Left Behind

I would like to state at the outset that I am not a believer in the idea of the rapture [1], an idea popularized (though by no means invented) by the novel series Left Behind.  Thankfully, I suppose, I have never had a great deal of interest in the series, nor have I read or reviewed any novels in the series, which would be likely to be receive a pretty harsh review.  Nonetheless, the premise of the series, that when the godly people are taken away those who are left behind have to deal with a world facing increasing amounts of difficulty, is something that I wish to discuss because of the relevance that this view has in other areas of life.  It is not only when it comes to beliefs in being spirited off that one has to worry about the issue of being left behind, after all, and some of those applications are certainly worthwhile ones, and ones I would like to discuss today as they appear to relate especially to the boundaries that I find myself involved in.

Chatting with my mum is often a good way to come up with subjects worth talking about.  While I tend to be rather polite when it comes to personal conversations, where it seems as if people other than me have a point they want to prove and something they need to get off their chest, I tend to muse and reflect upon subjects and feel it worthwhile to write about later.  Although I am by no means deficient in coming up with quick-witted comments or going on at length about subjects myself, I tend not to enter into conversations with others with something that I feel the need to get off my chest.  I save that for my writing, as I tend to feel uncomfortable when others have ferocious and negative comments to make around me, even when they are not directed at me, and I am aware of being a particularly ferocious person myself whose displeasure is not something anyone would relish seeing, and therefore I am aware of the desirability of protecting other people, at least in person, from the full blast of my own sense of outrage about what is wrong in the world.

Anyway, in chatting with my mum we had a discussion about technology and its use among the young.  My mother, like many older people I know, finds herself a bit left behind when it comes to contemporary technology.  While she is comfortable using the technologies she did when she was in the office and is proficient enough on the computer, for example, she has a strong aversion to technologies that she is not familiar with.  This has caused at least some difficulties, as during my youth I would sometimes find myself in trouble because conditions had changed and the absence of a cell phone made it impossible to communicate those changes to her, which would lead her to panic when she would show up at school, for example, after I had supposed to have waited for hours when I was a short walk away at a friend’s house, for example, but had been unable to communicate with her.  In the intervening years I have found that my family’s comfort level with technology has remained relatively constant, with little desire to become acquainted with the latest uses of social media and a great deal of criticism about the way that people have lost a lot of etiquette in interpersonal communication because of being tethered to devices and full of short attention spans.

Yet there is a genuine concern that people have about being left behind.  The greater connectivity among contemporary youngish people means that news (and rumor) spreads quickly among those who are so connected and much slower among those who are not.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this connectivity, and certainly we ought to be aware of the effects that this has on the way that we deal with people personally, not least because it is difficult to infer the tone and body language of messages received only in text and emoticons and related images only do so much to bridge that gap.  Yet if we can assume that some opportunities and some information will only be spread in forums that require a degree of technical savvy, then those who absent themselves from that technology also miss out on those opportunities unless others connect them to that information and serve as nodes that pass along what is worthwhile to those who would be slower to get the news.  The question is, do we conduct ourselves in this manner, so that we ensure no one is left behind, even if we have to patiently go back and help people ourselves whose lack of knowledge and comfort with technology leaves them out of the loop.

[1] See, for example:







About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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