Monday, 12 August 2019

Time To Change Our Thinking

Dear Reader,

A new series of 'Dragon's Den' started on the Beeb last night. Now I happen to always watch this and have done so since soon after it first started around 16 or 17 years ago. And some 15 years ago I happened to be working for Theo Paphitis, one of the Den's early members, and had substantial contact with him.

Having earlier had my own small business and had many of the experiences that one encounters in trying to grow the business, I am interested in the people that come forward to obtain investment in 'the Den', and the dialogue that takes place.

But I now have to voice disappointment. And that disappointment is to to do with the fact that in this age of supposed 'Environment' awareness, there are so few product ideas coming forward on 'the Den' that are geared to improving the way in which we interact with Planet Earth, with Gaia. In fact, last night there were no products at all that were put forward to improving the Environment. Indeed, the products were more to do with consuming more, not less, luxury items.

The idea seems to be that anything will do in order to make money. In short, we commonly seem to be still stuck in the old mechanistic way of thinking rather than applying systems theory.

Of course, the mentality being applied is most likely that if you want to make money then take the shortest, less difficult way, to getting it - but is that how we should think? Will that thinking gain us anything in the longer term, especially when those that know are crying out that we have to change our ways now, not wait.

I find that to discover how the world really is via TV, it's more productive to watch RT and Al Jazerah, with portions of Channels 4 and 5 thrown in. The rest is mainly garbage, and even the serious programmes are often geared to misleading the viewer. Perhaps taking time to select and view programmes on YouTube is potentially the most productive if you really want to know what's going on in the world, though that is a minefield.

The best way, of course (if you are young and healthy enough), is to go out there and live life in its most constructive fullness. There's no better alternative to find out, first-hand, both how the world works and to find self-knowledge.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

The Jewel In The Crown

Dear Reader,

When you think of India, is your first thought about the poverty that is often found there? That the literacy level is low in many places there?

Is it your impression that India was (and recently was) a backward country and has only recently started to emerge as a world power?

Is your impression that it is a country of a caste system and 100s of gods?

In which case, you may be in for a few surprises, especially when it is taken into account that the Harappan civilisation of several thousands of years BC reveals signs of advanced water supply and effluent management systems.

On literacy, American historian William Durant (1885-1981) declared that:
When the British came, there was, throughout India, a system of communal schools managed by village communities. The agents of the East India Company destroyed these village communities. Instead of encouraging education, the Government encouraged drink.
This observation has been ratified by many: literacy amongst the ordinary people of India was very high if not 100%. The interest of Britain was to make India (and other colonial countries) subservient to Britain's interests and thus Britain progressively instituted an educational system that made Indian civil servants into virtual clones of their colonial masters. The legacy of the British in this regard has only recently started to abate, while ordinary people received little or no education during this period of rule - as, indeed was the case for ordinary people in Britain also at that time. Britain's class system was at its peak during this time.

It has been said that the village schools system had great room for improvement, but that they were very effective and were one of the institutions of local power. When they were superseded by new schools, run by the British bureaucracy using an alien language whose benefit ordinary people could not see, children of the poorer classes simply pulled out. This led to the deliteralisation of the great masses of the Indian population.

Now, onto the economy of India.

The Mughal period (preceding Britain's involvement in India) had some share in the demise of India's culture and economy. But it was since Britain's increasing involvement in the country from 1700 that India's share of the world economy collapsed from 24.4% to 4.2% shortly after the year of Independence (1947). according to British economist Angus Maddison, It has also been said that under British rule, India suffered more famines in mere decades than during the preceding 1,000 years.

Britain imposed central control, which proved to be disastrous for agriculture. In most of the country lay a system of tanks that had existed for millennia and were repaired by village councils. The English disbanded the local councils and instituted a system of canal irrigation even for places where it was unsuitable. Soon, the tanks fell into disuse leading to a fall of the water table. This had disastrous effects on agriculture.

The total matter of misgovernment was so apparent fairly early on that the issue was raised by British politician Edmund Burke who (in 1778) began a seven-year impeachment trial against Warren Hastings and the East India Company on charges including mismanagement of the Indian economy.

This brings us on to the culture of India, and the over-hackneyed view that it is a country of 100s of gods.

