Do I blog with an accent?

Rose and Benjamin WeissA fellow parent  shared the notion that when it comes to technology, we parents have been likened to “digital immigrants” while our children, the teens and tweens, are the “digital natives”—natural speakers of the tech language, raised on the stuff since they were little and never knowing any other world.

Suddenly, in my intrepid naiveté to learn to blog, facebook and twitter, I realized that I am finding a bonding experience with my mentally still-living (although in reality gone more than two decades) Austrian-Hungarian “Bubby” who I see gazing at the road through the narrow strip between the dashboard and the arc of the steering wheel of her Pontiac (she was big in heart, but diminutive in stature); she was probably still tickled to get around by something other than a horse.  Did she feel very modern and adventurous while looking to me like some centuries old Baba Yaga (although she was a “great beauty” she said, in her youth)? 

And when I hit “send” on an email, does it somehow virtually sound anything like the thickly accented sing-song of Bubby’s “Gooood Shabbas Daaahlink” (she was the first to put a “link” in darling).

If we parents are digital immigrants, many of our parents have stayed back in the old country altogether, which may explain the need to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN EVERY SINGLE EMAIL).  Still, as we shudder at the thought of texting toddlers while trying to keep them from teething on our blackberries, it’s interesting to stop and think of the chain of innovation from cave-art to the internet.

David Lewis Williams, in “The Mind in the Cave” posits that art grew out of the brain; that homo-sapiens were the first creatures to be able to think about thinking.  Thus the visions and hallucinations that a human brain will produce under dream and hallucination states were perceived as “real” and thus etched onto cave walls (squiggles, dots and zig-zags that only later morphed into animals, etc.).

One potential significance of this is that the brain is all about connectivity (between neurons); and society is all about connectivity and differentiation between individuals.  The birth of “art” (better understood as the making real of what originated in the mind/brain) was the birth of culture, myth and also of complex social hierarchy based on things more complex than brute strength.  Those who controlled the images, controlled the culture.  The burgeoning of imagery from Hollywood where the barrier to entry was everything from nepotism to large sums of money moved slowly to Sundance and independent cinema (lower budgets and the rise of Tarantino who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten a shot) to Youtube, where virtually everyone is an auteur, marks a radical democratization of image making and viewing.  This means that a huge tipping point in consciousness has already occurred (and it is often only later that we collectively realize what the zeitgeist was up to).  Our children’s kids will swim in this “reality” like fish in water; our unique role may lie in being the transitional generation that is inclined to think about the meaning implicit in the equivalent tech change of horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages.

Our mandate, as parents, therefore may lie in our need to point culture in a more compassionate direction (which I sense we are thus far failing to do).  If we are all empowered now, then this means not only the collapse of society as we have known it (i.e. power to control what we see, think and believe in the hands of the few), but also the increased personal responsibility of each human to consciously choose compassion over greed and disregard for others.  If we truly are waking up to being a living and conscious planet, then every person must recognize that they count—and that everyone else does too; then we have no excuse of “not mattering”—that we didn’t know what was happening, that we had no voice and no power to change things.  Be the change.

The ultimate taming of our collective narcissism (i.e. not yet recognizing who we are, as individuals or as a collective humanity) is to be achieved when enough of us realize that all of us together (in all the teeming Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman unbridled humanity we collectively possess) is precisely who each of us individually are.  In the old-old days the image-maker was a shaman; today we must recognize the shaman within each of ourselves.  This is why I wonder if the “spectrum” kids with autism might actually be keyed into some emerging consciousness that we so-called normals simply cannot seem to see.

Either way, love for all children, and support and compassion for all parents (while recognizing the Shadow in each of us, and amongst all of us) represents enlightened Self-interest.  We have to be graceful in being seen as relics of an ancient past by the always moving forward world as our kids, technologically anyway, may be the first in our human family to go to university; however, we can start to commune again with our ancestors who, I sense (at least based on thinking back on things Bubby said, but which meant little to me at the time, such as “You must read Martin Buber,”), were just as modern in their day as our children are in their’s.

So here’s to honoring all of our ancestors, and our children—realizing that we all came, 200,000 years ago, out of Africa and, along with the plants and animal, truly are all family.

Peace, Namaste, Shalom… Bruce

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2 Responses to “Do I blog with an accent?”

  1. Beth B Says:

    Bruce,

    I’m really enjoying reading your daily postings, even as a “non parent’.
    Looking forward to the next one.

    Best,
    Beth

  2. krk Says:

    I have been intently thinking of my grandma for the past couple of days. She had great wisdom and feelings for all mankind. I wish ,and hope, to pass this on to my grandchildren as well. It doesn’t have to be all electronic. I believe” our
    children” ,with our guidance and love,will be able to communicate better from their hearts.
    krk

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