Always Old

They say we have highly technological minds as evinced by our scientific progress, and stone-age bodies. It seems to me that this is only partly true. Many of us still have stone-age minds.

Society has evolved around us generation to generation with each generation having to break the assumptions of the past as they were found to be built upon the sand of myth, chauvinism, nationalism, tribal vanity and ignorance of how nature works. Only problem is we have not broken them – they are still with us in everything we do.

What system would be created by intelligence that does not have life as its priority? Degrade the ability to live and you potentially end everything. If we went back to square one to organise our societies 90% of what we do right now we would not do. Commerce would not be the aim, nation building would not define the individual, metaphysics would not overrule evidence, levels of personal creativity would be higher and empathy would be admired.

Modern Idol Worship

I read people who post about the music they say is the ‘great sound track to their lives’ and others who extol the brilliance and effect of movies on their teenage, and later, minds. I think back on the books that influenced me as I was growing up and somehow it isn’t the same.

The feelings are the same, the love and respect for the effect and experience, but somehow the emotional responses are not quite the same. A book’s influence is imaginative, working wholly in the mind. Music and movies work on other senses as well and those senses have their own emotional content.

It isn’t difficult to see people dancing in a frenzy to music or to a movie, come to that. I’ve known some people happy to dance naked through a library but we all know that would not have the same effect.

Festivals are More than Fun

I spent two days in the Thrown Gauntlet Festival run by the students at Falmouth College of Art, now pretending to be a University. I say pretending for a relevant reason. Universities are about knowledge, gathering three years or more of perspective that will last a lifetime, having the freedom to go where your thoughts take you and be tested by those who have travelled the same way, before you.

The hope is that you help provide intellectual resilience to the new generation and by so doing impel into the community creative thinkers. Whatever area of expertise they make their career.

Time and again with the students this weekend I heard the same story. They were doing interesting things, their faculties were lively places but the senior management was awful. The Festival itself was energetic and young, as it should be and I hope senior management went to every event they could. It might inspire them to be democratic, liberal leaning and open.


There is no such thing as nothing, it seems. Even in those most vacuum of vacuums in space there is a particle or atom every few metres. So it seems. When we die to these bodies the atoms go on. Some even escaping this planet, others arriving from the wilds of their past.

Break the atom up and this ‘mostly empty’ space is  populated by particles. Driving down into them we eventually reach energy. Electric? Plasma? Fundamental? When you think you have an idea of nothing, something pops up.

And we spend all our time as a species making something into as nothing as we can. We have made ourselves one of the most negative creatures to have ever lived. And from the waste we make machines and think we are brilliant. Converting atoms into atoms of something else.

We create nothing that nature does not allow to be created.


Whispers my inner-self
To all I have become,
Where did you find the shelf
To hide from the one
Who you loved most?
Through ages of my heart’s
Calling, calling to a ghost –
How weary, tired, cross love departs –
Leaving nothing, but a wrinkled brow –
Leaving nothing, but a falling tear –
Nobody ever tells me how
Or why true love must disappear –
Yet I suppose there is a place
Where my inner-self will find your face –

Shänne Sands, ‘Moonlight on Words’. FootSteps Press 2010.

Reliant Upon Absolutes

In our pursuit of happiness the first thing we have learned is that, there is not much to be happy about. So we tend to lie to ourselves to give us an aura of happiness. This is most prevalent in how we lie to children to protect their childhood. But adults lie to themselves all the time: look at the positive (as if happiness is a weighing machine of negative against positive), concentrate on being alive (as if death mist be an absolute unhappiness), don’t give out negative energy.

If we set up expectations of Utopian proportions we are never gong to be happy. If we invent an heaven to be a perfect place that only exists for the dead, how can we ever be happy?

Rather than look for happiness, what we might be better doing is showing understanding to each other. And not assuming happiness can ever come from other human beings. There are no absolute goods, nor absolute bads. There may be no reasons for certain things to happen or not happen. We live in a median world where compromise is the rule.

It Is More Than Balance

Millions of things happen everyday to millions of people and we hear not even one per cent of them. If you stayed on youtube all day long you would not get to two percent of them. I recall an Admiral telling me once he missed being posted in the Admiralty in London because there, everyday, all the reports came in from all the British Embassies around the world, and he felt informed. Outside London he did not get to read any of them.

The news we do get is filtered by the newsrooms of the media. They often choose to highlight those stories that suit their political stance. They are, therefore, widely read by people with the same political views. Taken as a whole this looks like society has a balance. But the imbalance is inherent within the media we have and the brains people have been given.

Balance has to be within the individual to be truly important or relevant. That includes liberal as well as conservative thinkers. Balance may not even draw a conclusion – something the media rarely consider as the very words they use to describe events are conclusions in themselves.

We have no balance in our society.

It’s All About Housing

I spent some time with family – unusual for me as, though I have family, I have not really engaged with them for most of my adult life. The reasons are simple enough I consider my mother a brilliant artist and they can’t stand her.

I found out they all voted to leave the EU. Now my cousin, who is bright, knows the EU is not to blame for all the ills in this country but, as he said, he had to protest somehow and this was the most effective protest he could make against his own government.

I can get that. My aunt though, dislikes immigrants taking all the houses because they have large families, leaving local people homeless or in expensive accommodation. It’s an excuse I have heard a lot and it is pure racism, which she admits. But it underlines how vital a good and fair housing policy really is for a stable society.


