The one criticism I used to have of George Orwell’s 1984 was that it put forward the idea of a society based on an inherent imbalance of power as being stable.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
Whenever there is inequality, I thought, there is the possibility of insurrection. Orwell answered this in the book by using techniques that seemed unworkable: keeping a watch on every single member of the middle class [outer-party], and keeping the workers [proles] happy and content enough not to rebel, even if they are deprived of basic necessities.
The shock for me came quite recently when it became apparent that not only was this feasible, it had already happened. Obviously I can only comment using my limited experience of the US and the UK, but in both countries there are sections of society prepared to fight to keep things the way they are regardless of how badly-off they may be: the rich fight to keep themselves rich; and the poor fight to keep the rich rich, presumably so that they have something to aspire to.
The poor will then even fight to reduce taxes as if it is only the taxes that are keeping them from the world of yachts and personal islands. Some of them will even then stand up and defend their right to be paid less by their employers in the pathetic hope that the riches will “trickle down” to them.
There is a thought in their minds that one-day they will be able to break away from the rest of the mugs and live the high life. While they are waiting, they can relax by watching ordinary people trying to achieve greatness through celebrity, on X-Factor and friends. With the rest of the mugs.
It’s really bastard difficult not to be cynical. Advice welcomed.
A while ago Mr Fritz informed me that I was really into Post-Rock. I wasn’t aware of this then for many reasons, especially as I hadn’t got a bloody clue what “Post Rock” meant; and it sounded way too much like Prog Rock. Well, time has passed and now that I know what it means I can at last come out as a fan of Post Rock…and a big chunk of Prog Rock too in all honesty.
The past few days/weeks have been obnoxiously hot – frequently in the high 90s (F) and a couple of days with the temperature well over 100 (F again). Alighting the bus this evening did not result in the usual shock of the plunge from a cool, air-conditioned, 73 into the humid hellish 90s on the street; it was still hot, but at a reasonable 80-something temperature and with a solid breeze.
The walk from the bus stop at the top of Ridge Ave to our house is not only good exercise, it can actually be pretty pleasurable at times; it affords some lovely views of Gorgas Park, the Manayunk valley, and a great deal of avian activity. Tonight as I marched towards home I was listening to music on my phone – in particular a track called “Grace Descending”. With the volume turned up way too high, the lovely scenery, the cool breeze complimenting the hot sun, and the swirling impassioned tornado of sound in my ears, I started feeling almost high. There were goose bumps, an inexorable grin and a feeling of overwhelming pleasure as the music came to its ultimate climax. It really felt like I was floating.
The experience obviously demanded a repeat; I hadn’t even reached the half way point on the road home and so I restarted the track.
As the feelings started to rekindle, a car pulled up driven by a friendly neighbour. It was lovely of her to stop and offer me a ride to the door, and it would have been churlish to decline the offer. Nonetheless there was something really sad in taking out my headphones and getting into the air-conditioned car.
Sorry for this particularly poncy post – but it’s rare to feel such powerful emotions from such a seemingly innocuous experience.
Today we launched the new version of our software. A year’s worth of work unleashed on the world for the first time. Maybe that’s why I was so susceptible to strong emotions on the way home.