Here I am.. 20 years out of date, apparently……..
Go downtown the other day where they’re building a new shopping centre for us (? for ‘them’, really, of course) – a ‘mall’ – an enormous building.
See lots of new techniques – the walls are all giant prefabricated concrete slabs – five or six metres tall at a guess, maybe twice that, I don’t know. Trucked in, craned up, job done, instant wall.
Roof steelwork put up by one man in a ‘cherry picker’ crane thing. He drives that around with his feet or telepathy or something while with his hands he puts the bolts in and nuts on to fasten the steel girders together and to the steel columns.
All the steel lifted by one other man in a mobile crane of his own.
No gang of steelmen crawling all over the construction, no hammering and banging, no singing, talking, calling out, chi-acking, wolf whistles….. quiet, methodical construction by only two men of a giant building all precisely built according to plan..
But I didn’t see this until the other day: a big truck standing inside the mesh fence with what appeared to be a large roll of silver – paper? – on the bed slowly turning and feeding back to the end of the truck.
But the truck bed wasn’t a flat empty space.. it was all covered in a long, low, large box with dials and gauges, knobs and whistles and which seemed to be some kind of machine in itself.
I got the kids and we went to see what this was. I figured it was roof insulation perhaps, long sheets of roof insulation being dragged off the reel.
What did we find? It was steel. Or aluminium. On the reel. Being fed into the long, low, machine. And in that machine it was rolled into a profile to make a sheet of roofing iron. And it was fed out of the back of the machine and stacked on one sheet on top of the other and 40 metres long! 40 metres ! 40 metres of roof iron created there on the spot, sheet after sheet after sheet…. stacked and ready to go.
You couldn’t truck it in. How could you truck in 40 metre lengths?
The man working there told me he’d been doing it for 20 years. This technology is already 20 years old! I thought it was as new as tomorrow.
Why hadn’t I heard of it? Because I don’t work in the building trade and because apart from that specialised field it has no news value. No one is interested. In particular the journalists, the politicians and the pop music people have zilch interest in advances in building technology or any other kind of technology.
We are led – inasmuch as our environment is created by their attitudes, their interests, their decisions on what is important and what isn’t – by that unholy triad: Journalists, Politicians, Pop people. In no particular order. Expand the category from ‘pop music’ to ‘pop people’ to include all the ludicrous acting people that have this kind of sway, influence.
We are led by them.
They decide what is important.
They focus on money and tinsel and phoney glamour and pretence and hollow substance….
Our educators find themselves in that world – pulled more and more into that world since the fashion for universities to pay their own way and for schools to ‘perform’ .
So the educators echo the interests, preoccupations, supposed values of that triad. Become, educators FOR that triad. Not educators for education.
And churn out incipient wage slaves. Who, in the absence of work become by default dole-recipient slaves. Which is a drone, or dumb slave-in-waiting or the default human being created by our system.
Isn’t it heartening, isn’t it cheering, isn’t it inspiring to find these technological advances all around us and apparently ever present, going on all the time, were going on 20 years ago, evidence of conscious, intelligent, articulate thought and work – things thought of, devised, designed, constructed, modified, tuned, developed, improved….
I don’t give a damn that we maybe don’t need another shopping mall devoted to trash magazines and women’s powder and paint… we do need practical people who can do practical things and I eagerly seize upon any evidence that they exist…
I think once we all did.
I think in medieval times we looked with wonder at great buildings, great ships, great machines of war, whatever, because everyone was to some extent ( a large extent, then ) a practical person, a builder, a worker, a designer, a thinker-out of problems, etc…
Everyone appreciated what went into such things, they had the capacity to marvel because they understood the skills in essence and could relate to the level of expertise reached in the manifestation of these skills.
But now where are we? The drones, we the drones, know nothing of engineering, of design, of theory, of electronics, not even of electrics, not even elementary physics, nothing, in the main we know nothing because we do nothing….
We watch movies, we listen to pop music, we read the newspapers and listen to the drivel of the politicians and we work at our ludicrous jobs which are not jobs anyone would choose as life experience, life enhancing jobs but which are chosen, when we are lucky enough to be able to choose, as being those that offer the greatest amount of money….. jobs that are simply there to bring in the money to pay the rent that we have to pay for our life-space, for the time-space event that is our life.
Without primitive man’s ‘equal right to life, space, home’ we are all without any right to life, space, home and must pay for it…. if we want it we must pay for it… and somehow we’ve accepted this – conned by our own greed most likely – and now it is all we have left… the paying, the working to pay and the paying… there’s no life left…