41. Orwell Screens

When was the line crossed between choosing to have a mobile, and not being able to do without one? When did freedom become choice? When did choice become need? We demand more protection of our privacy while giving our privacy away.

The collection of our data or so called big data has been collected for a while now. Filling in coupons posted through the mail box promising a cash prize. Fill in the personal details, post it back. Those details then sold onto companies for profit. Now through our phones this is done on a massive scale with us knowing it: but not really knowing how far and how much data is collected.

As we all know the customer is right. But it is always the seller who tells us so. Always.

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40. Emotional Smell

The sense of smell , Emotional Smell, more than any other is connected to memory.
This is because there is a short cut between the sense of smell and emotional centre of the brain.

The smell comes directly into the olfactory bulb, which is close to the emotional areas of the amygdala, and hippocampus. The other senses of sight, hearing and touch are not connected to these areas of the brain. As always this can go both ways triggering positve and negative memories. Humans focus on their abilty to see but perhaps our sense of smell gives us a deeper vision into ourselves.
Rather than asking what did others see? Ask them what did they smell?

 

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39. Philippa Foot

Philisopher Philippa Foot claimed ‘In moral philosophy it is useful, I believe, to think about plants.’
Her point was that nature is how things are, morality is how we humans think things ought to be.
Are humans a part of nature or not?

It is a hope that we have about our civilised selves that we have morals. We can improve oursleves. Can moral judgments be true or false? Perhaps they don’t describe the world: they are there to be chosen. Do humans construct their own values, or are they natural?

Foot was brought up in privilege but not in education. Against family values she applied to Oxford University. There she was shown how to think freely. ” If there is such a thing as goodness, it is not to be found in nature, and therefore, not to be investigated by those who make it their business to study nature, ie scientists and their philosophical apprentices.”

Right and wrong, good and bad were purely subjective wishes. Religion and art were seen as false. Looking at the impact of the Holocaust negated the idea that the moral was automatically good. The sense that all morality was good would not stand anymore. What happened if morality was bad? Or just what humans made it what they wanted it to be?

The point is that individuals choose their values freely. There was less sense of good and bad. Was it moral or acceptable that you could explain away your values and ethics being ordered by a higher authority? As Satre pointed out humans do not have a basic nature but a blank canvas which they are free to write on.

The fact that we think oursleves as masters of the universe does not stand up to scrutiny when we are destroying nature and the world we live in. Foot explained that there was little difference between a natural use of good as in the good roots of a tree, and or a person’s actions being good. Her intention was never to answer questions but just to say: ‘nothing is settled, but everything is left as it was’.

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38. Moneyland

Moneyland. The real Goldfinger was called Siegmund Warburg.
In this era we are complacent but not shocked to be told that the wealth of the world is held by fewer and fewer individuals. This was not always so. After WW2 the poor were becoming richer and everyone was more equal.

The destabilising of currencies and economies falling apart contributed to two World Wars. So the Allies manipulated a worldwide economy which restricted the flow of currencies by linking the world economy to the US dollar and gold. As ever the system was biased to the west so it was up for being side stepped. To cut a long story short Warburg found a legal way around this. The magic of the Eurobond. It let the City of London free.

This created what Oliver Bullough called Moneyland. Offshore finance and a world where wealthy individuals and their money remain protected from scrutiny. This enormous wealth perverts lives and countries in the name of profit. Companies become so big that governments have to stretch laws, turn the other way and hide how advertising, the media, and the internet is being influenced to favour them. Beware Moneyland.

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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique

 

 



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37. Loneliness

The media tell us that loneliness is a big problem for us in the 21st Century.
There is a Minister of Loneliness.

Why now? It hasn’t always been this way. 
The demise of religion? Nothing to believe in? Has the rise of the individual in the industrial age set us up to suffer disconnection and dislocation?

It could be a warning like fear or sadness. A warning that we are disconnected. Not joined to a group or a place. People are ashamed to say that they suffer from it.

Suffer from loneliness. Even the phrase is said without scrutiny. It is so negative in our culture.

With curiousity and attention it would seem to be a natural outcome to the life styles we are forced to live in the present day.

Instead of asking what meaning does our life have? We put meaning to it by acquiring stuff, having ambition, and making choices for ourselves. We get what we want but not what we need. The calming effect of speaking to others about ourselves. Not what we have done or acheived.
But who we are. How we think. What we wish for. 

