What ever happened to asking why?

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As the New Year quickly marches towards its second month, the rest of us are expected to stop and take stock of our lives before January is completely in the rear view mirror.  So, here’s an insight that, well logically we all know, but is still shocking:  All Gen X-er’s, and many Millennials, have lived a good chunk of their lives up until now, in a different millennium.  That’s right kids, I said Millennium, not Century (although that’s true as well I suppose).  I, for example spent a little over a quarter of a century in that other millennium.  Even some Millennials spent at least ½ their lives there too.

So, what you ask?  We’ve been in the 21st century for 18 years now.  Time marches on for all, right?  Absolutely! You are completely correct, but it’s still a relevant fact to consider; when trying to figure out where you’re going, you must occasionally look back on where you’ve been.  It’s a central part of that whole taking stock thing that many are attempting this month.

Now, don’t freak out on me.  I’m not trying to make you feel old.  I’m simply pointing out that there might be a reason your life feels a bit out of whack these days.  The way you grew up had a set of rules that matched the world as it had been progressing for a while.  With the turn of the millennium, many of those rules changed.  In some cases, the adjustment was easy, but in others it really wasn’t (and in some cases still isn’t).  People took note of this during the first couple of years, but then forgot about it.  As the years have marched on, and more changes accumulated, they didn’t always go down easy.

We adjust, as we must to many things.  However, perhaps the problem isn’t that change itself is occurring, it’s that we are no longer told that we have a right to refuse some of the changes that are occurring, or demand that the pace slow down.  The voices demanding that we all just take it and shut up, have grown so loud that they are now drowning out the concerns of many people who aren’t so sure that these changes are a good thing.

It’s like that argument presented in “Jurassic Park” about being so concerned about being able to do something, that no one stopped to think if they actually should.

Online banking wasn’t really ready to deal with the potential hacks that took place, but it was launched anyway, and we’ve been playing catch up ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that when someone steals your bank info, you can get the money put back in with a lot of help from the bank itself; but how sad is it that it occurs so frequently that we have a massive workforce set up just to handle that.  Everyone it happens to is outraged, but there’s never any discussion about addressing the existence of a system that has so many holes in the first place.

We like the convenience, and that’s the problem.  Who wants to give up 24hr access, even if that means sharing it with a complete stranger who want to steal from you?  Weird argument right, but here we are making it every single day?

What started this reflective, morose attitude today? Cashless businesses, that’s what.  Have we truly considered the ramifications of this?  Don’t buy the excuse that this will mean a greener life, as we won’t have to print money in the future, because paper bills have a much smaller footprint than all the electronics that will now be needed to simply shop.

Already have a smartphone, that’s great for you, but over 30% of the US population doesn’t (many because they can’t afford the expense).  If the trend of cashless businesses grows, then those people will be told that they must suck it up, and get one anyway, just to buy food.  Also, smaller businesses will be forced to pay a company to process electronic payments, increasing the expense of starting a business even more.

Even if you can afford a smart phone or tablet, consider the wisdom of giving a company the power to force you to buy one item, in order to have the privilege of buying more items from them in turn.  That Starbucks that won’t take money, and the Amazon convenience store that makes you check out with a smartphone; they’re both already telling you that!  What happens to you the day you lose your smartphone (or god forbid someone steals it)?  They don’t have any workarounds for you, because no one is insisting that they have to.

Many people around the nation are talking about their unease regarding this latest change with friends, but that won’t truly let their voices be heard.  If you are wondering how a company can tell the public that they refuse to accept our “Nation’s Currency,” then you’re not alone.  If a store wants to encourage more electronic sales, that’s one thing; but to tell us that the good-old dollar bill isn’t welcomed there, is another.  I’m not arguing a Luddite philosophy here; I’m simply saying that it’s time to actively participate in these decisions that are shaping our lives.  If you’re not ok with changes like this, then the time to speak up in NOW!  Failure to do so might just mean you end up with a tomorrow that you really don’t like at all.


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