Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Time Worn

“Aye, could but we see
“Ourselves as others see us.”
Rabbie Burns is wrong.
To see ourselves as others
See us is essential
For if not
We do not see ourselves
As we truly are.

“Only connect,” said Evelyn Waugh
But he is wrong. There is more,
Much, much more to life
Than that.
“Oh, wise man, there is more
To the paradox of life
Than that.”

Malcolm D B Munro
4 October, 20145

Filed under: poetry


The washing done, I’m clean within
I’ll take off my pajamas
And put my feet in
My jockey underpants
Those with Marilyn Monroe on the front:
“I’ve been on a calendar, but never on time.”
I’ll pull on my brand new pink socks.
I think I’ll wear that nice pearl shirt
And put on my shiny top hat
And wear a beatific smile
To attend my own funeral.

Malcolm D B Munro
4 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry


The power of a poem
Can hold you in its spell eternal
No other form
Can do that as well.

Malcolm D B Munro
15 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

Not Cold

When I die
I won’t be old
Please put me in my grave
But I won’t be cold.

Malcolm D B Munro
15 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

“Your poems are dark.”

People say to me, “Your poems are dark.” That’s true, many are. I explain that this is not from mood. The poem is independent of mood. Dark poems come from that identification with the sorrows of life, of events that have caused or cause sorrow. One cannot write to tell of people being happy. What sort of identification does that call for?

“She spent a happy afternoon walking along the sea shore.” What does that tell? Her inner mood. Some event had her happy. Reunited with a love she had quarreled with. A raise at work, praise from her boss. A relief from recent stress. A deadline met. A coming visit from her mum?

Or the sun, the sea air? Children playing, laughing and shouting. Adults throwing a ball as the tide rolls in, shouting with glee.

Or solitary. A quiet communing with the self. A sense of well being, a glad sense to be alive. To be healthy. The walking instilling a sense of purpose. The quiet settling the mind, dispelling gloom or dark thoughts. Emptying the head. Breathing deeply the salt tang. Boats busy, fussing offshore. Fishermen at the water’s edge, laying back, letting their rods and bait to the work for them. The sun off, lowering in the distance, the light changine, dusk approaching. Time soon to go home.

But a funny poem? How do I write a funny poem? What appeals to people’s sense of humour?

Well, recognition would be a large part of it, of writing funny. A smile where the reader identifies with what is written. But what has that reader smile?

Topic could evoke laughter or a smile. Or a telling of someone’s misfortune. Or of cruelty. Or telling a funny story, running the risk that not all readers will find it funny.

Or simply writing in a gentle fashion. A fashion which treats those you write of with care and humour. Ah, there’s that word. But you can’t strive for it. That would be forced. Would border on slapstick. Might make readers wince instead of having them feel that wry sense of being there. Of being drawn into the world of the writing. Brightness will help. Light colours. An atmosphere of contentment. And writing simply, not writing for effect; leaving aside those heavy figures of speech with load the writing and freight it with meaning, allusions.

Yet, a writer is shy to write in such a way. Just as I am doing here. It doesn’t seem very complicated. Well, it needn’t. That seamless style that seems so effortless is. Is effortless. Just as breathing, just as is a ready smile, humming a tune, strolling in a wood.

To an oak apple worked in this way. Did not try to tumble word on word, twist to achieve meaning.

So. What? Writing from a peaceful mind. That will show upon the page. All words upon a page betray the mind of the writer, one way or another. Motivation is clear. The length of sentences, the simplicity or density of the vocabulary. The richness or paucity of the settings. The sparsity or loquaciousness of the dialogue. Or its simple absence. Long descriptive paragraphs or none. No seeing at all. You could be anywhere.

The shyness of the writing in recognizing that life for the most part is simple, full of simple things. Diving the car, going to the grocery store. Not a great deal happens. You might see a speeding police car, lights flashing to catch the eyes and siren blazing to assail the ears, and wonder where it is off to. You may may not see it later. Or perform unthinkingly some chore at home. Isn’t this is how life is, most unattended, not demanding much in the way of attention. Not sleepwalking, alive certainly, but not desperate.

