October 28, 2009

IS IT ME?

Posted in Philosophy, Psychology tagged , at 2:36 pm by randallbutisingh

IS IT ME?

We have this old saying: “time changes”.
To me, time is an abstract, … a constant that measures history in its passage, which helps man to put events, ideas, mundane activities, etc., in a sort of orderly fashion: it enables us to associate happenings with perspective, era, or place.   Man has developed by evolution, over millions of years and to us time is timeless and without end into eternity.

We humans always seem to be on the defensive and make-believe that “time changes.” Or maybe we mean “times change”.   Well, I keep wondering if it is me who has failed to change or conform to today’s norms, or, since “time changes” I am now held accountable for my failure to adjust accordingly to the “new times”.   To me, the norms I grew up with were better but now I live in a world where rudeness and disorder is the norm.

For instance, when growing up, I had to go by the adage “silence is golden,” or be ostracized.   In any public place – a post-office, bank, doctor’s office, lobbies, etc, it was expected and in some cases demanded to be polite, and speak softly when called upon to do so.   Today, rudeness is in fashion, and almost everyone:  young, old, male, female: all seem to act as if they were born with cell phones stuck in their ears, incessantly babbling, and inconsiderate of others.

I remember when reading was required and was the order of the day.   Now I see signs in post offices asking that customers refrain from using cell phones, and guess what?  One can hear their loud cell phone conversations from one end of the building to the other, paying no attention to the posted signs.   Sometimes I try to read in doctors’ offices and other waiting rooms, but this is difficult when bombarded by loudmouthed individuals.

As a kid, when I ran out of books I read labels on packages and cans, advertisements and anything legible.   My classmates and I played games in school finding cities of distant countries listed in the atlas, and looking up strange words in the Oxford Dictionary.   Nowadays, in contrast, I see parents assisting children in video and cyberspace, games in offices and waiting rooms. No more reading of books or in pursuit of good literature.   At home the children live on Facebook, the Internet, cell phones, or again in cyberspace.

No wonder President Obama wants to bring U.S students up to par with the more educationally advanced students of other countries.   Good luck Sir!   American youngsters can tell much about baseball and football stars, American idol, Yankee pitchers, Deco Drive and Dancing with the Stars.  Ask them about Socrates or Plato, Shakespeare or Dickens, Longfellow or Samuel Clemens and they will ask:  “what planet are you from”?

For instance, a High School senior could not add 50+15+35 cents for purchases that he made. He threw out a couple of dollars in coins and asked the cashier if it were enough for his items; other senior students could not locate the capital of England on a map.   A college student asked his professor for permission to use “The Godfather” to do a book report.  I could not make any of this up.  The ignorance of the typical so-called “educated” American is amazing.

I had to say please and thank you and still do.   My playtime was real sports or physical games, not shooting men or fighting wars in video games.   We had to be accountable to our guardians for our whereabouts at all times, and smoking and drinking for pre-teens and teenagers were taboo, until age eighteen or better.  Somewhere along the way society lost control, good manners and etiquette were out the back door.   Parents or guardians are solely responsible, NOT TEACHERS.

When children beget children, and BBC boasts about the world’s   youngest father, age twelve, in England, with a fifteen year old girl being the mother,  and feature men with their underwear hanging out almost fully, it’s time to say “beam me up Scotty.”   Society is so hypocritical that they address the underwear issue as “droopy pants.”   It is a disgusting, shameless, and quite unhygienic problem. Quit the “droopy pants” nonsense, and describe it for what it is: indecency verging on lewdness.   We use deceitful words in order to avoid confrontation, so the rot continues.

Motorists, trying to make right turns, cut me off on the road, I look around, and there is not a single vehicle behind me for about a quarter of a mile.   I believe the same ones, instead of stopping short of the pedestrian crossing line, go right over, leaving no safe path for pedestrians. They see red lights and mistake them for green, and some tailgate so badly it seems as if they are sitting on your back seat.   All right, all right, it’s just me bellyaching. I know it is my entire fault for not following the new norms, and sidestepping mores, “it is me!”

In his classic, “The Stranger” (L’ Etranger,) Albert Camus states that society deems any man a criminal, who does not cry at his mother’s funeral. Yes, it’s me. And I did not cry at my mother’s funeral: ……  I was too young.

Patanjali Ramlall – Guest Contributor

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