“Where were YOU the night of August 4th?”
Then the lights went out.
It wasn’t the same as when oil finally ran dry. Then, the streets ran with blood and power-lust flew over the people like an angry dragon, scouring for goats to eat and gold to line its nest.
This time was different. Serene. Of course there was the initial shock, fear, and panic – all endemic of such extraordinary and sudden change – though these shortly subsided; none of us expected or predicted the intense and palpable side effect of tranquility that started to grow within us. I am not a Luddite. I never hated the technology or our inextricable relationship with the Machine – but I cautioned against its effects on us as a thread in the larger weave. We were surrendering to its hypnotic and predictable effects, submitting to the comforts of its reliability and predictable nature. Despite the fact that the machines could break down, we presumed, demanded their subservient and consistent response to our manufactured needs.
When the lights went out, it was as though a huge logotherapeutic bomb had dropped and meaning returned to our small daily actions. We now found significance in the smallest gestures, within the moments in between – lying down in the grass, a passing look from a stranger, the beauty of new pen stroke upon a blank page, searching, embellishing, discovering.
Success was no longer an ever-dangling carrot that we stalked voraciously, allowing so many quiet moments to rush past as we hurtled towards our graves, lined with trophies and accolades, rather, success became the ability to stop and savor how far along the road we had traveled, as we inspired the grace of where we were and anticipated, with great enthusiasm the unknown possibilities before us.
The new robots, those that ran on the energy of the sun, still walked among us, but the threat of our obsolescence was lifted – for now we were, once again, unpredictable and filled with awe and curiosity. We walked outside of any sort of grid. We were restored to something for machines to dream about.