Between February and March 2016, deeply disillusioned retiree Peter Kemp resigned from the boards of governors of two Norfolk-based NHS bodies; the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation (NHS) Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Moreover, Peter a former social worker says that before I first interviewed him on March 30th, he was feeling so socially displaced, disconnected and frustrated that he was contemplating suicide?
And this is not the first time that Kemp, a former social worker with a complex history of personal challenges and triumphs, has contemplated ending his life.
He and wife Teresa say that he felt so disheartened and frustrated by “physical and mental” illness last year that he had made significant preparations for a trip to the Hebrides, where he intended to end his misery.
Why? What’s happening in Norfolk’s NHS bodies?
Why might a former social worker feel that governorships of two NHS organizations in this county have neither offered him any real opportunity to help others nor provided him solace in his gravest time of need?
Indeed, Peter spoke to me of feeling invisible as he walked Norwich’s streets.
Why does Peter born in what remains of the coastal village Shipden, after much of it was reclaimed by the sea many years ago, feel that he and others urgently in need of social integration are basically being ‘frozen out’, written-off or otherwise severed from their communities?
Why does this son of “the best known lost village of Norfolk” feel that two NHS bodies with which he was officially linked are so morally adrift and lost themselves that he is better-off doing a deliberate Shipden, breaking-off his formal, administrative links with them?
Why does Peter feel that governorship of these two Norfolk-based NHS bodies is not worth the effort he and others made to get him elected to such seemingly important governing roles within their administrative hierarchies?
I sought election to the NSFT’s board of governors myself, because of the value I place on a governor’s role. So I can attest to the fact that the role is valued highly.
And Teresa, Peter’s wife and most critical, actual anchor to the solid-ground-mass of Norfolk’s community and wider British society, apparently still has considerable esteem for those NHS internal oversight bodies.
Arguably Peter’s most enduring and fundamentally factual, fleshed-out, face-to-face connection to ‘the real world’, Teresa has suggested that he may have squandered a significant opportunity to reform the NSFT and NNUH from within.
She apparently thinks that her lapsed Roman Catholic husband could have been to the NHS, what Pope Francis is to the Catholic communion: a kind of insider reformer, though arguably on a smaller, less public scale.
But Teresa may also see in the often dermatologically afflicted, relative stigmatic Peter, something of the psychosomatic subtext which, as with atheist Bernie Sanders and his Orthodox Jewish political advisor Richard Sugarman, suggests a capacity as much for self-harm or “negative equity” as for the creative ability to ‘heal’ others and himself.
At any rate, from my perspective, it is doubtful that either Peter or Teresa grasp the depth and complexity of the issues that are derailing the delivery of care by the NHS in Norfolk, as elsewhere in the UK.
Indeed, given the multifaceted, changeable nature of the issues and their prevalence, like sexual and suspect politically compromised and polarized child-grooming, not only across the UK but globally through the degenerative, divisive capacities in the East’s and West’s formal and informal communication and educational systems, it is questionable to what extent any one person, couple or group who or which at least has a considerable understanding of the breadth and depth of the problems, might also be able to rectify things in an exhaustive, final sense.
Knowing what is wrong is not the same as being able to fix it. That is a basic fact of life: a fundamental feature of human fallibility.
And I will be returning to this “knowledge-action gap” issue repeatedly, especially as it relates to the question of what I call measured or calculated actions or operations, in the context of pursuing an informed, mathematical, pragmatic, dare I say scientific faith.
This issue, is related of what Italian academic Franco Moretti calls “operationalzing”, in the context of literary criticism.
As Peter is a lapsed Roman Catholic, I think I can safely make a calculated guess that a literalistic religious experience, that is, a rotish, recitation and related rituals thick, but spiritually thin religious experience, has played a key, negative, faith eroding role not only in his relationship with the NNUH and NSFT but in his life generally.
Certainly, as he has shared details of his story with me over the past six weeks I have found Peter’s life a prism through which the complex, tantalizingly tangled issues that he and Teresa grapple with might be beneficially analyzed, using a regenerative, language-as-land reclaiming, human ecology strategy.
Hence my decision to share Peter’s (and Teresa’s) story here, in this 5th instalment of my “Mouth Of the Beast” series of articles, despite his relative invisibility when compared with Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and other biblically proportioned ‘big beasts’.
