April 11, 2014 finds Frank reflecting on his Idle Theory: I’ve been angry today that the 40-year struggle to get the Idle Theory into the world is over. Who knows whether I succeeded or not?
The next day: I was arguing last night that Idle Theory is something I’ve already done, and there’s no point in re-doing it. It would be like some band re-issuing the same piece of music. Idle Theory is a way of thinking about life. Some people find it attractive.
He became more despondent as the day wore on: Everything is disintegrating. A & H don’t really want to buy me any tobacco when they go on holiday to Portugal…. I have to respond to that as both of us enjoyed tracking down tobacco for Frank when we were abroad. We eventually found what was wanted in downtown Lisbon. And he was wrong – things didn’t fall apart.
Funny how Frank felt that “everything” is desintegrating as early as in 2014. Today everyone is saying it. I’ve just finished a review of a new book by our Nick Perumov (living in the US) titled “When the world has changed”. Nick is writing all these endless series of fantazy with dragons and witches, this kind of books, and this time his necromant, the slayer of zombies, gets himself in a completely unknown world. And he says: this world is not real, it’s empty, people have no souls, only anger is rampant everywhere… In my review, I wrote that today every political analyst is trying to give us facts about desintegration of the our previous world, but it takes a good writer to show how it feels. It looks like Frank was very good at showing just that, long before Nick and his necromant.
I had a similar thought, Dmitry, just not expressed as clearly or as well as you have done. Funny, also, how we sometimes think other people are having thoughts or reactions that turn out to be completely wrong (re. the tobacco.)
Thank you for this, Andrew. It’s been really interesting to read a little bit about Frank’s private thoughts and feelings. He often put some of them here on his blog, of course, but there are some snippets that I was unaware of. This piece in particular, I feel, shows the level of insight of a deep thinker who saw today’s world coming before it had actually arrived. Frank’s views and feelings so often mirrored mine (although he put them into words much better than I ever could), which was why it was such a joy to read his blog and to share comments with him and other regular readers on here, because even back then I sometimes felt that I was the only one who saw society becoming an altogether more hostile and unforgiving place. Maybe that was because, as a smoker, I was one of the few people who had actually experienced deliberate, organised, State-supported hatred directed against me personally, but alongside the very direct negative effect that that hatred had inflicted upon my life, what was more worrying in a way was the uncomfortable awareness that somehow by allowing that kind of hatred to seep into society’s psyche as “acceptable” over that one little issue of smoking cigarettes, permission had been tacitly given for a very dark and unpleasant facet of human nature to take hold and become an approved and accepted part of the way members of society interacted with each other. And so it turned out. It seems that today, eight years on from Frank’s similar unease, that dark side of human nature has now become the primary modus operandi of the way people deal with each other.
Today, I look around at society and I just see a hopeless mess, driven by people who seem to be enjoying the opportunity to behave as selfishly, unfairly, graspingly and self-righteously as that one smoking-related crack in the walls of human decency have given them permission to be. There has been much talk on here of the immediate and obvious economic and social damage that was done by the smoking ban, but my feeling remains that the real damage done by the unspoken message contained in that one single clause in the Health Act of 2006 has been far more subtle, but at the same time far more pervasive and damaging to society as a whole than any number of closed pubs or ended friendships could ever be, sad though those are. Is it too awful for me to admit that these days, when I hear of someone who has passed away, there is a little tiny bit of me that thinks that, whilst I selfishly might miss them – as I often miss Frank – at least they haven’t got to struggle on trying to live a full, happy and enjoyable life within a society which seems determined to make that increasingly unattainable, and which is largely succeeding in that aim with every passing year? I look around at all the anti- or pro- protesters of all types and I wonder why they are bothering; they might save the world from environmental collapse (or whatever the latest “cause” might be – it changes with the wind) so that people can physically continue to survive, but what’s the point in that when all the most important elements that make life worth living as a human being – friendship, freedom, loyalty, honour, integrity, compassion, kindness, creativity, tolerance and joy, to name but a few – have been all but eliminated?
Eloquent and accurate Jaxthefirst. Thanks so much Archivist for ensuring the unique thought provoking efforts of Frank as known on his blog are not lost. 😵💫
How I miss Frank’s insights, his meteorite tracking, and so much more; yet, at the same time, feel he is blessed not to be around to see the mess around us now.
As others h ave said, thank you for seeing thT some of Frank’s most important thoughts. Are not lost to us.