Woods and trees

We are, each, the embodiment of the human condition. Peoples to a person, unique and the same, our imperatives and characteristics overlapping and bumping into each other, relative and subject to a million and one contexts. We hardly know ourselves, even as we presume to categorise others and seek to negate or reshape them to fit our fleeting comfort.

We cherry-pick ‘n mix micro and macro for argument’s sake and we treat them as isolated systems when it comes to, well, systems. We confuse and conflate effects and correlations, assigning their causes according to tribal instincts, narrow, prescriptive framing and emotional whim. And yet how easily we forget that one thing leads to another. And not just the things we chose to pay attention to.

How we fuss. We scrutinise the heart out of each other, fixing on binary reductions of acceptability or threat. We sacrifice nuance and complexity to distortion and banality. We muddle and manipulate moral equivalence and use whataboutery as the first line of defence and conflate the superficial or irrelevant with the most profound. We take simple things and turn them into complex nightmares and get indignant or complacent when extra care and attention is an obvious requirement. We tie ourselves in neurotic knots and project, as though anything and everything might bring the human world to its knees at any moment and then we saunter, blithely on, as though we were either helpless or invincible.

We’re still fighting for universal respect for and application of human rights; still protesting for socio-economic justice and basic civil equalities. We’re still ascribing sub-human status, according to paranoia and political fancy; still elevating dross to celebrity; still coveting what we think exists over our neighbour’s fence. We’re still monopolising and squandering the resources of our one, beautiful planet; still arguing about whose God is greatest… And over and over we produce ego-riven conflicts and make wars in the name of Peace. We are already on our knees.

We think we see things as they really are but, really, we’re only seeing things as we are, whether we are aware of little more than events and selected details or transfixed by the enormity of the bigger picture. We don’t know when to speak up and when to mind our own business. We don’t recognise what we should and need to control or what we are allowing to have control over us. We don’t discriminate appropriately or effectively; we can’t discern wish from truth nor potential from reality. Some of us think it simpler to just try to control everything and everyone while others simply don’t care and others still haven’t even noticed.

And how we faff. We constantly tinker around the edges of problems, addressing the latest symptoms and ignoring their quite evident causes. This doesn’t just allow old symptoms to fester and their causes to become downgraded, over time, to ‘unfortunate’ but it also adds a whole other level of new causes. We seem hell-bent on rose-tinted nostalgia but we refuse to actively retrace our steps. We would rather pretend that we are merely adapting to forces beyond our control than reaping the consequences of so much that should have been avoided.

We don’t really look at the roots and common threads of our problems; not deeply; not wholly. We glimpse with darting, panicked eyes, wring our hands and do what we can with the skim. Just getting through the day. Lurching with our fingers crossed. But the skim has to go somewhere: it becomes another blanket burden to Society, to add to the already suffocating layers and it creates further opportunities for ideological and financial exploitation. Every burden provides another’s comfort blanket. It isn’t ethical or sustainable.

We live under a constant process of inadequate triage. Tinkering and skimming are default management settings. Like bailing out a distressed boat that was never really seaworthy. There is viable land and most of us have spotted it but the crew prefer that we keep bailing, even as the holes increase and the weather worsens. The crew is drunk on the short-term, shortsighted power of profitable crises. The officers and their minions tell us that that land over there is hostile and to bail faster, lest we run aground the only boat available for that long-promised rising tide to lift.

Between us, we have managed to undermine the subtle and make a virtue out of the dross. We’ve managed to fragment history and turn it into a blueprint for all manner of psychopathic algorithms and effectively reduced Imagination, Reason and Empathy to a small, closed circuit.

We are gullible sponges and cynical repellents, by context, by turn, susceptible to wish and self-fulfilling prophecy. We are sands, easily shifted; blades of grass, bending upon a fixed point. And as entrenched as granite.

[November 8, 2015 (with slight editing)]

~*~

Fear creates a feast
to suit the taste
of each invited guest
that takes a seat
and makes request,
to fill the belly of a beast.
We are what we eat.

[February 2016]

A party that…

For as long as neither Labour nor the Conservatives speak for me and are unlikely to, any time soon and, since no politicians I like seem about to join the Liberal Democrats, I think I’d rather like to see a new party emerge. Not easy to pull off, certainly but exciting to think about, nonetheless.

A party that attracts from all existing parties and beyond. A party that grasps the best of both Left and Right philosophies because it is intelligent enough to recognise merit and unafraid to support it. A party that is capable of putting its country and her citizens above and before itself. A party that understands how stupidly catastrophic Brexit is. A Remain party, obviously.

