The dissenter begins as a natural idealist.
Immediately he is in trouble.
Every body else
In time the dissenter leaves town,
History becomes legend.
Arguably our art and culture
The Pattern of Development has been bad and getting worse for a long time.
It could be characterised, now, as large suburban houses , the McMansions, out on the fringe, and unit developments in the larger centres. Commercial buildings are either tilt up slabs or multi storey large footprint flat plates.
The demographic is strongly centralising. The very large city exerts enormous gravitational pull.
On top of all this modernism is aesthetically impoverished and most new building is ugly by any qualitative criteria.
The world is blind to these things, or at least, very few show any concern.
On the other hand we have been technologically and materially well off for a long time, which seems to had an inverse correlation with the subjective sensibilities.
All this may be changing now. The boom is over, at least in the short term. The natural reaction will be to demand even greater austerity in material things, and the qualitative won't stand a chance. Also in terms of reform it now seems late in the day to suggest new directions, let alone achieve anything.
Some may think that the 'Small is Beautiful' or 'Slow City' or 'Retreat from the global' may be worth revisiting. There is still a small Tree Change / Permaculture thing.
But against the general flow these ideas are statistically insignificant.
There is no strongly dissident alternative paradigm. To start with virtually nobody is saying even now, that something is wrong with modernity (or whatever you want to call it)
The Universities and Churches are philosophically moribund.
The church belatedly sought to be modern, and then when that became intolerable, is now suggesting that modernity could be religionised again. Which is a largely unthinking position.
And now we are politically bankrupt, and don't have any money either.
It may not be long before there is a wave of panic, which will be a sort of dissidence, and it may well be very destructive.
Now it may be difficult to suggest a new direction of change, dissident to the world as it has become, but constructive in terms of what we might become.
The last sparks of the old civilisation are fading or are being quenched.
Are people with ability looking at the need for decentralist policies? Perhaps bits can be saved.
There could be a review of the pattern of development. New building may be relatively efficient, but planning policies and regulations are significantly inefficient. Also the developers and the big business model are after all one of the reasons for the current troubles.
But first there will have to be a will to question what we are doing, and then dissent.
This pattern has been going on for at least forty years and it is not working. The time has come to stop doing what we a re doing. Pause. Think about what we can do next.
In the interim learn dissent.
Last night I had a dream.
I was more or less underemployed doing architectural drawings for very minor stuff, not making enough money, and stuck in a little office. For some reason the location in the dream was Papua New Guinea, (but it may as well have been Bathurst or Lithgow)
Another chap who was more assured of himself and quite clever and who was doing well said 'Well if I was poor, I wouldn't hang around this grey insignificant place. I would go somewhere where a body can be poor, but in some style, such as Greece for instance'
It was good advice I thought, and then I woke up.
In Udanax did the current khans
Not decree a plain hemisphere
Where Omega, the abused river, ran
Through metered pipes by man
Down to a sunlit plain.
Twice two k's of blasted ground
With chain link wire were girdled round:
To prevent the inept falling into the sinuous rills,
But there were no gardens bright,
The forests ancient as the hills had been fed to the Satanic mills
Leaving sunny spots of desolation.
But O, that deep romantic chasm of the imagination
Revolted athwart no cedarn cover!
A savage place! As unholy and disenchanted
As e'er beneath a waxing moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in last thick pants were breathing,
The uncomfortable corollary momently was forced;
Amid whose swift half-intermittent burst
Huge fragments of reality vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid those dancing rocks not once or ever
Was flung up momentarily the abused river.
Five men meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and good to the river
Then reach'd the measure of a man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult others heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of a dome of pleasure
Did not float midway on the waves;
Nor was heard the mingled measure
From the fountains and the caves.
No miracle of rare device,
No sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!
The original continues verbatim
but may assume the sinister reading
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw;
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me,
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! Those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
The dulcimer and the maid have gone back to the Abyss
There is no holy dread, the milk and the fish is poison.