ben elton ic

If you are stranded on an island and want to swim back to the mainland or even be ferried across, being hydrophobic is a slight impediment. Being critical of the technological hijack of culture, relationships and almost everything makes it very difficult to voice one’s fears other than through social media.

My late mother (The Qump, a term of endearment) never liked motorbikes. Despite the fact my father had one for decades, he never had an accident. It was he who kindled my passion for two wheels but she still could not come to terms with it. A hilarious episode once captured the issue when I revealed to her I had just bought a new motorbike. She turned to Anne and said:

Qump: “Don’t let him have one.”

Me: “I’ve just bought one.”

Qump: “Don’t let him have one, they’re dangerous.”

You may not believe it but no matter how many times I said that my new bike was in the garage, paid for, taxed and insured, she wouldn’t accept it or back down.

I am now the Qump.

Twitter? Don’t understand it, don’t use it. Facebook? Yes, I use it, but I’d rather not. However almost all of my friends live a (very) long way from me and it is an occasional useful tool to stay in touch. Instagram and all the rest of them? No.

I do love Skype. I have often found that healing and therapy over Skype is actually more powerful than face-to-face. The explanation for this I’ll leave to another time. Skype is brilliant. Australia, Norway, Greece, the Middle East, the USA.

Where would we be without email, computers, mobile phones and-pause for simulated vomiting-“smart” speakers? Answer? For the most part we would be back in the 60’s, a decade I remember with affection. It’s funny but (I have a very developed and powerful imagination) for the life of me there is nothing that anything from the above list and more could have enhanced my “lifestyle.” I didn’t have a lifestyle, I had a life.

When I “like” something on Facebook (a few times a week?) it is usually following a compliment, or an expression of compassion or something funny. Occasionally it is to endorse an element of truth activism. When I watch a video on YouTube of Darren Farley, David Icke, something interesting about the world on mainstream media (it does exist), George Carlin, Jonathan Pie, Eckhart Tolle, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Wayne Dyer, Tucker Carlson… I enjoy the video or I stop watching it. I’m rather proud of the fact that I have never, ever clicked on the thumbs down button on any video. The only time I give feedback for a product or service is when it is exceptional, or truly appalling (a couple of times) or the service provider is going out on a limb. For example a Vegan restaurant or a contributor to improving the lot of all sentient beings. Yet there is no mileage in falsifying feedback just because the provider is a social justice warrior.

And anyone who is able to switch on a computer and move the mouse around knows that visiting any web site gets the algorithms flowing. Almost instantaneously a visit to the next website will generate an advert for the product or service you may have just been perusing. As with the television, the most used button on my computer is the mute button. It’s only half the battle of course because images are powerful influencers of the subconscious. It should be obvious, but maybe it isn’t, if you have an intention to reject being brainwashed by advertisers then it tends to work.

It isn’t the first time I have declared that to be forced to watch 15 minutes of advertising with my eyes propped open would be the quickest way for me to book my passage to “Nosso Lar.”

Yes these are the rantings of a chronologically challenged old bastard. And yes every coffin-dodging generation has tended to rubbish change and has struggled to understand the world as it has become. But no one can deny we live in an age of exponential change, especially technologically, and the agenda of artificial intelligence hangs over us like the sword of Damocles.

My way of dealing with it? To emigrate. The Greeks are not technology averse but they don’t seem as passionate about it and there are massive swathes of Greece where I should be able to escape 6G.

Sorry to end on this note, but I did say earlier that I had become the Qump. For the last 18 months of my mother’s life she lived in a truly exceptional care home. Every week we went to visit her as we said our goodbyes she would declare: “I’m going home now.” “Home” as she referred to it had been sold. She ended up in the care home because she would have blown up the street trying to light her gas oven.

Sometimes there is no answer. Sometimes there is. Don’t we all have free will?

Thank you for putting up with this indulgence. I’m five chapters into Ben Elton’s Identity Crisis and I cannot put it down. #Bollocks, whatever that means.

Jack Stewart, September 10, 2019.


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