Hurt Musings on Civilisation

I’ve been watching some of the BBC documentary ‘Civilisations’, an ambitious production featuring prominent academics examining the history of human societies and the impact of art and culture.

CIVILISATIONS_ could be said to be semantics, but I think the BBC would have been better off and accurate calling the programme series ‘A History of Art and Culture’.

The sight of a historian gazing close up at art depicting the sexual ravaging of native women by Europeans does not speak of ‘civilisations’ to me.

Ambitious, but ill founded_

You can find out more and watch the series on BBC i-Player here:

But I’ve been wondering about the pluralism, and question the validity of this. I’ve been thinking about the concept of human beings as one Civilisation drawn out and evolving over time.  I wrote down and looked at the word ‘Civilisation’, focused on the letter ‘I’ and how it occurs 4 times.

Then I stretched the thought to consider what the letter ‘I’ could represent in a process that leads to becoming one Civilisation, to becoming less fractious and fragmented, less violent and destructive, to becoming more cohesive, collective, and collaborative.

If you’ve had a chance to read my ALPHABET SOUP – A to Z advice for entrepreneurs © you’ll understand my fascination with letters of the alphabet, and as I write poetry I know you’ll understand my fascination with words. I also paint pictures, and as an artist I felt an urge to draw and paint ‘Civilisation’, and to include a drop down menu focused on the letter ‘I’.

Eventually I settled upon:

– Imagination

– Intellect

– Information

– Integrity

sam_1351 (2)

COVER PHOTO IMAGE – ‘Civilisation 4 i’

I did consider Intuition and Instinct, they didn’t get into the top 4 but they are certainly my 5 and 6.

Then, as if by magic, a dear connection on LinkedIn brought to the fore a discussion revolving around Intuition in a Community Engagement group, he also touched based with ‘instinct’ ‘rationality’ and ‘control’.

This really got me thinking, and so, whilst hurting about the loss of life and murders on the streets of London, and the wars and conflicts I’ve been seeing and reading about in the news, looking to ease the pain, I extended my comments to writing this article, casting a creative net over the subject matter, I delved a little deeper…

‘Imagination’ – the first ‘I’ in Civilisation

I visualise, I suppose, I surmise, I create_

My instinct stems from ‘primordial passion for a cause’ that means something to me personally, I draw upon it mostly in campaigns complaints and protests.

My intuition stems from ‘acquired learning and experience’ I draw upon it always in my day job of finding the best routes to achieving success, or in understanding what blockages and obstacles prevent success.

Intuition serves me in understanding whether or not blockages and obstacles can be removed or circumnavigated, or in accepting that I must move on or walk away because these blockages and obstacles are intransigent and not in the realm of my controls. My intuition lets me know when to stop wasting my time and energy.

There have been times where I’ve found that ‘gut instinct’ does come to fore, a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, often followed (sometimes ages later) by a crack or fissure in my thought processes (like a lightning bolt in the head), in my ‘rationality’.

In these ‘instinctive instances’, or what might be referred to as these ‘moments of madness’, it has only been intuition (acquired learning and experience) and the slow motion in real time, that bring me back to ‘the point of control’. Rather than to react ‘without control’, and thereby satisfy the detrimental desired outcomes of others, I am able to respond ‘in control’, and to make a decision based on beneficial desired outcomes relatable to myself.

My instinct and intuition are fired by my imagination, I imagine what I want and then work hard to achieve it.

‘Intellect’ – the second ‘I’ in Civilisation

I think, I research, I reason, I analyse_

This requires consciousness of self, self consciousness, to get to this place in the human psyche is a long and arduous task, and a journey many people never make. In a creative drift I began exploring the scope for a debate around creating some relative equations:

self = instinct (energy)

consciousness = intuition (mass)

rationality = control (speed of light squared)

and for examining any correlations to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity E = mc2 in this context.

The Theory is said to have given birth to the science behind the atom bomb, could it also give birth to a new understanding of instinct intuition and control in a study of the human psyche?

The question of intuitive and instinctive control, and how this relates to critical thinking and rationality is a big issue for me, and for many of the individuals and communities I work with. We do not live by equations (although many state institutions, industries, and digital giants do use equations to measure ‘us’), we live by reality.

The inequitable social and economic exigencies of our circumstances often dictate | influence | govern the instinctive and intuitive decisions we make.  Often, we don’t have access to the information resources or support we need to make decisions based on aspiration and ambition, rather than desperation and being dispossessed.

