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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I took a class titled Connections during my last semester in high school. The elective was led by two of my favorite teachers. One taught Art and the other English, both focusing on “liberal” studies where the two subjects crossed pathes. Needless to say the topics for discussion had a wide pool from which to choose. The class, or at least my perception of it at the time, was to broaden our understanding of all that we had been taught during our formative years in school. The world was a bigger place than our little lives, there was more to our education than we had come to know at that moment, and everything didn’t fit into nice little packages that lasted 45 mintues between bells. Art and math were more related than we had previously been shown and literature had changed the course of history more often than our Global Studies books let on—the world was a much bigger place than any of us realized.
Pretty basic stuff except for the fact that, not unlike now, we confine ourselves to a small box and forgot just how connected we are on any given day, even if we have likes all around the globe. Fast forward two decades and I am standing in a museum reading railroad history and thinking about time. Instead of causing an onslaught of nostalgia, my trip out to Scranton last week had me looking to a future time, but in ways I would not immediately think related to the Steamtown National Historic Site. As one more week in 2016 unfolds, with the temperature of the climate bound to rise, I wondered what my thoughts on unifying time zones would be? What side of the debate would I be on and what repercussions would I cling to or disregard. Would I would perceive the steam train as a path to a bright future or a sinful end to our society? What would I think of all those critical moments 150 years ago or more, that we have long forgotten and adapted to? Which of course leads me to consider how limited our thinking right now is? What ideas are we not seeing that could save the greater good tomorrow? Are we simply holding onto yesterday out of fear for a few more moments of comfort today that will inevitably turn into memories?
A short trip to a lonely historic site highlighted just how divisive our frame of minds can be. We do all that we can to keep it from happening, but change is forever the next more successful thing. The issue is what we measure our success to. Is it holding onto ideas of yesterday or avoiding the painful pill that we have to swallow with the removal of the old making room for the new?