Now it is a fact that to be able to see for what it mostly is the reality of the world of politics, and the game-play of much that goes for ordinary social interaction, a person has to be prepared to accept tough conclusions: To accept them into her heart and being. There is no room for fluffy toys and woolly words in these matters.
‘Hey, ho, this life is most jolly
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly’
To accept them into one’s heart and being does not necessarily mean to become hardened and toughened; as are the conclusions one is liable to reach about too much of the world. Many half-decent persons have been made miserable and caused to view things cynically because they have tried to harden and toughen themselves as their adequate response to having seen some way into the sinks of the world.
Others, as a result of their having seen a glimpse of this milling world, have given up the ghost on decency and have pitched their lot in with the guys whose motto runs: ‘When the going gets tough; the toughs get going.’
The contention of the guys here at metanomalies is that having got a glimpse into, and gotten some insight on the toughness and harshness of much of the world, one is able to use this understanding so as to counter the incursions of a pain-increasing and suffering-making world that one observes; and so go for something radically different. Something that is more hospitable and able to act effectually in building-up truly social communities: Communities of the Heart.
In a kind of dialectic arising out of a rejection of what in general goes for normal in the world; the dog eat dog drives of ambition, the swingeing ‘me first’ outlook; the predatory ‘if I don’t do it someone else will’ decision; out of a rejection of these darkened attitudes, is able to arise potential to opt for something that not a bit fluffy or woolly but which in its own right is tough and solid; sound, reasonable and bearing prima facie bona fide goodwill.
This dialectic works as it were, as the old song says: ‘If you want the things you love – there must be showers’.
Just as there comes a choice to every man and woman in their lives to answer for her/himself, and for them to live their lives by their answer, to the ‘overwhelming question’ posed by Thomas Carlyle as comprising ‘The everlasting Yea’ or else ‘The everlasting No’ – and just as this is the ultimate formative choice we all are compelled to make in our lifetime, to an extent that some people see it as the teleological justification for us each having found ourselves born; so it is that we see things in general either as being contingent, expedient, and sublunary, or else richly charged with a greater meaning, of truth and love; and so transcendentally authentic.
In simpler terms the choice can be put as a straight choice between an ultimate loyalty to be placed in ‘me and mine’ or else a measured, reasoned trust rested on an optimism engendered of a hope and belief that the world’s suffering and all its horrors are not occurrent in vain.
Some cannot abide one; and others cannot bear the alternate choice. We are sheep and goats.
Contrary to muddling along together with a bland and washy, somewhat false ‘hail fellow- well-met’ jauntiness, and blindly hoping that without real effort or commitment ‘everything will turn out fine’; instead of this, building Communities of the Heart requires much and constant hard work and a perpetual self-vigilance.
Old-fashioned words start coming into play here and bearing pregnant meaning: constancy; fortitude; perseverance; character; good manners; consideration; forethought; kindness; and maybe most of all – a presumption of unassuming goodwill towards one’s associates.
And so are able to be created societies and communities which refuse to be ruled by regimentation from the top downwards; whose need for statutory law and regulation so to keep a good order is minimised; and maybe idealistically-speaking vanished? The corollary that remains for this to be valid, plausible and possible, is a requirement foremost for any individual in these communities to work hard at and apply with a will and rigorously to the task of governing herself – in the first and the final instance.
Unless a person is able, is willing, to attempt a difficult, ruthless, self-examination and self-calling to account, he cannot begin to want to belong to such a society of men and women. Indeed this entails the exact same Hellenic philosophical maxim up-taken by Socrates and which sets the bar at the height of ‘Know Thyself’; taken up for the same reasons that are being advocated by we metanomalies guys.
Without knowing something about what goes on in our own heads and hearts we can’t begin to try to have some restraint on our own darker moments and so allow a creation of space in which others may grow and prosper as we would have ourselves grow and prosper. Stepping back and giving way to another whose need is greater is not a soft option. It is not in any way as near as soft an option for us as is it to push the other fellow out of the way and place ourselves before him. Giving in to our own appetites at a cost to others is one of the easiest things in the world for us to do.
This working towards Communities of the Heart then is supremely a practical and workaday project. It is an attempt that in its quiet unsung way is a great enterprise. Not only is it a personal adventure and challenge to every one of us who throws our lot in with it; it is also a new attempt at an old venture at building a vibrant and thriving community which is de facto sustainable in every political, economic and environmental sense.
The old economic maxim of Adam Smith’s is turned inside out so as to work all the more perfectly. The individual self-interests of persons trading in the marketplace, of those who are busy buying in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest, are said by Adam Smith inadvertently to be working in ways that aggregate to the benefit all people in society generally. (Of course since his day the unfortunate rough-edges of an unconstrained free-market economy have been observed and analysed, and those vital places which remain unprovided-for by the marketplace left to itself have been made good to some extent.)
We at metanomalies turn unashamedly to old and new masters of thought and vision whose unanimous voice points us again and again to believing with a good hope that: ‘The individual self-disinterest of persons who are busy within any walk of life, of those making way for those most in need and putting themselves forward as best they can in behalf of others, are attempting what is in general their best shot for the future of human affairs to the benefit of all who come and wish join us in a good earnest.
The vision we prefer is well-expressed as being:
‘The glory of the garden occupieth all who come’