I was born in 1978. The C2-8P with its futuristic dual floppy drives was cutting edge tech.
My oldest child was born in 2007. This had just been released and some of the first pictures I have of her were taken with it. She will never know a world without it.
LC was born in 2010, the same year as this. It is revolutionizing how we do everything from teaching and learning to making a medical diagnosis.
And now I have a four month old son who was born the same time this went on sell. He will never know a world that doesn’t include widely available and affordable VR (or AR).
I imagine that we’ll see a similar revolution in our society in the way that iPhone has changed us since 2007 because of virtual reality devices going “mainstream.”
Similarly, things we didn’t think could change are changing rapidly.
We’re seeing our political system transform seemingly overnight. We’re teaching our children with tools such as Coursera and Khan Academy that are replacing the need for highly skilled teachers of content. Even our religious landscape looks very different than it did 10 years ago.
Churches, schools, and politicians are all clamoring to stay relevant and not show signs of aging or becoming obsolete.
However, our bodies age and decline. When we pass mirrors, we still see ourselves in our mind’s eye at the height of our physical (and maybe spiritual) beauty. The wrinkles and scars don’t always register right away. Some of us seek out surgery or vitamins or juice cleanses or yoga to delay the inevitable. Most of us want to delay death.
Yeats would remind us,
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Things fall apart. You will die. Your church will not look the same in ten years as it does today. Your child’s school will teach math differently than you learned math. Donald Trump may become our country’s president.
You will contribute some verse, however. Even after you are long gone as a corporal being, perhaps distant family will think of you or a depiction of you in some not-yet-invented VR machine will allow a great-great-grandchild to interview you for a project.
What about our churches, our schools, and our political system? What will our grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren say about them? Will they be comforting thoughts or will they react like teens in the video above reacted to Windows 95?
You are becoming obsolete. Embrace that and the decay and work for justice and peace in all that you do and with those you choose to worship, learn, or legislate with while you’re here. Worry less about the details that your obsolete brain is telling you matter.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.