Monday, February 20, 2012

The Culture Blogs: The Microwave Nation

On a normal morning I wake up and immediately get on my computer to check Facebook.  Mind you that is likely what I did shortly before going to bed.  This is a symptom of a much larger issue in first world countries known as instant gratification.  Ultimately it affects us in everything we do, from playing on our phones with Twitter, to how we prepare our food, to how our doctors prescribe medicine.  In both life and literature this can play in our favor or against us, but more importantly than anything else we simply need to be aware that it is the present state of affairs for our society.

Look at the various entertainment industries.  Once they marketed a product to an industry.  Camera companies sold not only cameras, but film.  The music industry focused on record and later cd sales.  And even now in the beautiful world of publishing they once focused on books.  But none of them were thinking in terms of living in a microwave nation.   Our society now demands that we have the greatest and the best as soon as possible.  We will rant and rave when our computer takes two minutes to start up, or grumble when our cell phone doesn't have service, and perhaps worst of all when we are driving we are so focused on getting where we have to go that we don't move out of the way of emergency vehicles, because we have to get where we are going now!  So it came as a natural consequence that we as consumers would want easier and faster cameras, instantaneous music, and books on demand.  Honestly if we had just thought about the trends of technology we should have been able to see this coming years ago.

But we didn't, though as smart consumers and wise writers it is our responsibility to prepare for the future and that future is patience.  You're wondering why in the world I would bring up patience in a blog about instant gratification, right?  It has to do with how we interact with the world.  Instant gratification isn't a bad thing, it is the fact that we are growing so dependent upon it that makes it dangerous.  For instance instead of taking the time to teach our children discipline when they have too much energy, instead our doctors are giving them drugs to regulate their behavior.  Oftentimes this is done after only a few months of a certain behavior.  The same thing happens to adults when doctors prescribe for us depression medication.  We take it because we want to be fixed right now, when oftentimes if we learned better how to have patience again it would help us out more in the long run.  Like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory we are losing the virtue of patience.  Admitted she never had any.

Don't misunderstand my meaning here.  On Facebook I saw a poster that stated: "Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are not signs of weakness.  They are actually signs of having tried to remain strong for too long."  And why are we needing to remain strong?  Because everything in the world around us demands that we have to do things right NOW.  Constantly, incessantly, and without mercy our world requires us to act NOW.  Which means we have to think about how we are going to handle ourselves in this new and dynamic world.  We can see how not thinking about how to deal with the new world has affected these huge businesses that never thought things would change.  We have to think about how we are going to deal with the change in our world also.  What things are you going to do to make certain you make time for relaxation, rather than entertainment?  When will get away from the rush of things and pursue the beauties of the world around you?  How will you learn to control your emotions when you don't get everything you want right NOW?  Before I got caught up in the rush of life, I took walks and they enabled me to be able to deal with everything in a much more patient and capable way. I don't do walks anymore and I miss out on so much of what life has to offer, because I know I am caught up in the rush of everything.

As writers it is very important for us to understand how this affects our characters inside a book.  Think about what kinds of illnesses or disorders characters will get when they try to keep up this pace all the time.  And our character who are able to cope, how do they do it on a regular basis?  What keeps them stable?  And in terms of economy, what does having a nation like this do?  Currently our entire economic system is changing, because of the microwave nation we live in.  The food industry, the computer industry, and oil industry all understand how this functions.  What groups in your world understand it and don't?  Perhaps you have an alternate history where instead of entertainment groups getting caught up in the instant changes it is your food industry?  What kinds of effects would that have on the world?

As both readers and writers we have a responsibility to think.  To understand the world around us and prepare it to give to the next generation.  Mind you they are growing up faster too, cause our children want instant sex.  Between parents not teaching them about sex, a throughly sexualized culture, and easy access to others who want it, sex has become as instantaneous as our food.  There are ramnifications of the microwave nation to discover all over the place.  What are some of the ideas that come to your mind?  And what are some of the solutions you can dream up?  Any fool can make things faster, but it takes patience and courage to make the world a place where we can have serenity.

As a reminder I wanted to mention that to share my gratitude with my readers for commenting on my blog, I am offering three lucky people a copy of a book I am currently reading: "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" by N.K. Jemisin.  It is a great book that I'm really enjoying.  Think of it as my way of saying thank you for conversing with me.

My name is Jayrod Garrett and I'm the First OG.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going on a walk.

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