Best of Times, Worst of Times
Despite turbulent times, we’re still living in a remarkable era.
By Kevin Kohut, BC Director
Historically speaking, this particular moment we inhabit is vastly different than any other before it. I’m not referring to the pandemic. I’m kind of tired of that, so I’d rather talk about something else.
I am sitting at home, working on my computer, and am feeling a sense of awe at a particular thought that won’t let me go: we have access to a veritable crap-tonne of information! Even as I typed this last sentence, my ADD kicked in and I glanced up and saw a massive monarch butterfly just outside my window.
After staring at it for a moment, I automatically googled it. Within seconds I learned that it could fly 160 kilometres per day and uses the hair on its legs to taste its food. Weird.
Knowledge has never been in abundance like it is today. It’s not that long ago that books were a precious commodity, and even if you were fortunate enough to possess one, you would need to know how to read. Even as recently as 1960, less than half the planet knew how to read—and only 12 percent the century prior!
Fast-forward to today. Most of us can not only read, but we have access to virtually every book ever written with the click of a button. And if that’s too demanding for us, we can google any question and find a more succinct form of the information we’re looking for.
Those of us who aren’t big fans of reading can click a button and have almost any book read to them. This morning, I was listening to a book on American history from an African-American perspective while I mowed my lawn.
I take this for granted, but this isn’t nothing. While doing a boring chore, I am listening to (and being affected by) someone’s experience that is vastly different than my own.
A certain child of mine who doesn’t enjoy reading, but is a learner, goes on YouTube and picks up all kinds of skills with the click of a button. Years ago, we were at a hospital visiting someone in pretty rough shape when my son grabbed a paper placemat and turned it into an intricate origami swan and handed it to the patient. Thanks, YouTube.
Times are strange right now, but unlike those from previous times, we have the unprecedented ability to learn whatever we want, at the click of a button. This would be a dream come true for anyone alive in any other era. It’s quite amazing, really. It would be sad if we ignored all that is available to us.
Anyway, I actually have an online piano lesson that starts in a few minutes.