Beep, Beep, Beep

Wednesday 4 August 2010

I can hear as I begin typing the beep, beep, beep of a reversing truck in the next street over from where I live.

It is good that a giant reversing truck has a beeping noise attached to it so that when it reverses it does not run over hapless workers.  I can only wonder, however, about the side effects of the payoff.  Silence is golden.  How much more distracted must those workers be if, for example, they are working on a large site where there are, say, seven reversing vehicles around them, all beeping at once?  Does the distraction of the beepingness negate any positive effects the warning might have?

Any way, no matter.  The manufacturers of the trucks, the owners of the sites, their hands at least are clean.

There is a federal election coming up here in Australia.  All the more reason to switch off the television.  The empty heads taking pot shots at each other, the lack of any sort of vision, the stubborn and complete and absolute refusal to come within a 100 kilometre radius of admitting that continued economic growth is not only unsustainable, but that it is damaging, makes me want to weep at how deep the smoke and the mirrors go.  Etched into our skin.

Continued economic growth is a pipedream concept, an ostrich paradigm, fuelled by the greed of people who want continued and greater return on their investment for no extra effort to continue gushing out of the ground forever and ever.

We do not want to stop and ask questions about the validity and viability of this paradigm, of who the losers may be in this contest.  We allow ourselves to be absorbed back into the endless electronic beeping of the next ADD distraction because it is comfortable there, and we have become comfortable.

We have become so comfortable that it's like an article of clothing we may wish to remove because the sun is out and we want the vitamin D to seep into our skin, for our skin to breathe.  But we find we cannot do so without great difficulty;  the edges of the fabric have seemingly seared themselves into our skin.

It is I suspect the same sort of looking away we do when we go to buy our latest piece of beeping electronica and are gratified to see how low the price is (how much cheaper our consumer drugs have become in the past 10 years!)  We do not wish to follow the thought pattern down, as we stand in line to complete our purchase, or click "pay now" on our computer screens, to consider that anyone would be losing out on our big deal.

We do not want to think that the cheap price we pay has any link at all to the conditions of workers at the Foxconn plant in China.  But everything is linked.  Ten workers have suicided at this plant since January.

Is there a link between our purchasing at this end and their conditions at that end?  We do not want it to be so.  We do not want to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers.

But perhaps everything is far more linked than we would like it to be.

Luckily, there's a distraction coming our way, just around the corner, to put an end to these thoughts of discomfort.

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

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