Essays - Part 19
A “throw-away society” is a term with highly negative evaluative connotation that means the same as the more neutral “consumer society”. Both terms, however, in the course of time acquired that negative tinge which everybody is supposed to express when pronouncing them; it is fashionable to denounce our society for being a consumer society rather than… no one actually knows rather than what.
The answer to this question could have been downright “no”, but there are, however, a number of nuances that make this issue a rather controversial one. On the one hand, there are people who, while being good or excellent students, are often confused and frightened by the prospect of placing all their knowledge of the subject into one test paper. They find it hard to concentrate when being pressed for time and, as a result, produce much worse results than could have been expected when taking into account their academic record.
It is a copy-book maxim that the state exists in order to protect its citizens and its law enforcement subdivision deals with the issue of protecting them from inner dangers, i.e. criminals that may harm them or their property. The methods, which can be used by police, however, are much more controversial issue.
It is, of course, hard to tell for sure, but the density of similar hysterias in the last years makes me believe that this one will go just like all the other ones. Radiation from the computer screen, atypical pneumonia, bird flu, Apocalypse-2012 (which replaced the one predicted in 2009, 1999, 2000 and virtually any other year), Big Hadron Collider, ozone hole, year 2000 problem – all of them come and go and many are already completely forgotten, no matter how important they were considered only a few years ago.
It does not belong to widely known information that the first ban on tobacco smoking was imposed in Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler, which already gives some clues on to where put it. Since then, tobacco smoking has been becoming a growingly unpopular habit and a very popular target for many political activists, leftish mostly. It is being denounced for everything that one can imagine: most commonly lung cancer, yet it is commonly called to be the reason for virtually any disease. Another piece of not widely known information that even the most logical accusation (that of cancer) has never been scientifically proved.
Modern society in its selection of what is acceptable and what is not exceeds all the boundaries of illogicality and inconsequence. It is alright to kill unborn children, who cannot defend themselves or even say their opinion about it, yet it is a dreadful crime for a person to smoke of his or hers free will. It is a good deed to give your money to somebody else and it is immoral to spend it on yourself. There is nothing wrong about conducting dangerous and harmful experiments on animals, but it is evil to hunt them.
The last years have seen an ever-increasing surge of indignation on the part of society in what concerns the so-called “child predators”, mostly in connection with the Internet. It is supposed to mean that the introduction of new technologies makes it easier for child predators to track their victims.
But, to tell the truth, the public opinion on this subject looks more and more like a mass hysteria. Child predators are undoubtedly disgusting people, but is it credible that there are thousands of them creeping behind every corner, waiting to grab an unsuspecting child at any moment? Do new technologies really change anything? Google Street View is usually mentioned there, said to giving the predator a possibility to see your child playing in the backyard or notice the position of your bedroom windows and suchlike. Couldn’t he do it without it?
Every generation brings something new to the sum of knowledge humanity possesses, and the majority of people consider it to be alright; yet in every generation there is a considerable percentage of people who would rather not change or create anything and would be even more happy if they could prohibit others to do so as well. In some ages they are more numerous and influential, in others – less. Our own time, considered as the time of progress and bringing down the barriers, is characterized by especially large number of them.
It is true to say that cheating on one’s spouse exists as long as there is marriage; and of course every generation is completely and utterly sure that the age it lives in is the worst in what concerns morals, human relationships and social life in general. Strangely enough, but people seem to like complaining about such things.
It is hard to say whether cheating nowadays is more wide-spread than before, for there hardly can be any reliable information on this matter either from modern times or from the ages past, as cheating isn’t generally the thing that one strives to make public. Some people do everything to persuade us that it was better “then”; some people do everything to persuade us that “then” was just the same as “now”.
From my point of view, the Twelfth Night is a very fascinating and charming play, as well as its main character Viola. When reading the comedy, I admired this lady and the way she acted in the situations she had to face. Viola, to my mind, is a collective character of a Renaissance person. She is active, brave, and generous. In addition, she is well-educated and very beautiful. She is the queen of her life, and even when she finds herself in quite a strange situation and in unfamiliar environment, she is smart enough to choose the best strategy quickly, meanwhile, charming all the people around her.