Too Tiny To Notice

You don’t know what you have until you lose it. A way of saying that people are rather ungrateful for the most part and even pretty ignorant for the rest of it. either that or they fail entirely to empathise with the have-nots for what they don’t have. It never ceases to amaze me how few people there are who truly love breathing and think about every breath, every time they take one and look for fresh, clean air because they don’t want to fill their lungs with poisons and toxins.

People even think such people are faddists and rather boring, but I think they know more about gifts and more about living than the rest of us. We are so wrapped into our world of important things that we fail to recognize our priorities are either inherited or grafted onto our lives. To have good eyes, strong legs, balanced feet…these things are what make our lives and remake them when we don’t have them.

To have a clear head, fresh water, good sleep and active ideas, these are the things that sustain us, keep us, win us days and without them the richest, longest living of us wish for them for the briefest of moments to extend their lives even a second longer.

Should any of us really ever fail to be amazed that we were born?

In Hindsight

I was watching some of the old Al Jolson videos on Youtube and seeing him with a black face except around his mouth I was reminded on the long running and never repeated singing show in the UK called the Black and White Minstrel Show. Putting aside the fact that Al Jolson was a brilliant singer and consummate entertainer, and my own innocent enjoyment of a load of men and women singing, one cannot be blind to the racism inherent in these shows. Even if the shows were filled with Black singers they have a certain aura of racism that these people are only here to entertain. As an actress once said in the 1950s about the black extras, ‘would it hurt to have one or two of them carrying briefcases?’

Many people tell us that these entertainments were of their age and we should not judge but surely if we did not judge they would still be with us? Surely if the people judged rightly at the time they actually would have seen them for what they are – highly offensive to some parts of the human family.

But of course to most people there is no human family. Myriad are the people who would press a button to rid the world of some section or other. Comics say of we listened to everyone who was offended we would have no jokes. We might, I think, have fewer jokes and we may end up with far better ones. Be that as it may, we would be listening which is not something humanity is well known for, to its shame.

All The Odds Are War

I don’t have to wonder why people go to war, and I don’t actually need much explanation as to the reasons why they start them after agreeing with a general who once observed that the study of war aptly shows they are started for the worst and most nonsensical of reasons. But I have to wonder why an apparently intellectual animals follows leaders into war.

And it must in some way be linked to the same reasons we have for mostly following the norms of our societies for it is obvious to the observer that some societies have laws and norms in variance to others but each one thinks theirs superior and if not they think them more than acceptable. For some reason we are wired young to fit into the general consensus because this general consensus provides us with the greatest chance of survival.

 Yet of course when we all go to war, those chances are reduced for individuals but not for society as a whole. And here we have something that is strange in the mind – we fight for individual freedoms and we progress societies thinking freedoms better than diktat even if they produced the same outcome, but we will martial ourselves into armies for nothing more than power and money.

We think our politicians liars yet we kill for them and applaud. Truly the crowd thinks differently from the individual.

Arguing From Within

I was talking to a friend about ethical systems and was brought up on the fact that as ethics are in my brain, and my brain has evolved through natural selection, any system of ethics is flawed because physics, upon which we are all based, would not recognise ethics being largely governed by forces and a certain degree of luck (at least luck certainly pertains to living beings).

My first reaction was to defend the fact that all knowledge as we have discovered it has been uncovered by the brain and it was  a bit unfair to critique ethical systems just because the universe might not contain any. I also added that perhaps evolution is all about ethical systems simply because they don’t exist in nature, though I did point out some ethical behaviour is found in the broader animal kingdom.

At which point the argument fell into a  discussion about lady luck and how ethics are anthropomorphisms we project upon life especially in my criticism of the principle that life feeds on life, which since it is natural and since my brain is personal, cannot be held to account for any ethical system I devise.

I find this point of view nihilistic and unedifying. It does loop rather satisfyingly – nature -brain -nature. I hold that ethical behaviour is  universal but I am not going to convince my friend.

Everyone’s Art

One of the joys of living is the way in which one can ‘enjoy’ on many levels the art of others. Whatever the medium and almost whatever the age, their minds are available in a wide variety of places. I was talking a long time ago to a painter and I said it is a sad thing to think that when humanity leaves this planet as it crashes into the sun, there will be no works of any of the artists I know still extant, everything will have degraded and be kept out of necessity as a hologrammatic image.

