This scene came as a surprise to me very late on in the writing of I Am Not Gog, and it was great fun for me, at least. It comes at a time just prior to a great crisis in Lydia’s life. It foreshadows a moment of great vulnerability and fear for Lydia, when Karl makes his most sleazy and sneaky move on her.
It’s her birthday and she’s having breakfast when three contractors come in, Karl, Fred, and George. Karl introduces himself and tries to chat her up. In light of this blog's title, you might now suspect that these three represent Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Georg W F Hegel. They do.
Marx and Engels were students of Hegel, who, of course, formulated the Hegelian Dialectic. Simply put, that is: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. You decide society has a problem (or you manufacture a problem): thesis. You react to that thesis with a solution: antithesis. A new condition of society is attained: the synthesis, which is a condition closer to that which is desired by those in charge. Thus change is accomplished without society even being aware of it, by a manufactured ‘consent’.
It’s fairly easy to detect the Hegelian Dialectic at work in current affairs, or at least something along those lines. I think Hegel was just trying to codify principles that have been at work for millennia, making an abstract formula out of them so it can be easily taught as a science without too much consideration of humanity and morality. It makes something quite sleazy and sneaky seem somewhat clean and respectable.
The origin of the quote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” has been attributed to Churchill in the economic turmoil of the aftermath of the second world war. It has been echoed by politicians in more recent times, such as when Hilary Clinton spoke at the European Parliament on this very day ten years ago, 9th March, 2009, where she quoted her old pal Rahm Emanuel (mayor of Chicago and ex-chief of staff for Obama) as using it in the form of, “Never waste a good crisis.”
When society faces crises, as Lydia faced hers, solutions will always be presented to us that will conveniently move us all closer to a desired condition. This is well recognized by theoreticians and, by their own admission, widely employed by those in power. We, like Lydia, don’t have to go along with their dialectic. We can, if we so choose, move past them as if they were not there, and firmly close the door behind us.
By the way, I was quite chuffed with the secret revolutionary’s trade, as a subtle indicator of who and what he really represents: Fitter-Turner.