Chapter 1 Wellsprings of Action

Chapter 1 False Accusations and Lies
27 August, 2020
Chapter 1 The Warrior
10 September, 2020
Chapter 1 False Accusations and Lies
27 August, 2020
Chapter 1 The Warrior
10 September, 2020

Chapter 1

In search of meaning

The origins of


Wellsprings of Action

“What drives you?” This I find a common question. I guess I do work hard at times. I think they expect that I have got religion, found my vocation. No! Anger drives me. Fury. Not, and never, love or self-sacrifice.

The sort of anger I have is banked, like a great heap of coals under a skin of sawdust. If I get more fuel, more anger, I stoke it; I know that violence breeds violence; injury, injury. Feuds never end. Outright anger and terror is stupid and ineffective, whether from the streets or the government agencies.

The anger is against the stupid way people in power handle problems, like spoilt children, like idiots. I have frequently called governments knaves and fools and I mean it. There are good, current, de-bugged solutions to every modern problem. It needs only slight research to find at least 3 or 4 solutions to any social concern (drugs, homelessness, smog, pollution generally, employment, etc., etc.)

Yet these are not researched, not adopted, not even known. Our leaders do not act as though they want to help solve any problem but that of manipulating society so that they can stay in power, even if that means starting up a civil or external war to do so; to divide our society with ‘votes’.

We can all see it; we should all be angry, all in action with all our bodies out there. I am also angry that I have had to put down the work I love to do – watching natural systems – to do work to prevent the loss of these systems. In other terms, I can’t spend time with my family, because I have to fight, to give them a chance of survival. I am furious, and will stay angry while I am alive and I will work at real solutions until I die, with sidelong glances at my beloved natural world. And I hope all our kids are angry too; their world is laid waste by fools, for greed or power. Fools.

Angry too that we have failed ourselves, have not used our wits, refuse to believe that we are heavily engaged in the last war of humankind; the battle to stop ourselves killing the world. To take on the guilt and go for the job.

First feel fear

Then get angry

Then go, with your life, into the fight.

Scared, but more angry than scared.

That’s it.

I have a few, a very few tough friends; capable of a controlled anger that would take them forward against any odds. This is how I drive myself.

If you are not angry now, you must get angry by the twentieth or fiftieth time you see how people are treated by the sort of governments we have set up. Anywhere in Aboriginal communities, anywhere in black America, anywhere in the gulags and homelands, we are all terribly diminished. To go too often is to die of charcoal, burn out, and become cold. The anger stays, but the flame of life flickers low.

It is dawn, my arm is cramped; I have written in anger all night. What drives me?

Fame; Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

What is fame? The knowledge of other people about somebody’s work? There are strange fames; nobody could deny that many singers become famous, nor many actors. But slowly they sink into oblivion. In thirty or forty years, they are gone. Only echoes and ghosts remain. It is true of any fashionable work that it is quickly buried by society.

Works of art, although fashionable may be kept alive by comparative studies, so that generations of students relive art history and study reproductions of specific periods. Still, art students are a minority group, and talk mainly to each other. It is curious that painters are such determined historians; few other disciplines are.

And although the sciences research and publish books about the history of ideas, they too fade or become the preserve of a few. A few scientists (really naturalists) have ideas that pass into the people; Charles Darwin achieved such world-wide fame with his Origin of Species. There is a very short bookshelf of such foundation books, books which all people read; books that are never out of print. Books about ideas that help us understand our world. But if there are too many books (as there are today about fractals), they tend to hide each other. So Darwin is more famous than Mandelbrot or Lorenz. His ideas hold up well, unlike those of Freud, which historians discard, and which fade as I write. Can we blame his followers? I fear so.

Movements which evolve sophisticated hierarchical control (main religions) and which involve millions of people, keep their founder’s fame alive while they are relevant. They may last thousands of years, but inevitably decline and pass into history, leaving a lot of archaeological remains; some of which reveal a very different picture of the founder than the evolved myths of followers; it is these accounts of miracles and apparitions that in the end undermines the belief of people; they may begin to look like cheap tricks in the long term; become tawdry, unworthy.

Religions and political movements live or die on the behaviour of their followers. We can be thankful for fanatics as they most help destroy their beliefs in the minds of others. If a political system or belief can produce a Hitler, a Stalin, a crusade, torture, or assassinations, who in the people want it? Such systems are an obvious danger to all people. The Charles Manson effect. The Waco syndrome.

Then there are the ephemera; people famous for being famous (only for a season or two). Of all these, it is ideas rather than performances which count in the long run, or a great ability to write; to express things neatly and memorably, as could Shakespeare. Enduring fame then, comes from appropriate work, ideas, and expressions knowable by everyman. True fame is to so change things that it seems natural to everybody, but no one knows who thought of it.

As for famous disasters, the trouble with Gloria was her predilection for a violent mixture of rum, brandy and raspberry. I tasted it a few times – sickly but devastating. It was a drink to get drunk on, no doubt, and I put up with it because she was a kindly drunk, even an amorous kindly drunk. In cold blood I couldn’t imagine coping with a drunk who vomited, as I was painfully shy myself when young, but when Gloria vomited in the hotel, and later in the taxi, I found surprising calm flood my body, and I ordered the hotel to clean up the mess (it was, after all, theirs) and slipped the taxi-driver two pounds to do the same. We are not embarrassed when our friends are in trouble, just ourselves. I ponder on the wisdom of the Romans – Sic Gloria Transit: ‘Fame is fleeting’ or ‘Gloria will sick up on the bus’ or ‘You are bound to make a mess of things if you behave like an upper-class twit’. And so on.

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