‘Until you know this deep secret, ‘Die and become,’ you will be a stranger on this dark Earth. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German philosopher, writer and statesman.
Whilst writing this essay looking out over the sea at Cap d’Ail in southern France, I am reminded of an experience in my youth, which took place in a forest near my home in Scotland – It was this incident that inspired me to write one of my first poems ‘We are Lost.’ I remember vividly what happened…
Caspar David Friedrich Wanderer above the sea of fog
As a boy, I would often sit alone for hours in the countryside, watching blackbirds fly, observing sheaves of grain sway to the rhythmic whisper of winds flowing through wheat fields. I revered stillness and sensed a strong connection with nature. I also loved to explore wildlife and the deeper mysteries of the cosmos, where I would drift into a heightened state of consciousness…
Streams of powerful electrical impulses, seemed to flow within me. My body temperature cooled and my whole being would start to shiver – I was not unconscious, this was the ‘in-between’ world…
New York Feb 2017 Varie 39inv
‘The visionary scenes that pass before us.’
Charles Dickens (1812–1870) English writer and social critic.

On one of these treks in the forest, I found myself once more drawn into a surreal space where time froze, nature fell silent, and suddenly in front of me stood a traveller, who appeared from nowhere. Despite his powerful appearance, I felt at ease in his presence, imagining him as a wise sage, a philosopher poet, someone from another world…
dominic 01
This was not the first time that something like this had happened to me. The traveller spoke of troubled times ahead when the world would be in grave danger…
What was discussed on that late autumn day, seems uncannily relevant to the times we are living in – dark forces gather, civilisation is under serious threat and those individuals, who are awakened and aware, must prepare for what is coming…

Milano Papaveri 13My thoughts wander to images of WW1 trenches and the needless slaughter of human beings, in the prime of life, their potential unfulfilled. I am filled with a sense of the precariousness of life on planet earth, an inkling of something gone deeply wrong…

Far away on yonder’s horizon, I hear the echo of a distant voice calling from a bygone age…
“I think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.”
T.S. Elliot, The Waste Land, 1922

‘We Are Lost’ is written in an allegorical style. It blends reality with the world of dreams. The appearance of the traveller, signals the beginning of a new direction.
Palazzo Massimo 03The key messages of the poem are that we are being ruthlessly manipulated by puppet masters, who remain invisible… we have lost our way and that we have reached a point where we are ‘out of sync’ not only with ourselves, but our political systems, and many of our institutions, are out of sync with us, and have been like this for a very long time. Many of our present leaders not only fail to grasp the complexity of the problems we face, but they often don’t appreciate, or care about the long term consequences of their actions, which all too often, merely represent a succession of ‘short-term’ inadequate fixes.
We are being bombarded with information that is censored by corporate powers that control the media. We are being de-sensitised to the suffering and violence that surrounds us, whilst at the same time, there is a creeping tendency towards curbing critical thinking in all its forms.

The scale of the assault on our minds is enormous – we have never faced a global threat of this magnitude before.
Many individuals have a sense of unease about the future – at the same time nature is under threat, and modern society survives in a virtual stupor in what can best be described as a parallel universe. We need to focus on defending our freedom of thought and artistic expression, enhancing our consciousness, strengthening our bonds with nature and safeguarding our precious planet for future generations.
What are sorely needed are inspiring leaders, wise teachers, willing to take individual responsibility – combining all these qualities with long term vision, solutions, and a commitment to upholding rigorous standards.
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” Henry David Thoreau.” (1817-1862)
Death in the woodsThe traveller suggested that many of the things we observe, that we think are real, are, in effect, illusions… He spoke of his love of nature and of the gift of life, of the importance of not blindly following the crowd, of not rushing to judgement, be discerning, and to have the courage to be true to yourself and to know what truly lives within us…
We see with the eyes , but we see with the brain as well, and seeing with the brain is often called imagination.”
Oliver Sacks, CBE, FRCP (1933–2015) British neurologist and author.

