LOOK LIVELY


Consciously, subconsciously, directly, indirectly, quick, quick, slow, countries arise from the heart of a person’s principals, ideas, beliefs, rule of living, etc.

The premise of an idea, like that belief, comes to us on the back of thought, and our feelings colour thought, the emotional references we absorb from living in the world.

If we’re feeling hemmed in at a gathering, for example, we might think of a way to escape, come up with an idea and make our excuses. We are fabricating a lie, albeit a white one, at home in an overall truth.

We know a person with greater wealth isn’t necessarily happier than us, yet we’re encouraged to believe they are.

Challenged by an occasion, that shotgun wedding, the unexpected funeral, an impromptu birth, for example, the closer we are to those at the epicentre of the event, the greater our reactions will probably be.

Applauded, ignored, other times scolded, like everything that sticks, on a scale of one to ten the belief that we are inferior, somewhere in-between, or superior is just that, a view, an idea, a rush of thought, shaped and conditioned, by the drama absorbed through the senses, the nervous system, the physiological antenna.

From the moment we land on this shore, we become increasingly curious about how, what, where and why! Soaking up our surroundings, taking a cue from our parents, siblings, the busy teacher, a kindly aunt, a wicked uncle, the playful friend, that crazy carer and so on, we derive a recipe for life. In gauging the mood swings, embracing the warmth, saddened by indifference, terrified of wrath, laughing with joy, picking out what matters and what doesn’t, what pleases, what annoys, we take our stories to the world. Our fears, laughs, sadness, anger and so on, the emotional weight we absorbed through our dependent relationships today, inform what we reflect on the world tomorrow. Morals adapted, principles accepted, vendettas realised, laws made, planning approved, our beliefs upheld, with a little tweeting here and there, tailormade we adopt the model. The more extreme our experience, the more likely the corresponding thoughts, the memories that shape our beliefs, ideas, values, become the centre of the universe. Right or wrong, his or hers, is life really made up to our speculation?

Subject to our heartfelt perceptions, an idea leans on us until we adopt the thoughts upholding those ideas. For the visual thinkers, images in our mind’s eye become mechanisms that can make and break our lives in space and time. A tangible, complex assembly that we often sacrifice ourselves for.

We build countries, counties, boroughs, states, villages, towns on the back of beliefs, ideals, ideas, hopes, truths, lies, and the backlog of blood, sweat and tears. Art, science and literature draw light across the shape; this shadow play seen in form.

A BBC documentary, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World, no doubt made to justify our naval heritage, draws out, with detailed precision, right down to the last frame, the tenure at the heart of our imperial might. With pinpoint clarity, we learn how we came to rule another’s turf, how profits from slavery fuelled the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution and set the stage for financial institutions and the body of commerce, as served up throughout the contemporary world.

Our hard-won wealth, our part in global and social domination, taken for granted, a god-given birthright. Giddy with power, we created a kingdom over which we preside, an intelligent and masterful system, a mask of play masquerading some severe fear.

With Britannia’s ferocious appetite established, the tale ends as it began at sea. As it has been for centuries, our sovereign isle guarded and locked behind a vault of naval supremacy — a pivotal part of one of the most prolific defence systems in the modern world.

History is ours. New chief at the table, key strategies in place. With sleight of hand, someone else’s home becomes ours. What we believe in the end justifies the means. Having stamped our claim with the dagger, swing blade, cannon and gun, we British indeed rebuked, maimed, sanctioned, and killed the inhabitants for the tenure and spoils of their respective lands.

These unholy truths smacked down far away, began where they end in hearth and home.

In the seat of power, working all God’s hours to remain on top, is the key person — with a heart like thee, a brain open to heaven and hell — a person who sees themselves as headed enough to preside over the regime; self-serving, influential, affluent, and in control. A leader locked in and unfettered by the minions, carrying the weight far below. Quill and ink at hand. With discretion, at their choosing, they tap out the terms, a little extra given for that special occasion, a magnanimous gesture, a fair bonus for putting in the legwork over the winter break.

All bodes well… until the key goes missing and the trooper denies the claim.

When the good intentions backfire, humiliation and destruction drive those at the peak, in the basement, and somewhere in-between, back to a toxic wasteland of loss and fear, where the only weapon left is bittersweet revenge, driven by an enforced rage and total mistrust for the other.

Nurtured in our backyards, endemic in our homes, the loss and protection of undoubted bounty dictate the need to beat off friends, neighbours, and every other person in the street, including family, if they pose a threat.

We shape the law to suit a fair and democratic society, all for our benefit, then pity those who fall victim to our judicious constraints, never once considering that we might be complicit in their fall.

Our lifestyles may have changed, but as minions growing up to the rousing beat of a partisan drum, are we not tied to the same set of principles that enticed our forefathers to beat the track to the front line?

