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UBUNTU I am because of who we all are.
Supporting the 2012 Olympic Legacy—I WILL be positive and endeavour to maintain the Olympians' love of life and its challenges
MALALA—a statement of the failure of religion:
religion that fails to pro-actively promote the absolute equality of male and female is fundamentally immoral and unfit for decent society.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
Diversity within unity and change over time is the reality of Creation. Peter Such, poet and writer (1943–)
Neither praise nor shoot the messenger: the message is all.


Peter Such

Peter Such

A view of Great Berkhamsted from Cooper's fields. U

Peter Such lives in Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
Formerly working in printing and publishing Peter Such is currently an occasional writer on diverse issues, as the mood takes him.
He has regularly put his views to the test of public opinion, which is how he twice ended up as mayor of his home town.
 He also stood for The Referendum Party in the UK General Election of 1997.
Also on Twitter as Peewit2 (he doesn't take it seriously) and on Facebook as himself (Peter.Such.5)

Last published: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 19:37
It was Labour and the Lib/Dems that denied us the political vote that turned commercial agreements on trade into political authoritarian diktat. As Churchill said "Trust the British people". Labour refused to do so and with the LibDems Labour STILL refuses to do so, hence our present mess.

We would have had a perfectly harmonious relationship with the EU had they done so, for the British people would have demanded the basic common sense that is our inherent nature before agreeing anything but clearly neither Labour nor the Lib
Dems possess the necessary courage—or is that self arrogance, or fear of contrary opinion through their own uncertainties?

WEDNESDAY 31st DECEMBER 2014 [late after-noon post]
This is clarified by some cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in their determination to stay rock fast looking backwards. In their Remaining in the truth of Christ—marriage and communion in the Catholic Church, published towards the end of 2014, those cardinals demonstrate their determination to block reformist tendencies, oblivious in their denial of what God created: a state of continual change. No wonder that church is always centuries behind everyone else and that includes secularists who never allowed their thinking to accumulate such dead wood. For those still wondering, the Inquisition still exists! They now call it the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith": same organisation, they just no longer flagellate and burn, except in their hearts!
once again the world moves on and religion stays stuck in yesteryear. So, secularism, as represented by the EU, likewise stays stuck in old ways, still holding society back, just as religion did and does and both enthusiasms deny spirituality, which does progress through the ages.

MONDAY 29th DECEMBER 2014 [late after-noon post]
On basic management we seem to be falling down left right and centre. This is the nation that received Brunel's father from revolutionary France, so educating Brunel as an Englishman with an English mother (her maiden name was Kingdom). In 2014 it seems British Rail engineers are incapable of completing maintenance works not only not on time but so vaguely are they in control of their enterprises, they remain unclear as to when they will in fact finish.
         Then we have City Link. It is unclear as to who was in charge and who mismanaged. In the initial circumstance my thoughts were all in favour of the RMT uproar of indignation on Christmas Day but... like so much, there is an element of personal liability, which people too easily choose to forget.
          Anyone working for City Link would not have considered themselves safely employed until the company started showing profits, which was no where likely since it had been bought by its present owners for just £1. Any employee with any sense of personal accountability would therefore have been saving as much as they could until such time as the company looked commercially successful.
          I remember telling someone, who was concerned that I was leaving a job where it seemed I was ideally placed for future progression, that I did not actually know anything (which I didn't, although that is not the same thing as 'working it out for oneself') but that people who felt uncertain about the company needed to look at their potential redundancy funding before jumping ship. Making assessments in one's own situation places an obligation not to spread unsubstantiated rumours. I remember saying to the personnel director for my new employer, when asked if I had discussed my concerns with my present manager, "I found him unable to state categorically that my assessment of the situation was in any way fundamentally inaccurate." In certain circumstances it is possible to gain much from receiving nothing.
          Likewise, this applies to managers and official announcements to staff and suppliers. That, of course, assumes that those who are managing are actually allowed to manage. If, as a result of circumstance, they are in consultation with due legal procedures (accountants, auditors, the official receivers etc 'ahead of time') managers themselves may become controlled by these peoples' legal responsibilities.
          Regardless, there is a responsibility to see external potential investors secure and issue precautionary advice to one's employees, as well as to one's suppliers, while ensuring a general need to maintain business confidence, provided that does not knowingly mislead. At this stage I make no further comment on City Link.
          These events are brilliantly contrasted with the actions of the Virgin Atlantic 747 pilot who this after-noon landed his plane minus one set of wheels. That was sound, competent management. It used to be a regular feature of being British, before we had the EU... am I really being unfair, or simply objective(?)... although Brunel was not always that magnificent: he did have his own disasters.
          I have been trying to find the evidence for it but cannot. I recall one article on Brunel, where he had said he would build a viaduct in France where everyone else said it was impossible. The town paid him to build it... and a few weeks after he had built it, it collapsed. He said he would rebuild it but the town protested they could not afford to pay him, to which he replied "No matter. I am Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I said I would build it and build it I will. I shall knock it down and rebuild it entirely at my own expense", which he did. Today, a hundred years later, it still carries the French TGV south across France! That, is management.
           The law and government is particularly renowned for managerial incompetence. It is because politics will get in the way. Politics is fine for the hustings but no damned good once you are in the management position of running the country. Opinions on assisted dying have once more highlighted the asininity of religious belief. It is high time we properly managed living. Management rationality is creeping into all aspects of social services and it is high time we addressed matters sensibly. That means socially deciding what is proper or unacceptable ego and what is simply cost-effective for the common good.
          Secularism does not of itself lend common sense. The EU, a classic secularist management structure, refuses to manage secularly. It allows religionists to maintain opinions of male and female separatism. Totally unacceptable, illustrating that even secularism is incapable of sound management.
            The Daily Telegraph of today's date highlights that argument is increasing in sureness of touch. We, alone, are responsible for our lives. This is why there is now open talk about drunks paying for the cost and time they take up in A&E. Quite right. I would go further, I would charge them compensation for the distress they cause the professionals forced to manage their wilfully incurred condition. I see no problem, provided there is formalised and properly accredited tuition (for the prospective patient) on other behaviours resulting in less than mindful healthy body care.
          Under the NHS, we are all contributing to the costs caused by these irresponsible persons. Why should I be paying my money when I, within the reasoned guidelines of maintaining my body in good health am paying the price of others' irresponsibility? it is irrational.
           So with death and the process of dying. I see no problem with determining in my Will a provision to see me on how to despatch me. Provided I can communicate with the digital world through my laptop, despite being stuck in a bed, fine. Keep me going but the moment I am no longer rational, give me the syringe and I'll do the injection. If I can't, well that is the condition in which my "Living Will" will have clearly stated,"Send me on my way".
          My spirit will go as soon as it is able to do so. There is no point in keeping it trapped in  an organic case of basic biochemistry. If body parts are missing, I do not see why the body is not still available for student examination; but apparently It is not, when they argue that body parts must not be removed prior to dissection. if usable their removal should not prevent a body being sent for dissection. I want simplicity. If I can't be simply sent off in a van to a holding unit, then, if I must have a funeral, lets get a jazz band in. No one, save perhaps my mother, seems to have taken much notice of my arrival in this plane and time but by God, if I must, I'll make damned certain they'll know I've let it!

MONDAY 29th 2014 [morning post]
For some time now I have been twittering on about the difficulties of IS and complaining that there seems no indication that the problems with Islam (collectively) are being sorted out sensibly to western eyes. Now, even the "specialists" available to the US administration do not understand it. It seems my own logic is not so easily dismissable as I myself had previously feared and that my calls for psychologists to be taxed on the question was not that ludicrous.
The New York Times at last makes a serious attempt to review the situation and the diversity of "specialist" consultants brought in by the US administration highlight the supposed complexities but are they that complex? Egotists, skilled in marketing, presentational skills and military pragmatism seems to be the sole reason for achieving what they have achieved.
          Looked at in that light, they are simply doing nothing different to many marketing professionals looking for their earliest seat on the board. Is IS really that extraordinary?

