The meaning of life


You might think that 67 is a bit late to discover that pretty much all I’ve thought about society and the way it’s organised is not only wrong, but terribly wrong, in fact, life threateningly wrong.

It is likely that without the Tories I would never have made this discovery, or even cared. It’s the kind of discovery that it takes a crisis like democide in order to see, something that is guaranteed to get your attention.

A great many things you learn in life are initially painful which later, with hindsight, one can be grateful for the lesson. This gratitude, however, is not necessarily directed towards those who orchestrated the experiences that later bore fruit, what they have earned is my undying enmity, and quite right too. The lessons learnt from being conned, lied to or robbed, should not include gratitude for criminals.

It has been a couple of months since I last wrote anything. A devastating loss for me which was triggered by a life decision with the most unexpected, life changing, consequences. On the 13th June 2018 I gave up smoking.

The day before, I had been to see my therapist for a session in which I threw a hissy fit and all my toys out of my pram. I had made an appointment with the practice nurse at my local health centre for the next day and I regaled my therapist with one of the best tantrums of my life. What the fuck did I think I was doing? 67 years old, a smoker for 57 years and I was about to deprive myself of my last addiction and become, as they say, completely clean, in a life dominated by recreational drug use, alcohol addiction and smoking. It felt like a profound personal betrayal in which I was about to become straight, a condition I have spent a life time despising.

My error was about to be revealed to me… I had kept myself straight for 57 years, tranquillised with the most powerful legal, over the counter, drug available (in my experience), through good times and bad, and I was about to see what life looked and felt like without its numbing, coping, influence. It was shocking.

The strangest thing was that I was ready for it. I woke at 6am on Wednesday 13th. My appointment at the surgery wasn’t until 11.15, but as I sat having a coffee, I realised I wanted to do this, I was going to quit smoking. I was immediately assaulted by yearning, a mental and physical need for a cigarette which I observed, allowed and accepted as part of the journey I had now embarked on. I told myself that this was without doubt perfectly normal, a whole body reaction to addiction and the beginnings of cold turkey.

It was markedly different to alcoholism, in that I wasn’t hung over or physically and mentally wrecked from the effects of alcohol. This was razor sharp, more like grabbing a live wire that lit up my entire being. As an experience it wasn’t wholly unpleasant, it was just very intense, I was too alive, too present in the moment with nothing to relieve the intensity, yet the thought struck me, “Well fuck me, I’m going to do this.”

In the weeks since, I have had to learn some hard lessons about how I have not learnt how to live, but have bought into the dismal dystopia of my upbringing in a world which far from celebrating this amazing thing called life, makes of it a life of toil and servitude, lacking in any feelings of joyousness.

Am I not alive? Since when did it become the role of government and the system to steal every lest vestige of pleasure and joy from life? And never more so than right now.

It is an atrocity that I have become trapped in a dystopian reality that is an offence against my nature. It is a worse atrocity that this was forced upon me by those who came before me, handing down the lie from one generation to another.

I spent 11 years in school, for an education that could probably have been achieved in less than a year. It was wasted time, it mostly achieved keeping me off the streets, out from under my mothers feet and kept me contained in a day prison for children. At 67 years old I feel it for the first time, realise it for the first time, with gut wrenching pain and a mind made of confusion and mush.

I loathed school but never questioned the imposition of it. That would have helped all those years ago… Perhaps. Could I, would I, have fought it, would I have had enough guts and strength, as a child? Pointless to ask, but now is the time to deal with it, now is the time it has chosen to rise and make me aware.

All these years I’ve blamed child abuse and the children’s home, but they were nothing compared to this, all they did was soften me up, a victim waiting to happen. I’ve never experienced anger like this, never been so close to losing all control and being terrified of being sectioned and falling into their trap again.

This isn’t mental illness, this is real, present, it’s so real and intense and I can barely cope with it.

We are ruled by those who not only have no love, care or consideration for us, their attitude is dismissive and imperialistic. Their presumption to rule is as certain as their disdain for us ‘stock’. We are not educated in school, we are indoctrinated, we are not taught to think, we are taught to obey and we are taught the world according to them. We are educated into a rigged system into a world of work which is neither democratic, nor fair or just. We learn to be wage slaves and to accept that injustice as if it were entirely normal and ‘right’.

I spent 11 years in their lies, an unwilling prisoner with nowhere else to go. The callousness of the system was best summed up by a Careers Advice Officer, who asked me what I wanted to do in life, to which I replied that I wanted to be an artist. He laughed, not noting it down, nor recognising that I had said anything of meaning at all. I went into the EMI factory in Hayes, Middlesex, to begin an apprenticeship in electrical engineering at which I lasted less than 18 loathsome months.

Reality is not a lie, whatever form it takes or however it is forced and manipulated, but it can be a deceit or a scam which is true even as we live it. My school days were a lie, I was not there to be educated, I was there to be shaped and formed into an obedient acceptance of a narrow trajectory through life. I was not presented with choices or options, I was indoctrinated, no matter how badly or clumsily and no matter how much some essential part of me rejected it, I was indoctrinated to work for money, it wasn’t until I was in my 50’s that I came across the notion of making money work for me as a concept. The difference is enormous, an entire way of life different. Why was it never raised at school? Because I was educated for servitude, and even though my nascent shit detector was sensing a rat, I didn’t have the experience to see it, unravel it or understand it.

Those who rule us do not work for money, money works for them. They are not fixated on their weekly or monthly pay, or wondering if it will last, or if something unexpected will plunge them into debt. Their wealth is an asset that works for them. Working class people are blamed for not being entrepreneurial and for being risk averse, but no one points to how we are not educated to make money work for us, to see it as a mere tool and nor can we easily change our minds in the face of such a concept after all the indoctrination.

Imagine if we had been taught about life and what a wonder it is; a gift of nature for us to live. Oh, if we had been raised to wonder, for wonder, if our young minds had been nurtured in the magic of life, if we’d been taught what a gift life is, that it is the ultimate expression of the universe. An unearned free gift of every form and expression of life.

I have been indoctrinated by war, greed, domination and oppression, profit and power, and I’ve spent my life fighting against them, but I have never found the liberty I yearned for, or experienced joy. I’ve sensed joy, lurking somewhere in the background, in some secret place in me, a place protected and guarded against cynicism and despair, but I have never found the key, if there is one, to unlocking it or releasing myself from the constraints that bind me.

If there is a meaning to life, other than mere existence, it will never be found in politics, manufacturing, consuming, wealth, greed or power. It will certainly never be found in war, the most grandiloquent and futile failure of life and living. Patriotism is used to end life, not to celebrate it. Those who salute the flag and pretend service to Queen and country, are really just brigands. and bombing for peace really is like fucking for virginity.

I find myself yearning for life as never before. Deeply distressed and angry that it still eludes me, that I still haven’t got it. After a lifetime of fear, anxiety and depression, it is hard to escape their prison. But, god dammit, I want to, and long to, so much.


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