Presumably, it would have been easier to report on Peter’s care crisis independently, without reference to Bernie Sanders’, Pope Francis’, my own or anyone else’s care needs and obligations, irrespective of their public prominence or invisibility.
The poetic, creative fusion or creolization of issues and personalities that I am pursuing here has been fraught with many conceptual, technical and stylistic difficulties.
Not that I am a stranger to compositional, discursive complexity.
Against the grain of mainstream, carnivorous-capitalist-consumption-hinged, diabolically deadline driven journalistic culture, I continue to choose a more caring course, exploring the numinous, substratal symbolism of my subject matter at a reflective pace that is determined by a balancing of material and spiritual concerns.
I continue to be guided by the Korebelief.com conviction that seemingly mundane, unrelated issues and events are metaphysically connected by mystically accessed threads of truth to transcendental, cosmological reality.
I continue to assert that the mystical or spiritual and the mathematical or scientific are bound by a bridge called open mindedness that literalistic, fundamentalist science and religion close the path to equally.
Indeed, and perhaps not surprisingly, it seems that the more that I give my heart and mind over to exploring the mustard-seed-sized science or chaos theory type principles and connections underlying or constituting so-called “secular” and “religious” communication and education, and especially the principles governing graphé (a transliteration of the Greek word γραφή, indicating engraved or written things) the more I not only discover, but also, and more critically, experience those principles and connections with ever increasing sensibility.
The word becomes flesh, as the title of my 2001 collection of graphé asserts, truly.
And while this relative ‘joy stick journalism’ transcending path that Peter, I and others now rather implicitly and subconsciously follow exposes us to many printing devils and political publishing perils (including, in my case at least, various kinds of piracy, plagiarism and cynical suppression of my work by the likes of Fareed Zakaria, Amra Tareen, Kamau Brathwaite, Margaret Gill, Sir Hilary Beckles and others, like parliamentary power-brokers Donville Inniss and Clive Lewis, who are operationally within or close to the Barbados, UK and US governments) my work has also been vindicated and reinforced by significant scholarly recognition and related opportunities.
For example, a substantial tranche of my book “The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled” (TBBTR) has been published in the “Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions” (University of Illinois, 2013).
I have also seen some success working with the Google affiliated American digital publisher Pulse Point-Allvoices, where despite the political machinations of African-American agitator Herbert J Dyer, the plagiaristic behavior of “corporate ethicist” Paul P Jesep and other challenges, I was able to demonstrate my ‘word becomes flesh’ ethical publishing model’s efficacy.
However, while I highly value the affirmations of conventional, established knowledge producers, the kind of entities that dominate the governance of what Moretti has called a “world literary system”, I am also keenly aware of the intrinsic counter-productive and, in instances, destructive capacity of written things: what I call the lethalness of the letter, following the warning of the biblical writer in 2 Corinthians 3:16 that “the letter killeth”.
As in TBBTR and elsewhere, in this series of articles I stress my reservations about graphé/writings repeatedly.
And my reservations extend as much to the works of William Shakespeare and their place in imperialist British expansionism, as they do to the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads, Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital”, Adam Smith’s The Wealth Of Nations and any other ‘sacred texts’.
If there is one thing that I would like to see come out of this year’s quadricentennial celebrations of Shakespeare’s legacy, it would be an appreciation not just of the good but also of the harm that he and all scribes, myself and Peter included, can do potentially.
Having struggled for some time, and so far, unsuccessfully, to put his own life story in writing, I believe that Peter is as well-placed as anyone to speak on the hazards of literacy.
Oh, the stories that Virginia Woolf (England), Bruce St John (Barbados) and other writers might tell if they could communicate beyond the grave about the perils of treading on thoughts in modern and post-modern knowledge mills!
What might Imhotep, Heraclitus and other ancient scribes tell communication and education professionals everywhere about the printer’s devils and publishing perils that have plagued the knowledge industry since time immemorial?
How relevant are Plato’s and others’ warnings about the very act of writing in our current camouflaged content digital age?
Peter’s graphé games and Mick Thurley’s silence
I am rather impressed by how Kemp, probably unconsciously, mitigates the self and other killing capacity of writings through creative text messaging and other eccentric communication behaviors.