His response was positive because he said in a way that is how it should be, allowing new people to rediscover work and re-imagine what others did before them, in much the same way as we have with cave paintings which are as far from some works of art as it is possible to be, or writing from the cuneiform examples of which show no poetry whatsoever, to new languages which do. And languages change all the time leaving once fine poets, unknown to most people.

 Human beings love fame and love the ‘name’ but actually in the flow of ideas it is never the name that’s important.

C W Stoneking

I am not one to go to pop concerts, and rarely have visited clubs. I was taken to a club on Wednesday night in London’s Camden to see a singer called C W Stoneking, an Australian who sings like a black American from the 1920s. The crowd were actually well behaved, a few were drunk and  I actually found the music interesting and his stories very funny. At least I had a chance of hearing what he was saying. I was told by someone who knows about these things that to enjoy a concert you need to get into the groove and to do that you really need to drink and then the lyrics don’t matter. And there was me thinking people wrote the lyrics because they wanted them to be heard.

I am surprised at myself for dancing and enjoying what I conceive to be a lyrical return to the time when musicality was everything and the cadence of voice without the microphone is enhanced by the microphone, instead of replaced by it as with so much I listen too.

I suppose coming from the classical music background the purity of the sound means something to me, not that a jumble of well organized sounds don’t have their place, just that their place isn’t anywhere near me.

 I find myself for once recommending the eccentric music or a consummate performer. Enjoy.

I Want To Be Famous

Of course we can always say that if you want to write part and parcel of being successful is to be well known. I knew that when I began to write when I was 21. It isn’t so much what one does, as how one handles oneself in the event of success. And we all know the people who grow to love the sound of their own voice, believe their opinions matter and court the TV cameras at every opportunity.

Ransome when he became famous hated children visiting him as he said he had become well know so he could have the money to get away from everyone. I am guessing that anti-social is the other end of the scale.

There is something noble about people who write and only want their writing to speak for them. Who find continual requests for signings and interviews to be a distraction.  Rather like the old saying that when a writer loses all inspiration and has nothing left to write – they write their autobiography. So the business of a writer is to write, not appear on quiz shows, not do TV specials, not trade in their name. Let actors do that.

If you have something to say you only have one life to say it and that will never be long enough.

John Donne

THE FLEA.

MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is ;
It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two ;
And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we’re met,
And cloister’d in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck’d from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
‘Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

John Wilmot

Return

Absent from thee, I languish still;
Then ask me not, When I return?
The straying fool ’twill plainly kill
To wish all day, all night to mourn.

Dear, from thine arms then let me fly,
That my fantastic mind may prove
The torments it deserves to try,
That tears my fix’d heart from my love.

When, wearied with a world of woe,
To thy safe bosom I retire,
Where love, and peace, and truth does flow,
May I contented there expire!

Lest, once more wandering from that heaven,
I fall on some base heart unblest;
Faithless to thee, false, unforgiven–
And lose my everlasting rest.

The Smallest things

Some people can take immense pleasure from the smallest things. My mother is one such. No matter how hard the day or how great life’s problems, even  when she was homeless, seeing a butterfly or the first ladybird so she could make a wish, brings a smile to her face. I always think of such people in terms of All Quiet On The Western Front when the soldier reaches out on the blasted blood-soaked mud pile of ground to touch a coloured butterfly that has wandered into the battlefield. As if beauty has a call all her own that cannot be denied.

I wonder too why some people fail to see this beauty. I can understand people are too busy.  I can understand that in some places beauty may be hard to find but some people see, and ignore. Like the man I knew who had to have an apple tree cut down to make way for an extension and he said ‘it’s just an apple-tree’.

The people who can see, like my mother, are gifted. They can tap into a fount of well-being and they never lose their inner child. They are neither insensitive nor too sensitive. They just understand so much more about creation than religions have ever thought or ever taught.

Meeting Deadlines

I was surprised today to hear someone tell me they thought money was a brilliant system. I have been so used to damning it, it never occurred to me others would view it as anything but an imprisonment of the mind. Her argument was that if this week you sold a load of cabbages and next week there were none you had the money to buy in rhubarb.