For what do you want to do as a writer. Capture interest? Or to entertain? The former is easy, if you are true to yourself as a writer, the latter difficult. You are continually after effect. That police car of earlier, chasing another car, which narrowly misses you as yoy pull, in great alarm, to the side.

But most of us live peaceable lives. And those who live in dangerous places seldom write of it. Don’t have leasure to write. Unless they are paid for it, in which case they do not live there but have come in from outside, from a peaceable life to report on the dangers faced by others.

So what do you want as a reader? What do I want as a writer. Thrills and spills? A simple domestic setting where people spend their time watchin television or on the cellular phone?

But there is a different kind of writing isn’t there? One that challenges the mind. That introduces ideas and concepts. Much of Eastern European and the ex Soviet states are exemplars of this kind of writing. Can one come in from the outside and write in this manner? Probably not. Are not such writers seeking to make sense of their experiences and to draw upon that same sense in the reader. How can a writer who has not lived through such times, such experiences, write in such a way? How authentic would it be? To write on the right to exist. Fascinating as this is the reader coming from the outside, how could I write of such a metal landscape. I don’t know it.

Yet, and yet I do. I do know it. I see it in my society. I know it for myself. I was not raised within the nightmare that appears to be how soviet society was. Yet I grew up in a domestic atmosphere which was challenging. I can relate to some of that denial on the part of the parternalistic men in power ot allowing people to be merely human, of simply being themselves. Of simply wanting to lead an ordinary life, of not representing a threat to the state simply because they exist.

And, besides my own experience of my life long attempt to come to terms with my upbringing, I can look to those who are alienated within Western life. Those who live on the margins and are not afforded the gifts of plenty and of love but who are subject to rigours which any mind would struggle to see as just.

There are my equivalents of the victims of soviet life. But do readers wish to hear about such people? In a sense it is not for them to decide. It is for me, with my freedom as a writer to choose and to tell the story of such people so that readers see with clarity that those who kill and main and do damage to themselves are not distant from the very readers reading of them.

It is up to me to close that gap.

But, I have wandered from that theme I wished to take up, that theme I wished to explore. Humour. Yes I can inject humour. Just as, for example, James did with 50 Shades of Grey. Whether she intended it or not, of course, I don’t know. Would, does, humour have a lasting effect. Yes, I think it does. Few writers can be funny. Fewer still can be both funny and serious. Ah, there is the rub. To write meaningfully and yet with humour. Is Tolstoy, Dante, Dickens funny. No, they are no not renowned for their humour. And yet, why not. Is there not a funny side to alienation. I laugh as I write this. Why do I laugh? At its very absurdity. But why not? Would not a Kafkaesque style not benefit from humour. All that dark German writing.

Me, I’m English and we are renowned for not taking life too seriously. After all, we all die and what else is there to say. We do not dwell on life’s futility. This might be because we are mostly bored. We bore easility. Well, dear reader, if you had a queen like our present one, would you not be bored? All those silly hats. And Prince Charles. Would you not smile at the prospect of him being King. Worse things could happen and, indeed, they have. We found humour during wartime. Dark days for Britain, were they not? I grew up in Britain. And it was mostly boring. So conformist. So many expectations of you doing what you were expected to do. To always be oh so polite. No peeing on dogs at street corners, for example. No smiling at eccentricity. Treating it as normal. I mean …

And so I am laughing as a write this. Who could not fail to amuse a reader if you as writer are laughing as you write. They will feel the quivering flesh, the sheer eagerness to get the words on the page. The shakey pen. Well, actually this Mac, tilting back and forth upon my knees.

And why should I not seek relief for myself and my poor, poor readers, trying to stay awake through my prose, when, for the most part we ourselves are responsible for our miseries. Our dull thoughts, our pessismism in perpetually expecting the worse out of life, which only turns out worse than we can possibly imagine. So, why bother.

