It’s not good to compare out of anger, but to compare with coldness is vengeful in the extreme.
A balance, as always in life, far outruns the sprints of pent-up fury.
Yet the fury of the young and old, who find themselves unable to reach their potential, who find themselves called blunt tools by famous newspaper liberals, does demand of us all that they – that we – are offered a better shake of the dice.
In fact, they simply deserve a shake of dice which are not loaded against them from the start.
If we learn to see ourselves as blunt tools, intellectually and emotionally too maybe – if that is the idea we accept about ourselves, more so because interested parties tell us so with commanding authority – then what chance do we have of changing the baselines? What chance do we have as society, culture, business, art, education and medicine to fashion the hierarchies of all our relationships in a way that befits our century?
I am sometimes aggressively against the waste of humanity that modern work has imposed on how we are. I shout and vent when I should discuss and debate.
But allegedly careful debate is often conducted by those who would share the blunt tool thesis: there are the clever by nature (often themselves), the industrious by temperament – and then there are the rest of us who deserve only a life of unremitting toil.
And many of us now … well … not even that.
I complain vigorously about the wasteful culture of the city I have lived in for the majority of my life. I see virtues in other places and make negative comparisons about the city in question.
And there are people who say: “Make a difference locally” – whatever that locally may be like. And I would argue – where this locally ranges from wilfully mediocre to petty smalltown mafia – that this is exactly the same as telling an abused spouse they should hold out for better times. And when politics and its practitioners demand we get involved because if we don’t then it will involve us on its own terms, we are creating inequalities of power that replicate awfully.
Such inequalities exist in many areas: between good friends only love and compassion drive what we do; between doctors & nurses and their patients, however, the prime responsibility ends up being that which the institutions dictate, and this ultimately is the state. Compassion is a huge black hole of an absence here, too: massive training programmes would be necessary to tip the balance in favour of a more whole-person approach to wellbeing and recovery.
Meanwhile, a husband who demands his wife does his bidding because a piece of paper says she must is just as unjust as the previous examples – and just as widespread.
Therefore, when we say a desultory childhood and young adulthood wasted in a space of middling creativity and ideas generation should be fought and battled with by those with finite lives (this is my case, by the way), when so many wonderful environments far more beneficial to mental and creative wellbeing already exist, we surely have no right to go ahead and demand this of any young person: we have no right at all to demand they stay at home to fight cruelly loaded dice.
And if not to be asked of young people, then not of older generations either.
Above all, we must respect the decisions and choices of sovereign individuals: local is not necessarily good; those who pursue global are not always pursuing the pernicious.
Each to be judged on their own multiple merits. And just as rightly, in terms of their own negatives.
And then let a judicious combination emerge, which serves to enrich us all.
The combination already has an optimistic name: glocalism.
So true: comparisons are often a poor science. But far poorer still is to allow human beings to live their lives, in the belief handed down by those with grand and bountiful – but not benevolent – privilege, that some greater power made such human tools fit only to be cogs in deathly machine.
Let our boundaries exist, of course, to allow beautiful identities to coexist generously and with compassion, but equally let these boundaries not enclose us away from each other: for I plead that all boundaries be osmotic in nature. Above all, free and unbidden passage of ideas, peoples, cultures, unconventionalities and the refreshing quirkinesses of the truly free.
And let our litmus test be as follows: if we can respond to anyone’s curious ways of seeing and doing and believing and making and doing – where such ways respect above all the ways of others – with a hug of humanity and a welcome and an emotional and intellectual embrace, we have done the job our 21st civilisation demands of us. And where the unconventional stops being seen as such, where the wildest of dreams becomes second nature – logical and kindly, in fact – then we have done our job too.
And where we can express our love of difference in such manners, we will know that each and every one of us is slowly rising from the prejudices of upbringing and adult hurt and abuse to those young minds who should’ve enjoyed better. Even as we appreciate that these culpable adults perhaps themselves, in their own times, had no opportunity either to rid themselves of the very same pain they went and – in turn – inflicted.