11th May 2017

From an evening of talks and experiences on the theme of Proust with the Curious Brewer. Not something I would have chosen; it was a free ticket, and I wouldn’t have felt the full price worth it. The talk on queer sex as expressed through extended flower metaphors – a Proust speciality it turns out – did get me thinking about the new and shocking, the revelatory. It seems impossible now for anyone to offer anything shocking that has not been offered before. At the same time banal ideas such as abolishing the monarchy are greeted with shock and disgust by people I meet in everyday life. Everything has become predictable, even the shocking.

This is one of the many factors that makes politics difficult in Londres right now. It is impossible to say anything that has not been said before. Though I find myself looking for ideas. I’m still interested in the domination inherent within rental relationships. It’s such an everyday thing, and so unnoticed. But people are very tolerant of domination by their boss, so perhaps only a few are shocked to know that they submit themselves willingly to a form of power that has no foundation in justice or fairness.

I was cheered today to see an extensive article on a website run by the Fundraising Thinktank that agreed with an article I wrote some weeks back. I’m right on the zeitgeist. Either that, or they read my article and were convinced. Oh yes.

I also went to see the oracle by the Tamesis today. We talked of the difficulty of working in groups, the automatic reactions that are created, the question of whether rejecting the identity of the group should be done without consideration. It’s interesting to talk about that: group situations cause fear in many people, but I had never thought that applied to me.

The Tamesis itself was in fine form today, the sunlight glinting on the water along the long reaches, the seagulls wheeling overhead. I found myself sizing up the value of empty plots of land beside it. Beside the Tamesis the empire never sleeps, is constantly woken by the history that flows down it, and through us all.

11th May 2017

9th May 2017

The wind was strong against me as I crossed Burble Park on the way home today. ‘Strong and stable, strong and stable, strong and stable,’ it seemed to be saying, but it said it in a mocking tone, as though questioning whether it had any meaning.

While wandering the streets of Londres for earlier II noted, as I have before, that the houses and gardens of the wealthy are often very beautiful. This is annoying, but is also something worse than that. It is noticeable that the houses and gardens of the newly wealthy are far less attractive. It is the aristocracy, the squirocracy, old money, that seems to have the best taste. I say ‘seems’, because who made the decisions about what good taste consists of? Who decided what a beautiful house and garden looks like? They did.

So we can never consider objectively whether they have good taste, whether centuries of more free time than the rest of us has produced a wealthy subculture that has genuinely achieved something great in their houses and gardens, or whether we have simply been culturally attuned to appreciation of their dominance. It reminds me of someone I know who refuses to listen to the Beatles or attempt to judge their work: he claims that the deification of the band within mainstream culture makes it impossible to judge them on their own merits.

We are dominated in many ways that become naturalised. Yesterday I was thinking about rent, and considering the idea of ‘rent by consent’, i.e. all rent being agreed between landlord and renter, with the landlord perhaps making their accounts transparent to the renter. The fact that this would seem ridiculous to most people shows that we are used to the landlord being in control. For a house to be rented out requires two parties, and it doesn’t seem to me necessary or particularly desirable that one party be entirely dominant over the other.

By a curious coincidence, shortly after I had been thinking about this, the Dancy Meditator sent me a message to ask about rent levels for the room she is letting to a lodger. I told her I thought that all parties should agree on the rent, and she agreed, though I didn’t suggest she open up her accounts to the potential renter. It would seem to abnormal to everybody, I suppose. In the same way it seems abnormal to people in this country to be open about their salaries. In other countries such openness is normal, but here where it is not, it looks like an impossible ideal.

9th May 2017

6th May 2017

I have had a long day of doing politics in Londres. It turns out politics involves a lot of walking. Now I am tired, but fairly satisfied. I spent most of the day in the Southern City of Londres, full of ugly towers and fading shops. To start with I joined a team of people going door to door in support of the only major opposition to our rulers that has happened in my lifetime. Initially I had not planned to do this, because the opposition is a troubling organisation full of people I do not trust. But I found myself defending their leader so often that in the end to stay out of such a serious battle I would have felt…not a hypocrite exactly, but perhaps a bystander at an attempted violent mugging.

