Tag Archive: philosophy


http://www.courtenay-young.co.uk/courtenay/articles/Phenomenological_Psychotherapy.pdf

This is an interesting and informative article found on the website of Courtenay Young, a psychotherapist in the UK.

Abstract
This paper looks at the practice of psychotherapy from a phenomenological approach, covering areas that are not usually within the more traditional ‘bio-psycho-social’ model, but also include economic, political, cultural, and environmental areas, and possibly several others. It further compares the more philosophical and pragmatic approach of a process-oriented practice of psychotherapy to the biomedical ‘treatment’ of psychiatry.
Keywords
Psychotherapy, Phenomenology, Psychiatry, Practice

It is an approach informed by people like R D Laing, Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others.  It is in favour of therapeutic communities like Soteria, founded by Leon Mosher.

I like the fact that he says he likes the writing of Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, on mindfulness, as it is more poetical than some other writing, and that he is also on the board for the body and dance in psychotherapy.  It’s not all about words and science.

The article goes a lot into the philosophy of the approach and although it does use some long words, most of them are explained, and he gives several examples of people he has worked with.

There is a section in blue which lists and talks about the the groupings of “mental and behavioural disorders” (his quotes), found in the ICD-10, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is an international standard diagnostic classification for a wide variety of health conditions.  It is used as an example of how a phenomenological model is used in psychiatry.  It’s not very long, the article quickly gets back to its own subject of a phenomenological model for psychotherapy, saying that “phenomenology has come a lot further than when it was first proposed back at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is not just useful as a classification system”.

The article is 21 pages long so is a long read but, as I said, it is very interesting and informative, and you can download it.  I enjoyed it.  It gives a link to his website and his email address at the end.

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This is an interesting article by Deepak Chopra about the nature of reality.  He argues that reality is located in the quantum sphere beyond the 5 senses, and that science which fails to recognise this is deficient.  He talks about how consciousness is necessary for reality and meaning, pointing out that reality is changed at the quantum level by observation.  He talks about parallel universes, and Maya, which often translated as illusion actually means distraction.  The world of Maya is the world of the 5 senses alone.  He says that observation could not exist without consciousness and that consciousness is capable of self-knowledge, which is the world of the subjective mistakenly rejected by science.  Even the world of mathematics is seen as a limited system, being ultimately a system devised by the brain.

I am interested in this as yet another article which says that science as it is most widely practised is inadequate for reality and everything it entails.

How Useful is Philosophy?

When I was in my 20s I was aware of a stereotyped response people came out with about the usefulness of philosophy, ie that it was probably no use at all when it came to the practicalities of life.  In that stereotype people who wanted to study philosophy were asked what use it would be for anything.

I was just thinking about that.  I haven’t given it much time before writing, maybe only about 10 minutes.

The conclusion I came to was that every life action comes out of an underlying philosophy, whether conscious or unconscious.  That people who say they have no time for philosophy are unconsciously adopting that of pragmatism, though they would deny they are moved by any philosophical position at all.

In Colossians 2:8 it says that they should not let anyone take them captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy because in Christ we have fullness.  In the context of the chapter it says that.  I have been wary of philosophy for many years on the strength of that, as have many others.  I have thought, with many others, that true Christianity and conversion was what was needed.

He does say ‘hollow and deceptive’ though, and one hopes that he is not putting all of philosophy into that bracket.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  It is true that no one comes to the Father but by Him.  Among His disciples He always preached non-violence, though He acknowledged that those who did not embrace His teaching would go to war but that the disciples were not to be afraid because wars were bound to happen.

There are many who would resent the Christian position, unadorned, being thrust into their faces as the solution to life.  I think that an awareness and understanding of philosophy is at least a bridge in cross-cultural communication between Christians and non-Christians and the arguments for the Christian position can be found in and through other philosophies which people who would consider themselves anti-Christian and anti-religion would engage with more readily.

It must be the ultimate in unaccountability to say that we recognise no philosophy or religion at all.  I think it is true to say that there can be no lasting peace without recognition on both sides of an immovable higher authority to which each side submits itself throughout.  So I find myself unable to reconcile Jesus’ statement that there would be wars with the Church of England prayer ‘give peace in our time, oh Lord’, because different people groups do not recognise the same authority, and each people group recognises its authority in ways that make them at odds with others in their communities.

So is God just an imposition of the strong on the weak?  Having experienced many things, including physical healing, I cannot say so.  To me it is not enough to say that everyone has the power to heal and not refer that power back to a giver, especially as the healing I received was in a Christian context.

But I do think that people who have no time for religion or philosophy are dangerous people to be in control.

I think I started thinking about this today after listening to a Noam Chomsky recording on Napster, about mafia and hegemony.

This Moment IS

The staff on the ward have found my blog, without me giving them the address but saying angrily a few times that I was going to blog.  The ward manager collared me twice, once quite softly and the second time in a way which made me feel they wanted to take my computer and my leave away.  The second time she approached me with 2 other female staff members and in public.  She said she wanted to talk about my use of my computer on the ward.  I said it was music and that I have no internet connection on the ward.  She asked me quite crossly where I wrote my blog and how I wrote it and I pointed out that I have 5 1/2 hours total off the ward and I go where I can get a connection and that I have the same freedoms as everyone else in that time.  They said they did not like having their names associated with certain things.  I said that I have things associated with my name which I don’t like also, and that they were free to write or comment.  It was probably in that context that she said that it was a matter of confidentiality, but I took it to mean that she was saying I was breaking a duty of confidentiality which I was quick to point out that I do not have but that they do.  They talked about seeking advice.  I said OK.  I hope if and when they do the outcome will make a big difference in society and for people who are held against their wishes and with other forms of abuse, harassment and bullying thrown in.

This is good.

They saw me coming towards the office/ward exit this afternoon and it seemed to me they deliberately closed the office door and I stood outside knocking with them ignoring me.  This happens often.  The staff last night were calling people rude.  I’m not sure who they meant.  At the time it seemed it was obvious they meant me.

2 nights ago a woman had 2 separate instances of being forcibly medicated.  Hefty men called and involved, on an all-female ward.  If anyone knows how that is appropriate I would appreciate the feedback through comments.  She said they had hurt her hand and it was all swollen and red.  I know I have been there, in London.  It took 6 months for my hand to stop hurting, and the man doing it at the time, when I said he was hurting me, said ‘well, you will learn your lesson, then, won’t you?’  I was never contemptuous of my own life until I felt betrayed by the church and came under the psychiatric services.

We appear to have a large degree of revolt and anarchy on the ward at the moment.  Everyone is angry and the staff are, to my mind, often unprofessional.  Everyone knows what is happening but the staff say nothing, and I think most of us patients know they know more than they are allowing us to be party to and that, if we were allowed to be party to the staff’s knowledge of what everyone knows, a lot of things might be called into question.  Just a thought.

This blog is exactly what it says in the title, that and nothing else – the thoughts and observations of a certified nut.  Why would anyone want to seek advice over that?

Did I say that I had had a bad week as a vegan last week?  I was tempted again earlier this week but I talked myself through it.  I went through the ‘so I’ll feel guilty’ bit and realised afresh that it is about the suffering or death or utilisation of an animal in a way which is not ideal.  I decided we are different from most of the animal world in that we have a conscience and can think, philosophise and moralise about our behaviour.  I had tears in my eyes as I thought it through.  I was happy about that.  It is about the animal and about me, living according to my light.

Jesus is wonderful and I love Him.  He ate fish.  I’m not sure how to harmonise that.  It is said that the prophets were vegetarian and that the Essenes were also.  And I believe it is right not to use animals.  So I can’t deal with the Jesus and fish thing – not at all, in that context.  I think I was taught at Bible College that John the Baptist was an Essene.  So while they might have said ‘but Jesus ate fish so it isn’t wrong’, why would John the Baptist have lived by a higher morality?  We were told that when it says JTB ate locusts, it actually means the locust bean, and not the insect.

I’m having an awful time at the moment, as far as being a vegan is concerned.

I keep wanting to give it up and go back to ‘normal’, happy, easily sociable and available eating.  The only reason I can’t and don’t is that I believe in my reasons for having become vegan in the first place.

So miserable!  I believe in my reasons, that I have no needs that require the death or utilisation of any other animal.  But recently I have wanted to rush straight back, with great joy, to being omnivorous.

