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I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'

"I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard

And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall." - Bob Dylan

The lyric came to  mind yesterday when I learned of the death of a fellow member of a group on Facebook. Both of us, afflicted by Chronic Myeloid Leukeamia, an ailment which most can expect to survive many years with current treatment,

At the same time I learned of another who on becoming homeless was sleeping in her car. Some of the comments were unpleasant and abusive. 

I was reminded of the friend who died 4 years ago from another chronic disease, because he was unable to fund his own treatment  He died argely unheard in his efforts in social justice

What Dylan heard, saw and learned would often come to be. We woud see guns and sharp swords in the hand of young children and hear a wave that could drowin the whole world.

Ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin' offers a metaphor for our use of social technology. As my late colleague wrote:

"Allowing that some people do not matter, as things are turning out, allows that other people do not matter and those cracks are widening to swallow up more and more people. Social enterprise is the first concerted effort in the Information Age to at least attempt to rectify that problem, if only because letting it get worse and worse threatens more and more of us. Growing numbers of people are coming to understand that “them” might equal “me.” Call it compassion, or call it enlightened and increasingly impassioned self-interest. Either way, we are all in this together, and we will each have to decide for ourselves what it means to ignore someone to death, or not."

Many years ago, it was the scientist Jacob Bronowski who appealed  to us from an ash pond in Auswitch. he was alluding to the Milgram experiment on the extent ro which subject could be persuaded to push a button inflict pain by a figure of authority,

"There are two parts to the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that closes the mind, and turns a nation, a civilization, into a regiment of ghosts – obedient ghosts, or tortured ghosts."

Today it seems, we push the button anyway