Today, in my Public Tree Service role, I spent some time in an abandoned cemetery in North Londres. The neglect gave it a gloomy air, despite the sunny day. A crow sat on a crooked dead tree and watched us as we passed. The meeting was in part about whether the trees or the stones were more worth saving. I couldn’t help thinking that civilisation and its end have been largely determined by a tendency to prioritise what we pull out of the ground over what grows on it. I don’t deny that death is worth marking, even at the end of the world. Still, it will be the trees that live on.
I was chatting with People Builder tonight about imagination. We were wondering about the effects of trauma on imagination, but reached no conclusions. I wonder if anyone has done any work on correlating political position with imagination. Are you more likely to be on the left if you have a good imagination I wonder? Certainly when I talk to many people in Londres about the world being arranged differently than now, they appear to think it impossible. This is rather strange, because the world constantly changes. The late Mark Fisher tried to explain it in ‘Capitalist Realism’, but it doesn’t reduce the frustration I sometimes feel with such people.
On the topic of the world changing, I’ve been reading more about Samuel Bamford. The name is an obscure one now, though he was well known in his time. He campaigned for parliamentary reform, and was imprisoned for treason for his troubles. As some of my recent journal entries show, people still get imprisoned for fighting for what they believe in on the Island, but at least something has changed: political charges rarely take the form of treason. Now Disruption is the ultimate crime, signalling a move from worship of authority to worship of work. We wouldn’t want to slow down, lest we wonder where we’re going. Understanding why people might Disrupt also requires imagination. Most judges would rather find the end of the world than their imaginations.
Enough of the gloomy thoughts, and off to work.