So, what’s so special about today? Nothing really, or nothing that I am aware of. Except that every day is special in its own way. No, I mourn the world pretty much every day.
I can remember when life was simple. It didn’t stay that way for long but during my early years when there were/was:
- No television
- No telephones (in most homes)
- No domestic refrigerators
- No domestic electrical goods of any kind except radio
- No portable radios
- No digital computers
- No digital anything
- No plastic anything
- Few privately owned motor vehicles
- etc., etc.
People, even in comparatively developed western nations didn’t have much, but we were generally happy and healthy and weren’t even aware that we were missing out on things that are taken for granted today. Because they hadn’t been invented or at least commercially produced for domestic consumption yet.
Like I said, that didn’t last long. Don’t get me wrong. Things had been that way for generations, in fact for most of mankind’s existence. And the things that we did have which at the time were considered to be ‘modern’ had mostly only emerged in the previous century or so.
During the ’50s and ’60s everything began to change. We saw that there could be more. And we wanted it. And we wanted it now. And we weren’t concerned, and perhaps never even thought about, the consequences of going down that path or traveling along it at an ever increasing pace.
And so, we eventually arrived at the place that we know as the world today. A place where everything is possible but no-one is happy and only a very few enjoy full health whether physically or mentally, or live a life that has any meaning or purpose.
We have pretty much come to the end of the road, loaded down with gadgets and trinkets, and with no idea where to go next.
And so, I mourn the world that I once knew, knowing that I was part of and took part in the downfall of humanity that is undoubtedly destined to be our next step.
This was again brought home to me today when I read this article on Medium.com: How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
Photo credit: found in the linked article but source unknown
Now, a TV sitcom could not possibly have triggered ‘the downfall of western civilisation’ of course, but its importance is in that it reflected the simple idiocy of modern life in general. Not that a great many of a generation deeply embedded within a passive ‘entertain me’ culture of bread and circuses would necessarily have noticed that.
I personally was never caught up in the ‘Friends’ culture. A couple of episodes may have passed my retinae but that is all. So I don’t have any great reflections to make on its content. I do however find certain parts of this article interesting and relevant enough to separate as quotes below:
The show ended in 2004 … The year 2004 was when we completely gave up and embraced stupidity as a value. Just ask Green Day; their album American Idiot was released in 2004, and it won the Grammy for Best Rock Album. You can’t get more timely.
I am sincerely worried we have not done enough to cultivate intellectual curiosity within our culture.
So, how do we retain our sanity in a dumb, dumb world? …
No. 1: read a fucking book. … Reading makes you less of a jerk. So, read often. Read difficult books. Read controversial books. Read a book that makes you cry. Read something fun. But read.
No. 2: learn something. Your brain is capable of so much. Feed it. Learn something new. … Educate yourself, so you can be part of the conversation. … just get a few more words in your head.
No. 3: stop buying so much shit. … I’m convinced consumer culture and idiot culture are closely linked. Simplify your life. Idiocy dominates our cultural landscape because it sells more Nike tennis shoes and Big Macs. When we thoughtfully consider what we bring into our home, we are less likely to be manipulated by empty impulses.
Did you know the song that originally accompanied the Friends pilot episode was R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” A blissful song with an apocalyptic message that goes largely ignored.
Yes, the world as we knew it, or as I knew it, has long gone. Our current crazy world is also about to pass on to the scrapheap of history. What will replace it? Only time will tell, but it won’t include smartphones or sitcoms or Big Macs.
Here’s a reprise of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).