SUNDAY 28th 2014 [morning post]
In two simple words lies the nub of all debate: the con, the pro—negative and positive and interchangeable according to context, such is the complexity of language... and also its delight and clarity in simplicity. Both can be a true and a worthy truth.
          Ahead, before Christmas had properly started, then delayed by illness and rushing to the last moment, I was glad I had intended preparing early. Generally to 'be prepared' is in my nature and has nothing to do with the scouts, although my late professional soldier father may well have had some influence. "Envisage and be prepared my boy!"
          While others are rushing to the shops (and some forestalled in traffic chaos) I contemplate, at home, my early intentions for this New Year. Contemplation; meditation; a momentary pause to wonder. It does not have to be a new year; it could be a new month; a new week; a new hour. It could be the impulse of a new moment when one launches forth along a new path. Every second welcomes a new minute, every minute progresses to a new hour: every moment of time is a new opportunity, why reserve new intentions so infrequently?
am a bachelor, so I can just stop as I please (more or less, for we all make commitments to someone for something, upon which they are relying on us to keep our promise, if it is only the dentist for a check up) but for all intents and purposes I can do as I please. Or can I? Repeat earlier parenthesis for those who feel stuck in the mayhem of "real living", that is, earning their keep. What do we really mean when we describe freedom, sometimes claiming we have it, yet what do we actually mean when we say "I am free". We certainly do not think in the frame of mind of John Inman, playing the shop assistant Mr Humphries in the UK TV series Are You Being Served? To be free is to be without obligation but since when did we not have obligations? We are born and nurtured, never mind how we arrive at that stage in life determined as "mature". It may be in terms of years quite young, especially in some societies, as viewed through western eyes.
          What is nurturing? Is it the wholesomeness of developing a child into a self-sufficient individual, or is it a form of slavery, as in many societies, where provision is made by the mature members of society to provide for their own old age and sickness?
          In more established western communities, such as the UK, the self-interest expands to the wider concepts of a selfless society, based upon a more responsible attitude to which the concept of government develops the narrow, family self-interest into a wider concept of the broader collective whole, where personal accountability for a wider sea than the family pond becomes a greater challenge, in which one feels compelled to be involved.
          Education becomes objective, not a form of indoctrination for a selfish purpose. A breadth of views and divergences of opinion are tolerated, debated and allowed to influence the detail. Such attitudes then require more formal legal clarifications of rights and responsibilities and regulation needs to be introduced to protect against abuses.
          A moment of pause expands into an after-noon of absorption and one concludes the day, one hopes, with something positive accomplished in the extended period of quietude, like this morning. This morning, the sun streams strongly through my window, giving me a clear aspect of the four mile valley view out of my window and the heating (essential from the depth of frost first thing) seeming over hot. Turned down, the cafetiere cleaned out and reheated with new ground beans and the mind wanders over the diverse things that have piled to new urgencies. It seems I have had more of a break than I thought, although that could be due to the permanent tiredness with which Sjögren's envelopes me. Too much gets pushed aside too easily but then, if that were not the case, perhaps I would be bored: reminder of another topic, the extraordinary number of people unable to entertain themselves or be entertained by themselves. Coffee is ready.

BOXING DAY 2014 [morning post]
No, nothing to do with boxing but the giving of Christmas boxes to staff and suppliers. Leave the details to your butler but first make sure you have settled up with him!
           Christmas is as much a mix of moods as any other day but perhaps contrasts with the intent of the season hit us more surely. Ten years ago the tsunami struck in the Indian ocean. Last night a facebooker reported an ambulance's arrival, as she turned off a road as both directions of a by-pass were being closed off. It may have been the same ambulance that I had passed about the same time four miles further down and presumably exiting from Stoke Mandeville hospital, unless that means there were two incidents that day.
           For too many a day of happiness becomes a day of tragedy; think of the nurses and doctors on duty, away from their own, coping with these contrasts. Think of those whose health causes them to know this may well be their last Christmas in this time and plane.
          Then think of the bright, scarlet coats of the huntsmen; the baying of the spruced up and excited hounds; the trembling fox awaiting that desperate final run and being mauled to death, leaving perhaps his partner and their cubs unprotected, unknowing of his fate.
           Then think of the IS and jihadist lot and the murder and rape of little children and the subjugation of women in the name of Islam: a view denied by proven, educated, knowledgeable Islamists but only by degree: male domination remains their tenet. It is no different than the the Roman Catholics in their presumption to over-rule England four centuries ago, wilfully bankrupting Spain and its people for no purpose but their priests' egos... and still they too master women.
          It is all ego. The pride, bordering on toffy-nosed arrogance in some circumstances, of the scarlet coat and the ability to master a horse to their needs: the reality of master and servant relationships—despite Christ's ministry being to 'render service'...
          Privileged by religion, Man shall [and will] over-rule: Is there any difference between them? The murderers are convinced their view of a concept called 'God' is the only one of value... They are all the same, hunter and hunted, because the murderers are convinced their view is the only one of value. Is there any difference between them, all predominantly male-orientated... animals? Different species but all the same, just animals, but it is Man that has accountability, assuaging his conscience with his concept called' God', in whose name he chooses to be just as bestial as the beasts over which he claims superiority. 
Tanya Marie Luhrmann at Stanford University, anthropologist trained in psychology is critiqued in The New York Times, assessing the views expressed in her book Of Two Minds. I am personally directly aware of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s approach, numbering several friends in that Association including a recently deceased minister, who came to ministry late in life, via Harvard and a former business career, before becoming a full-time mother to my Goddaughter, herself now a psychiatrist.
          For some, all too brief a moment of time, we collectively have a period of togetherness, perhaps some inherent spirituality breaking through the corpus of biology, to know something we continually try to know, without fully understanding.

MONDAY 22nd DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
Some times simple facts broadcast international truths. It is now turning out that recent murders, particularly of police or similar "law" officers have been due to the simply deranged. On which basis, since appropriate authorities do not seem to have bothered themselves with authoritative analysis, many purported "faith" murders may themselves be merely acts of madness and in such cases the colloquial definition of madness is quite sufficient, without need of specialist analysis.
         In such circumstances it would seem more than reasonable to dismiss the antics of the recent car driver who deliberately crashed his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians crying "Allah is great" was in fact simply deranged, keen on declaring how singularly ungreat are concepts of Allah; or any other concept of a Godlike entity. By implication, all those of similar fool-hardiness, proclaiming such tenets, should also be recognised simply as mentally unstable. Arguments for political correctness have a responsibility to guarantee complete openness of truth and factual honesty, ensuring fear of upsetting "political correct attitudes" do not obfuscate the real simplicity.

SATURDAY 20th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
President Obama possibly knows more about the Sony affair than he may seem to know but Sony's response to cyber attack, in my limited understanding of such things, appears to be purely rational.... until they have had a chance to sort out their software and make it impregnable to common criminals.
          So let's put it straight on the line IF it is a fact that the North Korean government has sunk to the puerility of its bone headed (possibly due to authoritarian indoctrination) electorate that does not elect its government, or if it does, only because it is told how to vote; if that government really has sabotaged Sony's computer systems and has the capacity to sabotage the cinema chains linked to high-tech film dissemination, then the President would appear to be admitting to the world that America's defence is subject to criminal masterminds whose abilities are beyond those of America's CIA's and Pentagon's competence. Seems to me an extraordinary proclamation to make.
           Otherwise, it would seem that Sony are simply responding to a practical situation in a practicable manner. Beyond the inherent legally required pragmatism, obvious common sense is to scream "spherical objects", thank the common criminals for their free world wide publicity and release even more widely when you are confident you've got your systems fire-proofed. Perfectly standard procedure. The advantage of secular practicality is precisely that it is practical, which means anyone can do it. So you simply ensure you've got people as good as an preferably better than the criminals. Is President Obama confirming the Yanks can do as well if not better... or is he actually saying "they got us stumped". Or is that what the President of Sony is saying. He seems a very weak-kneed individual unfit for purpose. Those who have seen the film apparently don't rate it highly. Why were not better creative people put on the job? That's Sony's President's responsibility. To claim they've got their systems back under their control might be seen as provocative but these people seem determined to undermine everything whenever they can and feel inclined so to do. So they consider themselves permanently challenged on principle. At least some where some time we should expect to hear a heartfelt a "thank you" to the North Koreans for all their free publicity. I would not have bothered to see the film. I shall now make a point of doing so as soon as I can.

