Wednesday 31 December 2008

New Year 2009- The Final Countdown

I have deleted a post, because, because, because, it's not important.
Well yes it is.

We live in a messed up world and pretty much most of us are messed up as a result.

And I know many of you think I'm crazy for caring.
That I'd sacrifice every single thing in my life just to get this across.
But if you saw it with the clarity I see it, you'd understand.
And I don't just mean the understanding you get from skim reading my posts.
I mean SEE it the way I see it.

It happened in stages, getting the point. Seeing the whole house of cards, the whole pantomime, the whole sordid game.
And no, I didn't get it.

Not for a long time.

Your life is composed of apparent contradictions, because all of society is.

During my early twenties, I led a total double life. Two completely contradictory lives.
And yet linked.

On the one hand, Conservative Party activist, respectable employee of the Corporations. On the other, extreme connoiseur of the rave scene.
And yet- weren't those two visions linked?

I think in your heart of hearts you always know that much isn't right. That this clearly is NOT the best of all possible worlds. Even then I often used to say 'Rome before the Goths came'. I felt it even then. That there is something inherently decadent and corrupt about our way of life in the west.
And I don't mean that in terms of our sexual morals, or any of that. I mean the values of our culture itself.

Shallow. People sitting in boxes, watching boxes, dead to the world. A culture whose only values are material ones.

Things bothered me, they did. Things that just COULD NOT BE RIGHT.

How could it be that the FUTURE cost too much? Why weren't we sending people to Mars? Surely this showed a culture incapable of long term thinking, incapable of taking risks- real risks. Our ancestors weren't so slow. It didn't take much to convince them the world needed circumnavigating.

And the Third World. Quite clearly it's infrastructure was retrogressing. Why? It seemed all too easy to say- as many do- that these countries were given independence too quick. I even knew a Bangladeshi argued that regarding Bangladesh. But I couldn't accept that.
The third world is regressing in so many ways. If you talk about gap between rich and poor, the gap in terms of quality of life is growing, between first and third world.

And the underclass in the west. It bothered me. Because I couldn't see a solution to the problem. And yet, it was a problem that was evidently growing.

I can remember when I first expounded the problem to- my mother as it happens, probably about 2001. And in those days, being a Tory, the answer I thought was the first one that sprung to mind when you elucidate the problem in plain terms.

And it is this.

History creates the illusion of improvement. Because things will always develop. It will always be a guaranteed fact that people know more at the end of a century, than they did at the beginning. Technical knowledge will ALWAYS have improved. It will never decline, in fact, never has. People will always have made- and utilised- technological advances. This disguises the fact that often, real progress HASN'T been made. The overall systems have deteriorated and quality of life has got WORSE. And since the end of World War Two, the overall quality of life across the globe has declined. Forget the material goods, forget the gadgets, look at quality of life. It's declined. People generally, are less happy.

People talk to eachother less, they trust other less, they hate eachother more, they have little to no interest in the future.

And like so many on the right, I blamed the sixties. Nice and easy.

It fitted well with my Catholic values system. The one I tortured myself with guilt for, for failing to live up to.

But in time, I began to lose faith in all that. It just wasn't that simple.
This period kind of coincided with a personal crisis in my life vat that point.
And I guess I decided to go back to brass tacks and try and work out what the TRUTH was.

I suppose it began with reading people like Tom Paine and Rousseau. I found myself agreeing with pretty much everything they wrote and realising that much of what they said was still quite radical today. That our so-called democracies were rather corrupt, when looked at by the ideals expressed. JS Mill was another that moved me, especially his piece on the rights of women.
Though the philosopher who most moved me at this point, was Nietzsche.

I found that in spite of my Catholicism, he didn't offend me. Reading him sent electric shocks through me, like almost every line he wrote I thought 'YES! I've always thought that, but always thought it was somehow wrong to think that. Thankyou, Nietzsche for showing me it's not just me'.

Nietzsche is such a beautiful thinker. Such a positive system of values. He envisages Man dragging himself upwards, unashamedly striving to be God. A Mankind not afraid to arrogantly seize control of his own destiny. He puts the whole system of morals into a new perspective and rectifies it.
Most people see Nietzsche as Anti-Christian. He isn't of course. He valued Christ. He just didn't much care for the religion that came after. He called 'Paulicianity' and said that the only true Christian died on the cross.

And I guess from that point onwards I kind of always see Christ, to some degree through Nietzsche tinted glasses. Morals generally, through Nietzsche tinted glasses. And I maintain to this day, if you've not read Nietzsche, you can have no conception of morals. Because you're entirely conditioned by Judeao-Christian ethics, without having analysed which bit are genuinely moral, and which bits are historical acquisitions. In other words, you haven't accepted moral relativism, in which case; you're ignorant of what morality is.
I realised at that point that anyone who refuses to accept moral relativism, is kind of a moral imbecile. Because they cannot understand the basis of morality in the first place. If you think morality rests in something other than reason then- your morality is psychopathic.

All this was very well, but it didn't get me much further with the initial problem. Why life on Earth was getting progressively worse and why so many of us clearly hated it, unless we anaesthetised ourselves to it.
Until I decided to read a book which I initially only read to find the flaws.

Yes, it's true. I had read so many critiques of Marx and the apparent flaws in his logic, that I thought I better read the book myself. To understand why it was that Communism didn't work.
So I went into Das Kapital intending to find fault with it.

I came out having found none.

And understanding the entire history of the last two hundred years. Understanding why Two World Wars had been fought in the twentieth century, understanding the REAL points Marx was making. And understanding why they are glossed over.
And realising, that anybody who'd read the book properly must have seen that he was right. It is as clear and logical as 'The Origin of Species'. Once you have read 'The Origin of Species', you just think 'Of course. The argument is pretty clear really, it's just if the evidence backs it up'.

If Marx was right, then from the point he wrote the book, the Capitalist system would have expanded, carrying itself to every corner of the globe. Until a point came where everybody on the face of the earth was a consumer within the same system. At which point, there is a problem. Because you can only keep paying off the interest which fuels the system, if more money is paid into the system, than the system costs. If all the world IS the system, where does the surplus come from?

And that might seem simplistic. But if you actually sit down and actually work it through, you realise it actually IS that simple. And then you realise WHY WW1 happened. It was a fight for scraps. A fight by the powers for places in the sun- markets. And 1929. That was when it really ended. And could only be solved by printing more money, year in, year out. And by finding ways to keep a permanent war economy going. That was what Orwell meant in 1984. And it failed in 1939. Because everyone was rushing about it crazily. Oceania and Eurasia (the Allies and the Axis) actually ended up at war). But since then, they've managed it better. But they've needed to keep it going. It distracts us. Distracts us from the fact quality of life gets worse. Those nukes pointing at us make us oblivious.

And he said the gap between rich and poor will get ever wider. It has. In the way that matters. The quality of life gap. The gap in terms of quality of life between rich and poor grows ever wider. In real terms, a higher proportion of the globe live in misery every year. And the obscenely rich get ever richer- the corporations, many of them far, far richer then the British Empire in it's heyday.

And then it hit me. Why so much credit was about. Because that's all they've got left. Printing more money every year isn't even enough. They have to invent the money. They have to have people spending money that ISN'T THERE just to keep it going.

So I found I had to agree. Marx was right on the economic argument. Just it seemed clear Communism wasn't the answer. That had been tried and failed.

It was actually only a couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that that argument was flawed and that in fact, Marx was right about that too.

