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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Dirty fingernails.


Outstanding jobs. Currently we have three outside lights not working, a gas fire which doesn’t light reliably, a problem with the extractor fan in the shower, a bathroom radiator which needs replacing and a couple of double-glazed windows where the seals have gone. Oh and the car will soon be telling us it needs a service.

Some problems are due to be fixed shortly, others will be fixed eventually, none are desperately important. It’s how things are these days. Possessions are more numerous and far more complex than they were sixty years ago.

In the fifties we had no central heating, no fridge, freezer, dishwasher, tumble dryer, automatic washing machine, phone, TV, music player, computer, broadband, printer, scanner, camera, Kindle, car or double glazing. Technically life was far simpler and less liable to go wrong.

These days diagnosing faults, dealing with malfunctions, fixing things and getting them fixed are part of daily life. Not really a big issue because most things can be fixed or replaced easily enough, but it still needs doing and it never seems to stop.

So what effect does it have on us?

To my mind it keeps us grounded by reminding us over and over again that our primary reality is physical. Other things keep us grounded too, from traffic jams to sport to a drink in the pub, but many of these are also due to the physical complexities of modern life.

Yet our leaders don’t seem well grounded at all. They say silly things, do silly things and try to deceive us in silly ways which aren’t working. They seem to live in a world of words, insulated from daily contact with leaking gutters, freezers which need defrosting and a list of jobs which never gets any shorter.

Money and power seem to insulate people from mundane modern realities, offering instead a comfortable world of words and manners which may be congenial but doesn’t seem to keep people well grounded.

This apparent lack of contact with mundane physical complexities even seems to leave them a little dim, as if they haven’t quite matured. Not only that, but the information age is exposing both their lack of talent and the painfully obvious problem that many are so poorly grounded that they tend to come across as simply bonkers.

They think words are realities. It’s a lack of practical experience not helped by schmoozing their way from a PPE degree to a publicly funded non-job to politics without ever having designed anything, fixed anything, built anything, grown anything or even sold anything except words.

We need leaders with dirty fingernails.

6 comments:

Sackerson said...

"Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
On the horizon walking like the trees
The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
Of the star-gestured children in the park.
Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
Some let me make you of the water’s speeches."

Roger said...

You have the right idea here. To fix a pipe you take a spanner to it but a politico does not fix a physical thing but merely makes a temporary mark on the tenuous surface of the media impression. Underneath the ephemeral impression of the media the vague forces that connect to real administrators may be stretched slightly in reaction but mostly not at all.

We are in a stasis, things don't get fixed or done, everything is in a perverted sort of balance, strong forces hold the underlying structure together however unsatisfactory, the media merely shows the upper cloud layers as if of a distant planet.

James Higham said...

"We are in a stasis, things don't get fixed or done, everything is in a perverted sort of balance, strong forces hold the underlying structure together however unsatisfactory, the media merely shows the upper cloud layers as if of a distant planet."

Quite like that.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - drunk on words?

Roger - very good, I particularly like "strong forces" because they do seem to be strong in spite of our worries.

James - me too.

Demetrius said...

As one of the older generation of my family used to say. They can't tell nuts from bolts.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - and they think both require a hammer.