Katie and Nathan Broom lived in Oregon for several years, as did Katie’s sister Mims and her husband Dan. A few years ago they returned to their Southern Indiana roots to raise their children near their mother, their siblings, and their children’s cousins. The cost of living in Indiana is less than Oregon; they can live comfortably on Katie’s work as a case manager nurse; Nathan stays home with the children. Still, it was the pull of family that brought them home.
I joined them for chili and beer one evening: three couples (add longtime friends Heidi and Mike), mom, and five children ages three to eight who prepared an impromptu musical on piano, harmonica and accordion for us after the meal.
How will we live tomorrow?
“It’s the connectivity; staying ahead of technology but not letting it overrun you. Every company is charging ahead on the Internet of Things without really understanding it. Our institutions are not prepared to establish the parameters of big data, drones and technology.
“Our daughter needs to make smart choices about technology. The corporations will not do that. We need to direct it to be human-centered rather than corporate-centered. She is beginning to self-regulate her technology intake, just like she is learning to do with her food intake.” – Heidi
“I’ve seen Wall-e. It is my fear of the future. The humans cannot even stand up. Will we still want to walk? Will we take care of our bodies? I fear the end of pedestrian life. It also affects our community. In Wall-e the humans don’t even interact except with devices.
“I teach German. I was recently doing German translation and realized I was looking for the computer to give me prompts. It was beyond spell-check, it was thought prompt.” – Mims
“The more people connect to the Internet, the less they connect with nature.” – Mike
“I hope we will find community with others, with our neighbors. We need to promote community, neighborliness, and emphasis on church and family. And we can’t cut down all the trees! I saw an I-beam the other day made up of little pieces put together We don’t have any big trees left.” – Mom
“Two-thirds of the people in the United States have never seen the Milky Way. We have no more dark skies.” – Mims
“I recall seeing shooting stars. Will our children see shooting stars? We will lose the small things.” – Mom
“The question of how we will live tomorrow depends on where you ask it. In America, we want to preserve and keep. We want to maintain what’s good. Its human nature to keep what we think is good. One hundred years ago things weren’t better or worse; it was just different. One hundred years from now we will have a different life and it will be better and worse. No one could have imagined the Internet. It’s good and bad. You lose things. Time goes on. You gain a lot too.
“We’ll live much as we do now. I’d like to have less fear. Our fear is related to what we have. The less one has, the less fear he feels to lose it. Our possessions, our education, are burdens we carry to the future.
“Cora asked us once if we were rich. When I thought about it, I replied ‘yes’. Not compared to all Americans, but compared to the rest of the world. If you define the rich as the one percent, we don’t make the cut, but I feel rich.” – Nathan