The Age of Structure

The magic which Socrates and Falcao weaved on the ground, with a bunch of others moving in, around and across them -all helter skelter – was quite unseen before. At least that was my opinion. Infact, I think it was the opinion of all those who watched and understood sports.   Today, some 30 years later while one of the magicians Socrates has departed this world, one watches a football game and can you see Barcelona imitations? They all want to play the one way. One fits all. Only problem is when everyone plays the same way, it becomes a bit static and cancels out exuberance, fun and innovation.
Watch a bit of Formula One. Has it not become a worldwide franchise, an aspirational set up desired by all who come to drink at its fountain? Back in the 70s and 80s when Lauda, Piquet and Prost drove their behemoths down weaving, uncertain roads, they played with danger, lived the joy of that freedom to express and thrill and won the hearts of many. Today Schumacher, Hamilton and Vettal drive covered by team orders, controlled by computers which tells them everything and they sit and adjust all this in the pit, while the car runs its course. Overtaking cannot happen – well rarely – because like football they are all the same, almost.


So what is the purpose of sports? Is it for fun or for competition? Surely parts of it has to be a spectacle, otherwise why would you pay to watch.  In ancient Greece or Rome, did they have athletes and gladiators to bore people into staying home? But, today gladiators are almost the same. They fight the same way and after a while all that sameness begins to pall. And this does not just apply to sports. It applies to all of life. We live, eat, manage and enjoy (?) things which are programmed towards sameness and we are programmed that way also. The age of structure has arrived unfortunately, and some of us do not fit in.

So how did we get here? One telling statistics alone gives it all away. If you compare playground activity in North America, in 1970 versus 2005….1970 is 100, 2005 is 10. Older generations would remember playgrounds were the laboratory of life. You competed, fought, thought, planned, made friends and loved on the playground. Even from the age of a couple of years. It was not always easy and not always fair, but hey! Life is like that. Most of this activity has now been transferred in house into computer games and social networks. So kids have not been taught how to interact with others, they have no social skills, they are just great technicians. What does a technician do best? He/she creates machines and structures. That is what we are getting here.

Now, I am not going into the why of it, because that is a whole new discussion for later. For instance, why are people not sending kids to playgrounds? Why are they not walking away from this programmed crap served out to us day in and day out? But, I will tell you what I see in a typical day of this structured existence.

Every morning we wake up at 8 am, because we need to get to office at 9. We know that a breakfast of sanitized milk and pops awaits us, as that is what the health site ordered. We then put on clothes which we are expected to wear in the office. If it is casual, we are lucky, at least we get to wear easy stuff, but even in there is programming, as we know we are expected to wear that. We get to the tube (metro) station and buy the same newspaper. We stand in the same place and when the 8.35 stops, we don’t need to move at all, just walk in and take our customary seat. Nod at familiar looking faces and get on with the serious business of life. Arrive at the office, put on a serious face, say good morning or hi or salaam to a few people, grab my chair and open the computer, review the emails, dispose of them adequately and then look at my work day plan. Have a couple of meetings, discuss the previous minutes, decide on new actions after a couple of intense arguments and then go out for a sandwich during lunch. If I am already stressed out then go to the park and have a lonely lunch. Comeback to the office, for a bit more of the same. Maybe a review with the boss on what is happening. More emails, more meetings, and then end of day. Rewind the morning process in the tube, get home, feel tired, listen to the family, if you have some strength left, have a fight with the wife. Eat your dinner, which you know is going to be near about X, and by 10 pm you are tired and off to bed. End of day. And next morning back once more. Another day uselessly spent. Reminds me of the Beatles and ‘A Day in the Life’. Where is love, spirituality and Allah, contributing to the human race and just plain fun?

People get a life. Before you know it you will be 60 plus and life will have gone. Your children will also have gone, to do the same things you have been for 30 years. The search for security and sustenance is not that you live a robots life. It does not matter that you are that 0.1%, who will become CEOs etc. I have been there and can tell you it is not any different. The problems are bigger, the money is bigger, the ego is bigger, you have a longer way to fall. In the end you are doing the same thing, with no real clear purpose behind it, because it all is going to end still and life will then throw you in a heap on the side and move on. So do something you are not expected to do and do it without structure. Do it with the heart rather than a programmed head. You will enjoy it and maybe we all will get our world back again.  And maybe we will solve the problems of so many, who have real issues.
we are trapped…


About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

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