“Hello Sid, you found us!” said Dr C as Buddha sat down beside them in the library.
“Yes, it took a while since we used to meet in the wine bar and now you spend more time in the library, is this to be our usual meeting place?”
“Sure Sid,” I said, “we need to keep our voices down though.”
“Well, it seems that researching your family tree is our main focus now rather than politics and philosophy, but I’m sure there will be plenty of overlap?”
“Probably if I know you Sid, but I doubt my ancestors were very philosophical, or Buddhist even.”
“Speak for yourself B,” said Dr C, “every one of MY ancestors will have been Buddhists, that’s one of the things that defines we Newars in Kathmandu!”
“Well, on a lighter note to begin, I see that you’ve been writing posts you call Imaginative Ancestry where you concentrate on trying to imagine what life was like for your ancestors in different era, particularly in terms of the sociological context. Have you ever thought of doing the reverse?”
“Go on Oh Wise One, explain.”
“Well, if your ancestors could see both of you, The Two Doctors, what would they “think” of your lives, the context, environment, quality of life and …. of course the technology they couldn’t possibly imagine?”
“Good question Sid, I’d never looked at it that way round, any suggestions?”
“Absolutely, the thing that baffles and concerns me about your modern day society is not so much the technology such as telephones, tv, computers, microwave ovens, ….. it’s what you DO with it all that at times is hilarious as well as baffling. Should I give you a list, something to reflect on?”
“Fire away Sid,” said Dr C.
“OK, your ancestors are looking down and marvel at the technology. They don’t know how it was made but they grasp the opportunities for communication with the telephone, entertainment and news with the tv and so on. But they start to see “inside” your lives more, especially what you call leisure time ….”
1. Twitter: What the heck is this except a means of insulting others, or shouting out across the planet your distorted political views or craving others to “look at you”! It seems that a measure of happiness is based on how many completely unknown followers you harvest. Minimum number of words, minimum amount of compassion.
2. Reality TV Shows: This is the same category as Twitter, here in England such programmes as Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity neither of which seem like reality to me with narcissistic people wanting to be the centre of attention and engage in greater levels of outrageousness. But ….. people actually enjoy watching these so called celebrities……
“I think you’ve got something here Sid, they both are quite insidious and either are an absolute reflection of our society OR are a dumbing down influence on it deliberately motivated by the profit seeking companies who create them. Our immediate ancestors, never mind those from centuries ago just wouldn’t get it. What do you think C?”
“Oh I agree completely, my current family in Kathmandu are totally baffled by both of these items although they do use Facebook as a means of sharing FAMILY events such as weddings, births, festivals etc.”
“OK Sid, carry on.”
3. Dog yoga and massage: I saw an advert the other day for these two “services”, I’m literally speechless!
4. Bird food: I know this might be contentious, but Dr B you grew up when your parents fed the birds with left over bread crumbs, fat balls home made from meat cooking or bacon rind. But nowadays people are spending a fortune on buying various types of seeds, nuts, fat balls, seed cakes. Why? How on earth has it become part of routine to allocate part of one’s weekly budget to ….. birds ….. why not allocate the same amount of money for the homeless or destitute. Your ancestors would be truly baffled by this.
“But I like to attract birds into our garden” said Dr C. “No problem, but why not do it with the plants you grow in the garden, choose plants you like but which provide some food for the birds?” said Buddha.
“I’m saying nothing Sid, you’ll get away with it but I don’t, move on!”
5. Ready meals: This to me is the height of laziness where people are prioritising less time for the social aspect of cooking and eating. Again, consider it from your ancestors viewpoint, a ready meal is more expensive than cooking fresh food, it’s philosophically and practically “hurry up food” where people are rushing to go somewhere else or have worked too long hours before coming home. Baffling!
6. Pizza: This is a single example of a specific food your ancestors would struggle with. Essentially it’s a piece of flattened dough, covered in a paste of tomatoes, then baked. Price £10-£15 in England, actual cost of making …. £1-£2? Your ancestors might like Pizza as a food, simple, quick and easy to make ….. but value for money? Ramro chaina Dr C! Bujyo?
7. Plastic wrapped vegetables: Dr B, I read in an earlier post how you would go shopping in your village in the 1950s with a leather shopping bag and come home with it full of potatoes, carrots, swede, a cabbage for example … no other wrapping, just weighed and tipped into your bag. Why oh why do supermarkets shrink wrap a swede in plastic. Bizarre even to understand today, never mind what your ancestors would think.
“There you go my Two friends, not a long list but a few examples of aspects of your society your ancestors just couldn’t imagine. Just don’t tweet this on Twitter, the torrent of abuse could disturb the cosmos. Om!”
“Hang on Sid, you didn’t have the European Union on your list, what do you think our ancestors would think of that, don’t go!”
“Give up B, he’s wiser than we all give him credit for!”