Poetry – History Repeats

History Repeats

History repeats.

Lessons are never learned.

Fascists arrogantly strut.

Our cities burn.

The racist chants

Echo down the streets.

Frightened people keep quiet,

Civilisation retreats.

Politicians stir,

Seeking power.

Behind locked doors

Poor people cower.

The tribal game

Is played out again.

Every single person

Feels the pain.

Opher – 27.7.2020

When will we ever learn?? The same authoritarian garbage tinged with xenophobia and racist. It is always the same simplistic answers; the aggression; the fear; the anger; the wish to dominate and control; the wish to apply force; the scapegoating, superiority and arrogance.

We are faced with the rise of the right-wing with their racial purity and guns. Strutting with their violence, intolerance and aggression.

Fascism rises up and creates war. It has to be crushed back down.

Oh for an education system that creates empathy and compassion.

That would put an end to fascism. Much better than guns and bombs.

Fascism is a disease.

Poetry – We’ve Been Fooled

We’ve Been Fooled

We’ve been fooled

                By years of peace

                                Where the rumble of war

Was distant;

                Where missiles and bombs

                                Fall on brown-skinned folk

                                                In lands that are poor.

We’ve been lulled

                Through days of prosperity

                                And calm,

                                                Distant from guts and gore,

Into believing

                That trade and civilisation

                                Are the new law,

And war was consigned

                To history;

                                A despicable artefact

                                                Never to darken our door,

Once more.

Opher – 21.4.2022

We’ve opened up the world and mixed with all people and cultures. We have discovered that we can get along with everyone. We are all the same.

We have united cultures and countries through commerce and travel.

The terrible wars always seem consigned to poor countries full of people who were not like us. It was terrible but distant.

It could never happen to us.

But have we underestimated the terrible human flaws – the paranoia, the greed, the lust for power and the fear?  

Was civilisation a band-aid over a gaping wound?

Have we underestimated the human propensity for violence and cruelty???

Poetry – Echoes of History

Echoes of History

Echoes of history

                Louder every day,

Leaving hungry children

                                                Shivering in the dark.

Civilisation crumbles

                Into choking dust;

                                Houses into rubble.

                                                Missiles hit their mark.

Security an illusion

                While tyrants rule.

                                Ruining the future;

                                                Leaving choices stark.

Opher – 15.3.2021

It is incredibly disturbing to see Putin directing the destruction of a country.

Why do we do it?

We live in sophisticated cities with people working and playing, worrying about fashion and whether they can afford a better house or a new car. Every normal. Lives filled with trivia – the school run, the cinema, a trip out, planning holidays, shopping and cooking. Ordinary.

We live in countries where there are debates as to whether we can afford to repair potholes inroads or replace cladding on skyscrapers, to pay teachers and nurses a living wage, yet we can but multimillion pound tanks, missiles and aircraft.

On the whim of a despot we can turn whole cities into piles of rubble.

How many trillions wasted?

If a building collapses, trapping hundreds, it is a global catastrophe. Yet we can callously deliberately kill hundreds of thousands of women and children.

Civilisation is just a short holiday from carnage. Slaughter and destruction is the norm.

We are nasty vicious little apes who pretend.

We are witnessing the reality of our nature. Humans are not very nice.

Poetry – Flaws

Flaws

Every diamond is ripped by a flaw.

                Every house has a twisted front door.

Every DNA has a mutated gene.

                Every human being has a side unseen.

Every dream has a nightmare inside.

                When the flaw shows its face

                                There’s nowhere to hide.

When the game plays out

                The rules are put aside;

                                The doors are kicked in

                                                And terrors open wide.

Words and bullets,

                Missiles and bombs.

Lies and deception

                From computer roms.

Bodies in the street,

                Pawns in the game,

Power and status

                In the leader’s name.

When the flaw shows through

                In war’s unholy din

There’s no safe house;

                The nightmare begins.

Opher – 14.3.2022

I used to think that human beings are alright, that I could be friends with everyone, that if I was in need there would always be someone there to help me.

That is probably true for the most part.

But there is a flaw in human nature. It’s set in our DNA.

