As with many of my generation, I experienced the transition from black & white TV to colour, mono to stereo, telephone to mobile, Commodore 64 to iMac, notepad to iPad…..
I consumed an interesting diet of Dr Who (I did use to hide behind the couch), the Magical Roundabout, Andy Pandy, The Adventures of Parsley, The Clangers, Crystal Tipps and Alistair, Mr Benn, The Wombles, Monty Python’s Flying Circus…..
Little wonder I turned out like I did!
But what I want to illustrate is how quickly change is possible.
A conversation with an 83 year old man, an avid local historian, brought this to light. His grandfather was born in the 1700s. The oral history he’d inherited was astounding. The country walks we take, used to be quarries and mines, until the Thatcher years that is. He’d worked for a mining company, but saw the bright-side of losing his job and reclaimed his autonomy as an odd-jobber. A keen cyclist, but not quite good enough for the Tour de France, he cycles still.
How quickly change is possible.
“Do what that wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Sayeth the (in)famous Aleister Crowley who proposed it as the fundamental precept of Thelemic magic. It has been taken to mean that “I can do anything I want and sod the consequences,” as if it is a mantra for evil, hedonism and egocentrism. And so it could be. Do what that wilt shall be the whole of the law, in this sense, probably underlies the (un)ethical system of transglobal corporations.
But I’ve been meditating on the fuller version of this precept:
“Do what that wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law. Love under will.”
To me it is a powerful statement of what is possible if we exert will to a purpose. This is the essence of magical practice. I’ve also been meditating on Ché Guevara’s assertion that all revolutions are born from Love. Meditation, I’ve learned, can be the guide to a meaningful purpose that requires a will to action in order to be fulfilled. Love under will.
But for the moment, back to the 70s diet. It also included Fawlty Towers.
Sometimes it made me laugh, but mostly it made me cringe in social embarrassment.
I had the privilege of working in a bar owned by a Basil Fawlty equivalent. Myself, Sean and Fitz (oh….. Fitz…. but that’s another tale for another time) managed to serve customers, keep the glasses clean and line up the warm and cold guinness to order, remember whose was whose, mentally calculate the bill, work the one till, and managed not to get in each other’s way. We even had a laugh. Sean told terrible jokes and we’d tease Fitz about the trail of beautiful artistic types who queued to talk to him. A tight ship we’d run, until Fawlty decided to work instead of counting his money. And then I’d feel that same awkward social embarrassment and cringe as the assembly line faltered until someone finally someone sent him home. Usually one of the customers.
I haven’t felt that feeling in a long time.
But then I listened to this Nigel Farage’s Brexit speech to the EU Parliament.
I inwardly joined in with the hecklers. And then I inwardly cringed (hiding behind the couch).
A few days later my son precedes his announcement that he’s getting married with a political discussion. He did the same when he told me I was going to be a grandmother. He rarely rings, but we have to go through the ritual of I’m not going to tell you something important until we’ve discussed something deep and meaningful. I’d not caught up with the politics of the day yet. It’s been moving so fast, you need to check in hourly.
“Guess who’s the foreign secretary.” He challenges me.
It was that kind of a discussion, and I jokingly reply, “Boris Johnson.”
My son has a strange sense of humour, and when he replied with a deadpan ‘Yes’, I thought he was joking.
You all now know that he wasn’t.
I came out of retirement and engaged in a contract to mark A-level psychology papers for three weeks. And during that time, how journalists have clamoured to keep up! The political news is now the first thing I look at, as I can’t wait to see what other kind of joke our government (we have one now) is going to throw at us next. Oh yes, Trident, the nuclear deterrent, I suppose it was too much to hope that they’d vote against.
Somethings don’t change.
And when past the post-Brexit reading, I look to the rest of the world and I can’t believe that there isn’t a grassroots call for a post-goverment era. Do we really need to be governed? I can already hear the outspoken cries for ‘yes’. Without government we’d have anarchy. Wouldn’t we?
Oh, how well-conditioned we are. Anarchy we’ve been taught is a violent state of disorder, in which we would live in a perpetual state of fear.
But anarchy also means that in the absence of government, you’d have absolute freedom of the individual and freedom of voluntary association. Anarchy is the freedom to live in a state of a nature – a fundamental right that I believe we have been intolerably denied.
Let’s undertake a thought exercise.
We are going to have a revolution because we love enough to do something about the state of the world we’re in (Love is the Law). We have will enough to apply it to our purpose (Love under will). We know how quickly change can happen (Do what thou wilt). You are the leader of this revolution. What is the change you are going to bring about?
Over my next few posts, I would like to propose an evidenced-based future in the form of a kind of tribal socialism. It is my hope to clarify a position that I’ve been toying with for a while. I don’t claim that it will contribute anything new as an idea, but my goal is to have it so clear as a purpose that I can bring it under will.
Feel free to respond to the challenge in the comments below, or link to a post on your own blog. If you do, please pingback to this one.