I think about climate change all the time. I didn’t need Greta to help me with that, but I applaud her for helping those that do. The more I see, the more I can’t help thinking that it’s funny to think that the collective of the middle and lower classes bought into the idea that we, the individuals, could some how compensate for all the damage that bad acting corporations have been doing, and continue to do, on massive scale.
This ladybug doesn’t really know anything about from where this rusting metal pole has come. It knows nothing of its impact, good or bad, on its environment. It just knows that the wind is cold today. It knows the sun is warm today. And it knows that whatever this is and no matter the chain of events that brought it here, at least for the moment, it is the only thing that can help it warm up enough to try to go about its daily business of trying to stay alive in a less than luxurious environment.
I’m glad Greta and her family have had the courage to embark on their journey. I just wish I knew more how to help them help us.
There is no mystery to me why “the West” is losing its competitive edge. Between universities that see students as asses in seats with a pay checks for faces and HR departments that never see the human in the resource, how could we not. One day someone will have to explain to me why it is better to have a string of letters after your name than to have ability and talent.
Our systems are supposed to use the tools available to us, including education and HR, to help us achieve a better life. Our systems are failing miserably and I am sorrow for the generations that will be permanently crippled by the shift.
After careful consideration, I have decided that I definitively do not like going to the grocery store anymore. I am aware of how spoiled that sounds. I should be thankful for the ease with which I can find nutrients for my body. I should be thankful for the variety that is overwhelmingly available to me. There are many in my own society and throughout the world that do not have this simple luxury. Their lives are full of hunger. Their stomaches are often empty or filled with food that only fills the belly without nurturing the body.
And I am very thankful for that aspect of my privilege, but I refuse to pretend the system is perfect when it is not.
Want an idea of what I mean, pick the food documentary of your choice. If you don’t have one, you can start with “Hungry for Change”.
It may be true that you can never go home again, but it is also true that you cannot change from whence you came. Our exposure to “culture” and “cultures” is completely dictated by the physical space we inhabit and the people that share that space with us. As best as I can tell, the advent of the digital landscape has not really changed that. There was a brief period in the early days when I had hope it would, but as more and more joined the digital revolution, it simply became the A/R arm of the forced collective experience that the ever present “middle” dictates. We are geotagged and/or relegated to the appropriate groups without much consideration for any desire to expand beyond the popular.
We live in precarious times. We live in times that require us to look beyond our immediate bubble and grow beyond our problems.
When I was a child is such a cliché way to start a paragraph. I might as well say it was a dark and stormy night, or maybe Once upon a time. Yet here I sit, writing it and giving wholly into the cliché. “Why?” you might ask? Well, because my topic today is unfortunately also so cliché. So, hold onto your pre-conceptions, it might get bumpy from here on out.
As previously stated, when I was a child, there was point at which I understood that there were some people who had a great deal more than others. I couldn’t understand, at the time, how that could be or what it meant in the world of adults, but it would eventually lead, much later in life of course, to the realization that those “with” could and would use this disparity to scare those “without” into accepting, even participating, in the violent theft from those “others” also without who were so clearly the cause of their own “withoutedness”.
I can’t wrap my head around why we accept this fear, so completely unfounded. Nor can I understand how violent we are so quickly willing to go without any real thought to the human being(s) on the receiving end of that anonymous violence because of this irrational fear. If the truth be told, I hope I never understand it. From what I’ve seen, understanding it seems to come with wanting to wield the power, for the greater good of course.
The world feels heavy as of late, not directly because of the political changes in my homeland, but more the hate of the few that has so heavily outweighed the love of the many. I am struggling with the math on that one, but I’m sure if I ever do figure it out, a thumb (or thumbs) on the scale will definitely account for the gross miscalculation in history.