I have heard of these things but never been involved before. A polythene bag arrives in the post overprinted presumably by silk screen, a white solid with black over-printing headed, "Our Sincere Apologies". It invites me to complain and how to do so. Very honest. What it does not say but implies is "that our technological progress is such that our machines are so precise and high faluting they occasionally catch packages, even simple Christmas card envelopes like this containment and tears them to shreds". Slightly over half (merely my address) of the envelope was forwarded, the content card missing entirely. This was an interesting anomaly since I had a few days earlier received another Christmas card, this time containing a metal bauble on the card which had pierced the envelope but not caused a tear. That had clearly got through the machinery without problems, arguably most surprisingly and at the time of receiving it I recall thinking that i was surprised at Christmas card manufacturers not having the wit to enclose appropriate protection around the stuck on bauble to prevent such things happening. I recall in my production days in printing such liaison with the post office was an automatic part of manufacture. As there was no return on the addressee and as the readable part of the postage-stamp indicates a delivery area likely to cover several potential senders, I shall just say here, thank you to whom so ever, I hope you were on my list and I may be able to work out who you were when I collect up my cards form  distributing around my room and can work out from whom in that area I'm missing a card. For now, cheers. 

FRIDAY 19th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
Oh, schools breaking up—all hell opens up! Deep regrets for Mandy Rice-Davies, one of two women wilfully betrayed by the emotional inadequacies of men. "I'm a peer, I'm a man, I don't do these things," her renowned response "He would say that wouldn't he?" Horrified the "nice decent people who don't do those things." Spherical objects! They spent most of their time doing them behind tall hedges across vast acres of private grounds and two fun girls got the blame. Just not on chaps. Stand up and be counted. Another outrage due to the damned Russians.
          Male inadequacy again shows in arguing as to whether or not women should be in the front line. If they are physically up to the job and many women are indeed, then why not? I've never forgotten that well built young woman van driver hulking packages around with perfect ease when bigoted male union members refused to unload her van because the emotional inadequates could not cope with women driving vans. I think then they hadn't yet been allowed to drive buses. Another period of male inadequacy.
          Then, a few days ago, we had a woman stating men should be in charge of churches! Then of course some while back in time there were those inadequate woman bleating about the way the LibDems handled woman management. It really is high time we all grew up!

THURSDAY 18th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
Double entendre blue thoughts on different sizes, colours and angles and why cannot card makers insist envelope manufacturers make proper glue down neatly and effectively envelopes? Totally unacceptable to have to be certain with Sellotape in my day! In my case the self-stick solution had deteriorated over years they had been in storage. Obviously not a FIFO policy but a FILO policy, or even may be LILO policy. Now work that out!
It seems my proclivity last year to my own cards has not been followed through this year. All cards seem singularly small but interestingly shaped. I can recall vast card sizes in massive books (Royle’s being the most well known) but there were two or three other, but obviously inferior by comparison, options around. They were specialist supplies for printers for overprinting personal message and addresses and customers like private firms would order in hundreds. Occasionally a very special nationally known person would order privately. Those were the days indeed. I’m still surprised that my card requirements are not far short of 100.
           Oh what it is to open so many cards all at once, something you miss when they are opened here and there in twos and threes. A small pile is on my desk for one of various reasons, requiring an address change or confirmation, or deserving a personal letter. The idea occurs to me, why not a specific “New Year” card? Sod the postal cost but then, are there such animals in shops these days? If not, why not make one but then, do I have the time? Spring Cleaning already in mind! Perhaps not, just one or two personal letters then. For now cheers! Haven't done present check yet, have I bought sufficient? Have I sufficient wrapping material etc?
Christmas is fun which of course it is why it is now! Three more days and we will be seeing (not yet noticing) the evenings draw out... then that time when I would once have driven home from the office without having to put my car lights on... spring was indeed on the way.

Russell Brand again made a fool of himself, arriving in the wrong building without an appointment, wilfully causing at least one employee to have a ruined lunch due to his cavalier attitude. Apparently Brand has no understanding what ever about banking security or basic civil courtesies. I remember being at the Johnson Matthey bank in London many years ago when a silent alarm triggered the security. There was a sudden almighty crash as steel rods embedded in the walls crashed down, blocking any possible exit through a window and the revolving door was suddenly likewise locked by steel rods slamming straight through the mechanism, trapping a would-be entrant within the doors. In that instant any physical communication from inside the building with the great outside was rendered totally impossible.
          Admittedly that was not an ordinary high street bank, it was a serious vault-holding bank but that was standard banking security then. No, I am not that rich, I was there on printing business, waiting to be shown upstairs. I won't mention a "day out" social visit round the Bank of England and concepts of their security. It may have been a deliberate mistake, partly to be bloody minded, "I'm Brand, I'm important" but also because he felt he needed the publicity, as no one of any sense takes any notice of Russell Brand otherwise.

Apparently Sony's security people have slipped up on their security. No matter and the publicity does no harm. In days gone by when America's "Wild and Woolly West" was indeed wild if not woolly, a chap called Wyatt Earp dropped by and sorted out a few people with one or two tomb stones. NYPD followed close behind. Consequently, America is as it is today, a little wild in places and occasionally woolly but still America.
          Occasionally cowboys (now called computer hackers) come riding into town firing their guns, occasionally killing a few people but eventually being locked up or hanged. All straight forward Americana. Sony has chosen to broadcast their computer hiccup so we are all forewarned. They'll sort the bug in due course and implement a counter-offensive into standard anti-virus software. All par for the modern course. The interesting thing is that North Korea is blamed, apparently because the film The Interview is of serious concern to the North Koreans. So, why advertise the fact we know more truth about North Korea than we ever believed we did, or the North Koreans themselves thought we did? Interesting. It would appear North Korea is saying, "Yep, we really are that daft a bunch of idiots here, this place really is as daft as even you can get!" Whereas previously I would not have gone to see the film I have made a note to ensure that eventually I will see it, thus helping to increase potential sales. If Norh Koreans don't want us to see the film, why on earth advertise it so effectively? interesting.

This was in my mind when I thought about writing the above items. I will write no more here but refer you to the hyperlink in the title which explains my thinking more fully but more succinctly.        

WEDNESDAY 17th DECEMBER 2014 [mid-morning post]
Russell Brand again made a fool of himself, arriving in the wrong building without an apppointment and causing an employee's lunch to go cold, apparently achieving nothing, such is the sheer witlessness of this man.

Now that we have established it was the Iraquis who had wilfully set up all the fuss and palavar over claims British servicemen had maltreated Iraqui prisoners, at a cost to the British taxpayer of more than £25m, (which should be deducted from any further financial help we intend giving them) we can demand full answers over the redactions in the US report relating to British involvement in the Guanamo Bay incidents. We are all sinners but the strength of our style of government is that it has stood the test of time over several centuries, gradually getting to a point of being one of the best systems of government in the world. Too frequently (probably due to EU preoccupation, which simply hasn't the first idea of efficient government) we forget just how damned provenly good we British are and hold back too much. Apparently there had been some legitimate moan, based on the fact they had experienced treatment they would have expected had they attended an English Public School but hadn't actually paid to receive such treatment. No doubt somone will in due course contact an appropriate bursar to ensure an appropriate bill is sent to them.

