houses, our lives all overseen by devices we don’t quite understand. We talk, we write, we learn in strange new avenues.
Where are we all going? Are we no longer mechanics? I’m an old ecologist. Modern times are giving me the willies. What about you?
By the way – my grandmother would feel at home in my kitchen. Gas range, electric refrigerator, toaster, all familiar to her. But not my main implement – the microwave.
March 15, 2017
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” – Henry David Thoreau.