Monday, 30 September 2019

The yawning abyss between beliefs

Youtube's algorithms present me with an interesting choice each day: really excellent political comment from someone called Phil (his Chanel- a different bias) who really should be prime minister rather than the blond swaggering idiot we have in No ten at the current time . . . actually, any of my three dogs, even the small runty one with three legs would be a better candidate - no offence Phil!
Oh, yes, algorithms.
Apart from Phil, they (appearing in my mind as tiny white-coated scientists scribbling down my personal data) suggest various subjects: Climate change, Permaculture, unusual houses, greening the world's deserts, astronomy, runner ducks, John Roger's wonderful channel: The Lost Byway; psychogeography, Vernon Bogdanor's history lectures, a lovely channel called 'Mossy Bottom' - nothing devient - just a charming young guy talking about his new self-sufficient life in a cottage called Mossy Bottom in the West of Ireland; Will Self talking about anything, George Monbiot lectures, and lots of French documentaries - great way of learning language - put on something that fascinates and marvel at how the information creep into your brain's word-storage facility.

Yesterday, I listened to Mr Monbiot's lecture given at Falmouth Uni in 2018. Entitled 'How to truly take back control', it was a utterly insightful, intelligent and hope-giving talk, set against the impending wreckage of the world we currently know - the need for new communities, the need for a new human narrative beyond Keynesian economics and Neoliberalism.
I thought about it a great deal during the day as I went about dealing with the heat ravaged-garden, and then later while doing kitchen chores opened the laptop to see what Youtube would present me with - A choice of French Documentaries entitled Bling! Great choice you little tiny scientists. I was utterly hooked on the absolutely awfulness of it all: the world's richest people, hugest houses, biggest yachts, most exclusive hotels, most expensive jewellery . . .  I think the most absurd bit of all featured a certain Chinese real estate developer who owned four Rolls Royces and only seemed to wear suits that made Liberace's dress code seem rather pale.
On the fifth floor of the utterly exclusive Monaco hotel he was being chauffeured to there was utter panic as his three bedroomed, panoramic sea-view marble suite (at 30,000 euros per night) was not actually enterable as the key code was refusing to work. Of course, just in time, a locksmith (probably helicoptered in) did arrive and saved everyone from utter humiliation and multiple heart attacks as the person would have had to wait . . . And I don't suppose it would have been like waiting in a Travelodge reception area with a mouldering pot plant for company and a free token for a drinks distributer . . .

68,000 euros a night . . . Royal Penthouse suite: the President Wilson hotel in Geneva (Image - Elite Traveller)

One of the world's most expensive yachts - a mere 330 million. I've just seen one for 4.5 billion . . . but it does have a statue made of genuine Tyrannosaurus rex bones. Oh, that makes sense then . . .

Maybe if you experience stuff like this all the time, you don't worry about what might be lurking on the horizon line as far as the future of the planet, and us as a species, is concerned. There was a great quote in the Guardian yesterday by a well known environmentalist planning to leave Sydney for a new apocalypse-proof life elsewhere. I can't find it now but it was something like: 'people think they'll be okay (in the face of climate breakdown) because they have superannuation.'

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