Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Time Is Out Of Joint

Let us go together. Yes, for this matter is one that cannot and has never been the undertaking of one man. Every battle or campaign has its hero, in earlier times quite possibly a king or military commander. While some undertook great campaigns on the battlefield, others fought for social justice and establishing societies based on parity, care of the weak and fairness - an inextricable imperative in the (financial) market place. Invariably, these were strong men surrounded by strong men. This is one part of a prophetic ur-model extrapolated into various places and times throughout the ages, though conspicuously missing within today’s shadowy political landscape with its increasingly shady political class.

 You will always hear people speaking of helping the lowly and disadvantaged, but rarely does one hear of anyone who wants to help the strong become truly strong and change the course of action that governs the world. And what is it that governs the world? Of course, it is money! Money (as intrinsic value in real time and place) we have all come to realize does not actually exist. Money as credit, created ex nihilo, trading in debts, derivatives and uncertain futures that now are not even written on paper notes but move as trillions of electronic digital impulses in milliseconds around the world from computer terminal to computer terminal. Some have understood this long before the rest, the majority of whom have been very busy (trader) drones making six figure salaries, employed by impervious bosses, incubuses that move silently in and out of buildings, from the back seats of chauffeur driven cars, who easily pull seven plus. Alongside this stupendous phenomenon we can recognize its corollary; the world’s most populous cities sprouting tumorous growths of slum populations often as large as the host they cling to.

In Goethe’sFaust Mephistopheles instructs a bankrupt Emperor in the art of creating notes of credit based on ‘futures’ from un-mined gold and treasures that can, in turn, be used as bills of exchange.  When the Emperor is informed of the now rampant use of countless notes whirling about as if they were actual wealth he is incredulous and enraged that such an odious crime is being perpetrated within his realm, until his treasurer reminds him it was just last night he had himself signed such a ‘note’. The Emperor’s steward chimes in that once begun everyone under the sun was writing out chits on paper. Spending was spinning; the Exchequer’s books balanced; consumer confidence was at an all time high and the Emperor’s name praised on every tongue.  The Emperor was duly convinced and most delighted, but no more so than Mephistopheles himself, for once again he had proved a great magician!

 You’ll find the above-mentioned scene in Faust, Part Two: The Pleasure Garden, in any pre-World War II un-expurgated translation. It is interesting how after 1945, many US and UK publishers thought it apposite to omit the particular scene, apparently for the sake of clarity and expediency, and so as not to confuse people. It could be assumed that it was omitted from the syllabus of schools in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Iceland and the rest. Must be a bit awkward for the Germans, which may help to explain why their Department of Education is removing the now “boring” and anachronistic works of Schiller and Goethe from the standard school curriculum. Judging by current events, the original text is much more likely to be found in desk drawers on Wall Street or in the City of London banking district.

Part I of Faust, primarily concerned with Faust’s soul and his selling it to the devil was completed in 1808, while Part II was not completed until 1831, a year before Goethe’s death, and focuses instead on human psychology, history, economics and politics. Obviously this is a complete waste of time in today’s modern world with a virtual economy spiralling at an incalculable speed, based upon a model of limitless growth.  Meanwhile, the Earth and everything on it (and under it), the seas and every living thing within them, are being pushed beyond the limits of what is sustainable.

And still your fingers on your lips, I pray. This is a matter that must not be too much spoken of, for it is action that is required. A king has been murdered whilst resting in his garden, a crime perpetrated by his brother who has taken both his brother’s life and his wife, and presently sits upon his throne. The most famous son of the murdered king is brooding, obsessed and frustrated by his inability to act, yet act he must!  And also feigning madness or maybe he has gone mad?

 An inward journey seeks a light that shows the way forward. But what is that way if not to action, and an action that puts right what has gone wrong. Surely, this is the cause of Hamlet’s conflicted self, an apparent paucity that seems paralyzing. Yet, is not Justice the fruit of virtu. This is not Christian virtue. This is the noble character of the warrior savant. In the early times they were said to wear a garment of coarse wool (suf), and were subsequently called sufi, while today they may conceal their poverty before the boundless Lord of Majesty in elegantly tailored rags by Armani and Boss.

The time is out of joint. O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right.

And to strive to put things right is the business at hand. All other forms of trade will be done along the way, as the permitted (halal) is extricated from the quagmire of the prohibited (haram). More than forty years ago I was told by my Teacher that working was like washing. You do it. It is a natural activity of man, part of what is called fitra, and there are lots of things that need doing.  The secret is not to associate what one does with the gifts and bounties one constantly receives. What is your due will come to you. Well then, we should try to do everything. For what is regret but:

Here error is all in the not done,
all in the diffidence that faltered... (Ezra Pound Canto LXXXI)

Nay, come, let’s go together.

So we return to the point from which we started.

................Let us go together.
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to put it right.
Nay, come, let’s go together
(Hamlet, Act I, scene V)

The role of leadership is to re-establish justice. The form of the man that is able to do so is what I attempt to reveal in my book ThePower Template: Shakespeare’s Political Plays. The final scene of Hamlet heralds the arrival of Fortinbras, who will restore order and justice, thereby completing what Prince Hamlet attempted, but was unable to achieve in his lifetime. Fortinbras orders that Hamlet be given a valiant soldier’s burial.

Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and for his passage,
The soldier’s music and rite of war
Speak loudly for him.
(Hamlet, Act V, scene II)

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