jusummerhayes

A better (different) future

This stone sits just inside the entrance to Dartington Hall, nr Totnes, Devon
This stone sits just inside the entrance to Dartington Hall, nr Totnes, Devon

I'm back to my old routine.

Awake at 5 am. Coffee poured. And sat, here, at my little desk, listening to the dawn chorus 🐦🐦and tapping out a few words before the start of the day.

Don't ask me why, but I'm already receiving work emails (from Germany) but they can wait before the rest of the business wakes up — c.8 am.

I've shared a few quotes here and elsewhere. They're as deliberate as I can make them. I've often thought, Why bother? but it's a strong habit and one I'm loathed to break. One day, I might stop sharing words from other people, alive or dead, and write my own early morn aphorism and/or exhortation. Lucky you — haha. 

If you recall, in yesterday's post, I talked about a few people who'd stuck two fingers up to self-isolation, let alone social distancing. The problem — and it's a huge, death-dealing one — wasn't limited to a few, selfish revellers, but, instead, those people (no doubt) who'd convinced themselves it was essential — i.e. (presumably) life or death — to go shopping at Tesco, and, I assume, other places offering similar NHS only etc. opening times. I should say, not to be a complete hypocrite, that, yesterday, my wife went to Tesco's at Lee Mill, near Plymouth because she thought that as the first hour (8 am — 9 am) was given over to NHS and other support staff, it would be much quieter than would otherwise be the case. I did try to explain to her how unlikely that was but she felt compelled to go. Anyhow, the scenes I saw on Twitter were reminiscent of something pre-apocalyptic, that or people were so desperate to buy something that they were prepared to put their and their loved ones lives at risk. Sorry, I may be in the minority of one but: (a) I don't believe Tesco's is the only place to shop, (b) people are going to starve to death unless they went shopping then and only then and (c) the risk was worth the candle. 

I don't want to speculate why people felt compelled to shop this way but I know that our local village shops, which are a lot less saturated with people — nothing is risk-free — could provide the absolute essentials, including toilet paper. But, I'd wager, if everyone went through their cupboards there's more in there than they might think — ours certainly aren't bare — and we need to think carefully if shopping like this, or at all, is only adding to the substantial risk of Covid-19 transmission. As to the pubs and all those other places that were previously offering mass gatherings, well if you choose to attend, then you really were (are) putting yourself and everyone you love in harm's way.

Anyhow, enough said. 

What I really wanted to say was that if we don't see the current pandemic as an opportunity to seriously consider our lifestyle and life choices, then I don't know when, if ever, that will occur. And I also direct my not insubstantial ire at yours truly. 

I'm not going to make a list of those areas of our lives that have, in no small order, got out of hand, but we only need look at the news emerging of the ever-so-slight recovery of nature to realise that we can and must change our ways if we want to stay living on this planet for anything longer than a few decades. That will mean (I hope) not flying so much, becoming more community-minded and, most of all, calling a halt to our unprecedented and wanton consumption. 

I recognise that every man (person) and his dog is proselytising a similar message right now, but as someone who's born witness to the unchecked march of global expansion, the absolute negation of wisdom and wisdom traditions, and a complete obsession with the story of me, I can honestly say that it ain't always been like this where, as the old saw goes, if I want it, I can have it

Now, of course, it's not like that for everyone. Absolutely not. In fact, the rich (not just the super-rich) have got richer, and the poor well they've been legged over so many times I wouldn't know where to start. And then there's another class of people who, well, they're just forgotten, ignored or trampled, en masse underfoot. 

If I think (as an example) of all the rough sleepers and homeless people that now abound up and down the UK, I'm not saying they never existed 50 years ago, but I sure as hell, as a kid growing up in the 1970s, don't recall ever seeing them. But then again, neither do I remember everyone having so many cars, taking so many foreign holidays or living in a disposable, egregious world.

Sadly, deep in my heart, I know that I'm wasting my time talking about the new normal as being premised on less. I've not yet taken soundings from anyone but the smattering of words that I've heard from my children (23, 21 and 16) suggest to me that they see the Covid-19 pandemic as probably no more than a temporary blip on their ascendency, probably in the same way I would have done if I was their age. I'd think of it as something to get through so that I could get back to climbing the greasy pole etc. 

At this stage, I've a slight confession, namely, I want it to get even worse. No, not more or any unnecessary deaths — I'm no that bloody insensitive — but I want the haves, particularly the haves, to start to feel the pinch. And I don't say this out of some reverence for the past, but I think it's only when we start to lose connection with something we thought was really important, and not for a nanosecond, that we start to question the purview of our so-called lives. (It's been like that for me twice in my life: first, losing my first business age 23 and being seriously in debt; and, secondly, finding myself in hospital with a subarachnoid haemorrhage.) It's not just materialism that I'm taking a tilt at but the foundational aspects of our industrial mindset credo. What do I mean? I mean we desperately need to question the whole kit and caboodle. Truth is, as we should already know, if we don't, then we'll have already signed our death warrant by dint of not having a planet to support so many lives.

What a depressing message, Ju.

Yep.

I'm afraid so.

But then again, seen through another lens, it might be the only opportunity we'll ever have, as peverse as that sounds, to serioulsy mend our ways.

Stay safe. Keep washing those hands. And remember to keep your distance.

Blessings and big love ❤️, Ju

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