A long rant followed by a short poem.
I find it harder and harder to cope with big ideas. They loom above me like giant unstable airships, making me want to let go and run. Instead I hang on like grim death, risking imminent immolation or a sudden short flight ending in a very long drop.
Even worse is that big ideas force me into using metaphors which lumber out of control like maddened elephants into crowds of innocent and slightly bemused bloggers who … well, you get the picture.
This, in case you hadn’t noticed, is one of my pour-myself-a-drink-and-see-what-comes-out posts. (I just poured it and noticed it was Guinness … )
Believe it or not, this post has a subject and it may be that all this frantic jocularity is a way of ducking it. It’s a big idea, you see, and there could be a touch of stage fright before launching into a heavy monologue. But if I don’t get going soon, I will soon be talking to an audience of three … me, myself and I.
Oh well, anything’s better than being in two minds about something. At least a three-way split offers a chance of adjudication …
OK, enough wisecracking, already! Big ideas need big build-ups … just hit play!
I’ve just poured another Guinness in the hope that I’ll hit my stride soon … ah, begorra*, I’m talking about the bloody mess we’ve left the next generations to clear up – more specifically, the ecosystem. It’s the elephant in the room, all right, and like the blind men in the old story we can’t even agree what it looks like. It doesn’t appear in economic models and it doesn’t get discussed at cocktail parties.
( * that was quick, maybe Guinness is good for you … )
We just don’t seem to have the language, do we? There is climate science, of course, but for too long governments have been playing divide-and-rule when it comes to results. Pure science is systematically underfunded and the self-interested opinions of corporate science – biased almost by definition – are taken far too seriously. Money, alas, talks louder than morality.
And don’t get me started on the creationist idea that we’re all part of a master-plan to improve the universe. In my bleaker moments I’m with Bill Hicks that we’re a virus in shoes.
The trouble is that the more miserable you make people about this stuff, the more they retreat into denial and comfort-eating … meant in the broadest sense (no pun intended!) as consumption, much of it conspicuous. In the absence of meaningful community, two killer syndromes loom like giant airships, etcetera … (a) our self-esteem comes from the way our lives look to others and (b) self-gratification takes centre stage.
It doesn’t help that we’re dragooned into nation-states. Countries who’ve had the cream aren’t about to set an example to countries who haven’t by switching to low-fat yoghurt … oh, these blasted metaphors! What I mean is, our bling and binge culture may be the death of us.
Says he, polishing up his post and swigging down stout … ah, but let me tell you, it’s an agonising business tackling big ideas!
Oh sausages, I’m going to cut to the chase! We need a blessed miracle to get out of this hole and I don’t mean the one in the blinking ozone layer – concerted action on that, by the way, shows what we can do when we have a mind to get together. As a non-believer I’m not holding my breath for any manna from heaven (or pie in the sky, for that matter) but I do admire the liturgy and litany of religion, so here is my attempt to graft it on to a more pagan life-focussed viewpoint in sonnet form … something of a hymn, as it turns out.
It’s worth remembering, I do believe, that the word ‘ecology’ has an ancient root. It comes from Okologie – Greek oikos “house, dwelling place, habitation” + -logia “study of”.
Noah's new age prayer o Gaia hold us rapt within your arms that life be one with love and one with all let sense be always open to your charms and spirit never falter at your call o Gaia keep our step upon the way that leads to wild places sacred shrines where pilgrims catch a glimpse of yesterday and dream of leaving children cryptic signs o Gaia turn our thoughts to simple joys and tune our hearts to nature's steady beat that we might hear the hush beneath our noise and feel the dance begin to move our feet for only celebration stirs the blood enough to build an ark against this flood