Day 258: Give Up Control

I don’t know about you, but I often have acted as if I had control over things in life and experienced a rude awakening when I found out, again and again, that I didn’t. I think I’m not the only one who has fallen into that trap of thinking that one can control things, control outcomes, control other people. It is this big myth. But really, what is it we can control?

For the purposes of simplicity, let’s limit this conversation to entertainment and technology. Your favorite TV shows, music idols, songs, movies, fashions, clothes… you grew up with them, you love them, right? Well, they are all in this instant in the process of being replaced by something newer, something more trendy, something more “cool,” if they haven’t already been. Soon they will be yesterday’s news, having fallen out of favor. And then in twenty years they will be trendy again as nostalgic relics of a bygone era.

Your smart phone will soon be replaced by something else… maybe chips inserted into our brains? At that point, you may occasionally find yourself missing the good olds days when you actually held a phone in your hand. Before smart phones, we used your basic cell phone that just called and texted. That was a pretty cool technological marvel at the time, but no social media, no surfing the internet on your phone. And before that, there were cordless phones you could use at your home. And before that, they invented the answering machine. And before that, there were rotary phones.

And once upon a time, there were no phones. Yet there was a telegraph that wired messages. And before that there was the postal service or western union or the railroad. And in each generation, as new technology developed, entire civilizations of people had to adjust.

The first cars were laughed at. No one thought the “horseless wagon” would ever catch on. I watched a PBS film about a man who drove a car all the way across the country in the early 20th century, and how disbelieving many people were at the time that it could be done. In fact, cars were almost seen as a novelty, or at best as faulty and unreliable, unlike ye-old horse and buggy that had served Western civilization for generations.

Change is an inevitable thing. Is it good? Is it bad? Is there a definite answer to this? It just IS. I have written about this numerous times before: change is inevitable, so it is probably better to make it your friend.

Some people are excited by new technology. They embrace technological change. At the same time, there are probably some people who would rather we were still on dial up, or maybe just listening to the radio and watching TV. Personally, I enjoy reading printed books, because that is what I grew up with, and it’s still how I usually read book. Yet I also blog, check my email, and even teach students over the internet. We are poly-technologists, operating on various technologies from various eras: one foot still in the horse-and-buggy, one foot inside the space ship. How do we manage?

Life is constantly evolving. That is where the pulse of life is. I think that change is a great part of it. Do I always like it? No siree… Sometimes I do.

The point is, you can’t stop it. Better to give up trying to control it and enjoy the ride.

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