¿Era diferent la vida? (Was Life Different?)

The title of this post refers to the chapter currently under study in our Spanish class. While learning to speak in the imperfect past tense (I used to drink a lot of beer), and learning to use the vocabulary and grammar that makes comparisons (I don’t drink as much beer as I used to, and I am fatter today than when I was 25), I have been forcibly marched down memory lane.

It is a source of some amusement to the class and the professor that people (like their parents) actually voluntarily wore bell bottoms. Several in-class recitations have drawn on the allegedly heroic amount of drugs consumed by the ‘older generation’ during the ’60s and ’70s as a source of humor and ridicule.

I write this with a semi-forced grin on my face. On the one hand, the behavior of my generation does, in retrospect, seem a little ridiculous, but I don’t recall any of us pushing back against the eternal tide of group behavior. And, in truth, I see the same forces at work on the generation that sits in my classes and flows around me on the campus sidewalks.

Just yesterday some chica flashed her underwear to several of us as she turned around in her chair. Her skirt was impossibly short and I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it must be for her to sit, get up, walk, etc. in such gear. Do you think her mother, who must have bought the skirt for her, was momentarily transported to the halcyon days on yon when she, too, slipped into her first mini-skirt? Are girls really all that different from their mothers in these days of “We’re best friends” or “what are you guys doing?” when speaking of the parent-child interaction?

When I heard one of my male classmates say to another PYT (pretty young thing in my generation-speak): “Like, I had to take an adderall last night to study for this test”, did I have a momentarily flash of revulsion for the scientifically approved medication of this generation, or did I flashback on the days, not that long ago it seems, when everyone knew the guy who had access to “black beauties” during exam time?

The more things change the more they remain the same.

Francis Fukuyama wrote about the end of history in 1992. I am not so sure that he is onto something. This generation, like all generations and those who write about generations, wants to believe that cultural evolution is a fact of the generational passage of time. But we may be living in a time that would be very familiar to our antecedents who lived before the industrial revolution, before the accelerated rate of change in the human existence; when generations had much more in common than not.

I’m not sure this generation is much different than mine…….and that’s pretty scary.

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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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