I think about what would happen if I was magically transported to the Mediaeval times for example. Assuming I wasn't burnt as a witch, presumably I could make my fortune with all my modern knowledge right?. ..Nope… I don't know how anything works, and anyway, there was no electricity back then. When I let my mind wander, I realize there unutterable depths of my ignorance of how does a calculator work? or a telephone or a washing machine or anything at all? Strip it all away and I think I know how a windmill works, that's the best I would have to offer and um, they had them then.
All this day dreaming is just one aspect of my 'living in modern times' anxiety. I think about how attitudes and things change according to changes in technology…just look at what the industrial revolution did for Britain.
One of my daughters is 6 and she knows more about iPads than I do, they all have them in school… youngins' sit next to each other engrossed in their own phones but not really engaging with each others company… the pressure to know the latest trends goes in cycles of days rather than the months or years of our own youth.
Of course I worry that this young generation will grow up to be over weight, diabetic, socially awkward tech obsessed freaks that spend their pocket money on the latest fashions for their avatars and more significantly, that interfacing socially through devices will stunt their abilities for empathy, compassion and general socialization.
Oh how we parents worry!
I mean, I've seen WallE, I know how it all could go, but on the other hand, didn't our grandparents have worries about how everything was changing too fast and kids were all going to to be drug addicted drop outs or some other nonsense involving Elvis (interchange Elvis with Dylan or whatever 'Demon' pop star of the day)
I also realize that if I don't intersperse this long rambling text with eye catching images then out gut reaction is going to be 'oh, that's too much! I can't commit to all that right now!' I mean we of the MTV generation have the attention span of a gnat! So here is a funny picture of a dog to see if you're paying attention…
I think that's one of the reasons I find Steampunk so appealing. The combination of mechanical technology, rather than digital, and endless cups of civility.
So the mechanistic thing answers the questions about how things work. You know pulling that lever moves that cog which turns that thing and that's how that works….simple.
And the cups of tea and polite civil interactions are a welcome alternative to bricks through windows, the indiscriminate rage of a disenfranchised youth, street violence, shabby clothes and shabby attitudes.
I do understand the rage of youth, I had plenty of it myself, cute little punky goth that I was. But now I'm all growd up, I'll leave the nihilistic anger and civil disobedience to them youngins', they seem to do it so well.
I'll have a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake and worry a bit more about what it is to be a person in such a quickly changing and overly stimulating reality.
Perhaps watch this lovely short steampunk film about love…it is beautiful.