Here goes, like a million others before me. It's called One Big Garden because I do mean to write about my garden, as well as the state of the planet - our poor planet which we grew from like any other interesting weed, and which we have used and abused, thinking there are no limits. We need to begin to accept that there are limits, that though it is indeed a big garden it is only a garden. I often ask, when discussing the problem of feral animals and plants in Australia (my home), how many feral pigs one would allow to dwell in one's backyard. Answer: none. Then one wonders why we allow untold millions of feral pigs, goats, rabbits, cats, camels, etc, to wander around the countryside.
There are no simple answers, but I will attempt to provide some ways to understand the complexities that may help us discover ways to improve things.
I also want to write about 'politics', with the starting point that everything is political. I know some people say they're not interested in politics. When I hear this I usually presume I'm listening to an idiot. You may as well say you're not actually interested in anything at all.
And, naturally, I'll write about myself, a fascinating subject. I mean to be honest, though I won't claim to be exhaustive; there are some aspects of one's life that are not fit for print at the best of times. Both my parents are alive, and I wouldn't set out to deliberately embarrass them, but I am an adult and mean to speak as if to other grown-ups. Somebody - who was that? - said that one should not attempt to write a novel until aged at least 40. Of course that's wrong; some great novels have been written by younger people. And this is not a novel, but I am over 40 and have some idea about the passage of time and the nature of memory, and I hope I know a little about human nature. I also have some knowledge regarding those areas of history which interest me or that I have come across through reading.
Someone said 'Knowledge equals power.' Again, who was that? Anyway, it's bull. If the possession of knowledge amounted to power, I'd be much more powerful than I am, seeing as I know much more about many things that matter than the average person, and certainly much more than many (most?) of those who seem to wield actual power in our society. No point griping about that, though; anyone who has been around long enough knows the way things work and how difficult it is to change power structures. The current batch of Occupy protesters, for instance, are definitely interesting, in some ways inspiring, and probably doomed, like previous movements, to repeat certain patterns: the majority will nurture fading memories of youthful rage and optimism while descending into the humdrum of wage slavery and child raising, while a few will use their experiences to propel themselves into positions of seeming importance, eventually coming to resemble in every aspect the despised 1% whom they currently claim to despise. In the short term, though, something may come of this. Governments have been overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt. (I don't include Libya as part of this general uprising, the reasons for which I could write about later, though I will say tonight that bombing by NATO aeroplanes and drones is not generally part of a genuine people's movement.) It's hardly likely that much change can be wrought in a comfortable society like Australia's, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Comfort can be good, and not just in that 'for the greater good of the many' sort of way; the important thing is to avoid the kind of desperation that allows a Hitler to come to power.
I write this on the day that the current US President arrived in Australia for a brief visit (here today, gone tomorrow). I have seen them come and I've seen them go. The most depressing aspect of the current visit is the perpetuation of the militarism that is the worst disease to afflict human societies, and of which the USA is possibly the exemplar. And now we - the Australians - will involve ourselves even further in this wasteful misadventure. Obama will visit the War Memorial in Canberra, but what can he learn there? By all means, take him to the Art Gallery, show him the Nolan Kellys, show him some Emilys; then there is a chance that he might learn something about our country, or he might learn something about art, but reinforcing the military false history of 'our two great nations' is worse than false consciousness - it is advancing a deadly infection. That's the mental disease; the physical manifestation is the presence of US troops in our land treating it like some English-speaking - and more accommodating - Mexico, where you can bomb the bush and fuck the local youngsters. And, unlike Japan, we never attacked Pearl Harbor, so what have we done to deserve this? Well, you might argue that stupid people deserve any con that's perpetrated upon them. But I ask those who want to bring more US servicemen here, if you're so keen to welcome these people, will you be sending your children to work in the brothels of Darwin, or do you expect 'someone else' to send theirs? Perhaps we need to import prostitutes from a third country - Mexico? China? Maybe we can revive ANZUS by bringing them from New Zealand. Or do we pretend there won't be prostitutes required? Or maybe deny it. Or attack those who point out the ugly truth. Knowing what I know, my guess is: locals kids will be prostituted; boys and girls will be imported for same; those responsible will deny it, and they will attack those who tell the truth. That is the way these things go.
I have drifted slightly from my garden. It is a cool night in the Blue Mountains, with rain gently falling. Five cigarettes and two glasses of wine provided the fuel for the preceding passage, and now it's time for dinner. More soon.
16 November 2011