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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45. False Consciousness

False consciousness is a Marxist idea which means the place the person sees themselves in as part of an oppressive structure where they are individual not part of a group. They have no power or do not realise that they False Consciousnessare being oppressed. The ideology and institutions that support a capitalist society trick or mislead members of the society. The true exploitative relationships are hidden from those who are exploited.

The worker thinks that “I am being exploited by my boss”. Rather than “we are being exploited by our boss”. The idea is that the group en masse has a lot of power. The power to strike for example.
Yet our ideology and institutions drip feed the idea that the group is bad and the individual is good.

From a certain perspective you could argue Brexit and Trump succeeded due to False Consciousness. People who voted to leave Europe or for Trump believe they are voting for someone or something who will stand up and support them. In the theory of False Consciousness people have voted for an oppressor believing that they are going to benefit from the oppressor. As they do not understand the system of oppression that they are in.

The Brexit and Trump supporter would also argue that the status quo is oppressive and has exploited them for decades widening the gap between rich and poor. So anything else must be better.
Exploitation is a part of being human. We all have relationships where we gain an advantage without the other person realising it. If that person knew our advantage they might try to take it away from us.
This can be benign or not!
Whatever your political persuasion we all exploited. But are we aware of it?

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44. Lucky Man

Greg Lake Lucky Man was the founding member of King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer or ELP as they were commonly known. ELP came to recognition in August 1970 at the now infamous Isle of Wight Festival where Lucky Man Jimi Hendrix headlined.

Greg Lake with his folk singing and ear for a melody pushed King Crimson and ELP away from intricate prog rock twiddling into a more balanced tuneful sound which made both bands so popular. The albums of the prog rock era were overblown and bombastic. But Lake gave the bombast a pretty, light folky touch, while riding the prog rock wave to its demise.

One view is that he never sounded comfortable between folk and rock. He could play a mean rock bass rock, which he gets little credit for. But also melodic and tuneful, like the ultimate prog rock bassist Chris Squire from Yes. But unlike modern music making it was common that each member of the band profile their skills on tracks that showed off their virtuoso skills. Lake always produced a folky tune, with a welcome toned down Emerson backing him on synthesizer. The end of one of his best known tunes Lucky Man Emerson comes in with a massive synth sound but the track still remains pretty and folky rather than orchestral.

Carl Palmer a brilliant drummer but no songwriter.

Lake’s sensitivity and tunefulness carried Emerson’s orchestral dominance into the mainstream. ELP couldn’t have done it without him. His voice was amazing. Not a rock voice but something sweeter and more feminine to counter the bombast and maleness of banks of synthesizers. Strong and powerful his voice never wavered but then failed him towards the end of his career. Always indelibly linked to progressive rock you wonder where his huge talent would have fitted in today.
Greg Lake – Lucky Man

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43. Joseph Bazalgette

Joseph Bazalgette
In the mid 19th Century repeating outbreaks of cholera were occurring across London. Between 1853-4 more than 10,000 Joseph BazalgetteLondoners died of cholera. At the time it was thought to be caused by foul air coming from the Thames. The stench reached the Houses of Parliament so legislation was created to allow sewers and street improvements.

Before this London’s drains were only meant to cope with rain water. But with the increasing use of flush toilets they became overloaded pushing sewage directly into the Thames.

Joseph Bazalgette was the English engineer who built low level sewers. The flow of infected water from old sewers and underground rivers could be diverted along these new sewers to new treatment works. The Victoria and Albert Embankments were opened in 1870. They replaced the tidal mud of the Thames with riverside roads and gardens protected behind their curved river walls.

The Northern Outfall Sewer is a gravity sewer running from Wick Lane in Hackney to Beckton sewage treatment    Jospeh Bazalgetteworks designed by Bazalgette. Today this sewer has been landscaped to create a public footpath/cycleway called the Greenway. The signs along the Greenway Path are made from old sewage pipes.

There were five interceptor sewers built north of the Thames, with three of them built by Bazalgette. Two more sewers were built 30 years later. 
The northernmost (High Level Sewer) begins on Hampstead Hill and goes past Kentish Town and Stoke Newington under Victoria Park joining the start of the Northern Outfall Sewer at Wick Lane.

Two more sewers serve parts of central London and also join the Northern Outfall Sewer at Wick lane.
One begins at Kilburn running along Edgware Road, Euston Road, past Kings Cross to Wick Lane.
The other from Kensal Green, under Bayswater, along Oxford Street via Clerkenwell and Bethnal Green to Wick Lane. 
Two more low-level sewers stretch from west London.

Bazalgette was the grandson of a French Protestant immigrant.

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42. Listening

Listening sounds easy but is difficult.
The most difficult thing with listening is for the listener to stay out of it. We are so programmed to express ourselves and have Listeningsuch a need to do it. We don’t listen to what the other person is saying. Giving advice or being positive will do nothing for the speaker. The point is that the speaker wants you to accompany them to the dark and terrible place they find themselves in.  This sounds counter intuitive. And it is hard and not what we want to do. We want to avoid our own feelings and everyone else’s!

The better you know the person the more difficult it can be to listen. The longer the relationship the more you feel you are enmeshed with that person and the more you do not have to listen. A lot more is unspoken.
Placating the speaker also doesn’t work. This just adds to their frustration, as placating means that you are not listening listening but giving the plain message that you do not want to hear their feelings.

Listening to children is very difficult because we want to comfort them. Comforting then inserting the but word with an adult reality gives a mixed message. You don’t want to eat you dinner but you must do as it’s good for you.
Listening to people who are angry is for most people the most challenging. Anger is frightening and in our culture of manners the emotion to avoid. There is a primitive sense of a potential for violence or threat of violence. But with courage and once the raw feeling is expressed then listening can return.

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41. Pashtunwali

Pashtunwali is a way of life the Pushtan tribes have lived for 2000 years.
Pashtunwali is a cultural code of behaviour. Or Tribal law? Set of Morals? Codes of Conduct? Pashtunwali

One of the Pashtunwali codes of conduct is hospitality. Not in the Western sense. Pashtunwali gives the guest the host”s protection. They cannot be harmed or surrendered to an enemy. This hospitality requires no favours in return.

This code of behaviour literally saved Mark Luttrell‘s life. He was a Navy Seal dropped into Afghanistan to kill a group of terrorists. Operation Red Wings was a plan to stop terrorists from destabilising the area coming up to local elections. Things went badly wrong and his team was killed but he survived. He was protected by Afghan villagers who hid him away from the terrorists trying to kill the Navy Seals.

In the mire of politics it is hard to tell right from wrong. The soldiers shouldn’t have been there in the first place? Was there intent honourable to protect the local elections? Was this a forcing of democracy onto a country unprepared and unwilling to be democratic?

But Pashtunwali is a version of living that is old and complex to rival Democracy.
Pashtunwali

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