Archive for the “Quality Of Life” Category

The sixties and seventies produced a generation of young people with a firm belief in love, peace, joy and equality. Wealth and conformity were no longer important. We were free to express our true selves without fear of judgement. We were all God’s children.

What happened?

We were the children of those who had experienced the full horror of yet another ‘war to end all wars’. The militarism, the lies, the deceit, the propaganda, the destruction, the austerity and suffering was over. Filled with hope and optimism for the future our uptight parents filled the post-apocalyptic world with little bundles of joy. It was a boom time for babies.

When the baby bubble became adults they burst onto the world in an explosion of joy, colour, music and fashion as a counterpoint to the austerity and greyness of the post war world. With it came a new attitude. We revelled in the joys of life. We were against war, bigotry, racism, inequality and sexism. We were for love, peace, festivals and very loud music. Oh … and drugs. This was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. We could all live in love, harmony and compassion. Flower power was the creed of the day. Sex was no longer taboo.

The festival at Woodstock was the pinnacle of the new feeling. The actual festival was an organisational disaster but it succeeded in gathering together half a million young people with same dreams, hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful world.

I wasn’t there. Neither was Joni Mitchell who wrote the definitive song about the event. Woodstock.

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden

We had a feeling that our parent’s generation had lost the plot and we had to return to a simpler more honest, peaceful humanity. The sex, drugs and rock and roll weren’t bad either!

To my mind Joni Mitchell was the consciousness of our generation.
This from “California” on the ‘Blue’ album.

Siting on a bench in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

So my fellow hippies, what happened to the dream? Where are you all? Why haven’t we been able to change the world? Why do we continue to elect politicians who lead us into war? Why do we continue to live in fear?

The youthful enthusiasm, the love, the compassion and joy of life of the sixties and seventies seem to have vapourised.

But a lot of us aging hippies are still around. Some of us at least haven’t lost the feeling of those days. The feeling of being open and ‘real’ and vulnerable and accepting of all God’s children regardless of colour or ideological beliefs.

Interestingly modern technology, in the form of the internet, has given us the chance to get back to the garden, because holds the promise of making a good cottage industry living in our retirement from anywhere that has internet access. So come on baby boomers and hippies, let’s get back to that simple, loving, country lifestyle that we dreamed of. In the column to the right is a link to Amazon and an ebook with a basic introduction to internet marketing to get you started. It’s only $US9.99 and you can download it straight away. I think there is a paperback version if you prefer. Remember, when you get your website up and running, there is a link to a syndication company that I recommend on the top of the left sidebar. If you’ve got any questions, ask me in the comment section of this blog and I’ll do my best to help.

Now, the idea of hippies baby boomers getting old leads to an interesting thought. I’ve noticed that the older I get the more I reflect on the hippie way of life of the sixties, so I wonder what a retirement village or nursing home will be like when us hippies get there. Sex, drugs and rock and roll! A cosmic retirement commune with lots of concerts and loud music. Outrageous colourful hippie clothes, big hair, Jefferson Airplane karaoke competitions, pot plants everywhere. Swimming naked in the pool and groovy fondue dinner parties. We’ll have our own rock and roll band and let it all hang out. Cool man!
It’ll be good to salvage something of hippiedom. I’m looking forward to it.

If we weren’t able to change the world at least we can take the dream with us in an outrageous blaze of glory and embarrass the children.

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Have you ever stopped and looked around you, at the nightmare of commuting, struggling to find or keep a job, never enough money, pollution, war and thought to yourself, “how on earth did I end up like this?’. Well my friend, the journey started sometime ago.

Let me take you back a few centuries.

You’re a weaver living in England. You work from home with your family around you. You buy raw materials from the traveling merchant and sell him your finished product. A product renown throughout Europe for it’s superior quality. There is no free mA Weaver at his loomarket economy so prices are predictable and consistent, which means so is your income. You have an idyllic quality of life.

And what an enviable way of life it is. Picture this, (please go to the  iTunes shop, download and play ‘Morning’ from the Peer Gynt Suite), a small cottage in the bucolic English countryside. Butterflies flit from colourful flower to colourful flower whilst the birds sing sweetly in the lush green trees by the babbling brook. InsChickenide the cottage the weaver is contently finishing his latest creation destined for the markets of Europe and because the price of his goods never changes, he knows how much he will be paid. His wife and children are happily helping him in his tasks. Pausing to refresh himself from his labours, he wanders out into the garden to check on the progress of the spinach, pull a few weeds out of the potato patch and throws the chickens some food left over from the family lunch. He is is self sufficient and abundant.

At this time the idea emerged that it was possible to create machines that would produce goods much faster and with less manpower. Not only that, unskilled manpower. It also meant that you could sell the products at a much cheaper price. Of course the woven articles produced by machines were of a much inferior quality but hey, they were cheap.

And so the industrial revolution started, powered by water and then the newly invented steam engine. Along with it came the free boot1market economy, land enclosure and the idea that people were human resources to serve the machine. In those times people displaced from the land by the new factories or put out of business by the free market economy had no option but to work in appallingly dangerous conditions in factories for extraordinarily long hours and very little pay.
The weavers fought against this ‘progress’ and developed into a group of people who became known as images-2the ‘Luddites’, after a mythical character who was, supposedly, their leader. They petitioned Parliament, protested, marched, waged guerrilla war and were eventually defeated soundly by the army, police force, and the Government. The Government, of course, had a lot of members who stood to gain from this new technology and they soon enacted laws to suppress any opposition to what became the industrial revolution.

History is written by the victors and that is why now we understand the term ‘Luddite’ to refer to some fool who cannot cope with new technology. The Luddites, in fact, were trying to hang on to the idea that technology should serve mankind and not the other way round.

Count me as a Luddite.

What’s all this got to do with our modern world, I hear you ask. Well, everything. As a result of the change of thinking that commutersoccurred in the 18th century, we now accept as normal the idea that we leave our home and families to go to a place of work, could be a factory or a shop or an office, where we exchange large slabs of our time for cash. More importantly, we accept that the welfare of human beings is secondary to that of technological ‘progress’. Progress is when the machine becomes more efficient or produces more in less time with less human input. The focus of progress is never to improve what it is to be human except in the most superficial way in order to sell more products and keep the machine going.

Another knock on effect of industrialisation is that systems become more centralised and so people who lived on the land must congregate in cities in order to exchange their time for money. You can see this happening all round the world as nations become industrialised.

So here we are – leaving our homes and families everyday to go to a place where we exchange our time and skills for not enough money to live the life we’d really like. All because the Luddites lost and were steamrollered by the captains of the industrial revolution.

I’m coming out.
I admit it.
I’m a Luddite. A true Luddite. I believe that technology and progress should serve humanity not enslave it. I believe it is more important to enjoy being a human being  than make the machine more efficient. I believe that the planet is a part of us and we are a part of the planet, so technology and progress should serve it not wreck it.

Interestingly, the internet revolution currently in progress offers us the chance to return to the days of the cottage industry. With images-5computers and the internet it is now possible to run a very lucrative home business. Once again the weaver, now the internet entrepreneur, can pause from his or her labours wander out to the veggie patch and inspect tonight’s dinner. Since it doesn’t matter where the modern day weaver is physically located, he or she can live in a cottage by a babbling brook complete with butterflies and colourful flowers, (with a broadband connection of course).

Us New Luddites are using technology to improve our lives. The original Luddites would approve.

Who will join me?

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