thought for the night

Rook was watching the recent dragon movie and I’ll post about that tomorrow… I saw some bits of it, which made me laugh from their badness and also were sort of dull and disturbing… We made fun of the movie for a good while!

Meanwhile I’m reading The Golden Notebook for the first time. It fits nicely with Naomi Mitchison. I’m struck by the thought that I envy the disappointed radicals and communists and utopian thinkers and community organizers of their time. I’ve never experienced that sort of wave of positive change, other than a happy kiss-in or two. I only have ideas to go on. And I’d rather have lived through some of the optimism and life-amid-change-and-hope only to be horribly disappointed (as they were) than to have had only the ideas and books for sustenance.

The battles and conflicts and debates inside our group which might have driven it into growth, had we not been an alien body, without roots, destroyed us very fast. Inside a year our group was split, equipped with subggroups, traitors, and a loyal hard corse whose personnel, save for one or two men, kept changing. Because we did not understand the process, it sapped our emotional energy. But while I know that the process of self-destruction began almost at birth, I can’t quite pinpoint that moment when the tone of our talk and behaviour changed. We were working as hard, but it was to the accompaniment of a steadily deepening cynicism. And our jokes, outside the formal meetings, were contrary to what we said, and thought we believed in. It is from that period of my life that I know how to watch the jokes that people make. A slightly malicious tone, a cynical edge to a voice, can have developed inside ten years into a cancer that has destroyed a whole personality. I’ve seen it often, and in many other places than political or communist organizations.

I keep thinking of my friend G. the politician and writer, fellow utopian thinker and pinko, and wondering if he’s read it. I bet he has… And if he hasn’t, someone needs to make him… Because he’d really like it!

But maybe I’m completely wrong about what I said a minute ago… and that whole picture of history and “now” is false…

4 Responses to “thought for the night”

  1. Iris

    Of course the ’60’s were like that. I have thought that movements based on ideas and started by intellectuals often fall apart once they attract followers who are less intelligent. This based particularly on experience of communes.

  2. oursin

    Mitchison and Lessing knew one another (and I think were good friends, across 1/2 generations): they met, this is so typical, on a trip to the Soviet Union in ?1950s/early 60s, where both being women on their own were put in same hotel rooms.

  3. e

    ah, the notebooks. i keep thinking of them whenever i start another project, another blog, how she wote in different notebooks for whatever life compartment she felt she was dealing with at the time. let us know when you finish it so we won’t post spoilers!

  4. to the House

    All-Star Finalist: Phil Avillo

    grounded in the virtues of service, commitment, and leadership.
    Jessica Caggiano who ran 31 miles from York College

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