Was the Pre-Smart Phone & Pre-Globalisation Era Truly Superior?

I tend to wax nostalgic, wistful for the bygone era – the nineties. I’ll admit bias, as it also happened to be the most carefree, healthiest and happiest time of my life. So I automatically connect, no smartphone and connectivity, to a superior life. But was it really?

People definitely couldn’t work from home then if they were not connected through technology. But I am truly nostalgic for my 90’s workplace. We actually liked each other and were passionate about our vocation. There was more interaction and talking face to face, in person. Much less chance of misunderstanding and a greater chance of making new friends. Seems rare to me now. Post millennial years were filled with toxic work places for me. So I can’t help but make that connection that the internet spoilt relationships. Perhaps I was just unlucky or in the wrong field.

I used to love working in a hospital, but now I’m terrified of the increased risk of contracting covid or monkeypox or whatever new pandemic strikes us. I can’t help but think, if not for globalisation and the sharp population rise, there wouldn’t be pandemics. There is always a trade off for everything. Globalisation brought a lot of amazing things too. Including precious humans in my life.

I used to have to plough through a thick dictionary to find the meaning of a word. But ironically it still didn’t stop or distract me from completing my book, the way the smartphone does. I search for a word and then, because it’s available, illustrations and it leads me off a tangent. Do I have superior knowledge now or just a case of knowing more, but actually nothing. Is it also making skills we used to have weaken? It’s rare that we actually try to remember and think when Google is a click away.

Quick information is great, but it’s hard for human beings not to be distracted by just the sheer amount of information, relevant, factual or otherwise. Most of it are the opinions of ordinary people and less likely to be verified, like say something that goes through a publishing house. Well, in a way it’s good thing as newspapers are mostly filled with propaganda and a fixed narrative. It’s important to have other voices.

The youngest generation is horrified at the thought of a world without iPads or streaming like Netflix. They have no concept of the patience needed with dictionaries, pay phones or recording your favourite TV show and the last bit getting cut off. But I miss that slow pace of life. It just seemed less rushed and ironically less isolating. Somehow texts can lead to anxiety and misunderstandings as we all know too well.

But then again now that we have it, I can’t imagine not being able to connect with family in another country for free or being connected when we are travelling. And I really feel sad that I don’t have videos of my childhood and especially of those close to my heart like my dad. And the photos I have of him and with him, seem just too few compared to what we are able to secure now.

And how could I not mention the ability to blog. It’s been magical for me since I started on blogspot in 2005. And no matter how social media sucks us in I appreciate the human connection. Ironically it makes me feel less lonely as I connect less with humans in real life as I don’t want to trouble them. And then I got used to the loneliness. It has also led me to being more introverted and needing alone time to wind down. The sad thing is I notice this in very young children when for me it only started in my fourties. Makes me wonder if future generations will be super individualistic and introverted. Probably an unfounded fear, as humans are social creatures. Well maybe we’ll have robots for companions.

I’ll just conclude that we all miss what we actually experienced (nostalgia), but of course progress is great. I wouldn’t want to go back in time where life might have been even more relaxing, with better weather (before global warming), cleaner air (less burning on plantations) and less crowds (before globalisation took off).

But if you offered me to go back to my grandparents’ era, when there was no sanitation. No thanks. I’m happy with progress in this regard.

After all that rambling, if you gave me the option of the smart phone never being invented I would be ok with that. I tried to resist getting a smartphone for years, but when everyone has it it just becomes to hard to be the odd one out. As we all know, sad as it may be, society doesn’t except those on the fringes.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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