|Mt. Baker peeking through|
It's only been ten years since the iPhone was first released, with a camera that now seems rather dated. The new iPhone 7 is in my near future, but I'm still trying to recover from all the expenses of last month before I tackle a new purchase. It truly is amazing how attached I've become to that phone. It is with me constantly, helping me to count my steps, or get an answer to any question with the entire storehouse of human history at my fingertips. I can even use it to make phone calls occasionally, but these days that seems to be the least important aspect of my smartphone. Let's face it, I'm hooked. And ten years ago I thought it was great just to have a little tiny flip phone!
Technology marches on, and now the whole world has them. I just looked up the statistic of how many people worldwide use smartphones, and the number is now almost 3 billion! When I was young there weren't even that many people. Now we have 7.4 billion people on this tiny planet, and every day brings more and more. Is there a tipping point? Of course there is, but what will be tipped into? I don't even want to think of it.
Yesterday I went to see a documentary at the local movie theater that I enjoyed immensely: The Eagle Huntress, about a young teenager in Outer Mongolia who wanted to take up the activity of her father and grandfather, but women had never done it before. I wrote about it here. The Kazakh Nomads of Mongolia live in yurts during the summer months and move into walled structures during the winter, when it gets down as low as -40°F. I found this pictorial taken from a photographic expedition in 2015, and I am reminded that not every place on this beautiful planet is connected to the wider world. And I'm grateful for that, since the rest of us are so inundated every day with information that it has become rather overwhelming to try to keep up.
We who live in the developed world are so accustomed to the way we live that it's hard to even imagine life without electricity, roads, laptops, and the internet. This very minute, I am writing to a group of people whom I will never meet who have become dear friends, and this is because of the internet. I've been writing blogs since 2009, which doesn't seem that long ago, but how very much of my life has been altered through technology. I have a hard time thinking about what it was like before. My little nieces have never known a life where they didn't have an iPad that connects them to the rest of the world. It's a little bit mind-boggling.
I am a fan of dystopian novels written about a post-apocalyptic world, because they cause me to look around and actually see my world with different eyes. Margaret Atwood is a favorite author of this type of work; I remember reading The Handmaid's Tale back in 1985 and was hooked on her writing then. I think I've read all of her work except for her latest book. She's written several more of these kinds of books, all of them fascinating, some more gripping than others. She is just a few years older than me, and she shows no signs of slowing down.
None of us can see the future, but we certainly know plenty about the present moment, and we can only imagine what our lives will be like a decade from now. When I think back about how much has changed in the last one, it makes me grateful for the world of today. It does feel, though, a bit like standing on a precipice and looking down at vistas shrouded in fog, wondering when the air clears just what I will see. I am filled with gratitude for all my blessings, not the least of which is this laptop that connects me to you. It's been a wonderful journey so far, and I am glad to know that, whatever happens, I am not alone and will not have to face an uncertain future without help. That is true for all of us. Remember this in the days and weeks ahead.
I found this quote from Margaret Atwood: "Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow." So yes, it's possible that when the fog clears, we'll see things that we couldn't even imagine. I am staying positive, because I can choose my response to whatever comes into my world, even if I cannot change much more than that. So, for as long as I have this venue and you, my dear friends, to share it with, how bad can things get? (No, don't answer that; it's just a rhetorical question.)
And now, it's time for me to get out of bed and start my day. I know that the coffee shop has a latte with my name on it, and that my friends are probably already there. I get a massage today and might go see another movie, but then again, maybe not. I'm due for a trip to the library to return some books and pick up some new ones. Please, dear friends, remember that we are gifts to those around us, and stay positive and loving in the face of uncertainty. Be well until we meet again next week.