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Troy

I miss the old days...

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...and I'm not that old.

In a few days, God willing I will be 55 years of age.  I would like to live to be 100, but I'm not doing anything to help accomplish the feat, but I digress...

Sometimes I wonder if why I want to even bother sticking around that long.  It is not like the culture values the elderly for their wisdom and experience, but that is a minor consideration.

Lately, I feel like I'm surrounded by a bunch of mindless zombies. Case in point; leaving my apartment building yesterday, I got into the elevator with a woman, who was fullly engrossed in whatever she was doing on her phone.  I glanced over to see what it was (she did not notice me), and saw she was on Instagram.  The doors to the elevator opened, and we both exited. We followed the same path out the front door.  We crossed the street and went our separate ways.  Not once, even to cross the street, did the woman take her face out of the phone.

It seems no matter where I go or what I'm doing the majority of people around me have their heads buried in a cell phone.  When I'm on the subway and look (I usually look), they are playing candy crush (really popular) watching a video, or scrolling through social media.  Rarely do I see people reading books or articles, they are usually just mindlessly scrolling.  They don't even appear to be that entertained.

I'm beginning to wonder if the nature of humanity is changing and I'm being left behind. What will it be like in another 10 years or even 20?  Will it be a world that I even want to be a part of where people are more tied to their technology that each other?

All of the trends people talk about enthusiastically actually concern, if not outright scare me; virtual reality, connecting everything to the net, the growth of social media, etc.  Even that device Amazon sells that allow people to order more Coke just by asking for it gives me the willies.

We had a snow storm about a week ago, so they did not collect trash of a couple of days.  The amount of trash piled up on the street waiting to be collected was astonishing.  I wondered what do they do with all of that trash, why do we create so much of it, and why doesn't anyone care?

Sometimes I just wish I lived in a time when you could still see the stars at night. 

I'm no technophobe--far from it, but I remember a time before all this technology dominated our world and I'm not convinced we are better off.

@Cynique, you've seen more profound changes over a longer period of time.  What do you think? Is it even possible to answer the question and discount the overt racism and sexism from years ago?

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You are sounding like Theodore Kazinski. Yesterday i was on the train and there were four high school kids reading the following : The Help, The wind up Bird Chronicles.

 

I used to take the train from Jamaica to Wall Street to work in 1987. I used to carry two or three books and a walkman. A few people read the paper. Most stared into nothingness. A few people read: romance books were popular with women, Grisham was popular,  occasionally  commuters read something a bit heavier.

I saw a guy walking and reading. I used to do this may start it up again.  I have also asked commuters what they are reading and wrote  it down or made reading suggestions. 

Troy you are just seeing the alienation that's always been there. 

I also had a stranger sit next to me and say can we put our phones down and talk. We did. 

We interact more through the technology and more deeply than we did in person. 

But we are dinosaurs. We remember kife before the net... catching flies.

 

Generally you can ask a reader what's the book. Ironically readers are less introverted in that regard.

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What I see occurring all around me are examples of inevitability. Time changes and people change with it, embracing whatever makes things easier and provides instant gratification and elevates status.Currently, electronic devices isolate us from our surroundings and social media provides a stage for our alter egos. Lies are the new truth. Delusion the new reality. Xenophobia the new diversity. Society has evolved into  being an enabler for self absorption.

The 1950s were my era, the time when I grew into adulthood, and although there was turbulence associated with the civil rights struggle, in my part of the country it wasn't all crusading and no play; we knew how to have a good time and to fully embrace life. I look back on those innocent days with fond memories, because life was simpler. Television was just coming into its own, no PCs or cell phones; just books, and movies, and our favorite musical artists available on vinyl records and, most of all, good conversation and social interaction. I do miss the "good old days". Memories of them take the edge off the not-so-good-old days.. Now, most of my friends and loved ones have passed on and I'm just taking things one day at a time.

As for overt racism and sexism, I don't know what it says about me, because these things did not greatly impact on my day-to-day existence in the past. I've always maintained my sphere of blackness was one where me and my associates were comfortable in our skins and did not need integration to validate us because we did our own thing. Even so, I did benefit when racial barriers were broken down. Me, personally, I worked at the Post office, and the only bias I encountered there was practiced by black management against white labor. This is not to say that I wasn't aware of institutionalized racism. Sexism? Back then sistas were always able to hold their own with the brothers, and if they didn't, it was because we wanted black men to take charge and competently exert authority. I understand that males in the civil rights hierarchy and militant black groups were very chauvinistic but I was never put in these situation. Feminism has always been more the domain of white women.

As for the future, unfortunately, I am not optimistic. I wonder if humanity will just evolve into oblivion,- just program itself out of existence...

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I have to say that sometimes i get nostalgic for the freedom that characterised New York nightlife.  However I am enjoying my days I'm just more selective about my engagements. 

 

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Del, maybe the high schoolers were engaged in required reading--which is better than scrolling through Snapchat.

