I recently had the chance to go and see one of the most famous statues in the world.
Let me back that up.
My city is home to the 6th largest Art Gallery in Canada. A few weeks ago an anonymous call came in asking if the gallery would like to display one of only a few bronze castings of “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin. Without hesitation, the gallery said yes. I grew up with a pencil and eraser in my hand and attended University with the sole purpose to take art. Hearing this news, this statue was a must-see for me.
I walked in, paid my entrance fee, took the elevator up and as the door opened, there in all its glory stood “The Thinker”. I uttered only one word, breathtaking. All the books, lectures, and pictures I had experienced hadn’t done it justice. It’s grand, beautiful, and mesmerizing all at once. If you don’t know what the statue looks like, picture a larger than life man deep in thought, sitting on a piece of stone, hand under and giving support to his chin.
I spent an unimaginable amount of time looking at it, analyzing each detail, wondering how something of this scale could have been made. After deciding that it was made by the same aliens that made Stonehenge, the Easter Island Heads, and the Sphinx in Egypt, I began to think (no pun intended) about how different life was when “The Thinker” was sculpted.
Contemplate that for a second.
The world is smarter, faster, and more connected than it has ever been. Information is readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before YouTube, I didn’t know how to do any electrical, plumbing, drywall, finishing, or woodworking. Shit, I could barely change a diaper. Just like the wheel before it, the Internet has changed the way the world works.
Even still, this isn’t without complaints.
I listen to kids give the same complaints that I once gave, “Life is too hard. Life is too difficult. Life sucks.” To them, I respond the same way that my grandparents responded to me. “Life is too difficult? I walked to school uphill in a blizzard for 12 years, every day…both ways.”
Technology may make life easier for everybody older than 12 but it doesn’t come without a price. Not only has it led to a decrease in patience (as indicated by the guy honking at me to go while we were stopped at a red light), it has created a decrease in real human contact and personal space.
The Internet has turned society into an information craving, isolated, always available, impatient bunch of animals. Point in case, this article. By the time you finish reading this sentence about this sentence, someone somewhere will come and make a better sentence with a better point. The information in this article will become irrelevant quicker than I can write it. In the 21st Century, seconds feel like hours and hours feel like days. Don’t for a second think that I’m not immune to its power. 3 seconds to load some of my favorite websites is inexcusable.
The Internet has brought access like nothing before it.
- Access to your life
- Access to another person’s life
- Access to information
- Access to retailers
- Access to more technology
- Access to anything that I am missing
Social media, or “Big Brother” quickly comes to mind. Social media has opened up the privacy of personal life like never before. I make a very concerted effort to control what I post. I’ve never put a picture of my son on social media and can’t go a week without hearing someone complain about it.
- “Aren’t you proud of him?”
- “Don’t you want to show him to the world?”
- “He would want it.”
- “Everybody else is doing it.”
To this, I say, “Really?”
As foolish as it may seem to you, I don’t want him to have to validate a picture that was taken when he was 12 months old to a future employer, spouse, friend, or stalker. It isn’t fair to him.
Yes, privacy is non-existent. Gone are the days that you can go home, shut your door, close your curtains and keep up your appearance as the neighbor nobody likes. Dirty laundry is aired, well, like dirty laundry. The underwear with the embarrassing brown streak is out there for the world to see and I promise, the world is watching.
Aside from that, social media allows you to “interact” with people on a scale never witnessed before. A simple like, comment, or share, and you have “connected” with a person that you have probably never met and probably never will meet. Yet, social media shows you that your popularity is soaring and that this relationship, like every other one, will blossom into something special.
So where do you go from here?
As much as I’d like to that I know the answer, I don’t (and I’d appreciate if you kept that between us).
Here is what I do know.
If “The Thinker” has taught me anything, it’s that there is something to slowing down, relaxing, meditation, and falling deep in your own thoughts. Take time out of your day to really appreciate the small things in life. Your family, friends, hobbies, favorite books, and anything else that makes you unconditionally happy fall into this category. Take some time and find a quiet place to relax and be with your thoughts. Take some time to focus on your needs, and take some time to reflect on your life.
In short, take some time for you.
Oh, and above all else, use bleach on that stain.