At one time he even imposed a ‘moratorium’ on all texts and phone calls he might receive.
As I explain below, one of the more significant discoveries I made about Peter since I started interacting with him on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, is his capacity for verbal and literate play.
And this is after interacting with him at least once a month for about nine years as a fellow member of Norwich Justice and Peace, an East of England tributary of the Roman Catholic Church’s Commission for Justice and Peace river.
More to the point though, for all my creole or synergistic thought motivated, manuscript mixing experience, to which, in an academic context, Literary Criticism lecturer Dr Richard Clarke of the University of the West Indies could attest, the chronicling of Peter’s care narrative has proved a surprisingly, peculiarly fraught undertaking.
But I am inclined to think that this is as much because of my own Shipden-like susceptibility to psychic erosion as his.
This article, more than any other in this series, including the preceding ‘mind-fart’ study, has forced me to engage at a profoundly penetrative level with the limits of my own psychological and literary capacity.
And in this regard the fact that I know as little as I do about Peter, Teresa, their children and grandchildren has been instructive.
At a basic, person-to-person level, this operational knowledge gap points to an element of Shipden-like shallowness in Peter’s and my previous, NJ&P based relationship.
However, coupled with the fact that he, I, and at least one other person that I know of have stopped attending that groups meetings in questionable circumstances, it suggests a deeper, conscious or unconscious conspiratorial crisis in that group, and possibly in the diocese.
Actually, I was obliged to inform the diocese’s Safeguarding officer Michael ‘Mick’ Thurley of my concern over another elderly NJ&P member’s and my own safety and wellbeing.
Because I have long been the target of a Barbados-sown, globally-grown criminal conspiracy, in which my local MP Lewis, Barbadian business minister Inniss, academic businessman Beckles and other prominent secular and religious knowledge industry operators are implicated, the curious, unexplained behavior of some NJ&P members toward me made me concerned that the group had been infiltrated and that elderly member’s safety and wellbeing had been compromised because of her closeness to me.
Unfortunately, for reasons Mr Thurley has so far chosen not to share with me, his investigation into this matter may have been suspended, or sunk like Shipden.
But I have seen enough of such possibly racially motivated ecclesiastical maneuvering and politicking, especially in my dealings with Reverend Holmes Williams of Barbados, not to be put-off by Mr Thurley’s unexplained silence and delay.
Unlike Peter, I have not withdrawn myself from NJ&P completely.
Indeed, my approach to Mr Thurley demonstrates my determination to continue engaging constructively with NJ&P.
But like Peter, with responsibilities of various kinds and only twenty-four hours each day to pursue them, I am obliged to just commit some things to prayer – and occasional public ventilation, as I am doing here.
I am long past reporting every concern that I have about that criminal conspiracy to Norfolk Constabulary, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit or some other relevant body.
The Thurley-like silence and other communicative evasions of Mr Lewis, the Speaker of the House of Lords, Baronness D’Souza and other “governing vacancies” has long convinced me of the futility of banking on public officials honoring their tax-payer funded duty of care to me, Peter, that elderly NJ&P member or anyone else.
Unfortunately, a Trump-like, Google-EU and British banking industry-like approach to interpreting written codes seems to dominate much of the UK’s government business these days.
Hopefully, though I have been afflicted since 2008 with atrial fibrillation and other psychosomatic manifestations of intellectual property management related cognitive and affective (emotional) wear and tear, with God’s help I will be as lucid as Peter when I reach his age and see past the façade of Thurley’s silence, Trump’s Islamophobia and similar superficial symptoms that can mask governors’ fears.
Happily, I have the example of Peter, lovingly supported by Teresa, to light my way.
Along with what he assures me is a capacity for total recall that removes the need for notes taken at the few governors’ meetings he attended, I have been struck by the clarity of thought and confidence of expression he has displayed in interviews, for the most part.
Peter’s cryptic use of language in text messages has been the most significant revelation though, introducing me to a playful, self-effacing side of the man that I had not detected during our previous years of acquaintance.
This literate ‘liquidity’, an apparently positive, self-affirming feature of Peter’s communicative competence, is therefore curiously comparable to the negative ‘liquidation’ or disintegration of language for which the erosion at Shipden is a metaphor.
And note the parallel here with the linguistic concept of fossilization, which may be positive or negative, as linguists specializing in second language learning dynamics have noted.
