Feb 192007

Care, freedom, conspiracy: three words plucked from the weekend’s talking, reading and thinking. The question that comes to mind: what do these three words do to me?

Care is the daily rhythm of activity in relation to my children, wife, partner, lover, other family members, neighbours, friends; a widening circle of obligation, which now includes a threatened planet.

At least I don’t yet have to ‘care’ for the universe . . . oh dear, even in saying it I open myself to my loving care for the universe.

Care means effort is required of me. I’m upset, moved, prodded towards action. Following the prodding and recognising a certain resistance, laziness or impotence, I might have to justify myself as to why I cannot engage in action; I have the capacity to care as a feeling but not care as an action.

Freedom often seems to be opposed to care. The word carefree seems to be close to the experience of freedom. Care diminishes my freedom. It’s not easy to see outside our confining cultural framework. I say, our, by which I suppose I mean what’s often referred to as Western/American/European/capitalist culture with its love of the individual and his/her freedom. Yes, I’m referring to this thing that looks like a snouts-in-the-trough consumerist orgy. And in this culture, care seems to be worth a grat deal less than freedom.

For some reason, at this point, I’m reminded of Saturday’s walk on Dartmoor, and let me go with this apparent change of subject. When, this was on the return part of the walk, we climbed up to East Wight Barrow, struggling across the beastly bogs and tussocks, so we came into mist.

‘It’s impossible to get lost,’ I said, confident of how well I knew this bit of the moor.

But it turned out that within ten minutes I had led us off course by about ninety degrees and as the afternoon light was waning found myself, when the mist lifted somewhat, in an area completely unrecognisable. Fortunately, as we headed down a valley, which I knew was the ‘wrong’ valley, I did begin to recognise where we were and was able to say, ‘oh yeah we just need to cross this swollen stream and climb over this hill and we’ll be back on course.’

It was just getting dark as we reached the parked car.

On Sunday evening I watched the BBC 2 offering on conspiracy theories about 9/11.

So how about:

Caring is about being connected and staying connected.

Freedom is about really knowing where we are when the mist comes down.

Conspiracy is being caught down the wrong valley and insisting, yes, I do know where I am, and creating ever more elaborate theories to account for it.