Towards Better Democracy

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

Who’s a thinker?


When I set up this blog, Towards Better Democracy, in 2006, I fervently wished for the people of the Middle East to know freedom. Perhaps not in the sense that we know it, necessarily. But in a form that at the very least allowed those people who have only known oppression for, in some cases, thousands of years, an ability to lead their lives such that they were untrammelled by the mad actions and ideas of some tin pot thrusting himself bloodily on the stage of life, dripping with blood as his panoply of power.

But, despite the success of the blog, its fevered discussions in the comments column – you can dig down to the lower levels to see for yourself – and despite the fact that the students of Egypt, having the life of them torn out like so much litter on a sidewalk surely in need of being broadcast to the world – if read by only a few, I quit. In an instant.

One of my followers, a highly intelligent individual who had contributed significantly to the discussions, called me a “Thinker.”

That was it. I turned off the light and stopped writing. There was a long silence until I revived it with my poetry not long ago.

No, I am not a thinker nor ever sought to be. What I wish for I do not have a word for. Modest I am then and am still. I would like to see others take up the torch I hold aloft still. To have people take charge of their lives and not allow others, whoever they are and whatever means they use to take over the minds of their populace, willingly or not, and proletize and spread what I so earnest speak of. Whether I seek to be a spark for that I cannot say. Those who read those columns, posts, where this vital life enhancing need is spoken may think, “Yes, the man has something,” or they may not, the points being made may pass over their heads, or sthey may feel that life is complex enough without taking on something abstract, impossible ideal, however vaunted, perhaps to ever put into effect in real life, or too utopian to ever think that such an idea is achievable given how we are, all are. But this not near true. When the French in 1789, and the Americans before them in 1766, held aloft a spirit, a spirit of the idea that human life, the way that humanity might live, in dimensions hitherto not previously thought of, with the exception perhaps of the Polis of the Ancient Greeks. Have we not always sought, wherever we are on the planet, to be free, truly free in an unadulterated, undiluted way.

What role I seek to play in all this I cannot possibly say. I am driven by a fierce, fierce belief that it is possible, that it takes simply a decision on the part of a sufficient number of people, critical mass if you like, or a group of intellectual, to posit a way that points to how we might achieve this aim, and for it to be sustainable, even over the centuries to come.

The United Nations, a concept itself breathtaking at the time and not much respected in oura, formulated a document which is magnificent in its vision and scope, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Only the Constitution of the United States, even if this is effected more in the breach than on a daily basis. Still it does exist, that proud American document, and the Statue of Liberty, a gift of the French, holds aloft the torch of freedom. This is not mockery but sincerely felt. The vast majority of Americans will tell you so.

Even if the Declaration of Human Rights is barely respected, not even read, maybe not even be known of by people at large, is seen as something impossible to achieve, and even if it is flouted in word and spirit by the members of the United Nations, still it was written, does exist, and, as such sets up the words of what we all, in our billions, might strive to achieve.

I never thought for a moment when I started some nine months ago to post music links, heartened by the response to them, surprised even, that I would be posting a nakedly political musical post. I felt such crosscurrents of irony, of breathlessness, at what I was doing, in this most recent of posts, As Zizek says in the following post in an accent so thick I don’t think I have ever heard its like – I have never heard him before and have not been much drawn to his books – says so rightly, so accurately, Laibach’s visit to North Korea (I was looking for post rock bands in Noth Korea – fat chance), which might have as its power mongers, the most reviled political bunch on the planet, was no regular visit of a Western band visiting the single most closed country in existence, at least at present, nominally Communist. This is no Michel Jarre Concerts in China, the first Western musician to be invited to visit and play in Communist China – one doesn’t quite know what political hue it hews to now – and Jarre was not the first, Isaac Stern was decades before as recorded in From Moa to Mozart, the most inspiring film I have ever seen, that’s more than likely.

I have no wish  to be controversial. The aims espoused by this blog can be voiced in far more moderate terms and thus achieve, one hopes, a far greater effect as a result. Should it never make a difference, I suppose I could say I would like it to. One does not resign but better to fight until death. One at least feels at its end that one has done something worth while.

So, yes, I am not a thinker. And Zizek, whatever one thinks of him, is a thinker. I could never match him. I did not know of him at the time, I recoiled from the label given me which I so much did not want. To have the brain and means of expression that Zizek has, no, I was not given those at birth. A brain such as that required to think in a deep and pellucid way cannot be acquired and the modes of expression, the mark of the thinker, come with the territory of such a mind.

I am simply content to be, to the fullest extent that I can, true to myself and others. I can to more than that.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 13 August, 2017

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Filed under: Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, politics, songs, stories

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