My brief and mysterious meeting in the forest had captured my imagination. After the traveller disappeared, I remained transfixed for a while, thinking about what had been said to me. Who was this person? Was he real? Someone from another dimension? Or was he a figment of my imagination?
Woodland musicOn returning home, I told no one of the encounter. This was to be my secret. However, deep within my consciousness, a spark ignited and the seeds of this experience, would ultimately surface to form the basis of a poem and song that I would compose a few years later, entitled ‘We are Lost.’ Without doubt, something within me had changed, and whatever happened to me that day in my early youth, was the trigger, the catalyst, for a journey towards self-realisation, that was beyond anything I could have imagined at that time…
‘It is better to walk alone, than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.’ Herman Sui. Contemporary Chinese philosopher.
I used to think of other lands, escape reality in dreams
From drifting snow to shifting sands, a melody within a stream
And then I met a ragged man, who stopped and asked me for the time
And since that day my life has changed, my childish thoughts put to one side

We are lost from the first breath we gasp, ruled by beliefs destined to clash
We are lost in a great human chain, scared by our failures and trapped by our shame…

I see you judge me by my clothes and that you put me through your trial
I’m everything you’ll never know, I’ve everything that I desire
And as I watched him walk away along the twisting turning road
There were no words for me to say, there was no place for me to go

I feel so helpless, so confused, that we can laugh at times abuse
The different colours, changing styles, the indoctrination of a child
To tell the truth I feel afraid, it was so easy in the crowd
And when my friends find I have changed, I’ll wait for them to put me down…

We are lost from the first breath we gasp, ruled by beliefs that are destined to clash
We are lost in a great human chain, where selfish behaviour, ignorance, apathy, reign…

(Formative years -‘We Are Lost,’ an early poem by Bréon Rydell)
The traveller represents an archetypal figure, commonly found in world literature. The brief conversation I had with him, was an epiphany of sorts, which stimulated a series of thought – provoking ideas, and underlying dynamics that are expressed in the following stanzas:
Palazzo Altemps• Childhood dreams, the changing seasons and listening to the music of nature. • The integration of fragmented parts of the psyche. • Leaving the infantile stage of life and accepting adult responsibilities. • Rights of passage. • Realising one’s authentic self. • Entering another world – altered states of consciousness.

• “Our lives are mere flashes of light in an infinitely empty universe. In 12 years of education the most important lesson I have learned is that what we see as “normal” living is truly a travesty of our potential. In a society so governed by superficiality, appearances, and petty economics, dreams are more real than anything in the “real world”. Dominic Mallory (1984-2008) Singer, lyricist.
‘All the kings horses and all the kings men…
We are born into power systems that are by nature tribal – they are based on total control and domination.
In the midst of an astonishing pace of advancing technology, ordinary citizens are often no longer free-thinking and independent individuals. They are subject to manipulation by unseen forces that constitute an ‘invisible government,’ which is the true ruling power. How have those ‘devious hands’ arisen? The answer lies in sociological trends that arose early in the twentieth century, notably championed in the United States by Edward Bernays (1891-1995).
Centrale Montemartini 22“We are governed, our minds are moulded, tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.” (Bernays, E., Propaganda, 1925).

The refrain expresses the potential helplessness of the citizen who is struggling to maintain individuality in an environment in which global market forces not only reign supreme, but are often no longer responsive to the basic needs of the population.

‘Although we feel we are free, in reality we – like the politicians – have become slaves of our own desires.’
(Adam Curtis, in BBC Documentary,’Century of the Self,’ 2002).

“Do not judge me by my appearance.” Superficial appearances can readily mislead and be misinterpreted.

An awakening of sexuality and consciousness – innocence, vulnerability and nakedness exposed.

“He is richest who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature.” (Socrates, 469-399 BCE).
The references to ‘the different colours, changing styles and the indoctrination of a child’ allude to religious, political and cultural ideologies, embedding hatred into young impressionable minds with the end result of crimes against humanity and violence within inter-societal systems.
How we ridicule the outsider, and others who don’t fit the norm.
Palazzo Altemps 34invI am only too aware that by challenging the status quo, the way ahead is not going to be easy. In particular, the egocentric behavior exhibited by large sections of the population, poses a serious existential threat to the planet and all who inhabit it. Yet, a sense of denial prevails in so many quarters. There is also bound to be resentment of criticism and stubborn refusal to change, especially where vested interests are threatened… In order to build a successful platform for a healthier scenario ahead, its foundation needs to be grounded upon a full understanding of previous human experiences.
A major cultural/paradigm shift is needed to meet the challenges that we face.
In many quarters of the globe, there is an increased awareness of the need for us to accept greater responsibility for protecting the environment, the planet’s habitat and our fellow creatures. Arising from this, are remarkable examples of philanthropic action directed towards this cause.

