Too Narrow A View

If the Mediterranean people in the days of the Roman Empire had known about dynamite they would never have been conquered by iron. If the Native Americans had learned to smelt metals in greater numbers they would have had a defence against muskets. Throughout history the description of every nation is a description of what the people did not know.

We teach it as a progression of what they knew. It looks better that way. It seems we are going upwards, we are learning more. And yet history teaches us clearly we are living in and through, our ignorance.

And this isn’t just about war. Had we known about the dangers in monoculture in crops the Irish Famine may never have happened, if we had had an early understanding about forests for clean air and water tables, many floods could have been avoided. Ignorance costs lives.

Look around your world. People are dying and suffering because we are ignorant. We have not learned enough about learning.

The Zinoviev Letter

Not much talked about except by historians and those interested in dirty-tricks in British politics. After twenty years of steady growth and demands the nascent Labour party was on a footing to challenge the Conservative Party in the 1924 general election. Unions were getting stronger (the General strike was still two years away) and the establishment was rattled by Russia so this letter emerged supposedly between Zinoviev, the Russian leader of the Communist International in Moscow and the Communist Party in the UK.

It is basically a call to arms and it was dutifully published 4 days before the election by the Daily Mail. Strangely enough it was concocted not by hidden forces in Conservative head office but by Russians in Europe wanting to drive a wedge between Russia and England. Why they thought one was needed I don’t know.

But hearing, this week, the smears that Corbyn aided Russia in the Cold War with secret information brings the mind the lies politicians will give in order to maintain power. In 1924 enough Liberals believed the letter to vote conservative. Upon such things countries are made and unmade.

Bad Business Can Be Good

I have just been talking to a man who discussed with me the history of a certain business interest here in the UK. They no longer trade but they survived for nearly a hundred and more years living off borrowing, not chasing their debtors and investing in all sorts of other businesses.

They managed to do this because they were well known, friends with many of their debtors and so wouldn’t foreclose or demand their money and had amenable banks who just lent them more at higher and higher interest rates or sold them insurance on top of their loans and for their loans, so they at least made money.

Made me laugh that the whole system they built up was in debt for so long and never worked and none of the people who ran the place were good business men and yet – the whole community survived.

Cornwall

When you live in a very popular international, tourist destination the best times of year are those that are out of season. If you are lucky enough to have seasons.

The beaches yesterday were clear, only dog walkers around on a cold but sunny day with a calm sea. Queenie loved it and this week, with low tides early in the morning you can walk the beaches at 7 am and they are largely deserted. This is when you can get a small feeling of what it was like population-wise a hundred years ago.

But the harshness of the living conditions of those years ago you cannot recover. They did not go to the beach in a warm car with a well fed dog and hundreds of pounds of clothing on, they went in what they could make to work the fishing catch. All day. Every day.

It isn’t only the day yesterday that was beautiful, the century is kinder too.

Guns In Schools

Sometimes hypocrisy is so vile I have to speak. The NRA and the gun lobby in the USA have spoken.

There are no and there never has been a good guy with a gun. There are people with guns some of whom shoot for reasons you agree with and some of whom shoot for reasons you disagree with with. This is true of all weapons.

The NRA sponsored the gun club at the school in Florida at which this boy learned to shoot, I would bet they sponsored many of the places all the shooters learned to shoot. The NRA trained these murderers.

The NRA actively bought easily purchasable Americans in Congress and fought not to have back ground checks strengthened which would have stopped several of the mentally unstable murderers ever having weapons.

The NRA’s ruling body and all its members have blood dripping fro their hands and because it isn’t their children, they don’t care. Let me get this right, you want guns because governments turn on their people? OK and when the army is sent out against you you won’t be facing tanks and you won’t be bombed from the air and blitzed by the navy from the sea? Your pathetic guns won’t help you but they make you all feel like Randolph Scott and John Wayne so I guess, the deaths of over 400 children is worth that feeling to you.

