Thursday, 3 March 2016

Russell CJ Duffy

On the 11th of December 2015, I had another mild stroke. So mild that I didn't realise I'd had one until the morning of the 14th when I phoned the ambulance service and was thereafter admitted to hospital. To anyone I may have offended during this period I apologise to them. I wasn't myself.

The purpose of this post is not to dwell on that event but rather clarify, as I think a clarification might be required, not so much who but what I am. Why? Because Thames water flows sluggish and muddy and it matters to me.

In the last few months, my family dog, my teenage hero, my mother and my aunt have all died. Events like these shake you up. Not only do they shake you they make you look at yourself with a critical eye. I have spent most of my life raging against something. Often this anger has been about the inequalities of life but all too often it has manifested itself in ways I now wish it hadn't. In truth, my rage hasn't been so much directed as reflected at others. I also see how short life is. How precious it is. Especially so with the birth of my twin grandchildren. They mean so much to me as do my children, as do my friends. 

I have often written on my views of faith and religion. I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I have no truck with those of faith. I have no empathy whatsoever with organised religion. I am vehemently opposed to having children taught religion in schools. I think non-secular education is both immoral and abusive. I guess I subscribe to Spinoza's view of a non-personalised God. By default, this may make me a Pantheist. I dislike easy labels but am fine with this one.

I am a Social Democrat, or perhaps a Social Libertarian. Again, such easy labelling is often inaccurate or misleading. The word Libertarian, in its original meaning, is best defined by the likes of Noam Chomsky, not Donald Trump nor Rupert Murdoch. The current misuse or misunderstanding of the term by many American's drives me nuts. Not because it has anything to do with American's but because it is wrong. I am nothing like that clown Trump nor anything like 'dear old' Rupert. I am the very reverse of those individuals. 

In seeking democracy, a thing we lack in the UK, I am opposed to having a Monarchy. Like Jeremy Corbyn ( a man who I strongly admire), I dislike personalising issues. I have nothing per see against the Royal Family even if I'd sooner have an elected Head of State. The same with the House of Lords. I couldn't care less what the second house is called, keep it as it is for the sake of historical tradition, a reference point if you like, but its members should be elected. I am a republican. 

I didn't vote Labour in the 2010 General Election as in my view Blair had let our nation down by going to war with Iraq. And although Mister Brown was a tad more traditional Labour he, like Tony Blair, was too close to Margaret Thatcher and Neo-Liberalism for my liking. I voted Liberal Democrat as they seemed a little more radical. I regret voting for that party now and wished instead I'd put my X against the Green candidate. I voted Green in 2015. 

I am against the war in Syria. By that, I mean the UK's involvement in attacking Daesh. I was initially for a UN force going into Syria to set up safe havens for the Syrian population. I thought, and still, do, this would have helped fellow humans by protecting them. However, dropping more bombs, even targeted ones, in areas where the very people I wanted to help reside strikes me as criminal.

There are eight sovereign states who have detonated nuclear weapons. Five of those are referred to as the Nuclear Weapon States. This conveniently ignores the concern that Israel may also have such weapons. In my view, all and any nation state who have nuclear weapons should actively engage in ensuring they all are disarmed. I support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I am anti-Trident.

I am passionately opposed to Zionism. Any form of authoritative regime anywhere in the world be it left or right is fundamentally wrong. I am not anti-Semite. My 'adopted' big brother, ten years my senior, is Jewish. I have nothing but admiration for the Jews. I think their beliefs are as bonkers as I do their fellow monotheists but nonetheless,  I like them.

As for Europe well, I have long held the old Socialist view of mistrust for the European Union. Both Tony Benn and Michael Foot were opposed to it. However, I don't think we should leave. It makes no sense. All that money spent, all the trade we enjoy. My gripe has always been that I dislike centralised government. And Europe is certainly that. I dislike equally that quality in the Labour Party. I want democracy. Big Governments supporting Big Business supporting Big Governments is as dictatorial if a little less harsh, than authoritarianism. In fact, on closer inspection, it is authoritarianism with a thin veneer of liberality thrown in to keep us compliant.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."  - Noam Chomsky

In light of this, I am pro-European. I would like the UK to remain within the EU but to start a process of change. One that would promote localised governments thereby encouraging grassroots democracy. I do not foresee a return to serfdom as I already believe we are part of a servile state. My view on localised democracy is best described with a metaphor. Having a PC that is part of the mainframe so that the same universal societal rules and laws apply. Only local people know and understand the issue and problems they face. Large, remote, centralised governments don't.

