drawing by Michael Leunig
Oh, to live in a world in which our instincts tell us that all wars and all acts of violence are unwise and deplorable, a world in which we immediately and relentlessly strive to end them, without blame, and without taking sides.
A world in which the obvious need for global collaboration and cooperation to tackle the staggering crises of our times, means that we bring about an immediate and sustained global ceasefire, and take steps to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and immiseration.
A world in which embargoes, land and financial theft, occupations, sanctions, blockades, covert actions to overthrow elected governments, and asset ‘freezes’ are all recognized as acts of war as deplorable as military acts, and prohibited by universal agreement.
A world in which fomenting or supporting war, hatred, fear and violence is so anathema to the ethos of citizens that any political group and any media agency that engages in such behaviour immediately loses all its support and collapses unmourned and unnoticed.
A world in which the very ideas of “nuclear deterrence”, “mutually assured destruction” and “preemptive strikes” are considered so preposterous as to be not even worth talking about.
A world in which our history lessons teach us the atrocity and barbarity of all wars, and the truth about wars: that they are never an answer for anything, and never have ‘winners’.
A world in which we celebrate solstice as a universal holiday of peace, and look back in dismay at the millennia of waste and destruction our culture of conquest, hate, fear, death and diminishment of “others” has wreaked upon this little blue planet.
It’s sometimes nice to dream.
I wonder though why we must try and visualize another and better world. It’s rather remarkable that we have the capacity to do this. Who ordered that? Why do we have it?
We obviously are not happy with what we’ve got and we dream of something more to our liking. We obviously have a deep urge to fool ourselves in not only visualizing a better world but even fantasizing of actually creating one.
Unfortunately, human nature is what it is. There is no other world, better or not. It will always be out of reach as it cannot exist.
My simple conclusion is that we do not belong in this (and only) world.
Yet here we are.
Yeah, Ray, I made a point of not using the word ‘wish’ in this post. It is a dream of another world, an impossible one, not one of those damned ‘better worlds we know are possible’, which cruel writers use to make us feel less hopeless and more miserable.
I like to imagine, to fantasize, to make things up. It’s a form of play, and I think our capacity to do it evolved for logical if somewhat useless reasons. It’s just taken so long for me to learn to recognize that what we imagine has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
To die dreaming or
to dream of dying;
it’s the holding on
that hurts most.
I’m certain I wrote something like this in 1985 when I was becoming politically active and we had just done a thing in Toronto to mark the 40tg anniversary of Hiroshima. A bunch of youth groups around the city painted white silhouettes everywhere, similar to the patterns left by people who were vaporized when the Americans launched a nuclear strike in that city. It was an act to say this morbid art is the world we are living in. Dream of another.
Keep musing Dave, always a pleasure to read, it makes me feel part of a bigger community of kindred spirits …. I fantasise about there being 4 planets each occupied by humans with differing values/world views/perspectives/genetic predispositions.
You get to decide which one you want to live on … no return!
1. Planet for the religious/spiritual … those who believe humans are special unique and that there is a higher purpose or that some form of immortality can be attained. (thinking there’s something better than cake)
2. Planet for those who believe human well being is best achieved within a free market economy that supports the concept of ownership, competition, individual success and freedom. (preferably as unaccountable as society will tolerate – meaning less govt interference) Its the jobs, growth, economy world we currently inhabit. (eating the cake)
3. Planet for those who believe the current excesses just need to be tempered and that a better balance between economic, social and environmental out comes needs to be achieved. (thinking you can have your cake and eat it)
4. Planet for those who believe they are a part of incomprehensible life, one of the living creatures on a living planet, aware that humans are social animals connected to and dependent on nature for survival. Cooperation, sharing and restraint underpins social order and awareness of limits, interconnectedness and natural cycles underpins interactions with nature. (no cake … just mangoes in season)
Freedom? … I wish!, we are shackled to the herd, who I hear, are all doing there best! …
There’s an Aussie singer song writer Paul Kelly who’s song ‘Dumb Things’ is a classic … yep we are doing all the dumb things. Here’s a couple of versions … its been around for a while.
ray swarts …. margaret river, western australia
Enjoyed, good thoughts for the Solstice.