BLAUGUSTINE / BACK TO ARCHIVE
July 31, 2005
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE
Why is it that as soon as human beings gather together in large numbers in some kind of hierarchy, under headings like "Government", "Committee", "Institute", "Organisation", "Foundation", "Society" and so on, they frequently lose that vital quality called Common Sense? Why does it become impossible for them to see how to get from A to B without having to go through the entire alphabet?
Take starvation for example: a large number of people in a certain part of the world need large quantities of food immediately, not next week or next month but right now because for every minute of delay, thousands of them will die, have died. What would Common Sense suggest in this situation? Put the problem on an Agenda? On a Things To Do list? Have a conference about it? Organise benefit dinners and pop concerts? Have a government summit meeting? I don't think so.
Bob Geldof, bless
his stubbly chin and his Irish hutzpah, talks the common
sense talk but still gets caught up in committee-itis. Why
not go straight to the point?
July 27, 2005
NO LAUGHING MATTER
I seem to have misplaced my funny bone. Maybe I lost it on my latest trip to Paris during which this normally sharp sense of humour was seriously blunted by reality. A strong dose of reality doesn't encourage seeing the funny side of the street. So a few days after I got home, coughing like a chimney sweep, I wandered the bookshops, lonely as a cloud looking for the sun. And all at once I saw it: a small, thin, green, yellow and red paperback with a large and promising title: 48 HOUR DETOX - Two Days To a New You! Of course. Exactly. A mind/body/spirit detox. Only two days and I'll be laughing again.
I made a list of
items required (compulsory) before starting the rehab:
Starvation in Niger. Skeletal babies dying in their mothers' arms, flies crawling in the corners of their eyes and mouths. Skeletal grandmothers and fathers weeping, pleading for food.
Let them eat Fruit Drench? Reality is back. Who can laugh?
22 July, 2005
WERE WE TOLD THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT JULY 7?
Explosions and distruptions in London again today but not as bad as the last ones. By now everyone will have seen and heard today's news reports so there's no point in repeating them. However, there is something about the July 7 attack on London that, as far as I know, has not been given any media attention whatsoever and in the interests of public information I am about to post it. Can you believe that a news item of such importance would be buried on the letters-to-the-editor section of a free local paper? Well it is. And it's only because I read this villagey and informative weekly rag from cover to cover while I eat my dinner that I noticed this particular letter at all. It's long but I'm copying the whole thing because, whatever inaccuracies it may contain, its premise deserves to be more widely reported and investigated.
"Do you think
we are being told the truth over these bombings? There are
so many unanswered questions that just don't make any sense.
I haven't found any answers in the press or TV news. Why
are they not pursuing this with strenuous concern for truth,
other than the "Islamic suicide-bomber" myth?
9:30am we were running an exercise for a company of over
1000 people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off
precisely at the railway stations where it happened this
morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck
standing up right now.
at the railway stations where it happened. What are the chances
of this being coincidence? And who are "they"?
I have also tried to access information on what times these
trains left King's Cross through the police Transport for
London and BBC News websites. You would think this would
be essential information if you are appealing for eye witnesses.
It would also allow for CCTV images of them boarding the
trains from the platforms, which would surely jolt memories.
The only information the Met seems to be pursuing is the
person on the bus, Hasib Hussain, to the extent of releasing
all the times and stops of the 30 bus from Marble Arch. Why?
The idea that ID was found that led them so quickly to identify
these four (previously unknown to the police) persons is
similar to the passport found of one of the hijackers on
9/11. Are these forms of ID indestructible, whereas a bus
and Tube are not? It has taken so long to identify the victims
and they would have been further from the centre of the explosion.
Update: This website is one of the many (see Google) with further information and discussion on the above puzzle. Peter Power's credentials are here, in case anybody thinks he's a fantasist who made it all up.
July 20, 2005
GARE DU NORD BALLET
This is a little QuickTime movie of people moving around in the station. You may or may not be able to see it. I haven't been very successful in inserting movies into this blog so far but maybe it'll work this time. I am really fascinated by these captured moments of time and could look at it on a loop for hours.
PS: It works! For me anyway. Click on the picture and you get the QuickTime window then click on the middle arrow and it starts to play.Really it does.
July 17, 2005
PARISIAN DHARMA BUM
I've put the recent Paris photos here, including the one of a homeless man well-known and liked in my sister's neighbourhood. The locals stop to talk to him and give him books as well as coins and food. Apparently he is quite a philosopher, currently Siddhartha is his pavement companion. He is a real Parisian person but also fits a universal archetype - the wise hobo, the one who finds what most people have lost. He may not really be all that wise but his stillness and simplicity amidst the crowds busily swirling around him has an enviable dignity. He reminds me of Grayson Harper's (apologies for earlier error; I had written Carter instead of Harper) homeless buddy, Jack Rafter, over at Copeland's insightful Tholos of Athena. And also of Dave's cartoon hobo who pops up now and then unexpectedly to offer his "Words on the street".
