What is Acceptable?

Public ethics are a strange thing. The first laws we have found written down had death as the punishment for almost everything, with an occasional cutting off of the nose. I remember Anne, the daughter of the British Queen, having a go at journalists in her youth saying what a shame it was they couldn’t cut off their noses as in the past. Well who ever likes people being invasive of one’s privacy?

But you have to ask yourself what is wrong with individuals who are outraged at a process or culture and yet stay silent. Why anyone would be frightened of speaking out. This is not a rational way run a society where things are left unsaid.

It destroys personal relationship so you may imagine what it is doing to any idea of cohesion on our nations. Stop hiding things from your children, stop feeling embarrassed about sharing experience, and don’t let the disbelief of others stop you speaking out.

There is a Mystery

What is self-awareness. Had an egg fertilized a month before or a month after, I would not exist. It is a deep mystery to me how to define the ‘I’ in nature. Not me, I realise I have self-awareness and consciousness – it is hard to miss – but how that was made is hidden from me.

For example we have ideas coming along of being downloaded into a plastic body and living forever. If, however, you merely copy your consciousness into the plastic body but look through your old eyes and die, then all that lives on is a copy of you thinking it is the original.

Through long training it is possible to disassociate with your body – Indian’s practice this and the Chinese have carried out operations on people with no anesthetic and they feel no, or highly control, the pain.

The idea of knowing I exist is one thing, the idea of exactly what this ‘I’ is, is quite another. I don;t believe in a soul, I don’t accept a mind/brain duality. These are fantasies trying to invent answers. this set of experiences which only I can have called ‘my life’, is wholly governed by my nature yet deeply difficult to comprehend.

Age Not Anger

As we get older society changes around us.  That means that a heavy weight of opinion forms in new ways in other minds, and that leads to different ways of viewing different things either in business or in law or any of the many characteristics of our times. We can embrace these changes or reject them.

I see a letter Robert Preston  has written asking his dead father what to do now, how the vote for Brexit makes him feel he has been blind to the lives of millions inside his own society. Coming as he does from working for the Financial Times all his career then into the BBC as a leading exponent of capitalism and a commentator of its ills, I think he is feeling guilty. If, as I, we still think one world view, countries working together, eradicating war, hunger, want, being inclusive of all talents is still worthwhile, then we must fight. There is nothing else to do.

The worst aspect of Oxbridge is that it produces thinkers and leaders but no fighters. I know of no one in recent years who was or is prepared to die for their beliefs if called upon to do so. We think that calling is gone, we think the world has changed, people have mutated into something else and we find, they have not.

Westminster became a club a long time ago. The Labour movement tried to break in but was changed by it, into a compliant form of Socialism under Blair. When the riots start, and they will start, no one from Oxbridge will be leading them because no from Oxbridge is angry enough at injustice.

 

They Eat Dogs Don’t They?

I signed a petition about the killing of dogs. I have always had dogs in my house, from collie’s and Labradors to Jack Russells and mongrels.

The worst word in the English language, and whatever its equivalents are in other languages, is ‘they’. Human beings eat anything and everything. There is no difference in eating a sheep, who are very like dogs if you have one from birth, than a dog. Pigs are brilliantly clever. There is no need to kill any of them but don’t think because you don’t eat a pig, or a dog and ‘they’ do that you are better than ‘they’ are. You are not.

‘They’ allows you to believe there is a ‘other’, a lower, different kind of behaviour. It can allow you to cut yourself off from other people with their ‘odd’ cultural takes on society. If you eat meat you are part of the entire process of thinking that uses and abuses animals all over the world. Even if you don’t, you live in a society and make it stronger that does do just that. We are all the same. There is no ‘they’.

Sport and Art

I have always been someone who thinks that we need to exercise the mind and body equally. I think it vital to have knowledge of nutrition and how the body works as much as to have say, a handle on the historical currents that create societies. To be healthy is far more important than one’s age, to be wise a goal we should all hold dear.

