How life has changed! Queuing up for the automatic ticket-vending machine at Bondi Junction Station this morning, with other commuters, I was aurally assailed by spruikers for the ING Bank, proclaiming the virtues of virtual banking, with no fees and high interest and no relations with tells or bank managers.
There were kids in uniform t-shirts, distributing “Nine to Five” to left and the right of me.
Arriving in the office, there was the Internet and a meeting with a good old-fashioned bank manager, not about banking but to provide me with instructions for an affidavit in litigation. We spoke about the evaporation of relationships in so called “Relationship Banking”.
Radio journals now claim only a casual or fleeting relationship with truth, depending on who is paying. Never have people been more driven by pecuniary rewards in their job search. Male/female liaisons are more determined then ever by physical attractiveness, which can be engineered by the trappings of style: Hair, make-up, fashion, facial and body rearrangement and cars. The appeal of these accoutrements was always there but substance has been displaced by appearances.
No wonder so many people are depressed. It is a virtual world where things happen predictably and fast and spirituality is confined to the churches, which people may only remember are there, when they overshadow their aquatic facilities.
People like Princess Diana and John F Kennedy Jr, can mean more to us than our own families. A lot of old folk missed out on a visit because audiences were glued to reports of sensational tragedy. Society thrives on communal grief but its members often have difficulty in coming to terms with loss personally and individually.
The streets of Sydney are littered with human rejects. There are panhandlers, like there never used to be. There are vagrants whom the law is powerless to remove and for whom the welfare authorities appear to lack the reach to care. We can walk past them insouciantly and then pick up John Grisham’s novel “The Street Lawyer” and imagine that it is just about Washington DC.
Read about “copycat” family massacres by carbon monoxide in WA and pretend that it is somehow less significant than the school shootings in the USA. In short, believe that everything is happening “out there” and ignore what is happening at home, on our streets and to us.
The world is becoming a harsh, hard place where sensation is being generalized. Our young people are learning to turn on and turn off to things in a way which has a tendency to inure against being touched by the things, which should matter. Increasingly, people have to turn to therapy to learn to relate in a way, which is antithetical to the way in which society operates. The pressure to look only at the way things look rather than the way things are obscures our reflection in the mirror of our soul.