Now is the summer of our discontent.
Has there ever been a moment in human history when the world was as restless as this? Was Earth ever rockier on its axis?
America is riven by the madness of its attitude to guns and its unwillingness to repeal the 22nd Amendment, plus the potentially catastrophic madness of Trump.
Russia and China rumble like volcanoes contemplating eruption, while North Korea is a nuclear basket case in the hands of a fruitcake.
The Middle East is hell on Earth and Turkey, its embroiled near-neighbour, bleeds horribly from self-inflicted wounds.
North Africa is desperate for water and the milk of human kindness.
Belgium wonders where next and when and France begins to wear the haunted face of the war weary and looks for someone to blame.
In the context of all this and much, much more discontent that afflicts the world, what the hell are we doing?
Could there possibly be a more haplessly small-minded gesture of self-absorbed political stupidity than the actions that have led to the decision to drag Britain out of the European Union and the actions that have followed that decision?
Could there possibly be a more thoughtlessly and thoughtlessly-timed destabilising gesture than to set such a crass example to our partners and allies in Europe and the wider world while humanity cries out – and just cries – for stability, for international cooperation, for peace?
To add to that colossal and wilfully inflicted injury, our new Prime Minister has despatched to represent us out in that trembling world, the walking insult that is Boris Johnson.
In the space of a handful of days, Britain has humiliated itself in the eyes of Europe and much of the wider world by embracing a fag-packet policy concocted by Nigel Farage.
You could say that we have made ourselves a laughing stock but no one is laughing and none of it is funny.
Britain has done itself down in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of many of its own people, including uncountable numbers of people who voted to leave the EU but who were given no reason to believe that the result would like this. And the very concept of a United Kingdom has humiliated itself in the eyes of Scotland.
There have surely been very few more futile political missions than the Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland apparently to try to save the union. If she succeeds she will first have to reinvent the union, because the old one is already in shreds.
I can only imagine (imagine being the appropriate word, for as Nicola Sturgeon has remarked, we are now in uncharted territory and it takes a serious level of imagination to envision a way out)… I can only imagine the Prime Minister has more of a devious sense of humour than I have given her credit for and that she has (a) given Boris just enough political rope to hang himself and (b) rigged the Brexit negotiations so they prove impossible without losing Scotland, so that in turn, she must abandon the Brexit process while blaming the Scots for disenfranchising the rest of Britain.
She will then refuse a second independence referendum because she will also refuse a second European referendum.
She will then tell as much of the world as cares to listen (not much of it, by this stage) how she has saved the union, which is what she promised to do on day one, standing in Downing Street.
She will also announce that she has kept her promise about Europe too, because all she said was “Brexit means Brexit”, a phrase so meaningless that 66.6% of its words are not words at all, so how could it mean anything in any language?
This Westminster Festival of Navel-Gazing has become one of the most thoroughly dispiriting of political sagas of our times.
From first to last, Britain has behaved so contemptuously and so selfishly that it would not surprise me at all that instead of waiting for the Prime Minister to trigger article 50, the EU voted unanimously to throw Britain out instead of negotiating the terms of our exit. Because it turns out Brexit does mean Brexit in the only parliament that miraculously speaks all the languages of Europe.
I took this strange, dark mood out for a short walk on Sunday morning. I went to where I knew I would see swifts and I love to watch swifts.
The surprise was a peregrine falcon where I did not expect to see one.
I felt grateful – grateful for the proximity of the swifts and the high and distant aloofness of the falcon, for seeing eyes and for a love of the natural world that is so much more reliable, beautiful and vital to me than the crazed, unnatural world our species has fashioned for itself and which has just achieved a new pitch of ugliness in this summer of our world-wide discontent.