There was a time when keeping pace with the world was fun. You would wake up in the morning and over breakfast read the events of the previous day. If you found something interesting you could cut it and file it away for the record.
I am all for the flat world but I don’t understand it. It works fine, better than anything else before it, I am told, but I don’t know it as intimately I used to know the inner mechanisms of our good old round world. Importantly, this knowledge of the world ran deep and was common in the sense that more people then knew how to design an aeroplane than now, a large number of women could stitch clothes for their children while men could repair the odd scooter, bicycle or home appliances.
An entire generation is haunted by these memories. When we were young multi-tasking meant you were plain distracted.
Sometimes, when I get sad and think why I am so demanding of life and then think of all the suffering this demanding causes, I find only one reason: my generation presses way too many buttons.
But it doesn’t know how they work.
Today I have within my reach at the push of a button every branch of knowledge available to mankind. It is highly complicated with specializations within specializations. I really want to go to the bottom of things but the bottom gets deeper as we go down.
I think this leaves a deep vacuum in me. But it doesn’t worry me in the least because I am not alone. My whole generation suffers from this malady. It’s called intellectual anxiety: We love Google.
We use it all the time. But we don’t know how it works. And deep down inside it worries us. We’re all losing focus because we’re searching on Google. We cannot find what we are looking for because we don’t know what we are looking for.
Everyday I stare at my social networking homepage. I stare at my profile picture and wonder if I should change it; I think of all the crazy things that happened to me but mostly nothing comes to mind because, honestly speaking, like most of us, nothing crazy ever happens to me. So I try and imagine something whacky, out of the box, that will send my mates on Facebook rolling on the floor with laughter but, honestly, even that doesn’t work on most days.
Lewis Carroll anticipated our plight (accidentally perhaps) in Alice in Wonderland. There is a passage in the story where Alice meets the Queen and finds that she (the Queen) is running but does not move at all. When she asks the Queen what’s going on, the Queen says she is running to be on the same spot. The Queen was talking about people like you and me: so busy running to keep pace with the world that we don’t have time and the energy left to do anything else.
To tell you the truth, having lost my focus to the New Age I feel more mediocre than I really am. It shows in who I am and what I do. It doesn’t really matter if others are mediocre when you don’t feel enough. I know it’s important to hang on the world and keep pace with it but I wonder its worth if that’s all we’re doing.
The mere awareness of these fibre optic trappings that govern the flat world makes me feel lighter; I have a sense of hope that perhaps I would be able to reclaim my corner in this fast moving world. It is this hope that keeps my generation going. And makes us feel less mediocre and more like who we are.
The author is a writer.