There was a board game in the 70s, it might have been called Empire but as I never played, that might be another game. I read a journalist talking about the experience of playing this game, he said it was unsettling.

The premise of the game is that you are building a society which expands and the cards are there to put blocks in your path, force you to rethink, go around, try something else or simply have to bide your time. Much the same as we see real empires working.

What the journalist found unsettling was the power to degrade these blocks that he was given. He wrote that to achieve his aim, to get to his destination, the seduction of just wiping out a group of people who were standing in his way, became very strong.

I look at Turkey invading Syria, along with, it seems, everyone else, and I think how banal countries are that they can limit the thinking of a human being to within  borders in much the same way as we limit our thinking to society as we were born into it, and this planet as we have found it.

And we still kill anything in our way.

When Philosophy Meets Conspiracy

There are conspiracies. There are historical conspiracies and modern ones. Like most, all you need to do is follow the money or see who benefits from the increase in power, to know what they have planned and why. From murders to piracy, from police corruption to military campaigns, everything is up for conspiracy.

But just because one knows they have in the past and knows they want to, does not mean they have. Nor does it give surety that when they do conspire, the outcome is what they would have wished. There are many things no group could ever get exactly as history has revealed it happened so we know, they may have had a hand in it, may have wished it, but hey are not responsible.

Did we land on the Moon? sure. Was 9/11 a terrorist plot? Of course. Was Kennedy murdered by the CIA? Probably. Was the Iraq war a fix for the Bush family? Yes. Not always exactly as intended, but hands are bloody with everything from the Star Chamber and Italian Inquisition to Monsanto and political lobbying.

You Would Understand Why

You would understand why –
Why lilac and Chopin go together –
Just before spring or after winter’s
Retreat back into the earth –
Our beginning and our end –

You would understand this –
This sudden sadness and lack of will –
When my body feels full-up with stones –
The bricks and mortar of a soul
Heavy with old places and faces
Not to be loved again –

You would understand how –
How to fly across the rain
To a burning sun –
How to laugh wine out of green bottles
And break glasses into thousands
And thousands of happy pieces.

You would understand now –
All you refused to need before –
Before the floors were swept
With new bright brooms and our rooms
Were changed, our furniture sold
And out hearts broken because hearts
Always break –
Now it’s almost lilac time
The pubs are closed till ‘opening time’ –
‘Our’ books are waiting to be written –
Beneath this smile there’s a scar –

You would understand – the importance,
The importance of ‘emotional pens’
Lilac and Chopin before love-making
Or after a long journey and sleep –
Quick as a flash a fast car
Passes the window
Quick as a flash time leaves us old –


Shänne Sands. ‘The Silver Hooves’ selection of poems published by FootSteps Press

Your Revolution Isn’t Mine

I hear people telling me the economic system is rigged in favour of the rich and the poor are forgotten and made even poorer. This is part of the reason Trump and Brexit have happened.

The reason why advertising on a grand scale – what we call propaganda – works is because educational standards are so low people are not empowered or brave enough enough to see though the messages they are being sold and investigate the facts. This lack of ability is why many have argued these things have happened because of a lack of intellect in the voters.

Since the education system has always been a football kicked around by the politicians, this is to be expected. A country that votes the way journalists tell them too is hardly one with much intellect. A country that believes the TV does not understand the filtering process. A  country that thinks greatness lies in history when history is dead, and it is how history informs the living that matters is one destined to make the errors of the past.

The funny thing is, these voters are more followers than those they argue against for those who did not vote for Trump and did not vote for leaving the EU in the UK, want the world to change into something it has never been. So new it scares the under-educated.

Building Bridges

There are real bridges and psychological bridges. I was interested to read Boris Johnson wants to build a bridge to France and the irony is not lost. Actually vile irony would be a better description.

The bridge building between societies that Europe so desperately needed, has been shocked and beaten by Brexit and, if the European Union is a system of control , so is every government. Control is what government is for and about in our world because those at the top need to control. No one has ever tried a society where everyone is allowed to be their creative selves, wherever that creativity takes them. No one knows what that kind of society would look like.

Now the architect of division wants  areal bridge between two countries with a fractured relationship. I don’t quite know where Boris left his intellect. Somewhere on the desk where he write two articles, one pro and one anti Brexit, his honesty died.

London Lights

I am staying with my great cousin Simon and being enlightened about the way in which scientists are in the pay of politicians and feeding us nonsense about a round earth and the planet not being in the centre of our universe.

It’s all fund stuff which I have come down to a few principles of my own;

Science is a series of theories to be proven, each one can build on others, but we still know less than there is to be known.

Politicians and those in power want to keep the masses under control in many ways but scientific expression seems to me to one pace where they have no power.

There are many ways of lying to people but good mathematics cannot lie. If it is mistaken it will be shown to be at some stage.

Names Are Easy,

but they betray true content. I listened briefly today to two young students talking, one espousing capitalism the other communism. The conversation was brief given it was a news programme and just a three minute filler, but the idea that our societies can be summed up in one word, hides vital facts about the way in which human beings interact.

Capitalism thrives off free gifts. The gift of time given by families to each other. No mother is paid to be a mother, nor a father to be a father. If they were paid society would be bankrupt. Equally no communist society was ever created that did not deal in and with money. Our relationship to what we do for free and what we do for pay is deeply confused because the conversation on how we should deal with each other never gets past first base: lets be fair to each other.

No system yet has been equal to this challenge.

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