Probably because it causes disruptions of varying levels in our lives, we tend to see change as something revolutionary, one of a kind, when in fact it is always going on. It is a constant. Because of the incremental nature of it, with the shifts gradually taking place in small movements continually happening, the changes don’t trigger any alarms – on a day-to-day basis they are virtually invisible so that when the alterations become noticeable to the mass of mankind, they have actually been gradually happening over a period of many years, or even decades. Of course, once the realisation sets in, as for example the changes in human behaviour caused by cellphones, we often then become alarmed or angered by the negative aspects of the change; there is an element of surprise, but in fact what seems like a sudden alteration has actually been taking place, bit by bit, over a long span of time.
A good example of the phenomenon can be found in the business of popular music, in all its forms, at home and abroad, with hardly a week going by without complaints, sometimes in the public media, sometimes in social conversation, about the change in popular music today. There are other examples, but I chose music because it is one with which we are generally familiar; music comes to us not only by choice, sometimes alone, but also uninvited as we watch television or listen to the radio or go the cinema or attend some social function. It is a creature intricately interwoven in our lives, entertaining us, stirring or irritating us, triggering memories or sorrow or regret, and the modern technologies now allow us to hear the music we want virtually at will, whether we are in our homes, or in a vehicle, in a restaurant or a bar, on a drive to Lethem, or on the beach.
I narrow the topic further by looking specifically at popular music of the day in the Caribbean as we hear in the many comments in the society about the loss of music from that earlier time, the regret for its disappearance, usually accompanied by some irritation often expressed clearly, sometimes in the identical words, such as “Today’s music is a mess. Whatever happened to the music from years back? Why do we have to listen to crap today? That’s not music; that’s just noise.” The words will vary, but the irritation is constant…..