Aged 81, I’m in the departure lounge, and from what I can tell, life ends when we die; so when I say ‘nobody gets away with anything in this life’, I’m not calculating entry to heaven or my karmic readiness to return here. I simply believe that while we live, the consequences of everything we do, return to affirm us or reproach us; over time, without exception, we reap what we sow. For me, this is not a supernatural phenomenon, but an entirely natural dynamic of life. Inevitable.
A major distortion in my lifetime has been the triumph of market ideology; marketeers have deep trust, that their system audits a person’s economic character and determines what each ‘deserves’ – e.g. a rough sleeper (a loser) deserves exclusion. No allowance is made for the randomness of luck in human lives, because to resist or modify market rigour is ‘wrong in principle’ – even if it destroys the very planet. Global warming is a straight cause/effect; humans must now adopt a gentler economic system – or self-destruct.
In my time, I’ve been close to people who were very successful and to some people who were ‘drop-outs’; I’ve never been consistently clear which end of the spectrum I belong, but I learned that the differences are only circumstantial and that us v them is an illusion. I take great hope from each new generation; if you have anything to do with raising toddlers, you’ll know that you’re helping them choose values. Good luck with that – future society will reap what you sow. Inevitable.
Both Novak Djokovic and the Australian authorities have bungled his vexed visa issue; their ineptitude has prompted some of us to clarify our tolerance of anti-vaxers. I’m a standard liberal leftie – aware of John Stuart Mill’s ‘harm principle’ – that we are all free to act as we wish, unless our actions harm somebody else; By spreading infection and blocking hospital beds, anti-vaxers harm the common good. While I consider it disproportionate to make vaccinations compulsory – it is fitting that it should be a condition of access – whether to playing in the Australian Open – or attending the Hibs v Hearts game on 1st Feb. Interesting discussion at ethics.org
The New York Times (paywall) reports that, with the recent arrival of four new families, the population of the Isle of Rum has ‘soared’ from 17 to 40. Once again, I feel a romantic thrill when I imagine island life; but, in truth, I’m not the type – wish I was. This links to the Isle of Rum Community Trust website
Though I totally supported the dumping of the statue of Edward Colson in Bristol Docks, I was surprised when the four accused were acquitted. This Conversation article points out that it was a verdict worthy of celebration, because it legally recognises their action as serving the community’s moral outrage towards slavery.
John Maynard Keynes, the economist, wrote that by 2030 economic scarcity would be over, that his grandchildren would not have to work more than a 15-hour week; the only thing he got wrong was the rigged distribution of wealth. This openDemocracy article looks at our changing approach to work over time – and now.
I liked Angus Hardie’s intro in the latest Scottish Community Alliance Briefings; the Tayport model of community development.
The Prime Minister has lost all his swagger – he never had much more than that. Alan Massie in The Spectator says that the latest party in his back green puts the lid on it – it’s time to go. Though I’m not a member of the Tory Party, I’d like to nominate Rory Stewart as the next PM. He actually talks sense.
During the ‘dark months’, I try to remain aware of the distinction between the thoughts I have, and who I am. This quote is from Eckhart Tolle’s Stillness Speaks.
“Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. Situations don’t make you unhappy. They may cause you physical pain, but they don’t make you unhappy. Your thoughts make you unhappy. Your interpretations – the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy. “The thoughts I am thinking right now are making me unhappy” – this realisation breaks your unconscious identification with those thoughts.”