Tuesday, February 6, 2024
We admire all the great works of art that have been in existence for at least the last 4,000 years; we try to figure out the intent of their creators, the significance of those masterpieces that often leave us in awe of their magnificence! We worship these achievements and if possible, preserve them in museums. There are some, like the pyramids or the Stonehenge or Machu Pichu or Xunantunich, that are too massive to be sheltered; but they are nevertheless zealously guarded and protected by professionals who are dedicated to the preservation of these monuments.
I was watching the Grammys earlier this evening. The best performances were by Tracy Chapman, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Joni Mitchell. Oh, and Annie Lennox. All monuments to a time when music was at its zenith, for my generation. The audience was mostly young, and it made me wonder if they realized the significance of these artists. If they realized that without them music wouldn’t be as impactful as it is for them today.
It made me think of people of my generation and older, as monuments. We lived in a time when the world was finally beginning to mature. We witnessed and outlived some of the greatest human achievements, and disasters. We were swept into a technological explosion that still leaves us with our mouths agape, lost in the brilliance of those so much smarter and more forward looking than we are!
We are monuments to a past that changed the way we live now, the way we see each other, the way we communicate and travel and eat and dress and work and learn. We are monuments to the younger generation who don’t know what pay phones, or antennas or cursive writing or newspapers or typewriters are. We are monuments to a new generation, one that will drastically change the world in their own image, as they should. I realize how often I wax nostalgic about the past, but I can’t apologize for missing some of the best times of my life.
We are monuments that will fade with time in the memories of our descendants, become archaic and insignificant in the greater scheme of things, of history. In other words, we are old!