Wheat and Weeds

Monday, 16 November 2009

I was standing pondering at the traffic lights the other day how it is that we are herds of sheep if we are asleep, and how easy it would be for some sheep to get themselves run over. People regularly cross against the lights if there is a break in traffic. Some I see just walk out behind the gaggle already crossing and come perilously close to getting themselves skittled.

I sat with my friend Jane yesterday feeling strangely emotional as she told me about the advances happening in terms of understanding the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Twenty five years ago it was called the yuppie flu and even when I first contracted it 10 years ago it was still a thing maligned and barely believed amongst the medical profession and therefore amongst the public. Now the snowball is beginning to roll after some evidence has been found linking a retrovirus found in 95% of CFS patients tested. The people at the forefront of the testing are a virologist whose career was basically ruined a couple of decades ago by the powerful who refused to believe what she was saying back then. It wasn't until she was tending bar and came by chance across a millionaire whose daughter had been sick with CFS for a couple of decades, and who funded the set-up of the institute she now is a part of that headway has begun to be made. So now maybe the ones who were far less lucky than me, who have been ill for longer than my scanty six years without seeing health on the other side, will now be enjoying renewed hope.

It's always small groups of individual people who are not blinded and made thick by the system and what power they have to lose, and who have learnt in some measure to refuse to live in their superiority and great ego, who are able to see what is often in plain view.

It is unfortunate isn't it that the people still want a king. We do; it seems to be some sort of element of our makeup that many of us are too fearful to question and instead want to be led. And of course Christianism-as-empire-religion-of-the-powerful has perpetuated that down through the centuries. What easier way to put people in fear and subjugation than to dangle them over the eternal hellpit? To teach them that they cannot learn for themselves but must be taught by those with greater authority?

We want someone to tell us what to do, what is good, what is bad if we do not trust that the kingdom is within. We have been taught over and over that the heart is deceitful above all things. But I believe that our hearts have been made good. That we can trust our hearts. That it is where God speaks.

These days the king is seeming more like the great structure itself than a person, but it still stands. We don't want to question the structure of the giant thing grown up around us because it would make us feel unsafe. We do not want to probe into the beginnings of things - for example, the police force, off the top of my head, or the law system - to find that they grow up all higgledy piggledy, created here and created there in response to needs of a particular age and then incarcerated into the system where they are carved in stone.

How squashed down humanity is under these things, the kingdoms of this world.

I understand how and why these structures come up. It's not like they spring up overnight, and it's not like you can really blame any one particular person; they just grow. But to stay safely ensconced in them out of fear is to blind yourself. The only real safety is in the freedom of people relating to people. The system kills in us the knowledge of what a powerful thing that is, but it remains so.

I saw a cool series of artworks a few weeks ago. All were composed of large architectural drawings of cities, in pencil, precise, clean lines. On top of each drawing was imposed something else, in but not of, full of colour and life. I can only remember one of them now because my memory is like unto a fish, but it was rows of buildings, and up on the roofs green grass and gardens, all connected to each other by walkways high above the traffic.


  1. Haven't had a chance to visit for a few days. Like the new design! Simple and clear.

    I think that yes, there is something in human nature that wants - or perhaps presumes - a King, or an alpha leader or some such. It saves us from thinking for ourselves and is to a large extent mirrored in the natural world. But then we get pissed off when the leader lets us down, and we act like slaves without playing our own roles in the hunting and gathering equivalents.

    And our roles often involve us in asking awkward questions like this virologist you mention. The whole history of modern medicine often seems like an exercise in keeping expertise in the hands of genuine medics. After all, what on earth can patients and obscure lab technicians know about anything??

  2. "but it was rows of buildings, and up on the roofs green grass and gardens, all connected to each other by walkways high above the traffic."

    I like that illustration and it reminds me of Zooropa. That's what that song means to me.

    Zooropa... Skip the subway
    Zooropa... Let's go to the overground
    Get your head out of the mud baby
    Put flowers in the mud baby


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