Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tired of fear mongers

I'm about to have a mini rant, so be warned. This is my blog, so I think I am entitled to rant (in a mini kind of way) here. After all, if I can't do it here, where else can I let off a puff of steam?

My rant is about the politics of fear. I'm tired of it, I really am. Ever since my childhood, the powers that be have managed to find something to hang over us like the proverbial sword of damocles. When I was between six and ten years old, or thereabouts, I remember the cloud of the whole ban the bomb movement, the cold war, the Christine Keeler affair and the Cuban crisis. Following that came the years of Vietnam and more cold war tension. Then the middle east came in with the oil crisis, followed quickly by scares involving acid rain, holes in the ozone layer and the like. After that there were numerous plagues of this and that: salmonella poisoning and mad cow disease to name but a couple. Of course every few years, there's a new scary virus - we've had swine flu, bird flu, mexican flu (although I think that was swine flu wasn't it?).  Added to that there are the tales of chem trails and spraying, toxic waste and radiation, the threat of nuclear disaster always present. If that were not enough, we've had international terrorism, 9/11, 7/7 and the consequent erosion of our freedoms. Then for the last so many years, we've had climate change with various and increasing predictions of catastrophe and disaster for all mankind.

I'm not suggesting that these threats don't exist; I'm just saying - well what? I'm saying I'm tired of the fact that my whole life has been lived with one or other cloud of fear hanging over it.

I grew up in a family where the philosophy was 'waste not want not', 'don't litter', 'if wishes were horses then beggars would ride' so don't expect too much. My parents believed that the quality of life was determined more by what you created rather than what you consumed. We painted, drew, wrote and made stuff. We didn't have a TV, we only got our first watches when we turned eleven and holidays were spent camping in Wales with no mod cons, real camp fires and boxes of paints and hardboard 'canvases' that our dad made for us. We played and made music on cheap guitars, old pianos and bargain violins - we still do. And we were quite content with what we had - and we still are.

But that cloud of fear was there then and it still is.

It often seems to me that consumerism has gone mad these days, and that maybe, just maybe, these threatening clouds are used to remind us of what we should be focusing on. I don't know. I really don't, but as I said, I'm tired of it now. I would dearly like to live the rest of my life in peace and tranquillity without worrying that the end of the world is not just nigh, it might even be, for heaven's sake, next week! I've been feeling like that ever since I was conscious of more than just my toys. Don't I, don't we, deserve a bit of peace now?

Okay, rant over, and I promise I'll be good and cheerful next time....yes I will...


28 comments:

  1. I liked your rant, Val. Because it is so true, I share your feelings here.
    I don't want to "worry" about "everything" all the time. Sure I do my share of worrying, but yeah, if the world ends this week, then I didn't spend it worrying about all of these things, all the time.
    I am with you ... peace, quiet and tranquility , lets enjoy what's here what's now.

    Great post!

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  2. Here, here! I agree with every word. Do you think that as we get older we begin to accept that there will always be something to fear, so we give up worrying about it? I am with you (and June) peace, quiet and tranquility. Perhaps that should be our mantra xxx

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  3. Thank you both! It's always a risk to have a rant in public, and I'm never quite sure if I should do it, but I'm very glad to find I'm not the only one. Peace, quiet and tranquility sounds like a great mantra to me xxx

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  4. What a beautiful and mild-mannered way of describing how 'they' constantly try to reign us in fashionably. So I said it: it's all fashion.

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  5. "My parents believed that the quality of life was determined more by what you created rather than what you consumed." What a great and timeless pholisophy to be imbued with! I'm gonna poach that!

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  6. Thanks Jus! I think we were very fortunate in that respect. Lovely to see you here. This is much more my place than FB.

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  7. Val I support you in your rant. For it is the harbingers of negativity and of impending doom are the people that I intensely dislike.

    Such that a few years ago I removed myself
    from them to live as serenely as possible. The TV went into the bin, the Radio was put in a drawer and newspapers are only bought to line the cats tray.

    Fear is debilitating and often irrational, for there is nothing to fear but fear it's self; So let it go and be fully alive to life!

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  8. Mel, "newspapers are only bought to line the cats tray." I love it!. Sadly, I am not yet at a place in life where I can afford to put the radio in the drawer or pay no attention to the news. I would lose my work as a business communications teacher if I did, but as soon as I can, I will. Thank you for your empathy!

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  9. Oh how I agree with you. Whip up a 'war on terror' and normally reasonable people agree it is fine to lock people up without trial. It's a wonderful way to stop people asking awkward questions - and for politicians to avoid answering them. Rant on, Val!

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  10. Val, these too are my sentiments! I was thinking the very same thing just last week. You have said it eloquently and to-the-point.
    Fear is the easiest and cheapest way to control - heck, it will even generate income!
    In our society of dumbed-down-ness, so many do believe in this consumerist (is this a word?) brainwashing. The lawyers and insurance companies advertise that, without them, we cannot think for ourselves. Our governments, in their beauracratic structures, certainly cannot and then tell us, through an increasing set of laws, that we mustn't, as well! Being forced (or misled) into total dependence makes us weak and maleable.
    If we give up our free will we will end up being hoodwinked by those who are also being hoodwinked - and they don't even realise it!
    We need to wade through the bulls**t and decide for ourselves - for as long as we are able ... The decision is ours.

    Ok - I could go on and on with my own rant, but I have to make breakfast. I've decided that is for our own good. And will taste even better!

    xx

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  11. As I signed into Blogger, I was threatened that "What if I lost Blogger?" so I was told to give them more information about myself. (Which I did not). So what!

