yesterday I had a cool, yet, odd conversation at the gym with a retired social worker that used to run group homes. I asked, “what is the difference with kids today than when you started 40 years ago? what are the biggest obstacles with kids these days?” We sat there for about 25 minutes, seeming to try to avoid the actual exercise, and he gave a list that is sort of like what I felt and have seen was changing in the social construct and fabric of the united states. he kept going back to most of what he saw was caused by the breakdown of the family, parents, and the lack of development and decent teaching and guidance during the most formative years of childhood.
it was no surprise, but having your thoughts confirmed was rather sad, as I thought since the great depression and the Roosevelt programs, it is almost like the system was turned around in the country where people think and/or feel a sense of entitlement of sorts, and are owed while doing nothing. it is sort of how I look at the debt loads in the USA and go, “well? how long do people think this post-2008 house of cards is going to last?”
people wonder why I seem to just post things on Instagram and don’t follow many people or have followers. when I explain it was all a big algorithm experiment to study the concept of a selfie and narcissism trends with the internet, usually I am met with a glazed look, “what do you mean? selfies are a form of vanity?” the other reason is there is another band of loose research I am doing with how little time people will read or devote to something that is not about them. for example the reality of how little actually gets read online, but so many people “like” the headline.
today when I was in line at the coffee shop, I watched a woman go through a few thousand posts by others in the noise that is today's avalanche of data that says little and was amazed how little attention was paid to any of the feed. it was almost as if she was playing darts and picking random posts…of which, I wish you had a daily limit on the number of posts…like one, or two. I cut out so many feeds from people because they were like Pavlov and reposting images they didn’t take, and trying to create some feed, of which, it is simply annoying versus of high quality.
perhaps that is what I see lacking in the USA. while I joke that things cost a small fortune in Switzerland, the standards for quality are simply much higher than the USA. I know this same level existed in the USA, as the lab in North Carolina had me crying when I took down all the old electrical in the cannonball factory and marveled at how precise all the work was, done in a trapezoidal type building at what was probably the turn of the century. it didn’t matter if it was making a burger, running cables and wires, painting, sewing or other trades and services – there was a quality level that was somehow inherent with the people.
over a few generations, this “quality” and peoples willingness to pay for such quality went out the door when globalization happened and inexpensive goods and the scaled distribution of the same thing across the country – frankly, dumbed the people down. it has become more to present the illusion of quality and market it with an avalanche of social media feeds than to keep one's mouth shut and have someone tell another actual human being to their face, “yes, this was great”
robotics will make repetitive service positions and people obsolete. in some senses, social media is going to dilute social interaction to where intimacy with two people talking to each other and the lack of physical social skills in public spaces will be the next step in the rung of having getting less personal and slapping a layer of “social” monikers on top of the diluted reality.
what can you say? we have a choice of how and what to use our tools. I think the internet is an amazing thing to find information, learn, research, collaborate over long distances, yet, what has changed is that in actual social spaces – we have simply become less understanding, social, and cordial to our fellow man.
it reminds me of the various religious and NGO groups that have to go overseas and “help” the folks that don’t have the “stuff” of life.
“you have plenty of things you can do to help your local area”
“but that isn’t sexy enough for people to get involved”
“you are kidding me, it probably the best investment one could make”
“that would require more work...people want to get something for donating money."
"what? a vacation disguised as charity work?"
"they do go visit an orphanage one day!!!" snip
what is ironic is that in many of the groups, we have the locals overseas ask for a list of materials, some tools…” we know what we need, it isn’t the shiny baubles. many times the folks in charge of the powers that be want those shiny baubles. until a solution for greed and corruption is found, this sad reality for much of the planet will keep a lot of the world trapped in a “what’s in it for me” instead of saying, “what is the best solution for us all?”
the irony…in the developed world, we don’t really share. I have some friends doing co-working and collaborative space ideas in Switzerland, and I think the idea is good, yet, I don’t see the same sharing in the developed world where I see in the 3rd world, where there is a lack of some resource and the people will band together to help each other.
then again, there is a tribe of people in Africa that does not believe in owning anything, but rather moving along to only use what they need. they will be extinct soon because the florigen nationals are all moving into what were their lands and erecting fences because “this is my land”
something has to give, hopefully, sooner than later, as I think where we are today is a choice between a large or small crash sometime in the future. it is easy to draw a linear line on a graph going upwards to project growth – but rarely does the reality of life allow such a pretty straight line.
now I go to the gym, not because I really want to, but rather the weather is so bad here that my body feels like it is in a vise of sorts. just keep moving the joints each day as you get older. I don’t know why more people don’t? Did they give up? don’t like? don’t believe? or don’t care?