Landra now has her own Cutting Edge column in the Neath Ferret.
Short, Sweet and to the Point
I come now to the end of an era.
I am signing off the Neath Guardian Online for a while.
Perhaps I have got my message across to someone, who knows, this is the double edged sword that the internet is in all aspects of our lives.
The ying and the yang of life does not show more clearly anywhere more than here on this machine. For it is a machine, at the end of the day this is nothing but an information highway and the more information people can get the better for our society as a whole.
However it is not only those who wish to better our society who use the internet. The joy of it is that it is open to all and one must treat it as having a life of its own in that you take from it what you wish to take and avoid what you do not.
Children need to be taught how to do this as they are vulnerable and enter into a world which they shape as they progress. Many fail to progress to their true potential because they fall into the traps set in life and on the internet which is a life all of its own.
However you need energy to use the internet, it cannot be powered by brain power alone. You cannot stand on the top of a mountain without a machine that will give you that access to the world wide web; but you can feel the wind in your hair and you can see the vistas open up in front of you.
Let us all not lose sight of the fact that this is purely a machine and while it has a power of its own that power is nothing when it comes to what really matters in life. Like clean air, fresh water, warmth and the arms of someone who cares.
Machines will never simulate this.
So I am off up that mountain to feel the wind and the rain and not try and channel it through a machine which needs fuel and which stops me from seeking out reality and those things that really matter.
It will not be a miracle that will enable people to walk in a thousand years if we do not put computers into perspective, it will be switch your computer off and stand up and walk, if you can remember how.
A Broken System
For a long time we have had stability in our lives, here in the UK, through the industrial revolution. We have seen the birth of the revolution and the end of the revolution.
Manufacturing has left this island and with it the last vestiges of our creativity.
What do we create here to pay for the goods we consume. Not enough. Yet this country has once again seen a huge influx of other nationalities to take advantage of the rights won by the last generations who worked through that revolution.
Yet without manufacturing who is going to sustain the system?
This week we see two great milestones in the press relating to this.
One is the cost of care homes; who will pay in the future for these establishments? Who will pay for the care which we thought was our right?
Attached to this debate was the plight of the elderly in this country, many of whose children no longer live in this country, but abroad, leaving elderly people to live out the rest of their lives in isolation and loneliness.
Is this the caring nation we envisaged we had?
What has happened to the family unit?
Have our lives become so busy that we do not have time to look after our own family members?
Was there a time before care homes?
Yes there was, we had hospitals to care for the chronically sick and those who were not chronically sick were cared for and cared for their families.
It is no good waiting for the authorities to repair the system. They will just complain that they do not have the money to pay for it. But systems cannot cure loneliness, only people can do that and many people have time on their hands which they should give willingly to others.
People have become isolated in their little bubbles. People have been persuaded by the media that they ‘deserve’ the best, they should be going on a cruise or having prime time with which to eat their’ dine in’ meals. Don’t we all deserve the best?
Well those elderly people who do not see anyone unless they drag themselves out in all weathers or go without human contact for weeks on end deserve also.
There was a time before television, a time when peoples ‘ time’ belonged to them; now it belongs to whoever is putting on the best show at the moment and all those people must eat in in their own homes and be thoroughly independent, must not be a drain on their families or on society.
This is the attitude which has destroyed our family units and the only people who can get it back is us the people.
I refuse to give my time to a television company. Prime time to me is when I am talking to another human being. Prime time should be used to care for our families in whatever way we can, be they young, middle aged or elderly.
We all need one another, at sometimes in our lives more than at others. But never forget we were all young once, and we will all be old once, if we are lucky enough. Or is it unlucky enough?
The other news item which should send a shiver down the spines of every person in this country is the advertisements now being shown by “Save the Children” asking for charity donations to help children in this country not to go cold this winter.
We no longer help disadvantaged countries, it appears the balance has now tipped and we have become one of those disadvantaged countries. Well some of us have already it seems.
So do we sit back and wait for a system which cannot support itself to repair itself? Or do we each and every one of us do what we can to alleviate the suffering in our own country, the suffering of the young and the old.
Utility companies are faceless corporations. Many of the people who work for these utility companies will also go cold this winter as they cannot afford the cost of fuel on the wages they get.
There is something wrong, but only people can help other people to feel wanted and it is up to us all to support one another to the best of our ability in spite of a crumbling system and politicians attacking one another while these atrocities go on.
MP’s and AM’s do not have to worry about the cost of fuel as those who are unemployed, redundant, sick, elderly, on a low wage, or too young to care for themselves have to. But we all have time to share and we must now use it to the best of our ability to see that we are not complicit in people going hungry, cold or lonely on our doorsteps.
Forget politics, it is a talking shop, action speaks louder than words.
Man ~v~ Machines
We at the Neath Guardian do what we do voluntarily. We do it because we can and we feel it is vitally important for the ordinary man on the street to have a voice.
That voice has been stifled over the last few years and even though the internet appears to have opened up a new world to people where they can communicate easily with other people right across that world this same internet appears to be stifling the voices of dissent and debate we have always heard ringing, especially in the old industrial heartlands, such as Neath Port Talbot.
Are people too busy communicating with the world that they do not look out of their windows and become a part of their own locality.
Is it because this means of communication is new?
On the trains and buses people are engrossed in a little screen and often take no interest whatever in their surroundings.
I remember well when the conveyor belt system and till operators arrived with the supermarkets. I often remarked I could have been a little green man for all the interest the girl on the till took of me. I could go through that till, pay for my goods and her eyes would not have looked up at me; quite often she would have been having a chat with her mate on the next till while she served me.
Then the supermarkets realized this was not the way to make customers feel welcome and so they introduced rules for customer service. You must make the customer welcome and not chat with your mate on the next till.
