Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year...I think.

We are about to close the year and some of the more entertaining preoccupations that people engage in is the recollection of the changes that happened during the 365 days now about to elapse. It seems that in the age of the internet a lot of notable changes have been brought to our awareness.

The Facebook phenomenon has made us closer to people around us, closer in the sense of knowing more than what we would normally have gathered before social networking took hold of our daily routine. Our knowledge trove has, also, increased exponentially, too much for appreciation and more than what we can digest in ease. Making resolutions for the coming year become more involved as there are just so much experience and information, mostly cyber derived, coming into play. Conventional mindsets are shaken and new outlooks are conveniently taken on making resolutions difficult to sort out.

Moving away from changes that are personal there are a lot of changes happening in our midst which are of bigger importance because their consequences affect the world and mankind as a whole.The disconcerting thing about these changes is the fact that they seem to be moving towards dire outcomes. Modern day Cassandras are having a field day announcing the demise of current beliefs, practices, conveniences, etc because of the invasiveness of the Internet. Some of the prognostications are the death of the mailing system as we know it, the doing away of money checks, the newspapers, the demise of the music industry, books, etc. which are now being rudely nudged out by their user friendly cyber equivalents. Most of our well loved institutions are moribund and we seem helpless to reverse the course. High in the list of the things that people rue is our seeming inability to preserve the cherished privacy which we have vigilantly guarded. The internet has the ability to impinge on our private lives as technology develops new ways of stealth to get into the most personal level of our existence.

Change is inevitable, at times necessary and will always be greeted with mixed reactions. A Hutu tribesman, the man in the streets of Manila, our labandera wouldn’t even be aware should these gloomsday prognostications happen. For the more sophisticated and better educated lot they would probably do a momentary double take and ponder the situations portended but quickly dismiss them with a shrug of the shoulder.

Science and progress as villains have often been the subject of novels and essays. The scenarios depicted have always been at the extreme. Machines taking over mankind, Big Brother’s omniscience, Soylent Green, Mad Max are just some examples of creative but excessive portents that are created in a writer’s mind. These come from early development of notions that transform into wild imaginings. They make for good fiction and titillating essays but have zero probability of ever happening.

Man has proven his resiliency through history and would make the necessary counter measures to prevent things and events from evolving into sordidness. We are quick to react to things that threaten us. We come up with technological solutions, alter lifestyles, enact laws, organize protest groups, etc all of which have proven effective in halting the march towards doomsday.

Man copes and prevails with any adversity it is faced with. After 2010 we will continue to enjoy another millennium all the while lovingly nurturing a fear that we will be annihilated by the technology that we ourselves have created. This paranoid streak in us made the Millennium Bug the biggest and most expensive hoax ever to be inflicted by man on himself.

What’s in store for the coming year? With or without the help of Wikileaks and other sources of direful prognostications that we access from the internet we will continue to concoct in our minds; grand conspiracy schemes, the planet’s inundation, the bombardment of harmful rays penetrating the earth’s protective mantle, the demise of all life in the Amazon, China at war with the USA, an errant and gigantic meteor earthbound and other events of cinematic and apocalyptic proportions.

And so it goes...

Happy New Year...I think.

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