10. Trump Chrissie Hynde

Trump is a champion for forgotten millions. But everyone else doesn’t understand. Trump supporters voted for the rough diamond who is not seen as part of the Liberal Elite. Except the Liberal movement either forgot or chose to Trump Chrissie Hyndeignore the plight of the Mid West of the US. Obama was voted in on the hope that he would stand up for the have nots, and the left behinds. Hilary was voted out on the back of being perceived as elitist and corrupt. Trump for years has played both sides of the political divide supporting Hilary Clinton’s campaign.

This divide of opinion acrossd the US and Europe has been going on for years. The urban centres have thrived in property and finance while the suburbs and countryside’s traditonal industries have become a wasteland.
The city in the Mid West of America given as an example in the Trump is a champion artcile is Akron. Its old industry of tyre making has long been exported abroad. Its population is in decline and it has a heroin problem to numb the hopelessness and despair. Heroin cut with poison killed hundreds of Akron’s inhabitants.

Trump is standing up for the city of Akron also where Chrissie Hynde, rock chick and lead singer of the Pretenders lived as a child. In this mournful bbc documentary Chrissie goes back to the Akron suburbs where she was brought up. She walks through woods near the house where she lived, in a wistful mood telling how she loved nature and found peace there. Akron must have been thriving when she was young. Though for the young old industrial centres were places to run from. Claustrophoibc and with no other employment, Chrissie escaped to New York and London. Ironically both Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, and bassist Pete Farndon died of heroin.
Divides are not what they seem. We are all connected.

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9. Failed Experts

The Follies of Experts makes the point that our reliance on experts is misguided. Experts not only don’t predict whats going to happen, but actually think it’s not even a possibility. Events are not miscalculated, but are not even Failed Expertsincluded. The breakdown of the Soviet Union, and the rise of Putin was seen to most academics studying Sovietology as impossible. How could they think the theory possible that would dis-invest them of their subject?
Failed Experts

The idea that Western Liberalism and the Free Market would not sweep across the world uninterrupted and without resistance was always toted as unreasonable and impossible. Events of the last year have proven otherwise. Much to our surprise.

History cannot be predicted by a set of rules. Experts and academics have been consistently wrong.
To move the conversation on it seems what is predictable is that we invest in failed experts and academics, whether they  turn out to be right or wrong. In fact we consistently invest in unreliable sources hoping that they will be right. But they never are.

It is a surprise to us that others so not want to do what we do, or like what we like. If we like it, why wouldn’t they? Smaller stuff like taste in foods etc is acceptable. But the bigger you get – like life style or politics it becomes more impossible to imagine why others would not want to live like us. Why doesn’t the world not want freedom, or a free market?

Perhaps if everyone liked and wanted the same things that we wanted, life would be more predictable. It makes us feel safe to think or hope that others are the same as us. To temper our fear we try to feel safe by creating tiny, smaller, and bigger worlds where we are all the same. Our family, our friends, our neighbourhoods, our countries, are all our worlds. We want these groups to support us and make us feel safe. When they don’t we feel threatened. We look inward. Our position becomes more entrenched, and then others have to fit in even more to what we like or want.

You could say the European Union (EU) is like this. Formed from a good intention of not wanting to be at war: it has become a collection of like minded countries who cannot understand why others don’t want to join them. Perhaps this fear alone can predict the end of the Union based on its present values. The EU values don’t suit or benefit everybody. The EU didn’t predict this.
The EU elite missed the fact that just because they benefit from the EU, others do not.
Failed Experts

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8. Broken Liberalism

John Gray states the Liberal West finds itself in a quandary. Unable to take responsibility for the rise in power of anti liberal Broken Liberalismmovements, Liberals have to disconnect. To connect would mean they destroy themselves and their view of the world. The Liberal Ideology is slowly but surely unravelling.

The idea of freedom being what people want as a natural human need is a falsity. Difficult to see because it has been peddled & propaganda’d for so long. People want security, for their families, their way of life, and their employment. Choosing between freedom and a tyrant’s security they often choose tyranny. Freedom of choice is meaningless in war and poverty.