I say ‘only one reason’, but that isn’t quite true.  Also my stalkers would never let it rest, and having made such a big thing about the rightness of veganism, I would be embarrassed.  I’d be confused myself, though, and I would also be doing an act of violence to myself to go back to being omnivorous.  People might get all chummy with me about having seen the light of omnivorism, and the error of my ways in trying to be vegan.  And sitting here writing this, right now, I can’t say for sure that I could never agree with that.  That would be saying that the life of an animal doesn’t matter so much that we can’t eat it, which is what I was brought up with, that we have God’s blessing to take an animal’s life for food.  I would like to believe that is true and feel I am just being proud and rebellious saying it isn’t.

I feel mesmerised, and also that I just can’t be bothered being a vegan anymore.  But as ever I don’t know what I feel and think as soon as I try to put it to print and think about it.  The same stuff is still happening.  I can’t tell the path from the scrub.

Internal tapes:

1.  Animals are for eating

2.  Christian Fundamentaslism is good or

3.  Christian fundamentalism is convenient because

4.  I want to eat what I can eat with fundamentalist, right-wing Christians

5.  I AM a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian.  If God says I can kill for ease and appetite, I CAN, and thank God for that!  If he says it I don’t have to think about it.  (what is this resentment I have against those who will not kill?  What is this need, what is this love, this strong emotion, I feel for and towards those who will not kill to eat?  It must be admiration, and more.  That the position of these people is where my heart is, the place I am challenged to recognise as right.  I would hate to convert someone from veganism/vegetarianism to being omnivorous.  I would hate to bring them down from their high place to such a place of shame.  And I would hate to have them validate my own).

6.  I AM a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian, in many ways, but also being a vegan, I could never fit in.  I would be teased all the time for being a vegan, and if I objected, it would be MY holiness called into question, and not theirs.  It could be fun and humorous, but there will also be those who go, in absolute conviction, for the fact that the Bible says that after the flood, God gave permission to eat meat, and re-asserted it later in the NT.

At the same time, in many arguers, there is a secret wanting to see it the same way as you do yourself.  It’s about liking and trusting and feeling safe, to some extent.  I was thinking last night that if someone says ‘thank you’ and a Christian says in response ‘it’s a blessing’, what the Christian is really saying is ‘I like you’.  It’s/you’re a blessing = I like you (or any other ordinary affirmation and expression of positive feeling/perception).

God IS, and we are dependent on Him.  But we are also dependent on air, for example.  We just breathe, it is automatic.  We don’t keep the air in mind and keep bringing it up AS need and essential.  If we did, it would demonstrate insecurity and that perhaps our supply was somehow threatened or contaminated.  In ordinary everyday life we don’t make constant references to the air to facilitate breathing or ANYTHING.  Or to our own bodies.  We don’t need to.

I didn’t know it was Edmund Burke.  I think we need to re-think that.  If men, or women or children, do nothing in the face of evil, how can they be called good?  That does not make sense.  Good people do, the rest do nothing.  Do, not speak, not persuade, alone – do!

And for victims they do, openly, and accountably.  If they are politicians they should do it before the populace, not just each other.  Explicitly and openly.  No clowning, no play-acting – straight people.  If people under arrest clowned and play-acted the way these people do, they would be punished.  Or abused.  I think.  Or am I wrong?  Do the police have a sense of humour in these situations?  If they did, would it be appropriate?

Danger In Dominionism

This post which I found under propaganda is interesting to me and I recommend it.  I have a choice.  I can believe I can walk into the embrace of the pastors I love and who love me, and hope and have faith that my relationship with them will make a difference, or I can refer people to this post instead.  Two roads diverged – I’m taking the one most travelled, and losing my own life by trying to keep it, and not in the way I should be.

Colin Dye embraces the model this post talks about.  David Shearman talks about Aristotle.  Hey, what if the writer of this post is wrong?  Then I am further alienating two people I love and who are my life.

Anti-Psychiatry

I’m really embarrassed that, as someone who has never really believed in psychiatry, and as someone who lost her father to death by overdose at the age of 11, I have got to the age of 50 and never pursued the anti-psychiatry movement with any degree of commitment.

Although I am against the psychiatric view of people and their problems, I know that I am nervous of psychiatric patients and ex-psychiatric patients and don’t really want to spend time with them.

One of the reasons for this is that I think we are all too desperate, and in our own minds too undermined.  Most of the time we are grasping desperately, even at each other.

Another reason is that I think we develop a self-protective dishonesty, even if we didn’t have it before.  I’m not going in there in this post.

Another reason is that, in a structured group, the people running it, in my experience, are usually people who validate the psychiatric approach, or at least won’t speak against it.  For an angry and volatile anti-psychiatrist, like myself, that is not a good place to be.

Today I feel that my life has failed to mean anything, because I have failed to follow this in a committed way, when following it and investigating it properly was my obvious duty, as my father’s daughter.

I put ‘anti psychiatry’ into Google as a search term.  I’ve just started reading the first of the results that came up, the website www.antipsychiatry.org.  It looks as if it has some very well-written articles.

There is a whole school of thought behind this, from the 60s at least.  R D Laing I’ve known about for some time.  I didn’t know Foucault was one of them.

This might sound really selfish, but I feel really upset.  My life could have made so much more sense and been so much richer, if I had only known this before.  To me the obvious reason that I feel this way is that I feel I have something in common with these academics and might have grown up with them and in contact with them.  Obviously that doesn’t necessarily follow.  The feeling I have is, ‘oh no, not you.  I didn’t know you were into that.  Why didn’t you tell me?’, as if they knew me to tell me and I have always been a part of this community and I’ve got lost.  Or something.  I don’t know much about them anyway, I only know their names.  I don’t know why they seem to mean that much to me.  I never studied them adequately when they were part of my education, and they probably just represent this (supposedly) wonderful thing, education, to me, and the youthful ideal of education is what is invoked for me when I read or hear their names. 

What I am thinking, whether I like it or not, is that if I knew something about their lives, I might not be so keen to identify with them in their anti-psychiatric views and see them as the best proponents.  I don’t know anything about their lives.  Even if I did and didn’t like what I knew, that wouldn’t necessarily invalidate what they have to say.  People don’t like my life.  That might make me an embarrassment to my beliefs, or not, but in itself it doesn’t invalidate them.  Right beliefs are right beliefs, whoever holds them.  Like the belief that two and two make four doesn’t become untrue because of the life of the person who holds it.  And I have been taught two things about the universe, that it is both mathematical and moral.

Lady ‘hallelujah every time I cough or anything’ harassment upstairs has been on for the last half hour or so, latching onto my cough and my audio.  She’s doing my brain and my feelings in.  She’s savage.  I don’t know what I mean or what I’m talking about as long as this is going on.  I feel that maybe I never will again.  She is the nearest I have been to a demon and this is the nearest I have been to living with possession.  They frighten me so much.  It is so indecent and spiritually and psychologically violent, I feel beaten about the head just about all the time.  They combine violence and rejection and indecent invasion with a santa madre scenario.  Both at the same time I want to break down in totally reduced and beaten tears, and hit back.  They have been playing a locking and shutting doors game every time they hear me in the corridor recently.  She says ‘hallelujah’ when I cough.  What is wrong with this stupid moron?  Is she frightened of me or something?  Why can’t I cough and fart, etc, in peace, without this indecent and terrifying and desperation-inducing invasiveness?  I really can’t take it much more, and I wish some of these people who want me to think of them as friends (whether they are or not) would listen to me and help me and get me away from them.

I’m wondering if the idea is to make as much invasive and control-taking sound as they can, coming up to 10pm when everything is supposed to go silent, and then just shut up?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00zmc6f/The_King_James_Bible_The_Book_That_Changed_the_World/

Available until 9pm (8.59) tonight for watching or download.

I’m opening a new file – the VW FILE – Vulnerable Women Fall In Love Easily.

In this case the name came before the acronym.  Good though, innit?  On so many levels it would be a really long post if I wrote the explanation that suggests itself.

Presence

As soon as you write, as soon as you speak, as soon as you watch or listen to something, you are already removed from your core reality.

I think that is our problem.  We are too noisy, too busy, too dazzled, too driven, too personally dispersed and fragmented, too opinionated, etc, etc, to make real connections.

I believe that’s the truth.

I’m thinking about economic and employment philosophy and why we are urged to live such a market place life, instead of nuclear and private.  I don’t know.  I’m an ignoramus.  I couldn’t tell you.  Even my question might be stupid.  Harking back to a localist paradise that never existed.  There has always been intermational trade and relationships.  We should want to open up to the world, shouldn’t we?

