Cliff and the Shadows

Cliff and the Shadows circa 1959

It is remarkable to think that Rock and Roll was struggling to it’s feet in the United Kingdom around the same time that I was struggling to make my first few steps in a pretty little mining and market town in Yorkshire.

Cliff, seen here with the wonderful Shadows, was dubbed “Britain’s Elvis” though he never achieved quite Elvis’ fame nor, thankfully, Elvis’ notoriety. The first record I ever owned was the Shadows playing Apache at the tender age of 6, a gift from Aunty Gladys.

It is fascinating to realize how a look back a moment in time makes one feel. There is this yearning for yesteryear when life was simpler and safer. But we cannot rewind 5-decades of history. The modern world we live in is what it is and it evolves in good ways and bad and we are seemingly powerless to decide which.

I was reminded this morning of the wonderful observation from Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park 20 years ago. He said “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” So it is with machines of mass destruction that murder 6-year olds.

There is a commonsense gap emerging in our society. We have become so dogmatic and polarized, we are so obsessed with asserting our rights that we ignore the wrongs that come as inevitable consequences of our strict, constructional interpretation. Even computers, where 1 and 0 are the only technical choices, make time to accommodate for “fuzzy logic” and “learning systems” and “artificial intelligence”.

Yet we race for the corner case every time and defend it to the last because it proves our integrity. And 6-year old children die.

So we are at a Cliff, and not the Fiscal Cliff but a societal Cliff, where we might well plunge precipitously into an abyss of extremes that no one believes in but which everyone defends. And if we do, we shall live in the Shadows of darkness and fear for the rest of our days.

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