Everyone talks about the “norm” as the standard by which a society best lives. Which makes perfectly good sense. Except when you try to define it. Actually, the “norm” is a moving target. Always has been. Just about the time you’ve learned all the answers, they change all the questions.
At one time, the “norm” was a girl living in her father’s house until the time when she moved into her husband’s house. At one time, the “norm” was a boy going to a trade school in his father’s field, then carrying on the family business. At one time movies were a dime, gas was 20cents a gallon, the stock market was 800 points, brides wore white because….well, no need to press the point!
In generations past there was a rhythm of predictability insofar as our views and values. A kind of industrial-age lockstep by which one generation kept in cadence with the last. That, fellow 21st centurions, is no longer true. No longer admired. Perhaps no longer possible even if it were.
Taking the long view, today’s “new normal” is in some ways simply the fulfillment of our society’s initial cadence. Our founders left the Old World into order to achieve a New World of freedom. In many ways we have now achieved the ultimate freedom: Being able to think and do whatever we want whenever we want because of the liberating power of today’s new handheld technologies.
While we pause to reflect on this giddy prospect, we might want to remember how liberation doesn’t always work out as planned. Consider the instructive tale of Raymond Jefferson who was charged with stealing $17,000 worth of such technologies from a Chicago Radio Shack. Including the GPS device the police used to find and arrest him…
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