Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Sea of Madness

Murphy's principal home!
Sometimes I feel like I am in a sea of absolute madness. I look around me and everyone is each individual or community is in their own version of reality, everyone's priorities are different according to their own often crazy considerations and typical responsibilities. Teams of people gather together in companies to adhere to the mission statement of that company, or charity or group. I am wondering where do I start? Where do you begin in the sea of madness when you yourself, no doubt, have your own neuroses?
My first thought some years ago was that I did not want to participate in, to hold up or to contribute to the madness. I could see though that everything was connected. It appeared that whether I liked it or not, if I wanted to be in this society, my participating in it would also contribute to child labour, to pollution, to conflict, violence, corruption and the whole off-putting scaffold. Yet there's a balance; whole hives of people working away in a fever in the opposite direction; picking up the war torn, the abused and attempting to put their lives back together again in some semblance of normality.
And yet they still participated in the madness, they bought coffee from coffee shops whose plantations employed children and paid a pittance and polluted the land. They bought oil from companies who didn't clean up after themselves, cared more for profit than the environment and people's well being. They bought clothing from people who'd bought it from employers of ten year old's who spent their entire lives crouched in small rooms in India, for little more than bowls of rice; they were old men within months. They bought food from supermarkets who had bought it from farmers who knowingly called their produce 'crap', genetically modified corn that eroded cows stomachs when they were fed it and caused them to die prematurely because of acidosis and then the cows were also sold to us in burger form. And we are dying early.

We are dying early from cancer that came from radiation that came from nuclear power stations that had melt downs or leaked toxic waste into the water supply without telling us, from which we also bought our electricity, our hot water, our lighting. The same companies who supply scientists their radioactive elements to be used in bomb tests - almost 2000 nuclear bomb tests around the world - though who knows how many China has carried out - how many do you need to find out they kill people? Russia has used them to plug oil leaks, and our children are dying early.

