I love this country. I know Americans are the greatest people in human history. I say this because digital disruption has been gunning for the nation state. I see how apps under the banner of connection divide us from our families and communities.
I’ve never understood Yelp. Choosing based on the amassed opinions of those who are either desperate to be heard or assume others wish to hear their thoughts as much as they do. We don’t research the reviewers and compare their opinion to our own. We assume we all feel the same way. An assumption against all evidence. Yet we listen to these contextless opinions and give them the power to control what businesses succeed in our community.
I’ve always loved the film adaptation of “High Fidelity”. The theme of love being beyond shared likes has stuck with me over the years. I feel it becomes more important as our digital lives grow. Tech sells us on the idea that shared likes are the only foundations for bonds that truly matter. Yet as I grow older, other bonds like geography seem to have developed stronger relationships. My high school friends are no less cherished than college friends despite what mass media teaches us. My internet friends vanished as they came once my posts lost their sheen.
We outwardly praise our universality in the face of differences on macro issues but have checkboxes for those closest to us. Does cultural taste matter? I doubt so. I think care matters. It remains after the dreams run dry and the shows are cancelled and after we become feasts for worms. After the dirt is put back, it isn’t your works that warms the cold home in which they gather but the recollections of faux pas and moments of love.
We must strive to innovate and build but will your legacy be a resume or a life?
America long stood for life. Life was the reason for freedom. It was why we fought our greatest conflicts. The Revolution that life was not granted by a king but by God. The civil war that all humans are people who own their own lives. The great depression that employers do not have greater rights to life than those they hire. Civil Rights reaffirmed the lessons of the Civil War. Yet in the globalized age, life has succumbed to luxury.
When Louie CK mocks people who complain about slow loading smartphones, he mis-understands the frustration. It isn’t from a place of entitlement instead it is a dirge for the life they have sacrificed for that moment. We traded good lives to be meatcogs in another’s paradise. All we got was a stupid phone that lasts two years. It is hard to say the masses had much choice in their fate as the current conditions for digital holdouts show. They just scrambled for the first lifeboat they could find.
The one delight in Trump is reading and watching the reactions of the global elite. How he dismisses anything he wishes (mostly their wishes). They crow and caw in their lofty penthouses. Much like how they reshaped America in their own image against the will of the people for the past decades. It would be a more enjoyable experience if he boosted the people but as we’ve been told beggars can’t be choosers.
Can America return to greatness? Can one chose life over consumption?
I can’t answer these. A ballot can’t answer these. Tomorrow can’t be avoided but we still have time to change it. To buy less online, call over text, chat with the neighbor instead of eavesdropping on television. We can act as we want to be treated. We can stop worrying about where else we can be and enjoy where we are. We can go to places, we not the crowd think looks good. In other words, we can act free to become it.