I do, I know write too much. Not so much the number of words on the page. That’s OK. But the sheer number to make a simple point which I then have to emphasize over and over and over again. Sledgehammer the brain of the poor reading who is desprately trying to relax and read some prose in this age which demands that we be eternally busy doing nothing. Going to the supermarket three or four times a week, when going once with forethought would be enough. Busy as bees but not making honey. Where’s the money, honey.

I am trying to avoid Americanisms. This is hard. When one has lived in a country, a foreign country, for as long as I have, the culture as become a sort of second skin which one seeks to rub off the writing fingers to avoid it polluting the prose so that one avoids a sort of mid Altantic nasal twang. Sound like a politician. Heavens lets avoid that.

But I am getting there, I really am. I know, dear reader, that the shortest distance between two points is often the most circuitous. Now, don’t ask me how.

Too many words. Well, it depends. Concision has its place. You set out to write a book and end up being so concise that you are left with only a paragraph. For example, a dreadful piece I just wrote and inflicted on a couple of friends, well, one was my wife, called “Potty Poetry” is long, too long and makes the same point over and over and over again. You see the problem, right? I thought later as I drove to this little coffee bar in which I am presently writing that I could have entitled it Avant Garden Kindergarten, referring to the juvenile nature of the poetry I heard on Wednesday and that would have said all that needed to be said.

Malcolm D B Munro
6 March, 2016

Filed under: poetry

France as recidivist:



Adam Shatz is a clever writer,, London Review of Books, 3 December, 2015 but glib. As a commentator he is to be valued for pointing out what others, including politicians in the West, won’t say. This particular article posits a view of France, mostly, and other countries by implication, Britain and Germany and the US to a lesser extent, which is nihilistic. His view, in a nutshell, describes a view of France which is recidivist; a going backwards rather than forwards. Any view of the future which is cast solely in negatives will be dystopian. But Mr Shatz has no more a crystal ball with which to view the future than any of the rest of us. Certainly his comments are valuable. He so frequently points to the follies, inconsistencies and hypocrisies emanating out of Paris, London and Washington. Curiously Berlin is not mentioned, perhaps overlooked. The assessment of the present is to be valued. His prognostications of the future are to be dismissed as so much wishful thinking on his part, the very nature of what he condemns.

Agreeing that we do not know what the future holds, the present can be addressed and the problem facing all Western democracies is; what is to be done about Muslim populations settled and settling in the West?

Europe is unique as a society. It is dynamic and has spread as succession of colonialists to most corners of the world. This dynamic perhaps derives from the fact that Europe itself comprises a set of territories which have successively been invaded by incoming groups going back before the historical record. These invaders mostly settled in the territories they conquered. Few, the Arabs in Spain to mention one example, retreated back to their territory of origin. The overwhelming majority stayed but one of two types of settlement occurred. The newcomers either gifted their values, beliefs and languages on the inhabitants or were absorbed into the indigent population. Of the two, the former has been the more common.

The motivation of such invaders has not been much studied. As a result one cannot make brief statements of cause. Necessarily, simplicities have to be used to ensure a discussion of moderate length.

The reasons for a warrior group to expand its own territory will have a number of drivers, as can be seen in the case of ISIL. Let us note though, that warrior groups have in the vast majority of cases been horrendously brutal. In this respect ISIL are no different. The motivation is the same. To instil terror in those whom they wish to subjugate.

Movement across the territories of Europe has not been confined to warrior groups. Immigrant groups have fled invader groups penetrating their territory, a sort of domino effect, seeking immigration into forward states. Or a diaspora has resulted.

Religion in more recent times has been the flag under which warrior groups have invaded and immigrants have fled.

The particular dynamic of the vast majority people who presently occupy the European territories has been and is economic expansion. What the history books of the West have taught and still teach is that those who left European shores were discoverers. They were in the sense that they were lookouts for the warriors and immigrants that followed. We collectively call these European groups, colonists, most of whom were at war with each other in their scramble to invade and conquer territories they coveted. Wherever in the world that this European blight spread, indigents were suppressed, dispossessed or annihilated. This latter course of action is still being perpetrated by the successors of the European invaders.

