It’s becoming more and more difficult for independent thinkers to fit themselves into society. Such people have always been a cause of friction, but now they seem to be hinges for revolution, and aligning with them has become more and more frightening to the ordinary person.
Back in the mid 1800’s, Thoreau was one such independent character. He lacked the social graces of his good friend and sometime rival Emerson, and spoke his mind at every opportunity, no matter who he might upset. Behind his back he was often referred to as “that terrible Thoreau”.
Thoreau showed that core characteristic of an independent thinker, a firm conviction which no amount of discouraging news could dislodge. For example, after the apparent rejection by the public of his latest book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:
A Week was not well received by the public, and only two hundred copies of it sold in the first few years after its publication. Thoreau financed the volume himself.
When publisher James Munroe returned the unsold copies to him in 1853, Thoreau wrote in a journal entry for October 28, 1853, “I have now a library of nearly 900 volumes, over 700 of which I wrote myself.”
In another instance, Emerson recalled how Thoreau had once attended the local library to withdraw some especially rare books for his research, only to be told that certain volumes were not available to the public, and certainly not to Thoreau, who was not even a library member.
Incensed, Thoreau reminded them that the library itself was nothing more than a convenience intended for his benefit, and therefore, because of the whole basis on which America was founded he insisted that, being a citizen of good standing, it was he, and not the library, who was the rightful owner of these volumes. Furthermore, the library itself was now engaged in the theft of these books from the good men for whom they were intended. So forceful were his arguments and so overwhelming his conviction that the library manager, helpless and ashamed when stripped of his flimsy academic fallacies, issued him with a permit to withdraw any books he wished, and to retain them for as long as he needed.
Such self-reliance was the whole reason for which Thoreau lived. He was famously disinterested in money: having designed a superior pencil, he was congratulated by friends that riches at last awaited, from its manufacture. Appalled at the prospect, he replied: “why should I do again what I have already done once?” More than a century and a half later, it is Thoreau who is seen as a champion of truth, while the officials and corporate types he railed against are all forgotten.
Today our decisions, behaviour and even our memories are delegated to institutions which have no interest in the welfare of citizens other than ensuring they be in a fit condition to produce their share of wealth and services for the state. In all cultures self reliance has been rare, but real thinkers do exist today, damning by their very existence today’s homogeneity, dissipations and satiation. In fact, so strange do they appear to their friends and families, and so at odds are they with society’s cherished notions that they are regarded with apprehension, and labelled lunatics, conspiracy theorists or revolutionaries.
I was heartened this week to hear of three very different kinds of protest which show that this natural human self reliance and its immunity to oppressive or pointless external authority, is alive and well in many quarters, and thanks mainly to social media, making good headway.
For example, one group so infuriated by our governments’ continued support for Israel’s concentration camps, theft of land, and its savage ongoing massacres – while spouting the approved lines about fighting terror – poured several gallons of fake blood in the middle of Belgium airport to stage a loud protest, which was ignored by the press but relayed around the world via social media:
While in Bologna, Italy, the obscene chemtrails we witnessed last August in Venice – and about which the gondoliers were so angry – have caused an eruption of protest in a country formerly known for its beautiful blue skies. The protest went unreported in the press and television but lit up the internet within hours via social media:
Here in the UK, amidst the usual vacuous election posturing, Nicola Sturgeon has made a part of the SNP’s platform the removal of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons – a grotesque, suicidal, terrifying £100 billion obscenity without any precedent in all of Earth’s history. These immensely profitable machines of pure terror – designed specifically to roast entire cities alive – has no place in a civilised society, let alone one demanding the rank and file cut back to save government wealth (which in turn all belongs to the ordinary people who created it).
As a result, politicans have become apoplectic with carefully displayed outrage, while their press has had a field day. Sturgeon has been labelled an extremist, a traitor, a snake, a scorpion, a serpent and even “the most dangerous wee woman in the world” by current leaders such as Boris Johnson and David Cameron, and their propaganda arm, the mainstream press.
This should tell us something very important. The current governments and their propaganda outlets are interested only in maintaining the gravy train of status quo. During a debate, Sturgeon caught Labour leader Ed Milliband offguard when she turned and asked him, “would you use nuclear weapons against ISIS?” Flabbergasted, and keen to retain his man-of-the-people image Milliband gasped “of course not!”. Sturgeon replied: “well, this is a question about nuclear weapons.”
Meanwhile in the real world, desperate refugees from Western-led wars fuelled by Western-made weapons in the service of Western oil interests are attempting to flee to Europe in boats commanded by proft-hungry pirates. But these ramshackle, vastly overloaded boats often capsize, with hundreds drowned at a time: men, women, and children locked in holds are sinking without trace. But Europe has decided to abandon its rescue efforts, believing it only encourages more refugees.
Britain has previous form here, having turned away a shipload of Jewish children fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930’s and sending them back to certain death. How those children might have enriched our society, we will never know. This week one cartoonist, sensing the appalling disconnect between ensconsed leaders and humanity at large, produced this:
Strange though it may seem to those who haven’t been paying attention, a profound change is most definitely in the air. When it finally arrives and becomes accepted as “just common sense” by the rank and file, it will be thanks to that determined and self-reliant individual who demanded it, showing that it is the individual, and not the institution, which eventually prevails.