The inferiority of ignorant superiority
Ever tried desparately to explain an extremely simple concept to somebody that simply gives you a blank look in return, as if you're the idiot for not being able to educate an infant on quantum metaphysics? That's how it feels working in an electronic retailer and dealing with most people, every day.
At least ten times a day I observe an elderly person looking at a bunch of teenagers in a group intently staring at their phones and shake their head in disgust. A bunch of friends talking whilst scrolling through social feeds. Sometimes my partner and I will sit together in the living room and we spend long passages of time contently staring at our iPhones catching up on the day just gone, sharing occasional chuckles as we show each other a funny post or article and catch up on the day just gone.
And that's just fine.
This pretentious criticism of technologically savvy youngsters is, at the very least, an absurdity of illogicality that eclipses the deductive reasoning of anybody in their right, sane, mind. The notion of ignorantly disregarding people or technology simply because you don't understand it is hypocrisy at the highest level. And that aura of superiority is everywhere, as if to say "phones are ruining our society by creating isolationists".
Don't get me wrong: There are plenty of examples of how technology has enabled otherwise cowardly or socially inept people to become misguided keyboard warriors in the safety of their home, free from any societel pressure to heed to morality and consequence, but that's a fraction of the good that technology has brought.
Who's to say that looking at my phone on the train for 20 minutes is better than blankly staring out a window during my commute? Or awkwardly try and interact 'like the old days' with strangers across an aisle? Generally, I'll be reading news or articles on something I'm interested in. Even if I was only catching up on what my friends or family on my social feeds were doing, I'd still vehemently advocate that as being a better use of my time. I highly doubt that is going to ruin my ability to interact with someone in society properly.
You know what will? Not understanding pop culture references. Not being able to use technology. Not keeping up with events that are happening. Hesitating to adapt to work-roster methods that involve phone apps cloud-based collaborative software. Not adapting to programs and technology that will help me think better, work better, socialise better.
Stepping back from individualistic examples - there is an absolute disparity of what constitutes 'traditional' behaviours that is perceived as acceptable by society vs what is serving a purpose. Chivalry is a fantastic example of an undeniably chauvinistic behaviour that once was deemed polite and acceptable and now can be seen as sexist, polite, antiquated or anything else in-between.
I would say it's far worse to exist in a time now where you can know which knife or fork in a 6 piece set you're to use for a particular course of a single meal, but can't turn your phone on. Or you can operate a 50 year old dial-phone but can't operate a semi-modern touch screen. If anything, we youngsters should be looking at you all with disgusted shakes of the head, right? After all, there'll be no more dial-phones moving forward, but touch screens will be around for a while. Such is the reverse-logic of abject prejudice mixed with ignorance.
I don't know what fork to use if someone gives me 3 of them to use in one meal. I learnt once for fun, but I don't berate myself on forgetting because it's not logically important - other than to impress elitists on whether I was born into a wealthy family or not. The family one was born into is not a choice anyone can make, and therefore it has no standing on what should be seen as prerequisite behaviour on whether a person is acceptable for whatever circumstance requires 3 forks for a meal (also - screw your 3 forks - pretentious jerks).
Societal norms can impact on whether it would be beneficial for me to rock up to a royal gala with Princess Elizabeth without brushing up on my cutlery etiquette, but at it's core that would simply be a perception of those people stuck in that societal void of status-quo that would continue to think that. Unless 'fork 1' can do something 'fork 3' can't - then there's no feasible use for it. The additional 2 forks are tradition - and tradition only.
So why, then, is it beneficial for us to interact with people around us in 'traditional' ways than adapt to the world we currently live in? Is that actually the case? Or is it more a stubborn irrationality of some people, mostly elder, who believe that the way they were brought up to interact with people is the only way - and therefore the "correct" way of living?
I passionately disagree. In fact I would move to state that tradition, in the sense of the word, is illogical. That being said I do understand, and cherish, the notion of tradition when it comes to historical relevance and nostalgia. Side note: I understand the foundations of tribal elders and native land owners - tradition is the core of their people, and that's very different.
I also have traditions, such as a bottle of wine between two and sushi with my better half whenever a new Game of Thrones episode comes out. But as with all things - and this is a theme you'll see throughout my blog - tradition should only remain tradition as long as it doesn't hinder or belittle evolution and progress of humankind.
Personally I believe I should be able to interact with whomever I want to interact with, whenever I want to interact with them (as long as its not a deficit of my current tasks at hand). I believe I have a right in my spare time to choose whether I want to read about the next iPhone coming out vs wandering around the city gazing at the same stores I've seen a billion times before. I think it's okay that kids will be able to gobble up information at unprecedented pace and learn to use the tools of the future of their own kind faster than we can even say 'instruction booklet'.
So, my gadget-gazing friends - gaze away. Fear not the loathing of older people who can't wrap their head around their own phone - they just don't understand, and often don't want to. The future of humankind is a vastly different world to the present and past.
But don't run into me on the street 'cause you're lookin' at your damn phone.