The afore-mentioned Edmund Burke observed:
[Indians were] a people for ages civilised and cultivated; cultivated by all the arts of polished life, whilst we were yet in the woods. There is to be found an ancient and venerable priesthood, the depository of their laws, learning, and history, the guides of the people whilst living, and their consolation in death; a nobility of great antiquity and renown; a multitude of cities; millions of ingenious manufacturers and mechanics; millions of the most diligent, and not the least intelligent, tillers of the earth. Here are to be found almost all the religions professed by men, the [Hindu], the [Muslim], the Eastern and the Western Christians.
British Orientalist Sir William Jones, who translated many important and ancient Sanskrit books, said: "The Sanskrit language [is of] wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin and more exquisitely refined than either."

The spirituality of India has been praised by many western men of letters, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreaux and Mark Twain, to name but a few.

On the matter of India's caste system, what has been observed in recent centuries is something that has become a misused method of ordering people and is not what was originally implemented. There was no idea in the original system of people taking on one caste or another by heredity, which is what it became. It was originally a simple view of four important strata of society in which each individual took his place according to ability and circumstances. We do that in our own societies.

It is true that many gods in India can be found, but Indian philosophy is extremely deep, with the essential principle being that as God the Creator resides in everything, one may adopt worship of virtually anything as an expression of the one divine creator: their spiritual faith is towards the unity of the Godhead, not otherwise.

This Indian philosophy - of the singularity of the Godhead - was a great influence on the thinking of the world in ancient times, and in India's ancient scriptures is to be found much else beside spiritual injunctions and guidance. They even contain mathematical and scientific formula from which great names such as Pythagoras formed his theorems. In the Indian scriptures, we find the first idea of the number 0. The science of ancient India included medicine that even recently would have been regarded as advanced in the West, with surgery being carried out using the most wonderful devices.

What is more, traces of Indian civilisation and its symbols are slowly being found in many parts of the world, including Russia and the Americas. India's spiritual philosophy has provided the basis for all true faith in the world, with a morality that is second to none.

This is the country that Britain tried to submit to its will, but it was Britain's Empire that went, not the ancient home of philosophy and moral endeavour. And now India is coming back to the forefront.

Significantly, British Historian Arnold Toynbee (1888-1975) stated:
It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way.
Thank you for reading this.

Monday, 29 July 2019

The Choice is ... Choice. But of Trump's Version?

Dear Reader,

Strange isn't it? Here we are being told on one hand that we must focus on Brexit and get that out of the way by forcing a no-deal form of the exit, while (probably) a majority don't want a 'no deal' and are unlikely to be given a choice about it. In fact there's a strong argument that the 2016 referendum also assumed that 'exit' meant with a deal, and not no-deal, in which case a no-deal exit would be quite contrary to democracy and the concept of choice (which is what people thought they were being given).

On top of that I would think that very few of the 'no-deal exit' voting fraternity have thought properly of the quite real ramifications - e.g. that a US trade agreement would give us less trade than we currently have with the EU, added to the likely situation that the UK would then be importing food products that do not pass our current stringent quality tests. Trump doesn't have to be clever to realise that Boris is just the PM he wants to enrich the US trade position with us ... a position that is likely to be detrimental to the UK but lovely for the US, and Trump.

And there's another aspect of a no-deal Brexit. The fact that we would return to a form of trading that depends on supplies from around the world via ship and plane at more cost to the eco-system. And back the other way.

This topic brings us back to the matter of Climate Change. 

Though the UK has just noticed a few changes in the weather ... some much hotter days and some wetter days ... the rest of the world, very much including Continental Europe, has noticed a great deal more in the form of weather system changes. This summer, most of Europe has been 'basking' in very high (dangerous even) temperature levels for long periods, whilst other parts of the world have received massive flooding and others, like Guatemala, prolonged droughts. etc. etc.

So the lack of major Climate Change around the UK (in comparison with elsewhere) to-date tends to put us into little change in our thinking. Except that we get upset that Tesco has moved up quite a few shelf prices, partly because of the Climate Change in the rest of the world and their ability to produce quality foodstuffs.

While the Brexit fiasco is taking place, our eye is off the ball of Climate Change and we continue to be bombarded with advertising for holidays abroad and toilet products that do not do anything to help the eco-system. And the great boom in the computer gaming industry and the triumphant UK 15-year-old who wins one million dollars in a gaming competition and says "Look, Mum, I didn't waste my time at school!" 

