Wednesday 31 October 2007

So Who Wins? Dog or Cat?

Tom is scared of Butch.
Garfield laughs at Odie.

The eternal battle, dog and cat.

So who IS the smartest?
Silly question?
Not really.

It is the eternal debate between pet lovers, which is the animal that rules the roost.
Which animal has mastered the world best...?

Cat, I hear you say. Dog needs man, dog acknowledges man as boss. Not cat. Cat thinks it is above us. Cats are independent.

My point entirely.

The cat certainly THINKS it is smart. It thinks it rules the roost. It suffers from the delusion that it is the master of its environment. It doesn't need us, or so it thinks. It's independence is in it's own head and our tolerance. We choose to let it be independent.

Dog is a bit more on the ball.

It remains a fact- like it or not- that Man has changed the face of the globe.
Man determines which species stay, and which go. Which live in abundance, and which live as protected species.
We have remoulded our world.

Other animals have had to adapt to this fact, or die, put bluntly. That is how evolution and extinction work.

Our ancestors were pretty good at what they did. Competing with man for the same food was not a good survival tactic, as Sabre Tooth Tiger discovered, a bit too late. But it's worth noting that most other Felid Carnivores exist in the thousands, largely because, they have got in our way. Brutal, but true. Once a species like man comes along, the lot of any other predator- unless they do it in the sea, the poles, or in the depths of the jungle- is not a happy one.

After all, we are chasing the same food.

We were also far TOO efficient at one time at catching prey. Basically, early man NEVER failed. No other species had been so good. We caught ALL our prey, and they didn't get a chance to reproduce. And so departed the Mammoth, the Mastadon, the Glyptodon, the Ground Sloth, the Short-faced Kangaroo, etc.

Until we hit on a cunning plan.
Pen them in, and help them breed in abundance.
And THEN kill them.

It is worth looking at the Order Artiodactyl- Even toed Ungulates.
Half the species in it exist in a few thousand.
The rest exist in millions.
There is no in between.

Those that exist in abundance, are those we either eat, or use as beasts of burden.

Those that don't, are those we don't.
It's that simple.

In a sense then, life for these animals- the forces of evolution, their very survival, is no longer in their own hands.
They are prey which have now come completely under the control of the predator.
They exist because they are good prey.

Whether that makes them lucky or not, is up to you.
But it certainly wasn't THEIR choice.

Pets are different.
They have adopted the symbiotic strategy.
If you can't beat them, join them.
Unlike Sabre Tooth, they knew there was a new predator in town that couldn't be beat.

Cat is a recent recruit to our domestic life- about four thousand years ago, tamed by the Egyptians. A skulking, desert scavenger. One who was lucky enough to excite the religous sensibilities of the Egyptians.

Dog is something different. Dog is a true symbiant. Canis Familaris separated from Canis Lupus (the Wolf) by making itself a friend, not a foe, to man.

Dog has evolved determinately towards making himself man's best friend, century after century for forty thousand years.
The dog learned early. In a world of Man, the next best place to be, is by his side.

And who's the fool?
Canis Familiaris must have the easiest life of any species on this planet, yet be one of the most abundant, in terms of large(ish) mammals. Most don't have to find their food. Most sleep in beds as comfortable as people do. They are loved, petted, cared for, mates found for them. They eat, sleep, go for walks and play with squeeky toys.

Sometimes, you'd think we served THEM.

Cat hasn't got that bond with us. We don't take to them so much, because they don't love us like dogs do. Dogs had it sussed a long time ago.

We want a hunting ally.
And a friend.

And oh what a friend the dog has been!

The dog evolved a huge love for us, and us for him.

Dogs stand beside man, surveying the world. With the rulers of the world doting on them.
Cat, well, cat can't even see that.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

The Next Decade- Downhill All The Way

I guess this post will contain information newer to some of you than others.

Regular readers will spotted that fear of my looming thirties looms large in my life.
It's getting nearer now than I'm comfortable with.

Where did all the good times go?
I was never meant to GET to my thirties, surely?

I guess during the life history of this blog, a dim realisation has started to grow, a nagging feeling has come to the forefront of my head that I really should DO something.
I guess this blog has been part of that.

It has been part of driving me to the crossroads, really.
And now I'm standing at them.

I've never really been one for decisions. I leave them to make themselves, really.
Anything for an easy life.
And I've got it pretty easy.
But now perhaps, I can't put them off much longer.

On the work front, I'm lucky. I have a job I enjoy. But it has recently been made clear to me that, with the company planning to expand, I have two choices.

  1. Continue as now, making the sales and earning a decent bonus, but being shoddy with the paperwork due to lack of sleep and/or hangovers and other ill effects of too much partying, wasting time in the office playing stupid jokes on people and flirting with the female staff, always earning enough to get by because chatting to people is an easy way to earn a living.
  2. Take the job seriously, double my earnings and get to stick the word Director in my job title at some point in the future.

That really is the choice.

The other factors are personal. Again, close readers of the blog may have noticed that during the life of this blog, my flatmate and my best friend the Baker, became an item. It's an unusual situation, currently weekends work out like this, on a four week cycle.
He comes down here one weekend, and we all spend it together.
I go up to Manchester and myself and him go out there.
She goes up to Manchester, I go out either with others, or stay at home.
Myself and my flatmate spend the weekend together.

Well (as a few of you know), a couple of weeks ago my flatmate brought me the news. She came wondering in (as I was blogging in fact) and announced.

'Er Crushed- I've got something to tell you.'
Well, to be honest I HAD kind of guessed.
'You're going to be Uncle Crushed.'

