37. Laziness

Make Laziness work for you!
Neo Liberalism would have us believe that Laziness produces failure and poverty.
In effect if you are poor you are lazy. Christianity encourages busyness & industry to
keep society going.    

Yet to be lazy is to conserve energy for the next task. For primitive people to rest before the next hunt or escape from death. With survival taken care of, laziness becomes problematic.

Laziness is what we want to avoid yet idleness (to do nothing) is what we proclaim to want. But whenever an empty period of time comes up we are desperate to fill it. As we work for others doing things we don’t want to do, laziness is an expression of a lack of determinism to control our own lives. We need to distract ourselves from the futility of modern existence where we are not at the centre of much of what we have to do.

Being idle risks being bored. Boredom covers a sense of challenging feelings around how we put meaning to our lives. Any uncomfortable feelings have to be covered with anything. Anything at all.

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36. Ginger Baker 1939-2019

Another musician dies. Ginger Baker drummer with Cream created a new style of drumming
most famous in the super group Cream.

Ginger became a keen cyclist in his teens growing strong leg muscles which gave him the ability to play his signature style of the double bass drums. He was a natural talent. Ginger got behind a band’s drum kit and simply played the drums – blowing the own band’s drummer away. As a result he was always forthright maverick in his uniqueness.

He played in many jazz bands in the early 60s and always thought of himself as a jazz drummer. In 1966 he formed the super group band Cream, with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton. Lauded by fellow drummers but largely ignored by the music listening public.

This documentary shows Ginger as a cantankerous old man with not a lot of good to say about anyone in the music business. But he was a man of wide eclectic interests (including polo) and very much his own man.
Ginger Baker 1939-2019

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35. Ric Ocasek 1944-2019

Ric Ocasek of the band The Cars merged new wave guitars and synthesiser to brilliant effect.  
Rythm guitarist and songwriter for the band he created songs of love and yearning.
Having 3 wives with two sons each – he must have had lots of life love experience to draw on.

He wrote the tunes and the words. His voice was simple and clear: good for radio. Car stereos loved him. He captured something of romance and pain. As a result Luck, and Chance played out in his words. All to the beat of driving and moving on.

“Let’s Go”
She’s driving away
With the dim lights on
And she’s making a play
She can’t go wrong

She never waits too long
She’s winding them down
On her clock machine
And she won’t give up
‘Cause she’s seventeen
She’s a frozen fire
She’s my one desire
And I don’t want to hold her down
Don’t want to break her crown

When she says”Let’s go”
I like the nightlife baby
She says
I like the nightlife baby
She says “Let’s go”

She’s laughing inside
‘Cause they can’t refuse
She’s so beautiful now
She doesn’t wear her shoes
She never likes to choose

She’s got wonderful eyes
And a risque mouth
And when I ask her before
She said she’s holding out
She’s a frozen fire
She’s my one desire
And I don’t want to hold her down
Don’t want to break her crown

When she says “Let’s go”
I like the nightlife baby
She says
I like the nightlife baby
She says “Let’s go”

Ooh
I like the nightlife baby
She says
I like the nightlife baby
She says “Let’s go”

Ric Ocasek 1944-2019

 

 

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34. Cum-ex Scandal

While Brexit transfixes the UK, the “cum ex” scandal is creating an equally powerful vision of the UK in Europe.
A group of men in the City of London defrauded 60bn euros from EU Nation states.
The name cum-ex apparently describes the derivatives juggling act that fuelled the fraud.
The name cannot be a  coincidence: describing male potency?  What potency?

Seen as “organised crime in pinstripes” the group is carving out an impression of the City of London where Europeans are happy to see the UK leave the EU, taking the sqaure mile  banking infuence with them.

Clever talented men picked for their maths skills work for profit in any way. Fraud taking place on an industrialised scale. What’s the point? Money money money. Greed. Machismo. What motivates men to defraud governments. Thinking that it would not be discovered. Money is a drug. The addiction forces more and more reckless behaviour.

