Living in a high-tech world with a “good-to-go” culture

By By Beth Ranschau

By Beth Ranschau

I went to a play. I know that in this day and age, it seems like a social faux pas for anyone under the age of 60 to admit that he or she enjoyed a cultural activity, but I did. I didn’t go because a professor made me attend for class credit or to view a friend’s performance. I went to enjoy a theatrical production.

Looking for a familiar face, I found myself surrounded by middle-aged professionals and senior citizens. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the company of an adult audience that didn’t “boo” during sub-par performances or try to start a mosh pit during an intense orchestral interlude. However, I was sorely disappointed that my fellow U peers who are “in the pursuit of knowledge” were nowhere to be seen.

Unfortunately in our high-tech world of fast food, TiVo, text messaging, the Internet and simulated video games, it seems as if the X, Y and Z generations have all lost track of actual life experiences. We’re ridden with apathetic attitudes toward politics, literature and culture. We all ask questions like “Why read the book when I can wait for the movie?” or “Why go out golfing when I can play the XBox version?” To this I ask: In a world where technologically and simulated experiences are the now, where is there room left for culture?

In a country where divorce rates are above 50 percent and obesity is affecting people in epidemic proportions, we’re just beginning to see the initial repercussions of our short attention spans. The same “good-to-go” slogan boasted by the fast-food industry has inspired our “good-to-go” attitudes on serious issues such as health, marriage and the environment.

I’m not saying that I’m entirely innocent in this cultural crime. There are times that I, too, would rather watch reality television than pick up a literary classic or catch up on current events. But while we live in a day where the world is virtually-literally and figuratively-at our fingertips, our generation needs to be wary of laziness.

The recent technological advances even within the past 10 years have had amazing potential to help individuals. Cell phones enable those who are in danger to contact authorities, new medical technology helps preserve the lives of thousands and the Internet has connected the rest of the world more than ever before.

Instead of using these technological advances to excuse our lethargy, we need to use recent technology to reinvigorate discussions and help fellow citizens. We have the opportunity to watch bad reality TV now and check up on important current events in an hour thanks to CNN and the Internet. Unlike previous generations, we don’t have to work laboriously in the fields to make a living, but can instead focus on other pursuits, such as discovering the cure for cancer or AIDS. Unless we begin to utilize the benefits of our high-tech society, soon we and the generations to come will ensure that any remnants of cultural activity will become “good-to-go.”