I have experienced and studied the counter-intuitive, positive potential of literacy-transcending, fragmentation or atomization of language, as a practitioner-researcher of glossolalia, called “speaking in tongues” by Pentecostal and other charismatic Christians.
So in some ways, Peter’s eccentric texting seems rather tame to me, if not conventional or normative.
And I am keen to explore how the practice of glossolalia, which was the focus of my Linguistics BA thesis, may be beneficial to Peter and others with mental health challenges linked to oppressive, rote-repetition-focused and similarly imagination impairing, spirituality sterilizing religious ideas and practices.
As I note in that thesis, titled “A Voice From Heaven: Could the Study of Glossolalia Benefit Linguistic Theory”, glossolalia is not only known in Islamic and other non-Christian settings but also has a parallel in Jazz scatting, which points to its creative, healing capacities.
I am also keen to explore the possibility that Shakespeare may have been a glossolalist or been influenced by that movement, which seems to have been fairly well embedded, if not openly or institutionally “established”, in the Midlands.
Politically correct speech
As a lapsed Roman Catholic, Peter’s governorship dilemma and wider care crisis intersects and overlaps in significant, instructive and even prophetic ways with both the positive and negative elements of Francis I’s and the US presidency pursuing Sanders-Sugarman stories.
in fact, as I trust I have so far successfully communicated, I believe that Peter’s dilemma provides very useful preterist, chaos theory and ripple-effect interpretive data by which Sanders’, Francis’ my own and others’ care crises – the tensions between our caregiver responsibilities and our care-receiver needs – could be interpreted and addressed.
I also see parallels between the 66 year-old Kemp’s care crisis and that of his and my local MP Lewis (mentioned above), for example.
I address semi-sleeping, selectively silent socialist Lewis’ and his party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s carer capacities and care needs at length elsewhere and also give them some attention below.
I am obliged to continue addressing their and other ‘big baby’ socialist and predatory capitalist (typically, but not exclusively ‘Tory’) psychic afflictions because their care crises affect Peter, I and other Norfolk and wider UK residents in significant institutional, operational and therefore consequential ways.
For the minute though, I want readers to consider how Kemp’s crisis can even be metaphysically mapped to and usefully compared with that of the six times younger, 12 year-old suicide victim Isabel Richardson, whose shocking death I will probably also be addressing in this series of articles.
Richardson is another Norfolk resident, and Lewis constituent, coincidentally, who has been grievously failed by this county’s formal and informal carers’ capacity for studied incompetence and/or indifference.
Like Peter, who has been emotionally scarred by a traumatic Catholic schooling and subsequent social shearing, Isabel was not only failed by Hewett School carers, as Norfolk Coroner Jacqueline Lake suggested and the BBC, the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) and other news houses reported, rather simplistically.
My own ongoing investigation, aided by ‘soundings’ with Norfolk County Council, MP Lewis’ office, Norfolk Police, the EDP, freelance journalist Tom Calver (associated with the Telegraph) and other sources, suggests that Isabel was a victim of Norfolk’s capacity for fundamentalist feminist approximating, subtle bullying and cowardice-masked-as-courage.
I have a growing body of evidence suggesting that Isabel was (and her brother Kyle continues to be) a target of Norfolk’s innocence-sapping, child-devouring, ‘Neanderthal Braveprick’ recalling capacity for the cruelty to others that is a kind of self-harm simultaneously.
My sense of the matter is that the learning that should come from Isabel’s tragic death is being prevented by a perverse, preoccupation with “politically correct”, operationally inept speech and documentation.
The digital publisher Facebook, on whose popular platform Isabel was bullied, is implicated in this collective failing.
And so too is the whole beauty-industrial complex that is the military-industrial complex’s disarming but similarly dangerous twin.
Both do their part in confusing beauty and terror to society’s detriment.
Fraught faith management
One thing that is clear from my vantage point is that Kemp’s, Francis’, Sanders’ and my own care crises are in fact crises of faithful, authentic communication, internally and externally.
British Home Secretary Theresa May will know what I mean, if she can recall the ‘continuum of character’ idea that I introduced to her office in 2010 (notwithstanding the destruction of the record of an email I sent her, in line with what her office informed me is government practice).
