Sunday, 11 February 2018

Perspectives


Dear Reader,

I feel conscious that a change of some great significance will soon be on us (i.e. Planet Earth).

What form it will be I cannot say: it may involve many things.

To that end, I felt moved to create an additional blog, which I am calling 'Perspectives'.

Whilst I shall still write on this blog about specific issues, 'Perspectives' will be an ordered series of papers (starting at the beginning) about a philosophy that I believe we will all need to reflect on, to help tackle forthcoming changes.

There is no compulsion on anyone's part to read them, of course. But they will there, added to every week or two, for your interest and maybe even your comment. In fact, I hope you will make some comment, for the benefit of all readers. Unless the comment is rude I shall not intervene.

So, please click here to read the first 'paper' in this new blog called 'Perspectives'.

See you there, perhaps!




Monday, 22 January 2018

We Need To Change...


Dear Reader,

The New Year is settling down and is clearly showing us that whatever negative issues existed in 2017 seem to be escalating this year.

I am particularly drawn to the news from Oxfam that the gap between rich and poor seems to be exponentially increasing, We are told that this past year has seen "the fastest rise in the number of billionaires ever recorded", and out of a £7.3 trillion increase in global wealth, £6 trillion went to only 75 million people, while the bottom 3.7 billion people received no benefit (reported in i, January 22, 2018).

But that's just the economic figures. With the advent of Brexit and Donald Trump, we can clearly see that there has been a swing back towards old methods towards generating revenue. Brexit supporters chortled that "Britain can make itself Great again" as it once did, but I wonder if they realise that Britain's separation from Europe is pushing us to develop arms deals with questionable regimes and that without the EU's guiding hand we may well become the 51st state of America and be consuming its cocktail of pharmaceuticals and GM crops. Etcetera, etcetera. But since so many Brits are now glued to TV gun violence imported mainly from that great "friend" of ours, it could be that we're beginning to think that we're American anyway.

I say all this with a great apology to those Americans who really are friends and who stand for what is truly meaningful. But with the relentless tide of subjection and materialism that's generated by the Tory Party in Britain, and an opposition that means well but misses the point, the future may appear to be very dim for those without faith in the Almighty, the one and only Creator of everything we hold dear.

And it's God's creation that is being savaged, with the relentless pursuit of minerals from the earth and the sea, the British-assisted market for ivory and the continuous attack on Muslim countries. The relief charities are being made to work like never before, but as a result of hugely misguided Western policies over many years.

And the sciences that we were beginning to think were inviolable are being torn asunder by the effect of climate change. 800 species of summer plants have now been found to be flourishing in mid-winter, thereby tearing up the books of botany in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, ocean life is drowning in our waste.

Friends, we not only have to think aright, we need to act aright as well. Those that can need to change their lives to contain a new sense of what is really important, not the day-to-day striving after lucre.

Thank you for reading this!



Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Toast To Bharat!


Dear Reader,

Another year is on us! For me time seems to gather pace at an extraordinary rate, but maybe that's to do with the fact that we always seem to be active in something or other. And many a time I seem to find a 'Eureka moment' which attracts my deep attention and soaks up time.

One such 'moment' occurred just a few weeks ago when I discovered the extent of the work of children's author W. J. Corbett, who, unknowingly to me for many years, was born in and lived in the area of my upbringing. And this past year or two I've been drafting a history of that area of Birmingham. A few weeks ago I had come to the end of the main body of the book and was looking into finding something appropriate to begin the book, and, lo and behold, Corbett provided the very answer for which I was looking. For those who are unfamiliar with Corbett, his first book ("The Song Of Pentecost") won the Whitbred Award for children's books in 1982, and his work was compared by Evelyn Waugh in its quality to Wind In The Willows and Black Beauty. Roald Dahl thought his book to be an "astonishing achievement".

When I say that the fringe of the area of my upbringing attracted also the attention of J. R. R. Tolkien (and influenced his Hobbit), then you can begin to visualise why the area had an appeal for children's writers. And why the area gave me such a sense of peace at an early age.

