Saturday, August 15, 2015

How sad it is.....

As I get older, leaving many years trailing behind me, I am aware that nostalgia for the past creeps up on me more frequently than it used to.  There are so many things now which are different from what they were, and though some of these differences are undoubtedly good (though here I have to stop and think hard without for the life of me being able to come up with even one example), many more appear to my ageing sight to represent losses which can never be made good.

A small, apparently insignificant, but to me important, example of this is something which happens every morning.  As I make my way out to pick up my newspaper and indulge in my early morning coffee in one of the many coffee shops around here, I step over the wet pavement outside the front door of a block of flats, and exchange good morning greetings with a young woman who is busily washing down and sweeping the front step and pavement outside clear of any rubbish.  She laughed when I told her that this piece of pavement is probably the only one now in the whole of London where the age-old practice of making sure that the pavements outside our houses are kept clear for passers-by by their owners still takes place.  Now we leave all that to the road sweepers.

And just as we leave it to others to clear the pavements outside our houses, so we now leave many other things to others, without concerning ourselves with whether in so doing we are making others’ lives harder or more unpleasant.  I notice that if there is something like a cardboard box in the middle of the road, nobody crosses over to push it to the side away from the traffic.  I remember my father stopping our car regularly, and getting out to remove some rubbish or a large stone to the roadside, because, he told us, “A bicycle or motorbike might not see this when it gets dark, and come a-cropper.”  The present reluctance to get involved extends to people stepping over any obstruction on the pavement, often at some inconvenience to themselves, rather than pushing it aside to the gutter.  Let alone how very rare it is for somebody to lift up a bike which has fallen over blocking the pavement.

It seems that more and more people are reluctant to put themselves out in any way, as though walking round obstacles is always preferable to removing obstacles.  Is this increasingly selfishness, inattentiveness (everybody talking into their mobile phone – or taking selfies!) or a fear of litigation, in case their actions cause problems?  Whatever, as they say, it seems to me to be a sad indictment of modern life that less and less people are concerned for the wellbeing of others and apparently more and more engrossed in their own.

But am I merely another example of an older person saying that “things were better in the old days”?


  1. No it's not you. It's the same here in the U.S. Mid Hudson valley. There's a lot of blocked energy in people. I've been wondering what this does to nature and the world as we each hold a sample of the five elements. I could go on for a long time but don't want to overwhelm this post. Thanks so much for your books they're a gift to humanity and thanks for writing with such discipline and openness. Take good care

  2. Thanks for your comment. What I should have mentioned in my blog is that every little bit of kindness that is done in the world benefits the whole world in ways we may not always be aware of.

  3. Thanks for linking your blog to Facebook. It makes my life easier. That's one way things are getting better :-)