Prior to writing this I was watching a television program about the “G” forces experienced by fighter pilots. 7 + “G”s. They utilize pressure suits to overcome this and maintain control of their aircraft. I was half listening and half thinking about what I was going to write about in this blog today. Then it hit me. How could I only half listen to something so amazing. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers first experienced powered flight. 1903! 110 years ago! From the Wright Brother’s first flight of 120 feet from an altitude of only 10 feet to supersonic speeds at 30,000 feet in 100 years! How could I not be completed glued to the television? How could I not be in complete awe of modern-day aircrafts capabilities? Where was the “WOW”?
As I write this I am sitting in front of my lap top, only three days from having a total knee replacement. I have just completed my rehabilitating exercises that had me bending, straightening and lifting my new knee, made of titanium, I have expectations that my new knee will perform as well as my original equipment model provided by God. I looked it up and the first knee replacement is traced back to 1954. Titanium itself was not discovered until 1974. Less than 60 years ago they did the first knee replacement and here I am three days after surgery with a working knee. Was I amazed? Did I marvel at the fact I went home on Friday after a Wednesday surgery? Did I feel a sense of “WOW”? Not really.
When I finish typing this collection of letters and symbols into my lap top computer, I will publish it to the World Wide Web. Anyone with access to the web (everyone) will be able to retrieve my ranting’s, read them and respond to them, if they wish. We are able to communicate in this manner because of TCP/IP which was developed in 1980. Only 33 years ago. In 33 years mankind moved from a couple of colleges sending basic information between two computers to our modern-day internet. Most of the combined knowledge of mankind is available with a few key strokes on the internet. Does anyone consider the amazing progress that allows us to accomplish this? Do we consider the genius that brought us to this point? Where is the “WOW”?
So, what does it take to “WOW” us? A few weeks ago a check engine light appeared on my car. I pushed a small blue button on my rear view mirror. A pleasant voice emerged out of nowhere, “Good afternoon Mr. Pfeifer, this is XXX with On Star, how may I help you today. I spoke like I was talking to a passenger in my car, “I have a check engine light on, could you check on it?” “No problem Mr. Pfeifer, is your car on?” “Yes” “Hold on one moment” Mr. Pfeifer, I have run complete diagnostics on your car, engine, transmission, safety yada yada yada and see no problems, May I schedule a service visit at your dealer?” This conversation is happening between myself and thin air. Some nice young man in Detroit MI is talking to me and running telemetry on my car over a satellite! Seriously? The U.S. Military would have killed for this level of technology just 30 years ago. I’m talking to my rear view mirror! Was I amazed? No, said thank you, ended the conversation and went on with my day.
Smart phones, computers, automobiles and on and on and on. In the last fifty years we have been drowned in progress. NEW is the norm and it only lasts a short time. The last time I think we were “WOWED” was the moon landing. The entire world held their collective breath and marveled at the accomplishment. It was the topic of conversation at every dinner table and water cooler. People were excited. They were amazed at what it took to achieve this.
I think it is sad that we have lost “WOW”. It’s the loss of innocence of mankind. Just as adults lose their innocence with age, so does mankind over time. Remember as a child, the anticipation of Christmas? The awe of a snowfall and the individual flakes. The excitement over Disney Land and the acceptance of what we see is reality? As we age, we lose so much of this. As society evolves we lose our acceptance of magic. The faith in medicine men and the wisdom of elders. We loose our ability to be “Wowed” by the wonders of our achievements. I miss the innocence of being Wowed. Technology and progress are not bad things. They help establish a better and healthier standard of living for everyone. What is bad is the loss of awe at these achievements. The loss of appreciation for our accomplishments.
So as you read this, think about all the things you and I will never understand that allowed us to share this blog and try to picture a mysterious wizard when you hear that mysterious voice that comes out of your rear view mirror next time you talk to On Star.