A good book, a sunbed, the happiness of humanity – and a footnote in favour of the blogosphere

A couple of days ago I posted on the subject of money and how those who use it to define everything appear now to want to impose their criteria on everyone else.  Today, I am minded to recall the thesis of that post as I finish an afternoon stint reading a good Kindle book on my wife’s sunbed out in the garden.

This gentle hour or so in a much improved Spanish afternoon – yesterday was unbearably bochornoso and hit 37 degrees – created in my being such an utter sense of wellbeing that I really couldn’t help feeling: “Why isn’t this kind of experience available to all?”

Can it really be beyond our sophisticated and technologically analytical age to develop the kind of society where such simple freedoms are – realistically – available to all?

Why shouldn’t more of us be able to enjoy such wellbeing?

Why can’t we use money to maximise humanity’s happiness – instead of concentrating it in wells of pitiful limitation?

Why are those in power pushing us towards competing with each other more and more – instead of encouraging us to work together to common interests?

Why in a world where competition is the name of the game – and, thus, where plurality should be a guiding factor – does difference become a potential indicator of shame and suspicious behaviour, and homogeneity the only globalisingly accepted virtue?

Why have we allowed the concept of the free market to become distorted by those who use their monetary wealth to corrupt for their own benefit the appreciable tenets of competition and diversity?

And when will all the above finally cease?


Footnote to this piece: sadly, Dave Semple, over at Though Cowards Flinch, has formerly announced he will no longer be blogging. I’m inclined to believe that many of the questions I ask above have their answers in his considerable writings over the years.  He feels that blogging has had little effect.  I think his kind of blogging will continue to resonate for a long time.

I posted a comment at the foot of his piece and republish it below as a kind of manifesto in favour of keeping faith with the blogosphere – or, at least, as thinking people might wish to continue to conceptualise it:

I think your best blogging was as you described it: agitational propaganda. I wouldn’t be so harsh on the wider activity though. I think it has many similarities to being a teacher. Not because it is didactic but – rather – because you never know the impact you’ve had (or will have) when someone stumbles across your writings. Intellectually coherent bloggers are more common than you might presume and just because some notable use blogging as a lever to greater power doesn’t mean we all do.

We’re not all the blogging equivalents of churnalists, though there *is* a lot of that – where people coattail the main news to spike their hits.

Myself, I’m very occasionally read and I may be spitting in the well of insignficance but in order to feel at peace with the awfulness of this world I do have to bear witness.

Bearing witness means more to myself than my readers? Yes, perhaps it does. But, in the worst case scenario, it’s better than being locked up in a hospital because one can’t deal with what’s out there.

And in the best case scenario, it fills that well just a little so that one day someone may be able to climb out of it.

We’re small. I am, anyway. I have to take small steps. Blogging is one of those steps.

And just so you know, the only reason I now blog on the open Internet – instead of burrowing away inside Members Net and trying to reason from my mindset of relative privilege with your determined class anger – was because of the things you wrote.

You didn’t intend to teach me, Dave. But I did learn from both your behaviours and your content.

I don’t, after all, think I could have written the stuff I’ve posted in the last couple of days if I hadn’t escaped from the self-serving cosiness of the aforementioned environment.

So you see. You saved at least one soul – can’t that sometimes be enough?


Good luck with all your endeavours, anyhow. Even when you’re wrong, as I think in part you are in what you say above, you’re engaging. And I’ve never got the feeling I’m wasting my precious life on this earth whilst I’ve chosen to read something you’ve written.


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