These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Day 8 - A Sense of Place

I seldom create a title before writing the accompanying entry, but that is just what happened!   I don't know what points I want to explore nor the path to them.  It simply seemed as though I should write about "the being there" part of life this evening.

Obviously, we carry ourselves around in our own heads.  For the most part, those heads are attached to bodies which exist in an actual physical location at any given moment.  What is taking place inside the gray matter, though, is often not dependent on, nor connected to, the place.  In fact, the entire goal of many forms of entertainment is to completely suspend a participant's connection to what is physically around them.  Being able to exist in different locations, perhaps simultaneously, will continue to have far-reaching effects for us and for the future.  This ability seems to be accelerating and has been brought about by the elimination of:

1.  DISTANCE BARRIERS:  I'd like to hypothesize that technology is making it increasingly easier to always be somewhere else.  When I first went to work in Kuwait in 1981, telephone calls back to the States were almost prohibitively expensive for a casual conversation.  I used to write letters and wait for a two-week turnaround by post.  The over there was a great deal further away than it is today, anywhere over there.  One used to be forced to spend a far greater percentage of one's "mental-location" in the physical one.  Last night, I was reading about Cuba in the U.S. National Geographic Magazine downloaded via my library card from Canada while sitting in a chair in Sri Lanka.  Where was I?

2.  TIME LAGS:  The world's much more instant than any time in the past.  Today, I was watching the live Internet projections by US networks that Obama had successfully been re-elected to a second term.  It happened on Wednesday morning at 9:45 am for me on a porch in a Sri Lankan town.  I'd need a calculator to figure out what time that was more than halfway around the earth at home.  That sort of makes the news-gathering term of foreign correspondent a cute quaint, little anachronism.  What we lack in depth, we make up for with a near zero wait time.

One aspect of this of which I'm quite unsure is how the two factors will affect the development of allegiances.  A rapid technological change cannot quickly influence eons of social evolution.  I used to believe that the New World was able to achieve its glimmer of a concept of a melting pot due to the fact that crossing oceans once cut folks off from the old.  One had to adjust.  Only the motivated and adventuresome could cast off a previous existence.  I worried that immigration today offers too many convenient avenues to preclude true assimilation.  I'm not so sure there's any truth in this.

Maybe being able to multitask in different environments is the new normal.  It can offer a richness of experiences, I suppose.  My only hesitation may be that people will not be able to find a suitable balance.  They could easily be like that person texting with someone somewhere else and walk smack dab into a lamp post right in front of them.

2012_11_07
My first visit to the location I'm in now was in 1986. During this trip, the total time I will have spent in Sri Lanka on various vacations must add up to at least a year.


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