20 June 2006

Chance Encounter?

We went out for dinner this evening and then ran some errands. One of those involved paying some rather (ahem) overdue fines at the library. Once our cards were clear, we turned around and checked out some more books. We were a little more circumspect with our borrowing this time.

I remembered an old friend from my childhood and looked it up in the electronic card catalog on a whim. Lo and behold, they had a copy in that branch of the library. So I checked it out. When I found it on the shelves, I discovered that a new introduction has been included. I read part of it and thought this was interesting:

The twentieth century has produced a world of conflicting visions, intense emotions, and unpredictable events, and the opportunities for grasping the substance of life have faded as the pace of activity has increased. Electronic media shuffle us through a myriad of experiences which would have baffled earlier generations and seem to produce in us a strange isolation from the reality of human history. Our heroes fade into mere personality, are consumed and forgotten, and we avidly seek more avenues to express our humanity. Reflection is the most difficult of all our activities because we are no longer able to establish relative priorities from the multitude of sensations that engulf us. --Vine Deloria, Jr. (1979) in the Introduction to the 1979 edition of Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux as told through John G. Neihardt (originally pub. in 1932)
Electronic media shuffle us through a myriad of experiences ... in 1979? That was the year I graduated from high school and began college. If my memory serves me correctly, life moved at a slower pace then. I had more time to reflect and connect with "the reality of human history." Heroes stuck around longer. Now it would seem the wheels are turning ever faster and faster. What was true when Mr. Deloria penned it in 1979 is truer ten times over now.

I'm anticipating a reread of my old friend with great joy. I haven't turned these pages since I was LightGirl's age. I wonder how much more I will understand now. How will the intervening years change my perceptions? This will be interesting.


Blogger Liz said...

In 1979 I did know of a single person with a computer in their home. Personal computers were at least 3 - 4 years away and having them at home was outside the reach of all but the most rich. Heck, I was exicted, when 1980, I was given an electic type writer as a high school graduation gift.

Are we really making life better for our children?

6/21/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

OOPS! That's supposed to be, "I did NOT know of a single person."

6/21/2006 11:04:00 AM  

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