Out in the world of current affairs, it feels like things are reaching points of tension before whatever the next chapter is.
On Brexit, MPs have realised that something might actually happen and might have actual consequences. Over in the States, the Republicans are perpetrating ever more outrageous awfulness, and more people are waking up to it.
Things are getting exposed to the light, possibly at an increasing rate. And it’s becoming ever clearer that one of the fundamentals for the people on the controller side is an inability to work together with others. This is… well, it’s good in the sense that their endeavours fall apart, but not so good in the fallout that their repeated self-interest projects keep generating.
There’s also the universe asking us a question: ‘Who do you want to be?’ As each horrible thing is uncovered, we have to ask: are we part of that? Do we countenance that?
And ever more people are finding that the points of these affronts reach past their defences and sting them into action. No, routine sexual assaults on women in the entertainment industry are not OK. No, forcibly taking children from their parents because they’re not white is not OK. No, telling lies in parliament is not OK. No, deporting people for being black, or causing earthquakes in Lancashire, or dumping people en masse from the voter registry – these are broken things to do.
The ticking clock is whether truth reasserts itself. The political horrors in the UK and US are rooted in the establishment of false mythologies. Through brutish repetition and playing on people’s existing allegiances and insecurities, you plant ideas, perceptions and attitudes in their minds. And once those become part of their worldview, they’ll say and do almost anything to defend them.
Why do people do bad things, or support bad things being done? Because their basic human values have been overwritten by something else in their worldview. And then they seek to spread that to other people to provide confirmation.
So with Brexit, for instance, as far as I know there has not been one real, practical advantage established for the UK leaving the EU. It has all been couched in the language of propaganda, which relies on people not looking behind the curtain. Taking back control – but who for? Ra ra British sovereignty, but rejecting parliament and the courts. The idea of the EU as a foreign nation that has imprisoned us against our will, rather than a partnership between allies. It’s a mirage.
That vagueness works against the Brexit promoters, and the rest of us as well, because the red-hot Brexit fans are not wanting any real thing, so it may be that no real thing will satisfy them. They want a magic wand to be waved so that they can get closure and stop thinking about it. Any suggestion of sorting things out by processes infuriates them. And the hard Brexit promoters play to this.
That’s the difficult place we find ourselves, and it’s duplicated across other issues. People have reached a pitch of mental inflammation, partly due to a raft of unresolved society-level issues, so that it becomes difficult to see and engage with the ways to actually make progress on these issues.
And in many cases that would not be so hard – the early steps at least are known. For instance, air pollution has surfaced recently as an issue that’s doing real damage to people’s health. We were talking about that thirty years ago. First steps include regulating emissions from industry and creating transport systems that reduce the use of private cars.
What would help is actual national leadership from the government level to help people become less stressed by taking action toward resolving these issues, and making daily lives better to inhabit. That’s not happening any time soon. Too many national politicians are programmed to perpetuate problems rather than solve them and serve the people.
That leaves the rest of us, as individuals and in socially-concerned organisations, to do what we can when we can to bring a little bit more peace and a little bit more truth.
Our advantages are that we can allow ourselves to see these things; and that working together is not an unbearable concept, as it is for some, but the natural way to step into the real 21st century.
Photo (c) Tim Gray – the People’s Vote March, London, October 2018. Me and 700,000 mates wanted a word about Brexit.