64“Despite all that is positive about human civilisation and technological advancement, our withdrawal from nature is proving to be our undoing. It manifests in accelerating rates of extinction, habitat loss, and destruction, conflict, food and water insecurity, extreme poverty, anxiety – the list goes on. There is only one solution – Biophilia – literally…’LOVE OF LIFE ‘ … a call to treasure nature because of its intrinsic beauty and because it is part of us, and us of it.”
(Jessica Sweidan, 2014, Biophilia, The Way of Life, Synchronicity Earth).
REALITY – ‘Animals live in a hell in which human beings are the devils.’
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) German philosopher.

Acquario genova 2012 18Each year 60 billion land animals, and 1,000 billion marine animals are killed for our consumption. A massacre unparalleled in the history of humanity, it poses a major ethical challenge to our society: the consumption aggravates hunger in the world, causing ecological imbalances.
Not happy to use animals for food, we also use them for mercenary reasons: wildlife traffic, scientific research, or simple entertainment…
Has the time not come to consider them not as inferior animals but as our “fellow citizens” in this land? We live in an interdependent world where the fate of every being, whatever it is, is intimately linked to that of each other.
There is no moral justification for imposing unnecessary suffering or death to anyone.”
Matthieu Ricard (1946-) French writer, geneticist, humanitarian.
“ Such stuff as dreams are made on.” ― William Shakespeare, The Tempest.
Art Deco 09 2013 31It is my earnest belief that the positive altruistic trends, given time, can both inspire and help rekindle the spiritual transformation that is needed to both unite us and help us win the battle against the deeply embedded destructive forces that have led to the disintegration of so many facets of present-day society.
In much of the developed world, the moral teachings handed down to us through the cultural traditions of previous generations, have been seriously weakened by the imposition of state-controlled bureaucratic systems, which have been set up to dominate all aspects of life. This holds true both for societies managed by totalitarian- as well as by capitalist-based governments, since, in their present forms, each represents a hierarchical system that ultimately exercises its power by controlling the individual.
In this dystopian setting, the limitless quest to satisfy personal desires, has become a virtual addictive pastime in countless peoples’ lives. It has replaced the need to consider any obligation or duty toward fellow beings or society.
“… from one drop of water merged another, then another, riverbanks broke, tides turned, whilst great ships sailed in unison, to save planet earth.”
NYC 2012New maps are being drawn which offer the potential to explore the deeper undercurrents of our being, and to help identify the hidden patterns and dynamic forces that control and influence human behaviour. By understanding these, it may be possible to identify alternative models for a new way of living in which humans can exist in harmony with the natural world. We need to crystallise a vision of this alternative future – A vision that is greater than the sum of all of its parts. To achieve this, would require a re-awakening of the human spirit that will unite and battle the forces of destruction that have gathered and threaten the survival of the planet and our place in it…
al di la del buio croppedNeeded – true global leadership – wise teachers, organised minds, innovative education.
With special thanks to Luca Artioli, for allowing me to share his artwork, and unique vision.


Bréon Rydell
Musée Océanographique de Monaco
January 16th 2016

Dedicated to the memory of the following creative artists, who personally influenced my life…

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi CBE RA Scottish Sculptor and Artist (7 March 1924 – 22 April 2005).
Bille Brown AM, Australian Actor ((11th January 1953 – 13th January 2013).

© 2017 Bréon Rydell

‘La France repondra a la haine par la fraternite, a la terreur par le droit, au fanatisme par l’esperance. En etavit tous simplement la France.’

‘France will respond to hate with fraternity, to terror with law, to fanaticism with hope. In being simply France.’

President Francois Hollande, PARIS, 19 Nov. 2015.


rififi 1955‘Over the centuries, artists have, via the various media through which their creativity has been expressed, (as, for example in the visual arts, music or literature), harnessed their powerful intuitive talents, to illuminate objectively various social, political and humanitarian issues that have challenged society. Artists have done so in ways that have been free from the restraining influences of religion and politics. Notably, they have been able to shine a light on a society which all too often appears to be ‘sleepwalking’ or opting to take ‘the line of least resistance’ in either remaining unaware of, or choosing to ignore, dangers that threaten not only individual freedom but the future of the entire human community. Sometimes, the message has been direct, whilst at other times, it has been symbolic, as we have seen in Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony, where totalitarian control was so powerful that it was impossible for the voice of the artist to be expressed openly.’







Bréon Rydell
Dean Street Town House
November 27th 2015

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell 1984.




“The problem is power. The course of action is to foster freedom. Power kills, and absolute power kills absolutely. And the solution? Democracy.” R J Rummel (1977).

I remember wakening in the early hours of the morning and hearing in my head, the opening melody and lyrics to a new song with the title ‘I Gave You Everything.’ It was clear that this song was coming from a deep well within me, bringing memories to the surface, of traumatic events that I had experienced first hand as a young boy.

