I'm not one to complain about the advance of technology. I'm no Luddite. But I do worry about its pervasiveness.
As a kid and a teen, I'd spend at least a week every summer at Scout camp. Like a good portion of the early Millennials, I grew up during the inception of the mobile revolution. If you had a phone -- and only the adults had them -- it didn't get service on top of that mountain in upstate New York.
My parents couldn't keep tabs on me. Later on, I couldn't keep in touch with my girlfriend. And in so many ways, that was the point. For that one week, the cord that connected me to them was cut. I was forced to reckon with reality alone or with my peers. I did more growing up during those one-week intervals than I ever did during a school year.
I remember my first campfire. I was maybe six. I had helped build it, so it was all the more memorable. It was on a Cub Scout camping trip at the defunct KOA campground in my hometown. I found a dilapidated shed and peeled some rotten plywood from its floor and laid it on the woodpile. I remember staring into that fire until I was forced to go to sleep, the splintered edges of that plywood curling into long, orange fingers as the flames leaped into the starry August sky. There was something primal about the way that fire held my attention. I wanted to watch it more than any cartoon. I wanted to keep it going further and longer than any video game.
If you haven't noticed this feeling before, next time you're sitting by a campfire, you will. I don't think it's a feeling that technology ever will be able to conjure. It's profoundly human, and the thought of losing that feeling is profoundly terrifying.