1 June 2016

Perceptions

Perceptions are slippery things. The trouble with a perception is that it has more in common with feeling and intuition than it has to do with logic and reason.

I absorb a lot of stuff - from radio, the internet, blogs, television, newspapers and most important of all - from real life human beings. All this stuff affects the way I perceive the world but I have no real way of knowing if my perceptions are built on solid ground or upon the shifting, unstable sands of bias.

This preamble leads me to revealing the following perceptions. I believe the world to be a crazier place than it was twenty years ago. I think it is a world in which the gap between the rich and poor has become a yawning chasm. The movement of people that was once a manageable slow-moving conveyor belt has become a series of gushing floods that our elected leaders seem powerless to control. I think it is harder to be young than it was when I was young. I think there is more anger in the world, less altruism and more focus on the pursuit of money than there used to be. I perceive the growing impact of religious fundamentalism to be a scary and divisive phenomenon. I see The American Dream shrinking away.

You might say that it was ever thus - that evolution and change never stop. But it is my perception that the world has lost its way somehow. There's fracking in national parks. The Kardashians  have become a kind of royalty. The Islamic State ruined much of Palmyra. The Brazil Olympics will go ahead in spite of the zika virus. Plastic waste washes up on the most remote islands. Vladimir Putin is pictured playing ice hockey while Donald Trump in a red baseball cap promises a mighty wall. Traditional English pubs are closing and people wander around glued to their smartphone screens like zombies.

Meanwhile "Remain" and "Leave" battle buses tour Britain, stuffed with lies and half-truths  and grinning political  egotrippers who have never lived as The European Union secretly plans to absorb Serbia. Serbia - I ask you.

Yes, it's my perception that the world has become a crazier, less happy place and I wonder where it's all leading. But I could be wrong. As Irish radio presenter Terry Wogan would often say, "Is it me?" What is your perception of it all ?

22 comments:

  1. These days are my grandchildren's "good old days". I'm not sure how to think about that. They can't imagine NOT having TV channels, the internet,cell phones and computers as in my "good old days". If we could only see the future!

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    1. It is almost as if our lives began in the nineteenth century with horses and slaves... such has been the crazy acceleration of so-called "progress".

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  2. My tendency is to swerve, lean towards your bias.

    The world is a crazier place than it was 20 years ago; 30 years ago etc., and if anyone disputes this is so didn't enjoy growing up in the Fifties; or being a teenager in the Sixties (or don't remember being a teenager in the Sixties)! The Seventies were pretty damn good, too.

    As for the Naughties...perhaps I'm biased...but the jury is out on the Naughties as far as I'm concerned; and I believe they will be out for a long, long time.

    I'd love to be back in the days when we felt safe leaving our doors unlocked. Some say we shouldn't dwell on the past. I say, "Why not?" The good old days were good days. Days of innocence lost and past.....

    I've only just finished writing and submitting an article a few minutes ago - in some parts it's not dissimilar to your post, Yorkie. The theme is similar in some ways.

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    1. Older people have always looked back through rose tinted spectacles but what we are seeing around us now is different. The speed, the chaos, the knowing too much, the technology, the rate of population growth. It's scary.

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    2. I don't look back into the past, my past, using rose-coloured glasses, Yorkie. There are a lot of incidents/events that were very upsetting, very disturbing that played major roles in my past, in my childhood - many not pleasant to remember, but remember them I do...and no amount of rose-coloured glasses would alter my memories of what occurred, or the actuality..but I'm still glad I am in the twilight of my years (something I once thought I would never say)...because I do believe I grew up in a far better era than what our current kids are and those of the future will face.

      Today I spoke via phone, in separate calls, with three friends from my past (and theirs)...we've all known each other since the late Fifties/early Sixties...one turned 78 back in May; another is 75, and one, my first husband, turned 76 today. The oldest of the group was our best man at my first wedding....and the three men I spoke with today at length on the phone and I shared many laughs and tales. And, yes, we did talk about the fun times we all had way back when, when they were all lifesavers in the Noosa Club, as was my late brother....and none of us wear rose-coloured glasses. We did talk about the present as well.

      You seem to be contradicting yourself in you response above...maybe I'm misunderstanding your meaning.

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    3. Lee - I wasn't suggesting that you you or I see the past through rose tinted glass - just saying that in general there has been that tendency amongst older people so clear-sightedness can get blurred but somehow I think the new world we are in is different and genuinely is something to be anxious about.

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  3. At age 76, I have to give my head a shake on these things. I feel whoops perceive that things were better in the past. But how do I measure it. I went through the second world war. I went through MaCarthyism in the U.
    S. I went through the cold war. They were scary things.

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    1. Yes. How do we measure it all Red? It is perplexing.

      I can see why Joe <McCarthy would have been interested in you with a name like Red! Damned commie!

