Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Please save the whales

Friends, once again the insatiable restlessness of Mammon seeking to enlarge its kingdom is on the move.

Since 1986, the countries of the world have stood firm against commercial whaling: though Iceland, Norway and Japan have found loopholes to enable them to continue killing whales.

Now they are pushing the boundaries again, wanting to reintroduce commerical whaling. All around the Earth other governments are watching keenly, ready with their 'Well if you can, so can I,' eye to the main chance.

Please sign the petition to stop this happening, here.

To learn more about whales and whaling, you can buy Heathcote Williams' amazing book Whale Nation either as an audio book, read by the author, to download here, or as a book to buy (it has some amazing pictures) on Amazon here or here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

3 endings

1) I finished writing my book on time, which felt very satisfying; and it's gone off to the publisher. So that's done (and the next project is begun).

2)There is this thing that Carlos Castaneda said (in which book I don't know): "… I have no personal history. One day I found out that it is no longer necessary for me and, like drinking, I dropped it. If you have no personal history, no explanations are needed; nobody is angry or disillusioned with your acts. And above all no one pins you down with their thoughts. It is best to erase all personal history, because this makes us free from the encumbering thoughts of other people."

I have become fascinated with this idea, which continually calls to me.

This summer I am contracted to work on a book which involves the recording of a certain amount of personal history: that will be the last shred of it. after that I am letting it float away like a balloon, or like a leaf on a river. I have no further use for my personal history now. I've noticed that in bureaucracies and institutions personal history becomes crucial, and one carries around a CV and a CRB check, two utility bills, a passport, a birth certificate and a driving license in a futile gesture of demonstration that one exists and is not dangerous. I am beginning to think I would prefer to be dangerous but not exist.

3)Do you know this poem by C.P.Cavafy? I love it. The third thing I am finishing with is socialising. I have spent too much of my life being with and talking with people whose preoccupations seem irrelevant to me, who are not at all interested in the visions and glimpses that fire my spirit, but want me there for the sakes of appearances and form - to fill an hour, a space, an event that would otherwise be empty. I am not going to do this any more.

Here is the test I shall apply:
If the occasion and the company are such that it is OK to say: "Religious faith can be very helpful and a surce of great strength" but not OK to say: "It's having a personal, living relationship with Jesus Christ and being plugged into the Holy Spirit that makes the difference" then I shouldn't be there.

The only conversations I am interested in, the only events I am interested in attending, are those that have the hallmarks of humility, simplicity and authenticity. I've seen as much posturing and snobbery as I need to in this lifetime, now.

So: the Lent book, with much struggle and essental intercession from praying friends, is complete: I am relinquishing my personal history; and I am no longer willing to socialise.