It is a warm moonlit
night here. There is a gentle breeze –
presumably attenuated trade winds – whispering against my neck. The full moon is shining on the water, a
silver path to the future. Clouds are in
the sky, and there are far more behind than ahead, symbolically as well as
literally. I feel, for the first time in
months, that my creativity is slowly starting to come back and that life is
becoming balanced again.
|Sunset on the Essequibo River, Guyana|
The last quarter of 2014 was spent exploring three rarely
visited countries in northern South America:
French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana.
Each country is distinct, having its own culture, history, and selection
of languages, but there are similarities too.
Most of whatever development there is lies along a coastal strip, and
the interior of each country is relatively untouched – truly a paradise of
unexploited rainforest. The primary
means of access inland is using the rivers – roads of a reasonable standard
exist pretty much only in coastal areas.
Being on a sailboat allows the rivers and the smaller settlements to be
explored in a way that would be very difficult using scheduled transportation.
|Typical jungle river navigation|
|Iles du Salut, French Guiana|
The sun and humidity mean the focus during the day is escaping the intense heat, but the payback is lovely lazy evenings in the hammock, reading, contemplating, being. Most of all just being.
|Thorny tree trunk|
For all their brilliance I do wonder if Marx and Ricardo, being city dwellers, missed something in their deliberations about value. Surely there is more to value than just use or exchange – there is value that cannot be exchanged and which has no use. It is the value that something has simply by existing - the value something has when witnessed, and for that matter when not witnessed.
There must have been some special evenings in Paris and
Brussels in the late 60s if you happened to stumble upon a derivé and were not too intimidated by Debord to join in. Malcolm McLaren managed to tag along with the
Situationists and it set him on his path.
Roger Scruton found himself in Paris in 1968 too but as far as I know did
not engage with the Situationists (he anyway would have tut-tutted, disapproving
of almost everything that came after the Victorian era except himself). McLaren went on to energise a generation of
youth with a punk worldview, oversaw the birth of the Sex Pistols (packed
with Situationist references), and along
with his then partner Vivienne Westwood popularised punk art and fashion. That feast of ideas and outlooks still
resonates and inspires today. Scruton for his
part went on to inflict screed after tedious screed on us, writing at times about
wine, sex and music, and managing to make even these delightful subjects dull
|Sunset, Iles du Salut, French Guiana|