The medical profession does what it can but they are constrained to use what the pharmaceuticals provide and it is provided by the same companies whose motive is profit. They are also forced to go where the work is; research depends on research budgets not what is most important because as we know people's priorities differ.
Everyone is concerned ultimately with keeping a roof over their heads and looking after their loved ones. But while we are participating in this sea of madness - it will continue to throw insanity at us.
I stopped participating for a long time, in a variety of ways, not all skill ful and some more rewarding than others. Then I just let go and floated on all the mayhem. Neither saying this is good or this is bad nor worrying too much about what others thought I looked like. I just floated and watched.
Children starving is a priority. Animals and plants going extinct is a priority. Children dying because their environments and therefore their bodies are so laden with chemicals that they cannot breathe - is a priority. Children stepping on landmines, or picking them up and playing with them - is a priority And every which way I look, these are priorities which are being overlooked because we have our own priorities.
Well, it's a strange thing... to be in the position, where I don't want your priorities any more. I don't want to get married, have kids, buy a house, run a car, work for a company, go on holiday...
I want a new set of priorities. You might think I'm mad. You might think I'm anarchic, some folk might even call me criminal. So be it.
Give me an option of participating in a society that is cruelty free. Give me an option to participate in a society that is radiation and pollution free. Give me an option to participate in a society that is conflict free... and I will participate.
Give me an option to be harmless and I will gladly join you on that sea of madness.
I apologise if I look a little unwilling, or unenthusiastic about simple things, in daily life that we all of us do. It's just I have stopped a second to consider the ramifications; to ponder on the consequences of my actions. If I join in and am a good tax paying citizen, then $400000 of our collective tax will buy a missile to blow up a handful of Taliban, and potentially some other folk nearby, perhaps some other kids playing behind a wall. I don't want to blow up people to secure the oil line running through their country, so that another country doesn't get it because ostensibly that country is not a democracy. I'm afraid I don't see any democracies anywhere any more; I see capitalism in the guise of democracy. If you still see democracy - great - please offer me encouraging and reassuring examples to remind me.
It appears that almost every action has negative consequences often because it is attached to money and the acquisition of money, because nowadays money is dirty; it is hard to find 'clean' money.
If I join society and have a 'good job' I wonder where shall I put my money? The system is making it very hard to be outside of it. But I don't trust the system, it has never particularly earned my trust. What is a 'good job' now?
We all muddle along as best we can. It's naive of me isn't it to propose the possibility of a harmless society. There was a time when we had far less capacity to hurt each other than we do now. We have become a society whose trademark is our knowing the most ways to hurt and dispatch another human being; great.
To me growing vegetables is a rebellious act, having your own water supply is absolute anarchy in its purest form, turning your back on the energy producers and saying 'I don't want' is capitalist blasphemy; while you lie in the sun and put on an extra pullover when it gets cold. 'I don't want...'
What I don't want is clear, but that's boring, negative stuff. I want a computer that is blood free, conflict free, pollution free. To type this on. I don't care if it takes you another millennia to get to that point - fine. Let's go back to a horse drawn society until we do. Lets skip the part where we are obliged to be the bad guys.
TOO many people are dying; it appears some folk want it that way.
Go raw because you live longer; help the poor because it's humanitarian. Right now we should instigate the Law of Harmlessness and show by degrees how much blood we have or have not got on our hands because of the decisions we make as individuals and communities. I am not a good person. I am a bad, bad person. Why? I only have to look over my shoulder at the ramifications of my existence... forests cut down to provide toilet paper, landfills full up with my left overs and batteries and building waste, my sewage in the sea, foaming up on the beaches; and starving people in the Horn of Africa, in the Sahel, skeletal childen who have spent their entire lives at a war that was not of their making - a war encouraged by foreign policies that I wish to have no part of. A war of ideas and ideologies, that ordinary folk can do without - we are quite capable of living together, of shaking hands, of offering sugar to our neighbour when they've run out. Ordinary people are very very good at being peaceful and warless. If we can just be left alone.
Today I discussed with a friend that now it is a law that you must have a licence to chop wood. The local wood deliverer cannot deliver this year because he cannot get someone to cut wood. All the people who used to cut the wood, cannot because they have not got a licence, though they have always cut the wood.
My mother cannot use her trailer because she needs a licence, she has a licence but its English, she has not got a French licence. The Tax office sent a letter wanting to know if this is my principal home or my secondary home. I sat and thought about this.
Is it my principal home? Or my secondary home.
Is this planet our principal home or our secondary home?
I wondered where home was.
I have had many homes.
I slept on a glacier on an icecap, watched the Northern lights, I slept in a carpark next to a motorway, I slept on a ferry in a storm, I slept under a horse's cart, in a hammock next to a Roman wall, I slept on the edge of a mountain. I slept in a sleeping bag outside Holloway Prison. I slept in a debris hut I built out of fallen leaves and bits of branches; it did not need damp proofing, or a foundation or a new roof, I was snug as a bug.
I pulled the loose bits of hawthorn and blackthorn down from the hedge, built a small fire and heated up a pot for a cup of tea. Picked coltsfoot and scraped some white willow for my friend who had a cough. We collected field mushrooms for an omelette, and I picked wild greens, there were plums growing along the wayside. And the tastiest blackberries you ever had. I gave the horse a brush down, and we collected our water from a spring.
Is this my principal home or my secondary? I am confused. It is right that I should be confused. How mad am I? Am I more or less mad than the normal folk who do such a good job of participating in society? Sometimes I do a good job, sometimes I'm terrible at it. I'm glad there's still a bit of room to be both, although in the eyes of the powers that be, me and Africa it would seem are the poorest of the poor. They look down at us over their piles of paper. And the neighbours worry because we are different. Because we don't DO anything. The same way we didn't do anything for a million years. Sometimes doing nothing is a beautiful thing, you do nothing and there is life, it grows, you do nothing and there are planets, a galaxy, a cosmos, a universe.
Should we all take to the fields? No, that's not what I'm saying. That's not the point I'm making.
We should though bring the fields to us. We should pull them round our shoulders like blankets, we should let poppies grow out of our hair and moss cover our fingers and toes. We should learn to feel the starlight make its way through our skin and into our blood stream so that it twinkles inside of us. We should be willing to smell of the earth. To use bluebells as legal tender; to make sure the weeds grow tall and strong so that there is nectar, and bugs and bees and birds and the sweet smell of clover, the song of the skylark.

A mug, a pot and a spoon. A sower of seeds, an old growth forest. I saw an owl last night, the moon was up and Venus was shining bright. The owl is participating in society along with the mouse. I wondered what their principal home was. If you want to speak to me, you will probably find me with leaves in my hair. I will pick comfrey for broken bones and if I die of exposure it will more likely be from those elements I was exposed to on the Sea of Madness than because of me and mother earth. That is my point.

I am I think a conscientious objector.

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