Friday, January 06, 2017

The glory days of the Empire are over

I have been having an interesting debate with a friend about the Trump phenomenon - he thinks it's not much of a change for: a) the republic will endure in any case and b) it has always been corrupt. Well, I don't think so: there was much prudent leadership during the Cold War, much good will and patient wisdom in building the post-wars structures in the 40's and 50's that ended up defeating the state Stalin built. Corruption too, of course, but corruption held in check with many countering forces.

Now those forces have weakened, some becoming corrupt themselves. Now we have a large section of the media sowing hatred and ignorance, large religious movements that have forgotten what traditional Christianity is about, fractured, defensive and declining system of public education. Virtue not rewarded, greed and shortsightedness gifted with ever greater profits to ever fewer people.

Yes, the glory days are over and the federal government itself is now in the hands of a corrupt, ignorant thug and rabble rouser. Things have changed and centre is ever less holding.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

To have kissed any person behind the fence where the nettles wither

To age is a weird experience: any perspective you gain might not be that trustworthy as it skews the original experience. And the regret you thus accumulate might be quite or partially mistaken. Well, in any case, there certainly were no kisses with no boys, almost no boys, no girls, in my early years, and there probably should have been many I now gather with this benefit of hindsight, this wisdom only too expensively earned surely. Though still thinking perhaps it was not only a loss - or is this too esoteric or elegiac a point to entertain? The absence in some respects being more meaningful than the presence at the time would have realistically been?

Of course talking in much wider sense than mere relationships - rather of that long life denying period of my late teens and early 20's, and, no, I well know that it wasn't a total loss and much was earned, even with a high price. Oh well, a rather beautiful song in the early morning hours led to this mostly fruitless observation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Тебе что не нравится советская власт?!

These days one is wondering about the fate of the Eastern borderlands of Europe - many not that eastern culturally at all. The soon to be leader of the Western world seems to have strangely retro dreams of pacts and spheres of influence with the other cleptocracy in Kremlin cheering on. Who knows what will happen in this unpredictable era of not so awfully funny clowns - or worse - but everything seems to indicate a return of history to Europe after 6-7 decades of stability. That does not bode well for small civilized nations. Strange landscapes these.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Emotion recollected in tranquility

Maybe not for the creation of poetry though. I find myself again returning to those furious affections that now seem both essential and, well, quaint, from the perspective of age. Essential as the colours never were so bright, the air never so clear and cold and only the moment so essential. Quaint as it seems that worries now are so much more profound, more serious, permanent. It's hardly the most original observation ever but it's is good to recollect that both assesments are simultaneously true: we can neither dismiss the past nor the present. I do miss the immediacy, the seriousness of those times (maybe not so much the searing pain), and I'm very glad that I got to learn and experience new things about life and love after leaving them.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Athens and Jerusalem

It is interesting to note that so far the attack has mostly concerned the Christian part of the twin pillars: the chipping away of the non-materialist universal values, of compassion and kindness, of charity. The cancer has also manifested in the many perversions of Christianity witnessed today (especially in the US), that have not much common at all with the old universal church and it's traditions variously kept and stressed in the traditional Western and Orthodox denominations (including the church of Rome which is no universal church). Instead there is a kind of mock-"Christianity" as fashioned by Capital: brutal and non-compassionate sanctioning all sorts of moral sacrileges.

Athens, I suppose, remains at the core: the rebellious idea of emancipation and personal liberty. But without the influence of Jerusalem it was a savage, barbarian creed - narrow to the very point of meaninglessness. And it might easily be the next target with this feast of greed and hatred and willful ignorance. For without christian-humanist values why should we be overly concerned with notions of citizens' rights and impartial justice, wouldn't they just be empty, undefended, uncomprehended past citadels then?

Well, this is history - we had lazy days of blind hedonism, minding our private businesses (as one should in a civilized society) but that might prove to be only a temporary pause and now those interested in maintaining the structures of enlightenment and reason might have to find another mode of passion and fighting to defend them. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Second time also as tragedy?

Historical memory is short: it was the horror of total war and the unimaginable crimes of crazed totalitarian or authoritarian ideologies that made the post-war West so selfsecure in its liberalism and social market economy. Reason and progress seemed very inviting after the feverish nightmare. But all nightmares are far gone now: the world has been made secure for the free movement of capital, for consumerism, for materialism. Liberalism is at most half-understood and thus half-heartedly defended by the technocratic elites adviced (or is it instructed) by the financial sector while increasingly large sections of population is left out, discarded.

But it wasn't capital and materialism that was to be secured after the Second World War, it was the people - naturally often helped by those things, as tools for safety and progress, securely harnessed to the welfare state. And liberalism itself, the hollow ideology: made for discussion, polyphony, tolerance and rational scepticism, made for no particular end - safe to protect the people from the fanatism and hatred of extreme ideologies that our human nature is so easily prone to.

And now we rehearse the 1930's again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace

The "great affair" - nothing great about it - surely brings out the sheer, incredible awfulness of the pre-revolutionary France. So much worse than the society that followed though I have never had much warmth towards the Revolution or Napoleon's regime. But those decadent painted dolls feasting while the society starves - those petty intrigues, small, ignorant personalities, nowhere near measuring up to their ludicriously august positions. Marie Antoinette surely among the least bad of them but still a living symbol of injustice and waste with no personal foresight or wisdom (until it was too late).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We need Keynes and we need him now

The neo-liberal consensus has brought us to Brexit and Trump (cum the various Eastern European neo-fascisms). And it might even be too late now. But in any case we desperately need positive, activist, optimistic message from the liberal democratic main stream parties. If this madness will not stop, things will get even worse. And they are bloody bad already. When was the last time the West had such incompetent, stubborn and blind elites? The 1930's? The 1910's? This stupidity has to stop.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Politics of resentment and moral corruption

It was 2004 when I realized how rotten the once robust system had gotten: moral decadence in the money infested late empire politics. Facts did not matter, short sighted resentments and utterly ruthless propaganda mattered: the pendulum was stuck. The deep structures of historical and economic change brought forward globalization and ever increasing power of capital in relation to work - and the relatively liberalistic economic policies even by the moderate centre "left" did not give much to large sections of the middle and working classes who had to run harder to stand merely still. Then the corrupt media, cynical conservative elites, deranged billionaire donors combined with a history of nasty racialist sentiments and grievances co-operated and manipulated these temporary - one hopes - seizures of power.

There was no activist, self-confident, Keynesian compromize offered, only some half-hearted, much vilified attempts that did not form a coherent "new deal", even feebler in the dysfunctional and Brüningian EU than in the US. And now we have a charlatan, a xenophobe rabble rouser in the White House possibly leading an isolationist administration that might not support the post-war security arrangements, so painstakingly built by a more confident, more open republic. Who knows to what catastrophes this will lead, to what further collapses.

Friday, October 07, 2016

You have what they don't: this moment and the future

And so much better sounding in the original Finnish, so bravely, defiantly sung, decades ago, all one now. Contemplating today a human tragedy - but not only a tragedy - among a myriad such. I have feared that with increasing age there would be increasing resignation and (worst of all) cynicism. But not so yet: I still see the beauty and the horror of existence as freshly as ever. That surely is a genuine achievement - there is not only tragedy but triumph in all human life.