Springingtiger's Blog


Life Moves So Fast

Today I learned that Moby Dick was published in 1851, not so long ago. It set me thinking.

 

I can be a little obsessive about some things as well as the books I have at least four films of Les Miserables, both films of True Grit, too many Three Musketeers and at least three film versions of Moby Dick. Recently I discovered ‘In The Heart Of The Sea’ which is apparently based upon the true story of the wreck of the Essex upon which Melville based ‘Moby Dick’. I had to buy it and now, having watched it I am glad I did.

Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick was published just one hundred and two years before I was born. During the intervening century whale oil gave way to petroleum; sail to steam to diesel; postal carriers were to some extent replaced by the telegraph that in turn gave was replaced by the radio and telephony; the great airships came and were replaced by fixed wing planes and the air-screw was superseded by the jet. The Americans had their Civil War we had the Crimean War and the Boer War and the world had two ‘World Wars’. The railways were laid and progresses from steam, via diesel to electricity as a source of power.

In the village where I lived as a child my babysitter’s house was still lit by gas and she did her ironing with flat irons she warmed in the grate. There were two television channels, but we could only receive the BBC because of the intervening hills. Radio was the main source of news and entertainment. We had a three digit telephone number and our main avenue of communication was the Royal Mail who for three (old) pence would deliver your letter the next day, even in the countryside we had two daily deliveries.

The world we live in today has changed more in the last sixty years than in the preceding century. I remember flying back to Belfast in a plane with propellers just a few years before the Soviet Union launched a man into space. Today Tim Peake arrived back on Earth from the International Space Station, the pace of change is not getting any slower. So much is happening so quickly that if we blink we may miss some major event.

Our world is just a speck in the vastness of the Universe and we have been on it only a few thousand years. It took centuries to move beyond the most rudimentary stone tool users. The pace of our advance has been accelerating ever since, but we do not advance in isolation we advance together.

When I was a child international banking transactions were not instantaneous, but somehow our bankers and entrepreneurs managed to keep the wheels of commerce turning. I am not going to question whether our increased pace of life and improved communications are a good thing; It would be pointless we cannot go back to the past however much we might wish to. I suppose a nation may try and withdraw from its place in the world, but the world will continue regardless, even Imperial Japan could not resist the pull of the modern world. There are those who will try and may succeed in living off the grid, dropping out of the modern connected world and for some isolation may work, but it is hard to live without some connection with the modern world.

There will always be advances in science and new discoveries in history. It is not only our future that is constantly changing, but our past and, inevitably our present. We are not as humans were a generation ago, we are bigger, better fed, better educated and we tend to live longer. Every day brings fresh discoveries and our interconnectedness circulates  those discoveries throughout our world in moments, however much commercial interests try to control them. We live in a litigious age because the urge to share ideas is too strong to accept the right of the few to exploit them and so the computer magazines are full of the latest copyright battles.

Like it or not we are all connected and the impetus to greater association and cooperation is irresistible no matter how much the greedy, power hungry, and narrow minded may object. I suspect we have reached the point where the choice must be made either to work together in the world we share or to rear it apart. The world belongs by right to the people all the people. We don’t need Guy Fawkes masks because to the politicians and bankers we all look alike. We all look alike because we are One and together we are bigger and more powerful than they. All we have to do is to choose to work together and ignore their rules, we have as much right to say how our world should be run than any politician, it’s time we took back what is ours.

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