The THREE certainties in life
There are not just two certainties in life – there are actually at least three, and the third is one that conservatives try to ignore.
Yes – number one is death, which is inevitable, and the only options we have are to preserve life as long as possible by avoiding accidents and looking after our health as far as we are able. This has been a high priority in recent times, with national government negligence in caring for our elderly having to be held responsible for many unnecessary deaths in that cohort.
Number two – taxes – are usually viewed in the wrong light, as, rather than being a burden, rightly balanced they provide a means of ensuring that essential services are provided for rich and poor alike, and people whose circumstances are less favourable can be offered assistance to make life bearable. Disability and disadvantage can be lifelong situations, and those subject to them should be assisted as far as possible to enjoy a better quality of life.
So what is number three?
Every parent is aware of change from the moment a child is born. Change in the child her/himself, change in the priorities and degrees of freedom in the parents’ lives and change in the very way they regard a multitude of situations in the world around them.
And you do not need to be a parent – simply look at the world around you and think about what has changed – physically or in attitudes – in your own lifetime.
Knowledge leads inevitably to change.
We now have the opportunity to accept that age-old prejudices have no foundation.
Members of the LGBTIQ community, as well as conjoined twins, are not evil, to be shunned or punished for their difference, nor are those in the latter category either evil or, conversely, manifestations of a reborn god. They simply demonstrate the fact that the development of a foetus before birth does not always lead to a clearly gendered, single human being.
We have science to thank for so much of our expended knowledge, so that it is a source of constant puzzlement that governments pick and choose between which scientific evidence they promote and which they refuse to accept.
Additionally, perhaps it is because Australia is an island that we seem to be unable to think globally.
At least – SOME of us do – but interest groups like the fossil fuel lobby and the CFMEU have taken control of the ‘right’ and ‘left’ of politics while the majority of Australians – who are urgently seeking action on global warming – are being held hostage, as Australia rapidly becomes a pariah in the eyes of the developed world, most of which has accepted the need for action on climate change – AND IS TAKING THAT ACTION!!!.
GLOBAL WARMING IS A FACT!
CLIMATE CHANGE IS INCREASINGLY MAKING ITSELF FELT!
PEOPLE ARE DYING IN CONSEQUENCE, WHILE DROUGHTS, FLOODS, FIRES AND STORMS ARE RAVAGING THE ENVIRONMENT.
BIODIVERSITY IS UNDER ATTACK.
OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE IS BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY BLINKERED GROUPS FOR WHOM MONEY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN DEVELOPING THE POTENTIAL OF A CHILD.
THIS IS NOT ALARMIST TALK.
Yes – the Australian Premiers can congratulate themselves that, despite unhelpful interference from the Coalition government, Australia is one of the top countries in the world in terms of subduing the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have, of necessity, damaged our economy in the process, but which is least desirable – having a government in debt, or filling our hospitals and morgues with the dying and the dead?
Interest rates are low. Selling government bonds to provide funds to save people’s lives should take priority over pushing people into penury when there are too few jobs for everyone to be in employment.
If you really want to feed the economy, the solution is simple – make sure people have money to spend on more than the bare essentials!!
We really do need an effective Universal Basic Income.
We really do need government to recognise that the states and territories need much more support in providing – urgently – social housing and priority infrastructure.
We really do need a humane and compassionate approach to government, not a future seen through $ eyes.
We have genuine refugees who have – for at least seven years in many cases – I repeat – FOR 7 YEARS – been treated less humanely than are murderers held in prisons to protect society.
I do not know whether to laugh or cry when I hear people like Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Stuart Robert, Josh Frydenberg, et al talk about Australian values – as if they shared with the rest of us what they regard as ‘values’.
Robodebt, the cashless welfare card, support for private school education while public schools are starved of funds, undervaluation of the range of vital caring services, predominantly performed by females and refusal to set ideology aside and accept scientifically based evidence.
These are clear evidence that the values they waffle on about are not ones we would even consider sharing!
We have criticised the alternative facts and conspiracy theories which are alive and well in the USA, but we are far from immune from their thrall, and our refusal to deal properly with inevitable change is leading to inevitable problems – both in Australia and between other developed countries and us.
Just as there is a high level of co-dependency among all the elements of our environment, so there is also a co-dependency between the multitude of nations on this planet.
If we continue on a selfish path that ignores the needs of those less highly valued by the ideologues, most of us face a bleak future.
I don’t give a fig about a life after death – but I care one hell of a lot about the future of my 4 great grandchildren, all presently under 10 years old – as well as all the other children all round the world whose lives will be affected disastrously if we do not act on global warming – starting NOW!
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Huge Human manifestations of an arsehole pop up, from William the Fonquering quckerer, to Morrison, the P M, or Pustular Mendacity, or Piltdown Man, or Perverted Mentality. But Rupert Merde-Cock-Sukka is the top of the shitlist of smearing slime. All that is statistically certain. We get perverts, thieves, liars, double crossers, betrayers, more liars and combo con men like A Jones-Bumplug, B Joyce-Stickitin, Littledick-Proudtobealiar, Heathen Rorter-Inserter, endless lying ambitious doanythingfortheposandmoney conservative tarts, sodding slimes of business bullying in profiteering poxiness as in Solly and Gerry and Twiggy the Iggy, Stokes the little S S faithful observer, Costello the financial goat of gutless G A level, a whole country party full of failed tree swinging primate failures.., so?? where the hucking fell do we go now, the ordinary citizen who wants a fair go above and beyond the bribery and corruption prone conservative careerist c—ts and clowns in office? Too much conservative political shit, too many fans, we need AIR.
Change is not a positive word in the right-wing vocabulary. It is a word which is treated with sceptical suspicion. It must be pursued slowly, with “pragmatic”, “reasoned”, “common sense”, “balance”, “expressing community values”.