Wherever the European invaders have gone in the world their treatment of the locals has been either lethal or cynical. The overriding dictate has been the needs of the invaders themselves. Such treatment festers in the indigenous groups for generations. If the group is small it will simply die out as is the case at present in many parts of the world. Of the many examples, one can cite the Maori of New Zealand. In almost no case has there been a policy of assimilating the local peoples. Mexico is, perhaps, one of few.

Despite us not being able to foresee the future, we can say with confidence that for societies there is a forward dynamic. While history is said to repeat itself, over the long cycle it does not. The impact of the Treaty of Versailles has consequences but so did the formation of the United Nations. What is being said here is that the events that we are presently witnessing by way of terrorism as perpetrated by ISIL and other groups has no or little portend for the future.

A group conquering a territory are not the people that are going to be the rulers of that territory. The examples of this dynamic are too numerous to mention. At some point ISIL has to begin the govern the territories over which they now are settling. They are unlikely to kill every inhabitant. Those they subjugate will adopt,willingly or unwillingly, their creed. The Revolutionaries of 1917 in Russia did not become the ruling class nor did the dogma that those who early espoused Communism become the received wisdom of the Communist Party. The adopted policy bore little nor no resemblance to its founder, Karl Marx, writing within the confines of the British Museum and within the country which has for so long acted has a haven for the disaffected who sought refuge from some territory which proved inhospitable to their views. So it is with ISIL. In the course of time, the fervour of ISIL will dissipate. This, of course, is of no comfort for the present.

Terrorism is a portmanteau term of limited usefulness. From historical point of view, such acts have always been with us. There is a long history associated with the use of the term. One thinks of the Reign of Terror in Revolutionary France. Secessionist groups have used such tactics to, usually unsuccessfully, further their aims. Local feet on the ground and repressive measures employed by the local state have usually suppressed such groups and some kind of settlement make with the uprising group, usually to the group’s disadvantage. One thinks of the IRA Northern Ireland and the ETA of the Basque country. At the end of the nineteenth century many individual acts took place which were termed at that time anarchists.

Disaffected groups during the early seventies were active in many European countries and to a lesser extent in the US and Japan. Examples here are the Red Brigade in Italy, and the Baader Meinhof group in Germany. The motivation for the actions of such groups was diffuse and the likelihood of any of them furthering their aims was nil. Essentially they were martyrs. Martyrs not mourned.

Individual acts of brutality, usually perpetrated by disaffected youths, cannot be viewed a terrorism since such acts are limited geographically but notably are accompanied by copy cat actions.

Returning to the general question of terrorism, the motivation here is to impose a particular political will on the part of one group to another. Historically, such groups have been viewed as rebels and their action a rebellion. The Mau Mau in Kenya in the nineteen fifties  and the Jacobite Rebellion in the mid seventeen hundreds in England and Scotland are cases in point. The power to quell the rebellion lies with the larger group. In no sense whatsoever can 3,8000 rebels following the flag of the Caliphate, regardless of how many defect from Western countries, prevail against either the states which surround them nor against those states which are presently suffering from their acts. The disruption in the territories in which they are presently acting is great and resulting widespread emigration of displaced people, most of whom are coming to Europe. The question of putting Western countries’ boots on the ground is moot. In the not too distant future the Caliphate group that we refer to as ISIL will impinge on a neighbouring unified state and the enlargement of the Caliphate will cease. 3,800 individuals will not survive the concerted action of a major military action on the part of an adjacent territory which sees its homogeneity threatened by outside forces.

Western pundits and policy makers have despairingly said that in vanquishing ISIL, a successor group will simply appear. The answer to this is not necessarily.  Time moves on and one cannot say how the situation will be in six month’s time far less a year. There are so many players in the regions. Some domiciled in the region, most from outside with widely varying agendas. The majority of insurgent groups in the area are secessionist in nature. This is local politics, a local stage upon which outside players should not be.