We get angry easily. We become violent. We mindlessly adhere to tribal views. We can be so cold, cruel and heartless.

Scratch beneath the surface and we can become horrid killers and torturers.

That flaw comes out in every race, every culture. It doesn’t take much. Religion, politics or fear can spark it off. Fear of the unknown, hatred towards strangers. We are suffused with racism, xenophobia and primitive tribalism.

It makes us nasty.

We attack each other on the merest of pretexts. We systematically, calculatedly kill and maim. We rape, torture and destroy and feel totally justified.

We ill-treat animals, play with them and enjoy inflicting agony.

We are hopelessly flawed.

The love, friendship and compassion cannot compensate enough. We are a danger to ourselves and all life on this planet.

The flaws are too big!

The Nasty part of human nature!

There is a nasty part of our psychological make-up.

History is littered with torture chambers, vile weapons of torture and gleeful crowds at public hangings, public torturings, burnings, drownings and cruel acts.

History is littered with the most horrendous torture and cruelty towards animals – baiting, fighting and skinning alive.

History is littered with ruthless people seizing power and wealth regardless of the impact on others and delighting in causing misery.

Most animals are better than this.

How do we overcome this?

Three frightening inventions

Three frightening inventions

I’m an inventor. It’s not something that is well known. I have my secret laboratory and make stuff.

I invented three new drugs that I knew could be absolutely wonderful.

Then I realised that they could destroy the world! So I destroyed them.

The Antiaging Drug

Yes. I invented a drug that not only stops you aging but actually reverses the whole aging process.

We could all have the bodies of a twenty-year-old.

Wonderful.

But then I began to think it through.

There are eight billion of us and we are destroying the planet. Just think if they never died and made way for the next generation? We’d be standing room only.

Just think if the politicians and big pharmaceutical companies obtained the patents. They’d sell it for profit to the rich.  Only the rich would be able to afford the benefits. The politicians wouldn’t want the plebs to get their hands on it.

An antiaging drug would be a disaster.

I destroyed it.

The Genius Drug

I invented this pill that enhanced brain function. It reversed all types of dementia, sent IQs soaring into the stratosphere and turned imbeciles into geniuses.

We had the ability to have a whole planet of Einsteins and Newtons to solve every problem. We would have the intelligence to do anything.

All people could have brain enhanced, rocket propelled lives!

But then I thought it through.

The politicians and pharmaceutical companies would get hold of the patents.

They would sell it to the wealthy for profit. Soon we’d have even greater division and inequality. There would be the brainy wealthy and stupid poor.

The wealthy would use their intelligence to devise more ways of making themselves richer while keeping the poor poorer.

The politicians would harness the power of intelligence to devise ways of keeping them in power. They would employ rooms of geniuses to devise weapons and to use the media and internet to spread propaganda to extend their power.

We’d have an arms race, a targeted internet campaign to spread spin, lies and hate.

They would be so clever nobody would see through their deviousness.

The world would be a mess!

It became clear to me that intelligence is not our best characteristic. We have far more important attributes – empathy, responsibility, compassion, caring, love, respect, tolerance…………..

Intelligence in an evil person would be disastrous.

I destroyed the genius pill.

The Love Drug

I invented a pill that altered the brain to remove all hints of aggression, violence and negativity. Anybody who took it had their brain chemistry altered so that they loved everything and everyone, saw the best in everyone and lost all desire to hurt, hate or even dislike other people.

Perfect bliss.

No more criminals, prisons, murders or cruelty to animals.

But then I thought it through.

In the hands of unscrupulous politicians it could be used to control opposition. Armies in enemy countries could be given the drug. Conquest would be simple.

Elections would be a formality. Tyranny would be absolute. There would be no opposition. He or she who controlled the drug controlled the people.

All ambition would evaporate.

The people would sit around blissfully benign. Nothing would get done. There would be no motivation.

I destroyed it.

The trouble with human beings is that that will always find a way of making something good turn horribly bad.

Poetry – A smile

A Smile

 

A smile is much more than you think;

A smile is a snarl,

An act of aggression

Transformed into a greeting,

A sign of pleasure,

A welcome.

