Friday, September 14, 2012

Elastic Boundaries - Eleanor Shepherd

Back in the seventies, I read Future Shock by Alvin Toffler who addressed the challenges of the information explosion.  At that time, it all seemed theoretical to me and I was not aware of how the bombardment of information would affect my life.  Now, as my husband, Glen and I sit up in bed late at night with our iPads glowing, we seem to have difficulty letting go of what is going on and just relax.   Before turning out the light, I click on the Facebook icon just to make sure nothing world shattering has happened to any of my thousand odd friends.  I hear Glen playing another YouTube video of some band or other, drinking in the music with great delight.  These things are not a part of our schedule.  They are on top of the daily routine, yet at times, they seem to barge in and try to take over.  Will they become the focus of our lives, when we are ready to leave our daily occupation and move into the next phase of our lives? 
They are a part of the transition that our generation is making from a world where life seemed to be orderly and everything had its place to the information explosion that has turned our world upside down.  Assumptions that seem certain today, we may call into question tomorrow, as new knowledge surfaces.
Take a concrete example.  I observe and compare the way that our daughter is raising her little girl.  In my day, if we had a question or concern about what was happening to the baby, we had a few options.  If we were extremely anxious, we would call the paediatrician’s office.  For less significant concerns, we could call our mothers or mothers-in-law, or even another more experienced mother. If we still were not satisfied, we looked it up in our baby and childcare books. 
When my daughter has a question, she immediately opens her iPad and Googles her question.  There she has a world of experts ready to help her.  It can be a little intimidating.  In addition, there seem to be theories that become dominant because many experts adopt them.  That credibility makes them the accepted way of doing something.  For example:  When we were expecting our babies, the instructors in our pre-natal classes taught us that we were to lay them on their sides or their stomachs, but never on their backs.  They might spit up and choke on it.  My daughter was advised in her classes that the only proper position for your baby to sleep is to be on her back.  Her little one survived without incident and eventually she learned how to turn over and sleep on her stomach; perhaps that is the best solution.  I wonder what instructions the experts will offer to my granddaughter when it comes time for her to have her children and she attends her online pre-natal classes. 
We find ourselves in the midst of transition.  The boundaries that enclose what we know in our world have become quite elastic.  Some fear that they will stretch so far they will break.  I believe we have little to fear with the proliferation of knowledge.  Never will the human mind or any of its inventions Never can the human mind or any of its inventions hope to be able to exploit the Source of all knowledge.  What we need, to go with our abundance of knowledge, is an increase in wisdom.  That comes as we gain an understanding of who we are, of the significance of our lives, and of our limitations.  These enable us to make deliberate choices about which knowledge will govern our lives.  Wisdom equips us with safe boundaries wherein we can examine and choose options consistent with who we desire to be. 
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

1 comment:

Tracy Krauss said...

It is sobering when one considers the changes that have taken place - even in the last five years! Change is accelerating like never before, making some of those old 'futuristic' novels seem quite plausible indeed.

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