Let the grand correction commence…

Today we heard from the Labour leader.

I find so little to celebrate in what he said, or the way he said it (so said the Guardian– “Miliband’s pedestrian, drooping delivery did no justice to the ambition of his argument.”)

In saying this, I feel sad. Sad that once again I am writing out of negativity not from a position of hope. Sad too that the party I have roughly aligned myself with all my life appears so bereft of ideas.

A swipe at the Tories, the bankers and Southern Cross care homes- then a strange promise that people who work hard or volunteer will get preferential allocation of social housing. (Sounds a bit like ‘the deserving poor’ to me.) But at least ‘I am not Tony Blair (awkward pause…..)

I have been asking myself what is missing- and I think it is this- a visible value base that comes from a passion that is not merely manufactured, or self consciously media friendly.

I have also been thinking a lot about just how bankrupt our political/economic system seems to have become. When did commerce become capitalism, and when did capitalism become turbo-capitalism? How did the survival of our affluent way of life come to require the addiction of a whole nation to the accumulation of ever more stuff that we do not need?

And perhaps the most important question; what might be an alternative way of ordering our collective economy?

Ed Milliband’s father, the late great Ralph Miliband, was a Marxist Sociologist whose writing was an essential part of my student days. For a while, my hope was for an egalitarian socialism to take gentle hold in our country- mixed in the very British way of changing slowly whilst still holding on to idiosyncratic anachronisms- because it is better to accommodate and compromise rather than to revolt and overthrow…

But it seems that at least for now, ‘Free Market’ Capitalism has cleared the playing field of all opposition. The Berlin wall has been reduced to the dust of folk memory.

And in the middle of all this economic mess, Capitalism (despite being the cause of so much difficulty) continues to present itself as the solution.

I am no longer a political ideologue. All of that was killed by Blair and middle age. But still, where are the critical voices? Where are those who bring hope for change- for better ways of living that are not geared towards entrenching the global inequalities that condemn the poor south to be one large sweatshop for our supermarkets and high streets?

Do we need more riots? More kids in hoodies running away with box-fresh trainers and security tagged x-boxes?

As someone who tries to follow Jesus, I am ever more conscious of the way he had of standing as a faithful, hopeful, critic of the way we live. This is not the same thing as condemning and rejecting- rather it might mean that we should seek to participate, whilst at the same time hoping for better.

Hoping for voices to be raised that offer an alternative- that start not from a position of protecting the status quo, but instead long for justice for the global poor, and a sustainable, honest and healthy way of life for the rest of us. Looking for love, Grace and beauty, then seeking to nurture it.

Little of which did I hear today in Milibands speech. But perhaps there is time yet…

Time for a song I think…

13 thoughts on “Let the grand correction commence…

  1. Chris,

    My powers of elocution show their weakness again. I am motivated like a gushing river by what I seem to know, yet am slowed to the merest of trickles when I try to impress others.

    Capitalism. The market economy. Globalisation. Wealth creation. The unspoken ethos that materialism is the answer. The economy is doing *bad* if it only achieves 0.5% growth.

    All our ills, as you so correctly point out, stem from the idea that material wealth and the search for it, is the answer and the only worthwhile answer. It’s the whole focus that’s wrong. If the playing field is the economy then growth becomes the goal. If the economy is the playing field then the market becomes the white lines. Capitalism becomes the football, wealth creation becomes the team players.

    The game will not change by tinkering, a few lonely voices calling for the lines to be re-drawn, or the goal to be made smaller will not change the whole game. Sure the lonely voices can carry on doing their alternative thing in the spectators stand, but the game will not change until the game changes. It will only ever be seen as tinkering.

    Ed Milliband is a tinkerer. He is a football player. In order to play a part on the world scene you have to learn to play the game and then start playing it, and tinkering with it. You won’t get to replace it with an alternative by shouting the alternative from the stand, the watching crowd is far too loud, far too absorbed in the game and far too conservative to dare risking radical change.

    I’ve no doubt you know a good alternative, but you can’t see the route to getting there. To change the playing field itself seems like an impossible task, but I disagree. It is very a difficult, very long time-scale task, but not impossible and just because it’s so long it should not put people off. Even if it doesn’t come about in your life-time it should not put you off the contribution you can make to bringing it about. By bringing forward the day by just one hour when the whole world acquires the new playing field the gain in terms of total human happiness is almost too big to count. It is a worthwhile goal even if you never see it.

    So how do we get rid of materialism? I’ve talked about how materialism stems from the focus of scientific endeavour. Science (physics) thinks that the material is all there is to the universe, so that’s all it investigates. This ethos then permeates through government to society at large and dominates our culture. It can change. The whole ethos of science can and will change. It will change because the notion that the material is all there is can be demolished when the experiments science attempts to carry out based on it, fail to provide the required answers. For example, when the LHC fails to find the Higgs Boson, this will mean that the current physics paradigm is *wrong*. All physicists will begin to realise this.

