Sometimes this world, or rather what we do in this world, seems too much to stomach: politicians, governments, institutions, wars, economic worries, technology, greed. Why are we so crazy?
I don’t like to bury my head in the sand, but temporary diversions can help. I’m reading a Dorothy L. Sayers novel from the 1930s. Enjoyable, except the events of those times seem frighteningly similar to those of the present. Four years before WWII, the Nazi regime in Germany was still viewed with some curiosity as the full horrors had yet to be implemented or revealed. Will we see similar atrocities in the next four years?
My Grandad was a Polish Jew in Berlin in the 30s. A tailor, his customers were German film stars and cabaret performers who gave him autographed photos. Grandad stuck his head in the sand. No one would bother with a harmless tailor: he lost his business, his home, his first adopted homeland and left his family behind in danger.
Some of the book’s characters utter premonitions of life 90 years later:
“I wish one could teach people nowadays that the doctrine of snatching what one thinks one wants is unsound.”
“Responsibility bores ’em.”
“You don’t seem to have anything do with real life. You are going about in a dream.”
So few people do not seem addicted to their phones and the inanity of the virtual world to escape grim reality. Consciously reducing personal use of social media, I am saddened by the clear struggles of some lovely people to stay on top of their game. And, because so much content is recycled, most of it is rehearsed and false. A virtual world of sand in which people bury themselves alive.
Lately, the prospect of retirement has increased in attraction. I could put my phone in a drawer and demote my Mac to a shelf. Bury my head in the sand and hope it will pass me by. Except it won’t.
It will never happen. That’s what Grandad thought. It did. The same could happen to us. And I believe it’s closer than we think.
Can we stop it when some people asked the same questions 90 years ago with no result? Perhaps.
All we can do is try. Reduce reliance on phones and technology. Discover the real world. Help people as much as we can. Be kind to people.
As I write this, two people planning to do something positive in the real world have just emailed to ask if I can help.
Hope is alive.