On the doorstep many people are concerned about weak versus strong leaders, but they are not always clear about what this means. Often it doesn’t even seem to matter if a strong leader is taking them in the wrong direction, so long as she is strong. I can’t help thinking this is a product of low self-esteem. If you felt strong yourself, would you be so concerned about strength in your leaders? That is not what I said. Even I, not known for tact, can be a bit tactical.

We walked miles door to door, and only met a few of the enemy. It was more fun they I had been expecting. Next time I will take more food and snacks. Parts of Londres are a desert. At the start of our tour of the houses I failed to recognise one of my fellow walkers as someone I met last year. This often happens to me. When we all get augmented reality implants I will immediately install a Face Rememberer.

NextI went to a street protest, also in the Southern City, against a gang of racist extremists. Only eighteen or so of them turned up, and there were hundreds of us there to oppose them. Fortunately for them they had hundreds of police to protect them. It’s been a while since I pushed against an advancing police line, and as usual we lost, because we aren’t as well trained as they are. But it was invigorating. I asked some of the police officers, in a slightly ritualistic way, why they never make way for us when we want to go somewhere. As usual they didn’t reply. Some of my fellow protesters brought a sound system, which made for a festive mood. I looked at the gang surrounded by police and by us, and they had clearly lived hard lives, many troubled by alcohol. They were rather pathetic. I wished that someone had cared for them, so that their hatred had never developed.

Off now to a well-deserved barbecue in the Londres twilight.

Image

3rd May 2017

I’m sitting watching the Tamesis from a public house. A hangman’s noose dangles outside to celebrate the bloodbath of the the rulers against the poor in an earlier century. The view is otherwise good, but the music has a kind of vacuous desperation that recognises the end of the world is coming while refusing to talk about it. Today I was on the Ancient Heath, in the wealthiest part of Londres. It is scattered with trees that remember a time before Londres reached so far. Their presence reminds us how fleeting human civilisations can be. They may well be standing when this is all over.

I left the Heath chatting with another participant about the spread of diseases there is no will to stop. From there to the Docklands, the poorer part of it, and one of the poorest parts of Londres. It was a strange transition. The Heath had been beautiful and here was not, but the change in surroundings was a relief. It’s hard to feel comfortable around the people who are destroying the world. Or maybe that’s just me.

So now I’m sitting here waiting for the Rebel Teacher to show up. We’ve both been in search of a new project recently. She has been more aggressive in her thinking than I have, wanting to find some source of power to counterbalance our rulers, and eager for confrontation. I suspect this is partly a reaction to becoming a property owner – perhaps it made her feel she was losing herself. But I sympathise in one way: so many projects I see intended to change the world are very small scale. It’s even possible to build the smallness of scale into a philosophy, to claim that it is from such small projects that a viable future will grow. But if that is true, it would take a very long time, more time than we have. We need larger scale projects, larger scale ideas. This does require thinking about building large power blocks, in order to throw weight behind large scale solutions. But we are locked into a system where the only apparent way to do this is by utilising institutions the rottenness of which is almost total.

I’m not in as aggressive a mood as the Rebel Teacher, but I suppose I would love it if she walked in here tonight and put on the table a plan to disrupt our rulers. It would probably strike me as worth doing even if the outcome was uncertain.

It is in public houses like this that the men met who first demanded votes for all (men). Their claim became louder and louder over decades. Did they finally get their way because their arguments had been heard, or because so many of them had learned to use guns? What’s also worth remembering about those years of campaigning is that many of those who would have benefitted from universal suffrage considered the idea to be crazily radical. At the beginning, the radicals were fought on the street by Church and King mobs, ordinary poor people who objected to their treason. It took a great deal of high-handed and destructive behaviour by the rulers before they lost most of their un-enfranchised support. Perhaps it’s just a matter of waiting, but again, we are short of time.

UPDATE

The Rebel Teacher did not have big plans herself, but she did suggest I could get involved in a Power Project starting up in Londres. I am going to look into it. We also discussed our parents, and it got me thinking about the effects of insufficient affection and attention. Affection scarcity is possibly what causes the most tension within me, though it isn’t always visible, battling as it does with a desire for independence.

3rd May 2017