By Chet Dembeck
I am an old guy and I’ve seen quite a few things so far in my life. I saw the Beatles in person, 1964 in Baltimore, Md. I watched JFK land in a helicopter at Patterson Park coming to a political rally. By the way, his hair looked more red than brown and the women screamed and went into a frenzy when they caught a glimpse of him. Everything they say about the electricity he produced is true.
I was working in a nightclub as a rock guitarist when our lead singer Jim got a call on the club’s payphone (you probably don’t remember them) calling him into his National Guard unit to help quell growing riots that simmered and then exploded onto the streets of many major American cities, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember seeing tanks encircling the White House as D.C. burned. I can still remember the smell of the smoke to this day.
These are not always pleasant memories, but history nonetheless.
Still, recently, I’ve seen some growing trends that have shaken me to my core. So much so, that they make me worry about the future of humankind — or if there will continue to be one.
Here are just two of them for now:
- The incessant obsession with gadgets such as i Phones, i Pads, laptops, Smart TVs, Video Games — both plain and those incorporating Virtual Reality.
This addiction is creating a whole species of creatures that have stopped exercising, reading books, concentrating for long periods of time and have ceased communicating as human beings all together. The instant access to unlimited information is creating the false belief that those who possess these gadgets are capable of being intelligent and learning more than the generations that came before them, but the exact opposite appears to be happening.
Instant analysis crafted to appeal to your prejudices, misconceptions and beliefs are being projected to your brain via these gadgets with the sole purpose of motivating you to either buy something, or act in a certain way that benefits those broadcasting or publishing said messages.
Whole glamour and celebrity industries are being created and spun using nothing but gawkiness, glitter and the monstrous lie that you can be famous by just strutting your stuff, male or female, and talent is no longer an issue. Your self-aggrandizement is the instant gratification as you expose yourself to the world via social media to be emulated by other wanna-be-famous-for- 15 minutes. It’s all amplified and made possible by the little bit of plastic and silicone you hold in your hand.
Don’t Want To Pay for Anything
For someone who has work two or three jobs all of my life, the next self-destructive trend I see gaining traction mightily in today’s work is this:
- I don’t want to pay for anything and I want others who have more than me to pay for my stuff.
Being a musician and writer for quite a few years, I have seen the total destruction of music royalties, with eBook royalties less effected, so far. But rock icons that used to make millions in royalties for their life’s work are now forced to tour to make ends meet.
Now, if you are like most of my younger relatives, you are shrugging your shoulders and saying so what? If I can download it for free, why pay? And it is exactly the fact that technology makes stealing intellectual property so easy that makes its long-term economic and effects so severe.
Less good music and literature will be produced because it will be impossible for those who produce it to survive. Instead of composing songs or writing novels they will have to work at day jobs to keep themselves going. It’s already happening.
You Must Pay My Way
This concept of ripping things off, whether it be using your friend’s Netflix subscription, or downloading movies, music and cable for free, quite naturally leads to the concept of: Folks richer than me, such pay for my stuff. Or, let’s make it more collective; The Government should pay for my stuff, whether that be health insurance, rent — or even a guaranteed income.
The problem, or course, with this concept, which some people call Socialism or Communism, is that the less people who work and produce, the less there is to take from them. So, eventually, if Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, most of Eastern Europe are not the standards you seek, then you might decide to migrate to a country like present USA.