In his column yesterday, “Four Words Going Bye-Bye”, The New York Times’ Tom Friedman wrote, “A lot of what drives today’s news derives from the fact that privacy is over, local is over, average is over and later is over.” We can’t expect privacy in a world of cell phones, cameras and YouTube; local in a “hyperconnected” world; average in an economy of cheap labor and snowballing automation; later in a world that humans are so radically altering. This, he declares, is inevitable. We must adjust. No thanks.
I think I’ll resist living in a world that chips away at my humanity. Technology cannot prevent me from having my own thoughts nor keep me from places of beauty, solitude and contemplation. Globalization can’t stop me from nurturing the friendships of a long life nor engaging in the life of my community. I will keep struggling to excel, but only in Lake Wobegon are all the children above average, and it does me no harm to be reminded that I am, in countless ways, very average indeed. After a lifetime of procrastination, I know well the dangers of “later”, but there is not enough “now” for all I still intend to see and do.
My little resistances are more than private refuges from an overbearing world. They are not a retreat, but an effort, however feeble, to assert my unique self, to make my voice heard among the cacophony. They are what make me – what make all of us – human.