But that is all about the past. It's a new year that we are entering and questions exist as to how the affairs of the world are to develop. I believe matters will get very much worse before they get better (in physical terms) but I also believe we are crossing a peculiar period of time which is is trying to bring us to understand who we really are. Whether the issue is about war, climate change, deprivation Jerusalem or CERN, there are questions to be resolved before progress can be made.

Traditionally - at least in modern eons - we have been brought up to think that the West has the answers. But for me the West seems to have provided the problems, and tries to resolve those problems using outmoded thinking based on sciences that have been proven to be mostly inadequate. Being a clever ape does not hide foolish thinking.

But wait ... we may think of China as being the alternative place where power might reside, but for me the answer is to be found in India, anciently known as Bharat. Anyone who has been keeping up-to-date with developments in India will realise I think that in Mohdi they have a prime minister who is beyond the usual category of Asian leader. Corruption seems to be his very enemy, and he has made himself deeply unpopular with those that that try to corrupt. Apart from that he has a base philosophy and attitude that is very Indian, yet looks to the best of both ancient and modern thinking to implement his ideas of reform and of how to deal with practical issues, including economic development.

So it's on that note I will rest this essay. And I will propose a toast: "To India! To Bharat!" For it is from that culture that most of the civilised world has evolved throughout history. If you are in doubt about that statement then please investigate for yourself.

I wish you Health and Happiness in the coming year!

Thank you for reading this!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

It Could Be That 2018 Will Be The Crunch Year


Dear Reader,

Hello again. The past 3 months or more have been taken up with so many important things that something had to give way. So this blog had to give way. In future, I will try to post at least once a month rather than weekly.

I have been doing a kind of bird's-eye review of what's been happening these past 3+ months, and what I see is more of the same, if not worse! Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the other day he felt that the Brexit matter would come to a climax by the middle of next year (2018), and he thought that it would not be the result that the leavers hoped for. 

But I see not just that but many other issues coming to a climax as well - notably the viability of the western system of economy. The Church of England's chief primate (Justin Welby) has said that the western economic model is "broken". And I well believe him, especially as the very rich get very much richer while the poorest are more squeezed than ever before. What has happened to our so-called Christian morality?

Indeed one reality appears to be that one-third of all English land is still owned by the families who acquired it at the time of the Norman conquest, 950 years ago!

And our prisons have not only become over-packed but are proving to be unmanageable. Will most of the inmates be improved citizens when they go back into society? No, sir; they will have learnt more about the darker side of life within the prison walls than they would ever have learnt outside them. UK society is being driven asunder by a huge wedge.

Though it's not wise or correct to blame all that's happening on Maggie Thatcher, she once did say that "If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing or by taxing more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay - that someone else is you." Now that kind of rhetoric made some 40 years ago has had a big impact on the country since to the extent that the old concept of a safety net for those genuinely in need has been more and more eroded while the Tory Party has been in power. And one example is that while private rents are leaping up by bounds as a result of the lack of housing availability, those that depend on local council support to pay those rents (which support is currently frozen) find themselves getting more and more into a poverty trap. Even the elderly and infirm may well be made homeless before long.

That year of 2018 seems more and more likely to be a climax year in so many ways. And towards more suffering by those without the means to do anything about their plight.

And how about our government leaders? They seem more concerned about their individual welfare and ambitions than anything else as the resignation trickle continues.

Our system of values really do need re-addressing. Our sense of what is really important seems to have been eroded. Are we alive just to make money and see our children better off? Is that really what life is all about as the detritus resulting from decades of waste pollutes the seas and the beaches? And the fish.

Maggie Thatcher, you really should have spent more time thinking and talking about those issues. Or did you listen only to your academic advisers and not to common-sense?

Economic growth only leads to a growth in waste and the killing of the natural world.

Thank you for reading this. 


Friday, 21 July 2017

A Matter Of Very Deep ConCERN?


