The fact is that Miltão was dragging us down into the mud. He likes fighting, killing, creating confusion. And without peace there can be no traffic. And in any case Miltão is going to die because he’s a fool. If he were a reasonable type he would’ve gotten the hell out. Just yesterday he said to me: I trust only two people, you and Kingie. That proves he’s unfit to lead.

Patricia Melo, Inferno

Could it all happen again? Could we be that daft to be the proverbial dog chasing its tail?

Well, the obvious answer is, of course. On the borders of Europe lies a number of conflicts. In Ukraine, Syria, North Africa there is conflict or unrest; other parts of Africa are warning of potential famine. Pestilence in the form of the frightening Zika has galloped into the Americas. Even the Pope is making sense.

What a time for a referendum. Sorry, I’ll leave the EU there. Maybe.

In Melo’s Inferno; Kingie, himself still but a child, usurps the leader of the local drug gang. A youthful Godfather set in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro. Like all good mob stories it has the usual betrayals, murders and disillusionment. Suspicion and paranoia abound and trust becomes a hard commodity to find.

As individual countries or groups it is necessary to pick and choose friends carefully. Offending a neighbour, might be tempting but would it be in the common interest? Will they stop buying our cheese? Trust the Guardian to find a home-grown, organic spin on Putin’s dairy diktat. Diplomacy is supposed to cover the shortfall in common sense. We’re supposed to talk. But some people well suffice to say, they believe talk is cheap.

Pressures domestically and geographically local become more apparent. Politicians speak less of words and more of action. The territorial pissings of the malevolent, marking their land. There’s something in the way this paragraph is using Nirvana lyrics. To write off lines that don’t make any sense. Not sure how that happened, will keep a look out in utero – futuro.

Ahem.

In the last century; everyone suffered. Normal people, living normal lives were sent away for war; to die. Civilians died in great numbers in both World wars and were often the target of ethnic cleansing and nationalist fervour.

Yossarian, a conscripted flight bomber in Heller’s Catch-22, undergoing a bout of existential angst is driven to his wit’s end contemplating the fact that a bunch of strangers, people he’s never met or heard of, want to kill him. We know and understand our neighbours currently. What happens if we become more distant, less neighbourly, do they become nosey or pushy acquaintances?

Slap on the mortar. Down with the blocks. Press it home. See it’s straight. Mortar. Block. Mortar. Block. . .

Wasn’t it enough that Tiurin had told them himself not to bother with the mortar? Just throw it over the wall and bugger off. But Shukhov wasn’t made that way: eight years in a camp couldn’t change his nature. He worried about anything he could make use of, about every scrap of work he could do – nothing must be wasted without good reason.

Mortar. Block. Mortar. Block. . .

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Everyone suffers when the world gets turned upside down.

There’s a temptation to want that – not the suffering, the upside down bit; a complete change. A spring clean is tempting. Bring in the new, throw out the old. A lovely smell of fresh paint and flowers. Bright and new and clean and cool to the touch. The problem I find with spring cleaning is that the more you do, the more you feel compelled to do. Otherwise, everything looks wrong and unkempt.

It’s the same with people. We all want to improve ourselves, be a better person. But it’s all so messy when you start. There’s so much to do. So, naturally we procrastinate; I’m currently enjoying waddling around in my rambling incoherency, because it’s fun to procrastinate. And I’m a lazy, lazy man.

In the meantime, the World continues to turn in a most consistent and unlazy manner.

Our Sun, our stability, is supposed to be on its second or third life at least. Having exploded into a supernova at least once after munching its way though its radioactive innards, scattering shrapnel across the galaxy; it would seem even on larger scales, in things well beyond our control, history repeats itself.

The supernova shrinks as the remnant material comes back together, drawn inescapably together by their mass property and gravity, the particles combining to make a larger whole, the larger whole becomes irresistible to the small and so on to form a new Sun.

Huge pressures, explosions, car chases; the general stuff of mundane life as we know it. And life goes on. Well, once the radiation has died down a tad.

So what of our Earthly paradise? Turning it upside down doesn’t half clear out the cobwebs. But we’re still us, only bruised and broken in limb and in need of assistance. And life goes on. Slap on the mortar. Down with the blocks.

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