What’s amazing is in the UK this is not big news. Stealing state money – depriving police, schools and hospitals is big news. But not in the UK at the moment. Is the internal fighting between remainers and leavers so absorbing and distracting?
But it must be having an impact in the EU. Leaving the EU with a bad impression of the UK? Who cares?

“‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Perhaps tax evasion should be added.

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33. Batty Man

Batty Man a phrase created in Jamaican Patois to denote a gay or effeminate man. A wider use of the word is to describe a man who does not fit the male cultural norms. The term batty refers to buttocks or anus. Words that define a man as being different to the cultural or social norm are in all cultures. Usually derogatory and insulting.
Batty Man

What is it about the male cultural norm in societies that has to be protected from the threat of difference? If the cultural male norm is so powerful and supported by patriarchy why are there so many defenses ready to attack when male norms are perceived to be vulnerable?

A feature of norms is that they are limiting. Norms lack creativity and energy. And like the security light norms accentuate the dark areas. An unfortunate metaphor perhaps showing norms to be light and difference to be dark. But it is so. The norms we are all familiar with and feel safer with? Difference creates a tension: the unknown, the unseen. A threat to the staus quo of norms.
Yet in the difference from the norm is a sense of energy that something new might be understood.

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32. Exploitation

In the 21st Century we are exploited. Modern capitalism runs on exploitation and we have to make a choice about our own exploitation to survive. Can we choose our own exploitation?

Even the word exploit has a mixed meaning. A heroic act? A productive act? Or an act to advantage one and disadvantage another?

Is work exploitative? Can we choose the work we do? This is predicated on class, wealth and opportunity.
Some have more opportunities than others. We could all agree that work, freedom, choice and exploitation are complex intersecting issues. There are no simple answers.

Yet with sex work and exploitation the arguments become more binary. Perhaps it triggers a moral panic, or censorship? But to think of the sex worker as being precariously balanced between exploited and exploiting is seen as provocative. Is being a sex worker predicated by social issues and opportunities? Is it a choice? With wealth and resources is it work that can be rejected?

With perception we can see all of us navigating the precarious balance between exploited and exploiting. To be units of earning power is to be exploited. To ask a lower paid colleague to do a piece of work is exploiting. But a good exploiting?
We choose our own exploiting on the decision on whether it is good or bad and tolerable to us. We decide what is good exploiting? With the added complexity of whether our choice of exploitation causes us harm? And whether we see if this harm might be harmful to us?

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31. Friendship

There are many types of friendships. Some that last for life, some that last for the time you were in a job, on a  course, or even shorter. The word expresses something so big and so varied that more words  are needed to explain it.

As a short cut we understand friendship to mean something supportive, with shared values, harmonious, present and alive. Perhaps after enquiry the friendship is described in terms of where and when it started, closeness, or how many times the friendship meets.
A life long friend, or school friend denotes longevity, an achievement it is still going, and high importance to the friends.

The most significant are our first experiences.  In youth friendships are new, fun, and we had more time and less responsibility to embrace them more fully. Early experiences that are hard, extreme or unique are factors in breeding friendships that survive as they were about survival.

Going to school in a foreign country, boarding, or schooling in the armed forces separate people from the mainstream. So friendships are created as a bonding around exclusivity, uniqueness of experience, or disagreement with the educational ethos and values. Rebellion is a good bonding agent.

These friendships can last for decades: and unless they are updated stay fixed in the first environment. The friendship remains stuck in roles of younger or older siblings, parents, rescuers, sounding boards, or people to vent to. This can be emphasised if families are broken or unsupportive. Old friends become family members.

Being with friends who have known us for years and decades can be reassuring, a haven, satisfying a familial sense of belonging. Yet with them come old patterns of behaving, stuck roles, & high familial expectations. The experience and sense of values gone through are lost in time. The experience ended: the friendship carried on perhaps not meeting often: but still from an important part of early life. A big building block to the way we live now and who we see ourselves to be.
Old friendships are important yet can be stuck in the place they started.

