‘None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.’ — Goethe.
As the city murmurs on into the depths of the evening, on this Sunday, which is really just the same as every other Sunday here, I sit alone and contemplate the last week of my life — another week that flashes by, a victorian zoetrope that merges and ebbs and flows through the canals of memory.
Not to say that it has not been interesting, eventful, not that I am not glad to have lived that time on earth — but that, simply, as Winter beckons forth, and the days become shorter and shorter, and as routine finds its own rhythm — the days themselves very much begin to merge together, such that the boundaries between yesterday and tomorrow carry less meaning; such is the effect of a repetitious lifestyle, though such a lifestyle has as much good in it as it does evil; depending, I think, on how one experiences the days.
Much time this week has been spent in conversation, in deepening the beginnings of friendship.
For someone of my kind — someone who lives an intense solitary inner life; such that that which worries the majority does not worry him, and that which worries him does not cross the mind of the majority, finding and growing meaningful relationships is a most intricate, sparse, and yet most rewarding task.
Thoughts on friendship:
The more time I spend in this strange city, the more I come to realise that one can really spend many hours and many days with many people without ever forming true, deep friendship.
Thus, I make it my priority to seek those of whom share passion, curiosity and kindess of heart — those of whom I see the seeds of true friendship within, to foster that, to tend to these rare connections most lovingly and consciously — I think this is far more important than popularity.
Each of us is most indefinitely unique, at our depths; and yet on the surface, it can be very difficult to acknowledge those parts of others that cannot be touched or seen or heard. So then, in the art of forging friendships — it is useful to approach those of whom you meet day to day with an intimate sensitivity; to listen, to respect, to appreciate.
Through this careful attention, one slowly uncovers the concealed areas of the psyche of the other, and one will find that, in search of those rare gems, he must take his time — and, eventually, those people will come along for whom this profound intimacy is natural and mutual— and thus, one must make a point of watering this seed of friendship with time and attention, in order to gradually uncover those great depths of the other, those depths that are rarely seen, shown, unveiled; a privilege then, and most rewarding on both sides — as, through connecting with another in this way, one may see parts of himself that were before unknown: this, I think, is the art of human connection so briefly illuminated.
I feel this art of genuine connection is much a lost art in todays world — as I see in this city, people pass without so much as a meeting of eyes.
And a thought on the use of the word ‘sorry’: I observe that this word is used in a most unbridled manner in London particularly. I ask myself — what do I make of this strange phenomena? And, after some thought on the issue, I will comment that, for one, when a word is used so over-abundantly, and when it is logically not at all due, the word certainly loses its power, its effect — infact, its very meaning is blunted. For if I say sorry everytime I accidentally get in the way of another human being, or infact, when another human beings gets in my way; every time I must get a strangers attention; everytime I cough or sneeze or stumble on my words, then, when it comes to the time at which I must sincerely apologise — when I have truly crossed a moral boundary — how can I express my guilt, my reconcilement? And, even more, why should I apologise on such occasions, occasions for I really have done nothing wrong at all? So, you see, it is our custom to apologise to the world for being human, all too human — we have made a habit of very much being guilty for being ourselves. And if one can not be comfortable with oneself — so much as to walk the streets of London without fear of offending others, without expressing guilt for one’s very existence: how can one be comfortable with others? How can one be vulnerable, intimate, freely expressive?
This, I feel, is a prevailing attitude in this city, a parasite — an awkwardness, a deep fear of intimacy, of seeing into another on a personal level; and of them seeing into us.
This parasite of self-loathing so infects us communally, that we can be surrounded by other human beings, and yet only ever know them — except for maybe our partners and families, or those rare friends that many only have a couple of a lifetime — on a superficial level, since we rarely do pay the time and attention necessary to find and foster those connections that would so brighten our lives immensely.
Such are my current thoughts on the landscape of friendship in this culture.
Onto other matters, then.
‘He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being.’
This weekend, tens of thousands of British citizens invaded the streets of central London in an anti-facist demonstration — a direct reaction to the fear of the current rise of Facism and Racism in the Western hemisphere.
With knowledge of the arrangements for this demonstration, I parked my bike on a side road adjoining Regents street —and as soon as I cut the engine, I heard that faint resounding noise echoing around the canopy of the stone city buildings — such that the air was filled with anticipatory vigour, as I would imagine on the outskirts of a hurricane, the leaves that flap gently yet impendingly, signalling the proximity of such an ominous force.
Within minutes a great roar was cutting through the atmosphere, and a wall of protestors gradually swept down the street towards me like a great electric tidal wave.
I walked fast towards them, the noise growing louder and ever more ecstatic.
Within minutes I was submerged in a vast sea of energy, I darted and danced around and within the great crowd— snapping shots as I went.
It seems, as when I have shot these kind of events before, that one becomes electrified by the atmosphere of the great mass of people, that ones soul becomes invigorated — such that the great energy enters you, and you very much lose yourself in it all, such is the power of mass gatherings — marching on towards some great ideal, though the ideal itself seems to be very much lost in the vast energy field that is generated — that one can not help but feel an ecstatic rising feeling for the cause, whatever it may be.
In that mood then, I moved about the crowd; back and forth, absorbing it all, letting myself become more and more entranced in it.
We were moving forwards towards a certain destination, we were engaged in a valiant battle against some evil monstrosity that we called Facism and Racism and whatever else was the chosen target of the day.
We waged triumphant war against an abstraction — not to say that this was not a noble and virtuous effort, but once can not help but ask: what are we really fighting for, and what are we truly fighting against?
Is there a great enemy in the sky called Facism, some demon that must be slayed? And will our banners penetrate this demon, will we draw blood?
And yet, despite my skepticism, I did certainly feel a europhic virtue in our movement that day — I can not doubt it. And, it is sure that there is a tangible threat to our civilisation — and that ideological war must be waged on it. However, as a journalist, as a thinker — the only place I rightly belong is no mans land, I feel — the place where there is no black and white. Such that I may speak not for one side or the other — whatever those sides may be, but for truth.
I think this is the role of the artist.
For, culture is a most indefinite landscape, and to determine such abstracts as good and evil, to the artist — is to murder creativity, and inhibit his ability to express truth non-dogmatically.
Of those who read my thoughts on these matters, I imagine many will feel offended, that they may see me as drastically misled, blind to the facts of the ideological landscape of the day. I may be seen as pretentious, for I do question the beliefs of the day so vividly, and yes — perhaps so, and yet, perhaps, some may read these thoughts and be led to some new ground in which the very reality by which their presumptions stand loosen beneath their feet; and, if they are quite ready for it, the rational skeptic in them may rise to the front of the mind, to see how lucid and incomprehensible the world really is — such that it can not possible be reduced to such simple terms such that we can present our mental views on a banner for the world to see — for, one may see, that to do this, is to attack our very integrity as conscious individuals.
Though, I see, this path of realisation is a path laden not for the many, but for the few.
And it is the few who shape the landscape of ideas of the day; in the end, only to be misinterpreted by the majority, to be used as ammunition in the great war of good and evil — the great addiction of the public.
As such, the only label I will accept is that of the Anarchist — from Greek anarkhos: ‘without a chief’.
That is to say, the true intellectual, the journalist that serves the people, must remain free of dictated belief— as such, our society is filled with ‘journalists’ whom do not serve the people — but rather, they serve ideology, and they are forever bound by it; they do not inform, educate, enlighten, no — they mislead, they preach, they convert.
This is not the product of a free society.
‘That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.’ — Noam Chomsky.