It is what it is
How one reflects upon the past in relation to the present is based on personal perception and philosophy. From another standpoint, the matter is also about temporal reality. Regardless, whatever life one lives, at the time, it is what it is.
As a child in Hungary, I didn’t know anything about owning a telephone, a television, never mind an automobile. Nor did I know that there were other races in my world besides people who cared about me; that included the man who had black skin and was the porter at the railway station. Yet, my personal perception of my world was just fine.
As a child refugee, coming to Canada, I didn’t know that not having a telephone, nor a television, nor an automobile meant I was poor. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t play with Johnathan who was a Native, because he was not the same colour as I was. I didn’t know any of that, until another child pointed these out to me. And sadly, owing to influences from others, the personal perception of my world shifted, to some degree.
Looking back, it was somewhat akin to being cast out of Eden. Unsolicited, inflicted impressions, continued to be an ongoing challenge in how I viewed my world, and me in it.
Both as a child and later as a working wife, I did want my family to acquire such items as the telephone, the television, the automobile, the computer and the purchased home.
All of these kinds of procurements became common place in our western world of wealth. In fact, having only one telephone, one television, one computer and one automobile became insufficient in many households – largely because communication and travel needs escalated, and also because professional positions spiraled. Living in an all too fast paced, competitive world became a norm. Expectation of increased net worth, meant enhanced status hence a heightened requirement of additional acquisitions.
The temporal reality aspect of course also played and continues to sustain a significant role. The telephone, television, computer and automobile are major innovations upon which today’s technological world continues to be built. We may not like the speed with which moment by moment transformation is cast out to the masses.
At this point in time, however, any of us could cut off connection to these items and live an alright life. A caveat nevertheless: one must act in haste, because before long, disconnecting will not be an option, as more and more facets of our daily dealings become computerized. Realistically, it is likely too late to disengage.…
As early as the 1960s, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the term ‘global village’. The concept was based on the notion that cultures would focus on communicating and moving towards personal interactions. In that way the different parts of the world would form one community linked by the internet.
I consider that proposition to have become a remarkable reality. Clearly, there are parts of technology that are frustrating, problematic and some even dangerous. Vigilance is a key both from a state, public and a private approach. Nonetheless, on the whole, what an interesting and progressive time we live in!
Personally, technology has strengthened my awareness as to how I think about my fellow humans, my environment, my belief system, my commitments, my creativity and my place in this world. I need to believe that what is ahead will continue to bring humanity to a closer understanding as McLuhan had hoped.
One can easily view some aspects of one’s life as the golden years, and other parts, including today’s as undesirable. At best and at worst, it is what it is.
Soren Kierkegaard wisely stated: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”