Thursday, February 24, 2005

Progress takes many forms

Recently, while on a flight, it struck me that in 1950 we were still flying on DC3s and other piston-engined planes. By the mid-1960s we were usuallu travelling on modern jet aircraft. Today, 40 years later, we are still on planes which look little different. Yet as in so much, the technology under the skin has changed enormously. Jet engines are far more efficient and quieter, pilots "fly by wire," and avionics have changed beyond recognition. On the ground, cars have been transformed by technology and consumer electronics would seem like science fiction to people 50 years ago. We routinely see TV pictures from the farthest corners of the world, we carry digital music with us. Medical science has transformed the way we live and die.

There is every reason to believe that the next 50 years will see even more accelerating change. All we can do is wonder if humans can adapt and change fast enough.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Why so much stress?

In the US today people are under much more stress than they used to be. Recently, the New York Times had an article which discussed how as Ireland has grown wealthier, the quality of life has diminished.
We see in so many societies that as wealth grows, so do hours spent at work responsibilities are added and employees see colleagues losing their jobs.
All this puts more pressure on people. Bad tempers and impatience are on the rise. "Me first" is one of the results. Families become less cohesive. Recent studies suggest that mental illness is highest in wealthy countries and that the US is highest of all. This cannot go on increasing. There must be an end to this. Some of this must come from governement but much from industry. Leaders must take and be assigned personal responsibility for this. Society should make it clear that it holds leaders responsible.