New Tech, Old Fear

“The young people of  today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. When I look at the younger generation, I despair of the future of civilization.”  – Ancient Greece, 4th Century BC (personal attribution unclear)

People have always been saying the next generation will be the last. These crazy kids reject our values and engage in unwise activities which will inevitably unravel the very fabric of our society and leave us in ruin. This has literally been going on for over 2,000 years!

What’s missing is the fact that each one of these younger generations actually becomes the older generation criticizing their younger generation. What’s up with that?

The habits, fashions and technology of the younger generation is always a topic for the older generation, inspiring reactions ranging from bewilderment to panic.

Today they say internet use and texting are destroying our ability to function socially. They said the same thing about the telephone over 100 years ago. New technology usually leads to a new equilibrium. When people say society will be destroyed, I wonder if they mean society will change. It could be the end of society as we’ve known it.

Perhaps the fundamental issue is the perception of a younger generation by an older one. Maybe the truth is we simply become more suspicious of change as we age.

New technologies come and go, but the fears they incite are perennial.

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