Ever since childhood, I have loved reading. Included in this are books and comics. I love both. Also, among those passions, were/are music, TV, theatre, art and cinema. Ever since my fiftieth birthday when I began a process of personal discovery I have written on these subjects. I have no real knowledge of any of them so when I write it is an intuitive process rather than an intellectual one. I am but a poor peasant with very working-class views. 

I am a loner. This does not mean I exclude others or that I dislike having company. It means I am reserved, shy, a little awkward at times and yet, conversely, gregarious. A regular 'fuck-up.'

The only desire I now have is to spread a little love. This may sound phoney or sentimental. It is neither. You wake up one day and realise those around you are popping their clogs and when it comes to clog popping you are on the same conveyor. As the cliché goes - this ain't no rehearsal. 

Apart from living by the golden rule, or, at least, striving too, I use the words of Desiderata as a guide. 'Avoid loud and aggressive persons for they are a vexation to the spirit.' The same words also suggest we should 'speak our truths quietly and clearly.' I intend to. 

So then, in rather a large, long-winded, nutshell, that's me. Russell CJ Duffy.

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.


Cara H said...

I thank you so much for sharing this. I wish I could impart how much it means to me that you did and how helpful it is to me to read it. I am an agnostic myself. I choose to believe in what is known as the mystic or metaphysical, and I've had some very interesting experiences, but I am not arrogant enough to say that I know anything for sure. I have no truck with either true believers or committed nonbelievers, unless either lot try to thrust their system of belief down my throat or ridicule me for not thinking as they do.
Most of the time I wish I could just burst into such a torrent of tears that I would be washed away. I feel things very deeply, but I can only allow myself to feel them superficially or I can't function. I can't cry most of the time, even when it feels as if a knife had been thrust through my chest. I wish I could, but I can't.
As you said, these things really do effect a person, but we aren't supposed to talk about it. We're supposed to paint on a chipper smile and when people ask us "how are you" or as comedian Paul Reiser put it "How are yuh?" we are supposed to answer "fine." We are not supposed to say that we feel as if our very soul is being ripped apart.
My mother has not had an easy life. She is a very bitter person. She thinks that I am too emotional for the fact that I will never get over the death of my little cat, who loved me more than any other creature in this world ever has. She thinks I am foolish for mourning the loss of the likes of Robin Williams, whom I didn't know but who meant a great deal to me, especially as a lonely young bullied teenager who needed a character like Mork, who she could imagine would love her just as she was and be her best friend.
My mother certainly doesn't understand how shell-shocked I was to learn of Malcolm Young's dementia, which onset when he was only 55. That's only four years older than I am right now. He opted not to take himself out because he felt doing so would hurt his family too deeply. I've discussed it with my son, and if I am ever diagnosed with dementia, I will take myself out before I'm not there any more. I worked with dementia patients for too many years and watched the decline. Malcolm's brother has said of him that "he isn't in there at all any more." I don't want my son to have to say that about me.
Malcolm meant and means a lot to me in a way that's hard to explain. I love him very much. I never met him, so that doesn't make sense to most people, but just by being who and what he is, he saved my life. He had no tolerance for people who bullied other people. He was tremendously shy, yet he bravely put himself in front of an audience. Not only did he play music, he was the reason several other people were able to play music and was in fact the reason that his brother became as famous as he has. While he never had the sense of self loathing that has always been a part of my soul in this lifetime, he has struggled with depression and addiction. Conquered the addiction to alcohol. Wish he could have been successful with the damn cigarettes, but as I say, no-one's perfect.
Sorry to go on and on--or not. A piece like this touches the damn soul that I try to turn off so people will make small talk with me and not run from the crazy person. You accept the crazy person, and for that I am forever grateful. It means more than I can say--and, evidently, I am capable of saying quite a lot. Thank you.

Russell Duffy said...

I certainly don't think of you as a crazy woman. I think of you as another creative. Another soul lost on this sometimes awful voyage of life upon which we embark often without a rudder or wheel to steer by.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog