Welcome to my blog.
Why do people write blogs? To share ideas and experiences, in the hope they will be of interest to others. That is my aim, too: expanding on what appears elsewhere on this website and exploring new areas. Maybe some of you will respond and let me know what you think.
Why is this website called “Origin of Light”? Because there is a widespread perception that we live in dark times, that society is characterised by anger, fear, division, control and manipulation. People use different words but often mean more or less the same thing.
Rather than give in to the anger and fear, we might – together – try to shine a little light in the darkness. The term “light” has been used in many varied traditions. For me it has the qualities of openness, truthfulness, hope, love and compassion. What it represents cannot be owned or possessed by any individual. It is the foundation of both a truly human life and real community.
That is not to say we can or should be uniformly positive. No-one is perfect and each of us – if weʼre honest about it – struggles with some form of inner darkness. While itʼs important not to deny this or to project it onto others, the question is whether we can from find within ourselves a constructive way to engage with the world.
The views expressed on this website represent an evolution of thinking and feeling over many years, a continuing work-in-progress. Life is a journey enriched by encounters and experiences, advances and retreats, joys and disappointments, and by occasional transformative insights. To be alive is to be subject to change. For that reason Iʼm not trying to set out a comprehensive set-in-stone philosophy.
This website houses my most recent novel ʻThe conspiracy of lightʼ, the latest in a series that began a few years ago. The term “conspiracy” here is meant to convey something hidden and subversive. The characters are caught in a web of lies, deceits and evasions, as well as competing theories about what may or may not be happening.
This points to an underlying theme in my fiction: the quest for truth and meaning. It can take a variety of forms, but many of my characters are reading or trying to get hold of books that may or may not help them in their search. All are surprised by what they discover, because of course life never fits neatly with our preconceived ideas and plans.
Why do I emphasise the importance of books? The written word plays a major role in our culture, and holy or revered texts – secular as well as religious – form part of our map of reality. First there were handwritten documents, then the printing press which allowed mass publication. Now in the twenty-first century the binary code of the internet presents an endless stream of words and images.
These words and images tell stories, and we too are telling stories all the time. Most come from other people – we absorb them without realising it – but some are more personal, even private: what we tell ourselves about who we are and what weʼre doing. If we pay attention we can notice the narrative constantly going on in our minds.
I think it matters whether or not those stories contribute to lifeʼs flourishing.
Many of us no longer believe the stories weʼve long been told, the propaganda of business, political parties, the media and organised religion. These do not reflect our experience, both the challenges of living in the modern world and our own understanding of what is really of value in life.
As we start to tell different stories we may be drawn to each other intuitively, making connections that are not mediated or constrained by organisations. These connections come from the heart and therefore do not involve leadership, money or any form of control.
If we are to be of any use to the world, if we are to shine a little light in the darkness, then we need to embody values very different to those that currently rule the world. I do not set myself up as an example or offer any answers. Our reliance on people and ideologies that claim to have answers is part of the problem. In place of false certainty we can at least attempt to give each other support and inspiration. I hope this website will contribute to that.
David M James, November 2017