The recent mention in a number of articles, notably that of Robert Fisk in the Independent, of the secret agreement between the governments of Britain and France in 1916, known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, brutally tore apart the historical territories of the region. These commentators rightly point to the fact that the West at least is enjoying the fruits of that act of folly. The aforementioned Treaty of Versailles of 1919, mendaciously brought into being by the same powers behind the 1916 agreement, had a not dissimilar affect of events in subsequent years, not least of which was the Second World War, to the effects of Sykes-Picot now being played out in the region. Western powers would be foolish indeed to get involved and would enjoy better council to stay out of what is essentially a fight between neighbours. This is not withstanding the recent actions of those same Western powers in Iraq, et al, not forgetting Afghanistan. The latter has its own miserable history of outside interference, by the British, no surprise there, prior to the present external players.

None of what has so far been said is to suggest that the impact on the West of the actions of ISIL in their territories should not be addressed. Quite the contrary. However, going to war against ISIL is not an option, and given cooler head prevailing and the sheer lack of stomach for losing the lives of citizens of those countries by putting them in a situation where their effectiveness will be less than nothing, no country in the West is likely to take that course of action. The fight in the region is not our fight. The effect of that fight on Western territories is. But the fight is a purely domestic one.

There is quite another side to the warrior behaviour of European nations explored at some length earlier. Whatever has been so far said about the behaviours of European nations towards the territories they have conquered and occupied and have made a part of their empire, these actions lie, however much one deplores and condemns them, in the past. Any actions at present of a similar nature are equally to be condemned and should cease forthwith. This, unfortunately, will not come about, with the result that, thankfully, there is a profound reluctance to put military on the ground in the region. Military action in the air must cease immediately, though that too is unlikely to happen. We reap what we sow. The citizens of those same countries that are the perpetrators of this extraordinarily short sighted policy are the ones that suffer, not the George Bushes of this world.

This other side of the coin, and this side cannot be trumpeted loudly enough, is democracy. The Europeans did and did not take democracy to the territories they conquered. A discussion of which and why is quite beyond the bounds of the present discussion.

In order to discuss the political system we all of us enjoy within the empire thus created, we have to put aside completely the actions that democratic nations have taken and are still taking beyond their borders has to be put completely to one side. Before we do so, it has to be said that that action does not in any sense support or defend that political system.

That political system, democracy, is under threat from our very own governments.

It is quite impossible to over stress the values and benefits of democracy. That any citizen allows any diminishment of any aspect of it is an act of dereliction. That this is not recognized is worse than folly. A fractional loss of democratic freedom is a great loss. The loss is made all the greater by the prospect of that loss being restored. Erosion of democracy can become a form of cancer. Once begun such erosion is hard to stop. Governments give specious reasons for curtailing the freedom of its citizens. These curtailments have, and will continue to be, a failure of policy and effort to properly address the problems that governments tell its citizens are necessary to protect and defend them.

At no time since the events of the bombing of the World Trade Towers has the value of democracy and the need to defend and maintain the freedom of those citizens who lawfully reside within those territories hewing to democracy been discussed.

We are not at war. Wars are not fought because of fear. Wars are fought because of threats. Or should be. Since the events of 11 September, 2001, the people of Western democracies, politicians and citizens alike have given and are still giving in to fear. It is this fear that is the cancer that will erode democracy. Democracy is defended from within. If our very governments act to diminish democracy in any form, that attack has to be resisted by and fought against by the very citizens whose freedoms are affected. To not act, to not defend those freedoms is to give them up with the recognition that we may never get them back. To not fight our own governments is not to defend the freedoms we have.

And the question has to be asked, how much do our own governments have to curtain our freedoms before we protest, before we, not only fight against any further curtailment, but fight to regain what has already been curtailed. The danger of allowing further curtailment lies in watching the way of life that we should be cherishing disappear. And, as Churchill said, we will not see it reemerge, not only in our lifetime, but in our children’s lifetime.