    Hopefully they will then find the replacement model sooner rather than later because this replacement (an alternative physics model I’m aware of) then makes the path to enlightenment much easier.

    I am trying to convince people that by lighting a small fire in an alternative playing field it will get noticed and with time the game will change. But I can’t convince people of how it will change. I seem to be the only person who is able to straddle both playing fields and see them both in action. I am neither part of the current game, nor a part of the one that isn’t there yet. Most annoyingly I cannot get anyone at all to understand that there will be another game and that I can see it and I do know how to get there.

    Watch for the results of the LHC. They are predicting that by Christmas they will be able to announce the results of their experiments to find the Higgs Boson. My knowldege – THEY WILL ANNOUNCE THEY CAN’T FIND IT.

    The emperor has no clothes! The ethos of the current system is wrong. I know the alternative will bring forth good fruit. I can see the alternative and the path to get there. Help me light the fire.

    Carl

  2. By the way, the Higgs Boson is a particle they have postulated must exist in order for their current (physics) paradigm to make any sense. They have also stated that the Large Haydron Collidor (LHC) tests they are doing at the moment are sufficient to reveal it.

    In other words they are stating that should the LHC fail to discover it then it doesn’t actually exist. And should it not exist then their conclusion will be that their current paradigm is completely wrong.

    This is why it will be such a significant event when they don’t find it.

    All their currently fashionable theories are based around this paradigm – e.g. string theory. They are not looking anywhere else, in-spite of the existence of (a different paradigm) physics theory proposed by an eminent physics professor.

    After it has become fashionable, this new theory will eventually lead to a picture which shows (amongst other things):
    1) That consciousness (or the soul) cannot possibly ’emerge’ from the material.
    2) That for the continuance of existence of the material there *has* to be not just a Creator, but a Maintainer.

    In other words, the soul has primacy and the material is there as a playground for the soul.

    This realisation will revolutionise the game I was talking about above and change it from one of materialism to the alternative that both you and I (and G-d) would like to see.

    G-d bless
    Carl

  3. Chris,
    As part of my life’s mission to contribute to the above change, I need to find out what the reaction of different people is to the sort of comments I make above. A good response is encouraging. A negative response is a learning opportunity, but a nothing response is, well, just nothing. I can neither learn nor be encouraged.

    Can I ask what your reaction is?

    G-d bless
    Carl

    • Hi Carl

      I supposed my lack of response earlier was down to several reasons, which I will list as it might be useful again to think how lots of people will react to your thoughts-

      Firstly- time. You ask a lot of me to encounter such complexity and detail in the mess of my own life. Time/energy are needed, both of which are in relatively short supply.

      Secondly- knowledge- I simply do not have the technical knowledge to engage in detail with the ideas you speak of. Sure I can skirt the edges, but I sense this is not what you want. To achieve the knowledge I would need more of the above- time and energy.

      Thirdly- core interests. If my passion in life was physics, then perhaps I would find the time. But I did an ‘O’ level back in 1983, and since then other passions have been part of who I am.

      Fourthly- value. If you are right, and this is a revolutionary theory that might change our perception of everything, then I (and others) are foolish not to take the time to engage deeply and evaluate. However, I have no way of knowing the true value of what you propose.

      Fifthly, credibility- although we have never met, we have communicated enough for me to understand your passion, and how all sorts of varied subjects integrate and loop back to this one dominant issue- the possibilities of God and Science being hand in hand. However, I simply have no idea of how to measure your theory- so I would need reference points- peer evaluation, etc. You may be a genius- but even then, genius has a logic, it emerges from a scientific canon, even if it challenges the orthodoxy. No matter how much information you hit me with, I am simply not able to comment in any real way on this.

      Sixthly- despite all the above, most of us come to a view of the value of ideas on a non-scientific basis. They might start from a different knowledge base, or react against a style of delivery. So I encounter your views on the the soul, or the origin of existence through the lens of psychology and philosophy- but also from a particular theological view that skews me to doubt that there will EVER be ‘proof’ of God, and that pursuing this is likely to drive us to an early grave.

      Finally- there is the issue of ‘so what’? I can see that to carry knowledge that you believe to be vital for the world is very difficult- in terms of the isolation that this enforces, and the frustration of not being ‘heard’- perhaps this is the fate of lots of people who are geniuses in their chosen field. But life is so much more than knowledge. It is a bit like the faith as knowledge as opposed to faith as a means to live out life thing.

      Hope this is useful!

      Chris

  4. Thank you so much for your most thoughtful and comprehensive reply. I will be giving it serious thought over the coming days. It is the first such comment that I have had to my work and it contains much to think about. It may change how I do what I do.

    Some of the points you raise (like the faith/knowledge stuff near the end) are more to do with the value of what I might have and as such a discussion with you/people like you would be of value? But perhaps not to you. Oh dear.

