I have been doing a little bit of thinking.
It started over the weekend when I read an article via Dick Puddlecote's Link Tank.
Now I agree with a lot in what he says. The world has indeed changed and we do seem to have lost our sense of joy. The world as I know it has become a lot darker. But why?
Technology does have a lot to do with it. While we can connect with old friends on the Interweb and make new ones, those connections lack the personal touch – seeing facial expressions and hearing someone laugh. Why make the effort to meet someone when you can send the a simple text? People as a result are less connected than they used to be. Life lacks the human touch.
I think there are two other factors though.
One is this modern obsession with health. Health seems to be the paramount objective wherever you look. It is a serious business. People regulate their diets and lifestyle and torture themselves with exercises in attempt to somehow gain longevity. We are bombarded with stuff about "healthier lifestyles" and "the healthier alternative" to the point where people sacrifice the things they enjoy in life. Fortunes are to be made with fad diets, vitamin pills, gymnasiums and the whole "health" business. It has become all pervasive. People no longer buy a bar of chocolate because it is "unhealthy" even though it might make them feel good and put a smile on their face. The whole "health" obsession seems to involve massive quantites of denial?
The other factor is people's willingness to allow Big Brother to look after after them. We cheerfully pass responsibility to "the authorities" and look to the latter for guidance in all matters. I think it was back in the eighties when I first noticed this phenomenon. I was out clearing snow off the footpath outside my house after a rather nasty blizzard when a neighbour sneered at me -"why are you doing that when it's the council's responsibility?". I was at a loss for words.
Of course when you combine the two – an obsession with health with an abrogation of all responsibilities you end up with the fertile ground for the Nanny State. Laws are being passed left right and centre to force us into "healthy lifestyles" whether we like it or not, and the people just love it. They will lap up any old nonsense if they are promised some kind of health in return. They actually clamour for greater and more rigid laws because it's all for the sake of health, despite it taking a lot of the joy out of life.
I see the Pig Shagger over in the UK is introducing state run classes for parents on how to raise their kids. So people actually have to be told by the state how to do something that we all have done since the dawn of time without any help? What kind of society have we become? Only the State knows best?
What struck me about the article was the comments, and in particular the thumbs up and thumbs down. Those comments mentioning the Nanny State invariably got more thumbs down while those showing approval for the idea got more thumbs up. The people actually want the State to tell them how to run their lives.
We are becoming dehumanised and mere objects to be ordered about by the State.
I'd have to laugh.
If only the State would tell me how.