And the football world, in particular, continues to behave as though that's the only economic model that matters. Yes, I have an affection for football, but as it was 50+ years ago - not as it has been these last 20 years.

All the above-stated issues are numbingly mindless. Money, money, money. We must all be asleep. But it's not money itself that's the problem but we humans and how we use it together with a lack of appreciation of ecology and Systems Thinking.

To certain people, my previous essay about our move towards Systems Thinking must seem like a foreign language. 

No, I don't believe the World is about to end. But I do believe we are fast reaching the end of life as we have known it for the last few decades. That end is closer than we could possibly imagine.

Ignore the TV ads and what Boris and Trump say. Insist - please - on a Brexit with a deal and an immediate higher focus on climate change and its imminent effect, which is already being felt in most of this planet. Not to do so will probably mean much clenching of teeth in 2020 onwards, and even much greater suffering than we would care for if we were to listen to our real selves - our common sense - and the teachings of the great spiritual masters.

It is believed that Chief Seattle  said:
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Thank you for reading this.

Monday, 22 July 2019

The Outcome Of Thinking

Dear Reader,

Having recently endured a further learning experience - in this case an encounter with a near life-exit on the operating table while conscious - I have now got back to focus on what matters, being made (I hope!) yet a little more wise by the experience.

This very recent reflection brought me to think again (in my 76th year) about the state of thinking - particularly in the Western World - and after listening to talks by Martin Sandbrook at the Schumacher Institute on the topic of Systems Thinking, I have produced a map of the general evolution of Western thought. I have projected it a little into the future:

The first area I wish to touch on is the kind of thinking that we still seem to be transfixed by - the Mechanistic approach to things, a paradigm that is on the way out but has become so embedded in our consciousness that for most of us aged over 50 it is probably very difficult to escape it completely. Indeed there are aspects of this kind of thinking that are still relevant. This is the kind of thinking that drew on selected aspects of the philosophy of Bacon and Newton and created the Industrial Revolution. It has perpetuated our main thinking ever since, until the 21st century (now), when all manner of disturbances - including Climate Change and sheer survival - have forced us to recognise that a different approach is necessary.

We have begun in the last few decades to talk of the ecology of the planet, and the realisation that the imposition of Mechanistic Western thinking onto other societies may well be a wrong approach. We have begun to accept that the on-going usage of fossil fuels and material growth are not sustainable, so to impose that thinking onto other societies would only be exacerbating the issue. An academic named E. West Churchman is now regarded as the 'father' of Systems Thinking and said that his idea can only take shape "when we see the world through the eyes of another". To think that his concepts came about around 50 years ago (as did publications such as "Limits to Growth"), yet it has taken all this time to see how it makes more sense than the old paradigm.

It is only through Systems Thinking that we can begin to properly grasp how everything around us - both man-made and natural - is inter-connected, and thus encourage us to develop empathy towards the issues that we now more clearly see, and thus employing new ways on how to arrive at solutions.

So that is where we are - moving into a Systems Thinking paradigm, largely as a result of being forced into this mode by the circumstances we created for ourselves using the old, Mechanistic, paradigm. Politically, the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, in its wish to transform the EU along Systems Thinking processes, is an example of the attempt to implement the new paradigm in a way that is positively meaningful to everyone, and not just politicians and bankers.

However, if we were to stand back a little and be more detached, in Systems Thinking we can possibly begin to understand more of what the great masters the Buddha and Jesus were saying. In alluding, for example, to loving our neighbour, what would we be doing but (as Churchman said) to  "... see the world through the eyes of another"? Only by trying to do this can we remove our selfishness and ego.

With the state of the world as it is, and in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landing on the Moon, I only see Systems Thinking as just another small step by man in getting closer towards the teachings of the great spiritual masters, whose effect will be felt sooner than we might think. And a future that we currently cannot even begin to contemplate. We are meant to spiritually evolve, not stagnate. We are here as stewards, not owners, of this planet, in order to reach our spiritual destiny.

A sustainable and equitable future demands that our thinking is directed along the lines of Love.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

432Hz Sounds Good To Me!

Dear Reader,

Last week I talked awhile on the topic of the magic of water, and this week it is the turn of sound.

This article about music caught my attention some time ago. It was then of some interest to me, but other topics took over my daily activity. And at that time the notion that the topic might be related to spiritual matters did not fully occur to me. But when I lately saw an article on the 'Hindu'/Buddhist AUM mantra, I woke up. 

