I’m looking at the state of my country and the state of the world. I’m enduring political-social-economic breakdown, war and general meltdown; I’m witnessing agendas that require the deliberate construction of societal divisions and the fabrication of conflicts – even mass murder by sovereign nations and marauding fascist hordes. I’m seeing that when action is taken, it’s either simplistically eager and over the top or it’s reluctant and insultingly piecemeal. Nuance and subtlety; the simple and straightforward are in a right old jumbled-up mess. Priorities are twisted; evidence is skewed; manipulation of emotion and mind is rife in the pursuit of dubious outcomes. We are going everywhere at once and nowhere, really fast.
I’m feeling embarrassment, contempt and despondency for the political climate; for the calibre of leadership; for the level of debate among all peers and within all spheres. It is little wonder that we are deaf and blind to alternatives for, all too often, we believe our minds and hearts are open but, in fact, we are merely open to that which confirms what we already think and feel. I’m feeling the crushing despair of seeming and real disempowerment and righteous, horrified rage, not only in the millions of people in my own land but the world’s billions. I feel the confusion and the sense of overwhelm about which battle to fight first and where on earth to start the clearing up and renewal. It’s easy to knee-jerk with such thoughts as ‘wipe ‘em out’ and ‘jail them all’ but serious application of ethical and sustainable change will require a little more than the reactionary generalisations that got us here. We have to understand that everything is connected to everything else; that one thing always leads to another; that very few events and problems can be isolated from others and be successfully resolved. We can say it’s the economy, stupid all we like and, of course, it is but, in our present domestic-global economy, it is neoliberal ideology and obscenely powerful, greedy, selfish, shortsighted fools and their dumb appeasers with which we must battle for it is they, with their bankrupt notions, who have turned finance into a weapon of such mass destruction that its continuance in present form threatens all else. ‘Minimum wage’ and ‘predistribution’ just don’t cut it; chasing the last drop of oil doesn’t cut it; growing by production of disposable crap doesn’t cut it; stealing resources doesn’t cut it; serfdom and subjugation doesn’t cut it. And yet, here we all are: dying by a thousand cuts. Who is Democracy for, if not for us? What is the Economy for, if not to serve us? What is Society, if not us? What is Life for if 90-odd% of us are merely surviving by relative degrees?
We humans have managed to get to a point where, although we cannot possibly continue in this way, whatever courses we pursue, the processes will be messy and bloody and the outcome will be uncertain and shitty for everyone in at least one form, no matter an individual’s or demographic’s current status. I wonder at the human capacity to avoid those changes we most desire or require – as if we prefer to wait in deep-down secret hope that something sufficiently dramatic will occur; something that forces us to do what we were too lazy, complacent or frightened to do before. We humans are quite the comedic tragedy, are we not? Sometimes I wonder if that’s why we’re still sticking with the devils we think we know: because change is risky, complex, uncomfortable and unquantifiable. It surely can’t be because we actually still trust our leaders to make good, can it? Can it..?
That’s how big the mess is, though, isn’t it? It’s an environmental, economic, psychological, (spiritual) mess. It took us an age of incompetence and false consciousness; of crises upon crises to reach this place and there is precious little political courage or will out there to provide a connecting narrative, let alone wholesome solutions, especially while the status quo continues to so well benefit the Powers that Be.
No magic wand exists to deliver us. And, even if it did: to whom would we give it? Not to me and, sorry but not to you, either, you crazy utopian. The future is still up for grabs – just – and, somehow, we must all shape it so that it works for all of us. The longer we try to carry on carrying on, the worse it will be and the narrower will be our choices and I think we all know it.