by Kenneth Justice
~ At coffee yesterday I ran into a forty-something friend of mine who began lamenting to me his woes, “Kenneth, I feel like the last decade has gone by and I didn’t even notice. I feel like Rip Van Winkle, I haven’t really done anything with my life for 10 years and everything just seems to be passing me by” he said
I guess it is easy to get into a monotonous routine in life and to one day wake up and realize it’s been ten years since you were really paying attention to things. So much of life is repetitive, wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, that if you’re not careful, you’ll one day wake up and realize you are much older than you remember.
A new revolution has occurred over the past few years. For a long time, the Western World was dominated by suburbia. People shopped at strip malls, raised their children at the end of cul-de-sacs, and spent their evenings watching television until they fell asleep in their Lazy-boy. But the new revolution has caused an entire generation of youth to flee the suburbs in search of cities and downtown environments.
The youth of the new millennium have grown up in an entirely different world. Pornography in the 21st century is as readily available and easy as watching Gilligan’s Island back in 1965. Flick on your computer, tablet, or IPhone and you can watch X-rated sex any time of the day, the kind of stuff that back in the day, you used to have to find at a video store as you walked shamefully past the children looking at Disney videos into the weird back room at the video store with the other middle class men wearing clunky glasses and pocket protectors.
There is a weird dichotomy in this new world that we live; young adults will spend sixty hours a week playing video games, yet at the same time they yearn for community and connectivity with each other. They search out Indie coffee houses and dive bars hoping to find likeminded individuals whom they can connect with and talk about life.
Yet, for every young adult searching out connectivity with others, there is another young adult being swallowed up by the Internet, the beastly thing that travels through all our homes. Too many young adults who should be talking, learning, and discussing truth with their peers and with older adults, are instead spending entire evenings in front of their screens watching games and making monotonous status updates on social networks.
This desire in their heart for connectivity, and all the time in solitary confinement in front of their computer screens are making a lot of people depressed. My friend at coffee expressed to me, “I think the Internet was the worst thing that ever happened to me, spending so much time on the Internet ended up making me anti-social”.
And so the suburbs are starting to decay. Old strip malls from the 1980’s and 1990’s are starting to look weathered and dumpy. Old department stores from the late 20th century have either gone out of business, or are on life support, waiting for someone to pull the plug and give them the dignity of death;
Montgomery Wards – GONE
Blockbuster Video – GONE
Borders Books – GONE
K-Mart – DYING
Sears – DYING
JCPENNY – DYING
Many stores, like Blockbuster Video, are gone because the Age of the Internet deemed them irrelevant. When I was a young adult, a big deal in my life was hanging out at the local music store and listening to the latest C.D.’s (think the era of Nirvana). Yet the Age of the Internet killed the music industry. Local music shops went the way of the Dinosaurs, and the very few that are left only exist thanks to an extremely small number of enthusiasts who still collect vinyl records.
The Internet Age has radically changed the world around us, and things will never be the same. Social networks have connected us together in an exciting new way, yet at the same time it has isolated so many people from the basic need of REAL human interaction. The Internet simply can’t replace the real life experience of being next to someone at a coffee shop, or deep in discussion by a fireside on a crisp autumn evening.
The Age of the Internet has ushered in a new world. All the rules are changed. Everything we knew back in the day, is now up for reevaluation. Are you ready?
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society