greenfree2002: (глаз)
The idea which lies behind the image of The Matrix is not so far from our existence as we can suppose. A strange System which feeds us with some artificial products, takes our energy for its purposes, provides us with virtual means of entertainment and holds us in a full dependence… Sounds a little bit familiar for everyone, I believe. The only difference from the Matrix is a lack of the Artificial Intellect… or any significant intellect at all.

We did not fall to this captivity at once, after some Epic War or Burning the Sky. No, it was gradual, progressive process, step by step.

In the course of thousands of years people grew their food, created their tools and tailored their dress by themselves. But then, in the XIX century the Second estrangement from the reality suddenly happened. As a result of it, in our time approximately 5% of the entire population cultivate all the food products; our dress and furniture are created in the factories. Only some old-fashioned freaks grow their own tomato or sew their skirt. Although in the middle of the XX-th century we saw in Europe appearance of the punk-movement with their famous slogan DIY (Do It Yourself), but now all we remember about them is a colored Iroquois hairstyle.

People stopped creating products; they started to “be involved in the manufacturing process”.

In the end of the XX century the Third estrangement from the reality occurred. We stopped to cook our food; now we buy it cooked, frozen, canned. Most people don’t adjust recipes of their meal for their personal taste; - on the contrary, they adjust their taste for the food which is proposed to them by the food industry.  Very few of us (rare Oracles, in fact) are able to bake cookies, prepare strawberry jam, create an apple pie.

People ceased to feed themselves; now they “participate in the consuming process”.

The Forth stage of the estrangement from the reality occurs just now. People escape from the real relationship to the “staying in contact” through the gadgets. Within our working places all types of relations are standardized and approved by The Modern Western Corporative Ethics. In our social life we are much less intimate than earlier. It’s rare thing now to have a meeting in somebody’s house; we prefer to meet each other in cafes, concerts, pubs. Inviting a friend to our home now looks like almost intimate action.

I am not trying to say that “in old kind times” everything was much better. I just want to notice what kind of skills becomes now rare and, therefore, valuable. The ability to grow flowers and bake cookies, to repair furniture and refit dress, to get a personal contact and find common interests with a casual fellow traveler, – all of this will have increasing significance in our Brave New world. Sure enough, these skills will not bring us a lot of money. But we came to this world not for making money, didn’t we?

By the way, forgetting it was the first stage of estrangement.

greenfree2002: (СЧашкойЧаю)

In the last session with my Hebrew class I proposed to my students composing an essay on residence of elder people in nursing houses. Suddenly I realize that it could be interesting to make my own opinion on this topic. I never thought about it till now, because this part of our society’s life was somehow out of my attention. But as I can understand, it’s an important issue for many people in our western world.

So, on the one side we can see the arguments of the proponents of the Nursing houses. Elders, they say, prefer to live in their own company. In nursing houses they always have friends to speak with, they have medical personal to provide them with all kind of assistance, and they don’t need to bother themselves with preparing meals and cleaning their apartment. There are very rational, reasonable arguments.

On the other side we can hear much more emotional reasons. It’s a shame on the offspring who cannot take care of their parents! Elder people in the end of their life have right to live – and to die – in their own home, being surrounded by their beloved relatives, neighbors and pets!

The first opinion is wide spread in the modern western world, whereas the second one in intrinsic rather to the old kind parochial society.

Which point of view is closer to me?

Well, of course, there can be all kinds of circumstances to take in account. But generally speaking, we should ask in our mind’s eye which of the two options would a person choose if it wasn’t a matter of money, that is, if the person was extremely rich?

Me personally (I hate this phrase in an argumentation but I can take it as a starting point in my mental experiment) would prefer to have my 150-th birthday in some tropical island with my beloved one and a couple of friends (no children allowed). This picture may or may not include flying, skiing or diving (although it is preferable to include them), but it should definitely include a lot of privacy.

I don’t suppose I am original in creating such a picture of future. I believe privacy is a crucial thing for everyone, especially for aged people. Almost everyone, I am sure, would choose staying in his own house with his own maid, driver, nurse, yoga instructor and housekeeper. And with friends who are they own real friends, not just occasional mates in the nursing house.

So, on my opinion it is just the question of money and of relation in a family. The modern affluent western world cannot provide every elder person with opportunity to live in the end of his/her days in their own home. This world, while being so suitable for staying in contact, cannot keep relations within a family being strong enough.

I am not saying it is good or bad. It is just an interesting paradox.

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June 2017

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