A good move appointing a suffragan bishop while legal procedures carry on regarding the Lords. The Church of England, nearly four and half centuries late has at last appointed a woman bishop. England once more is beginning to be able to look the world in the eye and lead from the front which is our natural place in the world. Hurrah!





TUESDAY 16th DECEMBER 2014 [late night post]
Essentially, this wilful murder of school children in Pakistan undermines the entire concept of religion: that which refuses to accept its own belief, that Creation is what it manifests itself as being—a state of continual change—with which religion adapts accordingly, then there is no value to religious concepts.
          Somewhere, somehow there is an appalling fog of plain stupidity wrapping humankind and clouding the most elementary sense of rationality. It is the refusal to accept the objective rationality and unquestioned and undoubted equality of the sexes in all aspects of life, living and working that prepares the ground for such inflammatory acts.
          Accepting such basic irrationalities breeds further irrationalities. Religion must remove the fundamental asininities it wilfully creates in defiance of its own proclaimed beliefs. It is the acceptance of such stupidities that encourages and creates these further stupidities, for all rationality has been clearly abandoned from first base.

TUESDAY 16th DECEMBER 2014 [after-noon post]
Yesterday I mentioned the extraordinary puerility of the Puritans' twaddle about theatre. In December 10th's Daily Mail Brian Viner wrote an enthusiastic appreciation of The Theory of Everything, the filmed biography of Stephen Hawking. Here, before all our eyes through the media is the reality of religious, not just Christian, views on the nature of God concepts, certainly spiritual values. The tragedy of a brilliant mind trapped in a bodily cage. A practical example in real terms of how to tolerate and to overcome.
          Contrastingly and arguably deepening the issue, the Daily Mail also advises we have12,000 foreign criminals living in Britain, including 700 murderers and 500 rapists, many such criminals having been admitted as a direct result of the Labour party's previous immigration policies which only now is it trying to counter, but merely to counter the Tory's rightful criticism!
          The Daily Mail then makes an extraordinary claim that people, because they are poor, are making home burials to save money but a home burial knocks an estimated £50,000 off the value of a home, so how on earth can that be cheap? Landed gentry have been building mausoleums for that purpose for centuries, what is new? There is a problem with deaths resulting from cancer but all that one needs to do for cheapness is to give the  body away (in advance of the process by the living-in body owner) to a dissection laboratory. The problem is that that currently nullifies giving away the organs, a situation with which I am currently contending, the cost of funerals clearly being wilfully exorbitant and quite ridiculous. I have never ben happy with funerals. I do not accept death per se. The spirit contained within was and is full stop!
           Unfortunately, Quentin Letts reminds me why I do not regularly buy the Daily Mail, he wittered on about Lady Jenkins' gaff about the poor not being able to cook. The intelligentsia's gasp of disapproval was quite acceptable. He thought not. I stopped reading at that point. What he wrote to that point was sufficient for me to write here that the concern for "political correctness" has raised awareness of "good manners" and such advancement was to be welcomed. That does not mean to say that some concepts of "political correctness" do not hover around and should be banished as soon as they presume to appear. His waffle on the subject went on for four columns!
            Fortunately, this nonsense was countered by James Coneyright, who raised the very issue I raised some time back and is to be found at the top of the right hand column. He opined that National Insurance particularly for the self-employed would be going up. His second argument was that contributions to pensions for the higher-earners would be going up. Not unreasonable. His third presumption is that VAT will be elevated. In my view that is already too high and should be down around 15% but if needs must... Certainly VAT, especially if on higher-rated luxury goods was implemented, it would be less likely to affect those nearer the edges of need. Sounds not unreasonable.
           Another article by Fiona MacRae reminded me of a friend scolding me for having written something about perceiving an increased number of people being over-weight. Fiona MacRae considered 1lb to be dangerous! [effectively ½Kg (just under) for traitors' benefit], although I have had to use metric in some things myself, simply for the simplicity of those with whom I need to compare notes. It's called realism! Realistically its a damned nuisance but at least I am aware of potential dangers early!
           In The Guardian on November 28th Gaby Hinsliff raises the question as to "what is this life if full of care..." in principle quoting what W H davies wrote nearly a century ago. In fact she rationalises more than reasonably, precisely where we should be in this "I need to pay my way and be responsible but I don't want to die earlier than necessary" mode. Good for her. This aspect of life is brought more to the fore by the allocation of "bringing up baby" time. In many ways we are aiming for a practicably better world but remain unsure of the financial reward for "living a life". The thought reminds me of a friend who said to me recently that he was glad his life was easing out and did not relish his children's future working lives. I contradicted him saying that I felt we were approaching exciting times. I still think we are but his point... I think I have been fortunate in the way my life has planned out this time round. Interesting. Do I think I have been around before? Some indications are there but I remain unsure but doubtless I will know fairly soon!

Most disappointingly Hilary Benn flatly refused to talk rationally on the proposed "England only votes for England only matters". What he resolutely refused to acknowledge was that the problem derives directly and specifically from Labour's devolution to Scotland, a move that determined from the first issue the need to integrally address the "Mid lot hi an" problem but Labour specifically and deliberately refused to acknowledge the need. Now that it is an essential prerequisite of giving Scotland what Labour has jointly promised in conjunction with the other parties, Labour have decided to be bloody-minded.
          How can such a party seriously stand for election when it is determined that English views may be over-ridden by those not in the slightest interested in the outcome but having determination over that outcome? It simply is not rational and must be attended to here and now, in this parliament. Benn then tried to push a deeper devolution to England by devolving down to the next level of government but that has not been discussed amongst the electorate as to whether or not they want that. It is a completely different issue!

TUESDAY 16th DECEMBER 2014 [later morning post]
Not for the first time I rage against the incredible stupidity of the Puritans, purportedly an educated lot who chose to promote their education through crass stupidities. Perhaps it is a  lesson we need to bear in mind when dealing with "proper" Islamists. Many of these purported "Islam authorities" haven't a clue about basic British life and can't even speak English with anything remotely capable of expertly sounding reasoned theology. The Puritans did not like artistic abilities generally but were specifically averse to theatrical productions. Very unlike the Puritans, Channel 4's News Channel at 19:00 weekdays, last night commented on The Ruling Class and East is East. Peter Snow, in his advance publicity wrote: "I'll be reflecting on stage revivals of two cutting social comedies—both set in the 1970s, but with relevance to the state of Britain today. I've been talking to Ayub Khan Din, the writer of East is East, who is currently starring in a new version of the play at the Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall—and to James McAvoy, who's taken on Peter O'Toole's role as the unhinged heir to a seat in the House of Lords in a new stage version of The Ruling Class".
          With that advance news broke the latest version of the Sydney incident. "The Sydney café siege has ended after more than 16 hours, with Australian commandos storming the building. At least four of the hostages were injured and it's believed that one died [now known to be two] and the gunman was shot dead by police. It's understood that the hostage taker—named as an Iranian migrant, Man Haron Monis—was a recent convert from Shia to Sunni Islamism and had been on bail after being arrested on allegations of sexual assault."
          On the basis that such advance news is accurate, we clearly understand that the Islamic world is in as much a state of chaotic discontent as is the Christian world, except the Christian world's diverse interpretations of Christ are somewhat more placidly portrayed, indicative of a superiority in intellectual argument. Perhaps at the least the gunman was simply confused. If an avowed Islamist is confused, how much more understandably are the rest of us confused!
          While writing, the news has been broadcast that a Taliban bunch have just raided a school in Pakistan, killing a substantial number of children and holding others hostage. I am inclined towards [Matthew 7:16] "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" deliberately. Is it rational to regard as human beings people who do such things as murder little children?
I suspect it has nothing what ever to do with religion but everything to do with publicity, the IS lot are getting too much of it! It's merely a "we're over here!" call and raises the question of the whole of news disseminations. We can't do without it and I think the more we are aware the more of us are likely to be better informed and therefore more likely to stick our oars in and demand sense ultimately prevails. Sense, my intuition implies, means bringing damned religion to heel... but then, is it the religionists' fault? Certainly the authoritarian arrogance of males must be halted firmly and clearly. Halting purported free thought is another matter but how much of religion is free thought? How much is deliberate indoctrination and indoctrination wilfully out of context of society's realities... and for that matter religion's interpretation of their particular concept of God. Creation is a state of continual change and to refuse to change with it is to refute the very thing in which religionists claim to believe! Whether Creation is actually changing or man's understanding of the nature of Creation is changing is largely irrelevant. Change and the ability and willingness to change is the fundamental key. Judging by some religionists' behaviours, simply growing up would be a very great help!

