So what comes next?

All ideas, all opinions have to be based on or sparked off by something. My yesterday blog on the troubles of capitalism originated, I suppose, in the following passage from my novel, 'More Deaths Than One' ... the scene is a Saudi Arabian beach house / palace owned by Thomas Thornton's employer, Abdulrahman Al-Sottar. Abdulrahman is playing host to a few of his big money friends and to Thornton ...


Abdul-Rahman shouts, "Joey". The Philipino servant appears as if by magic. "Bring Mister Thomas the microphone." He leans towards you. "But before that, let me ask you something else that is serious, my friend. In our lifetime, what have been the two great competing influences in the West?  There is capitalism and there is communism, am I right?"
"Yes, I guess so," Thomas says. He wonders where his employer is going with this.
Abdul-Rahman says, "Yet one of these great competing concepts, this - what you call it - this philosophy of communism, where is it right now? Gone, finished, from one day to the next, caputo. Therefore capitalism is the winner?"
"So it would seem," Thomas says, cautiously, "Although politics and philosophy really aren't my subjects."  
"That, my friend, is what you would call a cop-out. Listen to me now; this demise of communism, you saw it coming?"
"No of course not, Nobody did. Nobody I know of, anyway."
"Exactly. And you cannot see now the demise of capitalism?"
"Come on, Abdul-Rahman," he says, "You might as well say the demise of everything."
"Exactly, my friend. Every thing! But more important for us than wealth is the life of the spirit, of God. This - this is the difference. Our lives here are, let us say, eighty percent spiritual and twenty percent material. You of the west are the other way around." The sheikh looks around at the bearded faces of his big-money friends. "Nothing is forever, we know this to be true. And when capitalism passes away, as did communism, what will be left for you and what for us, Thomas? What will be left for we of ancient, Arab descent who are neither east nor west, we for whom your capitalism is just a temporary tool, we the people from amongst whom God has always chosen his prophets?" There is a silence whilst Joey refills the whiskies and hands you a microphone, its lead trailing across the marble patio floor and back inside the house.
Thomas says, "You talk of the future, Abdul-Rahman, and you may be right. But I would like to propose another toast, gentlemen." He lifts his re-charged tumbler. "Here’s to life here and now and to all the good things of this wonderful world." The five Arabs raise their glasses, nodding their approval, murmuring endorsements. Thomas blows experimentally into the microphone, goes into the first lines; …"Start singing the blues, I’m going today… " He's unsure of the exact words but hell, what does it matter? 

People ask me about how much of More Deaths Than One is autobiography. I say, about two percent. The above quoted passage would be included in that two percent. These days I wonder whether my Saudi friend had it more correct than, at the time (1999) I (or anyone else) realised.

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