That said I have to admit I do not understand professional sport. Amateur sport between friends, between neighbours, between town I get. But professional sport where a person spends their whole youth and sometimes middle age, vying in a sport with other people for money, seems to me to be the absolute definition of a wasted life.

I enjoyed gymnastics, I enjoyed Judo and messing about on fields pretending to play rugby and I recently bought inline skates to keep fit. But when i took up crewing on a two man dinghy it was to be on the sea, not to go round buoys three times to beat the other boats. Utterly boring way to spend an afternoon.

My guess is it is mock war and that keeps men under some sort of control. It gives poor people with little education a chance to make money with their physical abilities. It takes dedication, but then so does reading.

And now I see the advertising, the merchandising associated with sports I realise it is another part of the Disney world we are being fed and a complete waste of time.

So Many Opinions

I love the way the same facts can be presented to different people and they can all draw different conclusions. This is part of what makes us individuals – the assumptions we bring to every discussion. Principle among which is how good we are and how second rate others tend to be. I wonder if ego and vanity had not be a consequence of consciousness of self if the world would be intellectually stronger.

This isn’t me talking about fake news – we have always had that since before they put up stone stele telling everyone how benevolent an god-like their king was. This is not even about people believing in fairy tales such as we have never been the moon and 9/11 was a plot by the CIA. This is simply about how people see the world differently. How that difference feeds into what they understand by the words they hear.

I remember my theology teacher saying ‘ the thing is when Jesus was on the Cross do you believe he was also walking around Oxford?’ My tutorial partner, destined to become a priest, said yes instantly. Me? I thought I was sitting in the wing of a mad-house.

There is an old joke. Two Jewish men are stranded on a desert island. They build three synagogues. One each for themselves because they won’t go to the other man’s, and a third one which neither of them go to.

Difference too often means division.

Everything is Sales. Everything is Theatre

I was talking to a friend of mine about how working for the New Art Examiner I was not very good at social media and selling on the phone and she, working as a care worker, said ‘everyone is ins ales these days.’ I agree with her, from politicians and monarchs, to the homeless guy with his notice of his problems or his dog, everyone is selling some part of themselves to get some money or advantage from other people.

I have always known that fashion is nothing more than theatre, that everything we choose tow ear is just a part we play for the occasion. It is why there are so many clothes for different things – I mean have to see what people wear these days just to get hot and sweaty playing sports? Society has become one bit theatre where we are selling each other to each other.

It’s a long way from the ideal of personal improvement being one’s every day and life long learning being one’s reason to exist. Today we learn things almost by accident, we expect others to be doing the learning and then selling us what they have discovered.

Really?

So my hard drive doesn’t boot, my front door lock sticks and refuses to let me lock it and I hit my head on the car door opening it trying to be kind to a cat. Have you ever had one of those days?

I am not a fan of biorhythms or hidden auras but there are some days things just happen all at once and one does wonder, couldn’t they have taken their time and staggered the degrading that everything experiences?

But no things have to go in a stream, whether of threes I don’t know, as I parked badly yesterday and had to ask someone to move their car before I could get out, I am thinking this may be all be part of a week to remember. Let’s see. In the meantime do not join me in this. Bad luck is best enjoyed alone, sniffling and complaining.

Young In Heart

Some people remain youthful and interested in everything and some do not. Some keep the optimism of youth and some do not. Some stay looking young and some do not. There must be genetic and nurturing reasons for this and a whole industry that emanates from the USA on how to stay young. Among which is the sexist ideal of an older man having a young wife.

To lose interest in what is going on throughout the world is to die a little. The largest known living thing is a fungus that has a network of overground connections linking it all together as one complete whole. Humanity is one complete whole. Individuality is not as diverse as we want to believe but within the diversity that does exist, is enough variety to make us think we are all different.

We aren’t. We fit into groupings with consummate ease. Even those fighting to be different live in communities. We are all a part of each other.

The Broken Mind

One of the beauties of breaking a piece of porcelain is the ability to carefully mend it. The breaks and repairs then become a part of the history of the piece.

