I rarely watch the news, or even listen to it.

I gave it up as a bad habit years ago. I've rarely missed it.

If something happens I need to know about, someone will tell me.

Have you noticed, over the last few years, that if something weird or strange happens (like a woman giving birth to a two headed frog), it will be in some incredibly remote place no-one has ever heard of until now. A remote region of Russia, or China, or South America. A region with no conceivable connection to me or my family or friends or country. Is any useful purpose being served in telling me this?

I have a theory about why this happens. ...continue reading "The Wonderful World We Live In"

5

When I first returned to university in my forties I knew I wanted to study history, but I was living in rural New South Wales, and the only external course I could find was Anthropology. I knew Anthropology studied people, past and present, and in my innocence I enrolled.

Big mistake.

I passed the course, which is one of the minor miracles of my life.

Something about Anthropology never sat right with me. As a discipline, it is the bastard child of the seventeenth century Enlightenment movement and European colonialism. Among The Enlightenment's contributions to human thought is the idea of the "Noble Savage". The Noble Savage probably never existed in any society on this planet, but that is material for another blog. However, as an idea, it continues to damage our world to this day, as countless well-intentioned and intelligent individuals strive to return to this state. ...continue reading "History vs. Anthropology"

4

Can any of you, dear readers, do the following?

Bake a loaf of bread.

Sew a shirt.

Knit a jumper.

Fix your car when it breaks down.

Build a house (or a shed).

I can confidently tick the first three. After that, I admit, my knowledge is extremely hazy. I can work out which end of a hammer to use to hang a picture, and that’s about it.

I can make a loaf of bread in my bread maker, but I buy the yeast, flour, salt and oil, the tin I bake it in, and expect my oven to be automatically warmed by gas or electricity. I doubt if I could bake a loaf of bread like my grandmother did, by kneading it on the kitchen table and cooking it in a wood-fired oven. I have no idea how to grind flour from wheat, or extract yeast from the beer-making process.

Similarly, I can knit a jumper, but I can’t spin or dye wool, or shear a sheep.

I'm probably about as handy, in the sense of being able to feed, clothe and house myself, as most people in my age group in Western society, and more handy than the next generation, or the one after that.

What are the implications of this? ...continue reading "The Fragility of Technology"

3

A friend of mine, a married woman in her thirties, is probably a typical First World woman of our era.

She has two young children, one at school.

She works part-time, three days per week.

She's developing a home-based business idea.

She enjoys sport, and participates when she can.

She has a large circle of friends and family.

Last time I saw her she had dark circles under her eyes, was tired, depressed and generally pissed off. I must add that she's generally a positive, up-beat person, but a few plans had gone awry - as plans tend to - and she really wasn't coping well.

Most of us have a tendency to fill our days with activities many of which, if stopped, probably wouldn't be missed, but the purpose of this blog entry is to stop and reflect for a moment on the lot of the modern young (under 40) woman. ...continue reading "Superwoman"