What An Idiot!

Written Saturday, 26th February.

“You idiot, what a stupid thing to do!”

Isn’t that much more human and kind and accessible and friendly than finding something offensive and constructing an argument about it to demonstrate that it is offensive and being dogmatic about its motivation?  At least in normal circumstances.  Even then, maybe we need to broaden our understanding of all the things that should carry the label, “normal”.

I just looked at someone I was offended with earlier, and while I believe I understand what they are doing and that it is offensive and I can make all the arguments as to why and how, I just thought, “honestly, what an idiot, what a stupid thing to do”, and the lack of a thesis or essay about it made it far less charged.

I thought about it for a few minutes afterwards.  I decided that, sometimes, being a Christian and therefore not free to call someone stupid or an idiot, in good conscience, can make you far less human and sympathetic in the way you approach people when they are idiots and do stupid things.

Then I thought again.  Where did this restriction come from, the idea that you can’t call someone an idiot?  Is it Christian?  While it is true that Jesus said if you call your brother a fool you will be in danger of hell fire, the Old Testament talks a lot about fools, especially in the Book of Proverbs, and there is a parable about the man who built bigger barns to store his grain and congratulated himself about having plenty stored up, that God said to him, “you fool, this night your soul will be required of you”.  Whatever we might think of that concept of God, even though the Bible says it was Jesus who told the story, perhaps the fact that it is in the Bible should indicate that Bible believing, evangelical Christians, if we don’t already do so, should hold a more liberal view about just calling people stupid when it might be more appropriate and productive than having to construct an argument.  Because some behaviour obviously is stupid, and sometimes the best way to deal with it, in the right kind of relationship where the person can accept and respond to it, is just to say so.

So I’m not sure how I got the idea that you can’t just tell someone they are being an idiot and their behaviour is stupid, in an affectionate, good natured way, and they could just exhale in relief and maybe slightly embarrassed recognition and change it.  maybe someone was censorious with me at some point for doing that, or maybe someone whose opinion I value would be against it.  If so, me, what an idiot, what a stupid thing to do, to take that on board, maybe, and the person who influenced me could well be an idiot, at least over that, also.  Having to construct arguments and theses all the time doesn’t half kill the flow of fondness in relationships, and all the positive change that comes out of that.

It’s just a thought, for normal circumstances.

I think this is a stupid post written by an idiot.

Yes, we should.  It is the only way to understand each other and live in peace with each other.  David Cameron is right.

But he is wrong about which language it should be.

The language should be mutual respect and respect for human rights, not the spoken language of your adopted country.  The problem arises if we let people in who are against our values in the first place.  What could happen then is that people learn our language (English, in our case) and subvert it to use it against us.  People who don’t speak our language coming in to the country are not our problem, but people who don’t share our values.

What are our values?  I don’t know!  Get any group of White Anglo Saxons together and you can have just as many culture clashes as you can with anyone else, even though we have been here for generations as the dominant group.  The loud mouths.  “It’s all the fault of the immigrants, coming into our country and stealing our jobs”.  If people have to make an enemy out of someone and unite against them, I have been taught that is possibly all they agree about, and some of those do it because they wouldn’t feel safe to disagree.   Correction, some of us, because we all do it sometimes.

But not speaking the language of the country should not be a problem, because there are ways around that.

Respect is the thing.  If we provide translations (or anything) but resent doing so, that communicates and damages relationships.  Or the people working with the translations, the officials and what have you who, for some reason, don’t really value different cultures but are doing a job because if they don’t they are financially penalised, if they can’t stand the people they serve or work with, how is that going to help anyone?  I know the answer is obvious and so does my reader.  “It isn’t”.

Translators are people who love language.  They problably love the culture that goes with it as well, otherwise they might not have got that far (I managed to take French to first year degree level myself, starting at the age of 9 or 10.  My best exam mark for it was an A at ‘O’ level, as it was before GCSEs.  My worst might have been an E at ‘A’ level.  I put it down to the increased literature element and my inconsistent attendance).

What if translators of English into other languages translated our literature for the non-English speaking people that live among us, and we also got their literature in translation?  This must be distress at its worst, because I know I’m talkiing garbage because I know that obviously happens, now I say so.  That’s what snakebite does for you, it has you all over the place!

But . . .  national identity doesn’t depend on us all speaking English, and you can’t blame the foreigners for the fact that there are many clashing value systems in our country, because that is true without them.

If we maintain respect there is no reason why we should push for integration.  People want to maintain their own identities, that is natural, especially in a strange place.  And why should it be seen as unhealthy if some of them never want to do anything else?  Saying that kind of thing about what someone wants makes them angry and miserable and promotes discrimination and prejudice.

We can keep the separate communities.  We can celebrate difference.  We can enable learning about each other within our own communities.  We don’t have to mix it, we can keep it separate, if that is easier, and let different communities be taught what they need to know by their own people and anyone else able to communicate with them that they accept.

Why, these days, should a non-English speaking child be thrust into an English taught school and therefore be at a disadvantage?  We can’t all learn another language, it doesn’t come naturally to some people.  Some people have problems with their own language, let alone someone else’s.  And there was plenty of illiteracy in England before mass immigration, so it isn’t fair to say we are being slowed down.  And why should the focus be language skills anyway?  What about other necessary skills?  There are some jobs you can do quite happily without needing to yap at everyone.  Some jobs might be better done that way.  Artisan type jobs, for example.

Let’s celebrate everything!  Different cultures, different gifts and skills.  It doesn’t have to be onerous and pedestrian, it can be a constant, joyous flux and flow.

People keep up trade links with their own countries anyway.  Why force people to integrate who can’t or don’t want to?  As long as we can establish and maintain respect between the communities there is nothing wrong with separateness where people want to be separate and coming together where they want that.  I’m thinking that education, at least in the first years, should be within the child’s own ethnic community, because that is where they will be happiest.  And what’s wrong with having further and higher education that way as well, all within our own country?  Why should we invade or insist on dragging out into the open the private place of someone else’s cultural identity?

It’s about choice.  Choice creates industry and jobs.  This is something there is both a need and a demand for.

I say, back to basics.  Back to reality.  Stop blaming people and trying to create jobs selling things people don’t need like food, for instance, with all kinds of subliminal messages attached (why else do you think we are obese and lazy?  But those who sell it and know the methods they use to sell it still turn round and blame us and say we are a burden on the tax payer.  Well, some tax payers are a burden on everyone!).  Start providing instead the things we actually need to make society work – people skills, philosophy, values, the arts, beauty, (shh erm – religion?)

Quack quack, said the silly duck, it’s time for another industrial revolution.

Hey, this is the 21st century! (I never thought I’d say that!)  David, what kind of leader says, “you must learn our language, or you can’t come here”?  Different isn’t bad, it’s different.  It’s an opportunity.

This is so outrageous I can hardly believe you mean it.  I watch the most serious things these days and find myself laughing as if it is a comedy, sometimes.  Does everyone end up saying, as they get older, “the world has gone mad”?  Because I did last night.

If we are going to say to people, “you can’t come here unless you learn our language”, what about the people here who already don’t speak it? Are we going to end up having an ethnic purge?  Shall I being the mental health system into this?  Yes, I think I might, because in many ways it is the same kind of thing.  Ethnic purge.  That is a real danger.  There are elements, including among those in power, who after stopping entry by others who can’t speak the language/don’t share our values, will next turn on those already living among us, and that wouldn’t be pretty at all.  David Cameron, you seriously need to rethink this.  You can’t make people conform at will without damaging relationships. There would also be a backlash from some people already here from countries from which some people were not allowed access.

By the way, when I talked about snakebite earlier – I had just watched the Andrew Marr Show before I wrote this and I first thought of that phrase after hearing William Hague talking.

I think among our human rights should be the right to be inadequate and incapable, if that is what our lives have done to us, without it bearing any kind of stigma at all.  I wonder if that is possible while the great god the tax payer gets invoked against everyone that is or feels that way?

This society stinks, it is so abusive.  But it is probably not that much different from many others.  Jesus said you can’t serve God and mammon.

He also pointed out that the Bible says in one of the Psalms that we are gods, and the scriptures cannot be broken.  I used to think that was sarcasm, but would the Jesus I have been taught about have been sarcastic about scripture?  No, He wouldn’t.  Is the Jesus I have been taught about the real Jesus?  Unquestionably!  Jesus defended the scripture that says we are gods.  He would not have been sarcastic about scripture.  And we can’t serve each other (God/gods) and money as well.

