Saturday Night Live had a funny skit last week about people in the future looking back at us in 2012 as “digital pioneers”–and how silly many of the things we do today looks from the outside.
Here are some examples that may resonate with a lot of you:
– Driving–We drive 1-4 hours a day and “are okay with that.”
– Email–We boot up our computers, go to the Internet, log unto to our accounts, and send an email and think that “was so easy, fast, and convenient.”
– Clothing–We get dressed in underwear, shirts, pants, belt, socks, shoes, tie, and wrap it all under a jacket and feel that it’s “not way too many pieces.”
– Bathrooms–We have bathrooms in our homes and have it close to where we eat and that “seems smart to us.”
There were other examples making fun of us eating fruits and vegetables, keeping domesticated animals in our homes, and thinking that living to the age of 91 is old.
While we don’t know exactly what the future will look like, when we look at our lives today “under the microscope”–things really do sort of appear comical.
I believe that we really do need to look at ourselves–what we do, and how we do it–with fresh eyes–and ask why do we do that? And are there alternatives? Is there a better way?
Too often we believe that the way things are–“is simply it”–when if we would just think how this would look to someone 100 years from now, perhaps we would be quicker to open our eyes to other options and innovations.
It reminds me of the story in the Torah (Numbers 22) where Balaam is sent to curse the Jewish people but ends up blessing them. In this story the donkey that he is riding on refuses to proceed, because it sees an angel in front of them. Balaam does not see the angel and beats the donkey thinking that was the right thing to do. G-d then miraculously gives the donkey the power of speech and the donkey complains about the harsh treatment from Balaam, and G-d opens Balaam’s eyes to see the angel, at which point he understands that the donkey really saved his life.
This Biblical story is similar to our lives where we go along sort of blind to the realities right in front of us, and not only that but we keep pushing forward along the very same route not seeing the obstacles or other alternatives that may be better for us.
While we (generally) don’t have donkeys talking back to us with feedback or the ability to see angels, I think by sensitizing ourselves more, we can open ourselves up to question the status quo and break the paradigms that we just take as givens.
So when we do get to the next 100 years out–it’ll truly be a lot better than today and without the traffic! 😉