/COLUMN: Fear evolves with invention | Opinion (via Qpute.com)
COLUMN: Fear evolves with invention | Opinion

COLUMN: Fear evolves with invention | Opinion (via Qpute.com)


When creation came about, God warned that there were a few things for man to fear; otherwise all else was good. Man didn’t take heed, and when fire was discovered, he frequently went too close and burned himself up. Then as civilization “progressed,” there became many more things to fear.

When I came into the world, I was taught that sinning was the only thing to fear. Back then, life was simpler. But man complicated it with new developments. I remember back in the 1930s when the horse and buggy was replaced with Model T Fords. Man had to learn how to drive it and what a thrill that was. The first time out, drivers often drove it into a tree. Then women, whose role had been to man the kitchen, insisted on shopping in a car. Imagine the trauma that caused.

Back during those uncertain times, people living in rural areas were cautious and built their garage to store their car away from the house, fearing a gas-driven car might explode and blow up the house. Our garage was about 300 feet from our house.

Then when electric lines were strung throughout rural areas, some folks didn’t trust electricity running through their house, fearing it would catch fire and burn the house down. In 1945, I remember pulling a string from the ceiling and it lit up a little glass ball, that brought a whole new light to my life.

Since that time, the only thing we had to fear was war, pestilence, poverty, man’s inhumanity and rotten politics. How can we permit misfit leaders telling us what we can and can’t do? Democracy is the best system there is, as it struggles to unite us again.

My wife was a forward-looking person, and one day she took one of our insured cars to go shopping. What’s that thing, I asked? It’s an Apple 2 E computer, where our future is, she said. She was right and my future became filled with fear and loathing. If we can’t have faith in Social Security, a hacked IRA might be our end.

Cyber-crime is rampant. The worst development ever could be the discovery of cyberspace. Apparently, earth space is too confining for us. Friends tell me I haven’t lived until I’m immersed in social media, which seems to be in a fake world in another galaxy. People now living online say it’s fulfilling, but how filling can it be without making you a nervous wreck?

If we can’t trust Social Security to be secure, the only thing worse is to have your IRA hacked. Cybersecurity might be a lost cause. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explained: “Quantum-computing researchers say they are developing machines that will be powerful enough to break current encryption within a decade.” Can we wait that long? A foreign hacker could scramble all our computers into a garbage heap, thus destroying necessary data that we survive on.

I cannot keep up with the fast-paced changes now required to live a cyber life. I spent decades trying to learn Shakespearian English but could not shake a kind of hillbilly twang to it. We become what we learned. Cyber language was not written for old codgers. If a child can learn how to search, why do I remain lost in a forest of digital trees?

A gentleman in New York recently conducted a study with help from his nerdy assistants. He visited 47 websites and using Firefox tracked hundreds of observers who had followed his surfing endeavors. He said the amount of his data they observed was “staggering.”

It’s reached the point where a surfer can’t show his face for fear of joining the “facial recognition” crowd. Our sacred passwords could now be spread all over cyberspace for the world to see. It’s as easy as child snatching a cookie when Mom turns her back.

Don’t give up the ghost just yet with more good living to do. Above all, I must not forget my key to longevity, explicitly my all-encompassing password. Think I’ll tattoo it in an inconspicuous place. And when I knock on heaven’s gate, what’s your password, Sir?

Give me the good old days when life was simpler. Maybe people were simpler, too. But they talked, not squawked at each other. What happens when hackers shut down electric grids? Reading a good book by candlelight can settle your nerves.

One thing not to fear is when “spiritual” media becomes separated from all the other stuff.

— Contact Terry Cummins at [email protected].

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