I remember sitting in class behind a Greek girl named Zoe who hung with the Howard Street Greasers, the local street gang and who liked to suck on LSD-coated sugar cubes with her friend whose name has faded into the shadows of memory but who did in fact sit across the aisle from her, kitty corner from me, just, I guess, to pass the time while being bored by the writing of Thomas Jefferson and the thought of taking yet another exam on some arcane feature of American government like the Constitution, a document whose fifth amendment undoubtedly came in handy for those LSD-suckers at some point later in their lives.
As opposed to dropping acid in class, I got lost in history and my future, as I actually enjoyed Mr. Breyer's class, though I have to admit that I could and still do daydream with the best of them, only back then it was a particular one that I remember so vividly now, the one where I actually calculated my age as the years went by.
Life for me was lived and still is lived by connecting with people. Computers and technology have come into our lives, at least from my vantage point, to attempt to connect people to people. That is the ultimate purpose, isn't it? Whether it's stores, blogs, or information, it's still all about people, the common denominator for all that we do and all that we are.
So is it the case that instant information has made our lives better? Are we better people for all the new data? In some ways, most ways, the answer is of course yes. In other ways, it has made us more cynical; people find channels of information that fit and reinforce already held beliefs and it's the task of the truly enlightened to get information from places and people who hold views that are dissimilar to our own, outside our comfort zones and to keep open minds about what it is that other people are saying and why. I am sure that both Zoe and her LSD-sucking friend as well as Mr. Breyer would agree.
But the task these days is knowing when to return to silence and simplicity and more importantly perhaps, why. To regain some measure of perspective I think has been lost in the constant red click-clack of everyday living, bombarded as we are by so much, thinking we always have to be in motion, productive, functioning at doing something, anything, to make something. For me, the most important feature of the new decade will be for those of us who can analyze the data efficiently in order to reassert some measure of control over our lives despite the ubiquity of Google and Microsoft, to regain the simplicity in our lives that, I think, we all long for and for many of us, me included, lost somewhere between Windows 95 and Vista. Let us hope that 2010 will bring us a renewed sense of optimism, simplicity and love that transcends mere data and which allows us to truly become who we really are.