‘Information – the third ‘I’ in Civilisation

I discovered, I heard, I discern, I know_

From violence and gang warfare on the streets in my home town and in many others all over the UK (and around the world), through to terrorism and hate crime, we are experiencing the far reaching ramifications. These are the destructive and detrimental outcomes that explode and implode the lives of individuals and families, and blight the existence of people struggling to maintain normality in pressurized and impoverished communities and neighbourhoods.

I’m not making any excuses:

  • for the parents who neglect their children
  • for the parents who allow their children to wander into a life of crime
  • for the drug dealing groomers who lure young people into a life of crime
  • for the schools and state institutions which allow the vulnerable to fall through the cracks
  • for the people who don’t take responsibility for their own actions
  • for the government policy that implements swingeing cuts of up to 40% , whilst freezing public sector pay, and allowing exorbitant salaries in the public and private sector, failing to collect taxes from the super rich whilst macerating public services, lamenting housing shortages whilst decimating social housing
  • for the expectation that an adequate level of local services is even doable, in these circumstances.

I could go on, and on, and on…

I am devastated by the violence, the wounding, the death, the gang warfare drawing blood on our streets. I can only imagine what the parents who do care are going through, and the sense of helplessness children and young people feel. And for me much of this has been happening for years, and very close to ‘home’

The Darkness Anthology – 2nd edition

The design of an approach to effective community engagement in these contexts is a critical mass, it’s also my day job where I am tasked to find deliverable solutions. The Well Connected Cycle of Community Engagement is an approach and model I developed and regularly apply, it is based on acquired learning and experience, my intuition.

‘Integrity’ – the fourth ‘I’ in Civilisation

I am honest, I am moral, I am trustworthy, I am virtuous_

However, politics and government, policy and strategy, set the scene, and impact on these processes, the information people receive, and the decisions people make, this is what generates the magnitude.

The  Brexit Saga is a prime example of a fissure in political rationality in order to gain control, I remember the hedonistic slogan ‘take back control’, I kind of feel instinctively and intuitively, we’ve lost it, or are loosing it actually. There is a fall out of nuclear proportions, little can be said for the information the electorate received at the time, and the post-referendum decisions that are being made outside of wider democratic controls.

The incidence of ‘political grooming’ is a worrying trend, it relates to those political behaviours and attitudes that go far beyond acceptable campaigning, complaints, or protests. I liken it to ‘coercive control’ and benchmark it against the instances where ones instinct and intuition recognizes (or does not recognize) coercive control is being exercised over ones choices, options, and decision making processes.

A young person trying to survive and thrive in a neighbourhood beset by gangsters and crime, or poverty, or all of the above and more, they might be thinking and feeling the same way. Brexit permeates the news, but it is far removed from their day to day reality.

  • We need to engage children and young people, and their parents, in a meaningful dialogue, with the right resources i.e. local community hubs and facilities, accredited training, work experience and employment, mentoring, join up services, sustain services, provide people with opportunities to ‘give back’ and make a difference.
  • We need to raise their expectations and their aspirations, and help to realise them. In prisons and probation services we need to make rehabilitation and collaboration a real thing that happens, and is sustained.
  • We need to accept that change is going to cost money time and energy, and we need to be prepared to foot the bill, because clearly the problem is serious, and it is not going to go away. Society will pay more later if the problems are not dealt with now, escalation is inevitable.


After the Election

We must remember
we still got to do
what we got to do
despite their shades
of red and blue
and purple and green
and yellow hue.

Whatever the colour
thrown at you
after the heat of battle
if peace is cool
don’t be a fool
we still got to do
what we got to do.

 Cynthia Antoinette Roomes ©

May 2015


After the good bad or ugly election (any election, or referendum, anytime, any place, anywhere), many of us are thinking and saying, instinctively and intuitively, as one Civilisation, post war and yet pre-apocalyptic it seems, ‘those politicians, those decision makers, those who wield power over us, we – could should and must do better…


Cynthia Antoinette Roomes ©

Author of ‘EVOLUTION – a collection of paintings poetry and prose’

Reflecting on life and the human condition from a Black woman’s perspective”

ISBN: 978-1-4772-3972-2 (soft cover)
ISBN: 978-1-4772-3773-9 (

Purchase ‘EVOLUTION – a collection of paintings and prose’ from Authorhouse

Purchase ‘EVOLUTION – a collection of paintings poetry and prose’ from Amazon




Twitter: @cynthiaroomes

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