I can see her point, money is portable across time which is what you need in a world where nothing is certain. My counter argument still relies on my belief that since food is vital to life it should be free, and good-will is also portable through time as are the generations of humanity. My main criticism that it was an excuse for us not to care about each other because all we cared about was the hour or two of time we were buying, was not shouted down but she did say money was natural.

I remain unconvinced by the argument that money is a good thing. I can see how it is difficult to control millions of people whom you have trained to be selfish, but the more I think about it the more I see money as a loss of freedom of mind, a lack of freedom of thought which is not outweighed by a freedom of movement.

The Fear in Their Eyes

I have just watched a short film about Islam rising. I have never been one to follow crowds and have little interest in scaremongering but the obvious conclusion one draws is that nothing has changed.

When Cicero was spouting off about the Carthaginian  and finished every speech no matter what it was, about finishing them off so Rome could feel safe right down to today with these people ranting against the ranters in Islam the appalling truth is that we are all human, but we kill each other because we think we are unequally human.

I do not for one moment suppose there are not Muslims who want the whole world to be Muslim, just as some Christians want it Christian and like many a political philosophy homogeneity has a certain numbing absoluteness about it that is almost appealing as well as appalling, and I agree that there is no need for every country to be capitalist, though they all seem to want to be, but this endless talk of losing what we are when what we are in an amalgam of thousands of more years than we have in history, and influences that stretch around the globe, and when you see Islamic countries have as great a tension inside them for change from their people who just want to be free, as any Europe have to offer, it saddens one to listen to this modern fascist ‘locking-of-horns’ between men and women who think only they have a right to live.

Praise Where Praise IsTrue

It is a wonderful attribute of ours that we can congratulate and commend something made by someone else in which we find no personal gain whatsoever either in standing or finances. All too often we find it easy to degrade the creations of others, or even to see them destroyed without a second’s thought because we never put the time into helping to make them or because they do not speak directly to us about our own immediate ancestry.

Because of this armies and individuals have gone around the world and fanned the flames of desecration of cities, temples, towns and lands without much regret. And yet what we destroy destroys a part of who we are. What we make as individuals adds to the sum of all we are as a species. A characteristic of humanity artists have understood since the beginning of mind, yet other people seem to find this difficult to grasp.

When we went around making empires thinking by killing what other people had we made ourselves more powerful what we were actually displaying was the poverty of our own fellowship with each other, the paucity of being able to see the worth in the foreign, the myopic chimera of nation and monarch. What in one century was the epitome of power, in all others looks like the height of ignorance.

Too Many Double Standards

Although the human mind can make billions of connections it appears from research that for the most part, our emotional responses are laid down by the time we are three and many of our attitudes are completed by the time we are ten. Attitudes that are very difficult to break down if we come to disagree with them later in life but they can dictate exactly how we live our lives and why we become the people we become.

It should not be a surprise to anyone when so much is decided when we have barely begun to understand what life is let alone how society works, that we grow up with an idea of borders and barriers between us and other people and little understanding of how we are all the same and the differences we think mean everything, mean very little. The differences chosen for us on how we lead our lives to fit into the creations of humanity when humanity is ruled by the creations of the universe.

I don’t know how to educate people so they grow up to have expansive, curious and open minds. Perhaps I don’t know because I see that isn’t what most States want. No matter their political colouration what States want are citizens, not human beings. States thrive on our idea of borders, they would die in the face of any idea of wholeness or oneness.

The NHS

It is a curious fact, that no one ever really discusses, with the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom that their philosophy, as espoused succinctly in Monetarism under Margaret Thatcher, and repeated by successive ministers, requires people to pay for the services they receive and if they do not have the money, to go without. Broadly speaking this is the same philosophy as the Republican Party in America.

And yet when it comes to the National Health Service the party somersaults and hedges and argues that everything is free at point of need…whilst deliberately making things harder to get and slowly bringing in private enterprise to run hospitals so that the principle of getting value for money becomes one of getting value with money, i.e. if you pay, you receive. They never want to own up to the fact that they do not want people to receive anything free but prefer to make a new business from increasing the levels of private medical insurance.

I feel sorry for the public who do not seem to be aware that the basic philosophy of the Conservative Party is not conducive to a free at point of need National Health Service. They don’t seem to care. Until they are ill.

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