I have to say, I was overjoyed. As happy as she was, actually. We're all going to be a little family.
It means a lot of changes of course- the Baker is going to have to come back down to the Midlands. Fortunately, my line of work does touch on his sector, so I can keep my ear to the ground.
Ultimately of course, they'll need to get a place together. They are going to have a child after all, and I'm sincerely flattered that BOTH of them consider me part of its family. In fact everybody does. I guess people know how close I am to both parties.
Everyone is asking me how it feels to be an uncle.

But of course, this does put a cloud on my horizon.
The Chimney Sweep and I were travelling up to Manchester on Friday to go to a birthday party when, in his wittering way, he raised the issue;

'What are YOU going to do now? I mean, with both me AND (Baker) tied down now, how do you see your future.'

I agreed I was concerned. Not really about my social life, I accepted that the all lads together every other weekend idea was on its last legs really, but that the Baker and my flatmate would live nearby anyway, due to her mother, so I fully expected to see both of them most weekends.

What I am really worried about, is what to do with the spare room in seven months.

I don't like living alone and the extra £250 a month doesn't even go halfway to paying the bills, but it makes a difference. Makes my life easier. And I will really miss her. I feel about her as if she is a sister.
I'd never just get some stranger in. In point of fact I'd not live with another male, I just don't fancy the idea.

The money in fact isn't really a problem. With the Baker settling down, the two of us have both agreed that is high time both of us kicked our more expensive hobbies.
That easily saves £250 a month- more in fact.

The real problem is coming home to an empty flat, night after night.
The obvious answer is the one everyone else has already come up with. But you can't do that JUST to find someone to live with.

I guess the real point, is that I see the road as being two choices.
Now really is the time for me to decide what I want from life, I've put it off too long.
Am I going to go with my heart, or my head?

Do I sell my soul to the devil?

Do I kiss goodbye to youthful dreams, my yearnings, my restless desires- and focus every last scrap of my energy on my sales career?
Or should I follow that nagging voice which tells me to throw that all in and do something...better.

Which way happiness? Which way contentment?

Monday 29 October 2007

Love- The Way I See It

For some bizarre reason, it seems not everyone gets the point of this blog.

It seems I'm not blatant enough.
I actually thought I wore my heart on my sleeve, but apparently not.

OK, the society we live in sucks.

It's the tail end of a dying system.
We are experiencing capitalism in its final collapse, and we all need to be planning for the future.
Planning for a better way of life.

Goodbye to much of the nastiness.

I think I spell out what I'd like to see in this post.

I believe one day we WILL all have to fight for it, maybe us, maybe our children, maybe our children's children- because the alternative is INGSOC, pure and simple.

And that just leads to a dead end.

The future IS that stark.

And yes, its about learning LOVE.
A NEW love.

Time to tear down the narrow frameworks of our past conceptions. States, Money, Private Property, Marriage, Family, we've outlived them- they only serve to support the power matrix.
This to me, is crucial. I see these as ideals which hold us back.

And the last two of the points listed, I want an end to as much as the rest.

Time for a new love, built on love AND affection for all.

This is almost the most important bit of the change.
Because Marriage and Family are just extended selfishness.

I love you because you're MINE.


I love you because you're human.

One of my views that not everyone agrees with, is my belief that monogamy really is bad, not something we should cherish.

Monogamy is a truly evil ideal, I'll state that now, TRULY evil.
It means depriving every other person of the person you purport to love.
You promise to love them ONLY if you get to OWN them.

Religion demanded monogamy, because in a world where people think they own things- and men think they own women- it works.

Well, I don't want to love a possession.
I don't WANT her 'fidelity'- that imposes a burden on me, that of fulfilling her.
I don't want that burden.

I want her to be happy and fulfilled,to get the most out of her life.

And she is NOT going to get that through being 'faithful' to me.
Not if she's any woman worth having.

What I do want, is her intelligence, her support, her nurturing, her sympathy, her understanding of what it is that drives my life.

To be first among her lovers, not her sole lover. Or her best.

I want her to be there when I need her, but understanding that I cannot give her my whole attention. Most of it is required elsewhere.

Do I expect her only to carry my children?
Of course not. That would be selfish. A waste of her genetic potential as a female.

Yes, I do believe in love. I want to love a woman way beyond the bargaining system that we have become used to.

Not a love based on conditions.

But on the fact that you feel at peace when they hold your head in their arms.
And we could BOTH be free in love.

This ideal is pretty much as far from casual sex as you can get.
And CERTAINLY respects women more than monogamy.

It just kisses goodbye to a bit of MALE dignity.

I'd rather have real love, thanks.

Sunday 28 October 2007


It's been a long weekend, and Sunday's Music post is a bit late.
But here are three of my favourite Radiohead tracks.

The first, Creep, is the classic First Love angst track. Or maybe that's how ALL love should feel. I don't know. But I felt like this with my first love.

The second is from The Bends and is Radiohead at their finest, I think. It's just very atmospheric and evocative. Beautiful, really.

Lastly, from OK Computer, possibly their finest album, we have Karma Police. I quite like the lyrics, but I also find it a very atmospheric track.
In fact BUY the album, it really is great- if you DON'T own it, you are missing out.

Radiohead ARE good. It's as simple as that, really.
The best thing to come out of the late nineties, outside dance music.

Friday 26 October 2007

Bliss is Ignorance

One thing I am odds with my religion over, is I do not believe in an afterlife. I do believe that the entire universe is one consciousness, because it is- in physical- terms one vast information network. If thought is possible in the universe, the universe does it.
It is all deterministic. Therefore, it is God.

I also believe that Christ's teachings ARE the way forward. If we could transcend our base animal urges and overthrow our sense of self- the real point of his teachings- then the ideas which we say won't work because of human nature- Free Love and Communism- WOULD work and society would be a better place for it.

Christ, Marx, Nietzche and Darwin- link them together, humanity's path is clear.

