What Did We Learn From Y2K?


I was just reading a bit of The Psychopathology of Everyday Schooling  by John Gatto, and came across this quote from Langdon Winner.

Society is composed of persons who cannot design, build, repair, or even operate most of the devices upon which their lives depend.

It dawned on me that not only is this true (consider computers, phones, and electricity) but it is exactly what Y2K was all about.  We depend on these things, yet we have practically no control over them.  If the supporting systems go down, ours go, too.

So why even talk about a decade-old “crisis” that turned out to be no crisis at all? 

That’s exactly why we should look at it!

Remember how much hype there was as the new millennium approached?  The fearmongers were everywhere.  People stocked up on food and bottled water, learned to can food, installed hand pumps, and researched how to heat their homes with alternative fuels. 

Many approached the stroke of midnight that New Year’s Eve with apprehension…and what happened?


We all laughed with relief and assured one another that we really hadn’t thought anything would happen… but it sure was nice to find out we were right!

And what lesson did we learn?  We learned that life will go on as usual. 

I just began to wonder this morning if all the hype, all the fear and uncertainty of Y2K, was carefully prepared and encouraged to reassure us that we have nothing to fear, that nothing can go wrong.  Does a hugely overinflated non-crisis like that make us apt to disbelieve any prediction of another crisis? 

For instance, our economy, according to some, is on the brink of disaster.  But many people continue on as usual, believing that nothing really serious can possibly happen.  Our leaders will fix it before it gets too bad, right?  We don’t have to change our lifestyle, because nothing’s going to happen.

What do you think?  Have we become complacent?  Do we see things clearly or are we living in a rose-tinted world where surely nothing can go too badly wrong?

Have we learned the lesson of Y2K too well?



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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8 Responses to What Did We Learn From Y2K?

  1. AngelAware says:

    Pretty BlueI think what I learned from the Y2K was how to take care of my self in case we all do have to one day It definately was a good wake up call for some who just did not realise how dependant they are on *stuff* I always said…..I need to move to the country where I can grow my own food and have a well, in case I ever needed to I feel like its Godly wisdom. But Im not scared……..But I admit when I lived in Tucson the city, I was not at peace. I do like the idea, of learning how to do things the old fashion way, in case it was ever nessacary. I dont like it tho…LOL….I Love my microwave We dident run out and buy anything, like water or batteries. I just prayed that God would take care of us always.To answer your question about Anthony…….first….I knew I was going Dial up so I deleted all of my past posts to make it easier for my page to load. I do that from time to time anyways.  We moved here from Tucson Az about 7 years ago, maybe 8 now?  My kids father lives in Tucson and the kids would go back every summer and some holidays. Anthony is 16 now and has always chosen to live with me. But now his dad has promissed a new car and a cell phone and blah blah blah..lol Anthony said no all these years to his bribes, but one summer he met a girl (2 years ago) and they were long distant friends for the last 2 years. But they have gotten closer..as close as you could long distance LOL  anyways…..Anthony was not doing well in Shelby school. He was getting d and f’s and he’s always been an A student. He was being pushed down rather then uplifted. He was getting depressed about it too. Sooooo, Long story short….Anthony asked to go live with his dad this year because he wants to be close to his girlfriend I can handle that rather him chooseing his dad over me… anyways….William and I talked about it and decided maybe a change in schools would be good for him. It was so hard on me……It took me 6 months to say ok. But everyone was advising me that he would only be bitter towards me and hes old enough to make some decisions on his own….I disagree….But ever since Anthonys been there, He’s already back to his A’s on his report card. He says the school is a good one and the teachers are actually nice and helpful. So if its for his grades, i know his future is important so its a sacrfice i need to make I guess.  I just miss hi way to much. Its harder then I thought.

  2. homefire says:

    @AngelAware – ah, thanks for the update.  And I’m really glad to hear he’s doing well.  Praying for Miley…

  3. fwren says:

    Reminds me of the little boy that cried, “Wolf!”

  4. nidan says:

    There have been around six end of the world prophetcies in my lifetime. Non of them have come true to todate. But then only one has to get it right, no!!!

  5. mrcolorful says:

    Its amazing to me how little a lot of people know about their computers and cars and things.  I actually know a guy who firmly believes that all of them work by “magic” that cannot possibly be understood.The media loves itself a doomsday prophecy, no matter how ridiculous or unsubstantiated it might be.  They just love scaring the crap out of people.

  6. Hmmm.  Never thought about it, but you have a good point.  On the other hand, some think we are in the midst of a serious crisis and I don’t think we know what that means collectively.  Sure, a lot of individuals have experienced financial difficulty, but not anywhere close to what our grandparent’s generation knew.  Who knows, we may learn what it really means to recycle.

  7. homefire says:

    @RebornLovingHim – You’re right.  Everyone’s talking about a crisis, but no one is really acting as if there is one.  My guess is that if there is, we’ll find it out rather abruptly, and it won’t be pretty.  @fwren – Exactly.  @mrcolorful – magic, huh?    @nidan – Yeah, end of the world predictions are notoriously wrong.    But economic crashes can be predicted more accurately, I think.

  8. mrcolorful says:

    @homefire – I’ve known some real idiots.

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