The complexities of society, and the onerous burdens of expectations, have broken many people’s minds. These mental breakdowns have many causes and many supposed treatments. But at their core is the person’s deep sense of loneliness, something we often see in zoo animals. The feeling of imprisonment in one’s own family, own house.

To show love for someone in these conditions will affect your own sense of reality and your own well-being but honestly, love and companionship is what they need more than anything. Some people cannot take other people’s lies, cannot take the structures we have in place that limit their hopes, cannot bear to see all the suffering. People who have breakdown’s are not weak people, they feel deeply.

If we ran society so that our most sensitive citizens were happy, we would have a far better society.

What Happened to the Greeks?

Between the 6th and 3rd centuries BCE the Greek city states produced thinkers who created art forms, athletic forms, state craft, learned the earth was round, charted the stars, had a nascent idea of matter, brilliant insights into mathematics, medicine and seamanship.

So what happened? Why didn’t they continue on their journey of knowledge? throughout this period they waged war on each other and neighboring countries, they survived earthquakes and diseases. What they couldn’t understand was that money uses knowledge for profit and where there is no profit money has no interest.

The merchant class didn’t know where any of the thinking would lead if it didn’t lead to profits. So no one invested in knowledge as we try to do today and no one but philosophers was interested in blue-skies thinking. When great adventures in understanding are undertaken by rich people with some comforts that allow them to study, the seam of intelligence is too thin to survive long. It is mined out.

It’s amazing the Greek lasted as long as they did.

So Many Borders

I wonder if our ancestors in Africa had borders.\I wonder if the reason they left was  climatic or because some of them got thrown out with all the walls and fences being created by others;.\though in that time it would have been walls of spears and threats.

And I wonder if actually federalism and the loss of borders is going back to what we were. To a time when all we feared was not being friends with the people we met on our travels. War changed us into fearful animals eventually giving us countries and then in recent history, papers and passports.

International trade today is war by peaceful means. Such a tragedy.

For JB

There is an ambience in my lover’s
Room which even in this stillness feeds my
Imagination, seeds the bed covers
With anticipated motion and lies
The f loor with nakedness, enticing sounds
Only our ears hear to reverberate
Around the walls, till energy abounds
And two bodies moist and insatiate
Taste the air, feed on eyelid closeness, cap
The rhythm of the turning earth and turn
In time around the sun like an hour wrapped
In living, which is able to affirm

That souls may kiss and minds like limbs entwine
And time decants like any other wine.

 

The Love Poems of Daniel Nanavati

Did I Really Say That?

Many years ago as a student we were all sitting in the quad having a picnic and one sandwich was left. The young woman who went to eat it I said, ‘careful you’ll get fat’ in the playful nonsense way one did as a child.

I learned she was anorexic.

That comment destroyed a friendship and a bit of me inside. I should have known, should have realised she was fighting an illness. I have always been sad that I was so blind. Evidence of which is this blog over thirty years later. Stupidity can of course, be forgotten, but you have to make the effort. I rarely do. These occasions show me how ignorant I can be. How thoughtless. They are a guard against vanity.

Never forget your stupidest words.

The Indecent Proposal

Every so often a man in a position of power is shown to have abused that power to get sex. And people act surprised and horrified.

Every man who tells his sons they have a right to ‘play the field’, every man who has a chat up line or approaches a woman on the basis on her body form and not what she is talking about, every time an erection becomes the only thought in a man’s head…then the dictates of testosterone are in play, evolution has taken over reason and the male becomes an animal.

Interestingly, when the sexual revolution happened, women loved the freedom to have sex as they wanted to, and Cosmopolitan in those early years could be forgiven for concentrating on a woman’s body and forgetting women have ‘souls’ . In my opinion there isn’t a woman’s magazine in this world that should talk about looks, but few will agree.

In modern society, and maybe always, sex has become a trade in which women gain something. But the women who don’t trade are victims and respect is not being taught strongly enough so it becomes nature to us all.

Sex without love, my mother told me, is masturbation with legs on. Words to live by.

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