The Nature of Compromise

In politics the nature of compromise saves lives, enables things to get done, breaks impasse and becomes the very principle upon which politics rests. In art the opposite is true – compromise destroys the art, destroys the artist, stifles debate and limits development of the individual artist.


Because politics is about power and the interplay between competing interests. Art is about an examination of the human condition, an exposition of human creativity which above all, to be useful in the debate,  has to be honest and open. Both have elements of people taking risks but in art the risk is to be an artist for everything an artist does is a risk. That is the core principle of art.

Citizen Politics

As a teenager I recall seeing a liberal conference report on TV and a man going into details about clauses in the party constitution  and what could and could not be done. A real ‘political animal’ whose mind was given to the minutiae of the party in order to make sure it functioned as it was supposed to do and not be the plaything of transient leaderships.

I don’t know anyone in business who is not also political. No lawyer nor organisation that does not have a political dimension. Everyone is making decisions and playing games dependent upon what they perceive are the hindrances to their achieving their goals.

Politics used to be about society,but no longer.

Designing the World

Apparently the world only exists inside our heads. The way our brains switch what our eyes record from its mirror image, the way in which our senses interpret depending on past experiences, how we hold an idea in our heads of how things should be and we refer to that idea when encountering new experiences.

In much the same way in the political sphere we tend to create the world we want to see irrespective of how it actually is, and believe in our preferred world first. In this way we can hold a political opinion.

Changing perceptions is more than just giving people new ideas, it is helping them give up on old ones.

The Lethargy of the Modern Thinker

It is a little like advertising – but then what isn’t these days. The news is filtered and some people pop up to talk about it. They expound on the reasons why we are hearing this news – the background, the local politics, the implications. Occasionally an academic meeting the requirements of tenure writes a book about society and its needs and ills.

There was a time when society followed the men and women with the ideas. When news was the huge events that resulted in whole peoples following those ideas. Granted there were wars but then, there still are but today all the ideas flow around and through money.

It’s time to have the needs of the people and the health of the planet centre stage in every part of political life. That will only be achieved if we put it centre stage in our own lives. Then politicians will follow the people, which is their proper place.

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.

So Many Leaders

I am tired of people who want to rule me and join parliaments to serve themselves, their families and their class. I am tired of being told I need these people when I don’t and actually, as long as we have effective laws, none of us do. I am tired of seeing suits meeting in exotic places deciding who should live and die, who should work and who should pay the price of their children’s mistakes. For look closely enough and you will see many politicians in the Western world are related to bankers who fraudulently made millions for a decade.

I am tired of being told people have no self-regard unless they are employed. I am tired of being told all education is geared towards a career and a job. I am tired of seeing leaders having to go on diets whilst millions of children die ever year, many of food deprivation.

In fact I am tired of seeing people who never should have led a dog down a street, putting themselves forward as worthy of leading thinking human beings when their last original thought was given to them by the tele-prompt.

And I am tired by the fact there is no end to this decayed system because courage is the last characteristic any of them possess.

The Chaos Of Ideas

When I was young I asked myself the question, ‘why do people think differently?’ I realise this is not a question of great moment but it fascinated me because I saw people discuss passionately different sides of the same problems and I wondered how people drew different conclusions when faced with the same facts. Later on as  I learned about thinking I understood the different assumptions people make when coming to terms with how to survive in this life, assumptions drawn from different experiences, different childhoods and different aspirations.

 But the place where the greatest dissension may be found, putting aside any and every community on earth, is in politics and there, apparently, the art is ‘compromise’ where the parties find a median position they can both live with. It strikes me that this itself is a betrayal not of convictions but of the possibility that our assumptions are not as advanced or as certain and we believe them to be.

In fact the only reason we have political parties is because people are able to draw conclusions about how society works based on their knowledge of how humans work, and no one knows everything about either one or both. So how can anyone be right? How can any of us assume our assumptions, which define who we are and what we do, are accurate?

We can’t, of course, but that won’t stop us killing for them if we have to; that’s just one of those things you have to understand about human beings.

The Politics Of Nonsense

Even a cursory glance at the history of all countries shows us that there are links between the thinkers on all sides of the political spectrum, what we broadly term left, right and centre. It is interesting to note that despite the links shown by cross-country co-operation between political parties of similar persuasion, people do not seem to be able to imbibe other people’s points of view, despite the fact we all share similar stresses and needs in our lives. So the question arises, what are we actually all arguing about?

If the long march to human rights, and commencement of the march to animal rights, puts us all on a level playing field, the obvious first answer is it must be an argument about how to achieve our shared goals. Except unpicking that we see that actually many of the people who argue do not share goals at all. There are many laws that run counter to those some political thinkers actually want to see.

Do the arguments indeed run to the fundamental of our needs as human beings after all? Is politics actually about food, homes, security, health and nothing more? Or is it true that since Greek times, politics have been about the market place and the marshalling of society in order to serve economics?

Is politics little more than the arguments around the proper ways to make and distribute money?

What Leaders Become

You hear the promises politicians make to you for your vote, to see them break or refine or redefine those promises once in power. Do you ever wonder why? Do you think it is because those that seek power lack integrity? Do you follow Tony Benn (a British politician) when he says “I don’t want to be ruled by anyone who wants to rule me”. Do you see in these leaders some dark quality?

Their world is not your world. If I ever ran for power I would promise the kind of country I would want to see, with all the social benefits and all the environmental policies and so on and so forth and I would consider myself an advanced thinker. Then of course once there I would find that any decision that distributes  £1 across one group or other would actually cost millions, that the smallest idea skews the whole economy and any major change has to be incremental.

Not only that I would be given the true state of the world, the hidden threats, the up-c0ming power plays, the military decisions, the armour of state and suddenly from being a man who wanted to fight for pensioners and plant trees I would be the protector of the very political system that elected me. By winning power I would leave behind the world I grew up in, and enter one of immense indifference. You can only ever tell a few people the truth at a time. you can never tell the truth to millions.

We actually should tell our leaders to stop promising us anything.

The Politics Of Love

Aspects of our lives as communities grow up around us from generation to generation and we cease to think of the essence of the things and accept what we are presented as the thing itself. Politics is not about voting not about constitutions, these things are the mechanics and the Laws we have grown around a very basic human need – how do we deal with each other? And no matter how many layers we place on top of this question in terms of laws and expectations, the question is actually answered for many of us in how well or badly or indifferently we socialise when we are children.

Because a huge amount of empathy is required for us to understand each other on an individual by individual basis.

Think of it this way,we make love with every word we say to our lovers, with every action, every movement, look of the eye, in every conversation, everything we do together and even apart when we let them know we are thinking about them, is love making. So too we are political in every interaction with people (and animals for that matter) in every thought, every opinion and every moment we live amongst others.

Making laws is merely to enact; like sex, the substance is every thought that comes before and afterwards.

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February 2019
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