August 22, 2021

Another fine mess

Terry Thomas would say: What an absolute shower...

Another fine mess
Photo by Kyle Glenn / Unsplash
Photo by Eileen Pan / Unsplash

Another fine mess you got me into...

Another fine mess.

So we watch another disaster unfold in Afghanistan, and we are absolutely helpless to change the scene. We observe this human tragedy and we all, or those who have any conscience, inwardly weep at the unfolding scene.

For many years I drifted through life I was a child of the seventies and eighties and saw life from all aspects of the social spectrum, I rubbed shoulders with both rich and poor, artists and labourers, those who had a good deal handed them, and those who had not. I observed it all. I saw the development of a more unequal society. I saw the ending of a relatively caring and compassionate society and it's replacement. It was replaced with the I'm all right jack, sod you society, and since the early eighties this process has continued into the 'state' we are in, here in jolly old England. How utterly charming? No, how utterly sad, how ashamed I am about the world around me. I see the abuses heaped on those who are prey to the sharks who inhabit our society. We see them as pillars of our community. I see them as people who are 'emotionally challenged'. Those who look down at 'other's'. Those who they see as being losers, or failures. In so many ways we are conditioned to look down on those who are financially less fortunate than ourselves. It is pitiful to see the way we live, and in so many ways this 'economic model' is unsustainable. The Victorians have much to blame for this economic morality. Remember Margaret Thatcher and her wish to return to Victorian values? A Malthusian problem, or maybe Bentham was right? To ensure that "the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the measure of right and wrong". For the many not the few anyone? Remember?

For many years I looked at ways I could fight the good fight, and I decided that I needed to go to university as a mature student and study politics. I could have gone to any university but I decided on going to a university that was near the sea, and one that I would be happy in. I thought that my studies would lead to a greater understanding. All it did was make me aware, that we 'politicians' were just 'logistics managers' trying to allocate finite resources to make the most good. I learnt about social contract theory and rather esoteric political theories, ones that sometimes boggled the mind. I drifted through university and I did not find an answer to my question, or my personal quest. I don't think I ever will. I like many have been searching for a metaphorical heart of gold, and like the line in the song by Neil Young, the trouble is, I am 'getting old'. Our life is often consumed by searching for 'something' in our lives. We search for the illusory. Or, we search for things that we cannot find, many search all their lives and never find the thing that will make their lives perfect.

I know that I am one of yesterdays men, an old theme true. But it is a fact, that now, and in the future, there are those who will fight the fight, those who will make change for the better. The voices of the many will be heard. At least I hope so, because we need change for a collective better. Time to hand the baton over to more youthful runners. Its their turn.

Sadly there will always be those who will be punished for exposing the truth, the reality of 'the situation', those who make a stand against the cacocrats, and the state we are all in. Some did truly heroic actions like Sir Roger Casement, who fought for justice in his time. Someone who has been described as the father of twentieth century human rights investigations, after he published a report about human rights abuses in the Congo in the early 1900's. A man who incidentally was a friend of Joseph Conrad. Conrad wrote an absolutly classic book Heart of Darkness, the book that pretty much inspired the, also classic, film Apocalypse Now. Casement fought for freedom and truth wearing his absolutely best trousers, and through fighting for his cause was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London on the 3rd of August 1916. A man who state actors tried to besmirch, by threatening to publish, so called 'Black Diaries. Nothing changes.

Or on a smaller scale perhaps (but not to them) there are those who fight their fight from internal 'demons', or those who work in their local communities creating value and good in them. Any contribution either lordly or modest, heroic or not is of enormous value. Any good contribution brings about change, and that is valuable. People who ride into the fight on their white horse are not always what they seem. Both Stalin and Kim Jong Un, have both been seen riding white horses.

As you get older, or odder, you think of what you have done, or what you have failed to achieve, and you sometimes feel that you have somehow failed to fight the fight of, say a fictional hero like Doctor Stockmann, in the play an Enemy Of The People. He fought for what he saw as the right thing to do. Like him you feel you have to fight for what is right or just. However, many times you do not see the changes you have made by one small action, a friendly word, a smile, a contribution to a more kindly world is so important and absolutely right and just. We cannot all be heroes, but it is all a question of scale. Do little things to change things. If everybody did that then the world has a chance. As I so often say it's all in the detail.

I have always been an Ibsen fan, and those of you who have read my blog, or who know me personally will know that I worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, way back in 1977, acting in a play directed by John Barton CBE, and starring Dame Judy Dench, and Sir Ian McKellen. Ruby Wax OBE was also in the play along with a myriad of talented actors. And me. Hanging onto their coat tails or petticoats. The time with the Company planted a seed which grew into a love of Ibsen's plays. Ibsen never walked away from writing about controversial subjects. For instance his play Ghosts is about syphilis and incest, and his plays were seen as shocking in their day. In so many ways his plays still have a resonance today. For instance in the play Dr. Stockmann, the doctor discovers that the local Spa which is an 'economic' stalwart of the local economy is infected, the water is tainted. He stands up to do the right thing and is villified because of his fight to tell the truth. He got punished for his 'progressive ideas'. As Doctor Stockmann Said:

Truths are by no means the wiry Methuselahs some people think them. A normally constituted truth lives—let us say—as a rule, seventeen or eighteen years; at the outside twenty; very seldom more. And truths so patriarchal as that are always shockingly emaciated.

It was in that play that Doctor Stockmann says “You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.” And in many ways that line is a truism, but try to make little changes often. And respect others, if I am to get slightly philosophical try to reveal your buddha nature.

And my final word of advice, is do some good go out and plant a tree like its 73 I did. Best thing I ever did...