I grew up in a one horse town close to the ocean in southern New England. I mean real close to the ocean, as in the county’s population effectively doubled during the summer vacation season. But other than a steady stream of cars passing though the center of town on their way to the beach, the town itself pretty much remained a one horse town year round.
Of course, this was well before video games, a computer or ‘lap’ top connected to the internet, 500 channels on something called ‘cable’, internet enabled ‘smart’ phones and shopping malls on every corner. The list of modern entertainment choices is endless and doesn’t need to be cataloged any further than I already have.
I shall not wax poetically on the beauty of small town living back in the 50’s and 60’s. We old farts tend to forget the hard times we’ve lived through and instead just revel in the pleasant memories of the past which only seem to grow larger with age.
But the entire entertainment universe was not delivered to us on a silver platter (or glowing screen as the case may be) like it has for the last generation or two. Suffice it to say we were pretty much on our own when it came to keeping ourselves occupied and out of (major) trouble.
And in my opinion we did not suffer hardship because we went without. But I do think later generations have suffered hardship because they did not go without. Excess breeds a weak body and mind.
There is absolutely no doubt a greatly expanded world opened up when electronic hardware merged with software and the unlimited reach of the internet. I personally use it every day and I’m constantly astounded by the diversity of knowledge and experience one can access with a few key strokes and the click of a mouse.
But the interconnected world of today panders to every vice and virtue known to man, while dragging even mindful and aware people down into the black abyss of the lowest common denominator. Those who wish to divide and diminish; to debase, degrade and debauchee only need to bait the mouse trap and wait for us to click in.
I am of the opinion we are all, each and every one of us, addicted to some degree or another to the wonderfully enlightening and raunchy excesses of life these days, most of which is personally delivered to us via some sort of glowing electronic device.
Maybe we were always like this and it wasn’t as obvious or evident. But it just feels like we are quickly turning to the dark side and there is no longer a balancing force in our lives like there once was for many of us old farts who, even if we did not grow up in a one horse town, understood the value of neighbors, community and hard physical work.
I read a comment on a blog the other day and I would like to spread it beyond my little beanie. It went something like this.
“Tough times breed strong people. Strong people make good times. Good times breed weak people. Weak people make tough times.”
This is a wonderful description of the human psyche and its cycles. Where do you think we presently are in this cycle?
The images above and below were taken by me using my glowing personal communication and entertainment device while passing through a one horse town about a half hour from where we live. This one horse town just so happened to have three horses hanging around that day, presumably waiting for their charges to finish eating. While this area sure isn’t horse country (its cow country in fact) there was definitely more than one horse in town today.