by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

Facts Concerning Our 1990s and 2000s Awakening

A). For quite a while, we have had more tools to stay connected on a daily basis than ever before. Of course, one’s interrelations go beyond the past and the present technology. For example, let us think about the Mayas or the Incas, mighty advanced cultures. Wouldn’t you say so? Yet they did not have e-mail, but they communicated quite well. Of course, I can’t imagine the world without e-mail and all of our computerized commodities. E-mail has helped and indeed made easier our long distance communication with friends and relatives. E-mail has facilitated our work tasks. We may send an e-mail to a coworker, and get the same result that a tête â têtê may give us whenever necessary.

B). The frustrating part comes when we start getting more forwarded messages than the real e-mail. At times it seems as if we spend more time trashing out than in reality reading. I guess this comes with the package. For the most part, I write to my friends and relatives to please think before clicking the SEND bottom. Why would I request this selection? Because there are many tools that have the potentiality of increasing people’s interactions, but a day’s hours have remained the same, twenty four hours. The same reasoning applies to a week or a year, seven days and 365 days in total.

C). The next matter takes place in the upgrading and updating. If we want to be upgraded or updated, we must start preparing ourselves to have a fatten budget. While we are sleeping or working, there are hundreds of people creating new methods, or recreating the ones already available. They are supposed to facilitate our chores, but for many people they become headaches because like always there is more than we can take, financially speaking.

What about the Third Awakening?
I once heard on the radio that there is a third awakening taking place. This time it is not about religion. This makes me think of the Industrial Revolution. Yes, at least for what I have read, it sure was a revolution. In this our time another revolution has taken place. Now talking about the awakenings, quite different from the Industrial Revolution, I must say the ones acquainted with the present technology are pretty much like the puritans that came from England to the USA, looking for a holy place to settle. The second awakening was pretty much like the first one. It meant to purify what once appeared spiritual and to a certain extend eloquent. The third awakening started with a military idea to assist the soldiers’ communication, and from there it came to us. Specialists in the computer world have gained a vast dominion, financially and politically. This third awakening has been like the industrial revolution. At first it was a dream, almost unthinkable to imagine better or faster ways, but the usability made easier the industrial revolution’s steps. This system of knowledge has come to stay. For instance, the telegram meant a good step; the telephone in its most rudimentary potential was great as well as its recent improvements. The fax machine seemed like a lifesaver. The answering machine, the pager, and the caller-ID have become almost mandatory to stay connected while we are in away mode. The well known and super used PC in its many sizes and awesome capabilities has become like a second home. Of course, let us not forget the Internet. From the most remote place to the most central or high-tech city or capital, people find and make all sorts of deals on a daily basis, including what I have mentioned above—the use of e-mail.

Technology has not only increased life’s speed, but minimized the space that it may employ for better usability. Of course, some of the sizes of these electronic items have become ridiculously small. The cellular phone that I purchased last week is almost the size of my ear and it is absurd to drive and talk at the same time. Therefore, you almost feel obligated to buy the next tool, the headset kit. This makes the talk easier, handsfree operation. What’s the problem with that? The only problem that I see is a person’s finances. Happy is the one that does not have to consider his or her pocket before buying an extra item that is supposed to be useful. I have to revise my bank account even to make the smallest investment. That’s okay since I sense the entire world has to do the same procedure before making the attempt to buy what we need or want.

Too Many Choices
Most of us may feel some sort of overwhelmed whenever we have to call any given company. “Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 for French…” The rest is a giant blab, blab, blab. By the time you get the operator, you forget the aims for what you have made the phone call in the first place. Stick with some paper, a pen, or your digital agenda. Write it down before you forget. Otherwise, they may try to sell you something else, perhaps something that you will regret… ha, ha. Meant a serious joke. We have more choices than money or desires. It becomes a bit difficult to decide which is which, and what is what. When I bought my cellular phone, the salesman showed me an immense wall with all kinds of spectacular phones. So I had to choice one between the many. Since little patience I have, nothing to be proud, I told him, “Give me that one.” The funniest thing happened when he could not see my choice and kept asking me, “Which one? The one on the left? The green one? Oh, the one down? I see. You want the hunter type. Okay, I get it. It’s the one next to the hunter style, but without the calculator.” I had a good time and laughed to the fullest. He had a blast, or so he said. I think he did.

Religion’s Attitude in the Third Awakening & Some Other Facts
I truly do not think that most of the religious people oppose this electronic time, this third awakening. On the contrary, many religious people like missionaries have benefited from these electronic items. I usually get many e-mails, pictures, and entire dissertations from all over the world. Even more they know when I log on, I must give thanks to ICQ and Microsoft Pager or Message Center since those are the ones my friends and I use to keep in touch, whether for work matters or for informal chats. This is how I know what happens in those foreign lands that I have visited, besides the ones in prospect for future visits. One thing is to read the news through the virtual newspapers, and another to get the most impartial and less yellowish information from those who live and indeed care about those nations. Of course, the virtual newspapers are better than excellent. If I mention one, I may be influenced by my memory, though not necessarily in its importance or accomplishment. Therefore, the purest thought lies in the fact that there are many well written newspapers in this virtual world, called the NET.

