The last few days proved thought-provoking. Why? Firstly, the Badger went to a local travelling circus with very low expectations and came away amazed and incredulous! Apart from booking tickets online, the whole show was devoid of any kind of computing technology and it provided an incredible close-up of the raw skills of human beings and the capabilities of their minds and bodies.
Secondly, the Badger visited a local Classic Vehicle rally and was struck by the complete absence of electronics from road vehicles more than 40 years old, and the passion, creativity and ingenuity of owners in keeping their vehicles roadworthy in their original condition.
Thirdly, the Badger met a frail 95-year-old man who is going to the imminent 75th anniversary D-Day commemoration being attended by the Queen and the US President in Portsmouth. This old soldier is physically frail but is mentally sharp as a scalpel! After the commemoration he’s travelling to the Normandy D-day beach he landed on 75 years ago. It’s the first time he’s been back. His first words to the Badger were that he knew his days were numbered, but if his time was up on his journey then he wanted it to be on the beach where so many fellow soldiers and friends lost their lives or were injured. This was a truly inspiring human being. The Badger was humbled.
The old soldier was interested in the Badger’s IT background and so we chatted about computers, electronic gadgets, the internet and future robots for a few minutes. He smiled and said there were things described as ‘new technology’ in his D-Day era too, but he’d learned that when it failed – and it always did at some stage – it was the ingenuity, resilience and teamwork of people that mattered to ‘get the job done’. He quipped that it had always been the case through his life and that he’d learned that ‘today’s technology is quickly tomorrow’s antiquity’.
So, what thought did the circus, the Classic Vehicle rally, and the old soldier provoke in the Badger? Essentially an even deeper realisation that it’s people and not computers, social media, the internet, robots or smart phones that make life worth living! Technology will always have a place supporting human progress, but it must never aspire to be a substitute for the raw dedication, skills, capabilities and human spirit notable above. Obvious perhaps, but worth saying ‘Lest we forget’, – a very apt phrase as the D-Day commemorations loom.