We drove into Stratford today for a couple of hours. It’s always nice to walk those old streets and suck up a bit of the culture, though much of it is buried these days beneath layers of humanity and the needs of the tourist. It’s the Costa Coffee and Starbucks; it’s the cheap plastic replicas of the bard; it’s the performers on the street and the hot-dog stalls.
It’s alright, really. It’s humanity making a living and, in its own way, it’s probably no different from what it would have been like five centuries ago.
At some stage there was a shifting in the direction of the species and the realisation by some that there would need to be some sort of control over the masses: that all can’t possibly equal. This was way before Shakespeare came wailing and puking into the world, of course. The very fact that it was Jacobean and Elizabethan times testify to that in themselves. The ruling elites were well established in ruling and subordinating.
I’m not even saying that it’s wrong. It is most likely a natural impulse in all living things, to arrange itself into hierarchies with the strongest at the top and the weakest at the bottom with the roles and responsibilities distributed accordingly. It makes sense. Put sand and stones into a jar and shake it, the bigger stones will be at the top, the smaller lower down and the sand filling the bottom.
I just have this suspicion that this sentience – call it a gift or a freak or a part of the natural process as you will – I think that it was, is, an opportunity to break out of the cycles of nature and to shape a different way. We think, of course, that we have done that. But we haven’t.
Our mindset is still primitive and the technologies that we produce are put to use enabling and hastening this natural order. We still kill each other with abandon of sense. We still kill other creatures and eat their flesh. We still move ourselves around on machines that use fire for propulsion rather than figuring out how to harness other energies. Say what you like about the electric car: batteries don’t produce electricity, they merely store it. That electricity, in the UK at least, is produced in the main, by burning fossil fuels.
I just think there’s another way. And I also think that there are those out there who know this and who don’t want to enable it to happen.