Things have changed greatly in the last 200 years. We have gone from people groups that are largely confined to one geographic location, to individuals who traipse across the globe at high speeds and for various reasons. We’ve been to space. We no longer depend upon our own feet or the feet of animals to travel. We do not need to be in the same room in order to communicate with someone else, or even write something via a paper letter with envelope. Technology has come a very long way in areas of convenience, but also in areas of need. Medical advances are remarkable when you consider what even one disease would do to people 75 years ago. In those days, if you were diagnosed with cancer, it was a certain death sentence. Now, cancer survivors are numerous. Technology has made many beneficial changes to our lives, but it has also come at a price. Those who are younger do not understand the price that has been paid, because they do not remember what life was like before. They speed headlong into the “biggest, newest, greatest” without understanding the implications.
Somehow, though, those of us who are aging are still here despite all these changes. We can resist the change by not using any new technology, but it will come at a higher price to us and our families. We can say that we’ll not learn to use a computer or even a smart phone, but we will miss much of what is going on in our grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives if we do. Adaptation to change, as well as resistance to change both come with high prices, so we need to have some guidelines in place in order to decide which things we’ll take a stand on & which things we’ll decide to be flexible and learn from.
One of the most important guidelines is ethics. If your conscience is burdened by something that is happening, the right response is to abstain from its use. For instance, if there is a treatment that is using cells obtained by an aborted baby, and you are against abortion, you would stand against that treatment even if it would benefit you. There is not much you can do about other people using it, if it is legal, but for yourself, you can still make that decision in the US. If you are against cloning or even hybrid plants and some of the advances being made use that technology, you are not required to use them. Your decision not to buy them and your advocacy against them can make a difference as to whether others choose to use them.
Many newer technologies are not necessarily moral or immoral in nature, however. Take social media. Its ethical use is dependent upon the person who is using it. It can be used for ill, in things like bullying, accusation or even human trafficking. It can also be used for good in keeping up with friends and family who live far from us & keeping in touch with younger generations. If you decide not to use it because other people are possibly using it unethically, you will also be closing yourself off from several of your friends and family that might truly enjoy having closer contact with you.
Another guideline you might like to set is use of time. Some newer technologies promise to make life easier, & they can, if you are willing to put the initial time into learning how to use them. If not, they can suck away your time and energy in frustration. Decide how much time you’d like to expend while using that technology and stick to it. Do not allow it to take over your life or it will surely smother out the other things that you used to love doing.
Being adaptable is a hallmark of the human race. We’ve had to learn to adapt over time so that we could survive and thrive in the environments that we chose to live in. It does not change just because we get older and would prefer that things stay the same. Ask yourself today what these changes mean to you and whether you should consider being more adaptable in certain areas. Also ask yourself which changes you see serious implications with and that you need to warn the younger generations about so that they could potentially avoid some pitfalls that you foresee. We all need one another, whether young or old. Adaptability will serve us well as we try to bridge the span between our history and our future.