Is it about time rules were implemented on the population to stop them going around with their faces stuck to a computer screen while the little green men pass them on the street or stand shakily in the aisle of the bus totally unnoticed ?
It appears as though the population have detached themselves from one another, each going around in their separate little bubbles.
All ones concentration has to be focused on a screen while the world goes by.
People need to come out of their bubbles as it suits those in power for us all to have our noses in a computer of some sort while that world we once cared, for where we walk daily, disintegrates.
Life is about your environment, it is about decency and doing the right thing. It is not about how many computers can be brought into the country to bury people in.
Life is not about foreign affairs or people fighting the other side of the world.
Life is about us, about us having fair play; about us being engaged with the people around us and helping those in our communities who need help.
Detachment suits those in power as while everyone detaches themselves from the situation the status quo will continue.
But all around we see the degeneration of our environment, we see people unaware of the state of the built environment, we see people walk past rubbish and drunks in the street and just avoid them as it is safe in their bubble.
How far down the line of degeneration do we have to go before people say enough is enough?
Is it time to say, my neighbour needs a chat and that person the other side of the world has a neighbour too.
Yes the internet has opened up a whole new world but there is an old poem from my childhood which comes to mind.
Make new friends but remember the old,
These are silver but they are gold.
Images on a computer screen cannot touch you, cannot hold you when you fall, cannot smile at you when you need encouragement.
Real people make your environment; make sure you can see them before they all disappear from your bubble.
Porn On The Brain
I started off this series of articles concerned at the way people were being forced on to the internet to conduct every aspect of their lives.
I was dead set against social networking as I honestly believe it is the people around you, those you can touch and whose eyes smile into yours, or get angry with you, who ultimately matter in your life.
I have always read peoples’ eyes, it is second nature; by the eyes you can tell if you are in favor or not. As a public speaker I have often read my audience and have known instinctively if I am on the right thread or if I need to change tack to captivate their attention.
Because I feel this way I made sure I watched the documentary “Porn on the Brain” last Monday night and I cannot see how anyone who has children could not fail to be alarmed if they also saw it or watched the reaction to the programme in the press and on chat shows the following few days.
What the programme showed were facts that have long puzzled many people. All of a sudden a lot of things were dropping into place for me.
The internet while it is an amazing communication channel has been allowed to be used to groom young men as much as young girls are groomed by pedophiles.
The programme highlighted, through research, that someone who has an addictive personality is as affected by porn on the internet as a heroin addict is addicted to heroin.
The programme went on to show first hand examples of young men whose lives had been taken over by their addiction.
You only have to join a dating site on the internet to find millions of men who are addicted to the thrill of internet sex and porn.
Firsthand accounts were given of the way young people are learning how to have sex through violent porn sites on the internet. They are traumatized and bury this trauma for it to have repercussions on all sexual relationships throughout their lives.
At the end of a chat show the following day, which the documentary makers attended, it was said that nothing can be done about this porn on the internet.
I believe something should and can be done about it.
Millions of young people are being groomed so that when they reach adulthood they are totally dependent on porn for their sexual needs. A relationship with one partner is boring. Sex with a person is not as exciting as sex with 2,3 or even 4 people. If they cannot get group sex then porn and relieving themselves is preferable. Young men spoke of the excitement and depression brought about by their addiction and also spoke of how one partner could not compete with what was available via the internet to arouse them.
Addicts hate themselves; they hate themselves for their dependency.
They then spiral into depression and get addicted to treatments that numb them.
Let’s be honest about this, at the end of the day, what the people who show this porn want is your money and they are prepared to wait until you have some and will then get it off you as you have no choice but to get an ever more extreme fix. Yet the minute that fix wears off you spiral into a black hole. Do the people who have taken your life and your money care? NO.
Have a whole generation of children been shanghaied and groomed for a life of addiction and depression?
Many people live their lives now waiting for the next fix. The ‘fix’ of shopping, the ‘fix’ of online gambling, the fix of ‘TV Soaps’ and the fix of ‘porn’ that is so easy to get.
Is this the life you bring children into the world to experience?
I do not want my children caught in this trap, but I have a son and he and I will be having a heart to heart as soon as I can snare him. I have to know and we will deal with it together, but no one is going to groom him and take him from me into that seedy half world they call a life without fighting me first.
And where do these people get help, for there are many of them. The next thing you will find is there are no resources or money to help these people; the pornography and gambling industry has taken it all.
If you have a drink addiction and conquer it then for the whole of your life you must not have one drink or you will become an addict again. The same goes for hard drug addictions.
How do you escape sex and porn?
Pretty near impossible.
As said on the ‘Porn on the Brain’ documentary, they even use sex to sell washing machines.
Is there no escape for our children?
Another aspect of this peddling of sex as something that should be more of a recreation than part of a loving relationship, is lives being ruined, by one of the partners in that relationship becoming addicted and forcing the other partner to succumb to practices they might find repulsive but are persuaded by the stronger partner that it is the ‘norm’. Failure to capitulate and to go to any lengths to satisfy is failure to adhere to the ‘ conjugal rights’ they are persuaded they deserve.
Sex is now used to peddle everything; you cannot watch a film, an advertisement or see a poster without sex and glamour coming into the equation.
We have spoken previously of the shallow society we now live in where image is all and I believe it is time that people looked beneath the veneer again and found the hearts that beat there.
Life has many aspects and it was always said of the ‘Celt’ – they look past the outward appearance straight into the soul – we are a Celtic nation and caring and loving has always been part of our makeup.
Let us not allow media and materialism to steal our children away but let us talk to them and bring them back to what really matters in life, before it is too late.