Friday, May 13, 2011

one hundred years ago, this day

One hundred years ago, this day, my father was born in Richmond in Melbourne.

He lived to be 89. In many respects, his was an ordinary life. But think of how the world changed in his lifetime ....

  • He lived through two world wars and fought in one of them.
  • He saw amazing technological change - commercial air flight; mass car ownership; radio, TV, movies with sound, computers and the world wide web; space flight, and so much more.
  • One important aspect of technological growth was improvements in medical technology leading to longer lifespans and treatments of many diseases and conditions, some of which he benefited from.
  • Women gaining the right to vote.
  • Changes in social structure leading to the breaking down of many barriers, the narrowing of the gap between the rich and the poor (leading to greater expectations of home ownership even among working class people, and the possibility of national and international travel - both of which he participated in enthusiastically).
  • Changes in ethics and values, e.g. the sexual revolution, societal sanctions against racism and sexism, the world peace movement, etc.
  • The growth in importance of environmental issues - global warming, nuclear power, species extinction, etc.

They say change is accelerating, but I wonder whether I will see as much significant change as this? It gives me a strange feeling thinking about his birth a century ago.

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