Thursday, October 7, 2010
Things Were So Much Simpler Then. And Uglier. Probably.
Ah, nostalgia...how I long for you...sometimes.
Like whenever I try to remember what life was like when I was 6 and I realize I might as well try to reminisce about the Big Bang.
As much as I love to long for the far-from-perfect-but-certainly-less-complicated, artistically-vibrant world that I never experienced in the 1960s/70s, try as I might it is impossible for me to romanticize my actual past. Everything I remember about my childhood I only 'remember' because people have told me the same stories over and over and therefore they have stayed with me longer than the rest.
But these romanticized memories, from somebody else's perspective no less, are far from the truth. They are filtered, corrupted opinions; fiction masquerading as memories. Unless you are a snail or a hermit yet to murder his last brain cell with moonshine, life moves too fast to remember all the details.
It is as if I am a dependable machine stuck in 'Forward Mode', a young man eternally going West and failing to realize I have been treading over the same ground my entire life, unsure what exactly I am looking for and why I keep moving, unsure whether things are improving or getting worse, constantly reformulating theories about the world that become more depressing the more I learn about it and its inhabitants.
The curious, adventurous, social adult--the guy doing it right, I tell myself, all the while conflictingly aware that ignorance is bliss--leads a life replete with biases, uncertainty, and editing, whether he likes it or not. The relentless flow of new information into your brain not only needs to be easily sorted, but also inevitably results in the deletion of the oldest material in the storage bin, the information that doesn't matter because it isn't going to help you achieve your dreams, while the wisdom filling one of Carl Sagan's seminal tracts might help you understand things a bit better and smooth over those last few wrinkles impeding your impending success.
And then you realize you probably had all your best dreams when you were a child, all those dreams you have long-since forgotten, and a slow-burning panic sets in. Am I ruined? Does too much knowledge work against me? Have I paralyzed myself by learning too much about the world? Have I made things too complicated when simplicity is the answer? Has reality destroyed my dreams? Have I lost my unique identity somewhere along the road to wherever the hell I am right now? What am I chasing anyway?
Who knows. Knowledge? Adventure? True love? Happiness? All sound trite, but maybe triteness is closer to truth than we realize. Maybe we should grant it more respect.
All I know is I've been hard at work for twenty years, trying to get somewhere, making sure I enjoy the ride, never sure of where I'm heading or even where I've been once the initial afterglow of discovery wears off. Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing here? Is there a better way to go about all this?
So many questions, so few answers. Zero answers. Help!
Enter the Apple IIe, machine of the future, here in the now to solve as many problems as you can throw at it. 4 + 4? No problem. Starving to death on the Oregon Trail for lack of squirrel meat? Unsure whether or not reality is a dream or if the calories are worth it? Whatever your problem, rest assured the Apple IIe will solve it with only a few strokes of its custom-built keys.
I don't know about you, but I find that comforting. Hey, maybe that's what it's all about--comfort. We all know the answer, whatever it is, will be a simple one, so it might as well be the simplest.
Whatever you do as the merry-go-round of life spins its finite series of revolutions, just make sure you are comfortable doing it and you can be content that you are doing it right.
Huh. Too bad I'll forget all about this tomorrow...