I apologise for my style, but I watch and listen to so much rubbish.  It seems to be all there is available.

I have few clear ideas about anything at the moment.  I was going to say ‘anymore’, but decided against it.

I don’t know how I feel about the death penalty on principle.  I know how I have felt about individual cases.  I was so upset about one a few years ago that I kicked in the glass in my kitchen door.  I was upset because the news agencies were there just reporting it and not doing anything they were talking about.  It was a Christian woman in the US.  I can’t remember more than that now.

I just read that Julian Assange could face the death penalty or Guantanamo if extradited to Sweden.  The term that was used was ‘ilegal rendition’.  I assume that is something they can do to a non-US citizen.  One writer said how can this happen if he is not a US citizen.  Can it, I don’t know.  I don’t know what ‘illegal rendition’ means.

At a significant point for me Wikileaks released something which led me to do a search as to who had died in Afghanistan/Iraq, and I discovered many namesakes from my own sphere of awareness.  Some of them I felt to be close namesakes, but now I can’t remember and that might just have been my imagination, living too much in the world of the media.  I don’t think so though.

I absolutely loathed Hillary Clinton at one point. I don’t feel so strongly now, possibly because things might be smoothing out as I never said anything about it.

It seemed obvious to me a while ago that she has had something to do with my old Bible College lecturer and longtime heroine, Jean Darnall, unless there are a lot of American ladies who act like that.  But the likeness came to light for me at what seemed like a really significant point in what I was communicating. 

I feel ludicrous.  I feel as if I am meddling in things which are really way beyond me and none of my business.  I certainly feel that, every time i post something like this, I start to dig myself up all over again when perhaps I should rest and let myself heal.

I heard Hillary Clinton roundly condemn Julian Assange and Wikileaks.  I also believe I know she has been involved and informed about me, from things she has said and at times that she has said them.

As a Christian I have to say, God knows there is something really wrong here.  I’m frightened.

I’ve heard both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama using psychic find and extinguish buzz words on me.  I am absolutely sure I can say that with confidence.  But I’m a nobody.  I don’t know what they are doing or why, I know they are doing it, I want to believe well of them, they are world leaders, after all.  I want to believe they are well-intentioned towards me, but they haven’t made proper contact with me.

What do I sound like, I sound really crazy.  I’m a bit ungrounded at the moment, I’m not getting any TV and my internet connection won’t support video.  I just felt I had to say something, for what it might be worth.  No one seems to think it is worth anything (pity, pity, moan, moan) and I really dread that one day I’m going to write something like this and find myself back in hospital.  I dread it now.  No one is coming forward to stop it, and I feel the wheels are in motion to dispossess me of my home and maybe put me back in hospital.  That is another reason I feel ungrounded.

I can’t see how anything I say can help Julian Assange.  I felt as if I had to say something, but I don’t know why or who I’m doing it for or what I’m trying to achieve.

When the 9/11 bombings took place I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I wasn’t in New York, I was in an internet cafe, gambling on horse races online.  I was so watchful over myself at the time that I didn’t process or respond very well to what was unfolding.  I commented to someone in a chatroom or on a game site that I thought it could be a wake up call to the West and to America over our godlessness and materialism and building temples to mammon.  That was what I felt at the time.  I felt there was something of the fightback of emasculated power in the decision to rebuild the World Trade Center as big as, if not bigger than, before.  I did feel there was a lesson that needed to be learned and accepted by the west about cathedrals to money.  But what do I know, I’m quite ignorant about many things, including Islam’s own temples to money, if they have them.  I assumed the motive behind the attacks was to strike at materialism and, if it was, I thought i could see how, given their philosophy, that kind of attack would be justified in their eyes.  Without justifying the attack, I thought it would be better to learn a lesson from the reason for it than to go in seeking revenge.  Does that make me sick?  I thought relations might improve if the lesson were accepted, but maybe that is crazy thinking, I think now it might have been.  I think now that Islam hates us, regardless of what we do.  I thought it might be open to reason and to resolving international relationships and some sort of coming together.  Maybe I have become as reactionary as the warmongers if I decide I was wrong about that and that they hate us because they want to hate us, full stop.  And that there is no question of something needing to be learned and any ground given in how we live.  Terrorists, after all, are not to be negotiated with or recognised in any way, and certainly not in any changes to our own lifestyles.  That is what we are taught.  My heart says that can’t be right.  People are people and if we respond to a good point in the right way, even if the way it is made is wrong, that should create hope, shouldn’t it?  But I don’t know the Koran.  Kensington Temple presents it one way, liberal Muslim’s present it another, apparently these books are always open to interpretation, they tell us.  Who do we decide we are going to believe and why?  Is true Islam committed to hating us and destroying us?  If so, why don’t the liberal Muslims say so?  Maybe it’s an argument about what is true Islam.  I feel I should know, it must surely be accessible.

My fear is that while we try to go with liberal Islam and give people claiming to be liberal Muslims power in government and in churches, even, as it now is, I fear we might not detect people coming under a cloak of friendship but who might actually be using their positions for subversive and dangerous purposes.  If the worst of Islam is to be safeguarded against, how wise is it to open key positions to possible covert infiltration of extremism where privileged information with regard to the bodies traditionally hated by Islam might be passed to people who can do real harm?  Personally I am absolutely convinced it is a risk we shouldn’t be taking.  I’m sorry.  I know that won’t go down well with some people.  But when I hear that churches are taking Muslims onto their staff, my alarm bells start ringing.  Islam is anti any other God or prophet.  So is Christianity.  By definition, true Islam and true Christianity can’t work together.  And neither of them can honestly work with humanism, as humanism can’t honestly work with religion.  So what are we playing at?  Is anyone actually thinking about it? We claim to be trying to do the impossible.  When it comes right down to the practicalities, will it turn out to be just lip service?  And if it does, then what?  When we all realise that and see it, if we haven’t already, how will our attempts at multiculturalism fare?  I don’t know the answer to that.  I feel I’m wrong even to question it, that I’m just stupid and ignorant and people are basically too good not to make it work, even in the face of disillusionment.  But if things are not only different but also opposing and evangelically militant in opposition . . . Do we have to spend our whole lives living in a dialectic?  Is that really what life is supposed to be about?  I’ve wasted my life, I’m too old for dialectic, but I wish I wasn’t, because I think it sounds exciting.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Yeah, like, out with the old, and in with the new.  And I really mean that ‘out’.  Just listen how hard I say it, and how quickly I get it into my post.  I think I’m following some bad modelling, it’s what comes of watching too many news type programmes.

Actually, in this context, I don’t mean it at all.  It’s just a time to ritualise hope and good intentions, and little more than a superstitious observation. Very handy though, for some people.

I think of this in the context of what the apostle Paul said in Galatians when he said he feared for them, because they observed special days and times and seasons.  That’s my first reference point.

Then I remember that, in the Old Testament, there were laws for observing different times, if not instructions to do so.  I think it’s probably instructions, but I won’t be dogmatic, because I haven’t read it recently, that part.

Was one of them wrong and, if not, what changed in between times?  And why do we go with the old Jewish festivals instead of taking notice of Paul?

I don’t understand and, if you say you do, why should I believe you?

OK.  I started off in that way because I just read a comment on TB’s blog about sarcasm.  I didn’t want to say any of that about New Year, because right at this moment I really don’t care.  I do care, in that I am not participating in the happiness and I think I’ve just been stubborn and hurt myself.

I was thinking in the shower (as one does), though I have been registering it for a long time, that the most painful part for me of being where I am at the moment is that I think it is all my fault.  I’ve done this to myself.  No one has done it to me.  That’s what I’m thinking.  Rightly or wrongly. On the deepest level, and believing everything I have been taught about personal responsibility, whatever anyone else has done to me . . .

People hit you when you’re down, have you noticed?  That’s why I always try to close everything perfectly, because if I don’t people, including Christians, take advantage of it. They work off what they see here but never see fit to make contact. From Christians it’s worse, because they are the ones who taught me to repent when I’m wrong, and make restitution where possible.  Yet they don’t.  But they keep going for my head.  They just keep talking about it and making observations which ought to lead them to repentance, but in terms of the people they hurt and harm, how many of us do they look out and say something which would at least show willing?  I wonder if they have got as far as putting up physical barricades at their studio doors yet?  Nah, no way.  They don’t need to.  They’ve got the police moving at their beck and call.

