The Way Things Were

I don’t want to make this about Miranda Lambert because she is worthy of a Women I Love article. But I heard her new song “Automatic” for the first time last night and it really struck a nerve with.

One of my Professors in college, Gene Halton, enjoyed playing devil’s advocate during lectures. He’d say things like the world is meant to be inhabited by 10,000 people in a hunter-gatherer society. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the class or why something like that would even be brought up. But the biggest thing he preached about was how human knowledge was dwindling with the advancement of technology. He proved his point by asking us to recite one of our roommates cell phone numbers without looking it up. No one in the class could do it. Then he asked us to recite our best friend from elementary school’s number, we were all able to rattle off multiple friends numbers. Score one for Professor Gene, point proven.

My only counter to my old professor’s argument is, why the hell does it matter? We’ve lost the ability to memorize phone numbers, oh no, the end of the world is coming. Everyone repent! Yes, human knowledge is dwindling, but only because it has been replaced by more effective and efficient intelligence, technology.

We did not start using smartphones, tablets, and other technology on a whim. There is a reason and it is convenience. Throughout time, technological advancements have mirrored the advancement of society. The wheel, roads, bridges, pens, paper, the movable print, the industrial age, computers, the internet, and now the boom of technology in the last decade. It has all led to growth in society as well as making our lives easier.

Life is short. Why do we want to spend it having to remember this or that? We used to murder rain forests and have entire warehouses dedicated to filing. Now it is all available on devices we can bring on an airplane. Depending on technology is not a bad thing, it is a great one. Also, how much human knowledge do we really have when we opt to not use something that makes our life easier.

Lambert’s song taps into what so many older folks believe, “Things were so much better back in the day. Billy already discussed how powerful of an elixir nostalgia can be, but I believe another reason why older people wax nostalgic about the good old days is that they were kids during them.

You know what we did when we were kids? We believed in a man who flew around the world on a sleigh delivering presents to every kid in the world in one night and a fairy that gave us money under our pillows when we lost a tooth. In other words, we were fucking delusional. We live in a bubble as kids. It is easy to think that the world was a perfect place because we were protected from all the dangers and shitty things that were happening in it. Except the 90s really were the best decade ever and nothing bad ever happened. 

The world doesn’t become a worse place with each passing day. We’re just fucking growing up and the bubble is popped.

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