TUESDAY 16th DECEMBER 2014 [early morning post]
Not with arrogance but with the dignified humility of being one of the crowd, confident with being who you are, in a society in which you and the rest of this country's lawful inhabitants are comfortable. That is a state of affairs that are the FACTS of this UK of ours and which we all endeavour to maintain, contrary to the wilfully inflammatory perceptions of those with differing views, who presume to so intrude upon our historical base. If any wish to promote contrary views it is their responsibility to do so in a manner expected of those who are members of this society, or else to stay out of it, or leave it. All this should be so without the need to state so and such persons' seeming inability to comprehend so simple a basis of what UK society is all about, is beyond comprehension.
It is deeply saddening that now a member of the British Commonwealth has endured the savagery of the small-minded; a man, so emotionally inadequate that he was declared valuable to Islamic perverse ideas: a common criminal fit to promote Islam! Christianity is no different, Roman Catholic and Protestant priests have been convicted of similar perversions and wilful abuse of women and children, mentally and emotionally. In the wider context of the collective whole [Romans 3:23] "we are all sinners", so at any time we set out to cast aspersions at any one else's less usual proclivities, we need to bear in mind our own failings.
          It is now emerging that this may in fact be no more than an aberration of one particular social inadequate and the failure of due processes by authorities conducting their affairs less than competently. Possibly, he may be suffering mental illness, which may have been appallingly badly handled through his criminal progression.
          The same type of aberration may be the cause of a family killing in the US. Behind both may lie the failure to apply the logic of information we have already acquired but failed to utilise. We know that there is a tendency in the male to be arrogant and assume his will is absolute and we still refuse to correct that deficiency meaningfully. We need to get over that the male's place in society is simply being but one of two sexes with equal views on life. Male presumption of being entitled to over-riding views has to be corrected. Arguably, that sentence should read "merely one of many possible sexual orientations".
           There is an historical social imbalance between the sexes and I acknowledge that I have opposed false promotion of the female where it is not based upon ability for the role and I still believe that to be the case. None the less, the religiously orientated have resolutely failed to take this on board and I specifically cite the Roman Catholic Church and official Islamic views as being specifically and wilfully guilty.
          We know from our own UK experiences of war, the potential effect of PMS (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) and it appears that possibly the latest family killing in the US may be caused by that not being properly diagnosed, or simply caused by, or perhaps in combination with, an inherent male aggression "I will have my way"; an arrogance of total unacceptably in modern society.
          If we are going to address seriously social problems then we have to take stock of where we are in the overall scheme of things. My web public dissemination of my views evolves from simple letters to the local press, from which publicity I ended up as mayor of my home town and stood for parliament over the EU issues. Here, I have tried to re-examine, as I did initially, "how did we get here?"
          Religion, as the historical initiator must accept its accountability and become accountable by being rational: objective rationality is part of Creation! Religion must work with society, not presume to thrust its views over it, of what ever religious or nonreligious persuasion society consists, for the benefit of overall world humanity. All religions must end divisions with at least the pro-active acceptance of world awareness—"agreeing to differ", not with such childish and irrational declarations "our way is right regardless". There is purported ecclesiastical talk on these matters but on my researches not remotely practicable in terms of  meaningfulness to a practical world.
          Clearly, such initiatives must be led by those who are not religiously related. I do not consider an acceptance of the principle of a spiritual existence to be a religious concept, although I admit to preferring a secular approach to philosophy, rather than pre-structured religious ones. Spiritual concepts are what religions too easily misrepresent as an excuse for any particular faith's existence. That is unacceptable.
          Regarding Sydney's misfortunes, it brings home how much we have changed here. Long experienced through my contacts with Kiwis over here [Hayley Westenra's fault!], my perceptions of "down under" have been largely "how we once were". Inevitably time moves us on and while I miss certain aspects of how we once were I do not regret the extent to which we in the UK have indeed moved on. It is like the child growing up and suddenly realising they have indeed grown up and cast off childish things. I do not mean that expression in any diminishing respect. There is something simply "damned nice and peaceable" about the distant Commonwealth (Canada included, from personal experience, jostling America as it does) but the child is usually glad to have "grown up" and be recognised as a serious part of Life.

MONDAY 15th DECEMBER 2014 [after-noon post]
Let us take things down to the simplest level. History has established that mature persons, for diverse reasons, in diverse circumstances, can behave extraordinarily childishly in unsupervised circumstances of wilful provocation.
          What is 9/11? An event, cleverly manipulated by an evil genius, bamboozling emotionally inadequate young men into performing an atrocity of unimaginable proportions, for no other reason than his own over-inflated ego. One could, in his day, have said the same thing about Christ! In so far as the devastating effect Christ ultimately had, in causing people to stop in their tracks and to suddenly think, mostly independently for themselves for the first time in their lives. In some cases, his philosophy too was wilfully misinterpreted for the self-abuse of lesser, arrogant egotists desiring power for their selfish ends. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." [Matthew 7:15]
         An awful lot of Islam does appear to be taking note, in their various ways, against these events claiming to be done in Islam's name! However, just as Christians had to come to terms with their own misrepresentation of God, Islamists need to understand Creation's state of continual change and to change accordingly, if only to keep apace.
          Americans can be extraordinarily naive and very simplistic, overly simplistic because true simplicity is not that simple! Incredibly, simplicity requires a greater knowledge and understanding than that which purports, or gives the impression of being, complex! 
         Intending to write secularly but acknowledging the existence of diverse (although essentially Christian, as that is my background) religious faiths, I have tried to get away from historical religious concepts. I discovered this had been tried in The New Yorker of July 25 2012. I concluded, that regarding humankind as a flock of sheep, and considering how one might, as a  farmer, handle recalcitrant sheep, didn't seem to help much either. Is it the change of language over time that annihilates the value to words used by religion, or is it religion itself that annihilates, or makes inappropriate, such words? Is it religion's persistence in what I certainly regard as an archaic use of language that causes us to look at the concepts meant by the terms of "Good and Evil" askance, or is it simply that religion, as a meaningful expression of thought, has simply "had its day"?
          I recall past "off the cuff" discussions with various friends (one at that time reading divinity and ultimately being ordained and ending up responsible for her own church) which lightly encompassed the thoughts that more urgently encompass my mind during this present time. I was using The New Yorker as a means of 'meeting' Susan Neiman. What I learn is that she herself finds no alternative expression to the use of "good and evil", so why should I pursue further?
          The article claims Neiman wrote "... evil fell into three main strains: Hegel tried to explain evils as necessary steps in the march of history; Nietzsche argued that evil is a problem we brought on ourselves, by inventing moral categories that don’t reflect the ways of the natural world; while a third view insisted that evil was a clear moral category of its own, defined by acts of intentional malevolence." All three interpretations, the article argues, Neiman considered invalidated by her second raison d' être for the archaism of theodicies: Auschwitz.
         If philosophers, at this level, are unable to suggest an alternative in the modern world of the historically, religiously, over-burden word "evil", who am I not to accept the status quo? Yet it seems in adequate and detracts from any serious attempt to try and understand just what is the motivation for these acts of apparent irrationality. As I wrote previously, the 'kamikaze' pilot was not in any way irrational if, within a specific context, such action can be regarded as rational?
         It appears that those who might have felt cause to opine both a psychiatrist's and a psychologists's opinion on these IS and related actions, having decided there was sufficient knowledge to determine such action not relevant, we are left to fathom at an everyday level, the seemingly unfathomable. At that level, while the farmer might be inclined to put down his errant sheep "normal society" is fully entitled to imprison, for life if need be, those who commit such acts against its people.
         At that level, regarding such acts as pure vandalism and treating them accordingly would seem not unreasonable. Now, to the issue of what happened around the Quantanamo Bay fiasco. The wilful arrogance of those responsible for 9/11 that their views must gain credence over and above basic decent society, likewise invoke the same paranoid irrationality of the defenders of that society. It is an 'animal eat animal' situation, to which society can all too easily descend, as clearly indicated by Golding's book Lord of The Flies. It is a work of fiction but portrays so much that fiction has contributed to viewing realistically, the dangers to which society can fall under certain pressures, not altogether infeasible within the plot line. Unlike the Lord of The Flies scenario, the second line protectors of American society did have their overlords: the democratic process of government and established authority and regulatory structures. How come these were over-ridden from their detached, calm world in which such judicious decisions are supposed to be made?
          Therein lies the true and arguably 'final' responsibility. That rightly wants investigating and "yes", if need be, that is where criminal responsibility lies and which must be prosecuted. Without such clarity there is no validity of argument to support any argument for the status quo. Anxious to disclaim religious holds, modern society has just proved the value of the ancient advertising hoarding: Behold, God knows all!