I was going to say that these days you have to get past reception first, or was that just something they put me through but don’t do to everyone else?

I was also thinking, before what I thought in the shower, that I want to do what is right.  But also that I have tried, legally, to go by what I believe to be ‘the book’, but it is those in power and authority which have refused to respond to that on the same terms the rest of us, the uninitiated into grace and favour options, have to.  Grace and favour = come on, we’ll deal with it, we don’t have to tell everyone, it’s just our little secret, you’re good, you’re part of the answer?  Rather than dealing openly in the ways provided by the law (which might indeed be open to interpretation, but surely not that much?)  I’ve heard people say the practice of law is an art.  I thought if there are clear rules and regulations it ought to be nearer to an applied science?  People saying it’s an art and open to interpretation has pulled the rug from under my feet when it comes to having the confidence to try to move forward.

They appeal to me with such emotion it makes me feel I know I would not be harmed in any way if I went back to London, and I’m a bad person not to go.  But if that is the case (sorry, but here I go again), why can’t they make a formal commitment to that?

I feel like a cornered animal, or a felon.  Their ability to pull the mental health act on me is always held on to and continually thrown in my face.  How can I do what is right when the people I need to trust are acting in such a perverted way and a way so subversive of the proper process of law?  Is surrender on a point of law legal itself if the people who would be handling it are not acting with full legal compliance and openness and regard for human rights themselves?  In spite of the fact that they hold office and seem to be asking me to come home (or is that just the way the news makes it look?) would I be acting legally myself if I acted on the legally uncommitted emotions of those to whom, because of their office, disobedience is shameful?  I’ve gone almost as far as I can, to the point of almost exhausting the internal options open to me.  I have big reservations about the European Court of Human Rights.  I don’t know how much these people work hand in glove.  I know that not many appeals from the UK are successful, if what I heard on the news is true.  I suppose it must be.

Thinking in those terms, just this moment I’ve had a new thought: does the European Court of Human Rights ‘lose’ people’s files?  It seems to me that, in some cases, they must know well ahead of a person approaching them that that person’s human rights are being breached, and yet if they don’t move to help even before they are formally approached by the people who lack confidence anyway, including confidence in them, what kind of a body does that really make them?  How can I approach a body which I have every reason to believe has looked on for ages and not intervened?  These awful, dishonest, self-seeking, self-protecting traitors, if that is what they have done?  If that is what they do the whole system is an embarrassment to everyone, and especially to those who need it.

I’m assuming there is openness and honesty behind closed doors between the heads of state.  That’s what this meandering is based on. 

Joan Ruddock, my MP, knows.  I’ve asked her senior case worker, if not Joan directly, if I can have a copy of the correspondence which has gone between Joan and my housing association at my request, if that is permissible.  It was at that point they chose to terminate the correspondence between me and them.  That request received no acknowledgement whatsoever, nor has any email I have sent them since.  If I don’t explicitly engage them they won’t engage, and having tried to engage them on whether or not I am allowed copies of the emails between my housing association and themselves, they have refused or failed to respond.  That was about 2 months ago.  Don’t you assume enough of a sufficient working relationship between yourself and your MP to expect that if you forward any obviously distressed emails you have sent to your housing association, even without comment because they are sent in the heat of fighting for yourself, that your MP should respond?  That was what I expected.  I know they have a lot of work to do (people I approach keep telling me that), but I am part of that workload, in some cases I am part of that workload by law, yet they turn to me and say they are busy, or refuse to follow through as they should and as they promised?  And then, in the case of my housing association, they send me an email just before Christmas, having refused to answer the questions and provide the information which might make me feel more secure about going back to live in one of their properties, asking me if I have informed the Housing Benefit people that I am not living in the flat at the moment.  But thinking about it, while the housing association recognises my tenancy . . . no, maybe that’s a loophole.  Maybe I’m not entitled to keep receiving housing benefit.  But the housing association took over everything to do with my housing benefit years ago, without even consulting me.  That’s a nice one to pull out of the hat when you ask them if they have kept proper records of your tenancy and of the accusations made that landed you in hospital and of who made them.  When you say you think it might be illegal if they haven’t kept those kinds of records, being empowered to make the kinds of decisions they do about people without proper consultation.  My housing officer’s boss wrote back to me and said I had been told “numerous times” that the association now considered the matter closed and they are not prepared to talk about it.  That can’t be legal.  That’s not providing a good home, that’s presiding over a prison, an extension of the mental health system right in your ‘home’, they say they have no obligation to get involved, but they get involved, over my head and without telling me, when they want me put away.  It’s actually in my psychiatric notes that, following the accusations from the workmen, I was put in hospital so they would have space to do their work.

That’s another thing, for years I was asking for my notes and being promised them, and I seem to remember but am not sure that some of those promises were made at the prompting of a solicitor.  Repeatedly promised but never given.  All the right forms filled and submitted, no response.  How many years did it take before I got them, I can’t remember.  Maybe enough time for them to be able to try and kid me that it was ‘a long time ago’ and the matter is closed.  Presiding psychiatrist one Doctor Gallo, who on transfering me at my request to another psychiatrist described me as ‘this very difficult patient’.  Dr Gallo, ‘yes, we’ll give them to you, yes, we’ll give them to you’ and no matter how many times I asked and made fresh applications, I never got them.  Why it was suddenly so easy when I asked for them again in the middle of last year, I have no idea.  Dr Gallo, psychiatrist thug from the Ladywell Unit, Lewisham Hospital.  It’s funny, one of Colin Dye’s platform team looks just like him.

So back to what I wanted to say.  I need to make some practical decisions.  I want to move, here in Bulgaria.  But if I do, whether I rent or buy, I’m not sure, I have been given no legal assurance, that if I take something on I will be free to fulfil the contract or to make the necessary repayments.  I can’t believe they would do this, but there is a possibility that someone would want to imprison me or otherwise detain me, and I would end up defaulting on a financial commitment.  So I don’t feel free to make one.  But I also don’t feel safe to go home, given that requested information is being withheld and I am being spoken to and neglected in such ways by my housing association, the police, my MP, solicitors won’t get involved, and in spite of emails sent to the mental health team, one of them asking my present psychiatrist to respond, I have heard nothing.  Nothing, nada, zilch.  They must know what that is doing to me and I’m wondering what they are trying to do to me.  Yes, do to me.  I was going to say achieve, but that would have been just trying to avoid the appearance of what they like to call ‘paranoid ideation’.  If I’ve sent them emails and asked for a response, I should get one.  And I mean a response, not an excuse for an assessment and a decision that it is time to move in.

My uncle says Christmas is the same as any other day.  When things aren’t as you would like them to be, this is a perspective you need to keep hold of. Because of my church and family background, I believe Christmas is special.  I feel as if I am betraying myself and Christmas by writing this.  That if I made the right approaches to the right people, my Christmas could be redeemed.  But even if that were to happen once, this year, there are other Christmasses to come where I might not be so fortunate.  So the point is, you always need to make your own decisions and not run round looking for rescue remedies, even at Christmas.  The celebration of Christmas is an exterior thing.  But I still wish I was doing it and had done it in the past, and I still want my friends and family, and still feel ashamed that I haven’t invested in them and that, consequently, I will never know and experience, and neither will they, the kind of relationships we might have had.  Blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever.  They threw my mother at me yesterday.  These media rapists.

This is a crisis time for many people, including people ‘with mental health problems’.  A lot of suicides occur at this time of year.

That isn’t because of the time of year.  It’s because of the way it is sold to us and the expectations and ideals we are taught to have of it.  It’s the way it is marketed by people who want to make money out of it and those who help them to advertise. Some people’s minds have already been so raped that it’s more than they can cope with, so they go into crisis, or commit suicide.  I think staying away from the television and radio might be the best thing for most of us at this time of year.  Truth and reality are within us, not on the tv and radio.  They are selling an illusion and a lie, and most of them know it.  It’s all about materialism and trade.  Hear me, please – that is ALL it is.

I just watched some Bulgarian television.

Within a few minutes they said something about Stara Zagora and pissed.  Just right for anglichanka ears.

