Op-Ed: The Fifteen Seconds of Generation
You have fifteen seconds; the length of an Instagram video, to answer the following questions thoroughly and completely. When those fifteen seconds have elapsed, please gather your things and go.
– Who are you? –
– What do you seek? –
– Why are you here? –
It may be unrealistic to answer questions of such depth in fifteen seconds, which is by design for the sake of this article.
“The Fifteen Seconds of Generation” is a twist on Andy Warhol’s “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” exhibition presented decades ago. Now Warhol was the 60s; a time when the USA was in the (second) longest war of it’s young history, a British Boy Band ruled the airwaves, and Free Love gave birth to a pill designed against such acts of creation. Flash-forward to the early nineties; a time I popped my pants and dug up earthworms in the backyard to go fishing with my brothers. America Online – “AOL” – rolled out its game-changing all-in-one digital communications platform, a central online portal where a user can email, chat with strangers in metaphorical rooms, instant message friends, and share selfies at a time when #hashtags were still number signs. I find it interesting that less than a quarter century since the birth of the all-in-one online giant, we’ve dissected its entire eco-system and given its parts different names; Gmail, Twitter, IG, Vine, Tinder, etc., and somehow its more marketable and profitable in pieces than together.
Contrary to the Cameron’s “Terminator” franchise, I believe the evolution and integration of technology into our lives is neutral, and it’s up to us to determine its value in society. The integration of technology into our lives is the social experiment of our lifetime. Except in this experiment, we’re simultaneously the doctor and the patient, on display in front of a live global audience. It wasn’t long ago we wanted our peers to like us, now we’re just as happy if they “like” us.
Does a sum of our parts mentality encourage individuality in a time desperate for teamwork? Ageism, sexism, racism, religious intolerance, sexual intolerance, and intolerances of any kind, do these injustices exist elsewhere in nature?
Perhaps as societies become more complex, our desire to simplify them will follow. Like summarizing an article up front to determine if it’s worth the time or judging a book by its cover…
Are we only capable of valuing one another at the extent in which we value ourselves? If this were the case, how did you take care of yourself today?
As spasmodic, impatient, and detached our communication systems may seem they’re merely a representation of the beasts behind them. If you seek love in life, give it to yourself and watch what attracts. If you want success in your passions and pursuits, nurture them like you would raise a child. Sow the seeds this year you hope to harvest in the next. Be patient. Love intelligently. Understand that conflict is necessary in order to create change. And how one handles the obstacles will ultimately shape our destiny.
As fifteen seconds becomes the new normal – what are you leaving behind?
(by Kevin G. Schmidt)