I think it’s safe to say that the four of us all aspire, as indeed most people do, to communicate, flesh-out or incarnate the dictates and urgings of our internal, conscience-based dialogues accurately.
In our own ways, each of us is trying to visibly walk the talk that guides us invisibly.
We are each trying to authenticate, by practice, the ‘gospels’ we preach.
We would each in his turn no doubt affirm the wise counsel voiced by the character Polonius in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Providentially, this aspiration and the kinds of challenges that obstruct its attainment generally were on display at a NSFT ‘Spirituality Strategy Workshop’ that I attended last month on April 19.
The essential communication conundrum was dramatically demonstrated or, as I like to say incarnated, as a number of participants at that workshop, including one of Peter’s fellow governors, said that this was the first that she had heard of that strategy, despite it having been launched in February 2013.
Peter says much the same, incidentally.
Informed of the existence of its Spiritual Strategy by me, via a text message on April 23, Kemp replied that he was surprised to learn that NSFT has one and that he would like to know about it.
And who wouldn’t want to hear about that Strategy or the scandal of how shoddily it is apparently being implemented – presumably imperiling Norfolk residents’ wellbeing and at their tax-paying expense?
What conscientious Norfolk resident, whether an atheist or religious person, would not want to know that such internal communicative constipation is precisely why one of their neighbors has basically written-off two of the county’s NHS boards of governors, in a bid to preserve his sanity?
Well, if the failure of former BBC Norfolk reporter Nikki Fox to do a story on Peter’s dilemma is anything to go by, she or someone else (perhaps someone governing that regional BBC tributary’s editorial decisions) apparently thinks ‘the Peter Kemp care crisis’ is not a newsworthy item.
And from my perspective, that media failing says all that needs to be said about the now submerged Shipden-Village-sized gaping hole in the commitment of the NSFT, BBC Norfolk and other organizations and persons who are failing to deliver on the duty of care they owe Peter and other vulnerable Norfolk residents.
The situation is a variant of the Daniel Pelka tragedy of Coventry unfolding right before Norfolk caregivers’ blinking eyes, calloused hearts and muddled minds it seems.
And the more recent murder of 21 month-old Ayeesha Jane Smith of Staffordshire (Shakespeare’s birthplace) by her mother and her partner, reinforces my earlier point about lessons not being learned about authentic care.
Beyond the NSFT’s and other carers’ communicative dysfunction and fossilization, these virtual Baal-like child sacrifices point to a psychic or rational disconnect between Britain’s Judeo-Christian preaching and practice.
It actually recalls the curiously pious yet cynical presidential aspirant Ben Carson’s brain-fart endorsement of his raving Republican colleague, Trump.
It also recalls Karl Jung’s prophetic warning to secularists of the dangers that rejection of the metaphysical or what he calls “the numinous” entails.
That warning, already mentioned in this series of articles is worth repeating here:
“Modern man does not understand how much his ‘rationalism’ (which has destroyed his capacity to respond to numinous symbols and ideas) has put him at the mercy of the psychic ‘underworld’. He has freed himself from superstition (or so he believes), but in the process he has lost his spiritual values to a positively dangerous degree. His moral and spiritual tradition has been disintegrated, and he is now paying the price for this break-up in world-wide disorientation and dissociation.”
Fundamentally, the shallow distribution and clearly fragmented reception and germination of “Spiritual Strategy” seeds – whether by written or verbal means – points to the existence of a sea-sheared-Shipden-like breach between what NSFT leaders say and what they mean.
It points ultimately to the historically entrenched, arbitrary, artificial and illusory separation of religious and secular language and ideology.
To put it bluntly, NSFT’s failure after three years to have more firmly embedded its “Spiritual Strategy” is most likely the direct result of the relatively low value placed on spirituality by secular scientific authorities operating not only within the county’s NHS bodies, but within Norfolk society generally.
It therefore probably will not surprise readers that the 2011 Census in England and Wales led to Norwich, the county’s capital city, being officially declared the most atheist, godless place in England.
However, I agree with the county’s Anglican bishop, the Right Reverend Graham James that this finding, based on 56,268 people claiming that they have “no religion” is debatable.
The reality, on the ground, I am sure is far more nuanced.
For example, I too am inclined to say I have “no religion”, as I consider myself a spiritual rather than a religious person.
