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Monday, 8 December 2014

Problems of Everyday Life

My last blog post was, I think, back in April. Much blood, both literal and metaphorical, has flowed under the bridge since then. Although I usually blog on politics, history, etc, with a little dash of poetry, at the moment it’s necessary to get some personal stuff off my chest before I can continue with my usual themes. The observation that misfortunes don’t come singly has been quite correct in my case. After my wife and I split up earlier this year I suffered some health problems which involved an operation and a spell in hospital. The health problems are ongoing although I am much better now than I was 6 months ago. However, I’ve had to accept that I need to make lifestyle changes if I don’t want these illnesses to worsen. The health problems, while they may have been triggered by the relationship crisis, were in all likelihood the result of years of bodily neglect which I won’t go into here but which have been long term. Making these changes may help things and they may not – but if I continued as if nothing had happened I would be asking for trouble.

I took some comfort from Trotsky’s words in ‘Problems of Everyday Life’.
“The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.” I am fully aware, of course, that my misfortunes are absolutely piffling when compared with the misfortunes of increasing numbers of men, women and children as the crises of capitalism globally and the imposition of brutal austerity measures in Britain make life immeasurably worse for millions of people. When I see the bombed hospitals of Gaza I am humbled by the extraordinary ability of ordinary people not only to survive but to fight back in the teeth of the most vicious and ruthless attacks by vile and brutal enemies.

As usual, Trotsky again gets it absolutely right: “Life is not an easy matter…you cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness”. For most of my adult life, that ‘great idea’ has been revolutionary socialism. I am glad to get back into blogging, and I hope that before the year’s end I can write something of the politics of the year gone by and the prospects for what looks set to be a very interesting 2015!


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