The alienation may have been there, but I think the technology, at least the way we are programmed to use it increases the alienation by provider optimal conditions for it.  Why do you need a person when you have virtual reality. 

I don't consider myself a dinosaur, I'm far more tech savvy than most. I just don't consume technology I use it to produce content, build community, business, etc. or at least I try to. But I'm fighting an uphill battle.

When I was a kid it was hard to find an open basketball court to shoot hoops, the playgrounds were full of kids running around playing a bazillion variations of tag. it was a miracle to go to the park and find an empty swing.

Today the basketball courts are empty and the playgrounds largely deserted.  I can't remember the last time I saw a stickball game or even girls jumping double dutch.  The swings hang idly.

What are these kids doing instead? Is swapping memes on Instagram better than a game of hide-n-go seek?  I dunno, but I doubt it.  The exercise alone is probably worth it.

I'm just glad I knew a time before people were controlled by their cell phones and grew up in an era where we played games outdoors. 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is just my opinion Del, but we are close in age and grew up in similar environments, so I'd imagine some of what I said might resonate with you.  

I live in the same neighborhood I grew up in, so it is easy for me to make a direct comparison.  Despite my neighborhood being much safer now, I'm not sure the kids here are actually before off--all things considered.  I think the way we are driven to use technology is a big part of the problem.  

The cell phone is great.  However, the Instagram and Snapchat apps which is what the cell phone is actually primarily used for, by many, does enough harm to outweigh the benefits of the cell phone itself. 

Corporations are working feverously on wearable devices so that we can be engaged with Facebook 100% of the time.  Many potential users think this is a great thing and can't wait; they will also be willing to pay a couple hundred bucks a month for the privilege. 

 

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LOL  I repeat what i said in my post: ..."What I see occurring all around me are examples of inevitability. Time changes and people change with it, embracing whatever makes things easier and provides instant gratification and elevates status.Currently, electronic devices isolate us from our surroundings and social media provides a stage for our alter egos. Lies are the new truth. Delusion the new reality. Xenophobia the new diversity. Society has evolved into  being an enabler for self absorption..."

"...as for the future, unfortunately, I am not optimistic. I wonder if humanity will just evolve into oblivion,- just program itself out of existence..."

Do you 2 think things will turn themselves around in the future? 

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There are people uaing technology to actually meet people. Socrates Cafe in Sydney on meetup.com, has thousands of members. People meet once a month to discuss a question. Classbunny.com Laneway. Were strated by a friend of a friend. In New York it used to be learning annex. 

In the last month i had dinner with twi people i met at Socrates Cafe. I also met my life partner through Socrates Cafe. 

I think the people on their phones may not be the same people who go out and do stuff and meet people.

You also have a network of hackers anarchists and digital protestors. As witnessed by the Global March, which also had a political action plan. Facebook post also has been more informational concerning the T rump and what to do practically. 

I have seen the future and it will be. - Prince 

T rump and his methods makes me very optimistic. Hip Hop and Punk became the voice of a generation. 

Troy and Cynique you are pessimistic,  yet you both are a beacon. You make thousands of people think. If three people are touched.  They can change the world. People are never ready for change. Thats why we need visionaries explorers, investors  and artist.  They all show us how to take off the blinkers and see.

It is the most exciting time to be on the planet. I am totally certain. 

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I'm jaded because I am old and, to me, Trump is an omen of what's to come, - when people will make their own rules and promote fiction as fact and the world will be just one big virtual lie.  This is a recipe for chaos. America is very polarized and I am not optimistic about the durability of the United States.

If a Universal Intelligence is involved in what's going on in this world, it can't be happy with the direction things are going in. If left to its own devices, Humanity may destroy itself. A Master Designer might let this happen so it can go back to Square on and get it right next time.

My pessimism may also have to do with my being on the perimeter of Chicago, which has become a killing field of wanton murders, and nothing seems to be able to stop this escalating lethal epidemic that has infected the black males of this city. What's noteworhy is that half of the killings are not-gang-related.     

 

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Troy what you described with the young lady on the elevator sounds like a typical NYC interaction.....lol.
Even BEFORE cell phones and social media became so popular people were ignoring eachother and not making any eye contact in places like New York and Philly so that shouldn't have suprised you much.

But I understand exactly what you're saying because I'm seeing the same thing from a lot of younger people.
The seem to be computer and technology savvy but not very socially intelligent.

It's as if people are using thier cell phones as comfort/security blankets or pacifiers.

They can't sit alone with their own thoughts for 5 minutes, they have to either get on social media or listen to music or do SOMETHING to occupy the empty few minutes they may have.

I've seen this for years among White and Asian youth but now I'm starting to see it among a lot of Black youth.

I've seen one young Black woman after another as soon as she's somewhere by herself instead of talking to the people around her she'll whip out a cell phone and start calling up random people begging them for a conversation about nothing.
She'll go through 10 differnt numbers being peaced-out and hung up on until she finds someone to engage her.

