The tides of history

Back when I was working on Druidry and the Ancestors, I kept running into a sense of history as something with tides and currents. Some of the books I read suggested that event had a momentum, and that people at the forefront were just riding the tide. There can be a tendency in history writing to ascribe what happens to the influence of a few movers and shakers. However, that sense of current and momentum distributes the ownership a bit. Great (and lousy) leaders do not exist in a vacuum. Ideas of the day, popular opinion, arts, sciences, religion and so forth all shape the mood of the moment, all help to create the current. It may be that we just avoided world war 3, not because leaders around the world did anything spectacular, but because it was so clear that people were not going to support it.

Every moment of history is made out of more actions, ideas, influences and efforts than we can hope to see. The tide of history isn’t a simple current, either. There are whirlpools, eddies and undertows. There are the lingering influences of things we nearly did, just escaped and wish had happened. It is a complex mix, and out this mess we create the future, one thought, one word at a time.

One of the things that generally underpins any status quo (with the possible exception of the band) is that the status quo is normal, natural and inevitable. That makes it hard to imagine any real change, despite the fact that we live with almost constant change, often beyond our control. We also tend to believe that the status quo (still not the band) is so big that we, as individuals, cannot make much impact on it. So what if I cut my carbon footprint? Unless world leaders step up, we’re all doomed anyway…

Except that we are the status quo (ok, I give up…. Rocking all over the world…). If we change, everything changes. If each of us, as an individual, decided to go vegetarian tomorrow, the impact would be massive. We can have other debates about whether that would be a good idea. If we all chose to use fewer animal products, drive a bit less, reuse a bit more – the consequences would be vast. Small changes made by lots of people are tantamount to a revolution. We make the tide, we are the current, and all the politicians can do is try to ride it while telling us they are in charge. Control is an illusion, and it does not hurt the politicians and corporations to remind them of that, once in a while. It only works while we all choose to co-operate. So, what’s the plan for tomorrow?

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “The tides of history

  • chris

    Funny that. I just finished watching V for Vendetta for the first time. Then turned on the computer and this post was the first thing I saw. Lots to think about 🙂

  • Robert Leland Hall

    I like this article but the message can be confusing—-People see what they want to see (That includes me!)—–There is Tyranny of the majority and Tyranny of the minority—–Neither position need be correct !!!!——All the lemings stil jump off the cliff !!!!——-AGAIN I must suggest as the article implies—ALL things in moderation including moderation ( Act locally and think globally)—–No matter how smart you think you are—-You are probably not—Quit trying to convince your Freinds they are probably dumber than you are (A Person convinced against their will, Is of the same opinion still)——No reply needed —Just think about it—-I could be wrong or not.

    • Nimue Brown

      I’m having trouble working out what of the ‘you’ in this is specific to me, and what is a generic sort of ‘you’ – I’m a bit sleep deprived so forgive me. I could interpret that as a suggestion that I am trying to convince all my friends that I am smarter than them. That’s a funny thought. There are some scarily well read and well educated people who read druidlife and are kind enough to comment. Often, I float things out and all manner of wonderful, inspired things I would never have thought of float back. This blog is frequently a dialogue with other blogs, other online spaces, and the people who comment. I find intellectual violence abhorrent – pressuring people into opinions agains their will is something I would never seek to do. It would be the oppoosite of everything I beleive in. I share what I’ve got, other people make of that what they will. If you wish to assume I’m a certain kind of person, and if you wish to judge me, you are of course at liberty to do so.

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