February 11, 2010
The Most Significant World Event that has taken place in my Lifetime
I have been alive for 47 years and It's possible that I'll live another 47. Or maybe not. Regardless, 47 years is enough time for something significant to happen. But if I have to choose the MOST significant world event, I'd have to say it is...
Well, I'd have to think about it a little first. There are so many to choose from...
1963...I was born - only significant on the local scene
1963...John F. Kennedy was gunned down - Certainly that was broader than the local scene and was significant. And it had significant implications in our society for the rest of my life.
And not long after that came 1968, the "year that changed the world." The war in Viet Nam, multiple assassinations, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. There were riots in the schools and in the streets. The Soviet Union rolled over Czechoslovakia and Saddam Hussein took a position of power in Iraq after a coup. And of course the Beatles were in high form. Hey Jude, don't be afraid...1968 ended with hope that was out of this world. Images from Apollo 8 beamed to households throughout the world.
And since we are talking about space, during my lifetime, we went from orbiting in a fragile eggshell, to routine flights via shuttle, to robotic mars landings and space tourism. New technology enabled the exploration of black holes and supernovas. Space stations were built and telescopes launched into space to record the far reaches of the galaxy.
Stay with me here because I'm blurring the years and mixing them all up until I get to my favorite most significant event in my lifetime. In the late 1980's new ideas were exploding all the textbooks. The Chaos Theory made it all unpredictable. The more we learned, the more we discovered that some things just did not operate within normal parameters and were downright unpredictable. And who knows what the results are going to be when we are through manipulating the gene pool. I'd say those are significant world-changing events.
Ok, you choose. I've already made up my mind. Can you guess what I think is the most significant world event in my lifetime? I'll pause while you think about it. All right, that's enough.
In the blur of human activity, natural disasters, political upheaval, environmental and human rights and rise of technology during my lifetime, I might have skipped right over it. It doesn't really matter what I think is the MOST significant world event, because on so many levels, they are all significant. The idea that a butterfly flapping it's wings can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world is significant. I see this more as a huge network of significant events that all tie into the fabric of our lives and change the world for our children and their children.
Back in 1993 a little blinking-underlined phrase was about to change our world. It was about to make it smaller and bigger at the same time. Mosaic became Netscape and it was anyone's guess what carts in our world that would upturn. The internet was born alongside of the PC revolution, which started with 286's and dial-up modems. In the early 1990's we made the switch from engineering on paper to computers. And then there were 386's and Pentiums to fuel the revolution that would connect voices across the globe. The Internet, for whatever else it is, is a connection of human beings. Even before Windows came along, I relished in the bulletin boards that allowed me to write a story together with people I had never met, each taking a turn at writing a small part. The results were fun, creative and surprisingly exciting. Then I invented the Internet. No, that's not right. That's a bad joke. But the Internet Revolution did happen, and I was there. I still am here, and it is still revolutionizing the way we think about our world. And I've heard some people say the revolution is just beginning; that there is a correlation between the millions of butterflies flapping their wings throughout the world and the significant events that happen in our world today. The next 47 years is anyone's guess. Self-cloning robots? When you are 47 what story will you tell together?