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36. Michael Ridge

Michael Ridge: a tribute to the man and his work

Michael Ridge

 

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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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35. Suffering

At this time we are obsessed with eliminating suffering from our lives. Is it working?
Post war generations have the wealth to spend on their children which alleviates financial suffering. Yet the generation of millennials suffer most from anxiety?
The most stressed generation?

Parents in an effort to protect their children from the evil world portrayed by the media have created the snowflake generation to protect them.

Each generation tries to escape it. To suffer is to be poor, ill, marginalised, discriminated against. Maslow described in his Hierarchy of Needs to be fulfilled a human needs the basic essentials to be covered. Food Water Warmth Rest. Then Security Safety. If not then the higher needs cannot be met. Intimate Relationships Friends, Prestige and Feeling of Accomplishment, Acheiving Full Potential Creative.

This is a simplistic model but it shows how it’s complex. At a basic level it’s more obvious. Suffering at the higher levels is more difficult to describe. What is the relationship between suffering and potential? If you don’t want to suffer can you realise your potential? What is the meaning of life? Is suffering a way to find meaning

Too much means you cannot stand up. Too little means things are easy? Yet meaningless?.
The relationship we have to suffering seems crucial to living. Embrace it!

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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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34. Stoic Grief

Stoic Grief. The Stoics were strict and harsh. (For us?)
As a rational human being they believed you would not give into sadness. The essence was to move on. Let the death affect you as little as possible. If a child dies have another one, if a wife or husband remarry.

The Stoics believed that life was to be spent preparing for your loved ones death. So that when the death actually happened you accepted it as an inevitability. The Stoics thought that social relationships and love were essential: and part of being human. It wasn’t to be inhumane. But more to be prepared for the reality of death.   

So they are not saying no grief – but less grief due to the work done through a lifetime of reflection. The Stoics believed in mental preparation. A life of studing their own bereavement reactions. So the grief is less. The idea of our loved ones at any age being taken from us is real. Building resilience against the unpredicatbility of life is a life of being present in the awareness of death.

Perhaps this says more about us in this time. We deny death. Money, insurance, medicine all fool us into thinking death is not going to happen to us or those around us. We are in a time of denial. Marketed and protected against the idea of death. We are happy to live in denial. We think it is easier. We try to eliminate ours and others suffering. Protected from predators we dupe ourselves into thinking we are safe.
The thinking behind the Stoics philosophy is we are not safe. We never have been.
This is the purpose of life.
Life is dangerous. Life is unsafe.
Stoic Grief. 



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33. Aretha!

As Donald Fagen laments about his lost youth in Hey Nineteen  he claims his potential lover is so young that he croons
Hey Nineteen that’s ‘retha Franklin, She don’t remember Queen of Soul”

An example of another name check. 

Aretha is one of those artists that are name checked and events dated such was her influence. Her history is well recorded in obituaries. But what comes across is a black woman way ahead of her time. Undaunted by prejudice or social boundaries her voice carried her above what was female and human.

Her voice allowed her to fly higher and more independently than other black or white women of the time with the yoke of patriarchy keeping them low. Perhaps this is also romantacising her.

She had a hard childhod. She had two children before she was 15 years old. She left her kids in Detroit with family and moved to New York to further her singing career. She suffered in silent guilt as a mother wanting to be with her children but determined to sing. Nothing was going to stop her. Like many children who are abandoned young she had something to prove. To be loved. 
RESPECT

 

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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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32. Letterbox

The biggest news story this week is the comment about muslim women wearing burqas.
It was a provocative statement. Like all provocation it has polarised debate.
Should it be said? Or should it not? Or is it morally empty?
Letterbox. 

On the one hand for the liberal agenda it is a debate about casual racism, facism and moral emptiness. If people are allowed to be their base selves what will happen. Anarchy? Is this just a populist political ploy?

Violence against Muslim women is reported to have increased over the last week.

On the other hand a more conservative debate about a decline in British values, a sense of being invaded by others’ customs and religions. If things are allowed to continue then the UK will cease to be the country it was/is. And how people in it recognise the country.

The one thing that remains consistent: if people are not allowed to express their views. The views will come out bigger and stronger. It is Brexit again. The Liberal elite calling leavers racist stifled and repressed the debate.
So the opposite reaction came out.

Like all repressions. They lie in wait gaining power and energy. Only to pop out. Appropriately or inappropriately repression doesnt care. It will out.
Letterbox

 

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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique



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