I experience speech like music these days.  Especially if I don’t understand the language.  It’s quite nice and relaxing.  And if they pull a trick like that, it backfires on them, because I am not distracted by what comes afterwards, out of their mouths, because I can’t understand it anyway and it can’t dazzle or influence me.  So I can continue to watch and think my own thoughts and make my own observations, mistaken or otherwise.

Here are some thoughts and observations from this morning, mistaken or otherwise:

It was a live breakfast programme, a bit like the ones we have in the UK.  The setting is like an expensive city house.  There was a cookery slot.  The fare was economical.

My thought was that they are trying to tell Bulgarians that they are poor, when actually they are rich, in everything that matters, as long as they don’t develop a serious case of built up city-itis.  In this programme it looked a lot like the city-house surroundings were the important thing (and the unrealisable  aspiration of many, as it has been in Western Europe), and meagre fare was a price you had to pay to reach that ideal.  Or maybe villagers aren’t the target audience anyway, in which case I’m a poisonous cow.  No sorry, forget that, there is an ideal and a philosophy being pushed here, whatever the target audience is.  It is designed to be influential.  Otherwise why bother?

There is no security in this, only a continual grasping.

While people have land, they are rich beyond compare.  The people they call poor here, they are the ones who really are rich, and that is not a statement I am making for sentimental appeal.

The people they call poor, the village people, most of them have their own land around their houses.  That is wealth.   We hear about the landed gentry (or used to, have we moved on?)  But what about the landed poor?  The landed poor are richer, in real terms, than the housed rich.  They can grow what they like.  For meat eaters (which I am not) they can rear what they like.  They need never be hungry.  If those with more give to those with less, it evens out.  And also people can exchange things with each other, both goods and services, without money, and without price.  That endures when economies crash.

Without the language I’m a bit ignorant.  I don’t really know what ideology people are trying to sell and push for.

I know I’ve been in many hotels here which appear to have more staff than guests.  The Bible talks about ‘to-ing and fro-ing across the earth’.  Someone has sold us the lie that peace and contentment and security and being settled and established are boring.

I’m going to buy a house here, unless someone decides to stop me.  It’s going to be in a village.  It’s going to have land.  The wherewithal to create my own wealth.  I hope that, in the future, this country does not start bulldozing villages to make way for cities.  The villages are the foundation.  Good, real, organic life is in the villages.  Life, farming, community, shared skills and the opportunities to learn.  Kill the villages, get the youth of the villages wanting something else and despising what they have there so they want to move out, get the older people with life experience undervaluing themselves and their history and what they have to pass on, dismantle these communities, self-perpetuating, self-sustaining, with real wherewithal, make the economy dependent on something else, a selling idea, more manufacturing-based, more handing over money based, and it will eventually be disastrous for the economy.  Just as it has been for the west.

Back to the land.  It’s good.  It’s progressive, not regressive.  It’s not compensatory, it’s the healthy reality we should never have abandoned.  Test all things.  Hold fast to that which is good. 

The failure of a bad and illusory idea is not the failure of humanity.  It is not a shame for people to abandon a lie and embrace the truth.  That’s what the Bible calls repentance. The lie is ‘you can’t stop progress, you can’t turn back the clock’.  

Whether the lie is working for them materially or not, if it’s a lie, and it is working for them, materially is the only way it DOES work for them.  For the ones at the top, they are envied and despised and a cause of false shame to many who are struggling.  Maybe we can’t blame them, if they are working as honestly as they know how.  It’s what they have been sold too.

I heard a programme on Radio 4 this week, ‘In Our Time’, by Melvyn Bragg.  They were discussing the Industrial Revolution.  I hardly went to school in my teens, so if ideas were discussed (I don’t remember hearing them being discussed out of class time) it’s not something I would have felt able to be part of.  But I can remember standing in a dinner queue one day feeling really upset and isolated, because I was standing there believing with absolute conviction that the Industrial Revolution had been a bad thing, and I really wanted other people to see that and to be able to do something about it, but I thought I might be a bit of an oddity, and I didn’t know how to talk about it anyway, even if I thought there might be people who might agree with me.  I think I felt overwhelmed with differentness.

The fact is, I’m 50 now.  Most of my life is past, unless I live to be over 100.  That is a real grief to me.  What could have been and what could have been achieved?  My past feels like a blank, and my future unrealisable.  I already feel as if it is all over.  What could have been achieved should have been achieved by now.  Maybe I’m just being ageist against myself.

Edit note 10.36 am Bulgarian time.

I was apalled when I re-read this post at my own self-centredness and self-consciousness.  I was thinking about this last night, how people tell you you are self-centred or too self-consciousness, as if it is an accusation and they are pointing out a failing.  I was also thinking maybe they don’t mean it to come across that way, maybe they mean to teach.  I thought that if you want to teach with something like that, you need to dislocate the thinking.  I thought that usualy people put the emphasis in the wrong place, they talk about self-centredness instead of self-centredness, and self-consciousness instead of self-consciousness. The part that is stressed should be the part you are questioning.  It’s not the consciousness and the centredness that should be in question, but the focus of the consciousness and centredness.  If the person trying to address this in another emphsised the word ‘self’ in the communication, the other person might start asking, ‘why, what other kind of consciousness and centredness is there?’, and that is a question which enables teaching to take place.

I’m talking about redeeming my Christmas.  What about everyone else’s?

Anyway, I started this edit note because I used a tag today that was new to me, Rape of a Nation.  I looked to see if there was anything else tagged that way, and I found this film.  I feel and believe it is dealing with and showing some of the consequences of thigs I have meanderingly thought about and painfully tried to express out of my own ignorance and stupidity in my post.  So here’s the link.  If it doesn’t show as a link, in my browser you can right click on it and it says ‘go to link’.  My link buttons remain disabled.

It’s a short journalism film about how the diamond trade operates in the Congo.

http://www.mediastorm.com/publication/rape-of-a-nation

 

Wikileaks Stopped Me Screaming

Thank you, Wikileaks.

I suppose because I heard what the leaks were, when they were about the US spying on the United Nations, and let’s just say I wasn’t impressed.  I suppose because I assumed that UK leaders knew about that and that if we were supposed to value our membership of the United Nations, and we were party to spying on them, I thought that was really grubby and hypocritical.  I was really pleased that it came out.  I have every reason to be sympathetic towards the United Nations over this issue, and for me the war with Iraq and with Afghanistan was illegal because it went against United Nations ruling. I don’t understand any more than that.  I bought the angle that Iraq is a sovereign nation and that we have no right to interfere in how they run their affairs.  And also I don’t believe that the war on terrorism can be a literal war.  And what is shock and awe, if it isn’t an act of terrorism?  Inwardly I was screaming no since before it started and as soon as they started talking about considering it.  I saw angry, hate driven men sitting around the tables on the television talking about what to do.  I saw men driven by a really dark and life-denying spirit.  All retaliation does is perpetuate a thing.  It might quell it momentarily and take away its figureheads, but it comes back, goes underground – what’s this stuff about Jerry Adams?  We know this kind of thing happens, even if it hasn’t happened in this case, which I don’t know because I haven’t kept up with the news.

People have been anti war for centuries, even millenia.  But they put all these august men in suits on the TV saying how the war is right and that we should be behind our boys.  I wonder if these people have any space in their lives for someone like Leo Tolstoy, or if they would make out they have if asked, even if they haven’t?  Leo Tolstoy was a pacifist.  I think he was also a Christian Anarchist, but I can’t remember.  I began to read one of his books last year.  Unfortunately I left my books in London.  I bought a one way ticket.  I thought I would be back within a month, my purchase under my belt.

I was really upset when I heard they wanted to arrest Julian Assange.  It certainly looks as if it is politically motivated.  I felt I owed him, and I can’t remember why.  John Major on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday put it down to youthful folly.  They weren’t his exact words but they meant the same.  That is really demeaning.  You can’t say you are pro democracy and take up a position like that as a leader.  Why put it down to youthfulness?  I assume Wikileaks people will continue to act on the same convictions when they are the same age as John Major and beyond that.  He puts it down to youthfulness because the voice of the war machine is the dominant voice in society.  If it wasn’t someone would be putting down going to war as youthful foolishness, which I believe it is.

Julian Assange, I salute you.

THAT Was Ages Ago!

I was just thinking about something I read or heard that, after a couple of years being a vegetarian or vegan, your body loses the ability to process non-vegetarian/vegan food sources.  I felt slightly worried, just in case it really should turn out that you need animal nutrition to be healthy, and what would I do if my body couldn’t even cope with it?