It would appear that when the AUM mantra is properly chanted, the frequency of the vibrations is measured at 432Hz, the level referred to as being harmonious in the stated article (above), and which is also said to be the harmonic vibrational frequency of everything in the universe. 

A second scientific foundation for the mantra's benefits concerns brain research conducted by various scientists, the findings of which were very interesting. It would seem that in response to time-frequency analysis, irregular waveforms were identified which indicated unsteadiness in the mind of the subjects. The subjects were then requested to chant the mantra frequently for a few days and the experiment was repeated. The time-frequency analysis then produced some surprising insights. The waveforms were improved with regular spacing and had almost perfect symmetry and harmony. Not only had these participants witnessed dramatic improvements in focus, concentration and steadiness, but found themselves to be in peace, witnessing a reduction in mental stress and remaining calm all the time.

It is said that chanting the AUM mantra is able to create an event inside the nervous system which can then become an object of concentration and meditation, and also a focal point for expanding physical and emotional awareness. There are many testimonies to that effect.

Importantly, therefore, we could say that psychiatry (a more modern development and not as respected as it once was) is redundant; that depression has a known cure. We need not be anything but positive if we would choose to be so.

Likely to create more heated debate, perhaps, is the notion that the Jewish/Christian word used at the end of prayer - Amen - and the Muslim equivalent - Ameen - stem from the AUM mantra. I think it is worthwhile viewing this link to read and listen to more on this topic.

In fact, this Rosicrucian article confirms the preceding link.

Why is it worthwhile? Well, I have found sufficient evidence to show that all spiritual paths are closely related, and it would appear to me that it is perfectly logical that we will find similarities in practice. The problem is to get across to fundamentalists (in all religions) that the application of dogma will not create peace in this world, while compassion, tolerance and understanding stand every chance of success. In other words, the application of love instead of belief.

Of course, it would not serve governments for us to talk as one people. The so-called 'permanent government' would be far from happy.

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Going In For A Dip

Dear Reader,

Hello again.

I think that, over many posts, I have tried to re-vivify the notion of the need for love in this world, as love is the natural expression of the Divine. But there are some that would say, "Where is this Divine Love? So much suffering goes on, children are slaughtered, maimed, abused and made hungry, and yet you call on us to believe in the unseeable who does not seem to care about what's going on!"

This was the kind of argument returned by those who had witnessed the bloody futility of the Western Front in World War One, and it is not easy to answer - though there is a direct answer.

But rather than trying to answer head-on, as it were, perhaps it is wise to open our eyes and look for evidence around us of Divine Love.

This past week I was inspired - for some reason - to look more into the nature of water. I was not looking into this subject with any result in mind, but I felt that it is a topic worth knowing more about. Particularly as we depend upon it for life itself. After all, adults are each composed of seven-tenths water as, indeed, is the whole of the planet.

So I found a book that perhaps has been read by many, but has got lost in the mayhem that the world has experienced this last 20 years. It's a book that was first published in 2001, called "The Hidden Messages In Water" by Dr. Masaru Emoto. In it there are some fascinating accounts of water crystal formations that were formed depending on what words were shown to water - the more kindly the message the more beautiful the formations.

And here is the most intriguing part: that Dr. Emoto came to the conclusion that the most successful attitude to life would include 2 parts gratefulness (for life) and 1 part love, equating to the formula H2O!

The point I am making here, of course, is that in water can be found the very expression of the Divine. And in illustrating this matter further, Dr. Emoto demonstrated that when water is 'spoken to' - through words written on paper and shown to the water - and when frozen, the water crystallises and forms shapes revealing the feelings that the words transmitted!

These pictures show the different crystals that became visible when the words 'thank you' were shown to water as expressed in English, German, French and Italian:

See how the national personality of each country is revealed in the shape and colour of each crystal! I suppose people will simply say there is a 'scientific' explanation for this, but why should science separate itself (as it usually does) from divine concepts?

But evidence of the divine is not just to be seen in water. Sacred geometry has revealed that there are natural shapes to be found that have properties that are equally Divine.  For example:

Here we have a picture of a Nautilus shell, and the numerical Fibonacci series that can be deduced from it. Not only in this form of creation but others too.

But the real proof of Divinity, in my view, is to be found in the lives of those who truly lived according to Divine teachings through their experience, such as Jesus and the Buddha. They set the example of how life can be, and gave substantial clues as to 'the Way'.

