I’m in no hurry to depart, but old people tend to reflect on what life was all about – what we did and did not get right. Apparently, the most common end-of-life regret, is not to have lived more in tune with self, rather that the expectations of others. From an early age, I was unusually self-willed and uncompromising, so I score well on that one.
“For one human being to love another” Rilke wrote, “is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks – the last test and proof.” I score badly on that one. I believe the exchange of love is at the core of the human experience; its simplicity and centrality are beautifully captured by Raymond Carver’s poem ‘Late Fragment’: “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? – I did – And what did you want? – To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth”.
My mum died before my fifth birthday: I suspect that subsequent loving relationships, required holding enough of myself in reserve to survive the next possible ‘derailment’. Grappling with his inability to let himself be loved – Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal: “There is no terror like that of being known”. He didn’t mean being ‘well known’ by everyone – but the unique ‘exposure’ of love. Referencing Carver’s poem – I have only felt as ‘beloved on the earth’ as is possible from a ‘safe’ distance – and this is a life regret. But my life made space for much immersion in creative work – a rare privilege.
Final mention of finance. My thanks to over 100 people who have donated. If you can help it would be greatly appreciated. See Donations Page. For folk my age, you do not need a paypal account to contribute – any debit card etc will work.
Can’t remember feeling as engaged with a US Presidential election – but it’s mostly a feeling of dread at what Trump might do next, to claw back Biden’s lead. This (early August) piece in the (pro Democrat) Washington Post, identifies 10 dirty tricks he could pull – some a bit obscure to non-Americans. It’s surprising how much executive power their Constitution allows a President; particularly dangerous with regard to foreign policy. While we don’t know what Trump will do, he’ll make a point of breaching the normal legal or ethical limits – so it’s going to get scary. Even scarier would be if he wins a second term.
Argyll and Bute Council has just approved an outline masterplan for the island of Ulva; a framework for its regeneration and re-population over the coming decades. If I was younger, I’d be very attracted to this kind of opportunity – to be part of evolving the template for a new caring, supportive community.
I think it’s disgraceful that the Buccleuch family – ‘descended as they are from Border thieves, land pirates and freebooters’ are to get £6m from a community buy-out; it’s also a clear indication on how little progress has been made on Scottish land reform. I admire Carolyn Leckie’s writing here, but she needs more anger.
This Open Democracy piece says that Deloitte has been awarded another huge Covid contract, which could be the biggest NHS privatisation in history. ‘We Own It’ is an independent organisation which campaigns against privatisation and for 21st century public ownership. Small team, but seem to punch above their weight.
‘Govt’s were forced to step into the void in a gargantuan way…… this decoupling of the labour and financial markets from the real economy is a sure sign that, what we may label as post-capitalism, is already underway”. Loved this piece ‘Something remarkable just happened’ by Yanis Varoufakis – (famous leftie economist).
Ruth Wishart conducted an hour long interview this week with Richard Holloway – still one of the wisest intellects of our times.
Joseph Campbell on the significance of myths.
‘Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell and understand our story. We all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death. We need life to signify, to touch the eternal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are. People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experience on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about, and that’s what these stories help us to find within ourselves.’