The Lockdown Impact On Pensioners
I have ticked the box to state that this post is a cornerstone content. That forces me to double the number of words and avoid those of over two syllables. Even worse, I have to link this post with many others written in the past. I have to display to you, my avid reader, how my blog has a theme. This, of course, is pensioners, tribes and history. Watching me, analyzing me, is the arbiter of spiritual life, the all powerful eye in the sky. No, not God, Google! Its algorithms are a long way from angels. They want to know why my post on the lockdown impact on pensioners is relevant.
Caitlin Moran, in The Times, wrote recently about how, during lockdown, we were all going to write that book or learn a language. However, most people, including pensioners, were moribund. It appears I was on my own using the wealth of tv and radio I watched to tease out universal truths. Three programmes came together to create the background to this post. The first was on BBC 4 when Huw Stevens began an exploration of Welsh art. He entered an extraordinary Neolithic tomb on Anglesey to see the first art in Wales. This was circles and zig zags cut into stones as evidence of what these pagan people believed. Consequently, in 3000 BC, it appears these people did not recognise death because the body was reincarnated. Death, it appears, was just a sequence. It was life, death, life, death and so on.
The second programme, in six episodes on Radio 4, was called Bodies. Alice Roberts presented these on the subject of dissection. She is expert on this subject although we usually only see her presenting programmes on archaeology. She took us back to the Greeks and Romans, the first cultures to dissect bodies. The human bodies were all criminals and all males. A medical school in Alexandria continued these studies around 1000 AD but then they were discontinued for a thousand years. This was because the church decided to oppose dissection because it was too scientific. These scientists would pose a challenge to religious misinformation.
You might not be aware that Alice is president of the British Humanist Association. In ‘Bodies’, she emphasised how the early church decided that we humans are both a body and a soul. The soul goes on, of course, after dumping the decrepit pensioner body. The journey the soul then takes was first illustrated, brought out of the closet, by the Italian author Dante.
The third programme was ‘The Invention of Hell’on Sky Arts. This was all about Dante, who wrote his Divine Comedy in 1320. Once, in my literary geek phase, I read these three books because they are part of the literary canon. These are books, so I was told, that must be read before you die. Ideal reading, then, during the lockdown impact on pensioners. The Inferno is the first of the three books. Dante descends hell and identifies, in the various realms, the people he hates. Their souls are called shades. They, because of their mortal sins, are trapped in hell and undergo some awful perpetual punishments. As he descends ever deeper, these become more and more unpleasant. As good as the poetry is, it becomes monotonous and cruel as he proceeds.
Dante’s third book takes the soul, the shade, through to paradise, after both hell and purgatory. Waiting for him is Beatrice, whom he fell in love with when they were both children. Beatrice becomes his spiritual guide. However, she is portrayed through the eyes of a Catholic man in need of redemption. She is his ticket to God, emblematic of love and innocence. A whole raft of Christian dogma bombards you on this journey. A gullible person might see them as real; not so the man and woman of science.
Soul or soulless
The three programmes illustrate how our belief patterns have fundamentally changed in little more than 5,000 years. Those early people, the pagans, saw the body going somewhere in its human form. Consequently, they gave the body food, tools and arms. They had no concept of a soul. A little over three thousand years later, the church wanted to distance the body from these beliefs. In the pagan animalistic state it possessed a multitude of sins. What else could it do with all those orifices, fingers, a tongue, facial allure and an excess of imagination. However, the soul is not mentioned in the bible. It was a clever invention to separate us from the beasts and birds. The soul they say, comes from God and returns to God. That, neatly, puts the body aside, as if it did not matter.
The body, indeed, this entire world, can be discounted by religious zealots. All you have to do is invest everything in a soul, a ticket to paradise. Consequently, what does it matter if people are slain or the environment destroyed in this world? However, it would matter, it would be a travesty, if that soul was a lie.
The lockdown impact on pensioners
Imagine that there is no soul and that the body is all there is. After all, the soul was once thought to reside in the heart. Neither did they think the grey matter in the skull, that custard, was relevant. However, we now know better. We are aware that the body and brain, when we are born, is pretty useless. For years, we cannot stand up, or do a Sudoku. Gradually, the brain, like a computer chip, programmes us. Our skeleton and muscles hold us together. The, we become human based on learning what is right and what is wrong.
The body perfect
That there is no soul ought to give us an appreciation, an amazement, at the sheer wonder of the human body. We are not the fastest of animals, nor can we fly. However, putting all our faculties together, we are incredibly clever machines. We possess self repair and we understand our place in the world. Science has done that, it has enlightened us. It only beholds us to keep that body in a fit state, after all, being soulless, there is nothing left after its demise.