If we want real solutions to the world's severe problems, then surely we should look very closely at those teachings and apply them where we can, and adding them to our lives when it is possible to do so.

I recently wrote something about this to a friend about the lack of respect that is today found in our society.
It seems to me that true 'respect' can only come from devotion. That to me is the underlying aspect that's missing. And it's the devotion that Jesus spoke of when he summarised the commandments as Love of God and one's neighbour ... "with all thy heart and all thy mind".

It sounds as though I'm preaching, but Jesus was touching on a truth that a lot of people haven't thought on. That is that the inherent nature of us all is the same! In India they call it the Atma - the indwelling soul - that links us all one to another, so that if we slander or hurt we should realise that we only slander or hurt ourselves, and that the law of Karma will bring about just rewards one way or another - "what goes around comes around".

So we are not really separate. Outwardly we seem different, but inwardly all are the same.

I believe that until we come to properly realise that (and Christianity never has taught it properly except by individuals whose lives have been a demonstration of that truth) then true 'respect' will not materialise. 'Respect' is not something that can be forced or enforced. It must come from free will - from love. And a demonstration of that (by example) is the biggest possible challenge for politicians and employers!
Thank you for reading this!

Friday, 24 May 2019

Saying One Thing And Doing Another: Where Is Integrity?

Dear Reader,

In my previous post I alluded - yet again - for the need for love in this world. A world that is being defoliated and its occupants (both humans and creatures of all kinds) being mercilessly harassed and pursued into horrors that are being suppressed from front-page news in order that the world's rich may carry on their games of taking out what they want and giving back very little.

Amongst those horrors is the news that Botswana has lifted an embargo against wild animal hunting, which means that rapidly decreasing species like elephants and lions are to be relentlessly chased for sport. The question must be "why has Botswana done this?", and the only answer must be because the country has been promised investment if they were to do that.

In May, the BBC indicated that sea level rise could be greater than expected, while in March, it was revealed that BP had Trump's ear and had successfully lobbied the Trump administration to roll back key climate regulations that underpinned the US contribution to the Paris climate agreement. This, despite claiming to support the deal. They say one thing and do another.

Decades ago, while I had already taken to following a belief in green issues, I was still dubious about organisations like Greenpeace, but I now see that unless they had not acted the world would be in a far worse slumber over evil goings-on than it is. Other organisations (like 38 Degrees) now try to reach out to us on similar themes.

But it would seem that we (and all creatures) will have to suffer because we choose to lend a deaf ear to the warnings and continue to play in a world of make-believe that involves mobile phones, playstations and other forms of mind-deadening activity. Also swanning off to remote locations for holidays that are not necessary, burning up huge amounts of aircraft fuel and creating harmful gases. It can be just as beneficial to rest in your own back garden, rain or no rain.

Sorry, but long-distance travel is only desirable if there is something useful to be achieved.

Isn't our attitude because we have been educated away from believing in a Creator of the Universe that created us in order to act as His stewards of this potentially wonderful Earth? I certainly believe that is so.

But the Creator constantly makes efforts to restore human values when they diminish in the world through various ways. One can understand this with an example. In the event of a small residential theft, you report the matter to the police station in your jurisdiction. You do not have to approach the commissioner of police for this small incident. Only if the matter is not resolved you may escalate to the next higher level. So too, God initially sends forth saints and great souls like Jesus Christ to deal with unrighteousness in the world. What did Jesus say? He initially said, ‘I am the messenger of God’ and then as ‘Son of God’ and finally said ‘My father and I are One’. These are the three stages of the great spiritual journey for the individual as proclaimed in the Perennial Philosophy of India, but all religions emphasise or focus on certain principles and therefore it is not only the Way of India that is to be upheld. All religions need to be respected. Including Humanism.

But by no means can we aspire to friendship with God if we allow condemnation of other faiths and this rape of the world to continue. To simply pursue worship while condoning evil is not exactly consistent - is it? We all need to be an example.

Enough is enough. For those that are able, it is time to wake up and seek change - to seek a world of love. I partly woke up over 40 years ago and walked out on a big industrial employer because I knew there was more to life. In doing so I lost the chance to acquire more trappings of a comfortable life. But I do not regret that; I have at least learnt a lot more about matters that are more real.

Thank you for reading this.