Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Thinking Allowed

"We must help each other". So said Brian Gerrish in a recent edition of UK Column News, the news channel that seeks to understand the causes of social malaise. Those words put me in mind of the 1st September entry on this Understanding Life and Debt blog and the story of the Bonesetter. In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War he turns up to accept, with great dignity, a charity handout of food. Bonesetters were traditional healers who, like priests, teachers, parents, carers and farmers, gave service outside the money economy. Their work was informed by the common cultural heritage of traditional learning and skills, built up over untold generations. They supported, and were supported by, the community as a whole. This raises a host of highly discussable questions.

The notion of being trained to give service has given way to the necessity to be trained to perform specific tasks in return for a money wage or salary. Those tasks are specified by a system that is beyond the comprehension or control of even the most senior economists, historians, philosophers and academics. The young men and women of today are being trained to produce and administer, pharmaceutical, agribusiness and technological products that the world economy demands by virtue of its control over finance in all its guises.

At the end of a very long article on modern medicine in New View (Autumn 2021) Dr. Thomas Hardtmuth describes an event that took place earlier this year in Germany:

"On 1 August 2021, I took part in a demonstration against the corona measures in Berlin, and I have never seen so many peaceful and relaxed people, families with children, pensioners, artists, musicians, intellectuals,and even clowns – all from the middle-class echelons of society. I couldn’t find a single ‘Nazi’ or other so-called (rightist) ‘radical’, as they are so often presented in our German media! Talking to some of the participants,it was so pleasant for me to experience how many sympathetic, courageous and also educated people there are in our country – a modern, colourful society, as one would basically like to see.

"In fact, the planned demonstration on the 'Strasse des 17 Juni’ and in the government district had been banned, so that the estimated 200,000 people dispersed in numerous smaller marches throughout the centre of Berlin. What was frightening was the massive extent of the brutality and show of force with which the police acted. Endless squadrons of emergency vehicles raced through the city with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing – actually, completely senseless – generating a catastrophic kind of mood for which there was no justification at all. Countless police squads in black uniforms, with helmets, visors, batons, tear gas, firearms, knee and elbow pads (as if they wanted to win a war) obviously had orders from ‘above’ to stop and disperse the demonstration marches by means of numerous road-blocks. Some of the violence used was so martial that the UN Special Representative for Human Rights Violations has since intervened with an enquiry to the government.

At one point, we were directly confronted by a chain of police officers. On closer inspection, the pale faces of totally over strained and completely insecure young people, including many young women in their early twenties, who were sweating with fear, were partially hidden in these threatening-looking suits of armour; how grotesque! An older woman next to me obviously also made a similar observation, stepping forward and shouting to them, ‘Why don’t you take off your helmets – we won’t hurt you!’. After this ‘disarming’ sentence, there was a short silence; it was one of those small profound moments where it brought tears to some people’s eyes because this simple sentence had such a strong impact.

Dr. Hardtmuth asks the fundamental question of our times: "Where does this aggression and accompanying fear come from, which threatens to divide society more and more at the moment, and which has already destroyed so many relationships in private life?"

It is a question that can only be answered by all of us living today. As we go about our daily business, as adults young and old, the task is to maximise what we can do for others in the real economy - outside the financial economy - whilst seeking to rationalise our relationship with the financial economy. (See resources on the website

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