Tuesday, July 12, 2016

First Rock & Roll ... Then What?



I have to extend my thanks once again to my coffee clutch friend. He’s the one with curious insight and probing questions that always cause my mind to go wandering. This time it was an innocuous observation that throughout history we have always experienced brief periods of extraordinary creativity. Turns out some of those life-changing events took place during my watch. His comments got me to thinking. He was right. Yet without focused attention I probably would have just taken for granted some of those earth-shaking times I lived through.

We’re all aware from history books of the Industrial Revolution and that period when notables such as Alexander Graham Bell invented the lightbulb and the Wright Brothers conquered flight. There have been revolutions of many ilk’s and forms. There have been mass migrations and the cessation of civilizations. Some inventions have changed our lives for the better and others have caused it great harm.


In the early 1950’s I was only vaguely aware of the advent of television and the infiltration of music into my life. The subtle, almost innocuous penetration of music by way of the transistor radio and then audio tapes and CDs continued throughout my lifetime.

By the mid-50s that mental and emotional penetration began to take shape in the form of Rock and Roll and all of its extraneous manifestations. Rock and Roll was the eternal elixir for many of us. It was an imagination-induced formula that led to all kinds of mental meanderings and wishful thinking. Most of it harmless.



Like a fast moving stream of consciousness, this new kind of music flowed and dispersed and re-converged in many forms; pop, country, folk, folk-rock, country-rock, metal, heavy metal, and so forth. The styles, idioms and messages were almost too numerous and convoluted to pin down. The only constant was a tug at our emotional minds and accepting hearts.



As earth-shaking as Rock and Roll was to our musical consciousness, the Sixties proved even more disruptive and revolutionary. Revolution was the code word for changes in attitudes toward women’s rights, our sexuality, challenging the political establishment, civil rights, and more. There were life-changing seismic changes in our society that could not be turned back and are still felt even today.



In retrospect, it changed me into the seeker I am today. Like some innocent unnoticed incident that began to build up over time, it gradually morphed into a mindset and a focus, an interest and a passion, an observation and a conclusion; none of which was dependent on the prevailing wisdom of the times or mindset of the masses.

Then that cloak of many different colors was further enhanced by the new economy and its challenges along with benefits. The new economy, fueled by the internet and computer technology, caused another seismic shift in the way we thought about and conducted business…and our lives.
The code word here was ‘the new economy’ or ‘fast company.’ The second coming of the internet age proved just as grandiose, overblown, exaggerated, and truly ground-shifting and many iterations of all those clich├ęs just listed.

  • The internet was supposed to create a ‘new economy.’ That never happened or at least not in the reiteration that was projected.
  • There would be a new world community. While it’s true that small select groups with similar interests have found one another. On the whole, the world is still a broad and vary diverse gathering of dissimilar individuals.
  • The digital age would make us all smarter. Not necessarily. It just means that we get to exercise our fingertips each day and get easily distracted.
  • Digital technologies will narrow the wealth gap. It may have done other things but narrowing the disparity between the haves and the have-nots has not been one of the results.


Along with those technological changes, the political climate also began to change from its first hint of disservice in the Sixties to the full blown cynicism it sometimes experiences today. On a more personal note, the publishing world I’m currently enmeshed in is changing on an almost daily basis. And the changes just keep chugging along.

What the future holds for me (considering Moore’s law of change) continues to be a mystery slowly unraveling itself one day at a time. So much of it is in my head and what I choose to embrace there. What do I write?  How do I get published? How do I let the world know I exist?
Where do I go from here?

It means continuing to share my kid’s world and understand my grandchildren’s world as it evolves and changes. Ultimately for me it means respecting the past while embracing the present and future…and waiting to see where it takes me.