Marx himself said the revolution couldn't be forced. It would come naturally when Capitalism ended. What the Bolsheviks tried to do was cut down fruit that was still ripe. It wasn't Marx' revolution.
Because Marx said that Capitalism will take over the world. Therefore, it's collapse will be a global event. Therefore, what succeeds it will be a global change. The end of Capitalism WILL lead to a Communistic World State.

Though not a state as we see it. The state in a sense, would wither away. It would be an anarchy in the positive sense of the word; no central executives.

And I realised that Marx was right. You couldn't talk of Communism and Democracy as being separate ideals; truly practised, they're both one and the same.

It means all the people democratically voting on all the decisions involving all aspects of the society they live in, with no parts of the infrastructure being controlled by unaccountable cliques. If it's not Democratic, it's not Communist, and if it's not Communist, it's not Democratic.

And the fact is, I'm absolutely certain that within my lifetime, the final collapse of Capitalism will occur. I think personally, within twenty years.
I'll be alive to see it.

And I believe Marx was right, in a sense.
Much of what I advocate here on this blog, Marx would have agreed with. He actually believed in Free Love as well, for much the same reasons. Much of the vision of the future I expound is merely following the logic of the ideas envisaged by Marx- how it should be done properly, not the way those who took his name in vain took it.

I also quite value this little insight which occurred to me. Not sure Marx ever saw it quite like this. But it basically explains how we all get conditioned and what the history of that is. But it's something we can live without, now.

But I also two possibilities Marx didn't. Marx was an optimist. He didn't envisage that there were two possible alternatives to his vision of optimism.
But there ARE only two.
And one of them is NOT the return to some nineteen-fifties Pleasantville world.

One is that when the collapse comes, we won't succeed in shaking off the system. That in the years leading up to the collapse, we'll have allowed themselves to arm themselves too heavily, to dig into deep.

And the collapse of Capitalism will mean the end of cunningly hidden INGSOC, and the advent of raw, naked INGSOC.
Or at least, until it grinds the world, decaying, into a new dark age.

The other is starker yet.

The collapse will lead to Nuclear War and we'll blow ourselves up.

This is the future.

So yes, it's important.

And if people really think they've got something better to do with their lives than trying to make sure it's option one wins, rather than the other two options, fine.

But I really don't think we have that much time to waste.

No, I don't think, by comparison, things like my own life are overly important. Do I think this is so important I'd sacrifice having a family of my own to get this message across?
Yes. I can't put it any clearer than that.

There isn't the time to be pissing about with crap. There isn't REALLY time to be worrying about love lives, or long holidays abroad, or getting away from it all. Because all of that essentially, is time wasting. If that sort of time wasting crap can be fitted in, all well and good, if not, it can't be.

This is too damn important. It's our future at stake.

Because if we don't start planning NOW, none of that will ever matter again.

Sunday 28 December 2008

The Failures of the Filtering System: How to Find Ms Crushed?

Myself and Haydee ended up discussing families and children the other night. Which got us back to my views on childrearing within an environment of communal living.

I quote, with her permission;

Crushed: I don't think amateurs should bring up children
Crushed: I think society should have people whos job is to do just thaty
Haydee: who's talking about amateurs>? every new parent is an amateur
Crushed: Exactly
Haydee: I'm talking about you finding ways to yet again shirk your responisiblity
Crushed: Children should be brought up by trauined nurses, not parents

This went on that vein for a while. Haydee believes, you see, that this idea of mine is motivated entirely be a selfish desire to father children and not bring them up myself. Which in a sense, it is. But it's actually that I don't think ANYONE should bring up children. I think it should be a function of society as a whole.

Crushed: But we could structure a society which took a lot oft these burdens away from the individuakl
Haydee: so that you're not lumbered with your children when you want to go out you mean?
Crushed: I'm saying bringing up children should be a community function
Crushed: with appointed carers
Haydee: don't be so bloody ridiculous
Haydee: parents look after children with the aide of their family/friends if and when needed
Haydee: we do not burden the whole of society with the results of frequent copulation
Crushed: But we could make the change
Haydee: I don't see what the point in that would be
Haydee: it couldnt lead anywhere good

Now let's just say we disagree on this, which is interesting because she does not have children, or even want children. And we went on in this vein for a while. Because she thinks my views are entirely based on selfishness. Whereas I believe that dispensing with the nuclear family is a positive societal change. It means that monogamy can be dispensed with and children grow up without family sentiment, simply individuals in a community. And never anything other than that.

Anyway, as you can see, the conversation moved to something else entirely...

Crushed: Well, its about creating a society where we can dispense with commitment
Crushed: thats part of the idea
Haydee: it's pish
Crushed: That and have all children brought up collectively
Crushed: With bonds to the community as a whole, not family
Crushed: Raised without familial instincts
Crushed: Raised to be individuals whose only bond is to society
Haydee: you say all that
Haydee: with your fancy words and nice phrasing
Haydee: and all I hear is 'shirking responsiblity'
Crushed: Freeing the individual
Haydee: shirking
Crushed: You seem to hjave problems accepting the idea that the social contract could be altered
Haydee: you seem to have problems accepting that in life we responsiblities
Crushed: I accept that as things stand we have them
Crushed: I also think it would be better if we changed it
Haydee: that's because you are unable and unwilling to accept that you have to face up to them
Crushed: no
Haydee: yes
Haydee: very much so in fact
Haydee: your entire life is structured so that you don't have to
Crushed: How do you work that one out?
Haydee: well for a start
Haydee: your friends veto all of your prospective girlfriens
Haydee: you prize a blog over your actual life
Haydee: you threatened to walk out of your job if your boss didn't let you blog
Haydee: you seem to think that it's the women's fault everytime something goes wrong in a relationship
Haydee: you create a mess and expect your friends to mop up the pieces
Haydee: you are incapable of ending a relationship in a mature and dignified manner
Haydee: you create all of these little rules and games and expect everyone around you to comply
Haydee: and when they don't and people get upset, it's their fault entirely
Haydee: none of it yours - of course
Crushed: Well hardly, no
Crushed: They know the rules
Haydee: that is absolute pish Joe
Haydee: and you fucking well know it
Haydee: it's no bloody wonder your still single
Crushed: I only make rules to protect myself
Haydee: ...
Haydee: that's not really going to fly with me anymore
Crushed: Well, I guess things kind of work like this
Crushed: Kind of
Haydee: I know how things work Joe
Haydee: you've told me a million times
Crushed: Or at least I don't really see how else to do it
Haydee: but at the end of the day, you are stil going to have to grow up and start taking responsiblity for your actions
Haydee: and there is no way you are going to get out of it
Crushed: As far as women goes, it's just finding one I know I can trust
Crushed: But how can I know that until I've been able to check that?
Crushed: There has to be SOME procedure
Crushed: Without having covered myself?
Crushed: Without knowing I'm secure?
Crushed: Why should I take that risk?
Crushed: One can't just trust someone over night
Crushed: One can't know they will always act in your best interests
Crushed: The danger is considerably less
Crushed: What if you really let someone in and they really destroy you?
Crushed: You can't prevent the bus
Crushed: Nothing you can do to guard against that
Crushed: But guarding against your deepest darkest fears is normal

Now, as to Haydee's critique of my belief that we need to dispense with the family and have all children brought up communally by nurses, that isn't really the point of the post. The point is the filtering system I have in place which is ultimately designed to select partners. Haydee critiques it here and her main critiques are; that ultimately I allow full rights of veto to a small group of people who ultimately act as a committee to grant approval. And each of those has veto powers. The other critique she has, is that when I fail someone- and anyone who finds themself in such a situation, will probably be failed, it stands to reason, I handle it badly.

