Piper’s Passing Placed Perplexing Ponderings…
Roddy Piper passed away last week. The loss of Piper got me thinking about the early days of televised wrestling. Piper was a staple in what many refer to as the golden era of professional wrestling. As his predecessors, personalities such as Mad Dog Vachon, Wahoo McDaniel, Verne Gagne, and the Crusher faded into obscurity, Piper was a great transitional figure to bridge the gap between eras. He and his contemporaries helped freshen up the scenery as well as the entrainment value of televised wrestling – substantially. Eventually TV wresting became too big, too juiced, and too commercialized for my tastes. However, Piper was part of a special era that lasted about ten years – a golden era.
All Around Us…
There have been many golden eras of institutions and technologies that we can reflect on. The automobile. Science. Television. Baseball. Cinema. Skateboarding. Rock & Roll. Even bipartisan politics. The Islamic religion had its golden era. Even war had its golden era – if you believe fending off Hitler vs. fighting for oil was a more noble undertaking.
There have been many golden eras though history, and we are partial to them on reflection because they have provided us with something new. New ideas. New personalities. New technologies. It is the freshness and uniqueness of change which makes periods golden.
As I look round today though, there don’t seem to be too many products, technologies, personalities, or institutions demonstrating a golden era. I can’t imagine our descendants looking back on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or blogging with a storied past. The MMA…? I just don’t see it. The golden age of solar panels…? Not likely. The golden era of multiplex theaters…? God help us.
That’s the disparity with increasing complexity; that at time when we have more fresh ideas, personalities, and technologies contributing to society – and at an exponential level, it seems it’s all been done before. Seemingly, there’s nothing truly fresh for us to appreciate.
Perhaps one can make the argument that in the world of rapidly increasing social and technical complexities, the reason we’re no longer able to experience golden eras of anything is because things are just changing and evolving too quickly for anything to become golden, to establish, or sink in.
One can make a related argument that there are so many golden eras developing around us everyday and all at once, that we can’t see through them all to identify or appreciate the ones which might matter or affect most.
We might be stepping into a golden era of religious tolerance. We might also be experiencing the golden era of gender equality. More likely though, we are just crawling toward them. Only our descendants will know for certain.
My Golden Era…
Reflecting on golden eras, I began to contemplate whether we, as individuals, have our own. I think mine was in my early 40s. I had just given away my TVs in favor of books on religion, physics, and philosophy as those became more important to me than Baywatch. I gave away my car. I regularly listened to podcasts of Speaking of Faith (now On Being). I quit listening to music all the time, and began to meditate daily.
This was at a time when my business was taking off, I was writing daily, I was at the ocean weekly, and I was in the best physical shape of my life. This stretch lasted from roughly age 42-46 – the golden age of Jhciacb. What made it golden is that for the first time, I was living he exact life I have designed for myself. Few of my friends at the time could say the same.
Like all golden ages, mine did not last. It was a moment in time, sponsored by freshness. Though I haven’t exactly gone to hell in a handbasket, I have evolved, adapted, and changed. Though I’m still self-employed and in fair physical shape, I have allowed other things to enter my life, and influence its direction. And so it goes…
Occasional some institutions and technologies do have a 2nd golden era; baseball is arguably having one right now. Muscle cars are back, and in a big way. It’s been suggested by critics that script writing in television has never been better. Maybe, but those resurgent golden ages aren’t the same. Nothing is truly fresh a second time around.
We live in arguable the most amazing age in history, yet we take most everything for granted. As previously stated, I tend to side with the belief that a new golden era of something arises every day – and gives way just as quickly to something even more fresh. I guess if we’re not looking, we just won’t see them. Be well… rc
Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I hit the STOP button on the blender in my head. And if you’re of the mind to, please scroll up and rate this. Thank you!