“Good men shall then be manifested;
their principles, their practices …
They who are now accused of hypocrisy
and obstinacy, and pride and peevishness,
because they could not swim with the stream,
nor run with others to the same excess of riot,
will then be manifested
to be men of integrity and humility,
and to have declined the profane course of others,
not out of foolish preciseness …
but out of conscience …”
[ John Owen ]
I was asked, last year, if my lament about the 21st century was not just ‘looking back’
with ‘rose-tinted glasses’.
Well now, it is neither my fantasy – nor wistful thinking – to observe that,
when I was growing up, men tipped their hats when passing a lady;
that women were not ashamed to dress – and conduct themselves … like ladies;
or that children addressed adults as “Sir”, or “Ma’am”, “Mr”, “Mrs”, or “Miss”.
And you would never – ever – hear filthy obscenities spoken in public – Not, that is,
by any adult who wanted to be regarded as mature, or responsible, or professional.
Nor would shop owners, restaurant managers, teachers, or the parents of any child
ever have heard it, and said nothing to the creature spewing the verbal filth.
A public conscience still existed in human society back then.
People could spell, write … and converse in sentences; they had the humility to learn;
and the manners to say ‘thank you’ to someone for correcting their errors or ignorance.
It has nothing to do with ‘rose-tinted glasses’ to physically HEAR
the filthy profanity in peoples’ “conversation”, to physically SEE men dressed like slobs
and women doing all they can to become ‘men’;
or to REALISE that the term “Grammer Nazi” means that people in the 21st century,
are not only APPALLINGLY ignorant – but are actually OFFENDED and ABUSIVE
whenever someone offers to help them to learn something that they do not know.
There is now an all-too-obvious readiness in people to presume that IF someone does NOT
follow the multitude in “partying”, hedonism, greed, and vanity they are, therefore,
‘strange’ … or, ‘weird’.
And of course, ‘everyone knows’ … ( don’t they?) that if a teenaged girl has long hair,
regularly wears a dress, nylons, and feminine shoes; respects her parents;
has the moral fortitude to say ‘No’ to her “friends”, and does not spew filth and profanity
… she has – (obviously!) been brainwashed by a cult.
No one in this world (I believe I may safely say) WANTS to be alone or without company.
The reasons why any remaining folk such as me prefer to avoid society is because
the consequences of doing otherwise are too distasteful.
More significantly, the bulk of modern humanity want nothing whatsoever to do
with those who are quiet, peaceful, and articulate. We make them … Uncomfortable.
I certainly do not enjoy having no one with whom I could go out
for a frothy coffee or cup of tea. But personal experience has taught me that,
when you are a man
who does not talk about what is displayed on a TV set;
who does not swill beer;
who has no interest in sitting in front of a television
to watch grown men chasing a ball around a field;
and who does not engage in the vanity of owning things –
modern men just do not want to know you.
They certainly do not want your company because – without liquor, toys,
or pathetic macho posturing, there is not a great deal about which they could talk.
I learned more than forty years ago that, when you will not leap on board
every passing media-instigated bandwagon;
when you believe that if a man’s words are no better than silence,
it would be better for him to be silent ;
or when your conscience extends higher than career, money,
or a flag on a pole –
then No One (men or women) wants to be around you.
It is not that a man does not WANT to know people –
it is that PEOPLE do not want to know the man.
Sometimes, people are alone … because they are given
no other choice.
That – certainly, has been the situation in my life.
Anyone, now, who is peaceful, polite, introspective, or thoughtful is someone
to be regarded with distaste or ( ominously ! ) suspicion.
For multitudes: to be an aggressive, loud-mouthed, wilfully ignorant, immature party-boy
who swills liquor; copulates like a rodent in a sewer; and wastes hours watching grown men
chase a ball around a field, is to be … “A Man”.
While the ‘liberated’, ‘independent’, “Modern Woman” (evidently),
is one who imitates the modern “Man”.
I chose to be alone because the general tenor of modern humanity
is obnoxious to my ears, eyes, and conscience.
It would be utter misery, for me, to find myself in a “party” or a “club” atmosphere
where crowds of people throng in a room filled with blaring noise
being hammered from loudspeakers – all assembled for the common purpose
of swilling liquor and abandoning all semblance of self restraint.
To be in a place like that would be torment, for me.
One cannot even go to a supermarket, bank, or dentist’s office
without being subjected to noise from speakers, or a wall-mounted television set.
Peace and quiet – silence that would allow the ability to think, consider, question
and reason, have been utterly removed from modern society.
Something has to fill the void of the modern mind.
The Human Race has been noticeably re-engineered, over the last 35 years in particular.
I remember, in Donaghadee harbour as a boy, hearing one of two fishermen
who had been reeling nets onto their boat, curse:
and then Immediately, stop his conversation, climb the stone steps up to the jetty,
walk over to a woman who was sitting at a bench by the lighthouse, remove his cap
… and apologise for his language.
That would have been about 1969.
Now then – with a working conscience – you tell me, (seriously now) that anyone like me
– who wants nothing to do with the crude, mindless, vicious, modern ‘society’
of the 21st century, is “weird” or “needs help”.
I would suggest that it is NOT those who are sickened out of an “old fashioned”,
conscientious, sense of courtesy and consideration which “need the help”.
Rather, it is those multitudes, which find the utter Absence of common decency to be ‘normal’
… who need the help.
One of the most disgusting mantras to come out of the early 1990’s, is the declaration that
“Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness”.
But I believe that to voice such a statement as that is:
‘the Ultimate Act of Selfishness’.
To declare that someone who is so distraught that they feel that they just
Can Not go on for one more day, and simply want the mental and emotional torment
of their situation in life to end –
to maintain that a person in such anguish is … “selfish” … is, for me,
The Ultimate Act of Selfishness.
And shows just how callous, and cruel, and vicious, modern humanity has become.
It used to be known as Empathy.
Just the very real memory of how adults, generally,
USED to behave.
And daily distress from the harsh reality of seeing and hearing
how human beings behave now.