The ‘When-I-was-a-boy’ syndrome

I am a serious sufferer, because I consider that the period between 1933 to the summer of 1939, were halcyon days. We had come out of the austerity of World War I; as far as I remember, unemployment was no longer serious, and there seemed to be very little aggravation of any kind. The trouble with this illness is that you look back on the past through rose coloured glasses, and criticise thoughtlessly about subsequent conditions, without taking into account the inevitable effect of change. For example, with high-speed, mass reporting of the media, we are now presented a diet of ‘man bites dog stories’, on a daily basis in order mainly to boost circulation in whatever form. In the 30s the report of a murder could run to several days, now they are reported at the rate of about 10 a week, most of which are never referred to again. In those days newspapers wouldn’t have dared to delve into the functions of Parliament, nor would there been the political leaks that seem to be a feature of government today.

In the 30s, domestic commerce was conducted, even within large cities, on a village basis. Every village-unit had its own street of barrow boys, it had shops, of all kinds and qualities, to feed the area, and shopping outside the village was treated more as an occasion than a necessity. The popularity of the car, resulting from the lack of public transport, our standard of living, and convenience, has totally changed our shopping system, to the detriment of the small shopkeeper. The throwaway society for similar reasons has made repair rather than renewal almost obsolete. Possibly other than instant communication, these differences, however, have not really been responsible for the upsurge of antisocial behaviour that seems to be the mark of our current age, both nationally and internationally. Terrorism on the scale of today had never been experienced as a worldwide phenomenon until recently. It has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, which is merely used as a tool, but for the advantage of a few, at the detriment of many.

This new age, with broadband, seen by the government to be an essential, yet in actual fact, is more a means of entertainment in the majority of cases, than of tool to improve our social condition, has also been responsible for causing teenagers to adopt a sedentary existence, peering at a blue screen. It is very difficult to separate the individual changes, which have brought us to where we are, a society not comfortable with itself, often changing for the sake of change, without due care and attention to the long-term effects, and then changing once again. It is difficult to learn lessons from the past, because the influences have now become vague with time, and those today are so very disparate from those of the past, that it is foolish to try to draw comparisons. We can only analyse those actions that are abhorrent in the current context, and I for one, should stop looking back, and instead, try to predict effect as a result of cause.

Categorized as General

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