There is a lot out there in the world to despair and to be depressed about.
I do NOT mean to make light of the personal or natural disasters and accidents that happen.These are however,events locked into the very meaning and nature of living.There is also the pain of our relationships with each other-we don’t all like each other,and its never likely to be the case that we all get along all of the time.At some level or other we have to come to terms with this reality,and beyond immediate need,we ought to be able to live in societies in which there are somehow or other”services”to ease the pain of this and to cope as best we can.
What makes,i think all of this so excruciatingly difficult and additionally painful which seems rationally to lead to depression or despair are the fault lines,the divisions in society that essentially seems to give one part of such division a disproportionate power and advantage,whilst dispossessing and de-valuing the rest of us.It seems to me that anything can be used as a basis of such division,and i remember during my training as a social worker taking part in a simulation game that illustrated and made the point-that i think was called something like community or star power.We also seem to live in an economically divided,class society which further compounds and exploits other and probably pre-existing divisions,like age,race,gender,(dis)ability.
That is broadly and briefly i understand the world.I look at the world again and see the juggernaut style impact of powers and institutions and those in power,set against those with much less,those almost without and the dispossessed.
Again despair and depression seem rational responses to that world.It seems hopeless.Yet,as a conversation with a friend earlier this afternoon reminded me,there are signs of hope,and we have to act and believe as if there is hope,or there is nothing.
Without meaning to be soft and romantic about it,i think love always lies behind that and at the root of hope.I do think St.Paul was right about the importance of faith,hope and charity(caritas=love)and that along with him,the greatest of these is love.
Love of what?Love of the world is contended and contentious.So for me it has to be humanity.I will not make exceptions to that notion except to say this:notions of evil are problematic,so i prefer to see the world this way-hoping(there is hope again)that we might all work together,but recognising that some have sought division and privelege-but that finally people will choose not simply what is popular,but what is right within the context of the mass of humanity,or the human family.That word family is important-even if imprecise.Most of us experience famiky in some way or another and i would hope are realistic in the way we come to some kind of terms with it.At its best,it is not perfect,but we relate to it and to each other,we do the best we can with it and in our lives.That leads to considerations,i hope of friendship,solidarity,companionship,comradeship…and i would hope at least a notion that we should live and let live.
What fuels me too is that when it works,the material of our affiliations may seem gossamer like in a very material,alienated world-but actually it can be amazingly powerful and strong in the world.
I have often heard expressions like that it is the poorest who are most generous,and i have seen and experienced this for myself.I also see an almost instinctive solidarity amongst my class,defined in terms of the relationship to the means of production,and underneath that combination of self deprecation and simple to failure to recognise who we are,i note the astonishing range of talent,energy,passion amongst my class.The other class talk a lot about genius,and special ability that then seems to attach to some notion of justified privelege.They talk a lot about themselves and insist on telling us.At the same time they are only interested in us as labour,or in order to demonise and blame us,or for the entertainment value of some sort of peculiar human interest stories.It seems to me that actually beyond the limits of our labour,which they fetishise,they don’t understand us at all.
Although we need to do exactly that-to understand ourselves and our class.As i hope we more fully begin to do so,then we might heal the divisions that ravage us,and in becoming fully self-conscious of ourselves as a class,and stand to our full stature,as human beings and indeed as the gravediggers of both the old,decadent,destructive capitalist society which seems to dominate us at present and to built in its place a commonwealth,a common treasury that we can share and live in together in our full humanity.
Then i believe we shall see that “Working People are Amazing!”