None of what is being said should be seen as scaremongering. Democracy is not simply freedom for individuals but is economic freedom. Already there is talk that in demolishing Schengen, Europe will suffer economically. Do we really wish to live economically impoverished lives because of the acts of a few individuals and of the pitiful acts of our governments to those acts.

It seems to this writer that few in the West realize just how precious democracy is and just how much it is in danger through the actions of our very own governments. Wherever we sit on the political spectrum, if we recognize this one fact we will have moved a great way forward in beginning to properly address the threats that we face, most recently in Paris on Friday 19 November, 2015. If the value and benefit of democracy is not clear to everyone living in a democratic country there is little point in stressing it. What can be pointed out is the very fragility of that system, with its entwinement of personal and economic freedom, when that system comes under attack from the governments charge with upholding that system.

Alarmist? Certainly. That, more than any other point being made, is crucial to the present discussion. It cannot be said as to which point a point of no return will be made. There seems no reason to try to find out. That other acts such as those of two weeks ago will occur is certain. Should a signal for the alarm being sounded, one might point to the action of the Belgian government in locking down the capital for four days. How long will it be next time? And which city?

If the point has not already been made, then it will never be made. Have we reach the point of being deaf to alarms other than those security alert levels which none of us can hear anyway.

Governments justifications for such actions is to protect its citizens. We’ll come back to this..

Fear cannot be fought. Fear can only be overcome. You either cower in the cellar of your own home or you brave public places. Remember what George Bush said after 9 November 2001, go shopping. Keep Calm and Carry On is not a fashion accessory. The phrase was coined by those who lived during the Blitz of London and other cities in the United Kingdom during WWII. You either live a normal life or live a life that is akin to that of a prison.

The one word this writer has not hear spoken by any person, citizen or politician is courage. The word is the same in French as it is in English. If we lack courage, if we don’t show courage, we are lost, we have lost. Those who perpetrated, whether we care to admit it or not, the acts of that Friday in Paris showed courage. If we do not match their courage, the courage shown by the carriers of the hatred of those who which to overthrow our way of life, however we view their acts, we have lost.

Lost what? Lost the war within, And it is a war. The enemy is within. Democracy, amongst other aspects, stresses tolerance. Tolerance for what? How great is our tolerance for the intolerable?  Political correctness is a form of cowardice. This is not to argue the need to offend but insist on saying what needs to be said when it needs to be said. Those on the right who betray the bounds of what is said to be politically correct are to be lauded. For they challenge our complacency. Our pussyfooting. Our individual curtailment of our own freedom of speech. There are limits. That goes without saying. But offence is not hatred. We have lost the ability to make jokes.

During any war there are curtailments. Due process of law is not strictly upheld. The freedom of movement of those amongst us who seek to perpetrate mayhem needs to be curtailed. And the means to provide that curtailment needs to be found. The focus of efforts needs to be on those who entertain suspicion. Or should. Not on citizens as a whole.  The surveillance of the citizens of Western counties is an act of supreme foolishness. The groups involved in the slaughter in Paris on the ninth moved unhindered across whole countries. The surveillance of the haystack will not find the needles. Intelligence will. How many informers do we have inside ISIL. Inside the mosques in the West that preach hatred. Do we have any? Surveillance is no substitute for Intelligence. This writer sees precious little of that, if any. Are Arabic speakers widely available within security forces. Are Muslims, men and women, being recruited to serve in such forces.

Let us bite the bullet and attack the problem at its source. The countries of Europe are allowing in vast number of refugees, most of whom are Muslim. Putting aside the question of the economic questions that arise from such huge numbers settling in the various countries they choose to settle in, what thought is being given to how they will settle. The bullet is assimilation. And its concomitant, what do we mean by assimilation. The subject is too complex to be covered other than in a cursory manner but assimilation is a topic not raised and not discussed in anything like a necessary manner.