The theme of the song is about a woman trapped in a desperate and violent relationship, stoically struggling to keep everything together.  In the first line, she asks  herself, whether she is a good person. I am only too aware that the heroine of the song is also the victim, yet she has been made to feel that she is the guilty party, responsible in some bizarre way for the violence that encompasses every aspect of her life.

The sense of outrage at the injustice that this presented, is as real to me today, as it was when I experienced this situation in my childhood.

To find the right vocalist was no easy task. At the first rehearsal with Tamsin Carroll, the creative team and I were in no doubt that we had found an Artist, who was able to express poignantly the emotional feelings that were contained within the song. However, after a short discussion with Tamsin, I felt at this stage that there needed to be a greater sense of hope, to the piece, and so I set about working further on the lyrics. The original lyrics were despatched to a good friend in Australia, the Theatre Director Neil Armfield, who agreed that there was need to take the message of the song in a more positive direction. I followed this up with a revised version a day later. This second draft won his approval.

The passion, dignity and serenity that Tamsin’s performance brought to the song, was complemented by Alex Baranowski’s haunting orchestral arrangement. We came together to record the song at Air Studios, London, with the string section of the London Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Alex, and with Magnus Gilljam as accompanying pianist. Bringing ‘I Gave You Everything’ to life in this way, made the session a very special and moving event.

For now, the song sits within the framework of a new musical I am working on, entitled ‘Butterfly Jaws.’ It is A Dark Fairy Tale, which tells the story of an outsider, a young girl called Morwenna, who is ostracised by society and is confronted by violence and hatred directed against her.

It is my belief that music and storytelling can not only inspire people all over the world, by giving strength and hope to those held captive in cruel relationships, but also encourage the victims to break free.

On November 25th – White Ribbon Day, we decided to release this track in order to raise awareness of an organisation called ‘Stop Violence Against Women,’ and to support this important cause.
Bréon Rydell
Zurich, Switzerland,  29th Nov 2014

Must we allow the dark forces to gain the upper hand, gather more and more strength before the alarm is heard. For the wolf is not at the door, he is actually over the threshold.

Who would have have believed that in this 21st century, where modern science has made enormous strides in human progress aimed at combating poverty and disease, vulnerable children – young minds – would be exposed to sinister influences, instilling within them medieval hatred, inflicting torture upon them in the name of primitive and pervasive ideologies.

Why don’t we pause for a moment – take a look out there in the wilderness and see the darkness falling… At the same time cast your eyes upon the beauty of the cosmos and infinite space… Take a deep breath, focus inwards and consider that hidden within the core of our personalities, there lies a flawed thinking process, which, by fuelling self-destructive impulses, has the potential to trigger a global crisis of unimaginable proportions.

As we look around the world, follow the trails of the murderous, infantile, rage of fanatics blinded by ignorance, and observe the mindless destruction of earth, with its precious resources. Take note of a mankind that selfishly goes on killing at will other living species and destroys their habitat, with total disregard for the consequences.

And as we hit the wall and surrender to thoughtless inertia, others continue to scheme and draw their battle-lines, often out-manoeuvering a developed world, that has become complacent, and addicted to trivia. The stakes could not be higher. Some of the greatest achievements of our global enlightenment are being threatened, dismantled piece by piece, by authoritarian power structures, who continue to rule by intimidation, and brute force, obsessed by territorial aspirations and the need to control us with the most advanced technological surveillance systems ever known.

We must remain alert to, and not frightened by, the dangers posed by these factions, who are threatening our existence as a free society. If we remain united in our resolve to protect the principles that we hold dear, we will not fail those great and wise minds who illuminated previous centuries with their creative genius, and who fought valiantly to gain the sovereign rights that so many today take for granted.

We need to rally kindred spirits, who wish to foster a more open minded and awakened society, and at the same time, protect our beautiful planet for generations to come. Only by concerted effort, free from the shackles of cultural and geographic differences, can we succeed in pushing back the forces of ignorance and hatred. In this way, we can aim together to build a future, which values and respects the qualities of love and understanding, and that incorporates a more humane and holistic way of living for all those who dwell on earth.

It is essential that we guard the threshold and the school. We must prepare for what will come – it will be a long struggle, it will be hard – but in the final analysis, there is no other way.


Bréon Rydell
Saint. Rémy de Provence, France, 7th May 2014

Over the last few decades, we have been witnessing a steady rise of various regressive forces within civilized society. In the past, the influence of such forces could be successfully challenged and even nullified by influential voices, often mavericks – drawn from the arts, sciences, and humanities – who were prepared to make their views known, however unpopular they might be.

