Reading the future from tea leaves

Sat in the work canteen today clutching a cup of that horrendous brew that passes as hot chocolate these days i set to work thinkin about exactly where we in the west had gone wrong and realised that the answer was right there in my hands.

Firstly I found myself cursing the man who invented the machine that froths up milk, injecting it with bubbles while simultaneously taking out all the flavour leaving a sort of organic sponge with no discernable benefits. This machine, I realised, takes perfectly good milk, removes all the flavour and replaces it with air, which they then sell at a ridiculously inflated price (excuse the pun), the ultimate embodiment of style over substance or perception before reality.

The ancient greeks are still held in high regard these days for their thinkers, such as Aristotle, who deduced that heavier objects fall to earth faster than light objects. he was wrong, but given that the Greek society didn't generally dirty their hands with such trivialities as experimentation this fairly central point (gravity) was accepted in it's incorrect form for thousands of years.

With Blair pushing for more people to go into higher education the move into the information age looks set to transform the nation (which is a microcosm of the west at large and more to the point a little america representation) into a nation of thinkers and abstractionists, and in the long term filling up the ranks of bureaucrats and managers at the expense of real hard workers.

Although we do indeed live in a time where information and education are of great importance I feel we really need to keep some perspective. Higher education costs time and money that can be used equally well gaining world experience, but it seems that in the information age, it is only the accumulation of information that is respected. With this accumulation of information comes an arrogance that world experience does not append. It's an arrogance of "knowing more" than your fellow man and hence not wanting to dirty your hands on the more menial tasks life may throw your way.

The overpopulation of the information hunter-gatherers is already showing now in the city, with the big companies laying off staff in the financial slowdown, and techies everywhere having to submit themselves to the mercies of the humble hardworking dole administrator down the jobcentre.

Meanwhile teachers are massively in demand, nurses and dctors, bus drivers, pharmacy assistants, electricians and plumbers are thriving with no end of vacancies.

People have been lured by years of promises of a better life through higher education that the value of hard work has been lost behind the image of an information oasis. We have been led to believe that if we study hard enough there will come a point of critical information mass where *bang* we suddenly have better lives.

But in truth we have to work hard to get far, and that goes for wherever we choose to stop on the information acquisition highway. This idea of a quick fix in which we can use a fast lane through books to where we want to be is a myth and in truth this route is actually completely the wrong road for some people.

I think I may have missed my turning some time back, but in life we must keep moving forward. If we know we're on the wrong road don't keep going hoping you will get to your destination but turn towards the right one always moving forward.

Coming back to coffee we see the whole picture again in clarity and it all makes sense. Once there was a fine drink made with time, care and attention. Then someone invented that dried up shit like Nescafe and people settled for a substandard product in order to get a quick fix (of an inferior product) faster. Convenience culture led to a watering down and acceptance of an inferior product. Meanwhile, to save time and moey, comanies amalgamated/coagulated to form less personal but more efficient business models. Layers of management and automation began to creep in.

Then came Starbucks, an automated completely bland enterprise, efficient and tasteless, the embodiment of expresionless contempt for individuality. As layers and layers of managers sat in air conditioned offices away from anything like hard work, designing business plans and looking at marketing strategies they distanced themselves through their education, from the actual product. in short, they forgot what a good cup of coffee actually tastes like. The information age had arrived and the degree-holding information-bearer then recruited the non-educated heathens into his slavery and got them to implement his business strategy.

The opportunity for individual expression was taken away, because the precious education teaches us that efficiency is king, whereas the university of life encourages free expression and individualism.

Becasue this is, as Bill Gates puts it, "the information age" then we look at contempt with those without and in doing so risk running into a bland world of efficiency and perfect business plans run by super informed graduates and staffed by downtrodden hard-working honest people. But what fun is a world without mistakes?

About as much fun as drinking a cup of hot chocolate that tastes like water.
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