2009-08-28

on frogs and trust

It's been said that a frog placed in cold water that is slowly heated will not perceive the danger and will thus be cooked to death. Be that as it may, gradual changes are interesting and important. One such gradual change is the deteriorating social climate in our societies. We don't trust our neighbor anymore and - surprise! - he doesn't trust us either. This change has taken place within a few decades.

Not so long ago people hardly locked their doors. If they did the lock was primitive by today's standards and sometimes the key was put under the door mat. Today we get ourselves security doors and all sorts of locks and alarms. Why the sudden need for all these protective measures?

When I was a kid growing up in a suburb we used to walk to and from school. My Mom accompanied me for a week or two when I began school at age six - that was it. Nowadays a growing number of kids are being driven to and from school and my guess is that they are no more handicapped than we were. As long as the school is nearby, they could easily walk too but their parents don't want them to. Why is this? What are we trying to protect them from?

There's a well-known photo from Geneva in 1955 where a friendly-looking policeman is "guarding" a summit between U.S. President Eisenhower and the Soviet leader Khrushchev. I suppose he had a couple of colleagues back at the station as well. Just how many policemen are needed today to protect any EU summit?

A football game?

I'd say there's a trend emerging here and it's not a pretty one.

Maybe the frog would in fact jump out of the kettle. But what about us? Why don't I hear any debate at all about these changes which have taken place during the course of a couple of generations?
20141025