The West has focused on trying to establish Liberal views and freedoms on countries which have failed. These countries have become failed states creating terrorism and immigration. The people in their own countries have been ignored. The failure of institutions to tackle these problems have forced the populace to reject mainstream politics.

The ideology that once humans are free from tyranny they can just return to their normal condition is anti human behaviour. Freedom is not a natural characteristic. It is artificial and takes time and practice. Tolerance unlike kindness is not a natural human condition. Tolerance is the habit of restraint and takes years to learn. Years of security and wealth. The Global market and Immigration impacting on a forgotten impoverished community creates an environment of intolerance and protectionism. Or Brexit and Trump.

The Liberals see no connection between their high minded ideals of freedom and equality and the rise of people wanting any other alternative. The Wests’s devotion to a Liberal Ideology ignoring basic human behaviour puts the West in danger. The West and Liberalism is in decline.

Liberalism’s arrogance has been to assume that Liberalism is essential for humans to live a meaningful life. We live like this so you must too. The combination of Ideology and Power creates a counter weight of resistance. Ideologies, like religions if rigidly imposed create a fearful backlash. This cannot be denied just because the ideology cannot admit its own failings.

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7. Mudrooms

Mudrooms are places in the house where you take off your dirty boots and enter the house cleanly. Apparently mudrooms people in the US renovating their homes create mudrooms along party lines. Republicans have more mudrooms in their houses than Democrats. Republican couples are more likely to have separate sinks, and the man is more likely to be in charge of the project.
Got to stop that mud contaminating the house.

This highlights a division between the liberal and conservative mind set.
Conservatives see the world as a threat. They are aggressive towards it, or defend against it. Being pro gun, Religious, and Family orientated these values keep them safe. These beliefs protect them from the threat of the outside world. The other – immigrants, different classes are seen as a threat to their life style. Success is admired in terms of money. Self sufficiency is king/queen. By earning money you are seen as having lots of something to protect you and your family with.

Liberals feel the world is less of a threatening place. They do not need religion and family to protect them from a harsh world. The world is kinder. Money is less important, and people should be protected not aggressed. Happy to pay taxes to help others, Liberals use education and science to solve problems.

This divide starts early in families. The level of fear and mistrust in the household creates an atmosphere where mind sets are created. Domestic violence can be seen as the threat of an outside world replaying itself inside the family. Protectionism in a family forms a protectionist view of the world. Everything is unsafe. Defend yourself.
Got to build more mudrooms.

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6. States of Confusion

States of Confusion
Will Self
 argues that to fully engage with the weird mystery of being is preferable to moaning about your feelings.   States of ConfusionWhy are you here? Anything versus nothing? What is true? To take to the helm of your own ship, even though you are on automatic pilot of your own perceptions, is to directly try to understand your confusion.

The argument is that the unease of being is falsely satisfied by looking back into your childhood, and family relationships to understand what brought you here. The unconscious mind is a dump where all those traumas go, that cannot be dealt with in consciousness. The fascination of psychoanalysis to examine the unconscious is to miss the mystery and unease of the conscious self. Psychoanalysis is therapeutic but doesn’t really address the problem of why you are here? States of Confusion.

This person hood we live through cannot operate without perception. Existence in its very nature is about perception less about reality. The fact that the self maybe a fiction is far more disturbing than any trauma we might have suffered. The world of time and money obsessed with sex and status is a drug to avoid the conscious self. We are obsessed with death, yet life is fearful and confusing but most of us still don’t want it to end. Yet living is hard and frightening To be human is to want it to end, or to feel in low periods of our lives that suicide is an option. The future is unknowable and out of our control. Yet we do our best to control anything.

Perhaps no human act can be excluded from an act of avoiding the self. The futility and preposterous nature of the self and the life it is offered is wonderful and hateful. To be consumed by futility entices us to consume.
Why are we here? Being sceptical about the question you might ask what is the message of the question? A lack of acceptance that you are here? The task of being here is not possible. I want help to be.