But no, I don't believe in an afterlife. Not really. I think it's a bribe to get us to be good.
I think the real state of contentment is something deeper.
The Buddha spelled it out.

Nirvana. The highest state of consciousness. Complete understanding of the universe.
Beyond pleasure, beyond pain.

When you reach Nirvana, you no longer feel either.
Can humans strive for this?

I don't know. I'm not sure those who reach it ever really had a choice.
I think Jesus reached it, in a sense.
I think I see HOW it is reached. It is all about understanding, and it is a double edged sword.
Both the Buddha and Christ, in fact many prophets, philosophers, messianic figures generally seem to have begun their 'missions' at thirty.

I guess it takes that time to realise, you can't live a lie any more.

Understanding carries a cost. In a sense, you do sell your soul for it.

I have always been driven I guess, to understand, to comprehend, to get to grips with the world.
It has been my prime driving motivation. More than that, it's obsession. Everything else in my life pales by comparison. Everything else is just a microcosm, a part of the picture.
I want the WHOLE picture.
I want the GRAND vision.

It's a lofty aim, I guess, but I really want to see inside the mind of God, before I die.
It either drives you, or it doesn't. For most, it doesn't.

As my twenties have progressed, my range of interests has widened. I have felt compelled to take on new areas of study, so as to increase my understanding of the whole.
Because to understand the World, you need to understand history. To understand history, you need to understand politics. To understand politics, you need to understand economics. To understand economics, you need to understand sociology. To understand sociology, you need to understand psychology. To understand psychology, you need to understand biology. To understand biology, you need to understand chemistry. To understand chemistry, you need to understand physics.

It's all interlinked.

But it's no use just knowing this stuff. You need to apply this knowledge to what you see. The connecting of it all, and adding your own real life observations to it is the key. The truth really is in front of your nose.

Remember, Darwin hit upon his idea of how evolution worked by reading an economics tract- Malthus theory on population. Darwin figured, if that was how human society worked, all animals must be subject to the same laws, and over time, those laws would have effect.

When you start to understand how your own pleasure and pain motivators are wired up, you question them more. It's not good enough to just feel happy. You need to know why. Happiness does stop becoming its own reward, when you start seeing yourself as you truly are, an organism, capable of being conditioned.

Pleasure and pain are not objective, they are neurological responses. They may let you down.

Put another way, mankind has an instinctive fear of spiders, most psychologists agree. it IS actually programmed in. Why?
Because of our ancestors, those who had a fear of spiders, but not trees, tended to live longer than those who had a fear of trees, but not spiders.
Pleasure and pain are programmed as they are for sound biological reasons, but they cannot actually approach true logic.

Objective logic MUST override your individual happiness every time. That is what makes humanity special. The ability to override our animal natures.

A good example of this is liking sweet things. We know too much sweet food is bad for you. So why does it taste so good?
Because in the wild, sweet things are hard to find. But we need them, in tiny doses. But we needed to be incentivised to go and find them. so we are encouraged to scour the forests looking for these nice tasting things.
Now we can create them on demand, that particular programming is a bit of a handicap.

In a nutshell, you can only truly be free when you have the power to endure suffering and to reject happiness.
When you really can rise above your instincts and know yourself.

That doesn't mean you should live in misery. Take happiness, when you can, when it doesn't stand in your way, when it doesn't sidetrack you, when it isn't offered as a bait on someone else's hook.

But there is a sense, really, when true understanding precludes total happiness.
I suppose one day that might not be the case, but not as things stand.

When you truly get your head round the situation we live in, when you see humanity in all its awesomeness- or awfulness, when the scales finally drop from your eyes, somehow, everything else just seems irrelevant.

How can you ever really find contentment , when you see it, in all its naked glory?

A species ruled by a minority controlling them by pressing the pleasure pain buttons.
A species that points missiles at eachother, but can't be bothered to go back to the moon.
A species that thinks marketing Pokemon is worthwhile, building hospitals in Africa isn't.
A species that bands itself into tribal units for the purpose of hating its fellows.
A species lied to, manipulated, conditioned, enslaved and wasted.

A world where so much energy, so much opportunity, so much love is held back.

All to maintain the Matrix of Power.
So that a few fat cats can enjoy the sensation of owning the world. Of owning US.

Not so they can do anything constructive with that power.
They just want to HAVE it, for it's own sake.

It really is a Matrix world we live in. Once you see it, once the truth hammers home through the skull they have spent years thickening, so that truth would never get through, you can never see anything the same again.

Do you wish you took the blue pill?
Sometimes, yes.

Bliss is ignorance.
I want more than that.

The truth will not make you happy.
But it will set you free.

PS I'm away this weekend.
Pleasure seeking.
It's OK, as long you don't lose sight of reality.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Pleasure Distribution- How the System Works

Human society is based on a very simple premise. You can analyse as much as you like the differing motivating factors that influence people, but put simply, we are driven to experience pleasure and avoid pain.

We know when we feel good.
We know when we feel bad.

And that of course, is what the whole thing is all about.

Marx was almost on the right lines when he noticed that all human history is about distribution of resources- the power lies in the hands of those the rest of us permit to control resources.
But in a sense, his critics are right. He DID get bogged down by materials- it's slightly deeper than that.
Power rests with those who can allocate pleasure, or pain.

In early cultures, social cohesion could only work if everyone pulled together and knew the deal.

Till the fields for ten hours, get fed. It was fair. EVERYONE was doing their bit, if you didn't, you didn't get fed.
As societies got more complex, various groups needed to be removed from these labours. Someone had to be spending time thinking and planning- societies needed Generals, Poets, Philosophers, etc.

They also did their bit, and received a share.

To maintain society in these hard days, it had to be made clear.
Work with us, get pleasure.
Work against us, get pain.

Society became more efficient as the capacity of the distributors to distribute both increased.

