It’s been a weekend weighed down by lack of sleep, a state built up over an entire week where I haven’t once slept through the night. Even my lie-in this morning was a sleepless once, and didn’t cure my malaise. I’ve been mostly hanging around with friends so shouldn’t complain too much, but the blurriness of mind and the spring pollen and the number of turkeys who will soon vote for Christmas have combined to give me a headache.
I did however have a revelation at a smoke and rain party this afternoon. There was a presence in the conversation, something not spoken. We circled around the topic, we even talked explicitly about the future. But it soon became clear that nobody in the room wanted the future that currently awaits, there was a desire to create some other future, yet nobody dared talk about it explicitly, perhaps for fear of being mocked, or because they had been taught to not take their own dreams too seriously. There was one real reference to a better future, but it could only be mentioned as a joke.
What I realised was that I have felt this in so many places. It is like there is a secret movement within human hearts to demand a better future, but it is suppressed, pushed downwards. People lack faith in themselves, and also in each other. They no longer have faith in their leaders, and somewhere inside they dream of a future without them. But it is always unspoken, it must remain unspoken. To say it is to risk everything by refusing to take the present so seriously.
It amazes me that these dreams can never quite be crushed, no matter how hard the violent state and the savage media try. It seems a trickle of hope flows through us all, or nearly all, even when we pretend to be ‘realists’, when we pretend – by doing great violence to ourselves – that we cannot imagine a future except that laid out by our rulers. There is currently in Londres no movement to resist the rulers, yet there is this movement within us. I wonder if there is a way of bringing it to light? Doing so is risky, I can’t deny it, for once out in the world all ideas can fail, but there is also risk in hiding it all away within us until it dies. In those few I meet in whom I see no hope at all, I almost always see bitterness.
At present the people who understand where this Island is headed are young people. It’s the nature of being young that most of them do have hope, but there must be a channel for that hope, so that it can battle against the likely future. I see some people doing this in the Labour party, and perhaps that will go somewhere, but I worry too about putting so much energy into a party that has done so much damage in the past. I feel there must be other channels, so that those trickles of hope within us all can be united. But how to persuade people to take the risks? How to persuade people they can have confidence in each other? It isn’t clear to me.