Dear Reader,

On July 19 (just gone) I began to think more deeply about the weather we have been experiencing in this area of the UK, and how the weather forecasters just do not seem to be too accurate about their forecasting. They say they have built bigger and better computers to process the data more accurately - but do they?

In particular, the bursts of wind under perpetually gray skies seemed to be odd; plus the fact that summers of old just did not seem to be of the order we've been experiencing this past year or two. And what about the freak weather conditions in Cornwall just a few day ago? 

Oh, yes - it's "climate change" isn't it? Well, yes, I'd go along with that, but I'm beginning to suspect a lot more. Perhaps I'm just a suspicious type, but I looked into the strange weather phenomena and saw this photo of the sky over Zurich when the CERN Large Hydron Collider was being powered up:



Other news in July 2016 proclaimed that the "Large Hadron Collider (LCH) was shut down after causing a magnitude 7 earthquake which shook the whole planet." There have been many reports of strange conditions occurring when the Collider is powered up, and this website provides detailed examples of such news.

What this article is leading to is that perhaps we have become asleep to how many highly significant scientific and technological matters of an invasive kind have been developing in this world - particularly in the West - and which have been developed without our sanction. To the above matter of the Hydron Collider (which is planned to be replaced by another Collider of huge proportions) can be added the now long-standing saga of genetically-modified (GM) food, chemicals in fertilisers and now another issue which is just now being released and will affect us in a way that Stephen Hawking has said will be "either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity". And that is artificial intelligence (AI). And the matter of human genetic modification is also not well understood to my mind.

Is mankind going mad? Do our leaders have the technical capability or moral credentials to question these developments and able to slow down their progress until we have understood their ramifications? If leaders of our local authorities cannot even discern what is the right kind of cladding to put on our high-rise flats, what chance have leaders understanding truly complex issues that require their judgment?

I would suggest that we all need to make our democratic representatives aware of our concerns. I would also suggest that one's spiritual faith is being significantly tested and perhaps we all need to check in to ensure that we really know what is meaningful, and to seek guidance from on High.

Let's remember that simplicity is a reflection of genius, not complexity. Our scientists - I am certain - just do not know what they're playing with.

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

We're Not Just Composed Of Flesh And Chemicals, Surely?


Dear Reader,

An artlcle in the Guardian this weekend was headed: "I took my first antidepressant this week. The effects were frightening." [Link]

This article elicited a great response. Within half-a-day this article received over 1,100 comments and over 2,800 Facebook shares before comments were closed.

I managed to make a comment:

Yes, I read below someone saying that Deborah is "very brave" talking so openly about her condition.
But all the replies I've read (sorry I've only read the last 20 or 30 or so) seem to be supporting this drug therapy culture in some way or other. Though I'd agree there are times in your life when pretty well everyone (I imagine) goes through some kind of stress of a threatening kind, and some kind of 'action' is needed to circumnavigate the issue, why does the action have to be one that supports the idea that we are *simply* made up of chemicals and that a chemical has to be the appropriate treatment?
In 73 years I've had a few knocks (like many) - and some of them tortuous. But apart from a phase in my late teenage years, I've never taken psychiatry very seriously. Why? Well 40 years ago I was asked to befriend a deeply disturbed psychiatric patient and found that sheer sincerity and love towards them seemed to produce results - and just in one meeting. Results that the 'experts' were surprised to see. And also because I have demonstrated to myself that the real self is more to do with Mind and Spirit, and that there are spiritual methods (not just one) that will at least mostly alleviate the problem.
Why subject oneself to danger through more chemicals? The very idea is lost on me.
Of course, I had a couple of 'Doubting Thomas' replies to my post, the last saying:
So your one experience of helping a friend means that all the years, trials, learning and experiences of the millions of people and the medical community should be trashed? If it was simple do you think people would not choose the easiest solution?
And there lies the problem. The straightforward mention of 'spiritual' means (to some) that what is proposed is that science has to be entirely given up in favour of what is perceived to be a 'simple' alternative. And that because so much has (apparently) been achieved by science must mean it's the only approach that matters. People seem to lose sight of the fact that science works only on the basis of what can be demonstrated as proven, and they lose focus on the fact that what was true (in science) just a few years ago is often already supplanted. And that's not even to mention how good safety precautions of 100 years ago have been ditched to create the Grenfell Tower scenario.