To sit with the answer that there is no answer to the question of why we are here is what humanity avoids. It is meant to be futile and without meaning. The blank canvas, the block of stone, the chunk of metal. It is meaningless. Even when touched by the human hand. Even when something is created it is still meaningless. To live with futility and meaningless is the meaning of life.
The more technological and sophisticated we become the less futility and meaningless can be entertained.
States of Confusion.

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5. Sports Injury

Sports InjurySports Injury
BMX star Sam Willoughby landed on his head doing a routine warm up exercise. He broke his back and has no mobility from his chest down. He might be asking himself. Why me? Why now? It was a routine exercise which I have done hundreds of times before. What happened? Am I ever going to recover? Am I ever going to recover my original fitness? Am I ever going to ride a bike again? Will I be competitive?
Sports Injury.

Even if you are not an athlete a simple injury can be devastating. Getting into bed, taking off your socks, walking down your street become tasks that are temporarily impossible. There is a before and after. Before the injury your memory reminds you that you did this and that. But then there is a jolt because you cannot do that in the same way now. And in the future. You are disabled.

If you are keen on amateur team sports you have the rest of the team. They are sorry. They wish you the best. Some don’t mention it. Others make a joke about you getting out of training. But the events go on. The race is not postponed. You are replaced. The conversations that you were a part of carry on without you.

Being injured to a non injured person is not understandable. It seems we have only the capacity to fully understand if we are the same – injured or have an experience of being injured that has not been forcibly forgotten. To be open to the emotions of injury is painful.

The psychological impact of injury is as powerful as the physical injury. Interestingly Mental Imagery can help as much as training itself. If you can see yourself in your mind practising and competing this links to the improvement of the physical body. Mind and Body.
All the best to you Sam

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4. La la Land

La La Land is a film about love, dream, and loss. You could say it was American. But then a lot of cultures in the global market wish for the same things. In the film two people push each other to fulfil their artistic ambitions, fall in La La Land love, then part when those ambitions take them on different paths. But is it just La La Land?

To decipher the film’s messages is tricky. The message on dreams is that you have to believe in yourself and go for it. On love –  that it is easier but sometimes will not fit the path to your dreams, but love will never die. The love lost in the pursuit of your dreams, will always remain a loss. Even if your life is satisfying and happy. Being a film it only shows the extremes of the experience. The gain and the loss. Nothing in between.

One argument is that art is fantasy to take us away from reality. While watching a film we escape the mundane. That is all it is. Can art teach us anything? More to the point we learn and teach ourselves how to live, through art that might not be there to teach us anything. Art influences us how to live our lives by watching character and plot of our fellow humans. In whatever medium any learning is legitimate.

One of the messages is that potential is realisable you just have to take the risk. Living in a wealthy country helps. Time to dream rather then exist might be a luxury? Getting the most out of yourself is laudable. But exploiting your potential could be interpreted as you are not good enough, you have to change. The tension between self expression and exploiting your potential is difficult to hold. It is arguable which side the film is on.

Another message is that special love doesn’t fade, and doesn’t change over time. The passage of time, and events of marriage and family make no impact on the endurance of this love. The rawness of the loss is everlasting. Nothing can change it. Is the message give up your dream for love? Can only one person pursue their dream, while the other has to support it?

Whatever the message, don’t take it at face value. Be a philosophical Skeptic.

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3. Punk Dandy

Being a Dandy is punk. Punk is rebellion so Punk Dandy.
Being a Dandy is a celebration of individuality and self-creation. The Dandy is trying to make a statement against mass Punk Dandyproduction. Men are sold a look that is designed for men by men and by society. It is boring. Blacks, browns and greys are colours sold to men. Wear a flower in a button hole jacket and you are in a minority of men. The Dandy is not conformist. The Dandy is trying to undermine the tools of modern technology. Its anonymity and meaninglessness. It is a reaction against the blandness of the masses. The Dandy wishes to create an individual artistic vision that cannot be reduced or copied.

The gender and sexuality of a Dandy is more blurred. Is a Dandy gay, bisexual, trans, or just dressing up. Or straight? To be pigeon holed is to be judged in our judgemental performance obsessed society. Being able to perform to our own story is a basic human need. Our story is unique. The Dandy is not just about dressing well. But dressing to separate and individualise. When the word Dandy is used casually, we refer to men (it’s almost always men) who are fussy, or even anachronistic.

