Saturday, February 24, 2024 | Sha'ban 13, 1445 H
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If only our ancestors could see us now

Ray Petersen
Ray Petersen

What would some of our forefathers think if they could step into today’s world, or how we would see tomorrow’s world given the opportunity?

It’s an interesting question, and within its many concepts has been explored for many years, I guess most notably through George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, ‘1984’, which 35 years ahead of its time predicted an absence of peace, unimaginable levels of government surveillance, and propaganda elevated to a level where the truth is unrecognizable.

Of course, a hundred years earlier, Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, the man who slept for twenty years and woke up to find he was free of a nagging wife, a British King, and the need to do anything. For him it was a perfect life, and a perfect sleep, and it’s amazing how a man who was lazy and feckless, came to be seen as a hero of sorts.

Surprisingly though, Irving’s story appears to be greatly un-original as the Greek Historian Laertius wrote of ‘Epinimedes of Knossos,’ Roman lore tells of ‘The Seven Sleepers of Epheseus,’ the Hindu faith has their version in ‘Bhagavatham,’ and in the Islamic world, the ‘Sura Al Kahf,’ all refer to those who slept for hundreds of years.

The Dutch had Johan Nachtigal’s ‘Pieter Klaus, the Irish, ‘Niamh and Oisin,’ and an Oriental perspective was explored through ‘Ranka,’ by the Chinese, and the Japanese ‘Urashima Taro,’ as far back as the 8th Century.

Then, of course, Michael J fox, as the pint-sized Marty McFly ventured from 1985, ‘Back to the Future,’ of 1955, in Doctor (Doc) Emmett Brown’s iconic DeLorean. Who could ever forget the clock tower scene with the lightning strike?

The developments in technology are stunning, and could never have been foreseen. I mean, I can remember in 1985 having one of the very first mobile phones. It came with a briefcase-sized battery that I had to carry around to do my sports reporting.

In the early nineties, people were, most of the time humorously and harmlessly, using their mobiles in public, as the people around them would seek to distract them with witty remarks, and paper darts, and the like. How that’s changed!

Speaking of mobiles, it’s an old hobby horse of mine, but we somehow must find a way to stop people using their phones while they are driving.

I see, and if you’re honest with yourself, you see too, too many people using their phones behind the wheel. Fines, and traffic enforcement don’t appear to be the answer, as neither I, nor anyone I know, knows of anyone who has been prosecuted for the offence. It is the culture that must change, and this requires some genuine direction from the community and society.

Drivers must be made to understand that when they are behind the wheel, the driving is the most important thing. Just at the moment, our roads are a dangerous playground for fools. Me, I can’t conceive of driving at 120kmh, without the most intense awareness and concentration, and nor should any driver.

Getting back ‘on topic,’ it appears to me however that if our ancestors could come back now what they would most be disappointed in, globally, is the decline in respect by global leaders, for the dignity of their office.

No, the lack of respect I am referring to is the language, conduct, and lack of respect for others that a number of world leaders have recently demonstrated. We know who they are, and they know who they are, yet they see themselves as beyond deferring respect to any. Maybe they could benefit from a dose of reality, or more correctly, humility?

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