Category Archives: History

Anything related to history.

Becoming a caring source to others

 Find your internal source, it will ripple change into the world.

I like to be close to water when I need to think.  This water source and its bridge in Colchester was an inspiration for the Liberated Way logo.

I sit close to running water when I need to think. This water source and its bridge in Colchester was an inspiration for the Liberated Way logo.

I share Celtic reverence for sources of water, springs that erupt out of the ground, or sources of the great British rivers.   My ancient ancestors considered water sources as sacred: the ancient neolithic structures such as Stonehenge cluster around the source of the River Avon; the cave paintings of Chauvet focus upon a vulva-like cave opening from which a spring emerges with a stampede of painted animals on the walls, born out of the source into the world; Colchester’s Balkerne Gate springs once had a temple to the three Roman mothers; near Colchester at St Osyth is a memory of an ancient female spirit of a spring transformed into a Christian saint.

Sources of water to my ancient ancestors was the source of all things, all the animals the hunter gatherers hunted came from this source, and returned to it.  Prosperity (health, happiness, abundance) came forth from that symbolised as the sources of water.  Water sources became the focus of legend, stories and reverence of nature spirits.  All things came from, then returned to this source. The Tao Te Ching (40) says:

“The movement of the Tao
By contraries proceeds;
And weakness marks the course
Of Tao’s mighty deeds.

All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named);
that existence sprang from It as non-existent (and not named).”

Until a few hundred years ago a major water source for Colchester ran between the Roman walls and the hill of St Johns Green known as the Lose Brook. Aptly for its name, this water source is lost. I plan to locate the centre of my business near to a water source like the Lose Brook. I will find such a water source, uncover it and bring it back into use. Just as I focus on caring for living things or business customers, so the source of the strength of the business is a social contract between society, nature and the business tied together and centered into an authentic tangible narrative of a spring. Out of this centre ripples all the business processes into the internet and the world. The ever-present spring at the heart of the business will remind me of my social contract with nature and society based on values such as sustainability and localism, and woe anyone who forgets it.

Each individual must find their own internal source, for it is the source of their strength. Personal and human prosperity or ruin revolves around the source, forgetful people will suffer only ruin, those that remember will have harmony. The Tao of the Tao Te Ting, or the Logos of Heraclitus is this source, symbolised by the spring, well or fountain. You must first find your internal source, merge with it, become governed by it, stay centered on it, then the ripples of positive change you make into the world will come out of it.

Roses and Memorials

A tragic stupid war that should never be forgotten.

I placed a rose down at the Myland War Memorial.  The First World War should never be forgotten.

I placed a rose down at the Myland War Memorial in Colchester. The First World War should never be forgotten.

In 1909 my town of Colchester declared its own holiday as everyone indulged in a pageant celebrating the history and stories of the town.  One of the young pageant performers was Jack Clarke aged 14 who I randomly selected as a subject of research into his historical era.  Jack and the pageant was a small part of a society ended by war.  Jack died in the First World War.  An attempt to hold a pageant in 2009 failed for lack of community interest and money, a far cry from a hundred years before.

It was for people like Jack Clarke that I yesterday purchased dark red roses, something living yet temporary and fragile like the lives so easily extinguished by machine gun and explosive shell.  Colchester has many memorials to the fallen, I visited seven of them, placing one rose at each of the memorials.

There was no ceremony or words as I placed each rose at each memorial, I let action speak for me.  I placed a rose in the Colchester Town Hall war memorial, the building where the elected rulers of Colchester make their decisions.

I walked a few miles to Myland which has a war memorial opposite a church.  A bunch of flowers was already placed at this monument, ribbons trailing down the edges of the memorial.  I placed my one rose upon the memorial.  I sat a while at a nearby bench.  It was tranquil. The church clock struck twelve midday, I had no watch and I left my cellphone at home, I wanted to step out of time for a while.  I notice the names on the memorial: four Wheelers; three Munsons;  many names repeated; many families of this parish were hit hard by this war.  An elderly woman came, placed her flowers on the monument.  I said how stupid this war was, she nodded.  A dozen laughing children walked past, always the hope for a happy bright future.  Each rose I place has a little note attached, my hope that some might read, this war should be remembered.

The day the lamps went out

The hundred year anniversary of the First World War.

Colchester War Memorial of the First World War.

Colchester War Memorial of the First World War.