For the Dandy every look, gesture, and colour becomes a performance. Books written on Being a Dandy created detailed theories of the Dandy. The figure of the Dandy was not just aesthetically pleasing work of art but also an unsettling, rebellious form of expression. Oscar Wilde is seen as the ultimate Dandy.
Witty acerbic and slightly threatening. Punk Dandy

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2. Greek George

Greek George. 2016 saw a spate of celebrity deaths. From actors, writers to pop artists they died some at an appropriate age, but greek georgemostly younger before their time. Some had usual lives of family and children others barely seeming to travel through their lives without some kind of medicating support.

Whether we like it or not there is a hierarchy in death. From the hierarchy that society creates and the hierarchy in our own heads. Society gives creativity, youth and children more weight. For ourselves how about the relative in their nineties moaning and groaning about having enough of their lives. Could we not swap them for a creative artist who gave pleasure to millions?

Yet the younger deaths we can only imagine what happened to their health. The body keeps the score. Some showed that they lived traumatic lives which which played out in the limelight of fame. Their talent and determination outwardly took them out of the past lives. But when this attracted the attention of the press we began to realise that all was not well. It seems nothing even fame, or wealth can separate the past from the present.

Prince lived with both parents who divorced when he was 10 years old. He was passed around, then lived with neighbouring family. He had something to prove. His grand parents brought up in Louisiana must have had a racial experience linked to the trauma suffered by the Deep South.

From a UK perspective Greek George – George Michael had a more familiar story. From a family of immigrants and gay in the era of AIDS. He was constantly in the papers who attacked him for his behaviour. Or were they just uncomfortable with homophobia and not wanting a gay eloquent rich young man to have a different view to their own? He spoke out on behalf of anti war campaigns, AIDS and being a gay man. He spoke without fear yet paid the price for being sensitive. An experience that forced him into seclusion.

And he knew he was a damaged person. He allowed himself to be mercilessly lampooned by the character Smithy for comic relief (1:53) in 2011. Smithy told George that he cannot be involved in Comic Relief because Comic Relief is for people like him. Why would he do this? Who knows. Perhaps he felt he had a responsibility to debunk the myth around him. He felt his talent was to be emulated & admired, but not his character. The vulnerability and aloneness that he expressed through his songs connected with the listener.
But of course that was how he suffered.
Greek George

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1. Post-Truth 2017 Do’h!

Post-Truth 2017 D’oh!
Post -Truth is the Word of the Year 2016. Post-Truth is a truth derived from what is felt not what actually is going on. Post-Truth 2017 D'oh!Ideology over Information. For example the Backfire Effect. Conservatives invested in the idea that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The more the facts said no the more Bush supporters believed yes. If a fact challenges our view of the world we stick with our world view.

We live in Echo Chambers – bubbles of culture where our own values are reflected back to us by others who are similar to us. The Big Sort shows that people move to geographical areas of more or less openness: conservative and liberal constituencies that suit their own level of openness. Your chances of meeting someone who has different political views are decreasing.
The climate agenda was put forward in the language of liberal to other liberals who didn’t need convincing. Conservatives who spoke conservative could not hear the argument and rejected the agenda.

To be positive there is catch up going on here. Humans have always behaved with feelings not facts. Humans have always sought out similar humans to feel safe and protected. Humans are threatened by difference and change. If Humans feel unsafe and threatened they lash out indiscriminately.
D’oh
It took Brexit and Trump to reveal this. Perhaps now there is a chance that dealing with peoples’ feelings rather than facts might lead to a more genuine understanding of others who don’t hold our own views. To understand that if we gain others must lose. Resources are finite, and becoming more so. Global Capitalism forgot that trading with people means dealing with others who are different from ourselves.
The playing field is levelling. Everyone feels they have a right to wealth.
It’s just that those who have the wealth are being threatened. People like you.
Post-Truth 2017 D’oh!

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