Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Not just the weather

I am told that today is formally the first day of winter (in the Northern Hemisphere). Here is Middle England the world outside the window looks just as it did yesterday, chill and drear, with nature continuing its annual, anticipated decline, bur formal communication and acknowledgement are now possible that quantitative change has brought about qualitative – as it does.

I refer of course to the weather. After all, I am English.

Can spring be far behind?

Of course not. In formal terms, spring will be upon us in precisely three months to the day, though as ever its arrival will seen so slow and gradual.

And metaphorically?

Have the myriad changes in our human world over the last few years cumulated enough yet to constitute a ‘winter’?

If I look out of my metaphorical window things continue to look dull and drear, like they did yesterday and the day before yesterday, and probably will tomorrow. Is it yet possible to say with agreement that these changes are coalescing to create a new state of being, a new era? Oh, for the wisdom of hindsight,of history, to be free to refer to some arbitrary, defining division and say: ‘We live now in the age of…’, and deal with its implications accordingly.

Can metaphorical spring be far behind?

It cannot work that way, for human affairs are a not simply of nature but of economic, social, cultural, historical forces and – so as not to sound too deterministic about things – individual, psychological forces too. There is no annual rhythm, indeed no inevitable cyclical rhythm of any other kind, not even boom and bust (or from where we presently stand, bust and boom). If winter is upon us, there is no necessary spring to follow – in three months’ time or indeed ever.

Though for individuals, groups, movements, whole societies, there will always be tide in the affairs of man…

As ever, where is Conductive Education in this?

If this indeed be winter, there is no inevitable cycle to take us back to how things were before, no spring marked by reproduction and rebirth of how things used to be in some receding, fondly remembered summer.

But there will be opportunities to be seized, and there will be those, right or wrong, who will seize the day and create something new *.

Whether what arises from this turns out to be better or different, or worse, from what we have now is another matter.

We live in such interesting times…

*  Shakespeare put it rather better
    Julius Caesar
    Act 4, sc. 3, ll. 215 ff

1 comment:

  1. WINTER?

    Oh no it's not
    I had received an email this morning, from which I (mis)understood that today is the first day of winter. Seized by a thought, I made the above posting.

    Of course, as any fule kno, in 2011 winter begins on 22 December.

    So, another month of Autumn to enjoy!

    I do not think that this makes any substantive difference to the argument of what I blogged this morning.

    I wonder whether things will read differently on the real first day on winter, in a month's time.