In 1960, H.G. Well’s novel, “The Time Machine,” was released as a movie. My dad took me to see it. I was scared, excited and from then on, I wanted to travel through time. I knew I could do it, I just didn’t know how.
Then, in 1970, after graduating film school, a super “Oh wow!” mind-bending thing happened to me. I got stoned, went to bed, and transported forty years into the future.
It happened fast.
Not so fast that I wasn’t aware of it. But the ride was way more zippy than I expected it to be. Truth is, I wasn’t quite prepared, even though a few “Old Ones” had told me it might happen sooner than I imagined. I didn’t believe them. So they then explained, that if I were special enough, and lucky enough, and “chosen,” I would be gifted a fast-track portal into my future which I could not refuse.
Of course I was chosen! And special! Me and my friends, we were all special. We were the Baby Boomers for crying out loud! We were the Peace, Love, Dove generation! And the ”Old Ones”, well…they were from some other zone. Cuz, like, did Babbu and Poppy ever drop acid? I don’t think so. And I KNEW Mom and Dad hadn’t. They didn’t even like my music!
My parents, they came from the Dark Ages. Sure, they deserved some credit. They had scratched their way through a world war. Yet, me and my tribe, we were “special,” right? We had seen the “light” with mind exploding psychedelics. No way could my parents relate to that. No way could they understand how I had expanded my consciousness to the edges of All-There-Is.
So how could they advise me?
Not even with, “Irv, you are not the center of the Universe. Someday you’ll understand that.”
Oh I understood that. I understood that I WAS the center of the Universe, having BECOME the Universe. And with that in mind, I jumped in the sack and nodded off.
When I awoke, I had time-traveled, for my shift into the future was already under way… by ten years. And it happened so quickly!
Suddenly there was no more pot, and I was carrying a credit card! And married! And living in Beverly Hills!
The rest of the journey took hardly any “time” at all. As I streaked through the years, protected within a bubble of denial, I was still able to watch the world change as it shrunk around me. I saw new people come into existence and others fade way. I observed science fiction and fantasy turn into something you actually carried in a pocket to call and view your friends on the other side of the planet. And then more people died, and more people were born, as my time-bubble charged closer to the next century, faster and faster and faster.
The problem was, I couldn’t stop the flight.
I couldn’t get off, or even slow it down. What I could do, was jump off for seconds at a time and make MOMENTS slow down. That happened in the mornings, after getting up, after starting my day. To salvage what little time I had left, I promised myself to make those moments IMPORTANT, to make them all count. Because by doing that, they EXPANDED. And then I could slide inside them and rest for a while.
I’m resting in one of those moments now. I’m looking back at my life and realizing I am still very much twenty-three. At the same time, I am sixty-three. I am also thirty-three, forty-three, and fifty-three. And with this layering of experience, I have many choices.
But how shall I make those choices?
As a thirty-three year old, or a person living in 2011? Shall I retreat to my past where life was simpler, or should I embrace the expanded potential I have now? Am I still excited enough to keep learning and evolving and buying smart phones, or is my time-bubble enticing me to stay in it and scale down?
A little of both, actually. I’m addicted to information. But I can handle just so much of it.
You see, I’m not so sure the breaking down of privacy in exchange for a universally connected world is necessarily a better way to live. At the same time, I realize that having access to the world’s knowledge is a mind-blowing wonderful and now necessary thing. But what is this doing to us? Have our computers become spies? Are we giving up our personal, face-to-face interactions? Are we losing our ability to FEEL a connection as we choose to TEXT it? A lot of people would say, “Relax. We’re all just fine.”
Still, I can’t stop asking, are we coming together?
Many people would say, “Yes. But it’s different.”
And now I am different. I have journeyed to my future, which is now my present, and I have joined the Internet Uber Mind.
But I’m concerned. I don’t think it’s ALL good.
Needing the internet for everything makes us dependent and vulnerable. Do I think many “younger” people would agree with me? Nope. And so I’ve come full circle. I am now a cynical Old One, and not necessarily relevant to my nieces and nephews, or the twenty-something’s who work for me. They tell me I don’t understand.
But gee guys, I DO understand! I don’t THINK old! I’m a Mac cat! I have a blog. Don’t you want to hear my opinions? I’m your future!
What’s that you say? You want to figure it out all by yourselves… and make the same mistakes I did… but with higher-end gear, and faster screw-ups, known by everybody?
Oh… Okay. Whatever… You are the center of your Universe.
And so is my own generation, the Me-First generation. That “making-the-same-mistakes-
Where’s my bubble?