One Morning

one morning
….and gradually the skyline of this quirky old city was transformed and some people said it was necessary to bring in more revenue to pay for public services and other people said that accommodation was so expensive that they had to build more flats but other people said that it was better before they built all these new buildings but mostly these people were ignored as they tended to be older people and the younger people didn’t remember what it had been like before anyway. And each generation was keen to stamp their mark on the world like a child looking ahead at a newly fallen blanket of snow, keen to get out there stamping footprints, while older people looked back at the acres of sludgy mush that they had trodden in their youth. And some people said they needed to continue to expand to grow the economy and as they progressed (for it was termed progress) they invented lots of new things. But nobody noticed that almost everyone who had lived long enough to realise how the net effect of new things affected their lives now thought that there were enough things already and that the making of more new things always seemed to involve the destruction of lots of natural things like trees and open space and fresh air. So they continued to create new things. They dug up vast areas of land to find lots of special rock which they used to make more things. They created pipe cleaners and pot noodles and four wheel drive and central heating and laser pointers and cork screws and the more they invented things the more they had to work to build them to make sure that there were enough of them and most of their lives were spent working to make things which they threw away after a few years because their economy required that they bought new things. An enormous amount of effort was put into exhorting people to buy new things and many people were employed to convince people to buy new things. And many people converged on population centres to work and these became truly enormous and just getting in and out of them every day became a task which many societies would deem enough for a day’s work. And because everyone worked so hard and lived in such tight little boxes and soothed their troubles with chemicals, most people were not really at their best most of the time. And some people started to fight other people and take the things that they had worked to have. And other people said it wasn’t fair that they didn’t have a chance to work so they couldn’t buy as many things as some other people had. And the people who had been delegated to coordinate everything introduced new rules but every time they did people would argue about the fine detail and a new rule would have to be introduced. And enormous battles were fought over which set of rules was best and how the making of things should be managed. And every few hundred or few thousand years someone would realise just how ridiculous things were getting and they’d tell everyone that the most important thing to do was be kind to each other. Just that really. Sometimes they’d have a handful of basic rules but it usually boiled down to being kind to each other and to start with everyone realised that this was true and it made a difference but then as the ideas got explained second and third hand people would get the wrong end of the stick and the rules would become harsher and more eccentric and they’d tell everyone they had to wear strange symbols or not eat certain food on certain days or have parts of their bodies mutilated. And eventually most people forgot the message to be kind, and many people interpreted the rules as meaning that the main task was for them to go around telling everyone else how they should follow the rules. And some people went further and started punishing people who didn’t follow the rules and they said that the rules came from a supernatural and all powerful being and so they must be true but nobody seemed to notice that the people who believed a set of rules usually were born from amongst a lot of people who already believed in those rules and that people on one side of the planet believed one set of rules and people on the other believed something else. And to start with when followers of different sets of rules first met each other they were glad to see each other and they wondered at how their rules were so different and yet, fundamentally, meant the same thing which was to be kind. But gradually more and more people from different places started meeting each other and they started arguing about which set of rules was best and some people said that it didn’t matter and they should just agree to disagree but other people said that their rules came from the supernatural being or their opponents rules were dangerous and so they must attack and kill all the people who didn’t follow their rules and gigantic fights would break out and millions of people would be killed or wounded and the fights would go on for years until eventually everyone realised just how stupid the fighting was and they became exhausted and they recognised that the suffering was universal and they couldn’t really remember what they were fighting for anyway and that, certainly, whatever it was it can’t have been worth the massive slaughter that had occurred and the people who coordinated everything sat down and said that they would stop the fighting and everyone was to be friends again and everyone thought this was a great idea and they all went back to making things and rebuilding what had been destroyed and for a good while there would be peace and they built more places to live and more washing machines and steam rollers and electric whisks. But gradually the same old problems would emerge. A lot of argument took place between the people who thought everyone should have the same things and other people who thought what things you had should be dependent on what you did to help make them. And the population grew and people became more and more stressed and argument about the rules became quite heated. Then one day, something happened that made everyone stop and think. One morning, late in the year in a city on the coast when the weather was still warm and the sun was low in the sky but still shining, a man was walking his dog……

(The rest of this manuscript was illegible – Ed).

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