“no one is better for being bigger”

“David el Gnomo” was one of our family’s favourite shows when my children were kids, and we were living in Spain.

The full intro is at the end of this post, but I’ve cut to a scene about half the way through below.  At the top it says, in Spanish (castellano): “Nadie es mejor por ser más grande.”

This kinda translates as: “No one is better for being bigger.”

I was reminded of this wisdom today.  I am reminded more and more of the intelligence, innate curiosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of practically all the young people I have ever met.

In a world where adults fail constantly to understand each other – where certainly my ability to properly live with others, and understand their desires in relation to me, is more and more to be found distressingly wanting – it is to children I think we must look in order that we might recapture our certainties about human relations, living together, research and investigation, the purpose of science and learning, and many other issues of modern life.

Such young people have an unerring sense of where things are at.  My own diagnosis of mental ill-health which dates from 2003, meanwhile, has defined for over a decade a skillset which I firmly believe I have to be more an illness in need of being rigorously drugged out of action.

My ability to sense where reality lies has taken many knocks; is doing so even now.

I am sad about this; sometimes, even angry.

I hope no child or young person will ever have to go through what I have gone through – indeed, what I still am having to attempt to comprehend.

The full version of the title song from “David el Gnomo” can be seen in the second excerpt.  If you understand the language it’s sung in, it’s an entirely inspiring blast from pure childhood.

And if you don’t understand it, just believe me.  OK?

comparisons are bad science, but ignoring even bad science can be worse

It’s not good to compare out of anger, but to compare with coldness is vengeful in the extreme.

A balance, as always in life, far outruns the sprints of pent-up fury.

Yet the fury of the young and old, who find themselves unable to reach their potential, who find themselves called blunt tools by famous newspaper liberals, does demand of us all that they – that we – are offered a better shake of the dice.

In fact, they simply deserve a shake of dice which are not loaded against them from the start.

If we learn to see ourselves as blunt tools, intellectually and emotionally too maybe – if that is the idea we accept about ourselves, more so because interested parties tell us so with commanding authority – then what chance do we have of changing the baselines?  What chance do we have as society, culture, business, art, education and medicine to fashion the hierarchies of all our relationships in a way that befits our century?

I am sometimes aggressively against the waste of humanity that modern work has imposed on how we are.  I shout and vent when I should discuss and debate.

But allegedly careful debate is often conducted by those who would share the blunt tool thesis: there are the clever by nature (often themselves), the industrious by temperament – and then there are the rest of us who deserve only a life of unremitting toil.

And many of us now … well … not even that.

I complain vigorously about the wasteful culture of the city I have lived in for the majority of my life. I see virtues in other places and make negative comparisons about the city in question.

And there are people who say: “Make a difference locally” – whatever that locally may be like.  And I would argue – where this locally ranges from wilfully mediocre to petty smalltown mafia – that this is exactly the same as telling an abused spouse they should hold out for better times.  And when politics and its practitioners demand we get involved because if we don’t then it will involve us on its own terms, we are creating inequalities of power that replicate awfully.

Such inequalities exist in many areas: between good friends only love and compassion drive what we do; between doctors & nurses and their patients, however, the prime responsibility ends up being  that which the institutions dictate, and this ultimately is the state.  Compassion is a huge black hole of an absence here, too: massive training programmes would be necessary to tip the balance in favour of a more whole-person approach to wellbeing and recovery.

Meanwhile, a husband who demands his wife does his bidding because a piece of paper says she must is just as unjust as the previous examples – and just as widespread.

Therefore, when we say a desultory childhood and young adulthood wasted in a space of middling creativity and ideas generation should be fought and battled with by those with finite lives (this is my case, by the way), when so many wonderful environments far more beneficial to mental and creative wellbeing already exist, we surely have no right to go ahead and demand this of any young person: we have no right at all to demand they stay at home to fight cruelly loaded dice.

And if not to be asked of young people, then not of older generations either.

Above all, we must respect the decisions and choices of sovereign individuals: local is not necessarily good; those who pursue global are not always pursuing the pernicious. 

Each to be judged on their own multiple merits.  And just as rightly, in terms of their own negatives.

And then let a judicious combination emerge, which serves to enrich us all.

The combination already has an optimistic name: glocalism.

So true: comparisons are often a poor science.  But far poorer still is to allow human beings to live their lives, in the belief handed down by those with grand and bountiful – but not benevolent – privilege, that some greater power made such human tools fit only to be cogs in deathly machine.

Let our boundaries exist, of course, to allow beautiful identities to coexist generously and with compassion, but equally let these boundaries not enclose us away from each other: for I plead that all boundaries be osmotic in nature.  Above all, free and unbidden passage of ideas, peoples, cultures, unconventionalities and the refreshing quirkinesses of the truly free.

And let our litmus test be as follows: if we can respond to anyone’s curious ways of seeing and doing and believing and making and doing – where such ways respect above all the ways of others – with a hug of humanity and a welcome and an emotional and intellectual embrace, we have done the job our 21st civilisation demands of us.  And where the unconventional stops being seen as such, where the wildest of dreams becomes second nature – logical and kindly, in fact – then we have done our job too.

And where we can express our love of difference in such manners, we will know that each and every one of us is slowly rising from the prejudices of upbringing and adult hurt and abuse to those young minds who should’ve enjoyed better.  Even as we appreciate that these culpable adults perhaps themselves, in their own times, had no opportunity either to rid themselves of the very same pain they went and – in turn – inflicted.

[cry-(sieze] up) / (tough) love / freedom

Families are good for many things.

At their best, they support and liberate at the same time.  And they are at their best when our definition of what they are is at its best, also.  I mentioned the other day how I had begun to describe and think of those members of my family who I actually like being with not as my family but as my friends.  Conversely, those people I meet and fall in love with, and whose bloodline bears no connection with mine, become what I consider my true family.

I think that’s the best definition of family we can have.  Not blood relations: love relations.

I’m slowly, gradually, soundly, strongly emerging from a long depression which lasted about eleven years.  It was triggered by events which I have gone into recently, but do not need now to repeat: it’s enough to say they hurt me a lot, and I in turn hurt many others too – of multiple generations.

But things are beginning to seem very different.  I can sense, smell, touch and watch it happening.  I am beginning to regain – or maybe that’s gain for the first time – the courage to have the convictions I always believed in.

Family cry-sieze still seize me up a bit, mind: but today – with two fairly minor but whackily dramatised ones, unreasonably and just a tad violently sandwiching a peaceful middle of the afternoon of taking photos on my part – I resisted the temptation to allow such events to drive me into temporary blacknesses.  My brain does weird things usually when moments of familial anguish are pushed my way: my body posture changes; my feelings become very low; a maelstrom of memories – of things I was not allowed to do all my life – crowd into my very being, and my very self, and that very moment.

But today it didn’t happen.

And I am getting much better at preventing it from doing so.

And I know what I need: I need to be free of toxic blood – whether relations or friendships, it’s love I actually need.  And this love may even be fairly tough: yes, I realise that a lot of what’s been happening around my being the last year or so may have constituted that kind of love, offered up by friends and family (ie bloodships and loveships) who perhaps did, after all, know better.

So anyhow.  It’s true.  I am finally getting there.  It’s been a hard ride for us all.

But one day, one very good day, we’ll all have the opportunity to understand freedom.  And I want it for us all.  But mostly, I want it for me.


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