I do embrace and advocate a Christocentric spirituality, anchored in what I have previous called a Literary-Historical Spirituo-Naturalistic-Consciencing understanding of the teachings of Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth however, as I expect would Peter.
More crucially though, I think that the language and logic of the 2011 Census could well have been operationally biased, not recognizing the extent to which the rationalism against which Jung warned has evolved into a form of religion in England, as elsewhere, for all intents and purposes.
The election in 2015 of Labour’s Lewis, a former BBC Norfolk political reporter as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group is significant in this regard.
I believe Lewis’ election reflects the dominance of these secular authorities in the political arena, in the medical community, at BBC Norfolk, the EDP, at Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Constabulary and other centers of power and shapers of policy regionally and nationally, including, apparently some clerical authorities.
Moreover, I believe that the holding of strategic, mediatory-priestly (middle-men) offices by atheists and secularists is not only well known, but evangelically promoted by prominent personalities, like Norfolk’s Stephen Fry, national atheism icons Richard Dawkins and A C Grayling and atheistic and/or agnostic novelists, journalists and other writers like VS Naipaul, Sandi Toksvig and the Guardian’s Cath Elliott.
Big baby Bernie
Intriguingly, the NSFT constricted communication drama, in which Peter’s fellow governor revealed that she had not been informed (or failed to retain the information, possibly) of the organization’s more than three-year-old Spirituality Strategy has American atheist Sanders’ reported bungled effort to electorally bask in the glow of Pope Francis’ populist spiritual mojo written all over it!
The ‘Bern’s’ alleged stalking (virtually) of the man who currently holds the “Office of St Peter” in the Roman Curia can certainly tell us all something about his and other atheists’ self-belief deficient, glory-grabbing, media manipulating capacities.
Much as I would like to view his behavior as a genuine attempt to engage with Christians in good, empathy-grounded faith, Sanders’ previous pronounced disregard for religion, like trade unionist Lewis impiety, cautions against this.
In fact, I think English academic professor Margaret Archer’s denunciation of beast-like Bernie’s questionable, ‘high speed’ pursuit of baby-like, relative innocence icon Pope Francis as an act involving a “monumental discourtesy” may well be a monumental understatement, bordering on inaccuracy.
From my psycho-seismic events mapping, preterist political phenomena interpreting vantage point, Sanders’ officious, PR pandering to New York’s Roman Catholic and other conscientious, progressive Christians through an alleged staged participation in a meeting of the Vatican-linked Pontifical Academy for the Social Sciences, headed by Archer, may be interpreted through what chapter 12 of the apocalyptic, biblical Book of Revelation tells us about would-be baby-devouring pedophile predator beasts for good reason.
And the fact that many of those Sanders was metaphorically curtseying to were not only no longer babies but also well beyond voting age, should not be an impediment to psycho-seismic or preterist interpretation here any more than my comparison of Kemp’s with Richardson’s and Pelka’s ages prevents an appreciation of their relative psychological constipation and related internal, conscientious communication constricting injury.
White Vatican Man Francis
The ancient adage, once a man, twice a child, can certainly be applied to both ‘Norfolk Peter’ and ‘Vatican Peter’ 79, on reasonable, life-cycle, human ecology acknowledging grounds.
And note that White Vatican Man Francis actually stressed the child-like vulnerability of elderly people when he delivered a Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aperecida during his visit to Brazil in 2013.
On that occasion, addressing Brazil’s Roman Catholic bishops privately, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio said “More than a formal address, I would like to share some reflections with you.
“The first came to mind again when I visited the Shrine of Aparecida. There, at the foot of the statue of the Immaculate Conception, I prayed for you, your Churches, your priests, men and women religious, seminarians, laity and their families and, in a particular way, the young people and the elderly: these last are the hope of a nation; the young, because they bring strength, idealism and hope for the future; the elderly because they represent the memory, the wisdom of the people.”
Setting aside, for the moment, Francis’ oblique reference to the Black Madonna that is “the statue of the Immaculate Conception” at that Shrine, and how that arguably innocent, “racially anonymizing” or socially sanitizing slight, perhaps motivated by an assumption that the unusual colour of the statue is widely known, might relate to my earlier reference to Francis as ‘White Vatican Man’, at the time, seemingly pointlessly.
