Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Minute's Reflection on a Virgin Train

11am, Thursday 25th May, 2017

We have just had a minute’s silence on the Virgin train down to London for the victims of the Manchester bombing. I focused my mind not just on the pain of the senseless losses that innocent people have endured - none more than the loss of a child - but on the belief that the Good in the world will overcome the Evil. If collectively we all hold this as our intent in our mind’s eye we might yet achieve what currently seems impossible. While we appear to be sliding into the second era of The Dark Ages, history informs us that Enlightenment follows at some point. We usually have to reach rock bottom to be able to climb back out from the dark depths towards the light. If humanity collectively has this as its goal, its belief, then perhaps it will be achievable. It may not be in our lifetimes, but it will be in someone’s. It is currently humanity’s greatest challenge but we must believe it is possible. 

This will not be achieved by fragmentation. As a society we have become so focused on the Individual, or at best in the small world around us. While I fervently believe that charity begins at home and that self-love is the start of all growth and generosity, the bigger picture must never be lost. Individual communities and countries must be allowed to sort out what works for them, but all of us must have an Overview of the world, a planet spinning in infinite, unfathomable Space that we all inhabit and which we should all love and nurture, as small parts in the collective whole. This does not necessarily mean economic globalisation and that 'bigger is better'. Small is best, but small needs to be a part of that greater whole - a functioning, effective, perfectly fitting piece in the world jigsaw. Forcing the wrong shape into the available hole is never going to give a harmonious picture - there will be lumps and bumps and the jigsaw will look awkward. This is where we’re at right now. We need to take a long hard look at the pieces that don’t fit properly and start moving them around till they find their rightful place. 

Freedom is at the core of civilisation but so are basic laws of Love and Peace. War never provides answers, only more problems. Love Thy Neighbour has never been more important. It is only with faith in man’s essential goodness that this battle will be won.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Call of the Coast

One of the few down sides of living in the UK's oldest National Park is its distance from our island's  coastline. I grew up in Sussex, born a skimming stone's throw from the English Channel. While one could never boast this as the UK's most beautiful coastline, it nevertheless has its charms: groyns, run-down Victorian and Edwardian piers with tacky amusements, sugary pink tooth-rotting Brighton rock, seaweed and tar-stained pebbles. I hear you gasping with envy! - yet the faded grandeur of the seafront villas, the intimacy of the cobbled Lanes of Brighton, the exoticism of Brighton Pavilion, the briny air of Rottingdean with its rock pools and crabs, the imposing chalk white cliffs linking England with France (a common land sliced and separated some millennia ago) seeps into your soul and stays firmly lodged till the day you die. We all have somewhere we call 'Home' and for me it has to be Sussex. I have travelled and lived far and wide but as I walked a few weeks back by the banks of the river at Cuckmere Haven towards the blue of the English Channel, I have never felt more connected with the land of my birth.

















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