Saturday, December 21, 2013

early morning terrible beach (that's just stuck in my mind now) the handful of dedicated swimmers and dawn surfers are out and we catch beautiful waves, some people watch me with my fin, they crowd around me asking questions, they all seem enthusiastic to buy one, i joke with them, they seem happy and relaxed, a community, surprisingly i'm immediately accepted and as the set comes rolling in they marvel as i surf the waves with my beautiful blue fin. they applaud, this is very strange, it has never happened before, mind you the wave i rode was a beauty and i caught it perfectly, my body propelled along and as i pushed down my head lifted right out of the water, rocketing to the shore line.
later i shower and go read the newspaper arts sections, nothing much to read in there except a piece on orwell in burma and his book 'burmese days' which i remember being fascinated by as it sat in my parents library with an orange cover and that picture of that buddhist monk sitting behind the colonial british pith helmet.
the book was possibly the first experience i had that i an recall where i began to hate the british empire and all it's pomp and superiority complex over its colonies. i must have been 13 but i had already grown attached to indians over cowboys so the leap to disliking the empire was always there. it's ironic because my father hated india when the british left, i know it must have been turbulent but all nations have to go through some identity crisis and the earlier they do it the better in the long run, i mean england never had a revolution and look at it now, on the brink of social collapse, tension everywhere. orwell was a great journalist but he was also a good writer, he wrote two of the most important books ever written, animal farm and 1984, he wrote them as a response to fanaticism he experienced from the extreme left but it could have easily been written about the right. orwell recognised how power worked, he knew the disenfranchised were exploited by those in control and how methods of control can be used to destroy all hope, even love as smith finds out in 1984. but issues of control run through most of his books, even down and out in paris and london' deal with people who have no control over their economic status, and how they are forced to suffer at the hands of those who wield power, the themes are in most of his work. a good short read is his essay, 'shooting an elephant' where orwell himself acknowledges he is just a puppet himself, at the mercy of forces he can't seem to control, although nowadays there is no excuse not to. 
that's the main problem with control and power, everyone following their orders without thinking about them. that's the zombie horde, following instructions some bureaucrat invented, we are all guilty of it to an extent but most people are unconscious to it, ask a police officer or a public servant, 'oh no, we have to follow policy.'
that's the problem, it makes people kill other people without thinking, it makes people control other people without thinking and it makes you controlled without thinking. 
but the other side to this is can you handle being free?
most people can't, and most switched on people make a compromise, and that's okay, i've done it to. that's what makes consensus reality, but it also creates situations where populations starve so we can eat, animals suffer so we can eat, children are slaves so we can eat and buy cheap products from china, i mean does anyone boycott china because of the falong gung practitioners whose organs are harvested, fuck we just had the olympic games there, the supermarkets are filled with shit from china, the whole of australia sells its coal to china, we don't care about falong gung organs as long as we can get a cheap tv set from a factory where children work 60 hour weeks and get paid peanuts. so we all compromise, empire still exists, it's in our fucking supermarkets and high streets, in shipping containers and ships of the coast, orwell would find modern life as strange as he found his times, but he would have would have been shocked at how deluded we are, how we lie to ourselves, how we compromise on even denial. 
he shot the elephant, he had no choice but i know it would have changed him, it would have hunted him for the rest of his life, that's why he wrote 1984 and animal farm, it's hard to tell who is human these days. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep the Aspidistra Flying and
The Road to Wigan Pier, are also great books.
Jeane x