Kings sitting in piles of gold, could give any man who really helped him, a limitless capacity for pleasure.
Whilst those who opposed him could expect a slow and painful death.

What was important, for this to really work, is that for most people, pleasure MUST be rationed.
The rate of exchange of work to pleasure must be such that most people have no choice but to obey. Otherwise, they starve.

Even if your society has progressed to the level that no one actually needs to work QUITE that hard to maintain it, that surplus labour can be used wisely. The surplus wealth created can be accrued by the pleasure-pain distributors.
As society progresses, their power capacity increases.

Another great idea was the rationing of sex. Sex, after all, is a pleasure. Society is rigged so that sex becomes forbidden, except for procreation. No man shall make love to several women, CERTAINLY no woman make love to several men- and men with men, or women with women, that serves no useful purpose, so NO.

Love making shall be rationed, like all other pleasures.

You shall marry to do it. And you need to prove yourself a hard working citizen before society will let you do that...

Conditioned, like lab rats...

Have you ever wondered why we still work all day to put a roof over our head after thousands of years of technological development?

It's simple- though the actual material wealth of our species and its capacity to feed, clothe and house us all has increased a hundredfold, that capacity for comfort and pleasure is stored up and rationed out to us, keeping us like rats on a tread mill.

You've worked hard- you can afford to go for a pint.

While Bill Gates sits on 33 Billion.

Unused pleasure tokens. He'll never use them.
How can one man EVER use 33 billion dollars worth of pleasure?

He uses it to buy PEOPLE with.
That's the point of wealth- to hold it over people, tokens they can spend.
The Corporations employ us, they pay us, we use the tokens buying THEIR goods.

Most of what we do is COMPLETELY pointless. They use up our energies, to keep us slaves- the real power game is between them, Microsoft, HSBC, Walmart, they play it every day, the real superpowers of the world.
The day to day battle to see which corporation owns most of the world. That's your precious capitalist system. That's the REAL war. The rest is an illusion.
Your governments are chosen by them, because through their newspapers and their TV stations, they TELL you who to vote for.

YOU are their foot soldiers, whether you count their money for them, sell their goods, keep their assets safe for them, process our children into more good wageslaves, or help amuse us in our hours off, we are ALL tools.

They say jump, we say how high.
Because our homes, our meals, our loves, our pleasures ARE ALL DISTRIBUTED TO US AT THEIR WHIM.

We live in a world where people work three times as much as they need to, yet most of the world's capacity for pleasure and happiness remains untapped, unspent tokens in the hands of the distributors.

They condition you. They tell you that love must be rationed, that you can only love ONE person.
They tell you all drugs are like heroin- rubbish, what really scares them is easy access to pleasure they can't control. That's why they hated the rave scene.
They hate anything that causes people to bond socially with heightened brain activity.

They press down on your nerves and keep forcing you back on to that treadmill.

And when you notice, they create imaginary fears for you.
Reds under the bed, or Islamic suicide bombers. Get real.
Who has all the nukes?

Who PAYS for all the nukes?



Rats on a treadmill.

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Chez Crushed- Where the Heart Is

It's a strange fact that a sense of home is hard to come by.
Having a sense of a place which is yours, your cave, your castle, your domain, is perhaps one of the warmest, cosiest feelings you can have.

At home, you can just be you.
The varying acts you have to play day in, day out, can be put to rest. Here you can think what you like, say what you like, do what you like.

It's not as easy to get that as you think. You don't really have a home as a child- you occupy a room at your parents house, and you don't even have privacy there. I kind of had two homes, I had a room at my parents and one at my grandmothers and as a teenager, I often went to stay my grandmother. As soon as I left for University, the room I had occupied at my parents was transferred to my brother.

Our house at university DID feel like home- it was a house we shared as equals, and since the absence of a TV or stereo in the living room meant my room became the real living room, I felt at home in that house in a way I'd never felt before.

Other people went home in the holidays. I left home in the holidays to visit my parents.

As an adult, I've lived in several places. None of them felt like home. When I lived on my own, I never unpacked half the stuff, never purchased a lot of things homes tend to have, such as washing machines, coffee tables etc.
On the other hand, living with someone else never felt like home either. Sure, the place LOOKED like A home- just not mine.

I would be allowed half of the bedroom and the spare room as my playroom, whilst the living room was turned into something out of a Home Improvements show.
Never a room you felt was YOURS.

Yet now I guess, I've finally settled. This is MY home and it looks like a home. It IS a home. My castle, my cave, my grotto. Chez Crushed.

Our little comfort area. Against the wall is my CD collection, my pride and joy. The gaps are due to the tendency of CDs to form in towers on top of the stereo itself. I won't allow my flatmate to put hers on it- she can keep them in her room. I'm not having Meatloaf and Cascada sitting with my CDs. Period.
The ornaments are hers, though.

I do read a lot. There are two other bookcases in the flat as well, and I'm under a ban from my flatmate on buying any more- we don't have much more room on the shelves.
If you look closely, you will see Marx and Nietzche on the shelves- but also the Bible, the Koran and even the Complete works of Darwin. There is some Sci-fi/fantasy, but it's mainly non-fiction.

You can't see on this picture, because I couldn't fit it in, but there is a replica Icon of the Madonna and Child to the right above the fireplace.

This is Cedric, who I may have mentioned before. He's come pretty much everywhere with me. For some reason, every girlfriend I've ever had has hated him and he has ended up banished from display.
He has been called 'Manky Monkey', 'Scary Teddy', 'Freaky Hippo', to name but a few.

I am sorry to say I never stood his ground when he was banished to spare rooms, or the backs of cupboards.
But his loyalty has been unstinting, so I have decided now, any future Mrs Crushed is going to have to get along with Cedric.

