At Our Fingertips

There is an old joke or something that I read once that goes something like this…

Question: If you could go back in time 100 years and could tell people anything, what do you think you would tell them that would amaze them the most?
Answer: By 2015 much of humanity will have access to nearly all of human knowledge on small plastic devices that fit in their pocket, but instead of learning and growing, humans mostly spend their time looking at cats and calling each other Nazis,

For me, the truth in that makes me chuckle and stings a bit. While I don’t think I have ever called someone a Nazi and looking at cat photos isn’t really my thing, I do spend way too much time on the internet wasting time and arguing with other people instead of improving myself. Hopefully, I can change that and take greater advantage of the opportunities that present themselves with the internet.

In total I currently pay for Netflix, Audible, Spotify Premium, and Amazon Prime. I split the costs with my partner so this amounts to about $20 a month. That is a hell of a deal for films, audio books, music, and quick/cheap shipping of physical goods. These resources would have literally costs millions ten years ago, if they even could be purchased at all. Maybe it is because I was born in 1981 and am an older millennial that this is staggeringly awesome to me. I remember renting VHS films, buying cassettes, scouring libraries hoping they have one or two outdated books on a subject. Now, most of that information is free or very low cost.

I can’t imagine my life now without Wikipedia, global access to more information than I could hope to consume in a lifetime (even if we stopped adding things now). You can even get educated through Khan Academy, Code Academy, and a variety of Open Courses provided by major traditional higher education facilities. Maybe colleges know they need to adapt or die.

All this information really comes down to opportunities for freedom though. My bike ride will be kicking off again soon and it is the first time in human history where something like this would be possible to maintain inevitably without some sort of financial fortune. My partner and I can work online from the road, power our devices with solar panels, access the internet on our phones, and even continue to educate ourselves, learn new languages, read thousands of books on a small thin, light, computer, stay up to date with the news, and listen to our favorite artists album’s the moment they are released.

It really should be no surprise that millennials travel more, reject “secure” careers, and are putting off families. The internet has made it possible to customize our lives. We can find happiness, meaning, satisfaction, and love in our own way instead of following the model of our parents.

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