One hundred years ago today Britain declared war on Germany.  As the airwaves drowned in telegrams of nations declaring war on each other, the lamps of the world said a newspaper had gone out.  Church bells rang throughout Europe, no weddings or celebrations, the harbinger of war, mud and death.

The rulers of the time said the war would be over in weeks, at worst by Christmas.  In my town of Colchester they marched to war, the drums and marching feet echoed in every other town and village in Britain, and across every hamlet in Europe.  Those happy optimistic faces fighting for their king and country, the memorials of their passing stand tall and silent in every corner of Colchester, many of those laughing faces never came back.

The rulers gambled like drunks in a casino, millions of lives like little poker chips on the table.  At the head of the table was Death, his perpetual grin marking the only winner in this game.  The casino always wins, the harvest of dying empires like butchered cattle hanging on meat hooks.

Verdant green grass cover the angry fields of agony; crimson-blood coloured poppies replace the dying men;  the sweet singing sky lark drowns out the explosions and screams amidst a thin wall of time.  All the players in the Greek tragedy of human stupidity are gone, death takes all.

The last ancient soldier who marched and came back home nearly alone.  Today on the hundred year anniversary of war he would hear a British Prime Minister calling for increased military spending, NATO armies deployed to Russian borders.  The soldier might question the sacrifice.  In their casino the rulers gamble; in austerity the Colchester town lights go out again at night; the grinning man smiles.

Through strife good outcomes emerge

 When life is easy, beware.

Only through the strife of sun and rain storm did this beautiful Summer Solstice rainbow emerge.

Only through the strife of sun and rain storm did this beautiful Summer Solstice rainbow emerge in Colchester.

The philosopher Heraclitus has restored my hope in humanity, though the path to that hope will be through extreme suffering.  Heraclitus said through conflict/struggle all things become:

26. It should be understood that war is the common condition, that strife is justice, and that all things come to pass through the compulsion of strife. Heraclitus.

If conflict/struggle did not exist, all things would cease to exist.  There would be no rainbows for instance if there was no opposition of rain storm and sun.

27. Homer was wrong in saying, “Would that strife might perish from amongst gods and men” . For if that were to occur, then all things would cease to exist. Heraclitus.

When there is no strife, things fall apart. When you stop using your brain and muscles it is inevitable that they will begin to weaken and atrophy, whilst if subjected to the pain of exercise, the brain and muscles become strong and efficient.

50. Even the sacred barley drink separates when it is not stirred. Heraclitus

When life is easy, when there is no struggle, the worst of human nature comes forth, followed by tragedy and ruin. Think of the spoilt child who gets everything they demand from their parents, I know of no case study that a spoilt child turned into a wise, caring and humble adult.

96. May you have plenty of wealth, you men of Ephesus, in order that you may be punished for your evil ways. Heraclitus.

I made a study of the newest generation of teenagers in the UK to get a rough idea of how the future might unfold under their rule.  Experts call the new generation, Generation Citizen (Generation C) a caring-sharing generation, interested in their communities and social issues.  Gen C are conservative, non-rebellious, and the most ambitious generation in a hundred years.  Compared to other generations the UK Gen C score low on crime, drug abuse, drinking alcohol and smoking.

The teenagers of the 1960’s and 1970’s are the exact reverse of Gen C, who have been the decision-makers who ruled this world for the last 25-years, under whose stewardship greed, control and stupidity has brought the planet close to ruin.  This is not to say that other generations contributed, but it is the stewards who must take responsibility, they had power to do something about it, and failed.

The difference between the outlooks of the teens of the 1960’s and 1970’s against the teens of Gen C is economic conditions.  The 1960’s was the start of economic boom in the UK: plentiful jobs, where you could lose your job on a friday and walk into one on a monday; easy access to credit such as hire purchase; inflation was only emerging; cost-of-living was low; welfare was easy; the government paid the education fees of students in higher education.  The teenage rebellion, culture and movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s was due to the easy availability of money, but it created stewards who failed to care for their planet.

Gen C in the UK are unable to access credit; jobs are rare or non-existent; welfare benefits are constantly cut and eliminated for the young; higher education courses paid for by student loans that fail to cover living expenses, the young start life in extreme debt; cost-of-living is high, the young struggling to pay their food and rent.  Despite all this hardship, an amazing generation has emerged.

I now realise that good things happen through strife such as wisdom, liberty, sustainability and creativity, and when times are good, it a time of unseen dangers such as hubris, selfishness and greed.  In times of great hardship such as in prisoner-of-war-camps and earthquakes human innovation and empathy emerge in abundance.  As Heraclitus says: “strife is justice.”