But home can have wider meanings too, I guess. There will always be a place I can go, where everybody knows my name, where I have been a loyal customer for as long as anyone can remember.

Yeah, I feel at home here too!
My local (well it ISN'T that local really, it's not my nearest pub, but certainly my dearest), as good an old fashioned British spit and sawdust workingman's pub as you can get.
Here too, I can just be me.
(The landlord of the pub in the picture, not a happy chappie that day, West Bromwich Albion AND the bookies let him down again....)

I guess I don't ask for a lot, really.

But knowing you have a place where you belong is gold dust.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Proclamation of the United People of Earth

We the people, being the whole people, the people of this planet, being the entire membership of the species Homo Sapiens do solemnly affirm that it is the birthright of every adult person of sound mind, who has not declared themselves by their actions to be an enemy of the common good, to an equal chance to participate in the present and future development of this species, and an equal say in its destiny.

We the people of this planet, being those alive today, and those whose responsibility it is to determine the future of our species, do assert the common ownership by the species of the entire territory occupied by the said species, of the entirety of the raw materials and resources at our disposal, of the infrastructure our species has created for its survival and advancement and of the fruits created by our combined efforts.

We the people hereby disown distinctions of nationality, of race, of colour, of gender, of belief system or any other dividing factor and unite behind one over-riding loyalty, the loyalty of all to the species Homo Sapiens.
We declare our determination to end distinctions based on a history of geographical separation and commit as a species to the full unification of mankind.

We the people declare ourselves to be the ultimate Executive, Legislature and Judiciary of the species. We reserve the right to decide the rules that should govern us, the distribution of resources, the appointments of positions of authority and the proper scope of such authority.
We firmly commit ourselves to preventing concentrations of power and assuring as wide a distribution of power as is consonant with efficient administration of the infrastructure.

We the people commit ourselves to ensuring that the global infrastructure, created by the labours of the generations, and so vital for the maintenance of a happy life for all, should be developed and maintained with equal care across its territory.
We abhor the current disparities between the infrastructures of different geographical areas.

We the people each commit ourselves to providing an equal share of our intelligence and our labours, to serving the common good. We commit ourselves to work for however long is needed, on a daily basis, not only to ensure that we maintain the system as it stands, but that every day human existence becomes better, human knowledge increases, human technology advances and the prospects of our descendants improve.

We the people do promise that, all social obligations by the individual being fulfilled, a proper share of the combined fruits of the labours of Mankind shall be guaranteed to all. We further guarantee that no limits shall be placed on any individual's wishes to pursue their own routes to happiness, unless it can clearly be demonstrated that the route to happiness chosen by that individual, is detrimental to the community at large.

We the people do firmly agree that, this situation having been achieved, the planet as a whole should be generally disarmed, the only weapons in possession of this species, being missiles pointing outward towards the unknown that lies beyond our globe.

We the people are grown up enough now to make these choices.

Monday 22 October 2007

Vote For Your President!

Gordon Brown has blown it, by 21 votes to 5.
I must say, I agree.

OK, this week, a bit of political fantasy.

The Man Who Talk to Plants and his son are flying to visit Swaziland.
Unfortunately, the runway is in a state of disrepair as the entire state budget has just been spent on King Mswati III's wedding to three hundred virgins the previous week.

Nasty accident happens and well...
The heir to the throne is now Prince Harry.


The mood amongst the public swings towards a Republic and a Bill is passed saying that once Her Majesty departs this mortal coil, Britain will become a Republic, with a figurehead President living in Bucks House, fulfilling all the functions Queen Liz fulfilled during her long and glorious reign.

OK, let's have a look at the candidates.

John Major, Conservative
Pushed to find anyone of real substance for the job, the Tories fall back on honest John, who may have been voted out in a landslide in 1997, but at least is seen as a nice guy. The public may feel that as long as he doesn't have to make any real decisions, you couldn't really hope for a nicer guy to represent Blighty across the globe.
Hard to really dislike, has integrity if nothing else, but can he ever regain the loss of respect for him we all felt when we learned that he fell for... Edwina Currie, Uggh!

Peter Mandelson, Labour
Labour actually want to win,but they need a President who can be relied upon to do as he's told by the PM. This rules Blair out, because let's face it, give him the title President and he'll be looking to restore the monarchy again soon.
Though not the Windsors.
So Mandy is dragged back from Brussels, the eternal survivor of British politics, the man who really has had a stab at everything. The one thing you can be sure of with Mandy, is he is Mr Teflon. Throw what you like at him, it doesn't stick.

Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat
The Lib Dem's only true politician of substance, a figure known on the international stage, Paddy is ideal President material. Nauseating, preachy, tedious, but sincere. His heart can bleed for Britain- exactly the man for the job.
Whether President Paddy would be of much help to the ratings of his party at large, is another matter.

Bob Geldoff, Independent
Bob's decided it's time for real change. Britain needs a leader who REALLY represents what they think. Bob knows the British people don't like Mondays, he doesn't need them to tell him why.
Bob really knows how to deal with other heads of state, he knows how to deal with the press, and he can be counted on to support progressive legislation.
The British people can also be assured that he will tell his people exactly what he thinks of his own government. He'll even write his own speeches, maybe put them to music.

Mutley The Dog, United Morris Dancers Party
The surprise unknown candidate from Bridport, Dorset.
Who knows what this candidate will do?
As yet, his manifesto is a dark secret, but he could just be the dark horse in this race...

So, who will be our first President?

Have your say!

Sunday 21 October 2007

The Fantasy Genre- Love it or Loathe it

Well, I love it. There's good and bad of course. I LOATHE Star Trek, I find it tedious and unimaginative, but the Sci Fi/Fantasy genre as a whole, is one I love. I find it really expands the imagination, but also provides a medium so much freer for real philosophical and political thought, the great issues of life can be examined outside the constraints we normally find them in. A novel or film about real life on real earth doesn't really think outside the box in the same way. Sci Fi/Fantasy is modern myth, and like all myth, it strikes an inner reality that daily reality cannot scratch the surface of.