If policies of assimilation are not put into place what is the result? Ghettos, banlieues? Who benefits from the creations of such living conditions? Were Muslims arriving is small numbers the question need not arise but they are not. We cannot have one set of social conditions for one set of a population and another for others. Is not the wearing of the burka or Muslim dress by women a subjugation of women. Have women not fought and are still fighting for equality. Is not the wearing is this dress style an imposition by the men who adhere to the faith? There is not argument that a pillar of democracy is the freedom to worship as one wishes. There is, however, a distinction to be made between religious freedom and a body of belief that incites hatred towards those members of society who do not adhere to those beliefs. This is not religious freedom. Such expressions of hatred must not be tolerated. A tolerance for the expression of hatred towards any fellow citizen cannot be protected. Laws must curtail such expression. Tolerance for the expression of hatred begets greater hatred. Tolerance for places which harbour those who insist on spreading hatred is seen by those who inhabit such places is seen as weakness. Tolerance is strength. Permitting the espousal of hatred is indulgence.

It is not for this writer to offer proscriptions as to how policies of assimilation are formulated or implemented. But that such policies are required is beyond argument. The question is not, do we need them. The question is, what do we need and how do we implement what we need.

We cannot wait for the arrival of a Martin Luther of Islam. Nor, by the same token, can we seek to impose reform. What we can demand is that citizens, Muslims or not, obey the laws of the land. Those laws cannot include the freedom to espouse hatred in any form. As to assimilation, well, let a discussion begin. Classes in citizenship, for a start? Active social policies that move people out of ghettos? Citizen groups that seek to help newcomers settle.

There are inconsistencies in these arguments. How could there not be. Let others point these out. In a civil manner. Sufficient it is to cause discussion and disagreement for we sorely need it. A public forum for the discussion of these issues is lacking, and social media is not it, though is certainly plays a part.

Malcolm D B Munro
25 November, 2015

Filed under: Culture

I, Subject and Object

I, subject and object.
Is this ontological or
Merely spurious?

Can a distinction of meaning be made,
Or can the self never be object as
Seen by the self?

One’s subjectivity comes from
The self, I suppose. Is this
A seeing in. Is this being aware?

What then is objectivity.
Is that too an awareness.
Of what kind; how does it

What of our language which
Forms solely from subject,
Verb, object structure?
No other form is possible.

I see, he sees, she sees,
They see. Are each of these
Subjects? Who sees me seeing,
Him seeing, her seeing, them

These seeing are all pronouns.
Am I a pronoun? Can I be a
Pronoun? I don’t ever feel like
A pronoun. Is this simply
A figure of speech?

So, then,
If it is that I am only a pronoun
In speech, in non speech I am
Not. Agree?

But I know I see. But do I know
He sees, she sees, they see.
How do I know they do?
Suppose they are blind and
I don’t know.

I can think of these;
The I that sees. What then.
Are we now engaging in a
Circular arguement.
Is there any way out?

So, how do I know I am
Subject? Is this merely
Convention? Suppose it
Didn’t have a name, a word name.
What then? But I don’t need
A word, do I? Is that right?

The object is there, indisputably.
Does it need this referentiality.
No, it does not. Do you agree?
What do you think? Can you tell me?

What about subjectivity? Now we
Stray into meaning. And I didn’t
Mean to go there. How do I know
He, she, they, have subjectivity?
I don’t.

But surely subject and subjectivity are
Different, are they not. The SOV
Sentence doesn’t speak of subjectivity.
Do we need subjectivity to see.
No, we do not. Agreed?

What, then, of I, subject and object.
Am I both? Am I aware of being an object.
OK, I am being looked at, does that mean
That I am become an object? Am I aware of
Becoming an object?

So, I as subject and object; can I be
Both. No I can’t. I can only be subject.
Strictly, I can’t see myself as object.
Does this mean that for myself I am
Not an object and never can be?

Can one ever, if this is so,
Ever be objective of one’s self.
Are locked, then, forever in the
Subjectivity of the self?

Malcolm D B Munro
3 January, 2016

Filed under: poetry

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