I suppose the reality is, many women in time have found themselves in what they would describe as a relationship with me. Whereas it is, of course, a test situation. In many senses, it is a relationship, but the point is that there a series of tests each one HAS to pass and I'm monitoring the situation. They won't be told what the tests are, that's the point. Because I don't want faked results. I may well give them hints as to what the winning candidate would do in a given situation, but I'm not going to go out of my way to assist. Because the point is, the person I'm looking for doesn't need to be TOLD. They instinctively know.

Most of these tests aren't contrived as such. They are situations which can be expected to come along. I might well USE the situation to establish test conditions, but ultimately, yes, I don't consider any relationship to actually be finalised until I have a nice orderly row of ticks in specified boxes. And if each box isn't ticked, that's it.

And Haydee's criticism is how important the system is. And how suddenly I will reject a failure. Because the test really is everything. It's not an emotional decision, it's test conditions applied purely logically. I need to know that the person concerned will be a valuable asset to my life, therefore I need to know that they will behave the way I want them to in given situations. If they don't, then that's it. They're not wanted.

And that might seem quite brutal. But I don't really see how else you can do it. There has to be a trial procedure of some kind to see if this is a person you want as a permanent feature of your life. It's not something you can train people for. They either have, or do not have, the required characteristics.

Haydee's view is that I essentially I'm not being up front. Because I don't make it clear exactly what the situation is. That yes, I make a whole load of promises and don't make it clear that there are a huge series of tests to be gone through and failing just one will result in the whole lot being snatched away, at which point I never want to hear from the other party again. But I maintain, it has to be done that way. One only knows how someone will behave in a relationship situation, if you make it clear that that is what is on offer. But you cannot observe how they'd behave naturally in such a situation, if you tell them what the tests are they have to pass.

Besides, it gives you a good opportunity to observe the human psyche. So yes, it's an experiment.
These things always are.

So yes, of course, every time I end up in what you might call a romantic relationship, my expectation is; they'll fail. But until they fail, there's no harm in letting them believe the prize is there for the taking. They're not going to approach the tests properly if they don't believe that. Because the prize IS there for the taking. If they pass the tests.

And I know that I'll know the answer quite soon.
Thing is of course, you need to have your exit route planned. This has been, as Haydee points out, the weak part. Because often they don't understand WHY they've failed. To them, it often seems petty. They think it's about emotions and your feelings and they think there's someone else. It isn't. It's that they failed key tests.

I guess it might interest you to know what these tests are. Any exes of mine reading might be interested to know why they were found wanting.
Again, to re-iterate. I don't decide when these tests come along. I know they will, given time. And until each one has been completed, full and total termination of contact without explanation, is to be expected.

Test One: The weekend away test

This one is fairly simple. It will happen at some point that I will either go away for the weekend to a party, or have friends over FOR a party. To which the prospective partner will not be invited. Now I will promise to ring them when I get there on Friday Evening, or if it's at mine, at some point early on before we go out. I will then promise to call them the following morning. However, I won't call them the following morning. This is deliberate. I want them to think the worst. And yet wait. Wait for me to call, which I will that evening. I want it to be an established fact that on no circumstances are they ever to call me when I'm with friends, that I call when it is convenient for me. I want it to be clearly understood that I'm entitled to socialise without their involvement and if they know I'm socialising, to stay clear.

Test Two: The female friend test

This actually involves emphasising an existing situation. I have friends of both sexes. I also want it made clear that they are MY friends. What I do not want, under any circumstances, is any interference from a prospective partner on that score. She should have her own friends. Now the existence of female friends on my part, provides two temptations for a prospective partner. One is to be jealous of the friendship and keep trying to re-assure herself there's nothing going on. The other is to try involve herself in it, make MY female friend someone SHE can talk to about OUR relationship.
And I will not permit either. It's out of bounds to her, period. And watching her reactions to my friendships with other women, are a crucial test. And I will set situations up, like cancel things Prospective partner and myself have planned, to do something with my female friend. The point is to make it clear that ALL my friends are important to me. But yes, I do want to see if she gets jealous. I want to make sure she'll STILL stay away from the other woman. I do not want the other woman to in any way feel that Prospective partner in any way affects my friendship with her. Or that Prospective partner has become a feature of HER life, that her continuing in friendship with me means she now has Prospective partner in her life, whether she wants her or not. Ideally, Prospective partner should never be something my existing female friends have to even consider. And if this can't be the case, then Prospective partner fails. My friends- of both sexes- should be out of bounds to her. And I need to have clear demonstrable proof that this will always be so.

Test Three: The Restricted Areas Test

I need to be certain that Prospective partner understands that certain areas are restricted areas. There are certain things she will have to accept that she does not have access to. That her existence in my life should not affect certain other areas. I need her to appreciate that to a certain degree, even having a relationship with me at all, is somewhat confidential. I don't NEED to apply a test scenario to this. I simply watch and observe. Does Prospective partner attempt to cross into areas of my life where they do not have access?
In other words, can I be sure that this relationship is not going to negatively impact on other areas of my life?
My employers should be unaware of it, my family should be unaware of it, now I have this blog, readers of this blog too should be unaware of it. If I cannot ensure that is the case, there is a problem. It should be a matter known only to those who need to know, because they are involved in my private life. In other words, Prospective partner needs to be happy to remain a closely guarded secret, a feature of my private life whose existence is not publically admitted to and which I will always deny if asked. They need to ensure that they never put me in a situation where I have to deny their existence.
This doesn't mean I'd be ashamed to be seen out and about with them, just that I would not want the nature of the relationship to be common knowledge. I prefer these things to kept private, secret in fact.

Test Four: The Diplomacy Test

This is one that either comes up, or it doesn't. Often it does with regard to Test Two. Often Test Two is failed because it BECOMES Test Four. But it can equally come up with regard to a male friend. And it involves disputes.
The reason why it comes up, is that it happens that one quite often has two friends who fall out over something. Being adults however, they tend to appreciate that you're not going to take sides. They leave you out of their arguments. However, it can be a tendency of some Prospective partners to expect you to take sides in their arguments. Now as regards THEIR friends, that's fine. But not as regards yours. as far as I'm concerned, if I don't like one of HER friends, that's my business, not hers and my duty is to back away. Not let MY dislike of HER friend impact on THEIR friendship. So I'm interested to see how Prospective partner behaves regarding my friends. Firstly, I want to see that she'll go out of her way not to argue with them. And then, if she does find herself in such a situation, she'll back off. Rather than stand on her dignity, she won't behave in a manner that might jeopardise my friendship with that person. She will treat every friendship of mine as sacrosanct, no matter what.

And the immediate failing point, is if she expects me to take her side. Because I want to make sure she understands that that is an unreasonable expectation. Expecting me to take sides. Expecting me to take sides in a dispute between people of importance to me, is unfair. And yet so many Prospective partners seem to think you should. No, that expectation is a fail point in my book.

Test Five: Ability to observe privacy

Key. And I will actually engineer tests on this front. It's very simple. The vast majority of things in my life, I expect to be able to keep private. Away from Prospective partner. I need to be sure she can be trusted on that front. To accept that my business is my business, not hers. That what I don't tell her, she doesn't need to know. What I will often do is engineer situations where I have nothing to hide, but I don't give her a straight answer. But I make it easy for her to ascertain what is being hidden. And there was nothing to hide. I just want to see if she can resist the urge to try find out. A good one is to plant tickets. Buy tickets to an event- two- and then leave them in your jacket. Don't mention the event to her. Then on the day in question, see if it sounds like she's expecting to be doing something that night. And then announce you won't be about that night. In fact, you sell the tickets to someone else, and go out with your mates. But you've ascertained, she'll go through your pockets. And she of course thinks you've taken another woman. And she deserves to think that. She deserves to stew in her own juices about it. She shouldn't look inside your jacket pocket to see what's in there.

