Aging and the quest for the past.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. It just seemed to me that as I advance in years much of my time seems to be spent looking behind me….in a way yearning for the past.

My father once said to me, when I was having a really shitty time at school, that my childhood days were the best days of my life. At the time, obviously, I was skeptical, I thought “Oh great, if these are the best days, it’s all down hill from here…..the man is crazy, being an adult and in control of our lives has to be better than being a kid and being told what to do all the time”. But, now as I near retirement age I think that what I really miss is the simplicity of life back then.

The “Covid age” has brought this home more than anything else. We can’t simply go places any more. We have to scan QR codes, be tracked by the GPS on our ubiquitous cell phones, be forever on call – be connected on the off chance that someone wants to phone us, text us or “tweet”” about us. We have to justify our movements, (anti) social distance and stay in our “bubbles”, we are told who we can and can’t visit, or allow to visit us, even family members…and I won’t even mention the lunacy of mask mandates. Oops I already did.

I say lunacy because for a mask to be effective against viral particles they have to be of a quality to be able to filter out the viral particles – and to be worn and handled correctly. Most of the masks that we are “encouraged” to wear do not meet this criteria, hence the lunacy of the matter. The inefficient masks therefore become mere symbols of conformism or virtue signaling.

When I was a child – actually up until I was in my mid 20’s – we never even had a phoneline to our house. It wasn’t a necessity. If we needed to tell a friend or family member something, we’d go visit them, or if they were far away we’d write to them or, if the news was urgent, we’d use the pay phone at the end of the street. When me and my younger brother went out to play, we’d be told to be home for dinner, or before it gets dark. Our parents trusted us to have a certain amount of common sense – and we’d be gone for hours enjoying our freedom and the joy of using our imagination to entertain ourselves. I do miss that.

Now, particularly since the first lot of lockdowns in March of 2020, our lives have become more regimented, more restricted, less free. I want to point out here that when Covid-19 was first reported as some deadly virus from China with the potential to kill more than the Spanish Flu did in 1918/19 I was in full support of the New Zealand governments decision to close our borders, schools and “non-essential” businesses in order to keep Covid out of our country. The 4 week long lockdown initially made sense.

However, there has been a lot of water flowing under the bridge since then. Once it became clear that this virus was not the plague it was initially made out to be and that some of the measures enacted by government were not serving any purpose except to punish those who were not complying, I started to question what the end game was.

They say hindsight is a great thing and truly it is. Foresight would have been more helpful though, me thinks. Because of the fear generated by hype from the government and in the media about the potential deaths from the virus, we allowed the governments of the world to enact emergency legislation – which was meant to be short term – in a bid to stem the tide of the virus. These short term emergency measures are now being pushed harder and are becoming a permanent fixture, despite the obvious fact that the virus, although dangerous to the old and infirm, is not so problematical, in most cases, for the average healthy person. The powers that be then decide to mandate the vaccine on certain sections of society – based on peoples jobs mainly.

This is a vaccine in name only – because they changed the definition of what a vaccine is. We are presented with a “safe and effective vaccine” which has not gone through full clinical trials, is a new technology as far as use on humans goes….the trials end in 2023….and data will continue to be gathered for another 7 years. There have been thousands of injuries and deaths related to the vaccine, particularly causing heart problems in young males, but we are still being told it is safe and effective.

It doesn’t prevent the vaccinated from getting the virus, neither does it prevent the infected from passing on the virus to other people but we are told that the “effective” part is that it makes symptoms less harmful.

The real danger to all of us though is not the virus, or the adverse effects of the vaccine. The real danger is the authoritarian regime that has been brought in, with our approval to a certain extent, right under our noses. We have traded freedom, tradition, community and our old way of life, for perceived safety. I say perceived because the story of safety they promise us, smacks of the story of the Emperors New Clothes. It’s a falsehood, it doesn’t exist. We will never be truly free unless the system collapses either of it’s own accord, or by freedom seekers, revolutionaries, the resistance – call them what you will – deliberately collapsing it.

What we have now is a two tier society where those who have been double jabbed and are willing to keep up their vaccine status with ongoing booster shots “earn” freedoms that the unvaccinated (or as I prefer to call us “vaccine free”), or those who decide not to keep on with the endless rounds of booster shots, do not have. We become excluded from certain aspects of society such as the ability to visit a cafe, bar, restaurant or even a hairdresser. Sporting events and concerts are also a big no no for the “unclean”. What gives the government the right to force us to “earn” back our freedom? On the brighter side, not being able to dine out is saving us money.

History has shown us time and again that when this sort of thing is allowed to happen, the outcome is not good. Think apartheid…..think the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany…..think the Russian Revolution (or the events leading to the Russian Revolution). When totalitarian regimes are allowed to flourish, things have a habit of becoming very messy with much loss of life.

Life was certainly more straight forward back in the 60’s and 70’s before the technology age really came to power. As children me and a large number of friends (20 or more from the nearby housing estate) would play in the woods for hours on end, communing with nature, benefiting I believe from natures healing powers. We’d get our daily dose of vitamin D from the sunshine, we’d get dirty crawling through the undergrowth and climbing trees, great for building our immune system.

The writer and his wife in the woods where he enjoyed much of his childhood….and where the ashes of his parents and grandparents are scattered.

Nowadays mothers would be fussing around their pasty looking kids with lashings of sunscreen, “wet-wipes” and hand sanitizer to prevent them from picking up germs. We’d climb trees, sometimes fall from them and learn lessons from that….again, these days not many kids play in the woods all day like we used to do. They are more likely, when on rare excursions from the “safety” of the home, to be taken to a man made, purpose built playground with netting and rubber cushions to fall on, building a false belief that falling doesn’t hurt. The real world then comes as a shock to them in later years….and of course they get offended by oh so many things.

Of course, modern day children have so many other distractions – digital gaming, smart phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches – which provide all kinds of excuses to prevent them from getting out into nature, exercising…..and most importantly in my opinion….making friends (real physical friends) and developing an idea about the importance of community.

This wasn’t meant as a rant against Covid…..or against modernity. I’m not a Luddite….or, perhaps I am. I do think though that it serves as a reminder that not all “progress” is good. We seem to accept new technology, whether it be smart phones or mRNA injections or whatever….all new technology as progress, as something good and something that we need in our lives. What we should be doing is looking at each new technology separately and asking ourselves “does this benefit us as a species, as a community, or does it take away from what we already have?” This is the approach that the Amish community have. They do not shun all technology, just the technology that threatens their way of life and their sense of community. They live simply, they value one another, their community, their religious beliefs. I’m not suggesting that we should all become Amish….although that’s not altogether a bad idea.

Somewhere along the way we have become very lost and disconnected in our digitally connected lives from the physical world, from the spiritual world – whether that be organised religion or other spiritual beliefs – from one another and particularly from nature…..all of which therefore begin to lose perceived importance. Living with nature as we did back then – rather than playing god with nature, taming it, using nature as a commodity and putting a dollar value on it, as we do today – is surely preferable, more healthy and freer than the path we are now on.

These are of course just my own thoughts. I don’t expect everyone to suddenly agree with me. Frankly I’d be shocked if they did. BUT if you’re feeling down, drained, battered by the pressures of modern life, try taking a walk in the woods. Stroll at a leisurely pace, don’t rush it. Take it all in – the sights, the smells, the sounds….even the feeling of the place, it’s “spirituality” – and recharge yourself. Regain, if you can, an appreciation for nature and the simple things in life. Thank you if you have read this far and all the very best to you and yours for this new year 2022 and hopefully better things to come.

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