ColumnistsPaddy Murray

We’ve invented a way to make the world unbearable

THE INTERNET: A great source of information, education, communication… and vile pornography, anonymous bullying, terrorism...
THE INTERNET: A great source of information, education, communication… and vile pornography, anonymous bullying, terrorism...

I KNOW that, when people look around today, they will say the world is a better place than it was 30 or 50 or 100 years ago.

But I wonder.

Some things, which were great ideas in the past, like manners and courtesy, have had their day.

Here are 10 things which were great ideas – until the wrong people got hold of them.

1) The wheel. Where would we be without the wheel? Ultimately it’s what gets us everywhere and – still – can be found inside many thousands of machines we use daily.

2) And it led to the invention of the car. But then we figured out that you could use it for vehicles of war. The wheel. It’s responsible for killing millions.

3) The airplane means we can travel the globe. Only, like the wheel, it wasn’t long after the first plane took flight, that aircraft dropped bombs on ‘the enemy’. Without the plane, there would have been no Hiroshima, no Nagasaki.

4) Alcohol and, indeed, drugs were marvellous inventions. Don’t most of us enjoy a nice beer or a glass of wine? And don’t drugs save millions of lives every year? Yes. But drugs and alcohol also kill millions of people every year.

5) Television was a terrific invention. I remember well watching innocent children’s programmes, wonderful wildlife documentaries, fantastic drama and…well, look at it now.

6) The fact we could burn fossil fuels was another amazing discovery. Burning coal and turf and oil and gas gave us energy, light, heat and industry. And, sadly, climate change.

7) The internet. Well, it’s a great source of information, education, communication… and vile pornography, anonymous bullying, terrorism...

8) Sport was once for fun. We cheered on our heroes, cried with joy when they won. Now? It’s money, money, money.

9) Laws. I think we have enough now. But they keep on making them because, well, that’s why we elect public representatives. Stop please.

10) Money seemed to be a good idea at the time. But it’s pretty close to being the root of all evil, isn’t it?

We’re progressing. But sometimes it seems that we’re going backwards at the same time.

Still, not sure I could do without my iPhone.