30 May 2013

Recent Observations

Briefly, due to time constraints, I wanted to note a few recent observations.  I don't have much time for writing and not much time to contribute to this blog, although I appreciate those that read it and I acknowledge the collaborative history of the blog, when it was a hive of activity.  There are occasional posts and comments from others and I appreciate these as well.

The language I will use will be prose rather than the verbose language that has become de rigeuer for those that write about the artistic, academic or anything else that is, or is considered to be intellectual, on the Internet.  However, I acknowledge the value attributed to appearance rather than substance when it comes to on-line writing, indeed art-bollox and other pontifications seem to count for much these days.  Nonetheless, there are those that consider their audience/readers rather than play the game of "notice me".

The recession, from a UK perspective, is beginning to move towards a period of recovery.  As I posted on "Ideas in Motion", I believe that recovery from the economic downturn will take years and, although on paper we are no longer in recession, from a practical and everyday point of view, we still are.  My opinion is based on intuition, although there are numerous, notable cultural shifts and some economic stimuli that can be observed, some of them I listed on "Ideas in Motion".  For now, the recession is still having an impact on many peoples' lives in the UK and across the world.  However, I believe the seeds of a recovery are being sewn, although they are fragile at the moment. 

It is still too early to reflect on the impact of the global recession in a meaningful way, particularly when we ask what can we learn from this long-term recession that has had an effect upon us all? For now the adjustment to global markets and multicultural, Western realities are enough to be getting on with!  I will stop short of reflecting on the impact of politicians, bankers and directors on the UK and abroad as people are very aware of this.

The Internet and its effect upon people's behaviour is something else that I have observed.  I love the Internet!  I spend too much time looking at art/photography, browsing different types of pages and contributing to discussions.  However I value real-life (i.e.; life not in front of a computer screen) much more.  The West is changing faster than may of us would have believed 10 years ago and information overload contributes to this.  Values have shifted from quality to quantity, from clarity of thought to arbitrariness and from high quality consumer products to low quality, high cost products. 

The postmodern workplace is crammed full of problems and has become a legal minefield.  The Internet and information technology has contributed to this, as we try to adjust to more impersonal, computerised ways of working while we are all still adjusting to the recession and its impact.  Whereas businesses have to try very hard to advertise and keep up appearances (an important part of competition) during tough times, is continual and sometimes inefficient, adjustment to new technology a wise policy?  Balance seems the key, rather than all out change.

Finally, I wanted to mention the current state of sexual relationships in the UK and further afield, although my knowledge is confined to the West.  With the recent plethora of changes to Western societies, the legalisation of gay marriage may have gone virtually unnoticed.  The UK has already signed up to this idea and so has France.  It seems ironic that the legalisation of gay marriage has taken place while many heterosexual marriages are, quite frankly, falling apart.  There seems to be a large shift away from romantic love and providing a lasting, stable base for bringing up children, to a culture of short-term sexual relationships, casual sex and affairs.  Personally, I don't have a problem with this, although I am concerned about the well-being of children.  I wonder what the effect of our current approach to relationships will have upon children?  Indeed, what about the effect of gay couples adopting children or using surrogate mothers or fathers, or artificial insemination?  In a time dominated by cultural upheaval, legal minefields and an economic downturn, is romantic, enduring love very difficult to achieve, or undesirable?  If this is the case, then what are we to make of romance, or the Romantic, in the arts and entertainment.  There has been a vogue for romanticism* for some time, so the need seems to be there even if (because of societal pressures) we can no longer enjoy romance in relationships.  At least not to the degree that we used to.  Is this a reflection of a colder, Orwellian-type society(ies) that overly attempts to suppress emotion or other freedoms?  Perhaps, once again, information technology is contributing to the current state of relationships, by creating anonymous, impersonal and fleeting environments? 


*I acknowledge the difference between romance and Romanticism.  I also acknowledge the similarities.