Friday, November 04, 2005

If this war goes on.....

Was a short, plaintive work written by Hermann Hesse during the darkest days of the First World War. It echoed many other writers and thinkers of the time, including Sigmund Freud and Bertrand Russell, who believed they were witnessing the values they held dear being subsumed by the dreadful expediencies of world war. People who see the same thing happening now, and who blame this "slide" on the war on terror may be conveniently forgetting the slow capitulation that was already occuring long before September 11th 2001. That we rely on our leaders to protect us now is unfortunate, because our complacency and self-absorption over many years has produced a venal and heartless ruling class who hold the citizens in as much contempt as we hold them. That this slide has been mirrored by a decline in literacy and of any meaningful public discourse should be a surprise to no-one. For us to have been brought to this place we must have been at least partly willing. Everywhere I go I encounter somnambulists utterly devoid of humour, with only a scant repertoire of what were once regarded as normal human responses. A large chunk of life is simply not present in them, or perhaps more to the point, their first instinct is to recoil when touched by the visceral and the idiosyncratic. I intend doing everything I can to reverse this trend. I believe good writing will encourage good reading, which may in some small way induce good living. If I have scared anyone I apologise, but it is all too easy to blame the politicians for whom we voted for a situation we could have very easily avoided had we been more alive to the world around us. Read read read, good people! Here endeth the lesson for today.

1 comment:

rob walker said...

I couldn't agree more, Justin.
Yet shaking people from their complacency is infuriatingly difficult. I'm particularly depressed on this 30th anniversary of Whitlam's dismissal that we have NOT maintained our rage here in Australia.. we are obsessed with interest rates, plasma screens & the latest shiny toys... Meanwhile the bastards are undermining our rights to free speech and the working conditions won by the blood & sweat of Australian workers over a hundred years are about to swept away with the stroke of a pen..
Keep reading! Keep writing! Stay angry! Organise!