I began this blog six years ago. Since then it would appear that the disintegration of the world has accelerated and we have come to a global situation of considerable danger to humanity. Nevertheless, there are many good people around and many encouraging projects being undertaken. It is just that we seem to be drowning in a sea of greed, hatred, self-gratification and stupidity. And yet wherever we go we continue to experience everyday kindness – there is an underlying compassion in humanity.
I am currently writing a memoir through which I am exploring a life, my life. It is not a life that is particularly exceptional. However, it is a life that has been lived in education, in learning. The way we bring up our children dictates the future of human society. The basis of our child-rearing in the modern world is to herd them together at a young age, dress them all the same, tell them how to behave, tell them what they should know, tell them what is good and what is bad, and what they should be aiming for in life. We do not ask them to inquire into life itself.
Therefore, I am using this writing to attempt to engage the reader in an exploration into their own thinking; and to move beyond my own petty life to touch on something more universal.
Below is an extract from near the beginning:
I was embarking on, or to put it more accurately, was being placed on a pathway designed for the ruling classes, at whatever level of ruling that might be. This pathway might well be called the destiny of deprived privilege. The Great British Public School System was created in the 1860s to supply the British Empire with manpower, the sons of officers and senior administrators educated as successors to take their rightful places in distant lands. To bestow their superiority in the name of civilisation; and to be distinct from the lesser mortals, whose bodies populated the killing machines in the colonies – disposable bodies. A way of educating was evolved that ensured a mindset of superiority combined with an unwavering belief in the power of the Empire, and the ability to put up with extraordinary discomfort, physical, mental and emotional. Now, after two world wars, the British Empire was in its final death throes, fatally wounded and dangerous, but it would live on in the cold climate of my schooling.
And here is a piece that illustrates a significant aspect of my attempt to break with the effect of my schooling:
At nineteen I found myself sitting on a bench on a cloudy September day waiting for a bus to India.
It was fashionable at that time for young people to take the overland trail from West to East to find themselves. The perceived spirituality of India had been exported wholesale to the West since the early 1960s; the Beatles with their exotically long-haired, bearded, robed guru, filmed at the colourful ashram on the edge of the milky blue holy Ganges against the backdrop of the mystic Himalayan mountains had fairy-tale qualities. I had no doubt been influenced myself. Influenced by the assimilation of the sounds of the music of the East that had emerged in the 1960s and the words that had been culled from the ancient Hindu texts. Recently I had made a foray into Buddhism and through that had come across the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti, who constantly reiterated that he was not a guru. Through friends I had also come across one or two poems written by Rabindranath Tagore, half-remembered for their simplicity of observation moving effortlessly from the particular to the universal. Through both their work I had been touched by the expression of harmony with nature through which lens the world of humanity could be seen and understood. Nevertheless, however much I enjoyed and admired the stories of the wise and enlightened people of the East, I had no wish or desire to seek enlightenment for myself.
Neither of these extracts are fully finished. I am currently under the mentorship of the writer Paul Kingsnorth, and am working towards a first draft.
My intention is that the writing will progress from here through to my teaching experience, which is woven in with my continuing and changing relationship with India and the many influences in my life. How it will end? I am not quite sure. Maybe it will be with that which calls a stop to all that we do!
This is one way I feel I can respond to the state of the world. Although I continue to look for further possibilities. However, it seems to me that despite all the technological connections, the vast mounds of ideas, words and opinions, it is how we relate in our daily lives that still has the deepest significance.