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  4. I think my perception is very similar to yours. I'm sure there are some excellent things about the modern world that we take for granted but certain old fashioned values and cultures have been lost forever.

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    1. It gives me some solace to note that my general perceptions are shared by others - like you Sue. Thanks for calling by.

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  5. While some of the things you have mentioned are probably subject to individual perception (and have been perceived that way by every generation for centuries), others can certainly be statistically proven, such as rising numbers of violent crime. Only yesterday I have come across statistics published by Ludwigsburg's police, giving rising numbers for cases of shoplifting, verbal or physical aggression against others in public (and against police officers), and burglaries. Also, with the influx of around 1 million refugees to Germany in 2015 alone, the number of crimes committed both by them and against them has risen.

    What I observe in my daily life is, for instance, how the quality of services such as trains has been going downhill. I have been using public transport in this country on a near daily basis since 1986, and over the last 10-15 years, the entire system has become less and less reliable. I've not had a single longer train trip where everything worked the way it should for years, let alone the daily "roulette" on my way to work - will I catch my connection or not?

    I know statistics can be wrong and manipulated, but in the cases I have mentioned, I trust them.

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    1. In England, I am not so convinced about crime figures because the authorities will often boast that crime figures are steadily falling. In my view this is to do with the reporting of crime, classification of crimes and police response.

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  6. Agree with your comments YP.
    I think that each, aged, generation has felt the same way. These days, thanks to international travel, we have a much wider knowledge of the world, and thanks to the relentless media, of world affairs. I'm not sure if the world has lost it's way, so much as living in a permanent panic as our numbers multiply daily. I think the world is more
    "indulgent", but sadly, not in a good way, and younger generations are full of self-centred egotists whose main aim seems to be posting yet more selfies on whatever social network they subscribe to. I wonder if they ever stop looking at a screen and look around them?

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    1. I think we know too much these days CG. We are bombarded by information. If a volcano erupts in Indonesia we know about it within seconds but even a hundred years ago there would have been a huge time lapse before the news and associated images reached us. That immediacy and that volume of knowledge is overwhelming.

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  7. I don't want it to be so but fear that it is....but as it scares me to think this way I try to focus on 'there are more good people than bad in the world' and we have to focus on all that is good.

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    1. If we didn't do that Libby we might go mad.

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  8. I don't know, but it seems to be free falling to a bad place. Several months ago, I would have said Donald Trump has zero chance of becoming president, and now I am afraid if it comes to fruition. I am sick of career politicians too, but cut off your nose to spite your face? He appeals to the lower class, yet he wouldn't give them the time of day. Hope they won't get out and vote come election day.

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    1. If Trump is elected, those who voted for him will be hanging their heads in shame before his term of office is over. Hillary Clinton may not be perfect but she is highly intelligent, politically experienced and in my judgement a pretty decent human being.I cannot understand all the bitter vilification.

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  9. 1. Information and choice overload leads to stress and overwhelmedness.
    2. A world economic model based on waste (consumerism) that does not place value on environment unless it can be 'used' by man leading to greed as socially acceptable behaviour and loss of ethical norms.
    3. Increased rate of change leading to feelings of stress, bewilderment and a resurgence of fundamentalist religions.
    4. Increasing populations and town sizes leading to loss of community feeling, place ownership, and resultant loss of sense of identity and belonging.
    My thoughts, backed, I think, by measurable demographic trend studies.

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    1. Thank you Kate. It is the pace of it all isn't it? Once change was like a river that meandered slowly through leafy meadows but now it seems to be a torrent that we can't or won't control.

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  10. I don't disagree -- I think the world IS pretty crazy. But I also think, like Coppa said, that we are inundated with information about all the dysfunction. We get relentless coverage of stories that might not have even made global news 20 or 30 years ago. So are we just hearing about more, or are things really much crazier than they used to be? I mean, the '40s were pretty crazy. The '60s were certainly crazy.

    As for the Kardashians and Trump, et al, I think the loud fringes get a lot of coverage these days. I think most people are not enamored with either, but they are a sort of silent majority that doesn't get quoted because they don't make much noise. (Time will tell depending on how the election goes!)

    As for leaving doors unlocked, when I was a child our house was broken into twice. So we certainly had problems then, too. We used to play outside without supervision, but I really wonder whether kids couldn't do that now -- I think parents are taught to be so fearful by news accounts of events that are literally one in a million.

    Having said all that, I'm glad I was young at the time I was!

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    1. Thank you for your reflections Steve. I think tht there is too much fear in parents these days. 99% of the time they could let their kids loose and they would come to no harm. My mother always warned me of "The Bogeyman" but he never appeared and its the same with "The Paedophile" nowadays. The vast majority of kids will never meet him. By the way - you are still young Steve!

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