MONDAY 15th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
is elementary common sense. Her Majesty is Supreme Governor of the Church England. I am a little concerned at prince Charles' idea of being Protector of Faith(s) but am happy with the principle of intent, save this surely means naming those faiths? That question opens the vexed subject of "what is a faith?" and if not always, at least in that context.
          What are British values? That is more simply answered, they are devolved, inured, acquired through birth and upbringing and are an integral part of the person one is, through nurture. They are not definable by objective declaration but are defined by their appearance as a collective whole, an integral aspect of the collectivity of society, derived through the generations from a diversity of historical experiences, which includes the progression of time and cultural changes. It is the "living thing" that makes the country what it is and what its people are.
          A central aspect is to lead forth with surety of purpose and seeking legitimacy of authority through certainty of presenting one's argument. In this, Andrew Mitchell seems to have fallen flat on his face. Arguably, he knew from the outset that he would come a cropper. In fact, as a minister of the crown he had a duty of care to KNOW that he would. For it is at the very first that a purportedly intelligent and well educated man determined that it was common sense to be expected to wheel his bicycle through a pair of large gates designed for the admission of motor vehicles, thus creating an unwarranted breach of security in an area of high national security, when the said bicycle should have simply been wheeled through a pedestrian gate. Quite bluntly, how more bloody daft can a fellow get? There cannot be an ounce of sense in the fool's head! This is supposed to be the more intelligent end of the Conservative Party's contribution to sound management and national security! Is he seriously intending to stand at the next election, broadcasting as he has what a fool he is?

in conjunction with the BFI and Film 4 has awarded a £30,000 grant to Jonathon Glazer, its purpose is to give film-makers a window into science, medicine and psychology and to cross the perceived chasm between those fields and the creative world of writing and film. It is a pity that this does not also specifically bridge the bio-chemical world of Wellcome's certainty with the spiritual world that occupies so much of mankind's psychology, although some of Glazer's past work does seem to entertain such aspects. Hopefully, waiting to see!

On Friday 28th November The Guardian published the faces of thirteen men of Somali origin found guilty of abusing girls in Bristol. It appears that these mens' upbringing was in the Muslim faith.
          That there are many similar cases denies the need to explore the detail of this one case but to deal simply with generalities. These are clear statements that a religious education is not any guarantee against parental failure to properly raise children as has previously been claimed by religionists. It is clear that a secular education is not at fault for, by definition, if there is not proper, or any, religious education, the result is not necessarily a disaster.
          This rather eliminates claims for specialist religious schools. Religion should be seen as a private matter and state supported schools should be offering comparative religion NOT a specific religion. It might reasonably raise the issue that parents are not formally taught how to raise children and that this has generally been left to expectations of parents down the ages. One might reasonably ask, how is it that parental training has diminished in effectiveness down the ages, despite purported advances in the psychology of child learning?
           It also highlights the twaddle that so many Islamists burble about western education being the cause of criminal activity and the lowering of moral standards. It is a failure to teach universal basics... and that means comparative NOT specific religious education. That less trouble appears to emanate from specifically Christian orientated schools further advances the failure of immigrant families to fully understand the nature of the society they have desired to enter when arriving here. Why have they undertaken so little preparation for the new life into which they wish to change? This is clearly laying at their door, fairly and squarely, unaccountable and unacceptable attitudes towards women.
          This further raises the question as to whether Taliban and IS aspects, derived from these archaic Islamist features, are simply wilful defiance of matured western society, or a complaint against the failure of Islam itself, as a religion... or the way in which some purported qualified teachers of Islam wilfully misuse the religious tenets for their own egotistical pronouncements? This country is not unaccustomed to dealing with turbulent priests and simply will not tolerate them. The problem arises not so much in the promotion of an Islamic eccentricity as in rabble rousing for the sheer sake of social vandalism, for which much cause may be laid at the door of unemployment... or a failure in education, which might be a mix of state and private (faith orientated) failings to prepare students for the world in which their families have chosen to make their living and their life.

The Daily Mail of December 10th declares "no" with reports on pages 2,4 and 5 on "Shaming of the West". "In 499 horrifying pages, the US Senate's Intelligence Committee demolished the boast of the world's most powerful democracy that it inhabits a higher moral universe than the terrorists it condemns as barbarians." So declares the Daily Mail on unmentioned page 2.
           It would appear the Daily Mail's journalists or editor has not read history. The Holy Roman Catholic church has done much the same, as have the Nazis and a diversity of other purportedly freeborn people for one excuse or another, determining that their opinion over-rode every one else's on one pretext or another. So what?
           Too many newspapers get over-excited about other people's antics but resolutely refuse to learn any lessons from their activities. It is they who take the higher moral line: "we are a newspaper and are entitled to show up everyone else's peccadillos." "Up yours buster" say I, your elite has been as determined to show yourselves as morally corrupt as anyone else.
          Now lets deal rationally with things. Whether or not influenced by newspapers, politicians have many failings and one of those is to be closet voyeurs, due to the essential presence of an open press. By the same token, that open press has a responsibility to maintain national secrecy, especially when it is pointed out to them and while it is correct and proper for any journalist to know when to shut up and sit down, as well as to stand up and speak out, most of our national and international safety relies upon a free press but, as with all manners of freedom, freedom carries a terrible price—responsibility and accountability.
          In the presence of such weirdos as Edward Snowden the press will do anything for glorious publication, totally regardless of any national or general public safety interests. So, lets cut the crap. Political parties consist of persons with diverse skills and not always are the most appropriate allocated the most obvious of jobs. Ego, ego, ego is always going to get in the way of sound management and diverse other issues, likewise will counter sensible and sane decision-making.
          I wrote earlier that the price for freedom is responsibility. So where is the responsibility of a free press? Apply that principle throughout and we can return to the old hoary chestnut "God created the universe and gave man dominion and freedom over all." Thus binding him as surely as a ball and chain to enslavement. For what reason does so many of us kick against the ball and chain? Mankind's masterful refusal to behave rationally in a rational universe.
         Walking tall and looking the world in the eye is the easiest thing in the free world to do, so why on earth do we not do it? We come back to my earlier writing over the last couple of days. David Cameron's proud declaration of the UK as a Christian country (believes God Created the Universe) endowed with British values previously defined. Where on earth and how can there be a problem? What could be simpler? It is the Ego that gets in the way! Cameron can easily make this a serious Christian country, by leading his party, and his party leading the country, in a desire to render service... just as any other political party leader can do, if they choose so to do! The purpose of government in a free, democratic country is to render service to its people. What could be simpler?

