Synchronicity, ego, and aging

When I hear people talking about how a certain form of music, tech, or communication will be dead because of ipods or whatever, I always want to ask them, “So this artifact, whatever it may be, survived the black death, revolutions, wars, plagues, the Inquisition, the invention of the printing press, the Renaissance, and the coming of the Nazis for the past 800 years … and it’s all going to evaporate just because you have an ipod?”

Classical music, books, and acoustic instruments of all types will not disappear any time soon. They are grossly imperfect, make as many problems as they solve … and they will be with us for a very long time to come. If the death of anywhere between 10% and 25% — one quarter! — of the population of Europe was not enough to erase these things, your sexy new tech will not do it. My digital piano will not destroy acoustics although they will become rarer in sheer numbers. Pipe organs will not go away; they will just become increasingly outnumbered by more accessible devices. Electric violins will not kill off acoustics, they will take their place besides them. (Did electric guitars kill off acoustics?) And books ain’t going anywhere; they will simply be joined by e-books.

People need to get over the idea that the entire world will shift and change just because they are here now and either in their twenties or else just old enough to have gotten tenure. It’s a common and over romanticized reaction of youth and immaturity, and it’s not correct. It enables people to be manipulated and makes for an incredibly damaging letdown later on.

We all need more historical perspective on things. This is why we’re doomed to repeat history — because we all think that just because it’s the first time that X has happened to us, that it’s the first time that X has ever happened. All generations go through this.

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