The Past vs The Future!

I have written a number of Posts that either allude to, or directly address, why we are… the way we are.

As an overview, it seems to be generally accepted that our perspective on our world is created by our upbringing. We raise our children intuitively which tends to be based on how we were raised. Our values tend be driven by our parents values. We may make small adjustments based on a desire to change but, basically, what was normal in our respective families will dictate what is normal to each of us. Our “script for living” therefore is the result of our upbringing.

Our script can be changed but, if our world meets our idea of “normal”, then why would we want to? Apparently it requires a “Significant Emotional Event” for such a change to happen, and I would expect that everybody reading this has experienced something significant which changed their perspective a little.

Yesterday (Oct 21) was the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster. I suspect that most of you have  never heard of it, either because it did not make the news in your country, or you are too young to know much about 1966 events.

Courtesy Wikipedia: The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, that killed 116 children and 28 adults on 21 October 1966.

Apparently it took 5 minutes  for the coal tip to slide down the mountain and engulf various buildings which included the school.

On Oct 21, 1966, I had just turned 20 and, while my life at that time was working, socializing and enjoying my motorcycle, I remember Aberfan making the news headlines. That time in my life was very stressful in many ways because my “normal” was constantly being challenged.

In Peterborough, where I was living, there was an accepted East Indian area. We just saw them as visually different, but they were integrating very well and many were already established in the  medical profession and in the restaurant business. We also had a Pakistani area which, again, was accepted in much the same way…. until the local newspaper screamed out “Racial Rioting in Peterborough”. It was a massive over-statement of the facts which were simply exaggerating a number of small India vs Pakistan conflicts however, this was very unusual for me. I had never been exposed to the concept of different cultures fighting after all, I was born just after WWII and so all was now peaceful. The enemy had been defeated… hadn’t it?

In that same era, Russia and America were both posturing their perceived importance, and nuclear weapons were the tools of choice to try and intimidate. Given the known awesome power of nuclear arms, I was now confronted with the possibility that one really stupid decision could result in a massive conflagration and possible total annihilation of our species.

The world in the 1960’s was nothing like the world that I accepted as normal. The Aberfan disaster was, by all accounts, man-made and therefore could have been avoided. I vaguely remember scandalous comments being made by owners of the mine and, if I recall correctly, the survivors of Aberfan were pretty much on their own to get their lives back together.

Clearly the “innocent little lad” (me!) of the 1950’s had a massive education on the real world. My “normal” was “abnormal” when compared to realities, but what really bothered me enough to write this Post is the fact that while I can now remember the heartbreaks and the unscrupulous components of the Aberfan disaster, I sadly admit that I had forgotten all about it until reminded by the other day.

We should never forget these disasters, whether natural or man-made. We should never forget the suffering that is currently going on around the world, and to deny assistance when needed is unforgivable. From my perspective, the world has not changed too much. We still have profiteering at the expense of our health and future. We still have political posturing with nuclear capability as the  tool of choice. We still have cultural intolerance, and we still have innocent men, women and children caught in the middle of conflicts that have political goals and aspirations as the driving force. Has any progress really been made since the 1950’s?

Yes I believe there has! Given the population growth since that time, and accepting that “delinquent” behavior increases in proportion to the population, then I believe that there has been a reciprocal increase in the number of people that have a social conscience, as evidenced by the various organizations that respond to disasters around the world, and also those people who are dealing with the broad range of social issues  prevalent in our own country. It is now inherent on all of us to express our feelings publicly and further the causes of peace and humanity in general.

Any free enterprise system is based on the law of supply and demand. If we are prepared to pay for something, then somebody is prepared to sell it to us. Conversely, if there are no demands, then production will cease. Our political world is no different in that politicians want your vote, and for them to be successful they must understand what is important to you. The onus is on you to make it clear however you can, what your desires are for the world.

Whatever disasters changed your “normal” and whatever significant emotional events are in your background, don’t ever forget them. Perhaps one day a child will grow up in a peaceful environment to realize that their “normal” is in fact “normal”! What a day for celebrating that would be!

11 thoughts on “The Past vs The Future!

  1. It’s sad that a news headline breaks our heart one day and then years later we forget about the tragedy, while the people involved still feel its repercussions daily. On a more positive note, happy birthday to you.

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  2. Very interesting post, Colin and I agree that the onus is on us to make our feelings felt about what direction we should take as a society.
    Maybe you can clarify for me something that you said about the world not changing much since the 50’s and 60’s but that you feel we have made progress.
    I think I understand your thought process about the population numbers increasing our social awareness but I wonder if numbers alone can match the social awareness of what many consider to be the greatest generation of our parents. What they sacrificed and how they approached the greater good without the self serving ideology which is pevalent in our society today, would be hard to match, let alone eclipse. I don’t believe we’ve come close to that in any form.
    For all that we’ve gained it seems we’ve somehow lost even more. We can certainly do something about it, as you suggest, but this current climate, political or otherwise, provides some frustration and more than a little disappointment.
    The future of our children/grandchildren frightens me. The peaceful, normal world they deserve is certainly out there and it’s up to all of us to help them live that life. Hopefully, as you suggest, if we all do our share, that dream may find a home.

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    • Hi George – I think that progress has been made in the area of awareness of world affairs and the options available. There are so many charitable organizations (in the broadest sense of the term) that now present themselves in areas experiencing severe conditions. There would appear to be more celebrities getting involved in world affairs than 50 years ago.
      What has not changed is unscrupulous money making. Here (Ontario) we have a Government run Lottery Commission administering numerous multi-million$$$ lotteries every week. Lottery is gambling however it is acknowledged, and gambling is addictive to many people. Does the fact that much of the lotteries revenue is put back into helping the people of Ontario, justify supporting the addiction of others? We still have cigarettes legally marketed despite the known carcinogenic properties…but they are great revenue generator to our Government. Politically based use of force seems very prevalent, and as for all the “Ban the Bomb” marches of my youth? They do not seem to have served much of a long term purpose.
      As for numbers? Of course numbers can be presented in such a way as to support any predetermined direction however, I think it would be tough to dispute the numbers of people who now communicate via the internet on a world level. Not only are we far more aware of worldly events, but we are also aware of opportunities to impact such events.

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