The Absurdities Of Modern Life Grow Greater By The Day

Beijing scooting

Three absurdities in one day is a lot, even for the BBC News, but there they were staring us in the face this morning, jaw-dropping examples of the crassness of the human species when elevated to any form of authority.

The world is teetering on the precipice of global warming, politicians are burying their heads deep into the sand while pretending they have the matter in hand, and China bans electric scooters and segways from the roads of two major cities. The above image clearly displays the irresponsible attitude of Chinese politicians, their hypocrisy in paying lip service to the containment of global warming while banning environmentally-friendly transportation on the grounds of “safety”. The woman in the image is forced to wear a mask because of the pollution caused by China’s vast number of cars, yet will be barred from doing her small part for the environment.[1]

Meanwhile, Canadian officialdom is publicising its inhumanity to its fellow man by forcing a couple married for sixty-two years to live in separate care homes. Here is a perfect example of how human beings with power over people rapidly become desensitized to the needs of those they control.

canadian couple

Forcing two people apart who have lived together and loved one another for any length of time is cruel and inhumane. After sixty-two years it should be a criminal offence punishable by public flogging. Fraser Health Authority is the power holding sway over this couple. The key people in power are a Michael Marchbank, Arun Garg, and Vivian Giglio. Their motto is: ‘Better health. Best in health care’. If this is the best healthcare they can provide to their customers then their motto should be: ‘Screw you. We’re alright, Jack’.[2]

The third – though possibly not the last – absurdity to surface from the pages of the BBC News website today concerns our old friend, Amazon. Apart from rumours of ruthless employee-bashing, Amazon has in the past provided a service most of us have partaken of to a greater or lesser degree. It’s also done wonders for the profits of companies like UPS, Fedex, and cardboard box manufacturers worldwide.

Amazon’s latest idea is surely one offering too far: Amazon Dash. Soon we’ll be able to purchase Dash buttons for many household products: toilet rolls, washing detergent, toothpaste…the list is expanding rapidly. Running short of condoms? Just press your Dash Durex button and a packet will be ‘dashed’ to you within twenty-four hours. (Don’t worry, lads, you won’t have to keep it in your pants for that long once Amazon gets its drones off the ground). The system’s been in use in the U.S. (where else!) since March last year and is catching on rapidly.

amazon-dash-buttons-order-items-by-pressing-a-button

With major manufacturers all keen to get in on the act it’s surely one more step on the road to complete corporate domination of our lives; lives that are already rapidly becoming controlled by social media, Google advertising, and huge conglomerates like Apple, Microsoft, and the like. Never mind that we can buy a product much cheaper at the local supermarket, why go out if it can come to you?[3]

It’s all part of taking control away from us and putting it in the hands of those who hold the power. Whether it’s getting to work or to the shops on an environmentally-friendly vehicle, living out our remaining years together with our life partner, or choosing if the condom we use is made by Durex or Trojan, those choices should be ours as a right, not imposed on us by the inhumanity of governments, health authorities, or corporations.

[1] “Beijing and Shanghai ban electric scooters and segways on roads” BBC, August 31st 2016

[2] “Canadian couple forced to live apart after 62 years” BBC, August 26th 2016

[3] “Amazon Dash – who wants to live in a push-button world?” BBC, August 31st 2016

5 Replies to “The Absurdities Of Modern Life Grow Greater By The Day”

  1. And then there’s this nice little conundrum posed by Dash buttons and the Internet of Things: while the consumer may argue that he’s saving energy by not hopping in his car to go shopping, ‘the autonomous streaming of data by billions of sensors built into everything from street furniture, driverless vehicles and smart home thermostats to industrial production processes such as oil wells removes these potential constraints to growth.
    ‘Dr Mike Hazas, a lecturer at Lancaster’s SCC, says: “The internet is consuming an increasing portion of global electricity supply, and this growing consumption is a significant concern in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”
    ‘There are currently 6.4 billion connected Internet of Things devices, a figure estimated to reach possibly 21 billion by 2020.’

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/internet-energy-impacts-on-climate/

  2. Regarding the third instance of absurdity – Amazon’s Dash thingies: yes, absurd it is – people would still have to go out to the store/supermarket for fresh food items, other individually preferred bits and bobs of canned or frozen food, bread etc – and necessary prescription medications. Amazon’s Dash wouldn’t save a single car journey.

    I have often thought that a return to ye olde times – my grandparents’ day would be of benefit. They lived in a tiny village. The grocer, the butcher, the fishmonger, the baker all visited regularly in their vans. They’d bring a regular order of whatever to each customer, as well as offering anything new from their vans. That kind of service for outlying areas, rural or suburban, where no public transport exists, could save many car journeys, as well as being very helpful to seniors and those with disabilities. But because there are no such things as grocers’, bakers’, butchers’ and fishmongers’ stores any longer.. it wouldn’t work, it’d be far too complex a deal for the likes of Walmart to sort out, and wouldn’t make them enough extra money to even bother to try!

  3. Sabina – there’s no doubt the internet is causing a gradual, but significant, increase in energy consumption worldwide. While that wouldn’t matter if our energy supply was environmentally friendly, while we’re still using fossil fuels it’s certainly a matter of grave concern.

    Twilight – ah, how we oldies hark back to those better times when we huddled around the crystal set to listen to the ‘Archers’, Ma hung the washing on a rack pulled up to the ceiling on a rope, and Hovis was a penny a loaf (do I hear strains of Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ in the background?) 😉

    Yes, I gently mock, but there is much about those days that seemed so peaceful and relaxed, at least in retrospection. Though, I tend to agree with Billy Connolly’s view that we’re not pining for the era so much as for our youth. Amazon’s Dash is just another way to increase profits, and forced on us by big business. No doubt, we’ll soon be learning to duck automatically at the sound of numerous drones, with packs of wash detergent attached, buzzing past our heads.

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