Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

Some lights just go out; others flicker – but only for a while

2016-10-30

Smiles, then laughter, a certainty. Reflecting, reminiscing – alone or with loved ones – and we discover the richness that other lives add to our own, and how much who we are is shaped by such experiences.

Then one day, not death, but dementia knocks.A light starts to flicker, then does so between long pauses, then goes out. And it is traumatic enough when a parent (or older relative) is afflicted. From The Guardian, which has presented a commendable series, a son reflects on his father, Buona notte Papa: the long goodbye to a parent with dementia

‘Somehow along the way, he and Mum (mostly Mum) raised four healthy boys in a remote country town.

‘But now, three years from that first diagnosis, all this is lost to him.

‘He struggles to remember our names. Once loquacious, he is reduced to a muddle between English and Italian. He has no road sense, is usually unaware of his surroundings, and requires constant supervision.’

Some of Mark Brandi’s recounting is very familiar, and does strike that emotional chord with some resonance.

And the thing about it. For the younger set, that trauma turns to nagging anxiety when the disease strikes one of the previously ‘immortal’ group of ‘wastrels’, and that one is even younger.

Which is why, all along the way, so many of us continue that quaint habit of engaging, of socialising, of staying in touch. At a distance, or even closer, no better advice than this classic bit. If as they say, ‘Vita brevis est’, then ‘amor aeternus est’?

Social media, and uniting indigenous nations

2016-10-12

The times, they do change. With the corporate media then in totally unchallenged dominance, the voiceless were just that, and an awkward irritant best left ignored. However, with the advent of social media, nations and their peoples that have long existed, but studiously ignored, now have their voices heard. With the corporate media, the plunder of resources – with assorted intimidating murders of community or tribal leaders – would be rationalised as deterring ‘terrorists’ (or evil Communists in another era) from depriving their disadvantaged people of the benefits of ‘civilisation’. The times have changed, as ‘legacy’ media are increasingly being treated with the opprobrium deserved, well-deserved. (more…)

That journey: from cradle to grave

2016-02-28

The Guardian provides yet another sobering read.

Here the author, Helen Pearson, examines the life journey of various cohorts of Britons,  The Life Project: what makes some people happy, healthy and successful – and others not? Just one paragraph should invite closer reading,

In March 1946, scientists recorded the birth of almost every British baby born in one, cold week. They have been following thousands of them ever since, in what has become the longest running major study of human development in the world. These people – who turn 70 over the next two weeks − are some of the best studied people on the planet. And the analysis of them was so successful that researchers repeated the exercise, starting to follow thousands of babies born in 1958, 1970, the early 1990s and at the turn of the millennium. Altogether, more than 70,000 people across five generations have been enrolled in these “birth cohort” studies. No other country in the world is tracking generations of people in quite this way: the studies have become the envy of scientists around the world, a jewel in the crown of British science, and yet, beyond the circle of dedicated researchers who run them, remarkably few people know that they even exist.

[bold added for emphasis]

Such studies, longitudinal or tracer, are clearly invaluable to society. Not only to researchers, but to committed policymakers. Regrettably, some countries with the wherewithal to conduct a similar data and analytical exercise opt for blather rather than data collection and analysis for policy making.

This article should provoke not only further observation and discussion, but also some introspection – how satisfactory has been the journey and what lifestyle adjustments are called for? That saying about the ‘unexamined life…’