Yum, Yum, Millennium!
Searcher Magazine hereby declares the entire Y2K year as a Millennial Experience. Now this does not mean that every one of this year’s issues will have the size and scope of the January Millennium issue. It’ll take at least another century before anyone could risk an attempt to persuade me to take that task on again. Even 6 feet under, where I expect to quietly celebrate 2100’s arrival, my answer would resound loud and clear — “NO!” Dorothy Parker once said that she hated writing, but loved having written. I love the Millennium issue, but from a safe distance.
Nonetheless let’s take the occasion of this very unusual break in the time continuum to keep concentrating on “big-picture” issues like the future and our place in it. What do we want out of our lives? Our profession? Our experience?
Before 1999 ended, I’d decided to make a few larger-than-life New Year’s resolutions for the Big Y2K. By the time you start reading this editorial, I’ll have probably already breached most of those resolutions, added enough mitigating clauses to others to turn them into paper tigers, and maybe even abandoned some altogether. But what the heck? As the wise G. K. Chesterton once observed, “A thing worth doing is worth doing badly.” Even if we start in the right direction, trip and fall, pick ourselves up, start off again, wander off course, fall asleep, and get arrested for vagrancy, at least we’ll have tried to seek a better path, to break out of the one-foot-after-another rut, to take a new lead. As another wiseacre once said, “Life is like the Iditarod race. If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.”
So what giant steps can we take to make a Golden Age from the days that lie before us? Well, frankly, it’s those giant steps that usually lead to tripping and falling; shorter, surer steps — but in the right direction — can cover more distance. The grand goal of my resolutions, for example, is Wisdom. All in all, I would like to grow wiser in the years ahead. Wealth and immortality also have their attractions, but realistically, my professional skills and personal character would seem to make Wisdom a more pragmatic goal.
So if Wisdom is the right direction, what short steps can I take to move on down the road? First, watch less television. When all is said and done, the only irreplaceable resource in the world is Time. Addiction to television shows, even if only as white noise, has eaten up more of my life than I should admit even in this confessional forum. So I hereby resolve not to watch anything I have seen before. Of course, I have already added a proviso that this only applies to cable or broadcast showings. I have exempted videotapes or any future video recording media I may acquire. Why? Well, well, well because a life without ever seeing Garbo or Gable or Wayne or Jim Garner or ... gosh, it’s like losing half a lifetime of friends in one genocidal swoop. There’s gotta be some way to keep in touch, just not as often or as compulsively. Don’t you think?
Now, what do I plan to do with all this extra time? Good question. First, I’m going to read more. No, no. Not professional literature, well, not mainly. Books. All those tomes mounting up around the house bearing mute witness to my status as an Amazon-aholic. My reading will be eclectic, because lateral, leapfrog thinking that finds hidden linkages in apparently disparate material characterizes the process of growing wise. For example, I just finished a book called To War with Whittaker: The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly 1939-45. Very interesting material from a woman who spent World War II as secretary to British military leaders in the Middle East. Interesting in many ways, but I plan to match its content against my next reading assignment, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The epic represents a unique millennial read. This work was over two-and-a-half millennia old when Christ was born. If I can find common human experiences in that epic, I should catch a glimpse of human nature that transcends time. And Gilgamesh too focuses on military adventures in the Middle East, just 4 millennia before the 25-year-old Ranfurly dropped by.
Wisdom. Beyond knowledge. Beyond information. Beyond data. Wisdom. Yes, that’s a very satisfactory goal for a Golden Age.
Speaking of knowledge, information, and data, I also plan to get broadband Net access within 60 days of this writing and integrate the Net and its offerings into my daily work and personal life at a whole new level. Whoa.… Could we be looking at a new screen but one that sings the same old siren song of time wasting? Nah! Nothing’s newer than the Web, and as long as what I do is new, it’s avoids the “Seen-That-Already” ban. Right?
Well, anyway, wish me luck! And good luck to us all in our pursuit of a glorious future!