Lessons from the past
I chortled when I started to read the letter from your correspondent Helen Gillespie (Letters to the editor, June 24) where Helen imagined Worzel Sellars as a cave man in loin cloth waving a club. My humour soon wore off though when I read more of Helen's letter, in which I think she got some things quite wrong where she confuses bauble and materialism with progress.
Helen claimed that obesity and diabetes are caused because people eat such good food now. Wrong! They are on the increase because many now eat convenience, processed and sugar laden foods. Sadly also, because Mum has to be away from home at a job all day, pre-school kids are often brought up in child care, and then, when at home many kids gawk endlessly at Playstations or TV, not learning anything of real value, while a rushed Mum is busying for lost time around the home.
Helen states that children now are learning way more than we ever did. What? Although well retired, Helen, I still am retained in my field of work, engineering, and in recent years have seen young people leave university who could hardly spell or present a report. Yes, there are many different lightweight distractive subjects for some now I concur. Degrees in bingo next, I shouldn't wonder!
It's paradoxical isn't it, that while Helen talks of the bubonic plague, the bloke who locked himself away for three years during that period did work then which enabled humankind to get to the moon – old Issac Newton. And of course we still use daily the works of Euclid, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Bernoulli and many more, from centuries and millennia past.
When I look about me now and see the daftness and costs of today, I can only dream of those wonderful days of over 70 years ago when I started school at Pontymoel Junior Mixed School in Wales, where no one idiotically fed us such unnatural tripe that we could choose whether we want to be a girl or a boy. Where little scooter tots didn't pathetically wear crash helmets, but where every child had waiting for them at home that person of society's greatest importance - a Mum.
Two things I've learned in my long life though: How little I really know, and how much I despise politics as we have it.
Go for it Worzel. You say it like so many quietly think in these barmy and dubious days. The Kaipara is lucky to have you.
Columnist Chris Sellars responds to Helen Gillespie (Letters to the editor, June 24):
Thanks for taking the time to email. You make some good points. Sadly though my sabre tooth tiger loin cloth is only imitation, made by a Chinese wage slave in a sweat shop. As I am sure you know the tigers – along with moa, dodo and dinosaur – have been the victims of progress. Indeed it has been published that 2000 species per year are becoming extinct. Personally I am skeptical regards this number as truth too has become a casualty of progress.
Cancer has been accurately diagnosed for over six decades and the rates have mushroomed during that time. Especially over the last 20 years. I expect the introduction of 5G technology will progress this even more.
Contrary to your assumption, the Internet or at least large parts of it is heavily censored (filtered). I have had YouTube material removed. Facebook has recently agreed to ban material dealing with current politically incorrect ideas.
Regards deaths from various diseases the first case of bubonic plague in centuries was diagnosed in the USA last year. Most diseases don't kill the fit and healthy members of a group but are a natural way of culling the weak.
It is easy to laud the benefits of progress from Mangawhai or Denmark. Not so easy in Beijing, Sudan, or Los Angeles.
Regards your assertion that kids are learning more than we did. I completely disagree. Many of my peers left school at 15 numerate and literate and immediately found gainful employment. These days most stay at school till 18 and leave hopelessly deficient in the basics. I have acted as a supplementary maths tutor to some and it is clear their early education was hopelessly deficient. There are many with degrees who are working as film extras or retailing hamburgers at fast food joints.
However I am not opposed to either knowledge or technology, providing both are used wisely. My cave in the bush uses solar power for lighting and computing.
Sorry for taking so long to respond but luddite that I am I have no Internet connection at home and must rely on others to participate in cyber socialising.
Oh, and I too am the product of a long ago Scotsman who eschewed the class system and drudgery of a Glaswegian sailors life and was happy to jump ship when the beneficiaries of the industrial revolution progress were busy raping the new lands and robbing the Maori. He preferred to live a tribal existence in the bush as I do.
All the best. Enjoy the fruits of progress while you still can.