At this point I will only say that if the word “Aparecida” tells us anything, it is that appearances matter, and that they may matter profoundly, especially in the context of Brazil’s historical race narrative.
My main concern for the moment though is the Rift Valley-like, reductionist, simplistic separation of secular and religious thinking which dictates that the two should never meet.
I am concerned with the parceling and marketing of medical knowledge in simplistically scripted silos to serve the capitalist needs of entities like Serco and other companies contracted by the NSFT, the NNUH and other NHS bodies whose main allegiance sometimes seems not to patients but to the pharmaceutical industry.
My focus is the communication constipation, masquerading as cost-cutting corporate consolidation that is related to what I have previously identified as linguistic obesity, and the obesity of the English language particularly.
This is reflected in not only the NSFT’s but also the Norfolk public’s apparent confusion around the word “spirit” and, as a consequence, around the notion of “spirituality”.
At the NSFT Spirituality Conference I sought to underscore the fundamental importance of addressing this millennia old, perennial challenge if that Trust or any other British NHS or related health care body is to embed a ‘Spiritual Strategy’ in the at least ostensibly secular, atheism dominated Western world of pharmacology.
I sought to draw attention to the schismatic, fossilized communication norms that not only fragment and impede written and verbal communication in Norfolk and Suffolk but across England and, indeed, in many other parts of the global community.
Care crises and opportunites
Fractious, fundamentalism prone, care corrupting communication norms are the focal point of my more than thirty-year long, ongoing critique of secular and religious ideologies.
In my book TBBTR, I explore the millennia old, cyclical character of these norms, a project not unlike the University of Warwick’s Global Frontiers: Ecologies, Commodities, Labour, and the Arts collaborative research project.
Led by professor Michael Niblett, this project explores “the ways in which literary and cultural texts register the socio-ecological transformations through which the capitalist world-system has developed.”
Taking as its starting point the contention that world literature is to be understood as the literature of the capitalist world-ecology, GFECLA may understandably be viewed as a self-limiting, selective socialist affair.
But its methodologies may nonetheless offer a framework of analysis to which Peter and many other Norfolk residents, especially traditionally Labour-voting Norfolk residents can relate beneficially.
Hence, Kemp might well construe his departure from the NSFT and efforts to blow the whistle on it as acts of a socialist revolutionary.
Similarly, he could well argue that the “Governor’s Guide” by which he was expected to abide amounts to a kind of “Bible” that unjustly privileges NHS’ clergy-types over its laity.
Kemp’s particular frustration with ordinance 3:2 of the biblical “Your Statutory Duties: A reference guide for NHS foundation trust governors”, which puts what he feels are unreasonable restrictions on NSFT governors’ ability to engage with the organization’s staff and its service users operationally, can therefore be interpreted as an expression of both his Christian and revolutionary, or at least reforming, zeal.
That regulation reads: “Governors may also become involved in many areas not covered by the legislation. However, they should remember that they do not play an operational role within the trust. Although NHS foundation trusts may choose to involve governors in hospital visits or volunteering, governors neither have a right to inspect NHS foundation trust property or services nor a duty to meet patients and conduct quality reviews.”
It should be noted that while this regulation does not forbid operational engagement by governors explicitly, it does make it clear that such engagement is not anticipated and is likely to be frowned upon.
Hence Peter’s assessment that the kind of meaningful, radical reform that he wants to facilitate would not be encouraged by NSFT.
Whatever may have been said to him by NSFT authorities, the wording of the NHS code convinced Kemp that his aspirations for his local care providers were destined for frustration and futility.
“The letter killeth” indeed!
In this instance, it killed Peter’s fighting spirit – or almost did, until perhaps, his interaction with the media (first the BBC, then me) gave him some hope that the positive potential of his care crisis, its cathartic, curative, opportunity, could be realized.
Of course, if as I suggest the atheism-leaning BBC is in fact more disposed operationally or pragmatically to exacerbate the negative elements of Peter’s, my own and others’ care crises than it is disposed to accentuate and actualize the positives in them, then the reporter Fox’s failure to follow through with a ‘Kemp care crisis’ story and the causal or other relationship of that failure to Peter’s subsequent contemplation of suicide take on a concerning aura of calculation and predictability – perhaps even inevitability.
To be continued..