January 27, 2011

Sputnik Moment?

"This is our generation's Sputnik Moment," President Obama said during Tuesday's State of the Union.


So I couldn't help wondering: Could we ever have a Sputnik moment?

Frontiers? We live on them. In 1969, things were still analog. You didn't have to discard your devices after a few months because Steve Jobs had decided that light purple was the new purple. Now, if something is lasting, we look down on it. "The only thing that lasts these days are dead armadillos and those seasonal breads in the glass case at Starbucks," we point out. Ephemeral is the new permanent. We have the collective memory -- and persistent desire to mate with anything in sight -- of Viagra-addled mayflies.

This comes with many boons. Thanks to our insistence on living on the bubble of the present moment, our world is rife with unnatural wonders - iPhones, iPads, Clouds, memes, videos of cats in Japan stuffing themselves into boxes. When I have a sore throat, I can go online and describe my symptoms, and strangers from across the globe (or the part of the globe that follows me on Twitter, at any rate) can suggest that I drink blueberry syrup and hot toddies! This is the stuff!

Everyone admits that the world has shrunk. But this shrinkage has also closed the window for Sputnik moments.

Washington Post

No comments:

Post a Comment