Friday, June 16, 2006

Churchill and Galbraith

It’s been a long time since I last added anything to this blog – a situation that I suspect happens to many blogs after the initial enthusiasm – but I was struck by a quote from Winston Churchill when reading Os Guinness’s book, Prophetic Untimeliness, today. The wonderful use of language and irony is typical of Churchill.

In 1936, when the Stanley Baldwin government called for a review of the situation, Churchill commented acidly,
‘Anyone can see what the situation is: the Government simply cannot make up their mind, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in a strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.’

A few months ago we caught most of a one-off television biopic of Churchill (called The Gathering Storm) which covered those ‘wilderness years’ when he was abandoned by the Government and given little part to play in England’s future. Albert Finney did the cigar-chomping with great gusto and also expressed the immense hurt that Churchill felt at being ousted from the work he loved. It was also interesting to see the close relationship he had with his wife (played with great grace and stature by Vanessa Redgrave), something that’s seldom thought about in regard to Churchill.

It’s a very peculiar feeling that the older you get, the less old you actually feel inside. I guess there was a time when I felt older as a person, but now oldness seems a non-existent thing. Inside, I don’t sense myself as being any different to when I was a child. I’m the same person – in a different-sized and shaped body, and one that certainly isn’t as flexible as I’d like – and I find it hard to distinguish anything different about the way I was (as opposed to way the I perceived the world) to the way I am now.

I can remember certain events in my childhood, and remember a greater physical freedom at that time, but the person was still the same me. Somehow he hasn’t aged, anymore than, if it were possible to go backwards in time, I would become younger.

Just noticed a quote from J K Galbraith (it was in the NZ Listener):
If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.
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