“You work until you die, that’s just how it is, sonny.”
I remember thinking how unusual it was seeing how spritely and energetic the elderly people from my parent’s home country were. They lived a much simpler life that me in magnitudes I could never mathematically measure, but what blew me away was how dedicated they were in their continuing work ethic. They were a proud but humble people, tilling the land until the day their bodies could till no more. It was a far cry to the elderly people I had met up until then in my adolescent life. All the seniors of my extended family could barely hobble along without assitance from a nearby aunt or uncle, and their slow pace, slow manner of speaking, slow eating, slow everything just made it seem like we had to overaccomdate just to have them around. I am no proponent of throwing the elderly into the wild to fend for themselves, don’t misunderstand, but it just seems… pathetic? Pitiful? Some sad aura hangs around living a life was this. Staying alive for the sake of being alive, and no longer generating value for the world.
What do these two words mean? Do they mean something different when strung together in the same sentence? When tagged with “world” at the end, like it was some emmissary of divine dominnence demanding its every whim to be fulfilled, is there any real instrinstic value to serving the community? Who’s community? And for what reason.
Another intrisictic value a far cry from the norms in the country I call my birthright. The focus was individualism, the name was capitalism, and the dream was consumerism. When the focus becomes on everything you don’t have, the question never becomes do I really need it? Can I borrow it or acquire it for free? The question always becomes how can I get it so THEY don’t. Who is they? Why do we need to get this thing before they do? Why can’t we share it?
In cultures whos histories draw centuries, if not millenias of lineage, generational wealth is a composite assest. To generate wealth and value is to work hard all your life, but not for yourself, and not necessarily for your community, but your family. When you perish, the stuff you collect doesn’t come with you. What happens? In a family where generational wealth is the norm, it moves on with your blood lineage. It givers them power and protection from the future battles yet to be materialized. When you die in my country of capitalism, a will is enacted, if lucky. A power struggle ensues. The already rifted blood descendants of the deceased fractures even more: why did dad give more of the estate to her? Why did mom decide to give the house to him? There is no sharing, no continued common interest, only me. I need the most stuff, I don’t care if I even need it.
The first humans were thought to be survivors. When every facet of the world, both cosmic and microscropic, had the indiscrimate audacity to elimate every living being in its wake, especially humans, living long was a miracle. With the advent of science and and the advancement of information distrubution, the killers of yesterday became a distant nightmare. The battle today is whether I had enough money to pay for rent and food this week. Instead of hunting and forgaging, we become trapped in the cruel cycle of currency. What is the contract to stay alive? To break my blue-collar body with hard labor for the meager pensions of a parariah? To whittle my white-collar wisdom with overcomplicated automatic processes that solves problems that needn’t exist in the first place? In either place, we current day-humans suffer. Whether out in the fields or inside of the offices, we wittle awaay day by day. We survive for no reason other than to live. We generate no value to the world, just like the old people of today. We will become the old people of tomorrow.
In those same cultures who histories draw over centuries, multi-generational households are the norm. The reverance lies at the eldest of the home, and tradition states they must always be in top form. The family does not aid them, but rather, the family is in service to them. In this lineage of leadership, the old do not become weak and weathering. They are [cool-word-for-strong-starting-with-R] and roaring with wisdom. They pass down the stories they were once told they were once young. The traditions hold and continue to be passed down. There is so much to learn, so that we can become the strongest iteration of the family today.
The old and wise of this exist somewhere in my country of capitalism, but they are much fewer and far between, almost like the dangeously shrinking middle class. Almost mythical and imaginary. The reason we do not notice them, is being they are so unlike their comptraiots. They are more liek the sprightly youth, always out there going and changing the world. We do not consider them old, but wise. What can we learn from such veteran leaders of living?
Technonology in the last two centuries has evolved faster than the human body can adapt to. Techonlogy in the last two decades has evolved faster than the human mind can make sense of. We continually get lose in the chaos that is masqurearing as streamlined simplicity, and those who cannot adapt are the first to get cast into the sidelines and shadows. The young people of yesterday chained to the cycle of capitlism, and now the old people of today. They were never challange to adapt, only comply, and now that they have been put out to pasture to graze, the grass is no longer green. They are the technological outcasts of society, and the young people of today scoff at their inability to use suchhhhhh simple smartphones. Come on gramps, get with the times. Your world of yesterday is gone.
I want no such future. When technologial contintues to create rifts instead of briges, it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves cast into the shadows as well. Forgotten, as we are no longer the cash cows the comsumerists seek. And when we are cast into the shadows, we are lone. There is no light, there is no one else. When we lose our sense of self, our soul begins to collapse.
The moon shines line on those cast into the dark. It is a reflection of the sun, the remnants of what was not collected, and here basking in the moonlight is the truths that are left over. And sitting in the night sky are the stars from distant galaxies. Some stars we see no longer exist, supernova’d into obvlion as their last light burned. What we see is that’s left of their light, a truth long gone.
The stars. The moon. Darkness and light. Old truths.
What I dream, is for an evolution of technology that does not create divides, but forges new bonds. I think of virtual reality, the looking glass of past worlds and the precursor to future visions. “Get with the times gramps, your world of yesterday is gone.” But is it really?
In the shadows of the forgotten, there is a new light. The champions of the moon, blessed with the knowledge of old truths. Armed with one simple objective: a call back to our humanity.
A headset, a new world world in the making. Strapping in on just like a neat hat, the user finds themsleves somewhere else. Somewhere not here. A cracking fireplace sparks in life at the back of the tavern. Across the tavern are several long tables, where avatars of various shapes, sizes, and indentities unknown eat and drink merry the virtual h’or derves of the hour. The user looks at their hands, their virtual body, asking how such a place can even be real.
“Hello there!” A friendly voice emerges from a nearby avatar.
“You must be new here, what’s your name, friend?”
My name? What is my name? Is this really me here, or someone else entirely?
“That’s your name, huh. Very cool! Now with introductions out of the way, would you like to meet some of my friends? I think they’d like someone as interseting as you?”
Interesting? I haven’t been called interesting in over half a century. Why would these strangers consider an old toddy like me interesting?
But what I found is that age is something that doesn’t matter here. That the youth of your body has no judgement or bearing in this virutual realm.
What matters in the youthfulness of your mind, the growth mindset to still be able to imagine, even years beyond your alledge prime. Because today is the last time you will ever be this great, and today is the last time you will ever be this lame. Imagination is the inner who survived, so flying with the winds of tomorrow, I wonder what great stories are yet to unfold. That I still have some life left in me.
The building of bridges and bonds in a virtual world that isn’t real, yet so much more real than anything really around me, is a wonder to behold. The simplicity of conversation, the seeking of souls instead of the continual consumerist competitions is a refreshing change of pace where everyone can have everything and be anyone in this world. The task ahead was daunting, but the payoff would be a dream far greater than my hopes could contain.
The old truths which light the night sky are a testament to what it really means to be human, to be fulfilled. These virtual worlds, crossing lands, crossing time, crossing the differences that once seperated us, lets us remember the joy and simplicity of being alive, being here in the moment, and appreciating each others companionship. These lights, now brimming within, are what it means to be be closer to the stars.
Today’s word count: 1,693 words
Total word count until today: 18,141 words
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