How we got here, where we go next

Originally published on June 19th 2016, fell by the wayside till now. I cringe at my then support for Brexit, which now seeems like an irrecoverable error, like the Wuhan Lab Leak (if true)
I had pretty much done with A Wayfarer’s Notes, actually, didn’t feel loyalty to it any more, only a certain nostalgia, as when you pass a house where you once lived. You see it now owned by someone else, and realize that the fabric of the building, the bricks and mortar, are not what made it precious, only the experiences you had living there, which dwell still in your memory. So I can look at the words I wrote, and remember, and wish I had written better. I can forgive myself the foolishness, especially as it’s still with me, just in different forms.

I couldn’t even bother with writing a farewell post there, or leaving a forwarding address. Since old habits die hard, I found it hard to give up writing in this medium, so worked on it somewhere else, somewhere more secluded, with a sense of liberation. I asked myself why I’m working on “The Cycle of Imperfection”: certainly not for fame or fortune. I feel there’s a task I’ve been called upon to do, and it’s not finished. I’m never sure of what this task is. This might sound like a nightmare from Kafka, but is actually a liberation.

I’ve spoken many times about being comfortable with not-knowing, or at any rate uncertainty. Perhaps it’s built-in, a kind of brain-signature. Its most negative aspect is not knowing who I am, and consequently spending most of my life blundering, as a long-winded kind of learning. The most positive aspect of not-knowing is to gaze in wonder, as if newborn with all faculties fully functioning.

Other people want to be organized, have a plan. Thus they establish their identity. I remember in the mid-Eighties the Yuppie craze for Filofax organizers, essentially a way to define yourself as a go-getter achiever via loose-leaf pages in a stylish leather binder. A little browsing found me on My Purpley Life (see above pic) which has the following:

I knew that I had to share my ideas with the world. Thus, I started a blog and a YouTube channel, known as ‘My Purpley Life’. I found that by showing everyone how I decorate my pages and how I use my organiser, I gave inspiration to others who had long forgotten about their organisers and have now been able to bring them back to life. I inspired others to use their organiser in a creative yet functional and effective manner. This is what I have found to help me be more organised and still allow me to keep my creative juices flowing. Now, I don’t know how I could ever live without my Filofax personal organiser.

A wonder to behold, of course, and admirable in its way. Obviously not for me, rather the complete opposite. I need infinite spaces to breathe. My notebooks are formless illegible scribbles. To capture in words the exquisite nature of life is forever beyond my grasp. Anything worth saying cannot be said, which makes all the more reason to keep on trying.

And unwilling as I am to define myself, I yet observe various unchanging characteristics in my makeup. For example, I’ve never found excitement in any sporting contest, such as tennis, football, cricket, whether as player or spectator. I can appreciate the skills or grace or performance without caring who wins, for nothing is affected by the result.

I’ve only ever gambled for the highest stakes—my life, and the future of civilization. From a lifetime of following hunches and suffering the consequences, I may be getting better at it. And so of course I voted for Brexit. Shocked of course by the invective before and since, but surely that will die down, and those with discernment will see how it has opened a window to let in fresh air. Or better still, to step outside to look at the sky and feel the oneness, outside that stifling cage.

So, Britain is starting again too, renewing its own cycle of imperfection. The only thing which makes us distinct as a nation (apart from the geography & history) is a sense of identity. What is this identity? A narrow majority in secret ballot felt there’s something distinct worth saving—not static, but living, interacting, giving, absorbing. Person, family, street, village, county, region; each has its beauty, its identity. This narrow majority felt the threat in its bones, took the bull by the horns, bravely voted, never mind the cost.

What is it that we feel in our bones? Trump and his supporters in America. Corbyn and his in England. Sturgeon and hers in Scotland. Terrorists here, there and (God forbid) everywhere. Our civilization has gone rancid, that is why all these things are happening to destabilize it. Rancid and full of bubbles that can only burst—lies and false hopes, false everything. Consumer society is fake but there is nothing we can do about it, neither through democracy or dictatorship; not through God-believing nor atheism. It’s rancid with unpleasant jobs to buy things we have to be persuaded to desire. Vanity, all is vanity. Self-delusion reigns. Different delusions fighting one another to the death. Only accident and disaster can save us now, as they have throughout the evolution of physics and biology, ever since the Big Bang. Some would say divine intervention—never mind the words, it comes to exactly the same thing. Enlightened civilization has stopped believing in the ineffable—God being a popular term for it—and stumbles naked into the abyss of ignorant materialism. Ignorant because mostly obedient to blind forces. Whereas we could look inside ourselves and find wisdom, if only we knew it is there and trusted it. We are unconsciously drawn to catastrophe, somehow knowing that nothing else can save us.

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

(Samuel Beckett)

The post attracted some interesting comments, visible here

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