“None of them along the line know what any of it is worth”, Bob Dylan
Broken and curled leaves laid out , a carpet of old copper pennies glinting before us as we walked and crunched .The warm wind soughing and sighing through the baring riddle of branches in the raggedy Autumn trees. September and October have already been more clement months than any “Summer” we saw this year; what is happening with our planet ? It doesn’t seem to know its arse from its elbow any more. We’re well into November but the temperatures hover around 17 degrees; some flowers are still in bloom and lawn grasses are growing steadily. My honeybees still appear to be vaguely active .I still see a few coming and going around the beehives at the bottom of the garden.
Meanwhile, the world beyond is in a terrible state. The idea of life itself as something to cherish is under threat from what could best be described as a demented “death cult”.If you were suffering from an incurable illness and were hanging onto every breath you hauled down into your exploding lungs, or every drop of water or morsel of food you greedily swallowed to better hold onto what you knew of life, you might be aghast at the idea that someone had so little respect for the idea of living life to the full that they might decide to gear -up their entire existence for the sole purpose of killing people that they don’t really know, on the streets of a city, or possibly, taking self-harming to the extremes by atomising their very own life away with the explosive detonation of a self-immolating suicide vest.
Things like that might make you wonder if there is really any understanding of what life is actually about ,or what it might be worth.If you thought , for example , that your life was really only an opening act to a further series of lives or scenes of another kind of life, after your actual “death” , you might believe that you’d get another run at it at some vague future time . That is what a madman would think or believe , surely. Strangely enough it is this idea of permanently living forever that many religions promote. It flies in the face of the facts we already see around us. It’s hardly a healthy state of mind as it tends to promote the idea that earthly life is a lesser state of being than some magical , celestial after-life that might follow it….a magical state of being that is really no more than wishful thinking when you actually ….”think”… about it.
That’s is a very dangerous way of thinking and if it really took hold, the logic of it would be that life on earth was really a worthless affair after all . More and more we are being confronted with this lunatic conundrum. Let’s say we agree that life really is the “business”…that it is as good and as enjoyable as it gets and is ever likely to be . Would it not be valued to the full as if a purse full of gold?
On Friday evening in Paris , over one hundred people were slain in the streets by weapon-wielding killers who believe that death is a better state than life .Somewhere along the way their minds have been pitched into this madness. Oh, they may have cobbled together some reasons why they should believe this but none of them really stack up against any kind of logic.There is little that can be done to undo this kind of thinking . You really can’t unbreak an egg.You might never be able to repair those kind of damaged thought -processes.
In Norneverland we have experienced many killings and deaths over the years, supposedly for the sake of political or possibly semi- religious ideals.The purveyors of death here never sunk into those levels of madness where they’d freely give up their very own life- essence for their perceived causes. They may have talked about it .They may have signed their names in their own blood on proclamations of self-puffery , but they rarely were as crazy as to wear a suicide vest and take their rhetoric to such depths of delusion. Republicans and Loyalists may have had their own revenge fantasies…they may have been prepared to go on hunger strikes for their causes..and die in the attempt to sway opinion…thousands of people who didn’t actually have to die with them may have supported their perceived acts of defiance …just as long as they didn’t have to do the same. These were scenes of self-sacrifice based on the dubious ,suicidal Christian offering on a cross, but unlike ISIS , the indoctrination didn’t stretch to include wearing suicide-vests on “active duty”…all the better to quickly enter some imaginary “state of grace”.That said , it is a similar behavioural tic of ultimate bloody-mindedness.
It is surely a form of insanity ,every bit as dangerous as a teenager’s self-harming or anorexia.It is behaviour that is culturally promoted throughout the world , should it be the body- morphism disorder of popular culture or the promotion of barely thought-out religious and political fantasies of god or gods or barely -understood “histories” that have no factual basis in anything we have learned and know about the natural order of the world and the universe surrounding us.
It is this wooly kind of primitivism and garbled thinking that has left over 120 ,mostly young people, lying dead and over 300 others injured, like those broken autumn leaves on the streets of Paris.