Sunday, June 14, 2009

What the blackbird said

Every morning, a blackbird in our neighbourhood starts to sing. It begins with two distinctive melodies, and then (like Eric Clapton in his Cream days) improvises beautiful, complex variations on these themes.

We do the same. We complain of encroachments on our liberty, the debauching of our currency and national wealth, the weakening of the bonds that tie society together, and so on. And we do it many times, passing judgment with our "wise saws and modern instances", like Shakespeare's magistrate.

We're not alone. In a well-worth-reading article today, former Tory minister Neil Hamilton tells it like it is now with our rulers: democracy is dead (not that it was ever much alive). It's especially disturbing that senior politicians will say this now, not just the cranks among the public.

But why are we singing? Simone de Beauvoir said, "Every good book is a cry for help"; who do we hope will make speed to save us? And why does he have a sword and sceptre in his hands? Because to ask for help is to surrender power.

So let us combine against the oppressor. But who will lead us? And how will they mutate as they convert our assent into fresh authority? Is a libertarian party ultimately doomed by its oxymoronic essence?

George Orwell said, 'All historical changes finally boil down to the replacement of one ruling class by another. All talk about democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity, all revolutionary movements, all visions of Utopia, or "the classless society", or "the Kingdom of Heaven on earth", are humbug (not necessarily conscious humbug) covering the ambitions of some new class which is elbowing its way to power ...'

Like charity, liberty, wealth and happiness begin at home. Let us waste no more of our dreaming time on the puppets that wish to master us; in a Berkleian way, they are created and maintained only by our perception. Neither vote nor revolt; ignore. Trying to change society is like sending flowers to a soap opera wedding.

The revolution is personal. How much of your time and money could you save, reorganise, invest to make you and yours happier? "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."

And in our garden, the birds will sing.


James Higham said...

to ask for help is to surrender power

And when one must, one tries to minimize it.

OldSouth said...

Much wisdom here.

And as more and more of us put our own houses in order, I suspect we eventually would see a change in the bigger picture as well.

I think the culture shapes the economy before the economy shapes the culture. If so, where should we direct our efforts?

I enjoy your thoughts often, keep up the good work.

Paddington said...

It's a little simplistic, but I try and behave as though freedom is in my mind only. I do what believe is right, and accept that society has the power to try and stop me.

But how much democracy and freedom is possible anyway? Between the constraints of biology and genetics, the other forces of nature, and the positions that society puts us in, do we have big choices to make?

Sackerson said...

Thanks for your comments, all. Padders, the big changes to society involve the leader trap and usually cost many individuals dearly. I think the big changes to one's own life start with finding which log to shift to break the jam.