Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Just a moment ago I was in the kitchen having a cup of tea with son Alex who is home from Sydney for a few days, on other Google business. We cut through all the crap pretty quickly in my family and soon we were discussing our views on life, the universe and everything. It is so nice when your children become adults and it was interesting to hear Alex say, "You and I both have a similar outlook, Mum, - we align with the left wing." I protested somewhat, saying that I didn't know that left-wing was how I would describe myself. Rather, I care about things other than economics - does that make me left-wing? Alex doesn't beat around the bush, and replied "I describe myself that way and generally people know what that means and therefore understand what my views will be."

Of course, he is no doubt right - he nearly always is - but it doesn't sit comfortably with me to align myself with a political stream of any sort. I don't think, for example, that my love of nature and wild things has anything to do with politics at all, although I do usually vote for 'The Greens' because of the leader, Bob Brown's stance on wilderness and non-logging of old-growth forests in Tasmania etc etc. I don't like taking sides in a general sense and would prefer to see my views as independent of anyone else's. Life has somehow taught me that, once confined to a set of rules - any rules - the first thing I want to do is break them because sometimes I need to change my opinion and I want to be free to do so. I am nothing if not open to other points of view.

When your children become adults you can stand back a bit and see what you have created, or at least had a hand in moulding into shape. This is much more evident when you only see them once in a while. What then can happen is that you, the adult, become influenced by them. In the same way that you start wearing their cast-off clothes which they leave behind when they move out, you begin to feel a great sense of connection to their generation through them and want to understand and sometimes absorb their adult outlook into yours. Someone recently and innocently said to me, when I was answering a question about Alex from them, "It sounds like you take after him." We both laughed and laughed but it certainly has a ring of truth to it.

So, what exactly are my views and where is that square when I need it to refer to?? I do not see the human race as superior to any other species and I feel no need to go out and develop medical science to a point where humans can be cured and healed of illness simply because they are people. I would prefer it were the opposite - we go all out to save the earth and in the process make a world where the human race, not individuals, can exist in harmony with everything else. The big picture needs help, while we spend too much time choosing the colours of paint to use!

Is that left-wing? I have no idea and I don't care because until it is mainstream we are all stuffed anyway and we might as well start believing in a god for all the good it will do us. Today was one of the best days I have had for ages, in a funny and unremarkable kind of way, and it illustrates what is meaningful and what is window dressing. Again we weeded and extended Sally's vegetable garden. It is the first time this year that my toes have been cold in my gardening boots = winter is finally arriving; Sally's soil is now rich and beautiful and ready for production; we had a great talk together about some meaningful things; I spent the rest of the day in my garden, alone and deep in thought, until Alex arrived home; I got some lovely emails that made me feel appreciated by people I have never met and I have a husband coming home tonight who I love and trust. I didn't buy anything or go very far from home or need entertainment. I listened to the birds, ran my hands over the soft fennel fronds, saw the light changing on the hill, sowed some special seeds from Glenys and stood for a moment in a little spot in my vegetable garden from which I can see the sea. Is that left-wing?

My views on biodiversity, food production systems, water usage and a whole lot of things have been developed primarily because I don't like what I see happening to the earth and I want to find better ways to do things which will rebalance inputs and outputs to an even zero impact. Why others think differently is a little bewildering to me but I respect people's rights to have an opinion, never the less, and very much would like to dig deep into the minds of other humans more often than I have the opportunity to. Alex and I have this in common, I know, and find it frustrating when people won't voice their opinions. For me this is partly because I don't know anything about the square - like I was born in a different world - and have no preconceived ideas of what the hell anyone thinks about anything.

Alex may well use left-wing as a means to describe his views but I will continue not to align myself with anyone and shrug off constraints at every turn in the quest to improve the life of the earth that we inevitably rely on to provide us with everything, including the air we breathe and the food we eat, every day. Life is not to be wasted on oneself....(I have just - 1 day later -realised how hypocritical this is because I am writing this on a blog I set up entirely about me!)

1 comment:

Ian said...

Thoughtful post Kate,
I think the problem is not that we need to have a label, left wing, right wing,silly mid off, whatever! But that most other people want to give us labels so they can compartmentalise us.
Your left wing and I have a box for that here!