Thursday, June 12, 2008

New World, Old Ways

New World, Old Ways Reading a book and listening to music are two common experiences of altered states, although most people don't usually describe them that way. These experiences are now changing. With the downloading of music onto ipods, the record industry has been shrinking, and in turn, neighborhood record stores are going out of business.

Locally owned bookstores are also declining due to the rapid expansion of chains and online retailers. There was a time not so long ago when browsing through a record store was the same sort of experience as browsing in a good bookstore. Not so long ago, bookstores and record stores were typically owned and operated by people who knew and loved books and music. Going there to find a book or recording was a satisfying experience because you could talk to someone who knew their material and could ask them questions in order to find something you wanted or needed.

That whole experience is being lost for many people. There is a difference between finding a handful of books at a discounted price on a table between the canned goods, office supplies, sweatshirts and tires, or finding a rack of CDs bewteeen the TVs, phones, and computers and going into an owner operated book or record store.The experience of a good used bookstore or music store is an even different refinement, because they present an opportunity to get not only what is new and recently popular, but old classics, out of print material and obscure creations by great artists. Some people do not know or care about the difference. I do.

Then again, there is a whole generation that has grown up thinking that fast food hamburger places are always on every corner and that's how food is supposed to taste, and that the pizza delivery places are what pizzas are supposed to taste like, rather than the Italian restaurants where I ate all of my pizzas when I was younger.I work with younger people who never go into bookstores and never buy or read books. Instead they play lots of video games, look at videos and download music that is recently popular. They have a limited range of experience with older music. There are people who think that a friend is someone who sends you an email on facebook or myspace, but has never met you in person. Maybe there are different degrees of friends. Yes, the world is evolving.

Pan dances through the world with a taste for the old things, like used bookstores, music from a long time ago, and food cooked in restaurants that are owner operated, with the owner perhaps being someone who actually enjoys cooking and planning menus. Pan also appreciates and uses the new, like cell phones, email and the web. Pan dances through it all.

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