So we have Paul Kelly telling us that there are many news outlets describing climate change in terms of the IPCC. It is only right he suggests that the Murdoch media offer alternative views – for balance.
And the IPCC view is described in the Murdoch media as being “alarmist”, “catastrophist”. So that the Murdoch media view seems to be more down-played, more mild.
But there is more to it than that. The Angus Taylor “roadmap” is a kind of recipe which those willing to make investment will need to implement themselves (if they do not act before April next year, the Federal government will build a gas fired electricity station in the Hunter Valley.) One combination of elements involves gas and renewables, a combination which would not have been considered a short time ago. Another involves “carbon capture
and storage” -expensive.
Perhaps it is because coal is going into decline? Not so says Chris Mitchell. Apparently Deloitte Access Economics has suggested “Australia could do better economically if it shut down its $100bn fossil fuel export industry”. “As if”, says Mitchell (23/11/2020)
Which just shows how much the Murdoch media has no idea about greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane (natural gas).
Mitchell might also want to dispute Michael Mazengarb in reneweconomy,com.au (13/5/2019) who tells us that “Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $$5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia.”
So what does Murdoch say about climate change in its own IPA publication “Climate Change: The Facts, 2017”? The editor tells us in an introduction that there are many contradictions in the 20 essays in that tome, but she hopes they will one day be “reconciled”. So Plimer’s claim carbon dioxide has no effect on climate will be “reconciled” with Bob Carter’s admission that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas. Really? This is Murdoch “science”?
” …….full of sound & fury
(Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5)
The quotation about “…sound and fury Signifying nothing” is a startling statement. One wonders to whom it applies.
In the Shakespearean play “Macbeth” it applies to the character of that name who has almost reached rock bottom in his pessimistic misery. Everything is going against him and he is about to find out that Birnam Wood is indeed coming down the hill as prophesied by the witches. The end is near for Macbeth as his nemesis Macduff approaches.
Who. then, is our Macbeth and who our Macduff? Or even our witches making prophesies?
Another Shakespearean play about things falling apart is “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. The main character of that name sees that there is “something rotten in the state of Denmark”. Hamlet sees the ghost of his murdered father wandering the battlements of the castle late at night. His mother is bedding the late king’s brother. Hamlet tells his girlfriend to go to a brothel for safety. He is surrounded by yes-men such as Polonius and Osric, and by spies such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet sets out to “find directions out” – and he does. And more. Sent to England with a hidden order for him to be executed, he takes action and leaps from the boat and, saved by pirates, returns to Denmark to face the anger of Ophelia’s brother and the scheming of Claudius. “The readiness is all.” But the poison works its way widely through the major characters. Fortinbras, who had set out rashly seeking revenge for his father, takes over the country as a man changed for the better, advocated by Hamlet as he died.
Who is it who sees our rotten state and speaks up with fury? Does it signify nothing? What is this rottenness exactly? And what is anyone to do about this rottenness? Who will be the successor in the end? Will there be tragedy as there was in Shakespeare’s play? Or will it end in comedy?
that’s a neat precis of the play ‘Hamlet’, an exposé of the normal processes of human power-play which, in different circumstances and methodologies, continues unabated four centuries on.
Minor point guest: Hamlet urges Ophelia to go to a nunnery and not a brothel. From memory, now fading alarmingly, his revenge for his father’s murder involves a scheme to pretend to be mad; a scheme that can’t include a permanent relationship with Ophelia. As far as “sound & fury signifying nothing” is concerned, I guarantee that in the last week you’ve heard a rant or read a couple of hundred angry words that read like all the clues of a cryptic crossword strung together and thought, “what the hell is he/she talking about?”
One of the beauties of Shakespeare is his ability to write words that are so appropriate for today. For instance, the gaoled asylum seekers and the Victorions in total lock down would empathise with Hamlet when he moans “how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me the uses of this world. Fie on it; ‘tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed: things rank & gross in nature possess it merely”
In Shakespeare’s time “nunnery” was a colloquial term for a brothel. It was a foul thing to say to Ophelia, whom he says too late that he loved. He apologises later to Laertes that he “shot mine arrow o’er the house And hurt my brother.”
With regard to rants and angry words, it would make your comments more telling and powerful if you actually quoted examples of these so that the reader can see exactly what you are referring to. That way we can get some idea of the context and your connection with it.
You are right about Shakespeare’s language. And being a refugee demonised and locked away, or locked down because of some virus, has been for many a test of patience. Yet something can come of it. As Hamlet says: “…we defy augury: there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.” Behrouz Boochani, a refugee detained on Manus who wrote the story of his imprisonment and of others piece by piece on cell phones, achieved freedom for himself. So also prisoners of war; some survived, some did not.
Lockdowns against a virus were a test of character, of belief and of ideology. Some people coped and used it to their advantage; some could not. To rebel and defy orders based on science is to harm others. So we see second waves because some of us are bored, or make mistakes, or are victims of chance.
When Hamlet says the words you quote, as he tells Laertes later: “And you have needs have heard, how I am punish’d/with sore distraction.” (V.ii) Perhaps we think too much about it, but human existence is a mystery – and to think too much upon it can send us mad, especially if we dwell on the negative.
Thank you for the nunnery/brothel reference. My English teacher was a shy spinster who would not have said shit for a shilling or drawn our attention to the alternative reference to “nunnery” even if she had have been aware of it
I don’t think Hamlet is such a bastard as to suggest the woman he loves should go to a brothel.
My “sound & fury” comment will signify nothing to many, possibly most, readers but at least it’s short so they wouldn’t have had to wade through a long, spluttering, vitriolic, incandescent rant before realising it too, signified nothing. I have never detected those characteristics in your writing.