And when it comes to the subject of mental health (the topic of the above-mentioned article), the policies in force towards treatment only 50 years ago seem now to have been quite primitive and unthinkable today. But today the subject of mental health is still one of official detachment: "if the disease cannot be seen then how can it exist?" mentality. People talk of it and want to do something, but where is the will to do so? Meanwhile, as another commenter stated: "the medical profession's general response to depression or anxiety is the same: meds [medication] and more meds which only serve to mask never solve the underlying problems."

Has anyone stopped to consider that maybe the environment we have created this past 50 years may be much of the cause of today's hidden timebomb? When I was brought up in the late 40s and 50s, I remember a time of mainly happiness even though we were not well off. Children had so much freedom - until PC took over.

I read a book recently when someone observed that whereas we were once benefitting from the visitation to our gardens of so many friendly birds - sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes and the like. Today we mainly see magpies and seagulls. It's as though the bird population in the cities has mirrored the acquisitive attitudes of us humans.

Something's wrong somewhere that we should put so much faith in medication. Perhaps it's something to do with the (scientific) education we're mainly subject to? Perhaps we should re-examine our Human Values to see what is common amongst us all. Is it Love that's the common factor - or is it sheer indifference?

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Towards Unity And Transparency?


Dear Reader,

The state of affairs in the UK at this time really points to the country being on a knife-edge. There is the potential of total disintegration, while at the same time Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the young at the Glastonbury Festival in order to give them hope - that it is possible to have a society that is joined up and for the benefit of the many, not the few. And that was partly the message of another 'JC': Jesus Christ.

Today we rather downplay religion, yet I yesterday saw a news clip where a far-right demonstrator demanded that we maintain our "Christian values". It does occur to me that we don't take religion seriously because we do not trust those "Christian values", and why don't we trust them? Simply - I suggest - because only fragments of Christianity get taught, and there are now so many sects of the broad church that are in existence, with each of them emphasising different elements of Christianity. Worse, religion usually becomes Church-centred rather than Truth-centred. The total result is that we mostly have an emotional view (and, often, a political misinterpretation) of what the teachings are, and many may not realise that there's a lot more to be taught that has been hidden.

The full truth of the teachings of Jesus will soon be openly known, I believe, And as the Muslims come to the end of this year's annual major fast - Ramadhan - I would like to post this interpretation of the meaning of Islam, which is in concert with what Jesus taught: I suggest that if the far-right protester I mentioned was to read this he would wonder - if he really knew what Christian teachings are - what is the difference!
Islam [literally] means surrender to God. It teaches that God's Grace can be won through justice and righteous living; and not through wealth, scholarship or power. All who in a spirit of surrender and dedication, live in peace and harmony in society are in fact, followers of Islam. Islam insists on full coordination between thought, word and deed. Muslim holy men and sages have been emphasising the need to inquire into the validity of the 'I' which feels it is the body and the 'I' which feels it is the mind, and reach the conclusion that the real 'I' is the self-learning for the Omni Self, God. During the Ramadhan month, the fast and the prayers are to awaken and manifest this realisation. No matter which religion you follow, remember that the emphasis should be on unity, harmony and equal-mindedness (my italics).
The spiritual messenger who uttered these words goes on: "Therefore cultivate love, tolerance and compassion, and demonstrate this Truth in daily activity."

All true religious ways are intended to achieve the same thing, but we often need reminding of that.

The politics of this country - and of the world - need to come to grips with these Truths. The true ultimate aim of life is not wealth and prosperity of the material kind, but the overall happiness of all. And if we were to realise that fact, the tendency we find in business practice to cheat (taking the awful Grenfell fire as a major example) will disappear as we demand to have transparency and Truth in all our dealings.

Thank you for reading this.