Graves in a wood

Nothing lasts but a legacy useful to the living.

Forgotten graves in a wood, the church is long gone.

Forgotten graves in a wood, the church is long gone.

I cycled out to the villages outside of Colchester, coming upon a strange situation by the side of the road.  A wood with graves, and no church.  I entered the wood and saw the many grave markers, many hidden in the undergrowth and woodland, forgotten and unloved.  From a creative point of view I enjoyed an opportunity to take metaphorical photographs on the subject of death and life, the supremacy of nature over humanity and on the subject of mortality.

The most recent of the graves dated 1904.  The church had suffered fire and demolition perhaps a century before, the graveyard abandoned to nature.  Sadly for all those buried in the graveyard there was nobody left in the locality that remembered or cared enough to tend their graves, the deceased abandoned and forgotten.

Death scares most people.  Most people fear being alone or forgotten.  Too many people live their lives out as a narcissistic Facebook profile.  Many people need fame, to live forever, to never be forgotten.  Most people, like those people in the graveyard, will when they die will vanish into obscurity, nobody will care, and no memory beyond some indifferent historical record will mark their passing.

I blinked, then time ate multiple years of my life.  I know when I blink again, I will probably be remembering this blog post thirty years from now as I attend someone’s funeral, reflecting on my mortality.  When I blink again, I will be dead, decomposing in some grave.

Sitting in my garden are ten acorn saplings in pots, my vision is that when I die a couple of great oak trees will live on to mark my anonymous legacy.  It is the harsh reality we all shall die, and most of us will be forgotten a few decades after we die.  The living rarely have time to remember or care about the deceased, since life demands their attention.  The legacy that each of us can leave that will get us remembered is something useful to the living like planted oak trees, because nobody cares about Facebook profiles and grave markers hidden in forgotten graveyards.

The importance of symbolism

Symbolism helps you remember important information.

I look for a story or symbol in many of my photographs.  This is the Mercury statue on the Colchester Mercury Theatre reaching up to the sun.

I look for a story or symbol in many of my photographs. This is the Mercury statue on the Colchester Mercury Theatre reaching up to the sun.

Each day I sadly pass sections of Roman wall in Colchester that are missing, part of a quarter of the two thousand-year old wall lost to history, demolished in the English civil war between King and Parliament.  The siege of Colchester, which supported the King, ended in defeat for the royalists, their leaders executed by firing squad behind Colchester Castle. Parliament later executed by beheading the English King Charles I.

Through symbolism the modern English Parliament reminds the present Queen who is in charge.  Today was the re-opening of Parliament for the final year before national elections.  The Queen’s representative the Black Rod visited Parliament today, then had the door slammed in his face.  The Queen has to attend Parliament today to read a speech prepared for her by Parliament to inform the nation what they plan to do over the next year.

As a sign of good faith the Queen is given a hostage of a Member of Parliament who she imprisons at her palace in case anyone chooses to harm her whilst she visits Parliament.  Soldiers search the cellars under Parliament in case anyone has stored gunpowder to blow up the British Government with the Queen, as Guy Fawkes attempted to do in 1605.

As a reminder to the Queen of who is in charge, she puts on her robes in a room with a large portrait of her beheaded ancestor Charles I looking down upon her.  After the Queen delivers her speech, the Members of Parliament initially ignore what she said and debate on the subject of outlaws instead.

The event today was not without its own unpredictable symbolism when there was heard a loud thud when the Queen was announcing UK plans on Iran, when a page-boy fainted.

The death of John Harding

I mark the death of a child over a hundred years ago.

The memory of John Harding most recently featured in a play called Depot at the Colchester Mercury Theatre, resulting in addressing an injustice over a hundred years later

The memory of John Harding remembered recently in a play called Depot at the Colchester Mercury Theatre, resulting in me addressing an injustice over a hundred years later.

Around the date 22nd April 1870 a 14-year-old called John Harding ran away from home in my town of Colchester fearing a beating for losing a brush.   Being a good runner John evaded capture by his parents for several days, hungry, cold and with no safe home.  Today marks the anniversary of the death of John Harding by murder on 26th April 1870.

John remains part of the folklore of Colchester remembered in books and stage plays.  A few years ago I paid for a marker for John’s grave, whilst over a hundred years later in the same newspaper that recorded in detail the inquest into his murder, I marked justice by placing on record that his parents murdered him.

The story is here.