A Bit of Religious Opposition
The other side of the coin is that I have read and heard some preaches giving detrimental speeches about this electronic age without much foundation. Some of those preaches complain about the pornography that has invaded some families, thanks to the Internet according to them. They also make reference to the negative thoughts that some children obtain through the Net plus the lack of face to face communication this media has caused. One sentence to answer their archaic perspective, their battle is lost, left far behind. This third awakening is not against religion, anyone, or anything in specific. The awakening means to build what we have been working toward, progress at all times. If someone takes it personal as if it has been made to hurt him or her, this religious or secular person will encounter an empty wall. It will be like him or her against the wall, though without a dart because this electronic era has meant construction, never destruction. Of course, some people have misused it like some many things among us. This reality is to a certain extend out of our control.

Examples & Regulations
Cars have replaced animals like camels, horses, and even in the best sense our legs. Yet if a person decides to drink liquor and drive a bit before or while driving, we cannot control this person’s irresponsible behavior. The only controls are the established laws which prevent or reduce the index of accidents. This is how our third awakening is working, trying to prevent and to reduce calamities. It is taking us some time to set the electronic rules in what a national level is concerned. Nevertheless, the studies have been numerous and are increasing with the passing time. As the saying says, “It is a matter of WHEN, not about IF.” This has already been done. In the present time, we must trust that electronic polices will benefit us. This is not to say that we should not be held accountable. In the end, the deal is to be responsible online just as we are off line. This is common sense, nothing to panic or to protest.

A Melancholy Course
I have always thought that we are the Generation X because of its lack of authenticity and identity. The next thought that have come to my mind is that we have met an end to our lack of sensibility. Observing the present clothing style, I see an immense desire to have a virtual revolution like in the 1960s, but this time without Vietnam and without the Latin American civil convulsions. We have heard and studied so much about the ’60s that we have created a craving for the unknown. This time it made its arrival through our PCs’ screens, set in our minds, and finally in what we wear. So the ’60s are today’s fashion. Why has it occurred? Before I answer this question, let me be a bit rhetorical. During my teen years in high school, a teacher said, “I don’t understand why Belmont ALWAYS makes its commercials around beaches. It shows the producer lacks imagination.” I pondered her words for quite a while. Then I said, “They hit the wall.” Ironically and jokingly she said, “What wall? I have only seen the ocean crests.” We got interrupted by some classmates’ thoughts about that point. Of course, I interrupted back, though with a bit of decency. “Mrs. Marlene, they are melancholic.” The entire class started to laugh so much that the principal came to the classroom before the show was off. This time she was not that forgiving and asked me to back up my idea. I said, “Mrs. Marlene, when one isn’t creative, usually takes a melancholy course.”

The same case pertains to this electronic age. People remember the past, when they used to send all their mail through the customary mechanisms. A stamp, a little bit of saliva on an envelope’s edge, and finally put it inside of the mail box. The mail-carrier took it to the post office until it could reach its final destination. Yes, some of us keep doing it that way if only to pay certain bills, or to make happy those who delight themselves by getting a thank you note, a birthday card, or just a “thinking about you” thought. The tone, though mute, sounds melancholic as if we miss what we lost just like this clothing deal returning from the ’60s’ grave. Of course, the changes are noticeable because as Mrs. Rosa, my 8th grade teacher, used to say “If we try to imitate someone else or ourselves, it never comes out as it did at first.”

Mrs. Rosa was right. I have never forgotten that simple principle. Our age is electronic, and the awakening is taking place. Little we can do to stop its trend because in the end it has come to help us, to enrich what we are and where we are heading. I have been most of my life an optimist; this is why I firmly believe that our way is the best. Yes, a bit fast it is, even a bit crazy if we may say so. Nevertheless, when we finish this physical journey and go wherever we must go, the generations to come will have to say that we did something to better our existence as well as theirs. It is impossible to stop changes. If you do not agree with me, get a picture of yourself, a video, or whatever you prefer to show you that time has passed. Therefore, your physical appearance has become something else. Maybe you have lost part of your hair, perhaps it has gotten like silver, or it could be that your body has taken a greater shape. If that’s the case, you have hit the wall. Now, do not despair. Your life is more valuable now than when you were born. Some people say that aging is like wine, the older the better. Nowadays, we must say that aging is like in electronics, just a simple upgrade and we perform better! Do not forget to keep yourself awake in this Third Awakening and do it safely. Because the awakening has come to stay, enjoy the process and its result.