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The cold winds should remind us that it is never the strongest that survive, but those willing to initiate change.

The cold winds should remind us that it is never the strongest that survive, but those willing to initiate change.

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This week I would like to start with a quotation from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II, scene VII. It is a song sung by Lord Amiens before the Duke Senior’s company:

“Blow, blow, thou wind wind/Thou art not so unkind/as man’s ingratitude … Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky/that dost not bite so nigh/as benefits forgot … thy sting is not so sharp/as friend remembered not.”

This is not an exercise in pedantry or polemic, and I quote it freely because it is in the public domain, having been written some 400 years ago (between 1590 and 1613.) Yet the relevance remains cogent as when it was written. I chose this route because my soul is weary of the daily catalogue of malfeasance, self-delusion and short-sighted pig-headed of the misbegotten gang that has forgotten the first rule of human decency.

In Sociology, I learnt the first man on Earth was stress-free because he could do what he wanted, when he wanted and where he wanted. The proof that there was another human being close by changed that forever. Because now he had to alter his behaviour, factor in the needs of another and also protect his own interests. Sociology 101.

It doesn’t take brains to admit their common needs bonded them in the beginning: the need for water, shelter, food. The most basic drives were met in the most basic way, but add in one more human being and the parameters shift dramatically.

That was the flashpoint. Perhaps that was the reason for Prometheus stealing fire from the gods. In fact, he stole it back from the gods to provide man with technology, knowledge and, ultimately civilisation. Because the fire provided more than just light. It revealed the underhanded way the first mortals started exercising that social evil called the territorial imperative. Man needed to manage the tensions of hierarchical needs, and ultimately selfishness, to survive. Or so he thought.

Which brings us to today where proven miscreants are again brazenly entering the safe domain of mutual and beneficial social behaviour and substituting for it acts of darkness that claim to, but have no benefit in mind for the rest of humanity. And so the cold winds of winter blow ingratitude among all who claim mealie-mouthed sanctimony. The cold winds should remind us that it is never the strongest that survive, but those more willing to either initiate or accept change.

So how do you make sense of this week’s ramble? In my mind I see the need for clarity that is provided by the fire which we steal back from those who elevate themselves ostensibly for the good of mankind, but ultimately for their own gorging at the trough of the public fiscus. No one knows or remembers the truth anymore, no one is prepared to do a moral audit that will identify commonalities that require a clean moral slate.

But I refuse to believe all is lost. Just as I refuse to believe the present world soccer competition will be alcohol or hanky-panky free. Man is too resourceful for me to buy into Fifa’s claim that they can have a rowdy horde of football fans sipping halaal Coca-Cola.

And I am not casting aspersions. I am merely suggesting that we stop living around zig-zagging load-shedding schedules, that we stop believing the inquest into the sad death of one good man stills the winter of our discontent, or that GBV as a news item will eliminate the scourge.

The winter wind will blow its unwelcome loss of comfort, for as long as man forgets, nature can heal itself precisely because the wind blows the way it should.

Read the masters and drink the water of wisdom from ancient wells. Address the impending water shortage that looms, the implosion that threatens in population stats. Return to the old values and say: Do what is necessary to heal our land. It is not too late. It can be done. And more direly, it needs to be done.

* Alex Tabisher.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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