Dagdha's Blog

XXVI

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on September 7, 2011

A week ago today I turned 26, and I feel old.  I know that some older, wiser person will inevitably respond to this sentiment with a sarcastic laugh fueled by existential egotism, but feeling old and being old are two different things.

All too often I think that older generations fail to comprehend the cumulative changes ignited by technology in our modern age of information.  While they might see how easy it is to use Google, or share pictures over Facebook, I don’t think they understand what it’s been like to grow up with such an enormous amount of information at our fingertips.  How could they?  Our phones are now the embodiment of science fiction from their youth, with which we can look up more information while taking a shit than they could have sorted through in hours at a library.  I don’t mean to be crude, but I want to illustrate the disparity of pace at which we can learn.  And for those with an insatiably voracious appetite for knowledge, the buffet is never ending.

Because of the Internet, I know the difference between tryptamines, phenethylamines, amphetamines, benzodiazapenes, and most narcotics.  I know more sex positions than the Karma Sutra.  I know what the horrors of war really look like, not just the staged victory shots approved by mainstream media.  And most importantly, I know that people from all over the world are not very different from me, which may seem obviously cliche, but racism and prejudice still run rampant, even in countries that pride themselves as tolerant.  Fifty years ago I probably wouldn’t have known any of this unless I was a veteran, chemist, or Indian sex guru, and I think life would have been much less exciting.

Anthony Bourdain, a writer known for his traveling antics, and whom I greatly admire, once wrote “The older I get, the more I travel, the less I know.”  I think that he would agree with my belief that, whether traveling through life or to exotic lands, wisdom comes from experience, and new experiences are usually found by those seeking knowledge.  We may not have teleportation devices for traveling yet, but a computer with Internet access is a close virtual second, and I think the accumulated knowledge one can obtain supplements, at least to some degree, experience traditionally gained with age.

Looking back another 26 years from now I will  probably laugh at my naive self.  If I don’t, then it means I haven’t grown.  But I’ll do my best not to laugh at the youth in their mid-twenties who say they feel old, because I probably won’t understand what it’s like to be a part of their generation, or how much more they might know at their age than I do now.

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