The End of Wisdom

on Oct 23, 2017 by Michael Rupured

Change is constant, but the rate of change has reached the point where keeping up has become impossible. Once upon a time, things stayed more or less the same over the course of a lifetime. With age came experience, leading eventually, after many years, to wisdom about the ways of the world.

Not anymore. The older I get, the more clueless I become. The wisdom gained through experience no longer applies, gets lost in translation, or simply isn’t heard.

For most of my career at the day job, we’ve lost positions. Over the last two years, some of those positions have been restored. The result is a workforce that is either very young and inexperienced, or getting on in years and thinking about retirement. The newcomers are a welcome breath of fresh air. Soon, the newbies will outnumber us old fogies. Administration worries about the loss of experience (i.e., wisdom), but I’m thinking the sooner we old farts get out of the way and let the younguns take over, the better it will be for a very old organization that can be slow to change.

My 79-year-old mother has a flip phone she only uses for emergencies, a VOI landline, and cable television. She has never used a computer, tablet, smartphone, or other connected device. She hears about things posted on Facebook from me or my sister, and she tries to talk the talk, but she really doesn’t get it.

“But wait,” you say. “My aging parent is on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tinder.” I’m happy for you and your family. Mother would fall prey to a phishing scam within minutes of getting her own email account, or spend half the day on the phone trying to find out why a company is emailing her about an account she doesn’t have.

She recently tried to explain a change she needed to make to the way she pays for some kind of insurance, which I believe to be her portion of a premium her condo association pays for additional coverage. Anyway, she said the change was needed because they got a new portal.

Right.

I, too, am on the spectrum for ARTR (Age-Related Technological Retardation). There are dozens of “must have” apps I will never download to my smartphone. Hell, I get someone else to set up spreadsheets for me because I don’t know how. When it comes to music, I gave up somewhere after MP3. I’m doomed to forever listen to the three playlists I created back when it still made sense.

I’m doing better with “visual media” (formerly known as television). I still have cable (for which I’m paying an OUTRAGEOUS amount) with internet access. I gave up premium stations, rarely use onDemand, but still DVR most of my favorite shows. I also have a Roku with Netflix and a ton of other streaming services which I’m using more and more.

Mother is twenty years older than I am. Twenty years ago, I never could have imagined the technology I rely on today. Assuming climate change, North Korea, road rage, distracted drivers, crazies with guns, chronic disease, failing infrastructure, or terrorists don’t kill us all, what kind of technology does the future hold that I will not understand?

Sigh. Guess I’ll just have to find a young lover. I’ll keep you posted.

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