SUNDAY 14th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
"This is a Christian country... and we need to support British values" declares the Prime Minister, so let us have the British government leading by example... in all things. The Right Honourable Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC MP made it quite clear that MI5 and its satellites are NOT above the law, as has generally been obvious to all but the dullest and most stupid, or corrupt, of British government servants since the early days of wresting power from the monarch into the hands of the people's elected representatives. Since the United States derives from a British colony, the United States has been wholly aware of this from the very first. Are we to understand that despite the follow on claptrap the American Revolution actually set the United States on a backward course of governance?
          While the US Constitution (arguably rightly) took concepts of God out of the Constitution it still manages appalling hang ups on what are perceived as God related issues, even though neither God nor Man's interpretation of God has clearly expressed a logical understanding of His Creation, which must surely be based on objective logic, since objectivity and logic are part of His Creation. Even in that statement we have a contradiction of first principles. From where is the authority of such sexual classification, other than through the arrogance of males, whose physical and financial superiority had clearly gone to their heads, presuming seniority and declaring "we're in charge". In this "modern" age one might reasonably argue "how bloody daft of women to accept it!" One could forgive their sufferance on grounds of practicability at the time. Today's issues are history's long-term effects: we are still resolving matters according to emotion and not according to objective rationality.

SATURDAY 13th DECEMBER 2014 [after-noon post]
"DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO? DO YOU LIKE THE THINGS THAT LIFE IS SHOWING YOU? WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO? DO YOU KNOW?" Theme from the film "Mahogany" (1975) (Michael Masser / Gerry Goffin) Diana Ross - 1975 Johnny Mathis - 1976 Ray Conniff - 1976
In a moment, life is transcended. What was, is no longer going to be... ever. So lives are transformed in a moment, all futures are gone. One is brought rigidly to the moment. That is aloneness in its fullest extent. Perhaps the greatest of aloneness is the aloneness that can only be experienced in a crowd; when the rest of life and the living have a confirmed (but only because it is believed in) future. Perhaps, if we did not believe there was a future ahead of us, however old we may be, we might never have got up in the morning, once we have reached that stage in life when, maturely, we realise we know only ourselves: if we ever know ourselves!
          Just taking that moment to be and yet seeming to go nowhere is not actually going nowhere. Edward Thomas expressed such thoughts one day at Adelstrop, when the express train drew up there unwontedly, one after-noon of heat, in late June. In such a way, the following thoughts were mulled for the appropriate time to express them here. I do so now.          
          These thoughts were brought to me for two reasons. That morning's news brought information on a major M25 hold up in which at least one person had been killed. Following that news and pictures was the memory, some time back, when travelling along a different part of the M25, I had seen a similar standstill on the opposite carriageway. One small car was facing in the wrong direction. The driver's hands seemed welded to the steering wheel and she appeared to be staring blindly ahead of her through the windscreen, oblivious of her it having been removed while the engineers cut the roof off. Her situation implied death on impact.
          We are in Christmas Advent. It is a period that particularly emphasises the quotation "in the midst of life we are in death". Most days, such thoughts are cast far from our minds, yet for many people that contradiction is a reality any moment of every day. Excitedly alive, they hear of the death of someone with whom they can relate. Every minute of everyday, for someone, there is the experience of dying whilst in the midst of life. Several times throughout the lives of most of us is the experience of being beside someone who makes that transition from one state to the next.
          Generally perceived as deriving from Delphi, to "know oneself" is to possess all knowledge. This leads to an interesting conundrum: the tree of knowledge. The Roman Catholic church would have one "receive" knowledge rather than to desire knowledge and seek to gain answers. If the greatest knowledge is to know oneself then one must know oneself within one's existence of life and death. That is to know death as surely as one would know life. In the RC tradition one's temporal life is to prepare for death, hence the expression "in the midst of life we are in death"; one lives to die [Wolfgang Grassl - November 1, 2010].
          If one would have knowledge one must know oneself within one's existence and therefore know the nature of that existence. That means knowing before, during and after temporal life experience: or knowing there are no such experiences to be examined!
Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote: "At death, the world does not alter but comes to an end" (Tractatus logico-philosophicus 6.431), which implies that "death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death" (6.4311). This modern position is the opposite of the RC view, which has always seen death not as the end of life because, in the words of the Latin Requiem Mass, vita mutatur, non tollitur—life alters, it is not taken away. If eternal life does not start at death but continues the life we have led on this earth, death is indeed in the midst of life, and temporal life ought to prepare for death. But do we still understand this? More precisely, do we still live death? Such is the RC doctrine.
Self-knowledge is all-encompassing. What is learned on one scale of experience can be applied to all scales. It is the highest form of knowledge, surpassing all other knowledge. Self-knowledge is also timeless, which means that what is gained in one era, benefits all subsequent generations. This website is a personal, individual mulling of gathered and varied discoveries of ancient wisdom that have been formulated and articulated by eminent men and women from many ages, traditions and cultures. I explore the universal nature of man’s quest for self-knowledge and perceive, through my own pace of thought that no age of humankind was necessarily any closer to or farther away from this open thinking, than any other.

SATURDAY 13th DECEMBER 2014 [morning post]
Convolvulaceae, a family: one word and a world is spoken of. Why should humanity be regarded as more simple? Such a thought is irrational, yet religionists would embrace the all within the nutshell of a creed, allow their arrogances to flow forth and encapsulate all within their small compass of "acceptable" understanding. That which does not embrace the continual flow of change in all its aspects cannot remotely comprehend that which is simply "today", this already passed moment in time. Awe should remain the motivation from arrival to departure in this plane of existence.
          One of the most common observations of those suddenly faced with the diagnosis of life-threatening illness is how wonderful is the world they are suddenly in danger of leaving. Why cannot we retain that wonderment with which, as a child, we first view our new life and have that sense of wonderment travel with us through our life period? Simplicity. To see, to observe, to ponder. Other than the basic sustenance necessary to live beyond hardship, why do we seek anything more?
          This does not mean we have to pursue everything, nor wait for anything. We ponder as we observe and through observation perceive an appropriate path to follow. Why should we need more than that? It is our awareness that there is more that sets us forth to seek more. How, then, do we go "out of balance", become dissatisfied? Those who manage their "three score years and ten" in full possession of their faculties are perhaps the most fortunate... or is it that those who trail away during that critical period are simply unfortunate in their combination of biochemistry?
          Is any family ever a cohesive whole but the historical default that makes it so? Is the family really no more than a biochemical method of regenerating? What then for the complexities of the mind that have forged proven developments on which modern society hinges? Ideas are still coming forth, in the same way that Hoover revolutionised certain aspects of thinking, only to be replaced by Dyson and a horde of would-be imitators, whereas Hoover had but one or two nowhere near as successful, initially.
          Is Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" the sum of humanity? It certainly makes more sense than the Christian Bible and is a damned sight more lucid. So, breakfast unfolds; the morning light, cold and grey, eventually breaks through as the TV keeps me momentarily abreast of some of the rest of the world. A few thoughts, mulled over breakfast, are keyed to the web for whomsoever might come across them, including me for some later time, when past and present may be reviewed in the future as some collective whole... that once was a life.