In fact, it's crucial that you give any Prospective partner ample opportunity to think you're seeing other women. Crucial. Because you want to know if she can resist the urge to pry. Because you want to know; is this a woman who one day I could actually allow to live in my home. And still know that my secrets were safe from her.

Test Six: The People they need to relate to, and how they need to relate to them

I have already stated that certain areas of my life will always be out of bounds. However, long term any prospective partner will need some degree of involvement in my life. And it needs to be ascertained that they will fit in, like the missing piece of the jigsaw. Whilst things can be re-ordered to some degree to accomodate them, especially if there are areas they can add to, ultimately they are joining a pre-existing set up and their relationship to that set up needs to be approved and worked out.

As regards the Chimney Sweep, it's simple. A lot of our friendship is based on me taking the piss out of him. But Prospective partner wouldn't have that right. And actually, CS can be quite sensitive. It's very easy for someone to put his back up. I'm kind of looking for someone who, as regards CS, can play 'Good cop' to my 'Bad cop'. Tell him he's right even when he's blatantly wrong. Because I tell him he's talking crap whatever he says.

As regards the Baker, it's a little more complex. But ultimately, he's going to want to be sure you'll always defer to him, in matters regarding myself. It's just something Prospective partner is going to have to put up with. What will annoy him, is Prospective partner thinking they know me better than he does. Or if he thinks Prospective partner is in any way behaving in a matter divisive to our friendship. He'll need to be assured that if he says one thing, and they say another, I'll go with what he says. Which of course I will. So what we all need to know, is whether you can live with that. But not only that. The fact that he's the one I invite in to all my decision making processes. The key ones. And always will be. Prospective partner needs to understand that, that the most important discussions I have will be when they are out of the room.

Ultimately my friends are going to want to know that you don't presume to come into an already existing group and attempt to take control over me, that you know your bounds. Prospective partner needs to know that in a sense, certain people rank closer to me than they ever can, at least for the present.

They're going to need to be assured that you understand the set up, that ultimately your access to me is with their approval, and can be terminated at their wishes. The people having this power are the two mentioned above, two other real life women, and one online woman- because I have added Haydee to this committee. Furthermore, there are times when they will have access to me that is denied to you. And will be let into confidences that I won't share with you.

Not until you have passed all the tests and proved over a lengthy period of time that you always act in my best interests. That my happiness really IS your prime concern.

And as I say to Haydee, I think it's fair I DO have such a testing procedure.
No one has passed it yet, except Haydee. Ironically, she had no interest in passing, but pass she has, or at least I don't need to run the tests, but I KNOW she would pass.

There are glitches, of course. I think the mechanism is faulty in dealing with those who fail. I haven't yet worked out a way to perfect that. And it has been the bane of my existence. Because not all those who fail can be resonsible about it. Haydee says this is my failing. But how do you say 'You failed the test procedure. You're not suitable for the position you're applying for'?

Maybe it's an unreasonable set of tests. I don't think so.

But since I really would like a success, I'm tired of all these failures, and the fall out from some of the nastier ones when they fail has been awful, awful.

Has anyone any idea where my test procedure goes wrong, any alterations that can be made and how do you get the ones who fail to just go quietly? And accept that it's over because they failed key tests? And no other reason than that.

Because I realise the position on offer is a thankless task, a woman who will always exist in the shadows of my life, never publically acknowledged. Someone who I want for silent support, someone happy to spend their evenings alone in front of the TV for the most part, or out with her friends. Who will never get to spend much time with me, because mostly, I'll be too busy. Who is prepared to accept that I will spend more time blogging than in conversation with her. That I will have a busy social life that she will not be part of. That if I achieve everything I dream of, she will remain hidden, a guilty secret I do not admit to. But ultimately, I want a woman who understands why that is so, and will work FOR that, rather than against it. A woman I can discuss blogposts with in bed.

Because yes, the woman I'm looking for is Ms Crushed. Not Ms Myrealname. Ms Crushed. And ultimately, I'd want her to be a full partner in everything in my life, a woman I could trust in everything, yes to be at one with me in body, mind and soul.

And know that ultimately, what we're BOTH fighting for, is what this blog stands for. That that is what unites us. That what she loves is the cause we're fighting for. And that she'd make the same sacrifices for that that I would.

And I want to know she's 100% committed to that first.

So- how do I go about this?

Ideas, people.

They were BORN Human

Anyone can have it.

In this world, everyone has free will.
Everyone can have a good standard of living should they so choose.

Oh, you can blame the welfare state. You can blame the breakdown of the family all you want.
You can talk all you want about a culture that is content to survive on benefits and crime.

Because it exists, to be sure. Though content is not the word, it isn't.

The fact is, we can't organise our society properly. We can't organise it so we can find tasks for everyone. We can't let people starve and we can't let people sleep in the streets. But we find it hard enough to find ways to fill the hours of people's days as it is. We think we're being generous to the underclass. We give them too much.

Do we? We give them a subsistence allowance and tell them they're useless. It's a uselessness allowance, an allowance we give them that says, we want you to consume stuff, but we haven't actually got anything useful for you to do.

The idea that the rest of us could actually do a bit LESS for our money so as we could at least give everybody the dignity of being part of it, seems to escape us.

So we write people off. But we've been doing at a long time. Whole generations have grown up expecting to be labelled useless all their lives.
Because they are, the way we structure it.

You are born to a mother who has never worked, all your siblings have different fathers, there are different men around your mother all the time, none of them show you any love, you are treated as a hindrance from your birth, the only good you do, is earn benefits for your mother.
You will never have a job. No one you know has a job, no one you know has anyone in their family with a job.

You will get paid fifty pounds a week by the state all your life. So, if you survive on that, you'll never have all those good things. The good things you cannot help but know exist. Things that brighten up your life. TVs, Stereos, designer label clothing, hell, even a beer.
But out there is a vast society that has all those things. One that looks down on you.

Why follow their rules? What's in it for you?
So, you go to gaol, you go to gaol. It's a risk you have to take. You have nothing to lose. You might as well find some way of getting the good things in life, because you're never going to have them any other way.

Life will ALWAYS be crap. And your best bet is to become a heroin addict. Anaesthetise yourself through your miserable life in a cocoon of cotton wool.

In this world, a man is a man who grabs what he can from a society that despises him, and a woman is of value if she sells the only commodity she has that people want. Herself.

That's what lies underneath. That's the reality of the underclass people are so quick to judge.
Of course people make it out. That's not the point. If you're not born into it, you probably won't end up in it, and if you got intelligence, good looks, or something, something, you can make it out.
I'm not saying the people stuck down in the underclass are the brightest and the best. But they can't get out. And it's no use saying they can.

Now reflect further.

I'm not talking about all those LEGAL migrant workers. They come in to this country already guaranteed a higher status than the underclass I've just described.

I'm talking about the ones the right get all stressed about.

The ones who cram twenty of them into the back of a lorry full of animal carcasses to be driven halfway across Europe to get here. Who started their journeys in Somalia, or Sudan, or China.

Many of whom are carcasses themselves when the lorry is opened this end.

They are prepared to risk that.

And once let out, they will go into the underclass. Only they're not even in that.
They'll find work. They'll find work on the black market doing a full weeks work TO RECEIVE THE LIVING STANDARD OF THE UNDERCLASS.
They'll work a forty hour week, more, for fifty quid a week.
And without any of the benefits of a UK citizen.
If they get ill, they daren't even go to a doctor.

