When All Is Said And Donne…


No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne 1573-1631 

Meditation 17 from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

And never was there more urgent need to embrace these words and embed them in heart, body and mind. Around the globe so many are locked in a constant state of divisive, calculated ‘them and us’ posturing, pawns in the too many ‘emergent occasions’ of the hate-filled, dogma-driven, racist, resource-grabbing, xenophobic, war-mongering sort that are instigated, managed and fuelled by the self-serving few. And now we have a ‘world leader’ actively promoting nuclear proliferation because, he says, his nation should be top of the pile in the arms race. That would be the nuclear dust pile then?

For those of us who were here the first time round – it’s back to the madhouse.

How did we let this happen? And what are we going to do about it?

41 thoughts on “When All Is Said And Donne…

  1. Dishearteningly, many of these issues are prominent here in South Africa too. With such divisions as you outline, it seems that few can even conceive building bridges between the “them” and the “us”, or even want to. So, when we say “we”, does “we” refer to humankind (as Donne would have it) and can the concept of humankind as an entity carry any mobilising power given the current polarisations? (I can’t help responding with yet another question.)

    1. There’s surely a lot to get to grips with. And asking questions is the best start. There are so many issues that we’ve have failed to address in our respective nations. Scape-goating is the politicians’ stock-in-trade; it’s cheap, and it works a treat. It’s human nature to want to blame someone else rather than ourselves. So as the saying goes: the fish goes rotten from the head. We need to chose wise leaders…which brings me full circle 😦

      1. I’m thinking too many of us don’t appreciate that democracy requires responsibility on our part as well as from our leaders. I’m not sure we truly understand what it is – or if we ever did. It’s easy to think only of rights, though in some unexpected deemed democratic quarters, these are also being well and truly violated.

  2. What a gorgeous photo – the end of the world as we know it?
    I had a conversation with the OH the other day, asking him (he is a little older than me) what he remembered about the Cuban missile crisis and whether he or his parents felt afraid? He didn’t remember anything from that time, so maybe parents just kept their worries to themselves and teenagers just didn’t listen to the news. I know if I was to let myself, I would worry about the kind of world my grandchildren may inherit. I say may because there are some days when I look at the sunset and wonder how many more we will see…

    1. I certainly remember the Cuban missile crisis. I was in primary school. I was hugely anxious about bunkers , and why we hadn’t got one, or if we had one how much food could we get into it, and how long would we have to stay, and what the world would be like when we finally emerged. As a teenager the whole Iron Curtain stuff seemed like spectre against which we had no defence. I think this is one of the reasons why I chose to be among the first batch of pupils at my school to learn Russian – out of sheer defiance. I didn’t care if my name went down on some M15 list, as we were told it would be. Maybe it’s still there. A plague on the divisive!

      1. I definitely remember the Cuban missile crisis. I remember nuclear testing in the Pacific. That anyone dares to bring those times back again makes me incredibly angry.

      2. Yes, the nuclear testing, that was disgusting and so much covering up re indigenous peoples damaged, killed or displaced. I gather from other half that the UK Observer today is exposing how a right wing billionaire and IT expert was employed by UKIP et al to use facebook to target the careless and undecided with false news items on their pages, individually tailored to their mindset so they would vote for Trump and Brexit. Haven’t read it yet, but how pathetic that we risk the earth so casually and ignorantly.

  3. Sadly, there are too many world ‘leaders’ who fail to consider the well-being of the people and the environment they are meant to be responsible for.

      1. I think there is a problem with such kind of thinking, but then again, it is war that allows would be good for nothings to be honored as heroes

  4. Pay attention to what’s really happening (being voted on, into law) vs the temptation of the news/entertainment…that’s where we’re trying to “do” here in the States. Too little paying attention really…reminds me of our favorite computer scientist from the 40s who asked, “are you paying attention?”

    1. All in a trance we are. Also it’s hard work paying attention to legislative stuff. I think it’s deliberately presented in the most mind-numbing language possible, just to send us back to our TV sets. I used to go to local council meetings every month. I have never been so physically bored, but at least I had some clue as to what was going on, and a better understanding of how the system worked – much good may it do me. So to add to your much needed ‘paying attention’ – engagement is the next necessity.

  5. I just can’t stand all the haranguing, Tish! I’d be content just to sit on that shoreline. Selfish, I know! We didn’t believe it could happen until it did. Now there doesn’t seem to be any place to hide. My youngsters are political. I never was. It doesn’t seem to have done any of us any good. I admire your indignation 🙂

    1. I take all your points, Jo. And my indignation doesn’t get me very far, because I don’t know what to do with it. We can all do work on ourselves though. It’s a start.

  6. I started a piece yesterday which ends with this line – “And what are we going to do about it?”

    It would seem that many of us are wondering not merely how in the world did we wind up back here again, but what is left to do to make it right.

    I don’t have an answer. I just have questions.

    1. After listening to an excerpt of Justin Trudeau talking to the UN, I am a little more optimistic that not everyone/nation is prepared to roll over. The US risks becoming a pariah, most immediately in the way it is currently treating other people’s citizens at its borders. Diplomatic incidents all round.

  7. I so agree with you, Tish. Let’s hope that all the protests will bear some fruit and cause a big turnabout in our sad, flailing world. So much potential for good, but the wrong people get put in charge. Tragic!

  8. We keep refighting social battles, but the inane neoliberal experiment has caused havoc socially and economically. We brought ours in 1984, after Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US. We have had our brand of Tories in for 8 yrs now; we have an election in September of this year. Somebody commented that we now have only one Labour MP who was around in 1984. We now have an opportunity to change things, providing we have a Labour-led government We have had MMP since 1996. Our governments are usually coalitions.

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