Sometimes I begin a blog post when I’m in a rush in order to get some ideas down, then I scribble off a title which seems to encompass it all. Later I go back and write the post which often doesn’t go the way I envisaged and may end up not being expressed by the title at all. So this morning’s thought was that the Winnie-the-Pooh stories should be not so much read as contemplated, like a gentle walk through a forest; and yesterday’s thought was – well, god knows. Because like the mathematician Karl Weierstrasse, when I wrote the title only God and I knew what it was about – and now, only God knows.
Clearly I had some thought about David and Goliath in my mind when I wrote that blog title. But what was it? I suspect it may have had something to do with the need to defeat global capitalism, but I’m really not sure. It was probably because along with the latest Nicci French I want to read Naomi Klein’s ‘No is Not Enough.’ If ‘This Changes Everything’ is indicative of her output, she has many useful things to say about problems and, more importantly, about solutions. I often think we are too problem-orientated in our thinking: people spend a long time trying to convince others that such-and-such is a problem to which we should be giving our attention, and if those others are anything like me, they feel burdened and depressed as a result. What’s better is, having flagged up the problem, to propose some solutions.
For example, we spend a lot of time (both as a nation and as a species) thinking about war. We plan for war, we prepare for war, we study war, we arm for war. Yet what might be the result if we adopted a solution-oriented approach to this and studied peace instead? What do we know about peace at the moment? Precious little, it seems – many of us can’t even stay out of trouble on social media, let alone steer our nation in the right direction. I’m not saying we shouldn’t defend ourselves when attacked, but how many wars we’ve been involved in have been the direct result of attack? Whilst the Second World War could not have been avoided in 1939 might it have been avoided, say, in 1921? Or 1933? Had the Allies adopted a less punitive approach to Germany after the First World War, might Hitler never have come to power? But leaving the Second World War aside, as far as I can see no other war apart from the 1939-45 conflict has been the direct result of attack on our nation. Syria certainly doesn’t qualify; neither did Afghanistan and absolutely not Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction. And don’t get me started on the bloody Falklands.
While I’m waiting to get hold of Naomi Klein’s book I may get some ideas from the forthcoming series of Reith Lectures, which this year are on war. I have yet to listen to the first episode, but it is available here:
and I’ll let you know if it inspires further thoughts. In the meantime I’m thankful we don’t have to listen to the nauseatingly toadyish tones of Sue Lawley. I can’t stand that woman…
PS: as you will have spotted, Winnie-the-Pooh didn’t even make it into the title…