And I’m clear about that, just as our ‘esteemed’ Prime Minister likes to say, as he looks down on us through the lens of the upturned camera sent to record his reaction to the latest example of human shame. I think he’s so clear that he is transparent and I have little patience for his posturing, though I would love said camera to pan down to his feet, one day, to see if he stands on a pre-positioned Lazy Susan to enact his customary swivel on the heel before departing magnificently, in a style reminiscent of Dick Emery…
I used to think that the best advice I ever read was on a box of matches:
‘Keep away from children’
Later, my effort went into keeping away from everyone, which seemed a pity because I felt like I had something to contribute. I realised, as a consequence, that my finding children annoying was really unfair because they are the ones with the fullest right to behave like children. It’s difficult to learn about life and proper behaviour, context and perception when the examples being set by those we look up to are so conflicting and so poor. It’s not the children – it’s the ‘adults’!
So now I trust the opinions of children as being sincere if not necessarily founded on experience or accuracy. I respect and admire them for that. They have an uncanny knack for spontaneous accuracy, though – clarity. I find their conversation refreshing, challenging and vital.
At the opposite end of the age range people are often considered to have entered a second childhood – though I question this patronising view and think that Shakespeare could have reduced his ‘Seven Ages of Man’ down to three, were he on an efficiency drive, rather than trying to get some words down onto a beer mat. Often, I enjoy conversation with the elderly, particularly the grumbly, crabby ones like, no doubt, I’ll be, if I ever make it.
I think the concept of the second childhood is misconstrued. I think that there comes a point when one reflects on a lifetime of experience and recognises, perhaps, a return to a level of dependence on others as was the case in childhood. The desire to be independent may be there but not the energy and vitality of that first flush of youth. That has been replaced by the equally valuable commodities of knowledge, experience and hindsight on which to reflect, and I believe this reflection also recognises the beauty of the truth as spoken by children before the world has destroyed their hope of living a life based on truth, justice and honesty.
So we have, I believe, three ages of childhood; Actual, pure, true childhood; the next bit where we pretend to be as naive as a child to avoid any real responsibility, in the belief that this justifies doing whatever we just want to do; Then, the return to the yearning for the values of youth; goodness, decency, fairness and justice – the higher values within all human beings but fast diminishing through our continued evolution.
So, while we all relax, safe in the knowledge that our esteemed leaders protect our well being (Remember, we can check on that by watching the news for a few minutes. That should reassure you that all is well and we need to do nothing to alter anything) we might consider Andy Warhol’s belief in everyone having their fifteen minutes of fame as a metaphor for life. In the life of our planet, our conscious participation in it all is but the blink of an eye – fifteen minutes in all of time. We go back to what we came from and remain among it all – whatever beliefs we may have held. During our breathing, speaking, thinking and doing time on Earth we remain, effectively, children of the Earth. In this form, soon we’ll all be gone, so why bother?
Well, fifteen minutes or our lifetime is nothing in the grand scale of things but to be something worthwhile in its duration, we need to reach that point of reflection sooner than we are doing currently. Listen to the children. Listen to the elderly. Cut the desperate chatter in our minds and listen to what really matters and then perhaps what we achieve can be recognised as something meaningful, by someone who really matters – in a positive way, without need for qualification or justification. It is clear to recognise, and I am clear about that.