This is from Krull, which I first saw aged five. I have seen it several times since, just a really stylish film, dark, brooding, atmospheric.
For its day, the special effects are amazing- plus, it's actually a British film!
Note Francesca Annis!

The next clip is from one of the series that became a real cult, and I was one of its earliest followers- I caught the first episode (this one shown) at University and never missed an episode. A dark mix of horror, black comedy, satire and occasionally, eroticism, I feel this really pushed the boat out in Sci Fi terms. The later series weren't quite as good, but Lexx really stirred my mind.

Be warned, this clip carries an 18 rating.

Then of course, there is Farscape. Again, you can't really knock this, this is what Star Trek SHOULD have been. Visually stylish, compelling viewing, and great storylines.

You couldn't really afford to miss an episode, because you'd really miss out on the storyline, but it actually had a hero you could like- and even for a cynic like me, the love interest between John and Aeryn (the lovely Claudia Black) was just one of the greatest ever shown on screen.

Never before, perhaps, has a woman been portrayed so captivatingly, strong, assertive, unbreakable. This is not a woman who will be mastered by her emotions. This is not a woman who will bow to anyone.

And yet... that smouldering intensity.

Lastly, there can be fun Sci-Fi too. It doesn't all have to make you think. Sometimes, you can just be amused.

In this scene, you just cannot help but admire the stamina of Barbarella...

Incidentally, the crazy looking guy in the clip is called Duran Duran- it's where the group took their name from.

Well, all these have had effects on me, one way or another. I really do find the genre the most worthwhile to read, and to watch.

If you feel like perusing the effects it's had on my mind, feel free.

Friday 19 October 2007

Just an Amazing Species

Just a little observation for the weekend.

Some time ago, myself and my flatmate were chilling of an evening, looking up at the sky as we walked back from the pub.

Myself: Look, Planet.

Flatmate: Where?

Myself: There. That bright star up there. It's a planet.

Flatmate: How do you know that?

Myself: It's on the Ecliptic. The Equator, basically. It's on the line the Sun appears to travel on, this arc here (I gestured with my hand). You only get planets on that line, because we all orbit on the same plane. It's also just slightly too bright to be a star. There's only a handful of stars THAT bright, and none of them lie on the ecliptic.

Flatmate: So, which one is it?

Myself : Well, my guess is Jupiter. Venus only shows at Sundown or Sunset, and I'm sure I saw Mars a few weeks back. Saturn is the same size as an ordinary star, so it really has to be Jupiter.

Flatmate: I'll take your word for it.


Myself: Makes you think though.

Flatmate: In what way?

Myself: Well, Jupiter is f**king huge, God knows how many times bigger than the Earth, and the Earth seems HUGE to us. Yet look how small it looks. Makes you realise how far away it is. SO far away it looks that tiny, when it is so many times BIGGER than the entire world that means everything to us, that IS everything.

Flatmate: I'd never really thought about it.

Myself: It is pretty mad stuff though, ain't it?


Myself: Actually, it ISN'T really, is it? There's nothing really that odd about a big object looking small JUST because it's far away. That's normal, really. There's nothing actually that amazing about the universe being big and us being small.

The stars are a lot bigger and a lot further away, but that doesn't seem crazy.

What IS amazing, is that such a huge object, so many times the size of the Earth, yet so far away I can blot it's image out with my finger, has been photographed close up using HUMAN technology, and those images successfully relayed to US, us here. We've seen close pictures of an object THAT far away. THAT'S amazing.


Flatmate: I suppose it is really, now you come to mention it.

Myself: We are pretty amazing creatures really. To be able to do stuff like that. People just don't appreciate it. They don't see just how amazing we are. We f**king photographed Jupiter! One day we'll go there. We're going to do so many amazing things if we can stop pointing missiles at eachother and wasting our days playing swap the assets. There is hope, you know. Humanity is f**king amazing.

Flatmate: I hope you're right. I know you really hope that.

Myself: I do, I do. But you know what? I have faith that my vision will pan out. We're too good to just go up in mushroom clouds. See them stars? They really do belong to us.

That's all I have to say, people.
Those stars belong to Man.

Reach for them.

Thursday 18 October 2007

As Profound as it Gets

One of my favorites.
I like the sentiment.

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thou express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal - yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Hope you all have a lovely day xx

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Power- The Greatest Urge of All

One of the hardest truths to face as human beings, is that the leading motor that drives us- especially those of us of the male sex- is not in fact, the desire for Love at all.

It is the desire for power.

We try to downplay it, we try to hide from it.
We are uncomfortable with it.
But is nevertheless true.

The two novels which fascinate me most have always fascinated for the same reason- they are about power. It truly is the most fascinating of human dynamics, the most alluring of drugs, the only one TRULY, we would ALL sell our own grandmothers for, whatever we pretend.

When I was a student I often used to ask the question of people;
'If you were one of the nine mortal men, who Sauron offered a ring of power too, would you take it?'

Most said 'Yes', but not if they knew they would end up as ringwraiths.

You see, I used to look inside myself and face that nagging doubt, I would take one even knowing those consequences.

That is the allure of power. The old myths of people selling their souls to the devil for unlimited power captivate for that reason- it is the only temptation we would face eternal damnation for.

Which is why so many have.
It corrupts, like nothing else can.

1984 shocked me on first reading as a student. It was the passage where O'Brien asks Winston WHY the party tortures people and makes them suffer.

He reveals the hard fact; power is a nerve. You only feel it's true strength when people obey, not because they want to, or because it helps them, but because you really are that powerful. The Euphoria of the exercise is in its completeness.