So human

To bare your teeth,

So duplicitous;

A disguise of true intent.

A smile

Reveals the true nature of humans;

Malevolent chimps,

Whose inclination

Is to control,

To intimidate

And destroy.

We love violence

And cruelty.

We do it with a smile.

 

Opher – 8.8.2020

What is the best human attribute?

In our culture we seem to put a great deal of importance to intelligence. But is that the greatest human attribute? Certainly intelligence has enabled us to develop science and technology as well as solving many of the problems the universe has thrown at us. But it has also created weapons that have killed millions, wiped out whole species and tyrannised. Intelligence has created ways of being mean, cruel and plain nasty.

We also value hard work and application.

We value creativity in all its many forms.

We reward strength and physical skill.

We are moved by oratory.

We are rocked by musical skills.

We put a lot of emphasis on beauty and physical perfection.

We like the ability to solve problems.

We value sexual prowess.

We appreciate humour.

We like people who exude confidence and authority.

We greatly admire and bow to leadership qualities.

In the past we maybe valued bravery more.

Piousness used to be considered one of the greatest attributes.

Reliability is thought important.

But no I do not think any of these are the greatest attributes despite the way  our society rewards these attributes. The highest paid people in our world are the politicians, leaders of companies, entertainers, bankers, sportsmen and women, musicians, models, film stars, comedians and artists. The people who display many of the attributes above. Somehow I do not think this is right. The huge rewards for those attributes seems wrong to me. Have we got our priorities wrong?

At school, a long time ago, there was a class I taught which was quite a handful. There were a number of highly intelligent people and a lot of great athletes and musicians. But one day we were all talking and they decided that the most valuable member of the group was a lad who was probably the least intelligent and most useless at sport or creativity. He was a big uncoordinated dopy looking guy. But he always had a big smile, would do anything to help anyone and was the most friendly congenial person you could ever hope to meet. If you were in trouble you knew he would be there to help. He had more important qualities. He might not have been clever, good looking, highly skilled in anything, but he certainly had something.

No – for me the most important human attributes are centred around caring, compassion, empathy, respect and that willingness to help others.

It seems strange to me that the professions that display these qualities – nursing, social care, teaching, fire-service, environmentalists, farmers and others – are ones that are not well rewarded or held in great esteem.

I would ask once more – have we got our priorities right?

 

 

 

The Curse of Human Nature  

 

Whenever anyone comes up with an idealistic vision to put an end to war, prevent the destruction of nature, solve the overpopulation crisis, or put into place a socialist government that would create fairness and equality, we are always told – ‘great idea but it can’t happen because of human nature’.

 

What is this curse of human nature?

 

It seems that whenever anyone tries to do something good someone comes along to undermine it. They either selfishly exploit people or do something destructive.

 

This human nature is the side of us that likes inflicting pain and being cruel, greedy and selfish. It is the bullying side; the violent, brutal side.

 

Over the centuries religions have warned against this curse of human nature. They have set out rules and commandments and followed them up with humungous threats of eternal damnation. But that hasn’t worked. What with paedophile priests and greed and avarice rampant in society it obvious that people pay lip service at best.

 

Yet there is another side to human nature. There is the good caring side, the compassion and empathy, tolerance, love and responsibility. People are capable of the most altruistic acts. They give up their lives to care for others and that even extends to nature – people protect and care for the plants and animals. That is the good side.

 

 

So is the curse of human nature the fact that a minority of us are always, selfish, cruel and exploitative? Or are all of us like that to an extent?

 

Can nothing be done about the bad side of our nature?

 

Many say no – it is intrinsic in our genes and we cannot change.

 

I say they are wrong and that history proves me right, we are improving. History is full of the grossest deeds. In modern times we still do a lot of mean and nasty things but I would contend not on the scale of past centuries.

 

So what is to be done given our human nature? Do we merely say that we are beyond hope? Do we say that there will always be poverty, inequality, racism, destruction and cruelty and there is nothing we can do about it? It is in our genes. The powerful will exploit the weak. That is just the way it is.

 

 

Or do we use the power of our knowledge of psychology and education to nurture the good side of our nature and eradicate the bad?