January 15

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

The Great Forgetting

You know a movie’s good when it starts to change your thinking AND your behaviour. Last night I reviewed the film ‘Don’t Look Up’ (you can read the review here) and, as a result, today I took a first step in refusing to be brainwashed to join The Great Forgetting.

Don’t look back!

For me The Great Forgetting began in 1966, when our television screens introduced us to an amazing new plastic called Gladwrap. People, just like us, demonstrated dozens of ways to use it and asked the same question every day, “What did we do before Glad came along?” I was in primary school, but every time I helped my Mum in the kitchen I parroted it too … “What did we do before Glad came along?” It made us feel so happy.

And bang, just like that, overnight, we forgot how to live without Gladwrap.

Plastic bottles of water arrived in the 1970s. When they were first introduced we all laughed …. who would be stupid enough to pay for water when you could get it out of the tap for free?

Then there were computers, and the Internet and mobile phones and social media and so much progress drawing us on to become more and more dependent on Big Tech, with the overpowering message “Don’t Look Back!”

After watching the launch of the smartphone ‘BASH Liif’ in ‘Don’t Look Up’, I woke this morning feeling ill that I don’t even know my sons’ phone numbers off by heart. I just press a button on my mobile to ring them. The brainwashing has been complete. I have allowed myself to depend totally on Big Tech.

What did we do before mobiles came along?

Thankfully I still remember how to live without Big Tech.

This morning I dug out all my old phone directories and even came across my mother’s small blue one and my grandmother’s Teledex … she was so trendy when she got that! There was even a souvenir ‘Little Black Book’ from Gulgong (which I never actually used).

My first little floral directory dates back to the start of The Great Forgetting. The time when rote learning also became unfashionable.

So today I chose to mend the spines of my old directories … and I chose to remember.

I began writing my ‘Favourites’ into my old Tin Tin Phone Directory – the one with Captain Haddock flying across in his space suit.

Research shows that memorising improves neural plasticity and knowledge retention

Throughout history poems and songs, particularly folk songs, have been memorised and shared. These memories have been a source of history, of knowledge, of shared culture, of comfort, of joy, of power and of freedom. When we memorise them they come back to us when we need them most, and they are our guides to help us in making crucial decisions.

In the Permaculture Design Course being run by the Planetary Health Initiative, we’ve been encouraging young people to learn Ethics and Principles to guide them to be self-reliant.

At the start of ‘Don’t Look Up’, when the astronomers are faced with having to make a decision, they ask: “What would Carl Sagan do?”

The response: “He would take it back to first principles!”

We learn principles so we can embody wisdom and have a shared understanding of the world.

As the movie unfolded we saw society handing over its ethics and its shared understanding of the world to Big Tech, the Media and manipulative commercial interests.

In the end they were betrayed.

I remember how I lived before mobiles came along. I remember when we used to learn all our phone numbers off by heart.

Writing and reading phone numbers in a directory helps you learn them. Today I set to work to learn them off by heart.

I wrote the first number on a piece of cardboard, then on my hand, and then chanted it aloud the whole time I walked Charlie. Luckily there were very few people around!

I nailed it, so tomorrow I’ll learn another one.

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2 Comments

Meredith · January 16, 2022 at 8:16 pm

For day 15 I created a new email address with a secure, open source email provider that isn’t going to scan my email content and bombard me with advertising. I’m looking forward to being able to use email without feeding big tech!

Carla · January 15, 2022 at 9:36 pm

That’s lovely – I like the convenience of having phone numbers and diaries in my phone but this year I bought a paper diary again for the first time in decades. I’m not as good at remembering things I put in an electronic diary as in a paper one…

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