It shocked me a bit- not because I didn't deep down know that- but because it was so baldly stated.
As a political activist at the time, I realised I actually didn't give a damn about my party's policies.
I just wanted a path to exercise power over others.

There is a simple proof that Power is sought more than Love by looking at what people want from recreational drugs.
Ecstasy and Cocaine are not physically addictive- it is the sensations they replicate that people seek.

Ecstasy replicates the feeling of Love.
Cocaine replicates the feeling of Power.

Ecstasy is dirt cheap. Cocaine is relatively, the most expensive drug there is.

Of course. The human race has vast untapped reserves of Love to give. Potentially, its limitless. It's just we waste it. It's not hard to find if we look.
We can all love and be loved many times over.

Power is different. It's not reciprocal. Those exercising it MUST of necessity be outnumbered by those they are exercising it over. That's how it works. To feel more love, you just have to love more. To feel more power, you have to increase the number of people who feel your power and the intensity to which you subject them to it.

If we are honest, most of us hide it well. But nevertheless, we do it.
Why do I work in Sales?
It doesn't ACTUALLY pay THAT well, it's hardly satisfying from a point of view of feeling useful.

The thrill of the kill, I always say.
Or, put bluntly, I enjoy the victory. It's a harmless way to gain that sense of empowerment in the grand scheme of things. Someone's got to do the job, but that's really what motivates most good sales people.
You live for the instant of capitulation, the huge rush that soars through you when you KNOW you have won.

It is the instinct of the panther sinking claws into his prey.

That's how most social dynamics really works. It's pretty much all a game of oneupmanship, pretty much about body language, a lilting voice and a nice smile, as you covertly flash your eyes.
It's the eyes that are the key, of course. Being able to look direct into someone's pupils and hold them till the other person looks away, gives you the edge.

On a social level, societies have always naturally formed themselves into pyramid structures. There's a good reason why it works. The main one is that the biggest incentive to get people to contribute is to reward them with power- it's what the most driven, the most energetic, the most dynamic secretly crave.

It's why most societies, unless huge checks and balances are put in place gravitate slowly towards autocracy, needing the occasional disruption to overthrow an ossified tyranny.
Those who have power will always seize upon a good excuse to accrue more, whilst ignoring a good excuse to lose some.

The world is strewn with monuments, the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace, etc, which exist simply to say 'Look at my power, look what I can make people make for me'.

Society exists, simply so those with most creativity can gain their craving.

Yes, that really is true.
That is what makes us human.
It is the unique combination of the predatory monkey.

It is the vicious hierarchy of the ape, with the instincts of the hunter attached.

For without it, communication and co-operation could never have happened.
Alpha Male drove it.

Our ancestors survived and bonded because some compelled others to obey.
Not always through physical force, through the force of eye contact, through the imposition of will.
The art of the extrovert, the compulsive communicator.

For the Artist, the Poet, the Author, the Inventor, the Philosopher, all ultimately strive in their own ways to influence the minds of others, to bring others to their line of thought.

It even drives the saints.

The seeker for knowledge seeks it, for one reason and one alone.

Knowledge is power.

No matter how many revolutions we have, even when we no longer have property, when we have the society that one day I hope we will, there always be elites.

For some will always walk into a room and gravitate to the centre, will be remembered by all they meet, well thought of, respected and generally liked.

And others will gravitate to the sides.

This dynamic binds us, it binds our culture. There are natural born leaders and natural born followers.

It is how we deal with this conundrum in a way that people don't get hurt that may be the greatest riddle of our history.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Dreams That Etch Themselves on Our Souls

I've been tagged by the ever thoughtful Alexys with quite a nice little meme. It is about dreams.
Dreams that you sit and dream about in the sense, that if you could make them true, you would.
If it was in your power to bring them about, that would be your aim.

I guess most of you know my dreams for the world and the future, so I guess my own are kind of meant here.

Well, number one is the highly unrealistic yearning I have which is unlikely to be fulfilled of avoiding a sad and lingering mouldering death by leaving behind a good looking corpse while I still can.

OK, the revolution is NOT going to happen any time soon, and I am unlikely to die a heroic death on the barricades, but a man can dream- and trust me, I do.

Secondly, more realistically, I'd like to be part of a movement which actually did lead to positive change somehow.
I can't yet see how that can be achieved, but there are a lot of clever people blogging now, with really good ideas and positive thoughts, so maybe here is a good place to start.
A real people power, a real democracy. Thinking, talking, loving people saying NO to Capitalism, Racism, Sexism, general oppression and nastiness.

A movement of Love.
That's NOT unrealistic.

But where do we start?

Ideas anyone?

Thirdly, I do DREAM about meaningful Love. Not marriage, or even the enforced strictures of conventional relationships.

Just lieing again like I did years ago, with Joanna's head on my shoulder, as I stroked her hair. Without feeling a barrier.

This is obviously not going to happen, but these are dreams...
It's a sweet dream, nevertheless.

The first dream was a trifle more likely.

Fourthly, I guess I'd like to find the right answers before I finally die. There's lot of unresolved questions that we all have I guess.
None of us are all knowing, none of us saints.
There's many failings I want to understand, many wrongs I want to put right.
Many people I want to say sorry to and at least receive forgiveness.

And much repentance I need to do. This is the hard part. Redemption IS about repentance, but it has to be sincere.

I know full well, there's many wrongs I have done, I really DON'T repent, or don't repent enough.
I realise it's because I don't yet understand them.

There's lots of times we haven't quite seen things from others points of view.
One day, I want to see that.

It IS all about understanding, and I hope that when I do finally leave this earth, I will do so with a clear conscience.

And lastly, I want to get my novel finished.

