I remember being sixteen and reading On the Road for the first time. Honestly, it was like a fucking train hit me square in the head. At the same time, I discovered Bob Dylan, and bought the album Blood On the Tracks. I could see that whole thing spreading out before me, as wild as the American countryside that the songs and the novel so eloquently described. There was a world out there, one that only needed discovering, one that was there for the taking. I could hop a train just as easy as go to work, and live like all those transients that I had read of for so long. I too could see Old Bull Lee sitting in his rocker with Kafka on his lap, bitching about Unions, or ride the flatbed trucks with some guy named Slim who could knock a guy out with one punch...I could watch him practive that one punch in the railyards, ready to run from a bull if he saw one, or knock that fucker out like he might have to.
As much of a blessing as technology is to our regular lives, it really brings down the human spirit. There's not one fucking yard of this Earth that isn't mapped and traced down to the inch by satellites, and the new "PATRIOT" act has made it legal to spy on anyone who the government pleases. Things like cell phones, Myspace, Facebook, and email have made it impossible to hide from anyone- everyone now has the excuse, "Well, I (called, emailed, sent it) to you, what happened?" All kinds of privacy are gone, and your soul is nothing more than that password that you always remember away from being taken from you completely. Hell, even on this fucking blog, I have to worry that the things I write are being stolen from me nightly and called "My own" by someone else. This new age really is a shitty deal.
The fire of adventure that has driven maknkind since the beginning has been extinguished with all this new shit that has come around. With everything linked by computers, it feels like there is nothing new to discover, that all horizons have been breached, and all foriegn lands settled. If Mozart breathed today, how many of his computer synthesized symphonies would have been passing thoughts if lightning had struck a transformer at the wrong time?
There are good parts, of course; at the same time that I'm bitching about this, I'm watching things like Bob Dylan's absolutely amazing, inflamed performance of Like a Rolling Stone from 1966 on Youtube.com, and be made to move to tears by the abandonment that he was singing with in that one video.
At this point it is a Pandora's box of possibilities that can never be retracted. The funny part is that the older I get, the less that people remember the times when you couldn't email someone for your homework, and when you actually had to be home to watch a TV show, not watch it on Youtube 40 years later. I can't tell whether that's good or bad.