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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40. Trumped

The US Election has created pages of text and will carry on doing so for many weeks.   Trumped
What can be said about Clinton being Trumped that has not already been said?
Firstly the legacy of chancer politicians is not new. From expenses claimed for duck houses to Boris looking afraid at the result he wanted but never thought he would get.Or Farage resigning 3 times from UKIP.

Playing to the crowds, short term, devisive. Serving self not others. Appealing to the lowest common denominator. chancersThe chancer politician has nothing to lose. He is not interested in politics but his ( and it is usually is a He) own popularity and standing. He plays a dangerous game appealing to the poor, deprived, the outsider who also have nothing to lose. In both Brexit and the US Election the establishment ignored what was going on. It created a myth that sections of society were unreasonable, racist, and not deserving. Unwittingly the establishment created chances for the chancers.

It is no irony that all the perpetrators of these political actions are part of the establishment. Wealthy, connected, & looking for a fight. What makes them take the side of the underdog? Boredom, or just wanting a laugh? It is hobby politics. To be picked up and put down for sport. Why does the underdog choose an establishment figure? The chancer has many disguises. The chancer might also feel like an outsider. The establishment is a club with rooms out of bounds even for its own members.

Secondly that we all live in silos. Other people who do not fit our own value systems are dismissed and ridiculed. The liberal elite jeered and sneered at the Brexit voter. They have no rights to a different opinion. It seems it is easier to uphold the rights of Palestine, or support climate change. The Brexit voter is too close to us, too near. Working in silos means people who work together, do not speak or communicate with each other. Silo UK.
Trumped.

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39. Sub Incision Equality

Sub incision equality?
Body modification is the latest trend of people changing their bodies to satisfy their own desires.
It can range from a nip and tuck to changing gender. Modern primitives or urban primitives as they are called Sub Incision Equality?indulge in body modifications in homage to rites of passage in primitive cultures. Body piercing, tattooing, and cutting to name a few. With the disappearance of rituals in modern life, people are making their own.

A personalisation of rituals which used to be practised by institutions, is now brought into the personal.. By marking the body at particular times of life, shows transitions into different stages of life. One of the things that men are doing is to have their penis split, called penis sub incision. The penis functions the same but apparently is twice as good sexually, and more beautiful to look at. Pics for the brave here.

Penis sub incision was first seen in the Australian Aboriginal tribes. It is a rite of passage from boy to man. The boy is taken away from his mother, to sub incised surrounded by a group of chanting male adults. The impact of the sub incision is that the man now had to urinate in the crouched position like a woman. Also reproduction is more complex as the semen can escape. By compressing the opening semen has more chance to pass into the vagina.

There are a few interpretations of this ritual. The letting of blood resembles menstruation. The letting of blood is a ritual often performed to strengthen relationships between males in the tribe. The penis is wider so more satisfying. The genital shape looks similar to a kangaroo which is notorious for its prolonged copulation.
The favourite is that it in homage to women and womanhood. The fecundity of women is so revered that the male has to alter his body to copy it. Is this sub incision equality?

To live in a world where men ritually bow to the power of women. Imagine.
Like the song said “I wonder if you can”

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38. Rigger Jigger

Rowing is seen as a posh sport. It’s seen as a public school sport. For the privileged and the few. So why wouldn’t Rigger Jigger have its own special tool? Welcome to the Rigger Jigger.

No ordinary tool the rigger jigger. 10mm round spanner on end and a 13mm spanner at the other. Each spanner is off set so that it can be gripped easily against the surface of the rowing boat.

Apparently the rigger jigger is used for taking off the riggers. This is the triangular metal tubing which extends outwards from the hull of the boat. The rigger holds the gate which the oar goes into. Why take off the riggers? To put the boat on a trailer and travel far and wide and race against other people with rigger jiggers. The rowing boat looks narrow and skinny. But with the oars extended on both sides. It makes it tricky to steer and difficult to pass on a narrow bit of river.

The rigger jigger can also be used to adjust the foot plate to accommodate a different height of person. But here’s the thing. Its not the same size as the rigger bolts so that’s why there are 2 size spanners on the same tool. Carry around two spanners? Not for the modern rower. Two spanner sizes have to be on the same tool!

Rowing in the UK has taken off becoming a popular sport on the back of Pinsett/Redgrave a pair of Olympian champions and the ever successful rowing teams in the Rio Olympics 2016. Men and Women.
But it has a dark history of class prejudice and discrimination.
Welcome to the world of the Rigger Jigger.

Rigger Jigger

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37. Rod Temperton

Boogie Nights, Always and Forever, Off the Wall, Rock with You, Thriller, Give me the Night.                    Rod Temperton
What do these songs have in common? This man. Rod Temperton. He wrote them.
Born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. An unlikely start for such a prolific songwriter of such famous songs.
To write a song which was one of the most successful tunes, of one of then most successful pop artists of the last 50 years is an amazing feat. Thriller by Micheal Jackson sold over 50 million copies and is the best selling album of all time.

What made a boy from Cleethorpes destined to work in a fish factory write such songs that defined an era?
He must have been very rich and never had to work again. Perhaps it was a huge talent and a wish to escape the North of England. A lot of British talent is motivated by artists wanting to run away from their past. Bowie out of Suburban Bromley, Morrissey out of grey Manchester to name two.

He also knew that he was not a front of camera guy. He was not pretty, not photogenic which he seemed to know. He took himself away from the stage to write songs alone. At a desk by himself. He was nicknamed the Invisible Man because of his low profile.

All Temperton’s songs were slick, polished, evoking LA. It was an escape from the small dark cold space of the North of England to the open vista of the sunlight of a big country. He did America as though he was a native.
R.I.P Rod Temperton

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36. Flash Crash

Last week the pound dropped 6% in a Flash Crash.
Apparently it might have been algorithmic trading. This is a system where computers automatically pick up information which
Flash Crashcan influence currency fluctuations. For instance a European politician saying they have to be tough on Brexit.  Or a financial analyst mistakenly putting an extra nought on the end of a trade.
 
What is surprising (is it?) is that something of a small mistake can have such a large impact. Not just on traders, and financial institutions but on ordinary people. Some UK companies employing thousands of people, value dropped, presumably in the long term threatening their jobs.  

In the past we were subject to the unpredictability of weather destroying crops, plagues killing us, or being eaten by the local man eating beast. Life is unpredictable. The smallest thing has the biggest impact. Living in a hurricane zone, catching a nasty disease, or taking the wrong path through the forest. Little actions have big impact. 

Today we assume we are safer and more in control. To some extent this is true. We live longer, and depending on where we live we have the luxury of the rule of law. But we can make a mistake in the car, or cross the street at a dangerous place. We still cannot escape random diseases.
But there is a reality disconnect between action and impact. Pressing a button remotely can initiate anything. Walking through the forest is an action based in a reality. The environment carries the risk of being eaten. Pressing a button is a mundane act separated from reality of the potential impact. Having computers track news to measure confidence creates a Flash Crash. The disconnect between action and impact is part of 21st Century living. It carries the all the risk of an unpredictable impact but with no reality of action.
Perhaps this is even more unpredictable and risky than the past?
Flash Crash
 

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