Sunday, 20 October 2019

Abiding By Reality


Dear Reader,
      Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
      The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
      When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
      Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

      Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
      Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
      Change and decay in all around I see—
      O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
This is a week where anger seems to have been raising its ugly head more than ever in recent decades. My wife and I have directly experienced the sharp end of that unsavoury instrument this week from a neighbour, and in all the main topics that form the main news of the day, anger is often the underlying principle.

Anger - by its very nature - is directed outwards, the person or persons venting their frustration against something they perceive to be the cause of their frustration. But the secret is that all too often what anger is expressed is against a reflection of their own choice or of their own belief system or of some aspect of quality apparently missing in their own lives. 

Hitler knew this, and in using its power he successfully engineered the anger of the so-called pure German people against the Jewish people to psychologically alleviate the suffering imposed on them by the victorious powers after the First World War. Anger can be a terrible weapon, and dictatorships all too often try to deflect the anger of their own people to some other cause on a false pretext.

Today, anger seems to be developing as a principle way by which people can express themselves. I am not suggesting that protesting is wrong per se, but where any violence (physical or verbal) is employed it will most likely have the reverse result of what is expected. As Ghandi successfully demonstrated.

At football matches, for example, there are pockets of fans (as a friend rightly describes) who engage in "vile chanting, which not only contains foul language, but is often personally abusive to people. What some players and managers have to put up with is also unacceptable. Some of the hand gestures towards opposing supporters, players, manager and referee are also highly offensive...".

I agreed with him and wrote to our mutually favoured football club to express this concern and suggested that some form of pre-match community singing be introduced - perhaps (but not necessarily) using the long-utilised Abide With Me heard at all FA Cup Finals. But it received a rather wishy-washy response from that club, saying they would pass the idea around but suggesting that the club should not impose such a thing on the fans.

But football clubs or their overseers have always imposed things on the fans. For example, the triumphal entrance music when the players come out, which can, in fact, exacerbate a sense of aggression. Or at least that music can suggest compliance of the club with the stimulation of a competitive spirit - which for some can degenerate into what my friend described.

Music itself has the ability to change mood, so the least competition-generating music the better in my view. And better still if those attending matches can sing in unison about something that will help to bind them together in a cooperative way. Yes, I know that fans sing their own self-made songs during the match, but that's not quite what I refer to, though it could be if the thinking behind it was appropriate.

The key matter is that all too often people generate anger about something that they themselves have helped to create. It is very easy to point fingers at others, and one reason why I am cautious about Greta Thunberg's approach. In point of fact, I believe that the argument that she and her followers put forward about mass extermination is the wrong argument - for though Climate Change is a definite matter of concern, the only solution is by all us humans changing our ways of thinking and acting.

Any protest, in my view, should be a call to all (all of us) to put progressively more trust in our Creator and by accordingly changing our ways by being a sympathetic part of what is around us.

Thus, as in Abide With Me:
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Our task - surely - is to discover what it is about ourselves that fails to comply with the reason for our creation. Why do we seek more, more, more? Why not instead seek peace, peace, peace? Why not instead seek love, love, love?

The struggle to find the truth about ourselves, and to correct it, does take a lot of self-work. But that is the only solution - not by accusing others nor seeking revenge. Those "others" are extensions of our very selves, so in reality there are no "others" to protest about!

If we believe All Is One and seek peace then we need to live that belief and be the example.

Thank you for reading this.