They will risk their lives to come and live BENEATH our underclass. They will work as hard as you and I do, to live a life even worse than that I have described above.

And they will leave the land of their birth to do so.

So I watch all these adverts for the January Sales and I reflect, it's hard times for us all now, I think. But maybe that's no bad thing.
Because too many people in the west, too many people have been content for so long to live in their boxes, watching boxes, and as long as the paycheque has gone in, the fact that that has only been possible because we, the white collar workers of the west, the sedated hirelings of Capitalism have been blinded to the pyramid of human misery we sit at the apex of.

I really hope that enough people now are starting to realise now, that it doesn't have to be like this.

But we just have to stop being docile rats on treadmills.

It's a good time of year to see these things as they really are.

Eleventh Crushed Sunday Memusetica

Courtesy of Judd Corizan.
This one is on TV programmes...

I don't really watch overmuch TV. Nor, seeing as this is about TV will all the clips be music. It stands to reason, some TV clips will be in order. Still. I'm hoping it will be informative in terms of my tastes.

1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice: Blackadder, all series.

2. Name a show you can't miss: CSI, the original series, not the spin offs.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show: Parminder Nagra.

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show: Stephen Seagal. Grrrr. Hate the man.

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from: Again, Blackadder.

6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys: Lexx was one only I seemed to get. I also find I don't find so many people like Law and Order.

7. Name a TV show which you've been known to sing the theme song: Red Dwarf.

8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch: The Simpsons.

9. Name a TV series you own: Lexx.

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting chops in television: Billie Piper.

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series? The Blackadder episode where Hugh Laurie is Prince Ludwig the Indestructable.

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven't gotten around to yet: Not sure there is one.

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad? Of course. I channell surf non stop.

14. Name a show that's made you cry multiple times: ???? Get real!

15. What do you eat when you watch TV? Anything. TV and food are married in my book. I'd never eat WITHOUT putting the TV on. Most often I ONLY put it on, so as to eat. But I have it on for it's own sake, it then makes me feel I should have food.

16. How often do you watch TV? Varies. At least when I'm eating.

17. What's the last TV show you watched? House. And oddly, it's Cuddy I have the hots for, not Cameron. Go figure.

18. What's your favorite/preferred genre of TV? Science Fiction/Fantasy.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with? Knightmare.

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched? I think all the episodes of Neighbours I ever watched must add up to a lot of wasted life.

21. What's the weirdest show you enjoyed? Probably Lexx again...

22. What TV show scared you the most? Eurotrash was a bit freaky sometimes.

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? Actually, the Office, I think.

We do need to end with some music though.
Christina Milian. Why not?

This video is HOT!!!!

Saturday 27 December 2008

Christmas- A Truly Inclusive Festival?

Every year I find myself debating the meaning of this annual festival.

We talk a lot of Christmas traditions and the meaning of Christmas. And I guess I've often myself been quite ambivalent about it.
It IS a social issue, yes.

Because a lot of 'Christians' decry that the meaning of Christmas is lost in all the glitz.
And equally, there are many in government and officialdom who like to downplay Christmas totally. Increasingly, office Christmas parties are not given official sanction by the civil service, local councils and other such bodies, on the grounds that it is an exclusive celebration, one celebrated by a SECTION of the community.

And I've come to the conclusion that everybody, me included, has actually missed the point.

What we now call Christmas, is not a religious celebration at all. It bears the name of a Christian festival, but that is no longer what is being celebrated. Society as a whole does not celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, it does not celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ, the festivities involved, for most, do not even acknowledge that event.

What it has now become, is something very different.
It plays a role in our society as a whole.
And interestingly that role does have parallels to religious festivals in religions as a whole, but the parallels are probably more to be sought in harvest festivals and the like.

As far as the Christian festival goes, Christmas was never the most important event of the Christian year. Easter has always held that role. In fact, Christmas was never even a runner up. Pentecost held that position. Christmas was merely one of the events of the Christian calendar. The start of a new church year, commencing with advent. And the day itself was the start of a festival, one that went on to January 5th, Epiphany. And a month after, was another key event of the Christian year, Candlemas.

Whereas our secular Christmas is the key event of the year. And in a sense, it starts in earnest on the 1st of December. And it ends on New Year. Those are the dates when Christmas decorations tend to go up and come down.

And what do we actually celebrate?

Seemingly, our prosperity. The Christmas season is when we celebrate our productivity, or otherwise. We celebrate the fact our labours throughout the year entitle us to shut down for a bit, to close the offices, to get drunk, to buy presents for eachother out of the cash we've earned throughout the year.

Goodwill to all men; we've not done a bad job this year have we?

The Christmas story is not the nativity. It is Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas spirits. Our archetypal Christmas, is the one described by a Victorian writer, in a story in which the Goose, presents, carol singers and parties appear, but I'm pushed to remember if the birth of Christ features much in the Christmas tale by which we as a culture define Christmas.

The hero of the season, is Santa Claus, the venue, Lapland, it is not donkeys but reindeer that symbolise the magic of Christmas.

Everybody in the West celebrates it. And most probably do not think overmuch that it was in origin a Christian festival anymore than they're aware that Yule and Easter are in origin the names of pagan festivals.

Because they're not celebrating the birth of Christ. They're celebrating getting through another year.

There is much I dislike about the season, because it is in many ways, a festival of greed. Or can become so.
But I think perhaps the more ascetic Christmas we've seen this year has shown me that perhaps there is something very valuable about this festival. As a Catholic I've often protested against it, saying that it isn't an event that should be of importance; being born is no big deal, it's the being nailed to the cross bit we should honour.

But now I'm starting to see the value this festival has as the secular event it has become. The odd thing is, it doesn't offend members of non-christian cultures. Why should it? Nothing about it is Christian. It's embraced by the entire population of the agnostic, secular west, for whom Pentecost is just a word that explains a bank holiday and Easter is a day the religious go to Church and everyone else eats chocolate.

Hindus and Sikhs seem to embrace Christmas and put on their red Santa hats too, because what they're taking part in isn't that religious. And it gets even crazier when we worry about Christmas offending Muslims.
Well- this is the best bit- Muslims might get offended by Easter, because they don't accept the resurrection. They do, however, revere Jesus as the greatest prophet after Mohammed. Most Muslims would take offence at denigration of Jesus, not as much as a Christian might, but nevertheless they take him very seriously. So many devout Muslims living in countries where Christmas is celebrated FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS, will also observe it.
As a Muslim delegation pointed out to Birmingham city council.

We don't need to look at finding an acceptable multi-faith alternative, what we have is already essentially a multi-faith, secular festival.

It has become the annual end of year party of the globe. It is about mistletoe and wine, advent calendars, sweets, chocolates, Santa in his sleigh; It is about the snowman walking in the air, it is about everybody just putting down their tools and assessing the things that really matter.

I think it has taken it's place as being the chief festival of all the world, no matter what creed, or colour, or race.

It's a season of year when we all feel we've given enough to be able to create for a while the atmosphere in which we'd all like to live.
When we feel we can say 'Ah, never mind. It IS Christmas, after all.'

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men.

Merry Christmas.

Friday 26 December 2008

2008- A Year of Failure

Well, it has to be conceded, I failed dramatically in the personal target I set myself for 2008.
I guess there have been too many distractions really, and I need to be more focused for 2009.

The target was 500 readers a day.
And no, we're nowhere near.

We're between 2,000 and 3,000 a month, which is a long way to go.

And it's an all important personal target. Because I have made another vow to myself, regarding that figure.
Because I am thirty, and I do think it would be a good idea if I made a stab of kind of settling down, or something of the sort. Not in a married kind of way, but in the sense of having a significant other and perhaps starting a family. You know, like people do.

