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Does It Matter If People’s Past Is Brushed Aside By Progress?

Does It Matter If People’s Past Is Brushed Aside By Progress?















Time for an update on the changing nature of society and how we live, bearing in mind the continued progress of digitalisation.

These snippets are gleaned from surveys, questionnaires and commentaries written by the great and good in our journalistic regiments.

One that struck me strongly is that the age of chivalry is truly dead, and indeed, it has gone one step further. Until the past decade or so it was generally considered good manners to hold a door open for someone, offer a coat on a cold day or give up a seat on public transport to a woman.

That last one still applies to the elderly and disabled. The pregnant do not get the same automatic respect because apparently some people think a woman could pretend to be pregnant to get a seat!

The old gallant gestures are rejected by women as being sexist overall, and even, positively menacing and suspicious. A man holding a door open for you must be wanting something! Offering to carry bags is no longer widely acceptable and would be rejected by most women.

These findings follow the obvious (in some people’s minds) that manners generally have deteriorated and are not likely to improve any more.

Technology’s Benign Hand

Fewer people now eat as families at a table, either in kitchen or dining room. Many have neither a table nor a dining room. The room to watch TV is usually the focus for the meal, rather than family gatherings to discuss, question and inform each other. The television itself as the main viewing device is less dominant now as a myriad of other screening options become available in every room or on the move outside.

Even the kettle is apparently declining, with 1 in 5 homes managing without one, preferring coffee machines. The web in general and Wikipedia in general has replaced the reference book, especially the encyclopedia and dictionary.

The thank you card/letter is fast facing oblivion as people who still feel the need to say thanks for a gift or kindness prefer to text or email. Sending Christmas cards and postcards on holiday are already seen as rather quaint.

Reading actual books looked as if it may be overtaken by e-readers. However, recent reports that the traditional paper and board book is not giving up and is holding on better than people thought suggest they may occupy a bigger share of the market than old vinyl records do in their particular niche.

Carrying and reading paper maps has all but died out. Every time a new edition of the local phone book arrives, I can’t but help think it must be the last. How many people still look up phone numbers?

Albums of physical 5×7 inch photos has become a historical relic for most families. Cloud and digital storage has killed albums off, though there are risks in loss. But as somebody has pointed out, photo albums got torn, burned, wet in floods or spoiled by sunlight or damp, so the risks are less now.

It’s just that there is a joy in looking through an old album of family memories. My children loved it and now my grandchildren sit with albums of themselves and their ancestors.

So, is is that the digital age is a mixed blessing or is that I am just a relic of history, barely clinging on as my world is ‘improved’ all around me?

Have your say now ….

Older articles worth a glance:

How Technology Serves the Past, Present and Future, 14 September 2012

Some Things That Are Now History, Thanks to Technology, 4 January 2012

Is the Final Chapter of the Printed Book Beginning? 23 January 2012

Virtual Vacations Are Holidays of the Future, 15 May 2012

Radio: The Neglected Medium Set to Make Big Waves, 12 June 2012

Last Post for Britain’s Post? 21 June 2012

Will Your Digital Afterlife Make a Good Novel After You Are Dead? 10 September 2012

Could Computer Over-Reliance Be the Death of Us All? 30 July 2012

How Technology Serves the Past, Present and Future, 14 September 2012

The Way We Live is Exposed in Statistics, Data and Real Opinions, 7 January 2013

Image: US Department of Agriculture