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Nella Coiro

Frozen in Time

I was listening to the radio today, and I heard an old song from the 1960’s. The song was entitled Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire. These are the lyrics:

“The eastern world, it is exploding,
Violence flaring, bullets loading.
You're old enough to kill but not for voting.
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're toting.
And even the Jordan river has bodies floating,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?
And can't you feel the fears I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there's no running away,
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulating,
I'm sitting here, just contemplating.
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don't pass legislation,
And marches alone can't bring integration,
When human respect is disintegrating,
This whole crazy world is just too frustrating,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it's the same old place,
The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.”

No, no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Except for the line, “You're old enough to kill but not for voting,” nothing has changed since this song was written in 1964. That’s 56 years ago! The voting age has changed from 21 to 18, but that’s it?  WTH?! Do you find this upsetting too? If someone read the lyrics to the song without knowing when it was written, one could easily think that it was written yesterday, because so many things still apply to our world right now!  

How sad is this? Over half a century has passed, and yet we still have:

  • War
  • Hate 
  • Hypocrisy 
  • Racism & Misogyny
  • Senators and other politicians who don’t give a hoot.
  • A lack of mutual human respect.

If you look at the title from a broad lens,  the concept, “eve of destruction“ is not a singular event. It is more of a lingering downhill struggle. We, as a society, are self-imploding and yet we’re clueless.

It’s a bit ironic that we’ve made incredible advances in technology, science, and medicine, but have failed as a society in other important areas. Perhaps we need to take our focus away from our cell phones and iPads, stop taking selfie’s (which, by the way, no one cares about), stop living vicariously through social media, stop wasting hours a day playing Call of Duty and other video games — and wake up and look around!

Have you noticed that technology has become such a distraction that artistic expression, especially in music, has come to an indefinite pause? What great songs have been written lately that will still be listened to decades from now? 

The problem is that the digital technology, especially the internet, is so addictive. According to an October 2016 Newsweek article, Andrew Doan, M.D., a recognized expert in technology and video-game addiction, calls video games and screen technologies “digital drugs.” Doan asserts that they raise levels of dopamine— the euphoria neurotransmitter that is linked to addiction. Research shows that long amounts of time focused on a screen can affect the brain’s frontal cortex the same way that cocaine does.

Since people use this technology as the primary means of communication, social skills are also compromised. Telephone conversation or face-to-face communication is quickly becoming a lost art, and actually causes anxiety, especially in kids. Most methods of communication are handled through texting, which is vulnerable to misinterpretation. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, people become brave when they can hide behind a computer or a cell phone. They will text words that they would never dare to say on the telephone or in person. 

What will this society be like in 20-30 years? Maybe you won’t be around to see it, but your children and grandchildren will! And, if you believe in reincarnation, you’ll be back! Think about that! 

The solution isn’t easy, but it can be accomplished by practicing balance — utilizing some of the old time-tested methods, and emotionally detoxing from technology obsession.

Author Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” 

We can detach ourselves from the fate of remaining “frozen in time.” The world is changed one person at a time. Are you willing to be that person?

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