In this 21st century of a dumbed down, fractured society, we find ourselves in an increasingly Orwellian world. Because of the spread and influence of enforced political correctness, any expression of dissent is only too easily silenced.

Quite simply, we are in danger of being out-manouvered, by those who supposedly purport to have good intentions, but actually display a stunning naivety.

Unless we wake up and face this reality, we will be abandoning the achievements of previous generations, who fought against the suppression of new ways of thinking, and who defeated tyranny in order to give us our individual and political freedoms.

If we believe that free thinking, freedom of speech and artistic expression are keystones of our civilised society, we need to make sure that our voices are heard. This is essential if we are to prevent words of reason and common sense from being lost in a fog of denial.

We need to galvanise our position, identify our strengths, and challenge the status quo. Anything less, would be a shameful betrayal of our heritage.

Bréon Rydell
New York, 1st November 2013

Over the last few months I have been setting some of my early poems to music – poems whose themes focus on issues such as prejudice, totalitarianism, inequality and discrimination within society. These projects constitute the building blocks for a new work, a Modern Opera, which I am calling ’K315.’ The content of the Opera covers the achievements of some of the truth seekers, outstanding, brilliant lights, that have shone through the centuries, and the evolution of humanity from its early beginnings in Africa the cradle of civilization, through to the modern era. The work aims to incorporate the successes, hopes, as well as the failures and tragic events that characterized these centuries.

One of these poems, written in my youth, is entitled: ‘Free to Cry,’ and is an expression of my feelings on the Holocaust, and all incidences of genocide. My concept has been to set this piece to music and record its recitation in a setting that would sharpen the awareness of modern day youth to the realities of the Shoah – at a time, when we are moving beyond the horizon of living memory of one of the darkest periods of European history. I traveled specially to Berlin a few weeks ago to make a video recording of ‘Free to Cry,’ against the backcloth settings of the Peter Eisenman Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe and the Micha Ullman Library Monument. We are aiming to release this video early next year.

In an open letter posted in August 2013, Stephen Fry drew attention to a series of recent anti-gay laws enacted by the Russian Government. Stephen did so, because of a personal involvement in this type of discrimination, as he is both gay and Jewish. He highlights the inter-relationship between anti-semitism, and hatred of other minorities, which was embedded within the idealogical pathology of the Third Reich.

Stephen’s roots emanate from the cultured European Jewish tradition – a surviving remnant of what was once a thriving community destroyed by the bestial behaviour of Nazi thuggery, whilst the world looked on in silence, choosing to say nothing. My roots are quite different, having been brought up, steeped in the folklore of the Scottish Borders, home of Sir Walter Scott. Yet, despite our different backgrounds, he and I clearly share a common orientation and an empathy towards greater tolerance in society. Deep in my being there has always been a yearning for social justice, which has found expression in so much of my music and words.

I admire Stephen and respect his rallying call for like-minded folk to stand up against tyranny and injustice.

Harvey Fierstein in his recent article published in The New York Times, has also warned about the dangers of the Russian Government’s attempt to demonise minority groups, whether Jews or gays – a campaign whose origin lies in the edicts of the Nationalist Social Party that characterised the nineteen thirties in Germany.

“Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people”
As is so clearly displayed on the commemorative plaque at the Bebelplatz in Berlin, Heinrich Heine already in 1820, in his play ‘Almansor,’ foretold the horrors of Nazism when he wrote: ‘Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.’ In the aftermath of the Holocaust, we can no longer afford to ignore the re-kindling of anti-Semitism, which, for a time, appeared to recede into the background, as the memories of Kristallnacht and the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz have faded into a history that no longer features in the conscious awareness of today’s younger generation.

So it is especially important that we do not remain, either blind or lend deaf ears, to hate filled agendas, wherever they unfold. To some, these may appear to be relatively trivial issues, but as history has sadly taught us, they can easily escalate to more serious events. In February 2014, Russia is scheduled to host the Winter Olympic Games, and as the international sporting community prepares for this major event, maybe we should remind ourselves of past history where groups of individuals were singled out and targeted as inferior beings.

In a Leading Article in the journal ‘Standpoint,’ last autumn, Daniel Johnson, in discussing the widespread re-emergence of anti-Jewish prejudice, cautions: ‘If we are to prevent the descent of Europe into the abyss of anti-Semitism… the time to speak out is now.’

Bréon Rydell
Rome, Italy, 13th August 2013

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