Then I thought of the days when I was fascinated by the fact that Pete Murray was a vegetarian, and wondered how he could possibly do it, and thought it couldn’t be possible, and that it was very interesting, but scary territory, and very much ‘out there’.  It wasn’t something I could ever do. People like me can’t.

I went to Happy Grill the other day, for a cup of coffee.  I decided to look at the menu, and decided that, as a vegan, I was in trouble.  I wanted everything I shouldn’t want.  Not just eggs, but meat and fish.  It felt like the most normal, natural and easy thing to do, just tuck into a chicken, meat or fish meal.  I am wishing I was still a fish eater, and am trying to justify a thought that I could keep my own egg producing hen.  With me it would be free and well cared for.

I also keep deciding it can’t be right, as a vegan.  I keep coming back to the belief that, if I do that, I will be validating the system of exploitation that gives me access to the hen in the first place.

But is it different in the countryside, and in Bulgaria?  Is it OK to eat animals and their products if the animal has a free and natural life?  Is being a vegan a bit extreme?

I sometimes feel it is, and that I am being stupid and depriving myself just because I said that I would be a vegan for life, and I don’t want to be teased about giving it up.  Why not, I don’t know, really.  Vegans are no nicer than – I was going to say ‘the rest of us’, this is not a good place for a vegan to be – anyone else, and there are more of us than there are of them, that is more meat eaters than vegans, and this is my thought process which, as a vegan, I’m not entitled to, but it is where I’m at.

OK, muddle.  I have not felt embraced by vegans, any more than by anyone else.  As a human and a vegan, I have felt enraged and deeply wounded and betrayed by this, because part of my vegan expectation is that people will matter to vegans as much as any other living creature does.  As a vegan, especially in Bulgaria, I am really lonely.

I don’t know what is wrong with the vegetarian/vegan people here.  Their prejudice and misogynistic hatred and contempt seem to run just as deep, if not deeper – I mean, if you are a vegetarian or vegan out of conviction, that’s a love stance, isn’t it?  So how can you be cruel/rejecting/controlling towards a human being, especially if they share your convictions and believe in and practise the lifestyle?  And if you claim to embrace a peaceful and loving spirituality to boot?

I wonder if they read this.  I wonder if the people the media continually directs my attention back to are really wanting me to go back to them? Because if they do and if they read this, I’d like to say to them,

‘wake up and smell the coffee, guys.  I am gutted and devastated by the way you have treated me in this, the way you have turned away from me and turned in on yourselves, the way you have accepted a bad report about me from people who have no right even to have access to some of the things they say, let alone be spreading them’.

Maybe I made a mistake.  I believed in the vegan community, the kind, compassionate, caring, Christian, spiritual community.  I saw the sharing of values as a bond and covenant of friendship.  I still do.

I was going to liken it to believing in the disabled community, or a racial or ethnic community, but about those things you have no choice.  But is it still true that, even given who you say you are in the paragraph above, it is no more covenantal than being disabled or of a particular ethnic background?

There is one thing we all are, and that is human.  But even that is not a respected covenant.  So just as I am not going to find a friend in every human being just because I am human (we might be different in every other way), it probably follows that I am not going to find a friend in every vegan or spiritual person and shouldn’t believe in the idea of community anymore than I should believe in a disabled community.  The fact that we share a situation or cause or believe we share a conviction doesn’t mean we have what it takes to be friends and find friends.

This is garbage, isn’t it?  It is also a place of real pain and heartbreak for me.  And parading it on a page on the internet makes me feel less able to deal with it in a way that might heal relationships in real life.  It’s about motive.  Who am I writing for, and why?  They have as much right to feel betrayed as I do, maybe, if not more.

Non-vegans tease you all the time, pushing the boundaries of what you will or won’t embrace as acceptable and your reasons.  A question I keep coming back to is, if some animals are bred only for their usefulness or food value, if we were all vegan would they all become extinct?  These lovely, fluffy lambs we don’t want to kill and eat, the horses and the donkeys we don’t want to exploit.  If they only existed in the wild, would they soon become extinct, and our lives be perceptibly poorer for their absence?

Another question: is using an electronic sound deterrent on household pests and vermin a form of animal cruelty?  I’ve got a rat or 2, they are getting bolder.  They do my bedroom now.  I read they don’t like peppermint, so I put some peppermint teabags out all around the kitchen, and at the hole I know about.  They shifted them out of the way and carried on regardless.  I can’t afford rat catchers all the time, and I think they would be unsympathetic to a vegan approach anyway, the only other option seems to be to let dogs and cats eat them.  Or kill them and leave them for me. Lovely!  And inconsistent, to my mind.  So what do you do?

Marcus Aurelius on Anger & Empathy

Marcus Aurelius on Anger & Empathy.

I saw this, disagreed with some of it, liked a lot of it.

I liked the bit about strength is being able to remain calm and gentle, and agreed with the bit from Plato that expecting that bad men won’t do anything bad is stupid, and that thinking they will do bad things to other people but not to you is arrogant.

I don’t agree, fundamentally, with the ‘you will hurt yourself but not me’ stance in detaching yourself from someone else’s behaviour or outbursts.  My first instinct is that expressing and believing that attitude damages yourself and assumes superiority.  If you love someone, of course you will be hurt by what they say and do if you think it is wrong. You will be hurt that they are being that way, and if you say they are hurting themselves, you also will be hurt by that fact.  You can’t not be.  If you care in any way, you can’t not be hurt.  It’s a false separation, and an outrage against your own sensitivity.

For all that, and more, I find this article interesting.  I’m going to tell the truth, whether it has any foundation or not, but when I was reading about strength being being able to remain calm and gentle, I thought about – yeah, Tommy Boyd.  Bloody damn and stuff, how could I not?

Paranoid Thoughts

You know they keep telling us we need a voice?  Well, that’s rubbish.  For most of us, that is the last thing we need.  The people who say different groups need a voice want to be the voice themselves. Some of them, if that aren’t granted that, will take it by force.

Most of us just need the protection and integrity of privacy, within our own allotted circle of relationships.

I think electronic communications, in terms of enabling undetected and widespread surveillance and crime, might be one of the worst con tricks we have ever fallen for.

They take your stuff and feed it back to you, sometimes really specifically, targeting communities and individuals within communities, we all end up frightened of each other and of intimacy because a parody of it is being shoved in our faces constantly by the media, so when we all get to sitting indoors they sell us another gadget to further enhance our media experience.

Most of these people are criminals on the make.  They force the TV licence issue while knowingly using their media empire to invade people’s privacy.  I have in mind the person who was on Andrew Marr’s show yesterday, BBC1 9am Sunday 5th December, the present director general of the BBC.  I don’t know, maybe it isn’t him, maybe he doesn’t have that much power over what people using the BBC to broadcast do, and maybe he doesn’t actually know that much.  But I think he does.

Wise observation of the day, if it IS wise, I don’t know:  If we share a truth, why do we need a voice? The philosophical debate that will come out of that is nothing to do with me, so please don’t try to make out that it is.  I might be responsible for what I say and do, but I’m not responsible to everyone who decides I should be responsible to them. That is self-igniting manure that burns with a stench.

Happy Days!

49 Or 50?

49 or 50?

(Or, as I heard a politician say today, neither fish nor foul!)

50 IS a special age.  If they say it isn’t, they’re lying.

I just thought I’d get this in now to be awkward – here in Bulgaria I am 50 years and 1 and a 1/2 hours old.  In the UK I am still 49.  Which counts and why?

When I realised I was 50, I smiled.  It was automatic.

Then I looked at where I am and felt suicidal (I’m not exaggerating).

I don’t know why or if I’m right (I’m probably not), but I believe 50 is God’s age.  That is, a special age to God.  It’s God’s reaching of majority.  5 is, my tradition tells me, the number of grace.

Whatever anyone might pray for me or try to bless me with in the future, no one can ever give me back the attaining of my 50th birthday.  That has gone.  Reconcile that for me someone, please.

I feel embarrassed making a big thing of this, because now I’m actually writing it doesn’t seem that important.  I also feel as if it is an insult to God to be so faithless for the future.

But I still felt that way, and it still is a big thing.

Check out WordPress’s Freshly Pressed.  Awesome.

PS Premier likes playing a song which I believe they are at least in part directing at me, and it’s a big part.  I can’t remember all the words I want, but it goes something like:

“I have come . . . down the road of my own mistakes . . . wasted years” etc.