This would entail me making some sort of attempt to return the world of serious relationships with members of the opposite sex.

Except I vowed in October 2008 to put all that on hold until I had reached that 500 readers a day figure.
Of course, just how on hold it has been, is a matter for debate. It has, in the sense that I haven't allowed any serious relationships to develop. Initially, it was supposed to actually entail total sexual abstinence, but I guess that was never going to happen. Though I did manage six months. Or thereabouts.

And on the other hand, we had the fact I fell in love with Haydee. But no relationship in that sense ever actually threatened the vow in question so I was never in the position where I found she actually wanted to be with me and I had to say 'Great. Just one thing- we'll have to wait till I have five hundred readers a day'.

Still, I think Haydee has been good for this blog, or good for me in that she really did inspire me to write and has kept me going through my darkest periods.

Now I have a fair amount of issues to deal with in three dimensional reality at present. Various crises threaten to overwhelm my existence and I'm guessing that for the early part of 2009 I may not always be able to devote as much time to this as I would like.
But I'm hoping I can deal with them and get back to the serious task of taking this blog where I want to take it and once I've got it there I can actually get on with having a life.

I'm actually realising that I'm mortally SICK of sleeping alone, night in, night out. I'm actually finding I'm tired of cruising pubs and picking up total strangers who can be guaranteed not to call again and a Ms Crushed would be nice. And lots of little Crusheds and Crushedesses. Of course, I need to find someone very different indeed to the sort I usually tend to attract, but finally, I think I know what I'm looking for.

But I can't even begin to think about that seriously until I've hit that 500 readers a day.
It's a question of priorities.
First things first.

So here's to 2009!
And hoping I find myself in a position to seriously contemplate a Ms Crushed at some point within it.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

The True Message of Jesus Christ

What was his message, really?

I guess you can consider this a sequel to last year's Christmas post, which discussed what sort of person he really was.
And of course, this post too.

I want to follow on from that this year and actually look at the astounding nature of what I think is really being said and we are still reeling from it, why we still don't quite understand it.

Because however you look at it, it's unique.

In a way, what we celebrate today is a lie. The nativity never happened. Of that we can be sure. No virgin birth, no convoluted story about a census to explain a birth in Bethlehem, no wise men, all that, it never happened. It was a story that was made up to prove he was the Messiah.

Because otherwise, there is only one prophecy that he himself fulfilled. Riding into Jerusalem on the back of the donkey. Most of the rest of the time they say 'to fulfill scripture', it isn't in scripture. But who was going to check? We do now. We've gone through it with a fine toothcomb and found that these prophecies just aren't there.

The problem is, we're still faced with something. He is still the only historical figure who has actually been accepted as a God and the fact that he was not just A God, but THE God, formed the basis of the most successful religious creeds of all time. And explaining how this came to pass, if he wasn't the second person of the trinity, poses problems.

Some scholars have gone so far as to say he never existed. That the Gospels themselves are late inventions, invented by a Christian community many years later. That he is a kind of mix of various middle eastern dieing and rising Gods. That explains the fact he wasn't mentioned at the time, so they say. It was agreed that the only historical references to him by a Jew, that in Josephus, was an interpolation. Because it calls him a Messiah.

But now scholars think that line may merely have been altered. A very early version found recently contains the text that refers to Jesus being put to death. It even seemingly admires him. But it doesn't call him the Messiah.

And the Gospels themselves, are they really fake?

Recently scholars have come to realise that it doesn't add up. Already by the second century AD there were numerous Gospels floating about, about twenty in all, but already there were four which were seen as authentic. All the early Christian fathers seem to have agreed on the truth of those four. And if they did that, then it seems clear they did so because they themselves remembered people who were close enough in time to the events to know the authors.

Indeed, scholars now suggest that the only one which isn't written by the alleged author, is Matthew. But it got accepted, because it fits in so well with the others. And possibly because the bits it adds, were bits those in the know agreed were true.

So, if we take away Matthew, then what is the actual history of the writing of the Gospels? If we take as face value that Mark, Luke and John were written by Mark, Luke and John?

Well, Mark was the first to be written. Mark was allegedly secretary to St Peter. So what we allegedly have here, is written second hand. Peter told Mark his version.
Luke again, is second hand. Luke wasn't present at these events, but he was present during the events described in Acts. He is, in a sense, the official historian of the disciples. It seems he used Mark as a template and then added stories told him by the living disciples.

And John? Well, John wrote down his version.

How does this affect their truth then?

None of it makes the nativity true. Nor can it possibly make it true that Jesus turned water into wine, or actually raised the dead. Nor can it really be true that he actually did die and come back to life. One is faced with the same problem that one is with the UFOs. They tend to be too furtive. Likewise, when we look at it, if Christ had ACTUALLY been the Son of God, he would have left more concrete evidence. He actually would have turned the sky black across the world for three hours and- no one else noticed this happen.

Yet we are faced with the fact that he did exist, that he clearly was crucified, and that after his death the group of men who knew him best all clearly believed that the man they had known was the Son of God, that he had conquered death, that he had risen to join his father, that he had carried out miracles, that their lives had one purpose and one purpose alone, to spread his message.
And die for it, if need be.

We have to explain the fact that not long after his death, his disciples believed what they wrote, firmly. And it is this, this which has perplexed. You can accept that what they believed was true, or you can perhaps suggest they never believed it, later generations made it up. But instead, we're faced with the fact that in Jerusalem were a group of twelve men who'd lived with a man before he got executed by the authorities and then decided that he was the Son of God and that they had seen him work miracles and rise from the dead.

And this is something that has never happened before or since.

Or if it has, the people pushing it were laughed at. These men weren't. The bravely went out believing what they said.
And don't forget, the crowds had wanted Jesus dead. Sure, some had come to watch the figure on the donkey, listened to his words for a bit, but the man had blasphemed. The temple had said so.
But these men convinced them of something. They convinced their hearers of what it was that they felt. Why they KNEW their dead friend was the Son of God.

I think perhaps we need to read between the lines as to what sort of group the disciples were. I have suggested that essentially, Jesus was effectively a drifting drop out to begin with and I think in some ways, that's what the disciples were. I'm not sure that at the time they saw themselves as being his followers, at least not to begin with. The stories of how the all got together are nostalgically written, but it's more probable that at least in origin, what binded Jesus and the earliest members of the group, were that they were all tired of life the way it was. They were all trying to find themselves.
And no doubt some, like Matthew, were drawn to the group because of Jesus himself. He was the central figure, the people person, the one who talked while the others listened. And sometimes they'd nod, enthralled. At other times they had no idea what he was talking about. We find hints of this over and over again in the Gospels.

And they probably created a stir wherever they went. And the others soon came to enjoy being part of it. Because wherever they all went, they basked in his glory. The Jesus gang.

What happened in Jerusalem was a wake up call. And they fled to the winds. They'd listened for so long, but being crucified wasn't part of the deal. They probably thought he'd gone a bit overboard. Why did he have to spoil it? All that wondering round Galilee being feted by young women, being fed for free just because they seemed interesting, that was great. Why had he gone that bit too far and ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey?
And then they saw him die with dignity. They saw him on the cross.

And then it suddenly hit them. They started remembering what he'd said. And they realised that he'd been prepared to die for it, even provoked them to do it. Provoked them to crucify him.

I don't know what happened. But something did. Whether they all met up and tortured eachother about how inadequate they'd been and how they should have been crucified with him, I don't know. I think they did. And I think they did something else too.