FRIDAY 12th DECEMBER 2014 ADVENT Pt 2 [after-noon post]
In moving forward we celebrate the anniversary of that unique World War I Christmas football match. The individuals concerned were suddenly acting as individuals but were brought together by states created by individuals. Then the match was over and war progressed.
          Ireland was on a more human scale and individuals who mattered took part. There is hope but was ego in the way in not being able to "give the inch"? We may never know but the result seems more disappointment than crisis.
          In the background is the IS lot, while at the same time we learn that our state education is not what it should be, we try to cock a snoop at those with the resource to pay for private education. Moral values and objective rationality: those who can pay do so for a proven quantitative return. Why should we tax payers be downgraded and not demand the same? So, why are we not being asked if we want to spend more on taxes in order to acquire what it is claimed we seek? We are not even asked if we want a bunch of proven foreign fools to squander our already diluted resources for their peculiar philosophies specifically geared not to be cost-effective, the EU?
           Individual accountability cannot be evaded, what ever the composition of a mature democratic state. So, let us look at health. A friend of mine, some while back, got over-excited that I had observed an increased number of people seemingly overweight. Yes, there are sound medical reasons why some people are, through no fault of their own and they are rightly allocated NHS costs but the idea that alcoholic poisoning is not directly personally attributable is a nonsense—and yes, I am aware that there are certain medical conditions of alcohol abuse that rightly can be called a "disease".
          On what basis is it reasonable to declaim certain interpretations of the mind on the way things should be, when all appearances are that the mind is rational and normal? Where is the full report that determines the IS lot are simply wilful criminals of no other particular note than common criminality? Where is the parental responsibility that brought them up specifically to be opposed to the society into which they were born or brought up? It is the parents that chose that conflict. It is the parents that chose to bring them up within a culture that was inappropriate to the society in which they were expected to dwell and make their living.
          Let us therefore ask ourselves, how right are we? We are the only nation in Europe with the wit and ability to build an empire and turn it into a commonwealth of 50+ nations, defeating the other empire-builders several times over into submission along the way. We are not perfect but we surely cannot be that wrong? Where are the more moral values of religion? They did precisely the same thing: Christian popes charging into battle in full armour astride a battle horse declaring "For God, put down the infidels [they simply had a different point of view] and charge!" No different from other faiths yesterday and today: IS, Judaism, Islam. If their moral argument was that strong and they believe God created the world as it is, including objectivity and rationality, then why did not the obvious right, moral argument not win by the simple statement of "it is here": logic and rational objective argument tell us it is so? All that drives religion is ego and self-interest but that is not to decry spirituality, which religion has been determined to subsume under its cloak, causing spiritual values to lose their natural undressed meaning and to be seen only through the rose-tinted glasses of a particular religion.

THURSDAY 11th DECEMBER 2014 ADVENT [after-noon post]
Advent is a time of contrasts. Looking forward to a special time with special relationships for all, to which we "try" to cling long term but which usually fade into "normality" by the thirteenth day! Everyday life continues but is sometimes in more than usual contrast with our moods, which are often more diverse and excitable, or susceptible to disturbance than usual.
          So, we have the report on America's treatment of those purportedly determined to bring down the United States. For me, this brings a whole new ball park into the everyday arena. We need to be shaken out of our accumulated perceptions. Perceptions fed from childhood, vaguely adapted to the "modern" view, depending upon how "with it" our parents are or were at those crucial times of our development. Despite "education", we grow up with an "acceptance" attitude that takes some time to break down, until one reaches a catharsis where acquired presumptions suddenly evaporate and one sees oneself writing on a larger canvas than initially perceived and possibly for a larger audience... and that audience less in tune with one's own thinking, than one would like to think. How much, then has one drifted from the main stream, or has the main stream flowed on and it is oneself that is left drifting? That changed position is more likely a consequence of events to which one has variously responded, passively or actively, according to one's own life priorities.
          It is because one can be so wrapped up in living one's life, as time leads one along life's path, that people are increasingly seeking retreats. A retreat is not a cop out. It is a challenge to oneself to truly know the fabric with which one is working one's way through that period of history in which one has chosen to experience this particular life. That, in itself, is a challenging statement which, for the moment, I am going leave at its face value.
          Assuming a basic competence in education, we acquire an outline understanding of our historical precedents, from which we deduce an understanding of the life we are expected to lead and the best means to make the most of what we have. This is twofold: our personal family circumstance and the collective whole of the wider world in which our family group engineered its present status. What ever the actual circumstance the principle is universal: we are continually immersed in the daily need, which includes some provision for envisaging different lengths of future provision at different levels of detail. In his poem "Leisure" W H Davies expressed this as: "What is this life if full of care/ We have no time to stand and stare..."
          Those occasions of standing and staring may be momentary pauses upon the spur of the moment, or long-term disappearances into a deeply meaningful retreat. They should come to us all at different times through out progress in this life's experience and we should be fully cognisant of them. If not, then we might reasonably question ourselves: "What on earth are we doing here... on earth?"

FRIDAY 12th DECEMBER 2014 ADVENT Pt 1[morning post]
Advent is a time of contrasts. Does the uncertainty that accompanies anticipated, or pre-broadcast news of an impending event help or hinder the otherwise potential chaos ensuing major change? This morning, the heads of British and Irish governments confess, as fulsomely as possible, their desire to assist the beginning of the end of a long period of troublesome relations. Gerry Adams' comment: "Two governments exiting after most amateurish, ham-fisted episode I have ever been involved in." Sounds like a man too accustomed to his own way for too long. That is the issue: a wilful mishmash of the irreconcilable reconciling not to reconcile. Therein lies the nub of many of the world's present problems.
           Since the Irish situation evolves specifically from a failure of religionists to agree on religion four centuries back, it chimes an immediate note of relevance to today's newly expressed religionists' arguments originating twice as far back: the diversity of interpretation within Islam when that religion was first mooted, aggravated subsequently by a clash of cultures and different speeds of social change between cultures that chose to wage war amongst themselves and then collectively against everyone else who would not agree with them.
          Embraced in such irrationality is it valid to treat any one interpretation seriously? The western world does not help, although its own root thinking derives from the Near Middle East and not from religion but from the western secular philosophy of Plato as absorbed into Christianity. On what basis then is one "authoritatively" denouncing any "religion"? Since rationality and objectivity exist then any belief in a nonscientific interpretation of Creation must be objectively rational. Perhaps, then, on that basis one should determine the legitimacy of opposing opinions but would it not be preferable to first determine the manner in which opposing views interact?
           Is it valid simply to say, "This is where we are and this is the manner in which we exist. If you wish to live differently, fine, so long as it is by your efforts and does not impinge upon the status quo we already accept"? To lead by rational argument is one thing, that is the gain of a mature democracy and a mature democracy takes into account, in so far as it is practicable, dissenting views. From chaos evolves that mature democracy and it is only from that acquired maturity that any democracy can look back to its history and if necessary see that history in the context of all time. T S Eliot: “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present all time is unredeemable.”
          I do not regard that last sentence as absolute, otherwise there would not be any compassion, through which derives all understanding. One should interpret that last sentence in the context of experience gained, that the fuller the experience, the richer the gain and the deeper the insight acquired.
          Let us then look at the "we are here" arrow. We find: the absolutism that derives from ignorance; from ignorance derives fear of the unknown; from acquired knowledge derives the arrogance of possessiveness; from possessiveness derives selfishness; from selfishness derives bareness; from bareness comes disillusionment; from disillusionment derives objective rationality; from rationality, hopefully, a new dawn. Could we be at the dawn of a new time, when we have acquired sufficient maturity as to revalue all history and place those lessons in the context of time future?
          Two events today question that: The Northern Ireland failure to agree; The opening of the Christmas Truce memorial at the National Arboretum. Behind both lies the IS and Ebola crises.

THURSDAY 4th DECEMBER 2014 CHRISTMAS [late morning post]
Three cards arrived this morning before I had posted a single one of mine. Small shopping and a check on weight: stamps more expensive then my shopping!

 It is Labour's socialism that brought the financial crisis from which we are still trying to escape, possibly necessitating an income tax rise in 2015. Why pay fat cat bankers as Labour wants, rather than pay our way and earn our living?