For balance, I have to recognise that I am not their only intended audience, or at least I shouldn’t be.  They also play songs rejoicing and triumphing over enemies.

They say it is always your choice, and the bottom line is, that is true.  Sometimes the choice can cost you your life, and the church won’t be on your side.

It seems to me though to be a rather polarised approach to the human condition, including our spiritual condition. Blaming yourself for everything is no less the blame game than blaming other people.

I don’t know any more of this girl’s songs, but I hope that isn’t her settled position towards herself.  The Bible doesn’t mind saying that sometimes other people are to blame.

And the ‘blame game’ (I got that from Anne Coles).  Is it REALLY a game?  Isn’t it a necessary part of owning responsibility.

Blame isn’t a game, it really exists and needs to be dealt with in all healthy and growing relationships.  It is, or at least can be, a heartbreaking experience.  But surely nothing is more deadening to the soul and spirit than to live in a fuzzy, wooey, vibrating mulch where no one is allowed to recognise that blame exists, and also that it might not belong to them?

You can’t just say, ‘let’s not talk about it, let’s not play that game, let’s go and watch a film/go to a restaurant/go out witnessing.

Fuck me, you bloody can’t! (trans. I feel strongly about this and want to cry).

Rights and Privileges

The first time I heard someone say that if you commit a crime you lose all your human rights it was from James Whale.  I didn’t believe he meant that and I thought he said it deliberately with all his characteristic bile (this is how they pitch at that particular audience), in full knowledge of the fact that there is a difference between rights and privileges.  If you believe in human rights they must be inalienable.  You never stop being a human being, no matter what.   I was very concerned last night to see the director of Liberty unable to counter that argument.  She appeared to be at a loss. 

Before people talk about replacing the European Human Rights Bill with a Citizen’s Rights ruling for the UK, I wonder if the people who want to do that also want to invalidate the fact that it was largely, if not entriely, the UK that drafted the Human Rights Bill in the first place. 

Giving an undeserving person in prison the vote along with the deserving does no harm.  They can only vote for what the law allows.  So I say, if a party is illegal in nature, you should not allow it to stand for election.  You can’t blame the voters if you as the decision makers will not take that stand.  It isn’t fair to whip the populace for choosing something you have allowed to be on offer.  If what is considered legal is seen as a democratic ruling, then it is up to those in power to take the responsibility to uphold that ruling, and barr what is illegal.  Please stop having whinging public arguments about it.  It seems fairly clear to me 🙂  (Erm, excuse me, aberrant and ignorant 5 minutes).

Denying the vote to a deserving prisoner at the same time as denying it to an undeserving prisoner, though, can indeed cause a lot of harm.

I say that whoever is against this European ruling is wrong, and needs their human competence examined.  Look at the recording.  Look at the hatred that flares up in the eyes of the woman who positions herself against it.  That is what I personally find horrifying every time I meet it.  It’s witch hunt, scapegoat stuff.  It’s a nasty, irresponsible loosing of base, blind passions to make decisions about how we are to govern ourselves.  That is validated every day by politicians and media.  So everyone thinks they have a right to relate out of those passions in every day life, even if they hold power.  Guys, are you trying to get us to self-destruct?  Is that your aim and goal? Because it most certainly looks like it from where I am.

The Moon

So, what is the moon to me? 

When I went to school we had a song about the moon, or a man who lived there.  His name was (not sure how to spell this) Achin’ Drum.  And he played upon a ladle.  And something to do with cream cheese.

It has always been an object of beauty to me, and valuable for that alone.  I am assured that it is probably going to be around for at least as long as I am.  So I can look up, and there it is, awesome, beautiful, especially in the mountains on a cloudless night.

Why can’t we just look at it from a distance and love it, and love its maker?  Why can’t we let it be separate and appreciate it for its light and beauty?  Why do we have to get close up and analyse it?  To find that it has enough water per tonne for a shallow bath, but it isn’t drinkable, as said in Fiona Bruce’s News at Ten last night, ‘there are problems’.

Someone said, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.  Someone else said, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.  Since we can analyse anything we want to, why should we be grateful for or awed by anything?

My first intellectual reaction to the report was, in this era of austerity, isn’t it a waste of money to be ‘conquering’ space in this way?  Isn’t it only scientific man’s way of flexing his muscles, and isn’t it an intellectual luxury we can’t afford?  I think so.  I don’t think anyone is ever going to live on the moon.  I might be wrong, but we don’t need that space, it will only be novelty and ‘because we can’ if we do.  But it’s showing off and we can’t afford it.  In all kinds of ways we can’t afford it.  I believe the fabric of who we are can’t afford it, and I think it is immoral.  Just because we CAN do something, it doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

I went to a political talk in Deptford on climate change last year, hosted by Joan Ruddock, my MP.  I didn’t feel informed enough to contribute, so I sat and listened and thought, and eventually she waved a hand in my direction saying, ‘some people, of course, don’t even care’.  I defended myself, saying it wasn’t that I didn’t care, just that I didn’t feel qualified to have an opinion, and that the experts were divided, at which point someone suggested quite forcefully that I could leave if I wanted to, but I held my ground and stayed.  Later I asked about the impact of space exploration on the climate and the environment, but she said it was minimal, and all the lights left on and CFCs etc were more harmful and these little changes made all the difference.  I’m not convinced of that, and I thought her answer was very defensive and evasive.  Having watched parliament for a while as well, it appears to me the issue of climate change is often used strategically and metaphorically anyway.  It’s a handy issue to have going.  I was invited to the talk at a very strategic point in my own life last year, having never been invited to anything before or since.  I think I had emailed her or we had had a brief correspondence or something.  But I had had contact with her ages before that as well.

I think space programmes are an intellectual luxury we can’t afford, which adds only to our material knowledge and satisfies some of our curiosity but does nothing really for the quality of our lives, unlike other areas of science, and unlike the arts, and religion.  I suppose a few drugs might have their origin on the moon, but at this point I don’t know.

In this age of climate consciousness I wonder if people still find it so ridiculous to say, ‘if God had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings’.  Hasn’t the number and intensity and geographical reach of wars increased with our mobility?  Could we have had world wars without aircraft?  Most of us can’t afford the ‘benefits’ of air travel (going on holiday is up there in the list of the most stressful things to do as well – we need a holiday.  We need the stress of going on holiday to get away from the stress of everyday life and recharge our batteries, they tell us.  Maybe that is why many of us don’t bother with our neighbours ‘too much’, we can walk away, put space between us if it becomes too intense, and come back and maintain the comfortable distance), but apparently we can’t afford it environmentally either.

We look out there for everything, if we can’t easily find the solution nearby, everything comes at us from out there, and we end up out there ourselves.  There is no centring anymore, no respect for the individuality and separateness of another, whether it be person, family, community or country.  We cross the boundaries whenever we think we will.  Modern day mass media gives us the impression of immediacy and responsibility, but the reality is, we do not have it in us to take on that kind and amount of responsibility (or to be busybodies), and we are suffering for it.  We need more independence.  Our economies need more independence.  There should be no such thing as a global economic crisis, and no possibility of there being.  That’s what I think, but I might be wrong, I’m not that educated or well informed.

But back to science and stuff.  I’m not sure if we have the moral and ethical compass to keep pushing the boundaries.  Every new discovery seems to add more reasons to our lives to be afraid than it does benefits, and we always seem to be being told that we can’t afford the benefits anyway, as in drug treatments.  Please sir, why can’t we afford the benefits if we can afford to keep funding the war and fear machines?  Please sir, why not?

Who are all these despots that keep terrorising their people, who have been put in place by the western world leaders?  Is the selection process itself responsible for the havoc they can create and maintain?  All these famines and things where we can’t or won’t deliver because of the countries’ leaders.  I don’t want to just bandy words about that I don’t understand, but this really IS still colonial Britain, isn’t it?  Imposing our ways and values on every people we get involved with.

IF multiculturalism doesn’t work, why don’t we adopt the same ‘no pain, no gain’ policy towards dealing with that in the face of all the PC protests and accusations of racism, the same as we do with economic issues, where the accusation is that of classism?  Or on that is everyone saying, ‘you turn if you want to, the lady’s not for turning’?  Why is it taboo in England even to consider that?  Protests don’t stop our politicians in any other area of national and public life.  I’m not saying we should, I’m just asking why we can’t even give respect to the people who think we need to regain the separateness of our national identity.

Here endeth this little foray.

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