That’s how my day started today. An impossible equation to be solved by a non-mathmetician in the darkness of pre-dawn. I wanted to roll over and sleep through well into the inevitable nuclear holocaust we seem so hell bent on achieving. A quick Twitter check confirmed my plan was sage. I put down my phone and rolled toward my husband. Why not go into the darkness holding the one you love? After all, we do have a few choices inside the inevitability. Why not take avantages of the ones that bring us pleasure?
A few hours later a minor miracle had taken place. My eyes fluttered open to a glimmer of hope. So tiny a glimmer I almost missed it, but a glimmer of hope none-the-less. It held no particular form and I can’t really explain it. I simply found myself wanting to rise and to do my best to bring whatever amount of love and beauty that I could muster to the day. I’ve now reached the later part of the day and only mustered the tiniest bits of both, but tomorrow is another day.
I think this might be like exercise. The benefits are cumulative.
These last few months have brought up some very dark perspectives for the future for me. Even if you haven’t really being paying attention it is easy to understand why. What is not easy to understand is from where all the hate is coming. When I stumble upon photographs like this one, I remember the cautious optimism that existed not so long ago. The beauty of the image and what it represents warms my heart, but to know what is possible yet (hopefully temporarily) beyond our reach inevitably cools the warmth.
Sometimes I wish I could un-know how sick my culture has become. When I didn’t know how many felt hate over this photograph my world made more sense. My days, though always full of challenges, made some sense. Now I know, and the application of the word senseless has never in my lifetime been more appropriate for the times. The current cultural circus that is playing out is unnecessary and there is not a single player in it that doesn’t know that. No one anywhere in the world will win from the way we are doing this, but, at least for now, it seems the desire to burn it down is bigger than the desire to build it up. I only hope when the fire subsides there are still enough materials left for the survivors to start again. The grand democratic experiment is still worth the efforts. Humanity is worth it, even if we aren’t showing it right now.
There are several very striking differences in these photographs.
In the 1960’s, people dressed for air travel. This shows, at least in apparence, that people who travelled by plane saw it as something deserving their “best” face. One can infer that this also means that these travellers would not accept to travel below a certain level of comfort.
In the 1960’s people who travelled economy class had more space available to them than people today have in most business class sections.
In the 1960’s people who travelled were thinner. The obesity epidemic has been talked to death so there’s not much for me to add here other than to say shrinking seats and expanding arses doubles a space issue, even if your arse is not one of the ones expanding.
In the 1960’s there was a great deal less “safety” concerns in seating than today. Can you find a seat belt in the 60’s photo?
In the 1960’s consumer demands were radically different than today. Technology has obviously advanced, which changes what features are available in flight, but the photographs also show a dramatic change in the general interests of people travelling by air. Culturally speaking, now is not the 1960’s.
Having been fortunate enough to travel a little in my life, I can say with certitude that air travel is a necessary EVIL if you want to see the world, but an EVIL none the less. I can’t speak for the real comfort of a flight in the 60’s. There are some very real discomforts that come naturally from defying gravity that way. However, I can see from the photograph that, even tall persons could sit as comfortably as they would have on a sofa.
There is definitely room for modern airlines to improve, but, given the current state of affairs, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A flight to Hawaii using the plane similar to the one shown in the 1960’s photograph had been advertised for $460. A search for a flight to Hawaii from San Francisco, CA in 2014 returned at $475. It doesn’t take an economist to see that something went wrong in the business model and as a result, something had to give. Is it any real shock that it is space? With rising operating costs and greater and greater consumer demand for cheap flights, how can we realistically expect a business to give us more? In the end we have to ask ourselves what kind of consumers are we: the kind that accepts any condition for the cheapest price, or the kind that considers that in-flight time valuable enough that we are willing to pay a little more for it?
Either way, as a consumer, I still expect the airlines to stop treating me like cattle and remember that I am more than just the few dollars they’ve asked me to give them. Ultimately, I don’t set their prices, I just decide if I am going to pay them, and for some airlines, because of the in-flight conditions, the answer is a resounding NO!