Saturday, November 20, 2010

The New Computer Age

My wife likes to tell a story about the Harmonic Convergence, as in the happy portion of the end of times. Back in 1987, many people believed this two day event ushered in a period of peace and understanding. The outward evidence my wife, her mother and her brothers experienced was the amazing windfall of airline tickets, hotel rooms, and cash awards when they were bumped from their flight back from Europe where they were broke and becoming a little desperate. They found their way home after a couple nights' stay in plush accommodations with money in their pockets, ready to face the end of the world.
That was what the seventies and eighties were all about for many. It was the New Age. Folks wore crystals around their necks and searched the stars for answers to the problems found here on our home planet. They used pyramids to sharpen razor blades, cure diseases and improve their alpha states. They listened to angels and spirits and any other voice that might have had wisdom for them coming from the great beyond.
That was thirty years ago. Now we use computers. The Internet gives us all kinds of important perceptions that might not have reached us without the oracle on our desks. Al Gore's Internet has been implicated in the deaths, or rumored deaths of dozens of celebrities, yet we continue to trust it. We feel compelled to forward bad poetry to one another in hopes of spiritual awakening or face impending bad juju. Good fortune comes our way on a regular basis from bankers in Nigeria, or Bill Gates. There is a world of virtual oneness waiting at the end of your connection to the World Wide Web.
And skeptics like me keep bursting that bubble. There are no easy ways to get rich using just your Internet connection. Most of those opportunities are merely opportunities to have your bank accounts drained. If you open an e-mail from a stranger that tells you that you have just received a major cash award, enjoy the moment. Then delete it. The magic comes from the way that we can reach out and interrupt strangers' lives with a simple key stroke. Photoshop enables us to amuse each other with "real pictures" of sharks attacking helicopters and kittens doing the most adorable things. But there is no real magic. For that you must consult the Magic Eight Ball. You might start with: "Will the world really end in 2012?"


Anonymous said...

Abe Bookman says "cannot predict now."

Mrs. Id said...

So I asked the magic 8-ball if the world will end in 2010. It said "Outlook Good." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN????!!!

Sigh. I miss the nineties. Fairies, goddesses, priestesses, angels.