I've posted some more and it's in the sidebar.
Please feel free to go in and tear it to shreds- your input is welcome.

Hmmm. Who to tag.

jmb, Helen, Princess Pointful, Crashie and Welshcakes

Lastly, I've been re-jigging the blog a little bit as some of you may have seen. I'm in a re-jigging frame of mind. Firstly, may I recommend the clip from the film 1984 at the bottom, it's classic, it is - close to the bone, shall we say.

Any other suggestions anyone has, please feel free to bring them up.

Monday 15 October 2007

Lessons I Have Learned In Life

Sometimes, it's easy to lose sight of the straight path.
Life is full of little detours and little blind alleys.

It's not always easy.

For me, it certainly hasn't been.
I'm guessing the same is true for many of you.

When I was younger, I was something of a compulsive risk taker. In some ways, I still am. But time was, when there was very little thought put into my actions. Take the risk and hope for the best, that was the logic.

I guess it was partly arrogance. I used to think I was a lot cleverer than I actually was. If the cash machine stopped dispensing me money, I'd find some somehow, until I got paid next. You get used to the idea that you never need worry about tomorrow, because you can pretty much handle any crisis.

I used to walk through life blind, just following my own path and damn the consequences. Life was pretty much one long game of roulette.

This way of living accelerated in September 2001, when my then girlfriend had an abortion. I had tried to prevent her, but ultimately supported her when she went to the clinic.
It was while I was there, that the guilt hit me like a hammer.
I felt an accomplice to the murder of my own child.

And I couldn't deal with it.

But I didn't just blame me.
I blamed the society which had made it so easy.
I sat and wallowed in self pity.

Worse. I decided I no longer had any obligation to society.
F**k them and their law.
That became my attitude.

My attitude became 'So it's OK for you to kill my son, but not OK for me to take Ecstasy?'
And I really lost sight of everything.
Obviously, me and my then girlfriend split up.

I then went into a spiral of decline. Not noticeable. I did my job well. But only through daily use of Amphetamine.
Soon, there was only one day a week (Sundays), when I WASN'T putting recreational drugs into my system.
They say admitting you are an addict is the first step to recovery.

That's crap. I knew I was and didn't care.
I had given up all hope of anything meaningful in my life.

I'd be lying if I said I don't have happy memories from that period- I do, many.
One of them being the 2002 World Cup.
And some of the great people I met during that time in my life.

Some were fair weather friends who scuttled off when it all came crashing down.
But the amount of people who stood be me through all that, and the hell that resulted, is something today, I still give thanks for.

Because I got through it all. It wasn't easy. Looking back on at all, I can't believe how stupid I was, how arrogant I was, how self centred I was.

But do you know, I regret none of it.
It taught me lessons I'd never have learned otherwise.

Firstly, life isn't fair. It's consoling to think it is, that good people are rewarded and bad people get what's coming to them, but it doesn't happen like that. Genghis Khan died in his bed.
The fact is bad things happen to good people as much as to bad people, and good things happen to bad people likewise.

I think it IS true, that there is Karma in things. I do think what goes around comes around, but that doesn't always mean it's FAIR.
I don't think I deserved the things that happened to me to happen to me, but I do think I am BETTER for them happening to me, if that makes any sense.

Secondly, self pity and introspection are no use. Every second you waste wallowing in self pity and blaming others around you for the mess you are in, is a second wasted from doing something constructive about it.

Whatever has happened to you, the fact remains this is the only life you are going to have, and it is too precious to waste. Ultimately, whatever has happened to you, only YOU can move on.
Even when you know you have been hard done by, you HAVE to dust yourself down and stand up to face the world, looking it in the eye.

Even when you feel you have no strength left in you.
Look inside yourself, it's there.

Thirdly, you are what you choose to be. People smell fear, like dogs. The weak will go to the wall. It's you who chooses to be weak, it is you who chooses to fear.
If you stop caring about being able to look YOURSELF in the eye in the mirror, you've lost the game.

Sometimes, there are more important things than avoiding pain.
There's keeping your integrity intact.
When your integrity is all you have left, to throw it away, is to allow yourself to be broken.

Fourthly, you will always make mistakes. You will never be perfect.
Because you are not all knowing, you are not all wise and you certainly don't see the whole picture, just the one you see from your own eyes. It's distorted.
It's subjective.
It's a system of nerve impulses designed to stay alive.
You will always make stupid decisions.

Hopefully, you will make less of them as time goes on, but you will still make them.

Fifthly, learn to be at peace with yourself. Now this is the hardest. Because to be at peace with yourself, you have to be able to look at your mistakes and understand them. And really try. Try everyday in everything you do. Be honest about the person you are.
OK, you are never going to buy the Big Issue from the homeless guy, but at least have the decency to feel bad about it.
Look at the suffering that goes on in the world, stop justifying it and be candid enough to admit that you do nothing, because it's easier not to.
But at least be with them in spirit.

And Lastly, most importantly of all.
ALWAYS forgive.
NEVER forget.

I'm a person 100% at peace with who I am.
That doesn't make me perfect, it doesn't make me a shining example of humanity.
I'm still a flesh and blood human being, with hopes and dreams, with strengths and failings.
There is so much I still want from life.

But I know now, I'm on the right road.

And I've never been happier.

Sunday 14 October 2007

Lines in the Sand

OK, business as usual here now.

I really hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Those who want to hate, let them.
It's themselves they eat away at.

Me, I want to get on with loving.
I hope the rest of you do too.

See you tomorrow!


Saturday 13 October 2007

If This Was How I Went, This Is How I'd Want to be Remembered

You have to feel to live.

You have to feel the energy in every nerve in your body.

You have to live, love and dance in spite of what any other person tells you.

Because those who say otherwise, are slaves.
Or the slavemasters.

Life and Love will triumph.