July 15, 2005
ALTARS AND SACRIFICE
Dave (Via Negativa) wrote about home altars and Rachel (Velveteen Rabbi) took up the theme and it's being expanded by others. At first I thought: no, I don't have a home altar. Then I remembered that some time ago I actually did make a portable altar. It was an artist's book, called Pater Noster and Dave and Rachel and all their commenters inspired me to think about it again. I had taken the Latin words of the Lord's Prayer and built a structure around them, wanting to create something celebratory, a gift package that a child might offer to God. The words of the prayer are embossed on the square pages which grow proportionally larger, forming a stepped pyramid that can be pulled out. The whole thing is held in a brightly painted wrapper which in turn goes into a red and gold box.
The subject of altars is inevitably linked to that of sacrifice - human, animal, symbolic or real - and here's where things start getting really dangerous.The suicide bombers offering themselves up as sacrifice for their Cause, taking as many other lives as possible with them: is this so different from ancient Aztec ritual human sacrifice? Or from modern group-suicide cults? Or from so many other examples of deranged behaviour in human beings under the banner of religiosity? Well I'm sorry but the God I believe in isn't a god that demands humans be killed and offered up to him to placate his anger or to honour him. And I'm sorry but I also refuse to believe that the cross is the key message left to us by Christ. In focusing on the sacrificial lamb, we forget that this is what we do or allow to be done: we crucify the innocent, over and over again throughout our history. The fanatics - of whatever religion or culture or country, Eastern or Western, right, left or centre - who continue to brainwash the gullible and impressionable into believing that human sacrifice is not only acceptable but essential should be stopped, and tried, and shown to be insane (however powerful and influential and famous they may be) and put away. Forever.
And to those equally deranged "members of the public" or the press currently spouting abuse and threatening violence against the majority of Muslims leading sane, peaceable, hard-working lives, I say: look in the mirror - there's your enemy.
July 12, 2005
I like the state
of being on the way to somewhere, not having arrived yet
- probably because that's how my life feels most of the time.
So I'm comfortable in departure lounges of trains and boat
and planes. I always get there early so I'll have plenty
of time to sit and walk around, have a snack, watch people.
There's a freedom about it, a stillness in the midst of movement.
My purpose, for once, is clear and unequivocal. All I have
to do is be at the right gate at the right time and there
are plenty of signs and reminders to look after me. Where
I've come from is behind me, where I'm going isn't yet a
problem: bliss. But people in departure lounges rarely look
blissful. And there's always the burden of baggage. My dream
is to travel entirely baggage-free, metaphorically and literally,
but I've never yet achieved it.
Ma petite tante continues to move slowly through her own final departure lounge. Please continue to keep your eyes and thoughts on her, as well as on all the others on their last journey.
July 9, 2005
FOR THE UNSUNG AND THE UNSEEN
I'm not sure I should post this picture but somehow I want it to be here. First, to ask those of you who pray or meditate or in other ways connect to what is beyond understanding to send some of those kindly waves towards this tiny frail person, my aunt, lying in this particular hospital bed in France, perhaps not for very much longer. And also because at this moment, at every moment, there are so many others everywhere on earth hovering between life and death through illness or old age or the violent acts of others and for many of them there is no one to take their picture or their hand or to remember their lives. They are the unsung, the unseen, the anonymous, the little people. Maybe if I publicly post this very private picture those who pass by here will take a moment to go, via imagination, to the side of all the little people and stroke their foreheads, hold their hands.
INSANITY RULES: WHY?
They tell themselves that sacrificing innocent lives is their heroic duty, revenge for innocent lives taken in their part of the world. Like every other example of mass murderers' justification for their actions, this is clinical insanity. The lone killer who hears voices commanding him to slaughter his family: is he more insane than those who are persuaded or persuade themselves to become killers for the sake of their ideology, their patriotism or their religion? Somewhere at this very moment, those responsible for the London bombs are rejoicing, insanely convinced of their success, their rightness. "War on Terrorism" is a meaningless slogan: it's insanity we're up against, the most dangerous enemy of all. We don't even recognise it when it's in ourselves. Why isn't there a campaign to eradicate insanity from human affairs, from ideology, from nationalism, from religion?
For those locked in grief and pain as a result of Thursday's appalling crime, may there be inextinguishable candle flames of comfort and hope in a future when the light of reason will illuminate us all.
I'm back and will resume communication anon.