I think they decided to more than just drown their sorrows. Maybe they starved themselves out of penance, maybe they even ingested hallucinogenic substances, but at all events, they came out of their house of hiding all convinced that they'd been forgiven. They'd seen him. He'd come back from the dead and forgiven them and given them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Because, as they now knew, he WAS the Son of God.

I would suggest this is as a possible version of events. It's just a theory. No better and certainly no worse than any other version.

But what matters is what it was that was so significant about his message. What it was they were spreading.
It was about what he'd done. What they felt ashamed about NOT doing.

Turn the other cheek.
Love thy enemy.

The message was about making hate use it's own strength against itself.

Christ's message isn't about redemption, it's about showing the power inherent in turning the other cheek, the logic of doing what he did.

The message isn't that Christ died to give us something, it's that if we live ready to do what he did, ultimately, the world changes.

But we still haven't got there. Because people still don't turn the other cheek. And the point is, we won't ever get anywhere until EVERYBODY TURNS THE OTHER CHEEK.

Christ was saying that hate drives the world. That love is about moving away from eye for an eye justice and revenge and conquest and rape and pillage and ownership and stoning people for adultery.

But what he was also offering was a challenging mindset. He showed what happened if you just loved and preached love. That the system of hate would respond and kill you painfully. But if you died with love in your heart saying 'Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do', you won. Because they had hated in vain. They'd failed to make you hate them, you died still loving them in spite of their attempts to convert you.

So here was the challenge. To live in the hate based world, meant doing some hating. It was the price you had to pay. Surrender to hate. To beat it, involved dieing, ultimately. Turn the other cheek WILL lead to a painful death, whilst haters live.

But if you do it, others will get the picture.

Because the hate based system can do nothing but hate you to death, and yet in that very moment, it loses. It has invested all it's strength, in losing.

So Christ was saying, preach the message of love. Preach it loud till you provoke the haters to hate you to death. Because the more people the hate system is busy hating to death, the more of it's OWN strength it's giving to the cause of love.

And haters will get the point. When a hater sees, the can't win, even by killing you, they lose, then haters too will get the point.

Because what then happens when we live in a world where nobody demands eye for an eye justice? Where every man alive would die for the sins of the other?

Where no man seeks to exact revenge on another man, or judge another man, but each would rather accept that suffering on himself, than see another suffer?

There would be no suffering.

In a world where each man would rather die on a cross out of love for those nailing him to a cross than hate those nailing him to a cross, no one would ever get nailed to crosses.

People don't get nailed to crosses today.

But we still haven't got the message.

We still have haters. Ironically, those who pretend to follow Christ can sometimes be the biggest haters of all.

It's a difficult challenge.
Fighting hatred. All hate has to do, is be itself. The only way to defeat it, is kind of to lose.
If you fight back, hoping to defeat it, in a retaliatory struggle, you won't really win, except by becoming that which you were fighting. And then yes, you might defeat the individual, or group of individuals. But only by BECOMING what drove them. That's how the hate disease passes itself on. Hate driven people only hate, to convert you to hate.

And they hide cunningly. The Pharisees were haters. But they claimed the voice of sanctity.

Let hatred scratch your skin off, pluck out your eyeballs, pull your teeth and rape your corpse.
Because then, as it sits there slavering and drooling, fermenting in rage over the fact that it failed to infect you and now it can't, it now becomes that little bit weaker.
And it has to face the truth, now it is alone with itself, that it hates itself.
All haters hate themselves, through hating others.

That's what it is they want to pass on. A world where they don't feel so bad about hating themselves, because they can feel something positive in hate.

How do haters deal with the fact they're hating you with all their power and you won't hate them back? Are they not worthy of your hate? You are of theirs, so why aren't they worthy of yours? What makes them worthy of your love, even though they don't deem themselves worthy of their own love?

Jesus taught us perhaps the most startling fact of all. And that's the one we don't get. He believed he was the Son of God. And you have to believe that too. Not just of him, of YOU. YOU are the Son, or the daughter of God.

And therefore you have to love yourself. Think yourself truly amazing, a being worthy of being loved by YOURSELF.
And if you can do that, you'll feel disgusted every time that emotion of hate comes inside you. Because if you are the Son of God, then hatred is an emotion unworthy of you.
For a Son of God, nothing anyone ELSE can do to you, is an indignity. Only what you do to yourself.

And what is a Son or a Daughter of God? Well, put simply, the pinnacle of creation.
And I don't think we need to believe that God actually is a bearded figure in the sky to get that bit.

I think Jesus must have had a moment of perfect peace as he died. Knowing he had been hated to death.
Peace in himself for knowing that he was not an animal. That he had MADE himself the Son of God, by what he'd done.

So today isn't about the spending.
It isn't about Santa Claus, or Reindeer, or Carols, or Turkeys or sitting around getting drunk.

It's about celebrating the fact that we actually have been shown empirical proof by the greatest philosopher whoever lived, that the answer to all mankind's problems is so very simple.

Love yourself, then you'll love others and stop hating. Be prepared to die rather than hate. And without hate, the world really will change and so much we think ISN'T possible, will be.

But you have to stop thinking that you're not going to stop hating, till the others do. Because that's why it never stops.

Just STOP.

Stop the hating.

And start the loving.

Merry Xmas to all.
Those who love me.
And most especially those who don't :)

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Getting Through the Crisis of Faith in Myself

I just wanted to share my thoughts with you all on my recent seeming reaching of an all time low and where I seem to have come with it.
I will be round to visit again soon.

I suppose a lot of it has to do with this blog. My love/hate relationship with it.
Because it is a love/hate relationship, no doubting that.

I don't know quite when it happened, it's difficult to put a finger on the exact moment, but at some point during the summer of last year it became clear to me that in a real sense, the future of my own life was inextricably bound up with this blog. That in it was the chance to do something positive.
Make a difference.

I realised that I had kind of found what it was I wanted to actually do with my life and this was it.
And of course, in a real sense, it means a whole lifestyle change doing that.

It basically means adopting a cause. You can't compare it to a job, because a job for most people is something that simply pays you. Most people, in fact, take the view that 'You work to live, not live to work'.
And I think in itself, that says a lot about how pointless most of the work most of us do is. We don't feel it is of any value, we don't feel WE are of any value to us. Our jobs are merely something we do, not something we ARE.

And I guess a lot of people aren't cause driven people. I always have been, in the sense I've always WANTED something in my life that filled it totally. Something that you ARE. Something about which you truly felt 'You live to work, not work to live'.

A Bank Manager tends to see himself as a Bank Manager. But he's a husband and father first. He does his job to support his family. He sees himself primarily as a husband and father. A soldier on the other hand, is a soldier first. That's what he IS. His wife or girlfriend is always aware- indeed WAS aware when she took him on- that Queen and Country come first. That she is accepting that that is what he IS, he's a soldier.

So I was aware that in adopting in full the demands of blogging, I was taking on- for life- something life altering, for me.
Because blogging is very time consuming. And since it doesn't pay, you still have to do your own job. But essentially, you are taking on between ten and twenty extra hours of work a week.
And of course, it's only fair that, once you've made this decision, you are up front about it with members of the opposite sex. That you are a blogger. You have a blog to which you need to devote time. Significant amounts of time. And that this will affect any sort of relationship you have. That your priority of an evening after getting in from work, is to write posts, answer comments and then visit other blogs. And that these tasks must get done. Furthermore, that all this in itself leads to people mailing you and setting up relations with you as a blogger, discussing ideas, etc, etc, all of which is part of blogging, indeed is part of the POINT of it all, so yes, a large portion of the time she might want to be spending with you, you will be spending talking to anonymous avatars across the globe.