I can't remember the last time I saw a young Black man go up to a Black woman he didn't know and try to strike up a conversation like we used to do when we were kids.
From what I'm hearing from a lot of women, many of these young brothers don't even know HOW to talk to women they don't know or how to "break the ice" so to speak.

All of this social media seems to be making the current generation psychologically weak and vulnerable to the point they began to lose thier perceptiveness and social instincts.

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There was an interesting segment on 60 minutes this evening.  They described how social media companies design the apps to engage you--individually! They do things like hold back likes so that they can display them in a burst because for some people that will keep them more engaged.  Anyone who uses social media should watch this program.

Again White folks know exactly what is happening and we still talking about how to get more engaged on social media... 

 

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You're a sociological dinosaur , not a technological one.

Trump is the mess we have to collectively clean because he is us or at least some of us. So things atr going according to plan.

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@Delano, when you write "sociological dinosaur" the implication is that from a social perspective I'm archaic or behind the times, which has an a negative connotation. I think from a sociological perspective my thoughts, at least on this specific point, is more enlightened.

Don't you see that the rise of a Donald Trump is a direct consequence of technology fueled manipulation, fake news, and filter bubbles?

I was on a three-hour flight yesterday and the guy next to me never put his phone down. he was swiftly switching between texting Instagram and Snapchat it was amazing. His fingers flew across the glass like nothing I've seen before. Yes compared to that dude I'm a dinosaur (I dictated most of what you are reading now).

While he spent three hours consumming memes, I was reading articles and thinking. Now I'm not going to suggest that my use of time was better because it was really a difference between entertainment and education there is time for both in all of our lives.

However our social media is driving us toward continuous consumption of brief bursts of entertainment and away from information communicated in long like articles and books.

Technology, in addition to manipulating us, is also concentrating wealth into the hands of a few. these are the things that have created an environment that has allowed 45 come to power. In fact it was the same thing that brought the inexperienced Barack Obama into office as well but that's another story...

 

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Troy what I mean is you and people that lived pre computer have manners that are lacking these days. 

The industry is selling bits and experiences that aren't real in exchange for your time and more importantly your money. The people have decided. 

Trump is a necessary evil. And part if he coming transformation. He ia the flash point. 

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Troy

Don't you see that the rise of a Donald Trump is a direct consequence of technology fueled manipulation, fake news, and filter bubbles?

Technology, in addition to manipulating us, is also concentrating wealth into the hands of a few. these are the things that have created an environment that has allowed 45 come to power. In fact it was the same thing that brought the inexperienced Barack Obama into office as well but that's another story...


I think the flooding of the youth with all types of social media gadgets to keep them "engaged" and self absorbed.....totally oblivious to their surroundings....makes a fertile place for a DICTATOR to arise and take control.

It's usually the youth who have the energy and anger to fight back and stave off tyranny.
Now if they're too socially out of touch with the REAL WORLD....they wouldn't be able to mobilize effectively enough to put up a resistance.
.....nor would many even desire to do so.

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I dunno Del maybe you are right. Prior to Trump's election, I thought it would be a wake-up call. A clear indication that something needed to be done to right our course as a nation, now I'm beginning to see it as perhaps the beginning of our final decline as a nation...

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The decline started in the 80's.

I mentioned references that hapened when they were either teenagers or weren't born. 

However you're a natural born leader. So people will defer to you.

 

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now I'm beginning to see it as perhaps the beginning of our final decline as a nation...


I'm not sure about the nation, but the beginning of the CURRENT (because there's been others as Delano allude to) Black financial decline actually started back in 2007/2008 with the stock market tumble and following Great Recession.

Black people were the hardest hit and many of them lost their homes and other properties that they have yet to recover.

I've met teachers with Master's degrees who ended up homeless after that 2008 fiasco.

Infact, I saw a SURGE of Black homelessness that started right after 2008 2009/

 


There are some who've argued that as bad as some people have it, if the economy were to tank then it would just make things that much worse and they'd sink even further into the abyss.

However with so many on the street with no source of income, no health care, and no prospects......besides DEATH....how much worse can it get for them financially?

If there's a national economic crisis, perhaps bringing almost EVERYONE down to the level of poverty may "even things out" so to speak.

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Instead of coming together and merging into a monolithic citizenry that embodies a distinct national character, America has become fragmented and polarized due, in no small part, to color, nationality and religion, factors which divide people and give rise to extreme political differences.  This situation does not make this country   unique,  it just  exposes the myth that it is the United States of America.  

Donald Trump is an insidious dangerous force because the precedents he sets are not effectively stifled by those opposed to him.  His  detractors are so frustrated by his blatant incompetency and outright lies that they can't mount viable defenses against him.  Trump is in the vanguard of what lies ahead, and this nation will never be the same as a result of his legitimizing dishonesty, racism and misogyny, not to mention making social media his personal mouthpiece. 

 Like the Roman Empire, America is on track to self-implode and the great experiment in democracy attempted by this Republic will have failed, defeated by Capitalism, and an aversion to diversity.  IMO. 

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