Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 Babies: No ‘World’ for Tomorrow?

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In Reaction

This particular entry is made in reaction to an article (read via Yahoo!) authored by Stacy Johnson and entitled “Things Babies Born in 2001 Will Never Know.” It was a brief survey of things and activities that are en route to extinction and, in the belief of the article writer, will only be of interest to the ones born this year as historical artifacts.

I can forgive the limited view of the article for it was obviously Western in orientation. As an initial reaction to it, I don’t think much of the things apply to us, Filipinos. I am not trying to fit the country into the view of the article, but because it touched on a number of things quite close to me, this entry can serve as a reminder to us (again, to us Filipinos) that there are still many things we can enjoy despite the domination of technology in our daily lives.

What Smartphones and Technology Cannot Replace

Most of the things that we used to do or we used to have can be done or be found now on Smartphones (and other technology-born devices for that matter): that was the gist of the article. Although I concede that some of the extinction candidates enumerated may indeed be gone in the next few years as in the case of yellow pages (haven’t seen one in many years already), encyclopedias (the company in which my father once worked was an unfortunate victim of extremely low sales) and film cameras (we last used our film camera seven years ago).
I have picked five items from the list which, I think, when finally relegated as artifacts of past generations would make the world – my world for that matter – less interesting to live in.

Books, magazines, and newspapers. I have talked to a number of people already and they all have the same view about book reading: a tangible book is better than an electronic book. I don’t know, but it seems to me that when e-books get more and more common, the concept of a page (I mean book page) will get fainter.

The separation of work and home. This is the reason why I seldom talk at home about the hardships at school before (which, to some extent, can be considered work) or answer those who ask how I am faring at my present work. I want to make a home a home. School is a different world. And so is a workplace. Let the home be the haven for rest and reflection. Disconnect to these worlds while at home by giving your phone or TV a break. That’s why I sympathize with an intimate who has to bring home some works and aid this intimate in the accomplishment of those take-home works.

Catalogs. This is a more personal one. A former professor asked me why I was so keen in obtaining a catalog of a recently released microscope. I told him, lamely I think, that I hope to learn some physics concepts there. He discouraged me to get it. Personally, I do not have that much time staring at an electronic copy of a product catalog, specifically on musical instruments. What I want is something that I can have before I go to sleep, not something that I have to access online.

Hand-written letters. Need I say more? Writing letters using pens or pencils sends out a message of sincerity. Ask those who have suitors. Man, I tell you, nothing beats hand-made gifts.

Mail. Besides the possible extinction of postage stamps, to eradicate mails would be tantamount to allowing computers and print-outs to do the work for us. (Might as well leave the earth and let the computers do the living, eh?) No, mail cannot and must not go extinct. Mail humanizes our works as individuals.

No ‘World’ for Tomorrow?

As a final note, I still believe that technology can never reach that stage where it can do ALL things for us, human beings. We may be in a critical period in our planet’s existence due to international politics and environmental and ecological problems, but we cannot let technology dictate our future. If the demise of things listed in the articles makes some of us less human, why would we allow it? There will be a limit for the convenience that technology provides to us.

(Forgive me, dear reader, if you feel that I write like a silly preacher. I feel the same way too.)

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