Saturday, June 18, 2011

But is it really Progress

My late father was born 111 years ago in Barry's Bay so "the acorn isn't far from the tree".

His world was the Horse and cart, a herd of seven or eight cows milked by hand by his sisters and Dad, when he was old enough, the milk went to the factory down by the beach on the trip to school, the cheese went out by sea, communication was by the written word with letters and telegraph from main centers, the sole charge teacher was a person following a "calling" with an education that was anywhere from a school just like that one to maybe a university degree and remuneration a small stipend, the education for most began and ended at that local school with the ultimate achievement a Matriculation Certificate that was the equivalent of my University Entrance, night light was by candle with maybe a kerosene lamp, social life was the home with occasional district events and maybe once a year the big city by train from Little River 20 miles over the crater rim past "The Hilltop".

When he died 92 years later his world was very different.
Cars, jet planes, welfare, comprehensive medical care, aged care facilities, hospices, Tarseal roads, telephone, radio, television, supermarkets, man had been to the moon and the Global Village via the internet was a reality.

But much of that so called progress can be brought to a shuddering halt so easily, a weather event destroys all communications and power, earthquakes bring our city almost to a standstill and now Jet airliners are grounded by a volcano an ocean away.

The Crusaders revert to an internal combustion engine propulsion system that was in its infancy when Dad was born in a vessel that was designed when he was a young man to get to their game in the Capital tonight.

Progress is not a steady ascent to utopia on a slope of creation but rather a roller-coaster when events and/or unforeseen outcomes bring things up against a serious disruption or in rare cases a complete halt.
His lifetime revealed a mind boggling train of progress and the train is still accelerating.

Yes it is progress

4 comments:

pdm said...

Mmmm your dad must have been born the same year as mine - 1900. But they were miles apart as my father was born on the Isle Of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

He came to NZ in 1927 by ship through the newly opened Panama Canal. The biggest indictment on my younger days is that I did not find out enough about his life in the years from 1900 until he left for NZ.

Even three visits to Lewis and chats with my cousins there do not fill the gaps.

Johnboy said...

Raise you by one. Born Badachro Wester Ross 1899.

Probably came on the same ship as your dad pdm has he had tales to tell of building the Buller Gorge road during the depression.

Hard to believe really these days!

pdm said...

Johnboy my dad went shepherding at Ngata near Bulls when he arrived then moved to Kereru in Hawkes Bay. No road building for him as far as I am aware.

Anonymous said...

There's progress by way of more stuff and progress by way of how we interact. I liked being able to leave my house unlocked but wasn't so keen on licking 't road clean wit tongue after walking barefoot in 't snow from mill etc...

The 3 or 4 day working week Popular Mechanics promised in the 1950's never came to pass but the 6 and 7 day day working week sure did. Treadmills come in all shapes and sizes.

At the end its love that matters and knits society together but technology is making life so busy we seem to have less time for real relationships.