THE words ‘desert’ and ‘desolate’ have complementary roots and describe a similar outcome – lifeless wasteland.
It is a common human trait to take a binary look at things and divide them into two camps. Good and evil, political and apolitical, analogue and digital, water and land, curds and whey, creative and destructive, vaccinated and unvaccinated. We are told, of course, that in the real world, life isn’t that crude, and that things meet somewhere in the middle – grey rather than black and white.
I have another binary code to share – desert-makers and irrigators. This is a new pair of X-ray spex that enables us to identify desert-makers across a wide spectrum of hitherto unconnected subjects. It also, somewhat depressingly, illustrates the ease of identifying the desert-makers and the apparent rarity of known irrigators. But more of the latter at the end. Let’s first peer into the wide spectrum of desert-makers. Use this tool and they come crawling out of the cracks.
Who lays waste? Well, what else were lockdowns? Remember those empty streets, towns and cities? Created by the desert-makers. Who lays waste to sound educational principles? Desert-makers. The rubble created by all wars, and the arms industry supplying the goods, is the work of desert-makers. Who breaks supply chains and creates empty shelves? Desert-makers. Who frightens people to cower at home and behind masks? Desert-makers.
I don’t need to go on. You have the tool. It’s easy to apply, and it’s not paranoid to use it. Indeed, it could be said to be essential because without it, many desert-makers continue to hide in plain sight. When a corporate employer talks about job cuts (with or without the in-tandem replacement technology), instead of saying: ‘How can we create more productive jobs in the expansion of our business and all benefit from that?’ he is a desert-maker. He is contributing to the abomination of desolation. Of course, he hides his true persona under the PR umbrella of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, surely one of the most egregious of all corporate sleights of hand. And witness how our ‘Christian’ places of worship have been turned into wastelands, lifeless deserts. No wonder they’re so busy selling them off.
Which brings me to the irrigators. Who and where are they? Well, the water I’m talking about is spiritual. It is the spirit of good intent and of repair. Don’t go looking for it. It comes from YOU. If we take on this task of irrigation, we will find each other. Attack the desert by helping Nature. No matter how much concrete there is, plant life eventually grows up through the cracks. Nature is unstoppable. We can form a partnership with her. We can be irrigators.
I’m not talking about the lecturing or hectoring of a religious approach, but a communal one. Every one of us has qualities we’re capable of sharing on a voluntary basis. It could be educational, it could be medical, it could be practical, it could simply be comforting advice from a lifetime’s experience. But it needs to be voluntary, because that’s more difficult for outside forces, the desert-makers, to scupper. Make no mistake, though, they will come for you. Which is why I think we need to foster the speakeasy concept – private and secret for folk to attend and participate in. For example, I’m retired and can teach history, English language, English literature and drama. They can come to me or I can come to them. Any good cooks among you? There are plenty who could do with your advice, in your home or theirs, or a neutral speakeasy location. Medical advice, just someone to talk to? Come on doc, come on nurse, do you realise how much you’d be loved? Do you subscribe to the old-fashioned process of grown-up debate? Have you any idea how they would flock? You see enough from the blogs on this site to realise how desperate people are to exchange ideas and concerns.
Forget qualifications (nice if you have them, but not essential). As Florence Nightingale said, it’s character that matters, not certificates. If you have a skill or a passion, create that speakeasy and they will come.