A party that believes public service to be noble and high office to be a privilege. A party that values both the liberty of individuals and the strength of the collective. Not a party of naive romantics and incompetent utopians but a party of imaginative thinkers with moderate dispositions. Not a party that is so pragmatic as to border on cruelty and authoritarianism but a party that employs practical wisdom in the pursuit of commonly discerned ideals. A party that respects Law, Constitution and Democracy and understands that all are of more import than as expedient vehicles for narrow ideologies.

A party whose worldview is not small and petty but humane and intellectually curious. A party that leads its country, not as a pompous, self-entitled yappy dog but as already being part of a global family, ever seeking positive, progressive and honourable relationships. A party that considers its nearest geographic neighbours as well-matched members of that family. A party that reveres our planet and respects its finite resources and our environmental impact on its integrity. A party that does not reach for success through exploitation, neither at the expense of its own citizens nor those of other nations.

A party that does not promote holier-than-thou messaging; that does not induce paranoia nor polarise and oppress with lazy scapegoating and policies that further segregation. A party that does not look to inhibit or advance demographic status according to popular whim and its own ideological contempt. A party that can make the local comfortable and sustainable within the pressures and opportunities of modern global connectivity. A party that understands how much stronger a country’s economy is when its citizens are healthy, secure and well-educated; autonomous rather than automated. A party that believes that an economy should work for its Society, not the other way around. A party that recognises how Brexit imperils any such model. A party that understands how Life needs to be worth living and endeavours to not be an agent of indignity, misery and hardship. And completely unnecessary risks. Like Brexit.

Call it “centrist” if you must‬. Or “liberal”. “Patriotic”, even…😉

This is the way

Here we go ’round the Burning Bush
Just one more push
Now shake your tush
Here we go ’round the Burning bush
Praying for an illusion

This is the way we keep the dosh
By corp’rate cosh
Woo hoo! Bish bosh!
This is the way we feed at the trough
Every day is our payday

This is the way we slave each day
Well, you, anyway
From cradle to grave
This is the model we have paved:
Delegating your serfdom

This is the way we spin our words
That’s right, you heard
Define ‘absurd’
This is the way we shepherd the herds:
Every act by our say so

This is the way we use our tools
To shape the rules
Ha ha! You fools!
This is the way we pull the wool
So close your eyes a bit tighter

This is the way we bake your heads:
He said/she said
Our daily bread
This is the way we mould your dread
All our facts are elastic

This is the way we iron our crimes:
We cross a line
Then redefine
This is the way we waste your time
So we will see you next Tuesday

 

[August 2014] Plus ça change…

Once everybody knows

Once everybody knows, does the poison fade or grow? Where do the pumped-up paranoia and the daft denial go?

Does common knowledge get a welcome in the hillsides and the streets? Enough that moderation wakes to see and win the light of day? Does forgiveness and a sense of humour meet and greet the anger and embarrassment half way? So that vitriol and vengeance dissipate? Does it sweeten up the atmosphere? Does superstition disappear? And do the floodgates spring apart to send a purifying tide to heavy head and fizzy heart or make the distance side to side become a roiling sea? Does the constant churn return us, endlessly, back to the start, where faith and proof demand to function separately? Does some truth unite the factions or divide to further fractions? Will it eat us up or will it set us free?

Austerity is

Austerity is
Not just a long-term economic plan
But a ritual state of mind

A thin-lipped severity
My way the highway
And Protestant hot

Rites shot right through
With a missionary zeal
The taint of antiquated glue

*~*

Dinosaurs need for the Earth to be flat
Lest a curve or a slope puts them onto their backs
So their lumbering carcasses bury their heads
Which is why they don’t know they are already dead

A shadow of things

God’s got a direct line
to Downing Street
by a covenant of equivocation
and hellfire in a field of wheat;
a billion sly indulgences that wryly speak
“out-toried”, sit inglorious upon the mercy seat.
A shadow of things to come.

 

Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government

needs must

”The Poor”
How easily the classification slips
Through mind to lips, definitive,
Beyond regret and sorrow
Resignation
For ye have the poor with you always
Here endeth the lesson:
Today’s fact of life; tomorrow’s imperative
Yesterday was inevitable
And needs must when
Whole industries have been created to sustain
A spectator sport. Entry fee: hand-wringing
As the meek shall inherit
It was written