Listening to all the noise going on around the global financial meltdown I suddenly realise that I’ve probably been right all along about Capitalism.
That’s not to say that I’ve never been seduced by it; I have played the silly games of stuff collecting and keeping up with the Joneses just like anyone else, but that ended a long time ago for me.
These days I am reducing and reducing my dependence on government, something that people who live in remote areas have always done; call it working towards self sufficiency maybe but I prefer to think of it as self reliance, of Detachment.
We are so deeply attached to the way things are that its difficult for anybody who has grown up with the universal belief in capitalism to see it as a game and therefore to see that they can also choose not to play this particular game, or indeed that they can continue to play at a level that suits them, and even dare I say it make up their own version of the game or write and adopt and play by their own rules!
The situation seems to be getting worse by the day here on the periphery of Europe; Greece, Italy, Spain and probably many others are on the brink of being thrown out of the game and China is buying up assets all over Europe to “help” out.
My generation haven’t had to deal with any real wars, well not any that you had to go to unless you had already chosen to join the armed forces. There have been no invasions on British soil for a long time and there hasn’t really been a tangible threat to our peaceful little lives here in England’s green and pleasant land for as long as anyone alive can remember, even though I’m in Scotland.
It seemed inconceivable to most people until a very short time ago that this peaceful, happy community could ever be anything else; but look back just a couple of generations and from there you can look back for as long into history as you wish and we have been killing and invading each other for ever, its only in the last 60 years that we haven’t been doing it.
We stopped the crazy killing of our own valuable European asses to concentrate on building capital wealth and cozying up to each other. Of course if needs (oil) called for it we had no particular qualms about killing other people or at least letting them be killed in genocidal massacres by tyrants as long as it wasn’t nearby and as long as they didn’t look too much like us. Come on now, this black gold doesn’t come easy you know; there will have to be some sacrifices as long as it’s not in our back yard or too obviously bloodying our hands.
Indeed we will tolerate just about any level of torture or skulduggery if it serves our purposes and doesn’t reflect too badly on “us”
So now we have terrorists in the Northern Irish government and they are incredulous that there are now new, younger terrorists doing just what they did when they were young…why…because the fundamental issues of British fuelled annexation, bigotry and division are still there; its just that the original terrorists have grown old and prefer a new BMW to the glory of fighting for their cause…fuck…they even gave out Nobel Peace prizes to people with actual human blood on their hands in recognition of the “bigger achievements” that they made. It seems in all of this shit that individuals don’t really matter…well has any one thought to ask the individuals?
I was once harangued by a colleague in my previous life as a businessman, when on a business trip to Shanghai. We alighted from a plush American club just off the Bund at around 1.30 in the morning after a night of banqueting, quaffing the finest wines and being entertained and waited upon by our genial Chinese hosts.
When we came out to get in our chauffeured Mercedes back to our hotel, we were approached by a little boy of 3 or 4 years, dressed in rags and holding out a discarded KFC drinks cup, begging for some coins. His father stood a little bit away and was obviously using his young child to make a sadder impression on the rich westerners hoping for a bigger donation to his cause (staying alive and feeding his child).
My “Christian” colleague, chastised me for dropping a few coins in the boys cup, saying that it was pointless doing what I did, because poverty had to be dealt with at a much higher level and that I was somehow encouraging these people not to try harder in life; that helping individuals like that was futile. I of course told him the story about the boy throwing starfish back into the sea, which sounded ironically and beautifully like a Christian parable; the effect was stunning; but not quite as stunning as the smile that lit up the little boy’s face when I dropped the coins in his cup!
So, are we on the brink of another war in Europe? The years of war amongst we Europeans ended (or at least went into hibernation) when we started to get better off, when capitalism kicked in for real; we all joined the little French/German club and became members of the European Union; then we opened that up to the eastern block so that there was a huge imbalance in who puts what in the kitty and who takes what from the kitty.
Britain never really threw its hat in the ring completely; we used to have an empire you know old boy, so we still have our own currency and we are of course still an island and likely to become more and more so with global warming raising the sea levels.
Britain is detached, from Europe, we are now pretty sure it was a mistake, and that’s because we never trusted the Germans and the French anyway and we saw the Spaniards and Italians as small payers who were just in it for what they could get for free. We can’t commit to anything for the long term. We see the need to detach from Europe soon, failing meantime to see the current crisis for what it is; a global crisis of capitalism. We need to press the reset button on that and hopefully with the USA struggling to pay its bills, the Germans having to throw in ever more “we’re sorry about the war” cash and the slow down of even the Chinese economy, the time will hopefully come soon where they all screw the nut; now that they’ve killed off many of the most dangerous tyrants to get easier access to the oil, and actually see the “Game Over” sign on the game of capitalism and press the button for a new game, press the reset button.
If they don’t, I fear there will be another major military conflict in Europe within the next 25 years; it’s always there, just under the surface and history tells us that it starts when the chips are down. Next time around, Britain is well and truly fucked. Britannia doesn’t rule the waves anymore; the royal navy is diminishing rapidly due to cut backs, we even have an aircraft carrier that we can’t afford the planes for. The entire UK armed force is fewer in number than the average music festival audience!
Here in Scotland, we are ready, not for independence from the UK, but for detachment from the England centric government of the UK and ready to become an individual player in the European game, and lets face it, if you don’t like war games, this is the only game in town for a country like Scotland. We don’t have the money, energy or ideas to create something fresh right now.
However, let’s forget for a while the big stuff. Revolutions are built by individuals; change for the better comes from the heart felt and deeply held desire for life to be good for our children. I used to have to remind myself constantly that I was not a number, that I was free to make my own choices; I’ve gotten over that, I just “am” now, I don’t need any reminders to make my own way and enjoy my one off ride on this planet. You are a starfish, an individual and you can choose your own version of detachment; you don’t have to play the same game as everyone else.
Ok, for the time being you are going to need cash from somewhere, but you can do that without fully participating in the mad game of global finance and off the rails capitalism.
Make up your own schedule, do your art, do your thing proudly and charge accordingly. People want something different, they want quality, not quantity, they want to be with their kids not detached from them while they run on a hamster wheel to pay for it, they want an old Citroen 2CV running on fumes and kept alive by an artisan mechanic; they don’t want a new BMW every 3 years anymore. They want to eat real, fresh and wholesome food from their local area. They want a beautiful, hand made journal instead of a crap throw away ruled pad from Tesco. People are fed up with the status quo; they want to get down, deeper and down (sorry about the lame SQ gag), to get involved, to participate, to have deeper, more meaningful relationships with the people that they buy from and sell to. People want to build you a website in exchange for a few hours of gardening or legal advice, they want to deal with local artisans, butchers, grocers and bakers; this isn’t a fairy tale this is what’s happening right now and its being driven by the greed of the very system that tried to do away with it.
Lets not have another war; lets just detach from all of the arseholes who want to; lets all do our own thing, our way, starting today…Detach!