It is right to hold sorrow in check, so that we can fulfil our roles, unburdened. To consider a task properly we need unbroken intelligence of receptive senses and an unfettered imagination. Yet, a dead weight of mourning must also rise by the evidence of those senses. What do we do with it? We are wounded and must heal if we are to whole-heartedly contribute to the task. Denial of sorrow may cause denial of its causes, so that we start with a diminished view. Open-hearted acceptance can easily break the heart, so that we become morally indecisive.
Snow has fallen, covering all our tracks – primal beauty of the folly of aspiration? Branches of last Summer’s green wood – each laden with white. Thoughts branch, seeking sunlight, but are cut off. By what? What is my sorrow? Collapsed dreams are, for the most part, accepted as lessons, so where do lessons lie in trackless snow? Since the snow is mine, it is for me to discover.
I limp from the scene that broke my heart and return through the drifts with insufficient or insufficiently contrite speed. Broken cycles falter – life and leaves – but the linear goes on – gravity pulls snow over my lack of response and sunlight falls without photosynthesis. Sap of the species and white lace of mycelia, pause beneath snow, but there’s older, structural grain in the wood – you’ll observe my economic metaphor.
Horned scapegoats like branches with breath – defined, they make struggles, hope, despair and tracks – undefined and they feed narcissistic dreams of snow power before the linear wind. Snow tosses its hair like history recurring and curling in drifts – you’ll note my political metaphor.
There’s artificial mist before the scapegoat in Murdoch’s headline. You can’t quite make it out, because swastikas spin Catherine wheels by Guy Fawkes’s fire – Front page pageants of fear draw us from the torture – by hateful incantations, flames and wheels, but you can’t see much. It’s the national interest. It’s a bon -fire. A wooden cross against drifting smoke and planted in snow is my lazy historical metaphor. The rude tree.
They try quantitive easing of money into the money flow but money ends where money lies in still pools of property and rent, which further hollows the heartwood of economic assets. Towns, villages and farms are hollowed trees. Ingenious dexterity should rise in the cambium, but instead, it’s a conduit for usury, land value, rent, stock casinos – weird sisters. Round the heartwood cauldron they go – the dance of full and never empty.
This is a landscape of hollow trees – the tree of Man as Rude Tree. The cauldron wood is called GDP. Its gas returned by Summer leaves. That’s the old dance of sun and leaf. As gross domestic flames increase, so sunlight falls to fewer leaves. Some rising gas exceeds the dance. It’s a marching column in the entry – atmospheric CO.2
Consider this – economies are primarily photosynthetic.
Economies are hollowed as the rich grow richer at the rim – in unresponsive enclosures of status, property value, rent – photosynthetic value is increasingly sequestered there in anaerobic layers. The aerobic, cyclic, responsive, photosynthetic economy is of people living, working and keeping house. But what should be verdant land, has become the hollowed land. Unemployment, falling wages and lost identity foster lost thoughts in search of lost identity. Nationalism turns hollowed to hallowed.
From the gated sequester-lands, a newspeak has been devised for headlines sold to the Hollow Lands, for the protection of hallows.
Towns, roads, bridges, market squares and parliament buildings are emergent properties of the efficiencies of entirely photosynthetic woods and fields. Often, they’ve been the properties of fossilised photosynthesis, but what’s important, is that they need not be.
What are emergent properties of millions of Summers of burnt, fossil photosynthesis? – Man posing as god? Yes, but also certain men with god-like tools and most others without. Money flow is replicated in energy flow.
When energy was manual, combined with ingenious use of gravity, wheels, screws, wind, water and also animals, then money flow (or barter flow) passed between economic actors. Tax and tithe were drawn to the edges – but much of that became assets of church and cathedral, or the protective moats of military and legislature. Culture remained at the centre, not only in labour and ingenuity, but in gossip, pleasuring and holiday. The economic actors knew what was what. Of course, after the Reformation, (though there were earlier enclosures) land enclosure began to bleed the centre. Nevertheless, it was the centre, which generated every ounce of wealth.
When fossil-powered tools became economic actors, people began to know less and less of what was what. Perversely, they had a narrower gossip (knowledge) and far, far fewer holidays. But as oil and coal became monopolies, they removed tools from the centre and sent surplus wealth to store in increasing land value – that is out of the economy and into the casino lands of the Edge. Protection of the casino of land value and its rent, oil value and its rent, status value and its rent became imperative as they became increasingly vulnerable. The restlessness of the dispossessed at the tool-less centre became the spur for the headlines on Mr Rupert Murdoch’s front page. Climate change, species loss, resource depletion, inequality, poverty, unemployment – all threaten the legitimacy of those monopolies and so the Front Page twists them into causes – not effects. They joined the shadowy scapegoats.
Of course, holding the centre will become necessary as oil departs and monopolies crumble. But that does not mean bringing centrism into today’s governments and corporations. It doesn’t mean bringing the system to its senses – that is – to attempt the sustainable development of a system which is in all cases, bound to collapse. Something for nothing is designed to collapse.
It means that enough people must step economically into their ecologies and together learn to live by what remains. That work must be curious, open hearted and well-adjusted to failure. In any case, as David Fleming teaches us, highly complex reciprocal obligations weave the fabric of all economies. The larger part of an economy is beyond measure.
Our hollowed, fossil-powered economies are shedding those obligations and with them the self-belief of their citizens. People attach lost morals to an older time and have been manipulated by the unscrupulous to blame the loss on fictitious contemporary ills. It is dangerous. Hate is blind. It is a blizzard in the wind. The drifts cover conversation – even by the fireside – but if there’s substance then there’s some good in everything.
After all, that sense of loss is deeply true. It’s an injustice that had been maintained by both the American Democratic and the British New Labour governments – just as much as by Republican and Tory.
How do we penetrate the drifts, when we are polarised in banners and barricades?
Here’s something – It may be easier to find convivial conversation with a Farage supporter than with an enlightened and liberal believer in social mobility, economic growth and technological futurism. Social mobility must approve the hierarchy in which we become mobile. Further economic growth is ridiculous. Future technology is a fantasy.
Those blizzard voices are hateful to be sure, but they are the voices of loss – though they have no substance, they have the lack of it. Find what’s lost and we may find common ground.
As we’ve explored in other essays, seriousness is the means by which we remove thought and feeling (intelligence), so that we can accomplish a task. Leaders exhale seriousness to remove intelligence from their senses. I think that pack and herd leaders of other species do the same. There’s a leaden stupidity to the corridors of power. There’s nothing new in that. That is the purpose of comedy and of course, tragedy – to reconcile disorder into the ordering of things.
Comedy is of the mind. Tragedy is of the heart. The plots are the same. Our predicament is not grand, or serious – seriously engage and we’ll be lost from the start. It’ll be found in commons of suffering, delight, laughter and tears. A blinding snow of serious hate provokes reciprocal and serious rage – alternative bon-fires in the national interest.
It’s not much of a solution, but bear this in mind – Nothing of importance is serious.