08 December 2011

Realism or Nostalgia?

My students -- most of them born around 1990 -- view the continual proliferation of electronic devices, access to information, instant communication, and incessant downpour of ideas, images, memes, and phrases from all these devices as normal. They expect it to continue. They expect that the information will continue to rain down, heavier and heavier. The mass media, and especially the internet media, continually promise faster and more complete access to information.

I see the current info-spasm of our civilization as a self-limiting condition, an aberration from the human norm. It seems as sustainable as a metastasis, and about as desirable. I anticipate a collapse of energy, of access to information, of complexity. The Transition, the passage Down the mountain.  I don't think that the survivors will be carrying cell phones in 50 years.

So, which of these views is realistic?  which is nostalgic?