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30. Lies and Shame

Big Willie was an ex vietnam vet who used drag racing to calm violence and racial unrest in South Central Los Angeles in the 1970s. He helped create the Brotherhood Raceway Park on Terminal Island in LA Harbor’s. After the 1968 Watts riots he created a way to arrange drag racing to reduce the tension and street violence in the area.

He managed to help young people stay off the streets and make a better life for themselves. By getting them drag racing on Terminal Island, he saved many young people from going to jail, or being killed.
He said ”When you get around cars, man, there ain’t no colors, just engines,”

But in fact the legend has another side. Apparently he was never drafted and never fought in Vietnam.
He said he served with distinction in the Special Forces Green Berets. He told the gangs his tales of bravery. They admired and respected him. But he never completetd basic training. He never went to Vietnam. He put a lot on his experience in Vietnam.
The lie was getting bigger and bigger. More and more rested on it.

Was he able to achieve so much with the gangs because of this big lie? Did he feel that he had to do the best for them because of the lie? Maybe he felt guilty about not being able to serve. Ashamed that with his physique he could not make the grade. He wanted to be a part of war, but was denied service. Survivors guilt? To be told your country cannot accept you to die for your country is a harsh thing to be told.
Again we learn that the mind mtoivates our story. Sometimes what is in the other’s mind cannot be fathomed.
Lies and Shame

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29. Opiate Man

Middle aged Opiate man is dying of accidental overdose beating suicide into second place for the first time.
Middle aged women are dying mostly of breast cancer. Apparently opiate users are aging and their bodies cannot  take the strength of dose.

Basically men are addicted to opiates and mis-manage their medication. But why are men addicted to opiates in the first place? Anxiety management? Pain management?  As ever with statistics the truth under the statistics is not clear. Another consistent point is the comparison with women who appear to live more positively with reality than men do.

Women don’t appear to need stimulants as much as men do to cope with the challenges of life. Perhaps we return to the same old argument. That men are generally not educated or nurtured to be with and express their feelings. Missing one of the secrets of life – Letting your emotional compass guide through periods of pain, stress and strain.

Men talking to men about feelings is unusual. Men do things with one another in a way that the focus is on the shared task. Even younger men appear to be educated and nurtured not to express feelings. Is this ever going to change? One day the statistics might show men dying of natural causes on a par with women.
Opiate Man

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28. Power Death

Power Death. Is this the ability to choose when you die by a lethal overdose?
In this documentary three people’s stories are followed. A man and a woman with a terminal illness,
and a severely disabled woman.
The tension is clear between the dying person wanting to die to avoid the pain of an inevitable death. And the family who want the loved one around as much as possible. There was a difference between the perception of a natural death: and an un-natural death. One that lets nature including illnesses take it course. Or an un-natural death where the natural death is pre-empted by a decision to overdose.

It was more straight forward with the terminal illness. The audience was more satisfied that the person’s death was inevitable. There was no choice in death. But for the disabled widow who felt she had nothing to live for. She had no family, and had lost her husband.

Something about the right to end life when there is more life to live is disquieting. Especially when you have well meaning individuals offering to provide the means to end life with a lethal cocktail. This neo liberal 21st Century culture demands we take control of our lives. Become independent, live your life, be free.

But to have control over our death does not fully belong to us. Is this motivated by a biological force? The body and brain hard wired to live, to survive. Death has to be forced on us when there are no other ways out.

What would happen if the sanctity of life was not so precious? Or the fear of death normalised. Anyone going through a bad period in their lives thought that the option of death might be more acceptable. Would this mean many deaths across the world in the struggle of life?
How could governments and Elites predict and stabilise the economy? Death is too distabilising for us, economies, and profit?
Power Death

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