I had an interesting discussion over dinner last night with a mother whose daughter is in college. She was relating how her daughter follows the news, gets her opinions, etc. Of course her daughter was blogging and using social networks to keep multiple lines of communications open at once. This led to the typical lament, "the world is changing more rapidly than I can understand." We hear this in many contexts. Here's one that's fairly far afield for me, but still typical:
...technology is changing at a pace without precedence in human history. One day's marvel becomes a necessity of ordinary life the next. Rapid technological change permeates the whole of human existence, exhausting our mental ability to comprehend and cope."
By amazing coincidence, yesterday I also stumbled on this article from the Atlantic Journal written in 1883.
"The world is too big for us, too much is going, too many crimes, too much violence and excitement. Try as you will, you get behind in the race in spite of yourself. It's a constant strain to keep pace... and still, you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. The political world is news seen rapidly, you're out of breath trying to keep pace with who's in and who's out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can't endure much more."
Indeed, earlier technology transitions have also upset people -- think of the Luddites responding to the industrial revolution. While the pace of change may be increasing, emotionally disturbing change has been affecting individuals for several centuries.