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28

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.
 




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