    It seems I hit the same barrier wherever I go; those with faith doubt the relevance of ‘proof’ (because they’re happy, even if they think that those without it are all going to a long and everlasting fiery hell 😦 (sounds a bit selfish to me) ).
    Yet those without faith see no point in me trying to ‘prove’ they are anything but mortal 70 year-long chance happenings – enjoy it while you can and rape the Earth if that’s the only way.

    G-d bless
    Carl

  5. Oh and another thing. Have you ever given any serious, deconstructional thought to the prediction of the second coming – because I have.

    If there will be a second coming then at or around that time people will just ‘know’ who he is and what he represents. It will be a time of universal acceptance, without doubt. In such an age there will necessarily have to be a science which allows both G-d and the immutable laws of physics to sit side-by-side. Without this situation in place, scientists will be able to claim (with honesty in their heart) fraud and trickery, thus his acceptance will not be as universal as he might wish it to be.

    In other words, if G-d was planning a return of Yeshua, my guess is that He might wish to have everything on His side, so only the foolish or incapacitated might not understand what was happening.

    I therefore see the work I do as a very small brick in the foundations of a new era as broadly predicted in the bible (you don’t think every single bit is all literally true do you?? 🙂 )

    G-d bless
    Carl

  6. Other thing No. III :
    Equations without religion might teach one the necessity for a Cosmic Battery. But they do not give any clue as to the nature of that Battery.

    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein

    Inspite of these words of wisdom from one of the greatest scientific minds to have existed, the equations still leave me with a feeling of a father son relationship (us sons, G-d father). And as in Matthew 7:11:

    “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

    G-d is our Father, the greatest Father ever. He gave you and I the very greatest gift possible, one could ever give to anyone. He gave, of His own free will, the gift of life. He did not have to. There is nothing you can do about it (apart from use it wisely) now you’ve got it – you have it forever.

    If you happen to believe in Hell and your friends are going to spend it there He still gave eternal life to everyone. Whether you believe in G-d or not, or Jesus or not, He still gave everyone eternal life, forever. Ever, ever, ever. What a gift. There is nothing any of us can do about it. He gave it us and now we have it. How beautiful, how magnificent, how gracious, how crazy!

    G-d bless
    Carl.

  7. I am truly, truly, truly grateful for the time you spent replying to me.

    I get so little value time of anybody else, your input is worth a million pounds, if it could possibly be translated. (I may seem over the top, but) I value it beyond everything. Someone else has deemed me worthy of their time and I just feel so much gratitude. You have accompanied me on the journey. You have raised my self-esteem. You’ve validated my existence.

    And all it took was your willingness and I shower you with gratitude. Why oh why does no-one else want to receive my gratitude? Isn’t it nice? I’ve got so much to give, I have so much understanding of what just a little contact can mean. Human contact is so precious; it’s like a glorious, beautiful, shining jewel. It’s worth more than that. It is everything.

    People are such beautiful things, they go about thinking they’ve got a bad side to them or they’re not very good at something, but that’s their exterior they’re thinking of. That’s the frailties of the human condition that we all suffer from. But they don’t see the beauty of the interior.

    All the colours and sounds of this beautiful nature that G-d has given us. All of that, is in them. What they see in the trees and flowers, is them.

    Isn’t it beautiful? Aren’t they beautiful?

    Why doesn’t anyone want my love?

    • Hi Carl

      Re second coming- I suppose if/when it happens scientists will have to rethink a whole lot of things- although to be fair, I suppose we all will!

      Re Hell- I suppose it is clear from my ponderings that my hope is in a God who loves and a God who saves. The rest I am simply not sure of.

      Re the Bible- again, I am with you- I think the words of the Bible are not a blue print or a legal/constitutional document. They are record of failed and glorious engagement with mystery. As for a new age (the new heaven and the new earth) most of this is taken from a literalist reading of the Apocalypse of John- and I think that these readings have huge problems. I prefer to leave that to God (not knowing the day nor the hour) and at the same time live as if the new heaven and new earth is realised in us and through us- we failing followers of Jesus and his New Kingdom. Therefore the strength of hope is equal to the light of the world in our lives, and released into the world as a gift of grace.

      Finally Carl- contact, love, acceptance- all of these things are indeed beautiful. I can only hope/pray that the difficulties you find yourself in continue to recede and these things open up to you.

      Cheers

      Chris

  8. Hi Chris,
    Thanks. So I wonder what you might say if I said I had strong evidence that the second coming is happening now? You might say “what’s the evidence” and I would have to say “I need to be sure that you are ready to hear it”.

    The evidence is quite compelling, quite magical and Christ-like. But since I have only heard it from one source I cannot yet call it conclusive. And I myself doubt its validity. So I wait with my ears open.

    G-d bless
    Carl

  9. Pingback: The myth of equality… « this fragile tent

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