“Spooks” vs Rossetti: it’s a tough one, indeed

After being severely distressed by a rubbish replacement router from my ISP, I replaced it with something which works much better. As a result we were able to finish watching the digital version, via Amazon Prime’s rental facility, of “Spooks: The Greater Good”.

In itself, it’s a good, much more than solid, outing of those who never can be anything but in. A world where the challenges arise not so much from one’s own personal value-set (more or less as stable as circumstance will allow), but — rather — much more confusingly in working out who you should obey.

Obedience is primary — almost primal we might argue — in military hierarchy. Yet this is now a hierarchy built out of 21st century greys. We are bound — as a generation brought up to question — to query practically everything: even whether our lords and masters have the right to master and lord over us any more.

It’s that 360º of a circle that the private sector’s practice of total quality management brings to hierarchy. Oversight from above is brought by a surveillance which inevitably corrupts: it’s precisely for the integrity and continued efficiency of this surveillance that we need to watch back evermore carefully the watchers.

Yet there are a number of ways which can continue that watch. One is what spooks do. Another is the way of art.

People are happy to box, wrap and warp artistic endeavour into some kind of safety valve: an easy way out for a society under stress. But truly artistic endeavour — that of significant value — not only releases but also violently racks up the pressures; not only describes but proscribes aggressively; not only allows us to observe others and their oft laughable foibles but forces us to engage and interact with ourselves, and with our own — making it impossible not to see ourselves as we really are.

Coincidentally, alongside the outing of “Spooks” which I completed yesterday, I also watched — via iPlayer — two other programmes: a) a fairly old BBC documentary on Rossetti (it’s still available — a clip can be seen here; I encourage you to watch it if you can); and b) a feature on “When Albums Ruled The World” (clip here). Both talked of the influence of artists who combined the personal with the universal, and — in time — showed ways forwards for many other fellow artists.

Both also described the sometimes difficult relationships amongst the people in their lives — their sometimes unwilling muses and inspirations, if you like — and the art that came out of the intimate touching and revelations of another’s soul to a wider world.

Maybe secrets do need telling after all, especially if others are to properly understand how best the great things of life and art not only have been achieved but also, as a result, patently need to be achieved.

To watch the watchers: two clear ways of doing this, then. Firstly, via the world of 21st century 360º quality circles applied to the old military hierarchies of old; and/or secondly, through the amazingly sophisticated digital tools and art-forms that are emerging evermore rapidly on the event horizons of all our singularities.

I am unsure, too, whether both will not fuse into one, one day.

I’m wondering this quite seriously.

So what do you think, folks? Is that really going to be all? A flat choice between war or art?

Or will, in the future, there be more — much more — to our habits, customs and assumptions around the following and tracking of our fellow souls …?

Thats all folks” by Warner Bros. — Vectorización de una captura de pantalla tomada de una caricatura de los Looney Tunes.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published at lifeworklab.uk on January 4, 2016.