Who Are We?

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When you consider the distance humans have put between the caves we once lived in to the cities of concrete and metal skyscrapers, it would be easy to say we’ve come a long way. The sheer number of advancements in the physical sciences have brought us into an age where so much is possible. Yet I continue to wonder if we aren’t spoiled for choice, or perhaps a little too comfortable especially here in America. Of course that’s a rosy view from behind the keyboard as I sit in my comfy desk chair.

I have it easy, and chances are if you’re reading this from a thin smartphone, my guess is you do too. Sure life might throw obstacles and challenges in your way, knocking you off the path and into the treachery adult life has in store for all of us. Yet by and large you’re not fighting the neighbor’s cat for food or working fifteen hours a day in the salt mines to feed your kids.

With the time I’ve spent in the trades I can tell you no one wants their job to be any harder than it has to be. In that field I met some of the smartest people I’ve known, all ready to find a way to do things easier than they’d done before. That’s what society has become over the years, and part of it is good for all of us. Our brains desire a pathway which is less fraught, more effective, but still gets the job done. There’s nothing wrong with that thinking provided we’re willing to accept that there might not be an easy way to do everything.

The downside of this thinking is the softening of our culture. People have become desperate to have it the easy way all the time, and when a job gets hard, they throw up their hands and walk away. I’ve watched it time and time again. I worry about it with my own children and the influence their friends will have on them. There are more than enough opinions about Millennials so I won’t bore you with mine, but suffice it to say, I am encouraged by some of what I’ve seen. I hope that my fellow Generation X’ers are willing to give them a chance, because some of our parents weren’t exactly the most encouraging.

Work is one thread of the current piece. Humanity finds itself in a place where there are many tough jobs, and most of them are done by skilled labor for the benefit of everyone else. These jobs are seen as menial and far more physical than the rest of what passes for work in the futuristic story I’m telling. The picture I’m trying to paint is this – Just because they’ve advanced in their technology level, doesn’t completely destroy hard labor jobs. Those skills become even more valuable because humans come to rely on what those jobs bring in. The story has a long way to go before it’s ready for prime time, but I’m happy with the overall feel of the future for now.

If our ancestors were able to look forward hundreds of years to see how we live now, they would stand in awe of how much time we spend doing next to nothing (besides staring at our phones). I’m looking to have the same wild changes as I catapult readers forward several hundred years. Our current culture shares little in common with the late sixteen hundreds, so why shouldn’t 2349 be alien to all of us living today?

Addendum: The house has become an all consuming thing. Every free moment I have seems to be spent trying to figure out how to get this place from where it is, to where it needs to be before selling it. Em and I are excited of course, but time is working against us and I for one can feel it. We have prepared a list and with the boys room renovation nearly done it takes a big project off that list, but the next two months are going to fly by.