And finally, may I add, arming teachers will induce your shooters to buy body armour, also something you sell, so the whole mass murder routine in your name will simply become a shoot out. Great idea for taking it to the next level in the video game the NRA has made of schools.

We Sold Our Ethics

A long time ago we created money. About five thousand years ago and in that time money have proven it can build anything but humans have successively become incapable of doing anything without money. The economic system is now a straight-jacket holding us back. There are multitudes of interesting, better inventions that could make cheap energy, good food, clean water and we put them all on hold to keep business afloat.

We know what it best to do. We always have people who have the knowledge to advise us. We rarely do it. We pretend what we do is wise, we suborn our better natures to the system, we go along with the general view and we agree with the lies we are told because the lies make our living with ourselves easier.

We ceased to question. And in the same, strange, ridiculous way an army surrenders when its leader is killed or tells them to, as if all the reasons for fighting vanish with the loss of a general, so too will money vanish but the army it leaves behind will barely be able to feed itself and it will have no home to go to. Economics is fundamentally anti-nature and we have ceased to believe we can live without it.

When All The World …

WHEN all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green ;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen ;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away ;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown ;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down ;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among :
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.

Charles Kinglsey from The Waterbabies

Do You Want To Know?

Decisions have always been taken by rich people who influence public policy and therefore, change the way society as a whole functions. Ford and his cabal enforced the use of oil on the motor industry because it would make them richer and alcohol was banned because those who knew could run their engines on it. The Enclosures in England served the will of the King and his friends but divested the population of rights to walk and use huge stretches of land.

Political Parties across the West are acting in similar ways, prepared to advertise their way into power instead of persuading by reason, and putting into place objectives they did not share with the voters and ones they did have in the manifesto sometimes never appear. Never have political parties acted more like cabals than now.

Yet the population gets hung up on sport, on the fashionable movie of the day, on emotional roller coasters designed to keep them eating popcorn while their society is wrecked and nature denuded. And there is why. God taught people everything had its place and they could not change things but it was alright, he as on their side in Heaven. Money teaches people it can be no other way.

Apathy rules us.

Extinction Events

When you go about your day, designed for you by the economic environment and the society that creates, as well as your hormones driving you to create a family, think about the world. It is your lifeblood. Without fresh air you are dead. Without clean water you are dead. Without wholesome food you are dead. Degrade any of these and you have a lifetime of illness.

75% of winged insects have vanished. Farming methods and unrestricted human exploitation of the environment for living accommodation and money have destroyed 75% of the most populace animal family in the world – insects.

Insects keep the land going. They eat each other which is a boon when you think what damage aphids can do to crops. They pollinate, they clean up, they actually ensure mammals can exist.

Your day, your desires, your hopes and dreams are killing life on Earth. Even I, using the internet to write this, am part of the system that is destroying everything.

Guns and America

The development and sale of guns into the general community is not only an American problem. When muskets and hand pistols were first invented across England individuals bought them or stole them and became highwaymen. Farmers always took to having guns and, I believe, a Prime Minister was shot at crossing a field (William Pitt). Members of the armed forces have always had guns though they are supposed to leave them on base today and guns are in select police buildings around the country.

What America does not have is the controls that came into force down the years in Europe. And unlike Europe which had its fill finally of violence in World War 2 after thousands of years of killing, America still glorifies violence done in the American way. But what people don’t realise is that those who make these guns that kill children, they use the police data of the shootings to see how efficient they are, see if they worked well, see if they could have done better in killing.

They do this because they are weapons of war. Guns are not just an American problem, but America is not yet at peace within itself. I would suggest owning up to the slaughter of millions of native Americans as a first, vital step, to understanding how violence has become endemic to the culture. I would look at how guns are portrayed on TV and movies. But I am not American and the powerful don’t wish to look.