Keep them ignorant… they will fall in line.

In the early nineteen fifties, with echoes of a world at war in clear earshot of an Empire setting on the next generation to come, Britain demanded a committed workforce. Sloggers who could rebuild the country’s infrastructure and pay off the national debt. From the Napoleonic Wars through to the Second World War, the debt had increased tenfold. This generation needed to be labour intensive, zapped in tight, for the monumental task ahead; and what better way to sort this than through a system that divided children between brains and brawn. As it was from the beginning, a masterclass in deliverance eliminates us or brings us to heel like a well-trained dog.

On failing the Eleven Plus, an exam born of the 1944 Education Act, marked you down as labour intensive and palmed off to a ‘secondary modern school’. Most children engineered for a physical vocation – the factory floor, farming the land, shipbuilding, steelworks, street-cleaning, mining coal and so on — an occupation needed to keep the dying embers of our imperial state stoked and ready to rise again. The authorities had done their job to the letter. Divide and rule, a tactic used to effect in establishing sovereign control, strategically placed at the heart of the education system.

In post-war Briton ‘secondary modern schools’ deliberately steered away from providing GCE O Levels and gave no access to GCE A Levels; there was never any thought that you might graduate to a university. Picked out as ‘reasonably bright,’ yet still categorised within that corporal bracket, perhaps you upped a rung, proud to take to the beat in the police force, join a typing pool, enlist in the armed forces, or manage an apprenticeship in one of the building trades.

At the psychologist’s behest, schools led millions and millions of us to believe we were genetically inept, second-class citizens, good with our hands and born to oblige.

Serving your country and collecting a pocket-watch bonus, at the end of days, from a company you stood by through thick and thin, was the undisputed purpose of life. Mum and dad made sure their offspring got the message loud and clear. Daily beatings underlined a constant barking of you’ve never had it so good, get out of the house, in line and get a job! Encouraging and supporting this avid message, our school policies deliberately dictating the taxonomies of the day dished out further penalties and thrashings, making sure the juniors were well and truly in their place.

From five years of age to a school leaving age of sixteen, that’s eleven years – some 15,400 hours (a conservative estimate), along with after-school, further education and parental intervention it adds up. Informative time for a child to learn what the elders want/need them to believe; a long time to be brainwashed by a stone-cold, innate truth!

Drowned out by the rising tide of chauvinism, at the heart of an elite domain, in turmoil, contemplating a dark and terrible fear!

The curve of a curriculum assumes we inherit intelligence that is basically fixed and unchangeable.

I enjoy carpentry. I am passionate about working wood, but if I settle with the idea that working wood is all I’m suitable for, I’m selling or buying the belief that there is a race of people claiming to be pre-eminent. A human doing takes precedence over the human being.

Schooled, public or private, pass, failed, evolved, unevolved, marked up, marked down, a system, so crudely acknowledged by yesteryear’s corporal punishment, uses the same principle of separating the wheat from the chaff today.

Lucky, if you stumble upon an enlightened teacher, or your mum and dad are wise enough to pull you to heart, otherwise there seems to be nothing else left to do but salute the union, or run.

The continuum of a dog eats dog philosophy, drilled into the back boiler of our psyche during those formative years, becomes as fluid as the blood that runs in our veins in the adult years. Racing toward the exit, handing the baton on, the next in line can toe the line.

And on it goes…

A human being, overwhelmed by the human doing, moves apace. At home, away, left, or right, junior, or senior, this prize, that car, those clothes, that house, my phone, I phone, this image, our culture, my way or the highway. Lobbied, swayed, by politics, to the cake, to the news, a concept, this badge, or the other, we’ve been misguided — sold a set of principles — through school, a regime, the corporation, an institution, the media. A country that goes way back and out of its way to keep us hooked, manipulated, separated, categorised and ready, to fill the shoes of the following body of pawns in a game!

No matter how big our arsenal, the unleashed deceit, racism, bigotry, war, genocide, civil unrest and a climate that’s in crisis and invisible viruses that turn our supremacy to dust, streaming like lemmings toward the cliff edge. Nothing impedes our drive. Our lives’ backbone, our self-serving sway, remains resolute, as if our past and present actions have no ramifications for the future.

Indited from the day we’re born, encouraged, punished, by well-meaning elders, terrified of not making the grade in school, tested, divided, streamed, according to worth — a constant need to hit the bulls-eye in a career. The senses overwhelmed, the fear, the head noise, our own petard, blows out the crown of stars, along with its throne of clay and leaves us straddled to a material horse, dead in the water.

A declaration that pinpoints an insoluble problem, that is, unless we wake up, like the prisoner who turns time to advantage, step out of the shadows into the light and begin the work.

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