Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Letting go

A letter to an amenable literalist.

..thank you. You too. It's rare to find a Christian apologist who acknowledges the benefits of politeness in discourse!

I was merely saying, I am less inclined to argue here. (There is little to be gained by trading punches with ghosts, holy or otherwise). I am however very interested to know why someone of previously good reason would kick over the traces and hitch his creativity to a belief in God. Especially a god constructed by the barely literate, from the shreds of other myths and legends and whose narrative is held together by a kind of cod poly-philosophy.

I have some sympathy with your reluctance to return without your hand holder. It is a wonderful thing, to have conviction.

There are gods I shall miss. In the process of moving on from childish things, I have now abandoned any fancies I may have entertained about being graced in paradise gardens by the young blue Krishna. I no longer yearn for the towering palely lit Mountains of the Moon where the only breeze is borne on the breath of angels and serves to gently tease the leaves of Yggdrasil. My frequent search for evidence of the paranormal no longer troubles me and pareidolia remains an amusing distraction. nothing more.

That other state of being, allied to a loss of self and designed to throw the ego to the whim of god, no longer bothers me. I have now become near grown up and relish the beginning of my education. What went before was fine and served well to glue my person to the backing papers as required.

Now, it is of more interest to me what happens in the quantum universe. Where rules are fluid things and understanding is hard won. I am more willing to put the effort in. At long last!

Yours is a seemingly comfortable place. So long as the ties that bind you to your god aren’t loosened. It is fascinating to hear you and those others of your bent, eloquently comparing and contrasting your beliefs with our knowledge. Straining to apply ’faith’ to our understanding and desperate to oblige inquisitiveness with evidence; only to find yourselves falling once more to scripture. Not a textbook, nor an instruction leaflet. A go-to document however, whose verses have been scoured and reinterpreted over the last thousand years by those who's driving motive has been the control of others. (I include the effort exercised by scribes to salvage something human from the older testaments as humanity began to feel compassion for itself and a prophet seemed a good idea).

It still works.

And if, as we have discussed, the simplicity and beauty of the verses is challenged by us as ’fiction’ you turn to terms such as ’hating god’ and ’insolence’ in an effort to aggrandise your faith and elevate your argument above humanity.

You talk of the ’New Atheists’. I repost with well meant scorn for your own arrogance. We have been around for as long as reason and self awareness itself. You talk of an earth no older than Sequoia, of dinosaurs and humans coexisting on the plains, of Natural Selection as a 'Faith' and Darwin as a 'New God' to those of us who reject your own. You fundamental literalists have only been around this same length of time. You are the unquestioning and willing victims of your own circular argument and other's political and financial success. At best.

The fact of this new medium’s ability to make our feelings known may make you flinch. This is no new movement though. It merely benefits from the internet’s ability to spread ideas as they develop. You too could benefit as greatly. It's merely that your understanding has no scope for development. It can't share the planet with humanism. Not because there is no room for variety, more because the majority are now inclined to offer real, physical hand holding. A steadying grip whilst you gradually relinquish yours on the malevolent grasp of fairies.

Welcome to the bottom of the garden, here's a spade...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Moving Air

Awoke to further intrusion from an unelected nonegenarian informing the country that he finds the concept of wind turbines unacceptable.

I on the other hand have no say in the matter of whether or not to allow monarchy to intrude on my life and assume the right to the oxygen of publicity. Or the oxygen I share with them for that matter.

Time for a revolution I think.

Its just that there's not enough wind.

Friday, 18 November 2011


For over fifty years I have listened to a few pieces of music. People have introduced me to some alternatives but, for the most part, I have remained loyally stuck with a limit of a dozen works.
My collection on compact disk is modest by most standards but large enough to warrant the occasional sort by name or composer. There are perhaps four hundred pieces. They are arranged in towers in the living room, unobtrusive.
They are however, merely an indicator of my tastes. A catalogue of forms that I have been interested enough to hear. Some have been a lifestyle theme or background for brief periods. I am not a habitual listener, preferring the spoken word in my home and car.

There is some music that can stop me mid breath however. Some notes and spaces that cause immediate stillness for attention or in preparation of rhythm. There are allegri, arias and arpeggios whose effect transcends mere listening. My breath caught, physical change occurs with quick cessation of movement. Eyes and hands left resting on their last intended object.

At these moments, I am immediately filled with wonder. There are few creative acts that can effect such change in so little time and they are solely physically generated in passion or pain.

Here is another wonder. The composer, removed from us by geographic distance and by time, effecting these and other shifts of physics, brain and mind and adding to the whole by prompting us to ask how this act is made possible in the first place?

It struck me recently that the reward we offer for the composer, performer and conductor's effort is obviously wealth. But on a far more basic plane, we offer another piece of music in return.

I would count amongst the many members of the percussion group, ourselves. The audience makes a response so cogent in reply and measured to the pleasure of the gift received, as to make the small percussive postscript to the piece a gift from them.


No conductor, no bars, no score.
The biggest orchestra in the house and more,
a solo piece in each and every seat.
A coda making every show complete.
Let's hear it for the crowd! In Paris, London and Milan.
Let's hear it for the driver of the minivan
whose first experience of Bruch or Bach
caused havoc as he missed a place to park.

Let's hear it for them.