For My Poor Sick Brother Allan Edwin

I have not seen an angel
Or heard an holy voice –
Or witnessed a miracle –

Nor seen a saint –
But I have felt a peace –
A tenderness –

A token-wind of faith –
I have known a place –
Where a spirit played
Deep on my heart –
Played in my brain –

A touch of joy sped me along –
A path leading upward to His Cross –
And on my knees or standing
Near his church – I have felt
The nearness of a truth –
Confl ict is banished into ash –
And high above reason, time or year
His precious call repeats
The message of a world to come –
‘My people hear, oh! Hear’

Shänne Sands, Fragments of Desire published by FootSteps Press

Allen Edwin had a schizophrenic episode in his thirties and, when on his medication, became a devout missionary. He died in his early seventies, alone in Cheltenham, England.

What is Tragedy?

I have been reading about Modigliani. The writers all say how tragic his life was and they pinpoint his illnesses and his early death at 35. We all die, some artists died on battlefields down the ages and we don’t even know who they are or what they may have become. Many people are killed young by illness and few have the chance to liberate themselves from society the way Modigliani did. His life was sad, possibly incredibly sad, but there are some people who call themselves artists who live to be ninety and that’s a real tragedy for culture.

The tragedy in his life was his long term love, Hébuterne, who killed herself two days after he died. I can understand the extreme of sadness, having to go back to her family and seeing her stultifying life with them in start contrast to what her life had been in Modigliani’s circle. But when she killed herself she killed their unborn child.

Not to say who that child would have been, but that is the tragedy of Modigliani’s  and Hébuterne’s existence.

Words

Out of us all
That make rhymes,
Will you choose
Sometimes –
As the winds use
A crack in the wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through –
Choose me,
You English words?

I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn,
Or an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnet rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet,
Equally,
And familiar,
To the eye,
As the dearest faces
That a man knows,
And as lost homes are:
But though older far
Than oldest yew, –
As our hills are, old, –
Worn new
Again and again:
Young as our streams
After rain:
And as dear
As the earth which you prove
That we love.

Make me content
With some sweetness
From Wales
Whose nightingales
Have no wings, –
From Wiltshire and Kent
And Herefordshire,
And the villages there, –
From the names, and the things
No less.
Let me sometimes dance
With you,
Or climb,
Or stand perchance
In ecstasy,
Fixed and free
In a rhyme,
As poets do

Edward Thomas

So Many Lies

A new proxy war between Russia and America in Syria, the first major one we know about since Afghanistan – and that one turned out brilliantly for the Americans. Another mass shooting in a school which proves, obviously, that teenagers should not have easy access to guns as they get frustrated and angry way too easily. And Johnson, who learned to speak in front of boys at Eton, where majority opinion is always Conservative, telling everyone how to save his political career for another fifteen years until he can retire and tell the news programmes of the world how he steered the UK brilliantly in to the 1950s.

Elon sends a car into space, a man who really needs publicity? A space already filled with junk. I hope he brings it and some of that, back. Or is he trying to get to a geodesic on Mars where the billionaires will hang out in 80 years time when the Earth is uninhabitable if you want to sun yourself in the Pacific and whore in the Mediterranean.

Somewhere in all this, a blog carries the words of a poet. Shänne Sands, a rare voice of truth.

The Old World

When societies shift it is always a dangerous time. Old themes are lost, old certainties broken, shared order defied and in these times the need for ethical leadership is vital. Lose the faith the people have in their leaders and you lose everything.

The UK has had two of the weakest leaders in my memory – Cameron and May – and extreme right wing tendencies, suppressed for two generations, have reared their head. Worse still a successor to Mussolini now runs the Whitehouse and many more liberal thinking leaders have to fight strong, right-wing sentiments in their nations.

The art world broke the consensus of what art was long ago, but in making anything art they saturated the culture with uncertainty and through that uncertainty celebrity, money, loose thinking and vanity have gained supremacy. Art and politics have always been conjoined but never  before this jointly corrupt.

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