Spin Doctoring & Faith & Doubt
I was listening to the Minister of Finance give his maiden speech of the midterm budget speech in the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town this afternoon. This country has been on tenterhooks to hear what he has to say and if and how he will use spin to the highest degree to ‘justify’ the economic wreck he and his ilk have imposed upon us – all – in the last several months. Spin doctors … what an exhausting and dizzying job it must be, until maybe the spin doctors begin to believe their own lies. It is an ongoing worry, at least on my part, that whoever it is, begins to believe their own lies. And more, expect/hope/wish that we the people believe them. Which sadly, many of us do. We are in grave danger of believing those lies, and we all begin to believe our own lies and we deny what we hear see touch taste and smell with our senses and the web gets ever more spidery – and still we deny. In spite of the facts of history. Denial: insidious and perfidious, Janus-faced –
I know that everywhere in the world there are huge and worrying issues – issues of gigantic import. So much and so many are dying – threats are everywhere –
I try hard to keep myself one step removed from it all, but it is not really possible for me. When I think on these things, I acknowledge, partly, the deep sorrow I feel about the world and its inhabitants and our planet. My tummy gets into a knot and I feel a pain in my groin. That’s my visceral response. I force myself to try to bring a different attitude to this enervation and despair I feel. I don’t want to feel the full weight of the world because I would immediately collapse under the burden. And it is not my place to feel the full weight of the world. I feel some of it nevertheless. I am glad that I have my own useful defence mechanisms to ward off the full weight but then I must find something else to take its place that is hopefully constructive.
So, I try to expand my cold crimped numbed heart in some way … I took paint to paper these last few days, something I had started in Plettenberg Bay about three weeks ago. An image from quite a long while ago which has come more and more to the fore in recent times. I painted it. I like what C.G. Jung said about using the hands to express what the head cannot (paraphrased). I think my ego or the overly critical part of myself took a bit of a back seat while my hands were doing what they did. It was very hard. I’m pleased with myself that I have worked on it after great resistance – I feel I have done some justice to my psyche. The painting is still a bit incomplete.
The challenges we face here in South Africa are very daunting. All of us are in a state of shock and confusion and some denial at the corruption that goes on, notably but not exclusively at State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) which are in the dwang financially and forever being rescued. We’re very well aware of our dire economic situation, very high unemployment for one (and very little potential for economic growth) and the rotten apples at the top. This too I try to keep a step removed from. I have a bit of faith in the strength of our politically active organisations that call out unethical actions within the government or wherever it may occur; and in the public persons who speak out and say no.
Which makes me think on other things such as my son and daughter-in-law’s visit from Cape Town this weekend, so we’re looking forward to the few nights they’ll be with us (they have a wedding to attend) and my upcoming visit to Cape Town next week. I’ll be flying down on Wed 1st November for just over a week. Water is very scarce there and is impacting on people’s lives in a major way. My sister lives there; I’ll see her re-fashioned garden. She uprooted most of her lovingly tended garden and plants to replace with paving, stones and gravel. I know I won’t be able to indulge in a bath, part of my usual evening ritual at home. A quick shower and conserving falling water in a bucket to be re-used.
I’ve asked her to make an appointment for me with the woman who cut my hair in Cape Town just over a year ago when I was there. I want a cut and also for my hair to be highlighted so that I can start the process of going grey or whatever my natural colour is. If it doesn’t suit me because of my skin tone or whatever, I will revert to another plan. I’ve been thinking about this for several months already. The time feels right. Maybe a tiny protest on my part against ageism which is getting a good and healthy airing these days and a curiosity on my side to be ‘au naturel’ –
My husband and I will be relocating from Johannesburg at some stage to live permanently in Plettenberg Bay where we’ve had a lovely holiday home for the last long while. I do not know when exactly this will be but it is on the horizon. Maybe by June next year. I sincerely hope not sooner. But this is something that I think about in fits and starts, a new life, different to the one I’ve had here in Johannesburg for the last very long while. I hope to meet the unknown challenges – my husband too – I am trying to have faith in the process however it unfolds.
I’ve been wondering about faith and doubt for the last several months, the strangest bedfellows if ever there were. I did a blog post on this in February 2015. Uncertainty and synchronicity were part of it. I went back to it re-read the responses which were so heartening and melted my heart all over again. Does doubt strengthen faith? Is doubt a necessary process? Is it a terrible thing? I excerpted the poem that Elaine posted on the comments:
“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith,
but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
― T.S. Eliot
I like my painting and the image it expresses about my personal challenge of faith and doubt. And also, maybe synchronistically, as in the February 2015 post, the last few days have brought up the discussion of Faith and Doubt on a thread I follow on FB. Which has demonstrated to me again, the necessity of exercising my faith muscle, in my psyche, in spite of being besieged by doubt, about much.
Walking out in nature is always a balm to my soul. I’m keeping to my Blisters for Bread initiative and noting on my cell phone the number of steps I walk on any given day and putting an amount of money into the jar I have on my table. I haven’t asked anyone to join me …
The rand to the dollar exchange rate has shot through the roof after the finance minister’s speech – I’ve been half heartedly listening to a summary of it all this evening. One of the analysts called it a dip in the rand – it’s not a dip, it’s a huge dive, southwards. So maybe it’s not through the roof but downwards to the murky depths. To give our new-ish minister his due, he did note the enormous challenges we face, but he has neatly avoided some fundamental issues. (Russia is behind a nuclear power deal with South Africa – we don’t need it, we already have a functioning power station, we don’t need a new one, we have an over-supply of renewable energies and coal and apart from other major concerns eg nuclear waste and its storage, we do not have the HUGE amount of money required – at least a trillion projected at this stage but no doubt this will climb. We are already in huge debt).
My son David happened on my February 2015 post. He made the following comment at the time –
‘I find that when things seem too certain, that’s when I start to worry. Certainty makes your faith weak, and a weak faith makes life stale.“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1: 2 – 4’
Thank you for reading – keep the faith and may the Force be with you in these uncertain times.