The arrival of each new year with the Science Fiction stamp that all the century’s years carry both hope and terror. Some technological promises have been fulfilled, but rarely the ones we expected. There are few legal flying cars, but AI learning tools can remix and produce art and text that resemble creativity.
We’re not going off to explore the stars, instead, the promise of the future has vastly expanded the reach and grasp of the Big Tech matrix we all live in now, the smart surveillance devices we carry in our pockets, the shrinking retail options we have become dependent on and the platforms that control speech. Behind the scenes, industries became algorithms and break down regularly, from airlines to frozen french fries.
And yet technology also offers the promise of resistance. The internet has become a centralized peril, but it’s also the best means of challenging it. The debates that define the future are still playing out here.
Few people across the country are feeling optimistic about 2023. The old jokes about 2021 and 2022 have long since worn thin. Inflation is draining incomes, insecurity is growing and the lack of confidence in a better future has hit numbers that we may have never seen before among Americans in modern times.
Times are hard.
But hope paradoxically comes from hard times. Comfort breeds complacency. The seeds of the tragedy we’re living through were sown when most people decided that they could take a vacation from history, from thinking about what their leaders were doing, what was being taught in their schools, and from politics.
No answer was ever going to emerge from the false hopes of a comfortable society.
The pain that’s being experienced is something that no one should welcome, but it will get worse. And the only hope will come from that. As we’ve seen in the midterms, people are worried, angry and afraid. But the lessons still haven’t been learned. Life can get worse than the price of staples going up by the double digits.
If things go on at this rate, it will. And economics are the least of it.
The hard times we’re living through are nothing compared to what some previous generations experienced. And while I hope that things won’t have to get worse, wake-up calls are painful miserable things. And we’ve gone by for a generation without one. We are living through a transition from the Boomer era to what will follow. It’s a culturally painful shakedown cruise. Succeeding generations failed to establish meaningful identities, culture and values. In the transition to nothingness, the Left has seized the opportunity to trash everything. With no fixed verities, all sorts of bad actors, not just leftists, have seized the moment to tear everything apart and rebuild it in their own twisted image.
The future is up for grabs. There’s terror in that, but also hope.
We are living through history. And we’re not passive actors in it. We can seize the moment. We can fight for change. The guard rails are off. The system is coming apart. But we’re not doomed to be passive actors in it. Unlike so much of the last generation, what we do can actually make a difference if we make the right choices.
2023 is ours to win or lose.