The breaking of nations

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri Sep 14 16:44:55 MDT 2001

I have just finished going through Mark Jones great apocalyptic post on the
fate of humanity.  He is one of my favourite thinkers on this list because
of the power of his writing and his thought and gloomy and all as his posts
are, he may well be correct in what he says. Perhaps we are doomed as a
species. Perhaps the future will be like the movie Mad Max -one dominated
by absolute scarcity and brutality.

Yesterday morning my older son and I sat talking over coffee and he
wondered aloud if he had done the right thing by bringing a child into this
world.  I did not now what to say to him as there is such a pervading air
of gloom and despondency around us all here in Australia. Worst the
Government's deliberate brutality towards the Afghan refugees has resulted
in a massive surge in its popularity in the polls.  If they are accurate,
then Howard would be re-elected with an increased majority. Even if he
fails, the Labor alternative is very much a case of same shit, different flies.

Yet I comfort myself that life still goes on. That may be self-delusion I
know, but in my backyard two wild bush turkeys have lately taken up
residence and are re-organising the landscape in keeping with some deep
instinctual imprinting. Their wont is to kick everything into an enormous
pile and to lay the eggs in the middle of it. The heat from the compost
hatches out the eggs. Despite the absolute chaos they have caused in my
garden, I have left them to their scraping and scratching and nest building
and curious mating rituals.

This morning the female inspected the nest mound.  It is huge but it must
not have passed muster because she has wandered off and the male has just
gone into another frenzy of hoking and kicking and piling up leaves. Theirs
is an ancient species, here long before the humans and they probably will
be here after us as well.

It is though not only in the animal kingdom that life goes on.  During the
awful days of WW1 Thomas Hardy wrote this poem.

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
While an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
 From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.



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