Living in interesting times

The fool on the hill

Sees the sun going down

And the eyes in his head

See the world spinning round

How different all our lives would be if we, just for a day, and then maybe a week, stopped worrying about the things that we cannot control. And focused instead on the things we can. If our world was rid of all the things that are happening outside the sphere in which we have any influence, and filled instead with the things we do, how much more relaxing our existence would be.

But, how boring it probably would be. We might be upset by the events of the last year, yet we are fascinated by it all. The raw shocking humanity of a changing world holding a mirror up to us.

Our minds are built with an appetite for interesting times, for a script with an unexpected twist. Rolling news channels and news feeds no longer hold any interest unless they are emblazoned with the red or yellow banners of breaking shocking events. When you up the ante in terms of interesting times, then how fallow the next period becomes. How will poor 2017 seem when we come to compare it to its predecessor? Our appetite is set to shock mode now. There is probably nothing that President Trump or Prime Minister May could say or do now that would shock or amuse us anymore. And through all this, we’ve almost completely forgotten about our own sticking plaster Government which it took half the year to compose.

A year ago, none of us could have foreseen the series of unfortunate events that have befallen the world in terms of stability. All of these events have shaken us. And shaken our faith in the years ahead. But fret not. A decade ago, we could not have foreseen that this country would ever be able to walk again. Yet it has begun to crawl again and has shown strong signs of recovery.

We are perched here on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic, trapped on one side by a country that wants its cake and to eat it, and on the other side, a country led by a man who you would not send to the shop to buy the aforementioned cake.

Our mind plays headtennis as we flit from one to the other, our capacity for disbelief stretched evermore by the day.

This week we sit back, we eat the popcorn, and look on at a strange game unfolding around us. Here on the edge of Europe, our vision of our EU colleagues blocked by Britain, like waving to a friend in a crowd, a friend who is two rows back, who may not throw us a helping hand. We don’t know where Europe ends and begins for us anymore, culturally and politically.

Like the Fool on the Hill, perhaps it is best we sit back and watch the action, see what unfolds, knowing that no matter what happens, the best of human nature will come out in the end. But this will only happen if we make our own contrbution to the type of world we want to see.

It is incumbent on the media especially to be ever questioning and never fawning. It is incumbent on us all to show compassion and empathy if we want it to be a factor of social policy.

So this week, crack out the popcorn and enjoy the show. But then get to work on making the world you want to see.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

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