And yes, I was aware that the vast majority of women wouldn't accept that. I am aware of that. But I realised when I made the decision to take blogging seriously, that that was what it meant.

That blogging was a commitment.

Now making a decision like that wasn't hard, in theory. I'd been searching all my life for something like that. When I was much younger I wanted to be a priest, then later, before life took a funny turn, I wanted to go into politics. I spent hours trudging the streets, leaflets in hand knocking doors.
And my then girlfriend would say 'If you stand for Council, I'll get even less time with you'.
And I'd say 'And if it goes all the way, you'll hardly ever see me at all'.

Because she wouldn't have done. Had I ever got to Westminster, there wouldn't have been time to waste. Brutal as it may be, an MP who is a good husband and father, is a bad MP. Because a good MP is in that House of Commons speaking on behalf of his constituents as often as he can, and when he's not doing that, he's finding out the needs of his constituents.

And of course, it's still possible to have a social life. Essential in fact. Spending time with real people, in real places is vital. And in fact, it's a good thing for a blogger to do. Because the conversations and observations lead to better posts. Everything can be source material ultimately.

On the face of it, it seems easy, once you've made the commitment.

And of course, you're motivated by all the lofty ideals you have. You believe you can do it. The ideas you want to put across are worth putting across, the discussion forum is worth discussing it in, it's worth the sacrifice you make, in terms of probably rejecting anything other than the most casual of relationships.

And you have clear guidelines of how you're going to interact. Always engage in discussion, avoid getting personal and nasty, try set an example in the way you behave. Show your commitment to blogging, because some of these people still want to be bloggers second, or even third.

And all this seems very easy before it gets put to the test.

It's very easy to be virtuous, when everyone else is being nice to you.

The thing is, when people DON'T behave ethically towards you; how do you respond?
Because that really is the test of strength. Because you're living in a dream world if you think it will all be plain sailing.

I never thought everybody would agree with everything I wrote, I didn't. But I didn't realise how nasty they could get.
And I really never thought that personal information about me would ever be leaked out- or worse, people blatantly lie about me.

I never thought I would have to deal with people leaving PERSONAL comments in my comments section, true OR false.

I really wasn't prepared for any of that.

But one looks how many blogs disappear over time. It does get too much for some people when they suffer endless tirades of abuse.

And I suppose the crisis of faith I've been going through recently was in how I handled all of this. How I handled this criticism- some of it very nasty- and worse, in some cases.

At some points it has almost driven me to the edge, it has. I have allowed myself to get really worked up by it all, no two ways about it. I haven't really slept properly for well over a year. Whilst I had moderation off, I still had to get up periodically at night to check the comments section.

Now it was someone quite close to me in Real Life laid it straight, shortly after I'd published this post in fact. He pointed out that if I really was to be taking this seriously, then I'd just have to accept that I would always have to put up with two sets of problems. One was that if what I was saying was in any way interesting or challenging, in other words, if the blog was any good, (and actually I was quite pleased they thought it was in general, even though they found it quite shocking in many ways), then by definition, some people would REALLY hate it. That I couldn't expect to have it both ways. That part of the price of my blog doing what I wanted it to be doing, was me putting up with hatemail and whole blogs being devoted to how evil my blog was.
The second problem was, that for anyone who knows important this is to me and doesn't have much ethics, knowing my URL and blogging identity is the perfect solution for vengeance. People- especially women- with a grudge will use the fact they can damage your blogging identity by disseminating information about you, whether or true or false knowing that it is the worst thing they can do to you. People can and will attack your blog for purely personal reasons of spite. Because it's easy.

And both these groups will ally with eachother somehow. They have common aims.

What he was basically reminding me of, was that I'd set myself up as in some sense a citizen journalist, by setting up a blog I'd in a sense made myself a public figure. And I'd have to put up with that.

And he re-iterated to me what I already knew. That I'd handled these problems in the wrong way from the beginning. That I should have always accepted that they would inevitably turn up. That if they HADN'T turned up, then that would be because the blog was crap.

Where I had gone wrong was in responding at all. And I knew that. It had always been my rules never to allow personal matters to interfere with blogging. But when people are attacking you on a personal level, you forget that. You end up defending yourself. When people start leaking things about you, you find yourself drawn in. And then of course, you step down from the moral highground.

You make things worse in the long run, because all people see is two bloggers bickering. And they can't distinguish between you.

I should never have forgotten that if someone is publicly making personal allegations about you, no matter what they are, no matter what 'evidence' they apparently offer, refuting them isn't the answer. Even if you can. No comment. No comment, no matter how much you feel compelled to.
If people comment at your blog and the comment is either rude or personal, just delete. Don't respond.
Why? Because by responding at all you're actually giving them a level of validity. Even by refuting them, you're acknowledging that you should respond. You're actually suggesting that the truth or otherwise of their personal allegations is relevant to blogging. When you actually need to demonstrate, is that it isn't worth an answer.

And the same, in a sense, goes for bloggers who devote blog posts designed to attack you. They do it for a response, mainly. Well, you have to take the view that the best place for them to debate your views is in the comments section of your blog. In a civilised manner. If they can't- or won't- do that, then why read their posts?

Why respond to them?
Nothing to be gained from it. By responding, you make it look like a blogwar. The only thing to do is make it clear their criticisms aren't worth responding to by you wasting posts on them. If they do a post on you a day, and you never do one on them, you have the moral highground. And always will.

So it has been reinforced to me the rules one must follow if one is to take it seriously. Accept you'll get hatemail, but do not answer. Put up comments moderation, but unless it's one of your trolls, just let the comments through without reading them. And do not post on other bloggers in retaliation. Only respond to serious posts by serious bloggers.
And if a troll follows you to blogs commenting on your comments to provoke you, do not respond.

All this of course, is easier said then done. Because I haven't managed this up to now, not at all. I allowed myself to sink down to the gutter level. And yes, I've put these rules in place now, and I've been following them myself, but yes, now I've got them in place, it did bring about a crisis of faith.

Because now I'm accepting all this, I'm looking back at how I let myself be dragged down by all of this.
And I'm realising that I didn't show myself to be STRONG.
I acted in ways that were weak.
I found myself in challenging situations and failed to show moral fibre.

I allowed myself to get eaten up by all this, to worry what other people were scurrying around saying about me, to spend every day at work worrying what people were writing about me, periodically checking my comments section to ensure it hadn't been trolled.

Whereas I should have accepted it all, and ignored it.

And it's that that has made it hard to look in the mirror recently. The sense that when it came to it, I was weak. Not the man I should have been.
Because ultimately, if this blog goes where I want to go, there's going to be way more of this crap to come. And every further bit of crap, is actually further proof of this blog succeeding.

And I suppose the last week or so, acknowledging all this, realising it's not a game, it's my life here, and this is what it's going to be, I really was questioning whether could take it.
It was realising that it's going to be like this forever, the way the last year has been. The hatemail, the blogs devoted to proving you are Satan, the use of personal information against you, the spreading of downright lies. Your friends and family will be dragged into it, attempts will be made to rake through your past, it will be a factor in any personal relationship you have. And you will have unprintable trolling comments every day on your dashboard. And you will be followed by trolls. These things are things you will have to endure every day of your life for the next thirty years maybe.

And you can never once respond, no matter what the provocation. You MUST turn the other cheek. Always.

And I really found myself struggling with whether I could face this. This is the consequences of the choice I made last year. I've learned what that decision meant.

And I'm full of grave self doubts about my strength to do this.

But I also know this. That I could not live with myself if I didn't.
That I could never look myself in the eye in the mirror if I walked away from this.

I have to say to all those O'Briens; I will not betray my Julia.

Bring on the rats.