    I will still wake up in the morning.

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  12. Jo "Whip up a 'war on terror' and normally reasonable people agree it is fine to lock people up without trial." This is it, in a nutshell! Thank you!

    Dale, you've touched on another rant I could also have: the dumbing down of society! I love your rant too! But as you say, breakfast is even better for you :)) By the way, blogger does that to me too, and I also ignore it. I am still here as you can see!

    Thanks to you both!

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  13. You nailed it... The cynical use of fear for political means is disgusting, but it probably will continue on, because, sadly, it works. I remember reading about when the Russians popped their first nuke. Harry Truman was told by (I think) Dean Acheson that to get the money to counter the Russians, he would have to scare the hell out of the American public. He did, and it worked. The republican party in the US has built a movement out of fear. Fear of terrorism, fear of gays, fear of democrats, the fear of change,the list is nearly endless. I'm sick of it too Val, and refuse to knuckle under. Part of the reason Lorraine and I travel is we're not about to let the "fear of terrorism" keep our head in the sand. It does keep many Americans at home...

    Not to worry about this rant; I can't see anything but agreement with it out there.
    Peace,
    Tom and Lorraine

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  14. Hi Val,

    I feel the same way, for me it becomes immediate; I do not like the adrenaline rush that comes from fear, or threat of something dire. It is dehabilitating and expends useless ‘flight or fight’ biological energy that is actually not related to anything happening right here, right now – in my life. For some it is and I guess it is that truth that is used to manipulate…after all, tomorrow it COULD be us. However, adrenaline is there for a reason and over working that part of a body (with no actual physical reason) is not healthy, and perhaps is desensitising to some. In fact, there is much to deal with in the world but we become so over stimulated…and fearful…and cocooned, in the end we just 'tune out'.

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  15. Tom, the comfort for me is that so many of us feel the same way. That at least means that we are not all being bamboozled. Thanks for contributing. The only consolation for me is that your determination to keep travelling outside the US means that we do at least get to see you now and then!

    String, I always value your take on issues like this. It will always be thought-provoking and this time is no exception. I had not thought of the harm that constant adrenaline rushes can do, and you are right about the 'tuning out'. Many people can and do. I can't. Sometimes, I confess I wish I could, but like you, it affects me. My mother once said I had an overactive imagination. I think I know what she means now.

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  16. I came in late on this one - looks like everyone else has said more or less what I would have said - though I will add the one they hang over our heads here in Venice - hiiiiiiiiigggggggh waaaaater - almost makes you shudder just to hear it. And we have one of the city sirens about 50 yards from our home, so when it wails in the wee hours it makes you shudder with anticipation of ... what? Trust the media to pick it up and spread the word globally accompanied by appropriately fearful images or video clips which get the wind up any potential tourists.
    Rant over ...

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  17. Oh Janys, I know that one too! We've heard plenty about the threat to Venice. High water IS pretty nerve wracking, I know. We have it here from time to time. We are lucky, though. We have massive great flood gates to protect us from the worst. The sirens must just make it worse, though. One of the eeriest and most alarming sounds there is, I think.

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  18. Like you said its your blog, u r entitled to say how u feel Val.

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  19. Trouble is Val - I'm pretty certain that the politicians are dwindling away the funds to build our flood gates - we have the floods, but not a gate in sight!

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  20. ps. Let's be honest - all this fear mongering is just a way of keeping us mere mortals mentally occupied to not notice what the politicians are getting up to. Get rid of them and our paths would all be paved with gold and hunger and drought would just be things of the past. Much the same can be said for religion I'm afraid - not wanting to offend anyone, but just look at the numbers - what have most wars been fought over and what good has ever come of them. And look at which are the most bellicose nations in the world - those that most of us live in. And who makes money out of wars? Governments generally speaking. My dream is that we will all wake up one day and do something about it ..

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  21. Spot on, Janys. I couldn't agree more. Still, I'm glad I have provided a space where my friends can rant a bit too! As for doing something about it, I got quite excited for a while when this 'occupy' movement started, but that all seems to have dwindled into dust. It seems that whenever the people really do get up and protest against their government's actions, they are just squashed too, or manipulated the way the global powers that be want them to go. We'll have to dream on, my friend! And write blogs in protest...

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  22. We will blog on until they turn us off because we are saying the wrong things ...

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  23. It's a very good point well made. When I think back over my life and all the things we've been told to worry at one point or another it is maddening. I remember it freaked me out sometimes as a child. MY imagination even got carried away by the whole 2012 thing for a little while when ever I heard people talking about (thank god I don't know).

    So much time I could have put to better use and more happy thoughts.

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  24. Hey Stu, I am with you 100%, and I'm so glad you have little Sophie to give you happy thoughts too. Hope we see you guys soon!

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  25. I try not to read newspapers. Everyday something new is bad for your. You're told not to eat this and not to do that. Don't get too thin,don't get too fat. I don't remember any of that when I was growing up. We didn't get a watch until we knew how to tell the time, they were expensive to buy. Now in this throwaway world they can be bought for 99p. Now you've started me ranting! Ha!

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  26. Janys is spot on. As long as we're paying attention to whatever it is, war, racism, stupid celebrities, you name it; we're NOT paying attention to what The Man is doing to us...

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  27. She is providing a lot of happy thoughts :) Hope to see you guys soon too :)

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