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Three score and ten, or the matrix voided

September 18, 2006

It’s the 70th post of this blog which is a milestone, and it’s also a pleasant surprise that we are averaging over 3 comments per entry and climbing the technoranti list fast – so thanks to everyone who has contributed on and off line. At 70 one is allowed some indulgence so I want to return to the theme of the poverty of the purely virtual and symbolic.

We had a big television film premier in Singapore this weekend on Channel 5: The Matrix reloaded: you know the one that really looses it in a weird form of pseudo-mysticism (yep, I know that’s my opinion, but I liked number 1, tolerated number 2 and thought that number 3 went gaga). The Matrix represents, in its early versions, the question of choice between reality and virtuality: which pill will you take Neo?

At the same time we had two news items on the BBC’s web site. The first has Rowan WIlliams talking about a crisis in modern childhood. For those who don’t know him, Rowan is a highly intelligent and wise social commentator/thinker, but is currently trapped in a role that does not make the best of a humane intelligence, namely that of Archbishop of Canterbury. The other item is on claims of a poisoning of childhood linked to Phillip Pullman, Dr Penelope Leach and environmentalist Sir Jonathan Porritt amongst other notables. For those who don’t know Pullman, he is one of the great child/adult authors of the modern day. His books are multi-layered in meaning. I cannot recommend too highly his trilogy, His Dark Materials which took me back to Milton and Blake with a fresh eye. Like many others I am waiting for the film with the same fear and anticipation as I had waiting for Lord of the Rings.

Poetry and art aside. My point here is that Williams, Pullman, Leach & Porritt are not a bunch of people you would associate with a over romantic view of the past: in my young day children were …. and other such statements. On the contrary these are people who live in the modern world are liberal and progressive in attitude but they are worried. I had been feeling a bit isolated in my earlier nostalgia, however these items provide some serious support for that view point.

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