I am going through what might be called "the long dark night of the soul". The world seems insane to me.
But then, I'm seventy one. I've lived through a Golden Age.
Some things have altered for the better.
Some have become worse.
It seems to me, the more our standard of living has raised in the West, the more disgruntled we have become. The more laws that are passed, the more we demand. The more medical science tells us its findings are "evidence based", the more evidence we expect. The less Religion there is, the more we fall into a victim mentality - society owes us. The more pornography is available, the less we find commitment in relationships. Feminism is bent on destroying men and trashing women, the home, children, gender and God Knows What Else. Governments are struggling to keep pace with the Internet/Media savvy masses who are all victims of something and who cry out for their rights. And everyone is unsure what to believe about anything any more because the strings that pull on the puppets are suddenly visible.
And we are more frightened of death than we have ever been.
I think I lived through a Golden Age and feel really privileged to have done so.
It wasn't wonderful - but somehow, it seemed less restricted - more free - even though in many ways it wasn't.
We had no household car until I was well into my teens. And then it came as the most wonderful luxury! We walked or rode bicycles mostly. And when we got the car, we didn't use it carelessly because we couldn't afford the petrol. Our bathroom and toilet were outside. Only rich people had washing machines - we used the bath to wash our clothes in. My family were very strict about the way girls behaved. My sister and I were not allowed to swear. We could go out with boys if there was a chaperone. So NO sex. We had to be home by midnight. No alcohol. No smoking. We had to behave in a dignified manner - with good manners - at all times.
So that was a repressed upbringing, yes? I can remember feeling bloody angry with the adults in our family, and I could see they were a prudish, silly bunch, but that, as we used to say, is how the mop flopped. Other people had a more pleasant home life. I didn't feel a victim of poverty. There were things we couldn't have - tough shit. And you can't change your family.
My sister and I both became heavy smokers. Yet smoking was really frowned on while we grew up. There was no "anti-smoking" regulation - my friends' families smoked - it's just that MY family thought it was horrible.
I loved it! I really kicked over the traces when I left home. It was the sex, drugs, rock and roll (PROPER rock and roll) era. It was a time of great OPTIMISM. There was going to be peace and love all over the world. Women would be liberated, black people would have equal rights, Gay people would free and slavery would vanish.
Everyone smoked cigarettes. There were no laws regulating where you could, or could not smoke. There were no helmets on bikes, nor seatbelts in cars. Motor racing was a dangerous sport. There was no "consumerism". "health and safety", no "evidence based life-style medicine" to speak of. People got sick through germs, bad luck or God's will.
And the polio vaccine got polio under control.
The pill made having sex safer, since falling pregnant before you got married was frowned on. Unless you were career orientated, women wanted romance with their sex, to be loved, to be cherished by a man, to get married, to have children and a home. There WERE successful women in the man's world, believe it or not.
Consumerism, Health and Safety, Public Health and Life-Style Sciences, are making (have made) us into timid wimps. Where once there was optimism that our society could right the very big wrongs we lived in whatever it cost, we have become entangled in minutiae. Rules and regulations even control our thoughts - and all of us have become victims of fear.
Fear is trummled out to us in great measure. Watch the TV, read the papers, read food wrappers, medicine inserts, cigarettes packs, listen to the adverts. Some of them are completely daft!
It seems to me that people are sicker, more depressed, less contented, more dissatisfied, more fearful, more complaining, more unhappy than ever.
The Anti Smoking Template has been so successful in promoting the fear of death in our modern world, that the same pattern is being used by other groups now, to restrict us in other ways. We really fear death. Sugar, salt, fat, carbohydrates, coffee, alcohol, smoking, loneliness, stress, will remove a few years of our lives. And so, they must be controlled - for our own good. So we can live longer, as old people.
I have never before felt old. But lately, I think I do. I'm tired of all the insane shit I see around me. I am tired of seeing all the strings that pull the puppets making yet more laws and regulations that are binding the new generation coming along behind me in knots they do not even recognise as an intrusion of their freedom. They think they are free. Maybe they think, if they follow the rules, they will live forever.
Whatever freedoms the new generation has now, was because of us. I hope the next generations coming along, will be able to have OPTIMISM in their lives, like we had. But that will only happen when this generation makes Governments stop the insanity of regulating the minutiae of life.
Life is for living, with exuberance - not under the fear of death.
RIP The Golden Age.