Caution: Extensive political mumblings, anti media, scientific and societal adjust-mental gibberings.
I still don’t know how to feel about the whole remembrance poppy thing. I know it’s personal choice and completely subjective, and I understand that a lot of people choose to wear them for a great deal of very valid reasons, but when I see the politicians wearing them… The very politicians who send young men and women out still, to kill and be killed, I can never respect those politicians. I can never think that they wear those red poppies with compassion and true remembrance, if they still grease the wheels of the systematic destruction of human life as profit. That ugly tank is still trundling blithely on. Except now it’s not on our doorstep so we can forget it. Except that it fucking IS on our doorstep, in less obvious guises, (in our skies, in our food and water, and under our feet… Oh and in our toothpaste!) – but we’re too worried about Bake-Off and Strictly-Go-Fuck-Yourself to really pay any attention. Bread and circuses – Nothing changed with the political M.O. since Roman times. Is it an accident? I don’t think so. Read up on it for days like me, if you disagree, and then let me know.
Having said this, I do believe there is a great deal of hope for humanity. The humanity in the people I know, the real people, people not taught abject parental rejection (and therefore learning that empathy and emotion is weakness) in public boarding schools, the ones perhaps not then being bribed and bought by leviathan corporations (directly) into making incredibly unethical decisions in the name of Good Business. Mind you, I can’t fucking talk. I have a car, I eat meat (although I’m trying not to) I have gadgets I use and I’m not a campaigning activist. In fact the only thing I really do for the planet, for our species, is rant, on the internet. Oh and occasionally do benefit gigs, I suppose. I have also been subverting youths for a decade… Where I found out for sure that there is a zeitgeist of disempowerment running through the veins of my generation and younger, once we look out and see the world. And I just don’t know what to do about it!
– But I know what NOT to do. I know not to poison myself with mainstream media, specifically the news. It is a neurotoxin. If you don’t believe me, try not engaging with it for a fortnight and tell me your life didn’t dramatically improve. If it made no difference to you, good for you, I guess, you must have a very thick skin. You must be the new breed of human, fantastically adapted to living in a world where your senses and emotions are attacked by everything terrible that ever happens in the world – before breakfast and before bed – and you don’t blink an eyelid or worry about anything at all because you’re absolutely excellent at dealing with stuff. No alarm bells are going off in your head that something is terribly, awfully broken with the human world. No sense you urgently need to act, somehow. There must be people to deal with this sort of thing but it doesn’t affect you because you’re alright. Nice one. You must be very clever and well adjusted. Because knowing all these things actually Doesn’t Affect You. You’re not going to do anything about the shit going on elsewhere, are you? No? There’s too much. People can’t care about everyone, right? Well then it doesn’t fucking matter if you hear about it or not on the news. The only thing that really matters is your family and your mental health, and if that’s constantly being battered by news of horror and disempowerment, your fear brain is totally active.
Science alert: You go into a state of fear, and your amygdala becomes active and takes all the blood out of the frontal cortex, getting your whole system ready for fight or flight. (Frontal Cortex is where your higher thought is formed, so no more social function, social memory, problem solving, judgement, initiation or impulse control. History is forgotten in an instant.) The hippocampus also shuts off, which stops thoughts linked with love and compassion. (Hippocampus is thought to be the emotional processor in the brain.) The amygdala literally hijacks your brain into a state of fear (because the blood can’t go anywhere else) and you can’t do anything about it unless you stop being so fearful. How do you do that? Stop the input. You’ve already stopped consciously responding to the input, if you can still watch the news. (You will have forced your reactions into your subconscious, btw.) Try quitting the news, and then watch it again after a week or two and notice how your body responds. You might be surprised. I did it and my body got really tense really quick.
The thing we can do, then, is choose not to be afraid on the media’s terms.
The average human can only really be properly socially involved with about 120 other people at a time. Any more than that and we start forgetting names and losing closeness. This is changing because of the internet. The contact is more brief, the chats are not often face to face. Community is not happening in the same way, however, feelings still run every bit as deeply. So… How do we become unafraid, and regain a proper sense of closeness in the real, new, no-longer-nationally inhibited world? Our real concerns are within the reach of our hands. It has always been this way. The difference now, is that we have the rest of the world to hope for too. The reach of our fingertips is instantaneous, beyond seas, bouncing from satellites. How do we adjust to this new, strangely isolating, yet paradoxically all-inclusive social paradigm that has become our virtu-real lives on the internet? We are now, for the first time in history, collectively realising that we are one species, one family of humanity, on one very beautiful, freakishly hospitable, very ancient and very dirtied planet. Poor old love, sitting in her own excrement. We are conscious dust hurtling through space, following one of billions of stars in a spiral wake, in one of billions of spiralling eddies of possibility. If we get this humanity thing wrong, it is just that we get it wrong. It doesn’t actually make any difference to anything. Maybe history will learn from us, as we have been so unable to learn from history. Maybe we will create A.I. that sorts everything out. Maybe aliens with better ideas will tell us we are wasting our time and get rid of us for the planet. But until then, I guess we can wear our poppies with pride. Or not. Or judge people terribly and get our collective knickers in a twist either way. (Collective knickers?! Eeew. Sounds a bit too communal to me.)
I can hear my cat snoring, which has helped me a lot with everything. Life really can be a wonderfully adorable place…