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February 4, 2023

Here & Now #66

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Here & Now 66 picS Sorrensen

My place. Monday, 10.10am

The collective human personality has always been violent, sure, but once upon a time there was limit, when a man went down, the fight was done.

Once upon a time, when Christmas day arrived, the bullets stopped and men sang hymns to the God of peace.

Once upon a time, land was honoured and protected as the source of life.

Now, you go in with the boot until the brain is haemorrhaging, the water poisoned, and the schools bombed, Ramadan or not.

It’s getting vicious, this human community, both to its members and to the planet which birthed it.

Twenty years ago, for instance, if you had said to Australians that the Great Barrier Reef is half dead and will be totally wrecked by the end of this century, there would have been shock and horror.

People would have been outraged that such a natural wonder, a national icon, a flashing jewel in Australia’s tiara, would be threatened by government-condoned corporate vandalism. People would have demanded remedial action. Of course.

But the response to this reef reality has not been a hue and cry, but rather a silence so complete, you can almost hear the coral, weighed down by the dredged sludge and coal dust, cracking off to thump dully onto an over-phosphated sea bottom.

Well, you could hear it, if it wasn’t for The Voice, and for excited radio voices extolling Australian prowess in the pool and on the battlefield. And how real is the awful reality when it’s wedged between a dancing cat and ‘What rock song are you?’ on Facebook?

And where is this frightening truth when you’re sipping coffee and eating fresh baklava in a Turkish resort only a hour’s drive from huge camps where desperate Syrian refugees wait for bread and peace? And is there really a crisis if you have a vacuum cleaner that drives itself?

Yes, the distraction of a million things is disconnecting us from reality and creating a ferocious humanity.

This makes me sad.

In fact, the weight of this sadness made me lie in bed this morning, unable to get up. I listened to the bush turkeys scratch through the garden. A kookaburra made the sun rise and poke its fingers into my shack. The phone rang, twice.

The sadness threatened to wrap my life in a suffocating despair as completely as corporate rule has wrapped the planet in plastic.

This morning, I saw the activities that fill my laptop calendar for what they really are: insulation against the chilling planetary truth. I hid under the doona.

Finally, opening my eyes to the morning glare, I saw the televison sitting there, smirking. The computer made a ping; my phone a beep-beep. Printer, radio, back massager, an empty jar collection, a picture of a virgin mother, a wind-up Superman…

Then an idea came to me: If it really is the one million things that are disconnecting me from the planet, then… I will chuck them out! All of them!

I will not fiddle with the remote while Rome burns. Unencumbered, I will regain my humanity. Undistracted, how could people possibly allow the reef to die?

Inspired, I jumped out of bed and grabbed the television. To the tip!

Then I hesitated.

Okay, maybe not the television. (Firefly has taught me much.) And maybe not the turntable. (What is life without Billie Holiday?) And I need the computer. (I am Brown Sugar.)

The radio has flood reports, Superman inspires me, the virgin with child is my therapy, and my back needs massaging.

But, I tell you what, the empty jar collection is going.



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  1. Not the jars! So useful for putting more things in – copies of [later] ron hubbard’s writings on how to avoid reality, or mme blavatsky’s version, or …. Oh the humanity! – without things to be kept, stored, protected, from predation, we would all have world enough, and time. But then we would all have time to think, get depressed, and seek out stuff to put in place of reality. Umm – that can’t be right – internal contradiction – system error. Start again.

  2. when was the middle east ever peaceful. As far as the Barrier reef is concerned, Australians are so affluent that they are busy spending their time looking after themselves.

    In our democracy, if we want peace we can have it, if we wish to protect the Barrier Reef, we can do it. All we need to do is decide on a course of democratic action to elect politicians who do what we want and replace those who don’t.

    Join a Residents Roundtable

  3. Strewth! Here’s another stupid crankyankerism – “done” is used incorrectly. When the meat is cooked it is “done”. When when a man went down, the fight was FINISHED!! Wake up Australia (not Straya) where’s your patriotism?

    • you are SOOOO on the money!!
      another “stupid crankeyism”!!
      and so delicately put…..why did you bother?
      the author of the article presents us with a polished, complex, thought provoking piece
      on the state of the world

      and yr entire response is limited to mere pedantry
      and questionable pedantry at that
      (in the vernacular use of the word ‘done’, the writer is entirely correct with the given usage)
      Jeez mate…..

      • Sure the article was great but S Sorensen using incorrect, crankyanker English usage ruined it. Our language is eroding at a cataclysmic rate. You only need to listen to “Aunty ABC” who was once the pinnacle of and set the standard for Australian English to discover that fact (& I don’t mean the “air, bee, sear” English of my youth). Because the rate of deterioration is so high, I felt it my duty “to insist on strict adherence to formal rules” or as you say to be “pedantic”. One of the reasons the world is in an undisciplined, bloodstained state is because many standards have been allowed to “rot on the vine”. Unless we pull up our bootstraps soon we’ll end up at the end of the list of greatest countries in the world along with the US, the Middle East, the Balkans and so on.

  4. the time is coming!

    humanity is reaching two great peaks simultaneously,.
    the peak of ignorance and illusion and
    the peak of awakening and consciousness
    choose wisely

  5. Poor TruBlu Trev….

    Love you S and Govinda!
    Yes, it is about choices.
    I am going to channel some of my distracting energy and focus more on these issues at hand.
    We all need to rally together against the ‘ferocious humanity’, get out from under our doonas, peel away the plastic and ‘Save the Reef”.
    Google ‘Save the Reef” and become better informed. Find out how you can make a difference.
    Thank you S, you rock.


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