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Israel: No Peace, No Process?

The Israeli Press Reacts to the Road Map: Bumpy Road Ahead

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In Memoriam Yehuda Amichai

In Memoriam Hildegard Knef

2000... And the Emperor Still Has No Clothes

 

 

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Home Page > Articles in English > The Year 2000


The 21st Century: And the Emperor Still Has No Clothes

By Tekla Szymanski

 

New York 2000“Human beings will come to confuse the world perceived by their senses and the world interpreted by thought. They will believe that seeing is understanding.”

—Rudolf Arnheim, 1930



January 1, 2000: The new century has arrived, without the major computer glitches that everybody was so afraid of. And I suspect this was not thanks to the vast amounts of money that were wasted to combat Y2K.

I feel reluctant about the arrival of the new millennium — but can it really be any worse than the old one was?

We've accomplished many things that we can be proud of but we miserably failed in most social and humane aspects. The last century has been the bloodiest in history and instead of looking back, instead of reflecting on how we could do better and learn from missed opportunities and all our mistakes, we dumb down our senses, mold our world to satisfy only our immediate needs.

Don't get me wrong: I want to look ahead; I believe in change, I do think progress is important. But this millennium fever wanted me to blindly stumble along with the masses, to only strive for the fastest, the loudest, the biggest, the hippest.

I am tired of the old being discarded, ridiculed, and eventually merely disguised as new. In my eyes, the emperor is still without clothes.

We're beaming with pride, because we perceive ourselves as so much smarter—but in reality, we adhere to the same clichés and are as hypocritical and conservative as in the past. Only now, we disguise our conformism with an ever-changing fashion. Like a herd of cattle we follow commercial dictates. But be honest: Who among you still believes that a nose ring is a sign of individualism?

We mock the old and the slow. Get bored, when we're asked to think or need to listen for too long. Our attention span is short. Most of our media is far easier to consume than a comic book, and this sound bite-a-second Disney World has become the norm.

I don't look forward to further dumb down our senses. The so-called 'global village' leaves even less space for the important issues: our individuality, our creativity, our eagerness to reveal what goes on behind the façade, far from the mainstream and our inflated ego.

In 1930 the German writer Rudolf Arnheim wrote: "Human beings will come to confuse the world perceived by their senses and the world interpreted by thought". And he predicted: "They will believe that seeing is understanding."

If somebody would only take the time to listen.

 

 

 

Home Page > Articles in English > The Year 2000