Wednesday 10 April 2013

Learning And Living In The Past

Having been in the toils of downloads, updates, backups full computer and documents and the rest it is refreshing to return to the business of wondering what to do and why to do it.  Welcome to the age of computer, making life simpler and allowing more leisure time.

We have just been given our information on matters which demand online access, passwords and all that.  All we want to do is check up on the account not set off a nuclear war.  Apparently, it is all necessary because of “security”.

But when looking at the web sites for security experts, sad perhaps but it’s a better way to get frit than playing the games or reading economic forecasts, they tell me that there is no such thing as privacy and for that matter when venturing forth to buy the lottery tickets every move will be followed by something in the sky.

The youngest generations are used to all this and take it for granted.  That there was a time when you could watch TV without your choice of channel, other options and advertisement attention being monitored seems strange and unworldly to them.

Has there ever been an age when the gap between the generations in the understanding of reality and the way the world works has been so great.  When what might once have been taken for granted is lost and what is might be purely transitory?

All of which brings us to the understanding of history.  How far can those used to modern facilities and communications comprehend how things went on or worked in ages without them?  One feature is the time lags of the past. 

When the longer past is considered the time distance between say London and far flung places in the world could be measured in weeks and even months.  Even within the Atlantic Isles it might be days and sometimes even weeks.

Never mind the mechanics of producing documents and information.  Now on the web it is sometimes possible to do in minutes what might have taken weeks and involving a good deal of travel.  Click, click and if you are lucky up it comes.

Some things you might never have found at all.  When we look at the past and at both official and unofficial documents there is then the problem of what is not there.  It may not have been known.  It may not have been mentioned.  It may never have been recorded.  With the web now so much cannot be recovered.

Often we are left with the stories, or the spin, or what made it into print or into the diaries of people who may or more often may not have been diligent in either recording facts or bothering to discover them. 

At present I have been turning up items in old newspapers which put a different light on many things, putting these together with other information it throws a different light on many aspects of the past.  It means that things taken for granted, assumed and told are not at all what is expected.

What is worrying in all the hurly burly of the last few days is both the lack of understanding in the ways things were and indeed the basic facts.  The media which you might hope has some basis is in fact the worst of sources in many respects.

Much of the other comment, even by people who should know better has been infantile.  If this is the way we conduct our affairs in government at present then heaven help us.

Question, which famous person, recently deceased, was descended from men like the above?


  1. Younger people may not know what the man in your picture is doing.

  2. Two clicks and they will learn two things - may surprise some. I didn't know.

  3. For once, I should like to thank you for an earworm: your picture reminded me of a song my father often sang.

    As the son of an East Anglian postmaster, the first of his family to go to university, he lived by very much the same moral and ethical code as lady Thatcher - and this song appealed to his ideas of the conscientious work ethic.

    I recommend Paul Robeson's performance (on YouTube).

    I sit and cobble at slippers and shoon
    From the rise of sun to the set of moon
    Cobble and cobble as best I may
    Cobble all night and cobble all day
    And I sing as I cobble this doleful lay.

    The stouter I cobble the less I earn
    For the soles ne'er crack nor the uppers turn.
    The better my work the less my pay,
    But work can only be done one way.