Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

A Search for "What Matters": "Does It Really Matter If We Are Able to Probe Distant Far off Galaxies, Yet Are Unable to Curb the Blind, Mindless Hatred and Disregard for Human Life, or for Those with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs Right Here on Our Planet?"

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

A Search for "What Matters": "Does It Really Matter If We Are Able to Probe Distant Far off Galaxies, Yet Are Unable to Curb the Blind, Mindless Hatred and Disregard for Human Life, or for Those with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs Right Here on Our Planet?"

Article excerpt

Welcome to 2015 and to a world of continuous contradictions, unintended consequences and new realities. Welcome to a world in which war is not a video game or a Hollywood film; in which genocide and ancient hatreds cannot be eliminated simply by hitting the delete button. Welcome to a world in which the answers to global poverty, new puzzling strains of infectious diseases and environmental challenges cannot be adequately addressed by tapping the space bar and hitting the insert button or searching for help in Google.

Surely we must know by now the dangers of becoming too "high tech and low touch". Just look around you. How often do we see people traveling to work pecking away at their cell phones or playing games on their iPads? People communicate today via text messaging or email when simply picking up the phone or walking down to someone's office might add a bit of personal touch and be a welcome respite to the cold unfeeling world of electronic communication. For over 35 years I have taught at some of the largest and finest universities in this nation, as well as some of the smaller ones. I can tell you that while students today are much more facile with technology than those from my generation, they have sacrificed much in terms of the "human touch". That is a troubling thing to witness. Relying just on a Google search has taken the place of good old fashioned research and may be rapidly threatening how our youth actually think.

Today we have mapped the DNA Code and, in doing so, have opened the door to potential cures for diseases and conditions heretofore thought to be beyond our reach. Today, we live in a world of personal computers, search engines, email and networks, storage and "clouds," information retrieval, websites and chat rooms. It's commerce at your fingertips; entertainment at the touch of a button. We have high-definition TV and can see dozens of sporting events from around the world ... simultaneously! We have become adept at "multitasking," as if that is some kind of badge of honor. We are well on our way to becoming masters of a new universe whose boundaries are yet to be determined. Yet on the whole, we remain a nation still searching for ways to support and serve the greatest segment of our society who remain underserved --that is, people with developmental disabilities!

It seems to me that we must answer these questions posed so eloquently by Tom Brokaw: "what does it matter if we are able to wire the entire world yet in the process, short-circuit our souls? Does it really matter if we are able to probe distant far off galaxies, or send a manned mission to Mars, yet are unable to curb the blind, mindless hatred and disregard for human life, or for those with disabilities and special health care needs right here on our planet?" Surely we are better than this. And with all the turmoil we have seen on our city streets and in distant far off lands, are we sure this is the right time to be taking God out of our lives?

The pace of change in this world we live in is, to coin a term from Star Trek, at warp speed. Consider this: We live on a seemingly smaller planet with a growing population, many of whom are on the move searching for economic opportunity and political freedom. Our world has seen a continual diminishment of open spaces and natural resources; sweeping changes in political, economic and cultural power in every corner of the globe. …

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