Now that we’ve established in my opening post that the Rolling Stones classic, “You can’t always get what you want,” is the Raging Moderate anthem, it is time to start revealing the remainder of my top ten songs to kick off this blog.
As technology and other advances continue to make our world a lot smaller and faster, there of course are many benefits for our society. There are also a lot of new challenges that can easily push us towards the extremes if not carefully balanced, as these next two songs illuminate well.
- We Used to Wait—Arcade Fire
Easily the newest song on my list (and what a great band these guys already have become!), and one that speaks volumes about the huge changes in the manner and pace that we relate to each other today. There are obviously all kinds of benefits to the virtually instant means of communication we have at our fingertips today compared to the days of yore when we literally used to wait for letters and other communications to arrive. What this all means for the way we relate to each other, particularly for those who have grown up with this technology from the start, is far from certain though.
Being able to fire off a message to someone else on a moment’s notice is a great power to have in a time of emergency, but it also easily can lead to an ill-considered message that can literally live forever in ways that aren’t good for anyone. And I think we’re seeing that quite a bit in our politics today (any politician come to mind there?).
In order to find common ground and get things done–not to mention to protect our own sanity–we need to be careful not to lose some of the virtues of the old world where we used to wait, like patience and reflective thought.
- Someone’s Looking at You—the Boomtown Rats
Bob Geldof may have been writing about what it’s like to be famous in the late 1970’s–and the absurd microscope our society puts celebrities under only has gotten more glaring since then–but his words ring true for all of us today. Technology has made it so we’re all increasingly being tracked in more ways than we’re even conscious of right now, and it’s a phenomenon that only gets bigger by the day. Smart phones, the Internet, the growing presence of security cameras, and similar technologies collectively can track most of our movements today.
In many ways all of this of course makes us safer and more efficient, and no one would suggest going back. But how we balance all of this with the right to privacy–and indeed how we define privacy at all in this new world–will be one of our biggest challenges as a society in the coming years. This may be the ultimate balancing act going forward, and we’re going to have to work especially hard to find that middle ground.
Thanks for reading so far, and stay tuned as the list continues tomorrow.