The world is full of annoyance and “noise” in the statistical sense. Meaningless “stuff”, which in the bigger picture it is best to ignore. To shrug,walk away from. Forget.
Charged by angry bullocks on a local footpath I inquired as to the landowner, thinking to make, if not a complaint exactly, then at least a quiet remonstration lest others might not escape so lightly.
I asked a fellow walker and discovered the owner was none other than a local big-shot intent on desecrating this beautiful area by building 4,000 houses in the middle of nowhere.
Perhaps the fellow needs a new Bentley? A second fur coat for his wife? A servant to put toothpaste on his toothbrush? Who knows. It is odd he should want to piss on his own doorstep (the dreaded new town is but a stone’s throw from his ancient and beautiful walled estate). Perhaps he intends to collect his lottery winnings and go and ruin some other part of the country and somebody else’s life.
The kind lady told me she and her husband are members of the Green Party, which is one of a number of organisations campaigning against the monstrosity, and I was briefly haunted by old thoughts, dead ambitions.
Join Greenpeace and Amnesty International. Take up the banners, fight for what I believe in. Combat greed and greedy people. Help the poor. Feed the needy, free the oppressed.
And then I was struck by the futility of such action. Human nature will not change. Greed will always be our prime motive and if it means shitting on your neighbor or his doorstep, well if you don’t do it, someone else certainly will.
If that sounds unconstructive and selfish, if that sounds defeatist and destructive then have yourself a Carl Sagan moment. A Pale Blue Dot sartori. Think of this tiny, insular, silly little planet stuck in the middle of nowhere in a possibly infinite multiverse. Does any of it really matter?
99% of all species which ever existed here are now extinct. We too shall pass. So will Mr Big Shot and all the other Big Shots. So will the poor and the oppressed and the needy.
You are watching a huge, slow moving river flow. The river of time. There are horrors, injustices. There is poverty and hunger. Torture and murder.
In that context is it really worth getting excited about a new housing estate? Is it really worth getting fussed about anything at all?
Thousands of years of philosophy and religion, some good, some bad, have tried to make a dent, an impression. To turn the tide, to create a Utopia. Or a hell, a dystopia.
I am reminded of Harry Lime looking down from the Ferris Wheel in post war Vienna. Would it really matter if those distant dots on the ground “stopped moving forever”?
Well I am not selling penicillin and I don’t want those dots to stop moving. I don’t want beauty spoiled, the rich to inherit the earth or the poor to be oppressed.
But it will all happen with or without anything I may do. Or not do.
So on reflection, I will let it pass. I will wish well to those who have the strength to fight against the tide. But I will let the “ten thousand things” move on without me. I will listen to the white noise, the cosmic radiation background and move on.
I will recognize that we are all mere noise. And so is everything we do.