By Deems Tsutakawa For The North American Post
We human beings have been living in large collective communities for many generations spanning tens of thousands of years. It can be said that the survival of our species and our subsequent expansion across the globe is partly due to the power of community life. As groups of families became bigger and stronger, we developed defenses against predators and enemies. Over many millennia, we left pure hunting and gathering of foods for agricultural endeavors. This gave humans the opportunity to settle down and build cities rather than roam the countryside in search of food. By and by, our human collectives became stable, larger, and developed languages, science, art, music, and fashion. Mankind also moved forward to have technology and machines to aid in our survival.
The crazy thing about the advancements in technology is that they seem to be accelerating at a phenomenal rate wherein most of us cannot keep up with what is being developed. Before the twentieth century, there were no flying machines other than a hot air balloon. We had coal-burning railroad trains, the telegraph, and horse-plowed fields. We lit candles at night. The first national radio broadcast was after 1900. Televisions were still rare in the 1940’s. The first commercial electric refrigerator came out in 1913. The microwave came out after 1950.
All these inventions plus the advent of digital technology have created a faster moving culture, changing so fast that it is contributing to a more neurotic society. Computers, laptops, cell phones, navigation systems, news on split-screen TVs, and social media have all made the world smaller. It is an age of information overload. All these devices are actually perfect for what I call our neurotic world. If we can keep our sanity in a fast moving current of too much information, then we are doing pretty dang good I say.
Deems Tsutakawa (1952-2021)was a local Sansei musician (see deemsmusic.com and obituary, napost.com, Mar. 12). He submitted this column 14 months ago, in February 2020.
Editor’s note. As Deems wrote prolifically, the NAP fell behind in printing his articles. He left 19 more on file, which continue his narrative to January 2021, near the end of his life. As these appear monthly, his column will be with us until autumn 2022.