Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Slow Motion Crystal Ball

Once upon a time, one always wondered about the choices never taken, the roads never followed.  One would leave one's hometown or college or a relationship and perhaps seldom (if ever) hear about the people one had left behind:  what they were doing, how they were doing, and how their lives had advanced.  Certainly, one almost never had the sense of what would have happened if one had stayed in the town or the relationship.

But the InterWeb and Social Media has changed all that.

Suddenly, we can see our old friends and classmates and lovers from times past.  And if we dig in a bit behind the "look where I vacationed pictures" or "this is my family", one begins to find what they have become and what they believe (for good and bad).

And all of a sudden, one can begin to understand the possible outcomes of the choices one did not make.

Decided to remain in a town or city instead of moving?  Here is what the town became and here is what your old friends are like.  Stopped dating that person?  Here they are now, and here is what they believe (and probably what you would have believed, if you had stayed).  The confrontations and issues they went through over the years would have become your issues as well.

All of a sudden with a little thought and imagination, you can pretty clearly see how you would be yourself.

I am not here to question whether those developments are good or bad, as we can only judge based on where we currently are (and some of those possible decisions lead off in very different directions).  But we have a slow motion crystal ball, something that has never been available to generations past.

I wonder, are we using it effectively?


  1. Perhaps the question should be, “Should we use it?” It’s a great analogy TB: when technology advances far enough it becomes indistinguishable from magic... and our myths and fables and legends are chock full of cautionary tales of magical powers used and abused. The pull and lure of it is real too. You will want to use it, even knowing full well it can hurt you. It’s like the hobbits and their magical ring.

    Consider: how is that person you left after that bitter argument you had years ago? If you use the magic ball to find out he or she is doing very well for themselves and doesn’t miss or think of you at all... are you going to feel better? If you find out that they are struggling and hurting and blame you for it all... will you feel better? It’s easy to forget that the things that divided you then will almost certainly divide you today.

    As you know I got burned on that crystal ball myself recently and may have been able to glean something from it. The lesson was this: be thankful. Be thankful that those old contentious issues are no longer yours, be thankful for your new path, and be happy for those that can find theirs. Wish luck and Godspeed on those that struggle, and be thankful that their battles aren’t yours anymore. It was a painful lesson, and not one I need to repeat... or wish on anyone else...

  2. If you mean by not using it at all, then I would say yes I am.
    I am where God wanted me. None of the other really matters.

  3. A very well crafted response Glen. Yes, the question does become "should it be used" even though it can be used.

    The reality is that, in this information age, anyone who does not reach out or is hard to find has already made the decision to have the past be the past. To those who know, most are certainly not invisible.

    And yes, nothing good ever comes in the event you go looking and find out the nature of life now for them - or worse, even make contact. Neither of you are who you were then, and there is nothing other that the ash and dust of the past to make conversation over. Better to accept that technology does not change the fundamental nature of such things and move on.

  4. Ultimately you are right Linda. We are all where God precisely wants us right now (although sometimes, I really wish I understood why better).

  5. Oh, I know. I think many of us never know why. But just be happy. :)

  6. True enough Linda. But I still always sort of want to know.


Comments are welcome (and necessary, for good conversation). If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!