Sunday 30 November 2008

Eighth Crushed Sunday Memusetica

Courtesy Of Judd Corizan.

The idea with this one, I think, is that you peel off the layers to find the person underneath...
Kind of a little nosey, eh? Still. We'll see how we go. If the answer 'That's for me to know and you to TRY find out, but good luck to you', don't be surprised :)

LAYER 1: Tell us your...

* Name: Crushed. At least, it is on this blog, anyway.
* Birthday (month, day): 7th March.
* Birthplace: A well known brewery town in the Midlands....
* Current location: A residential overspill town south of Birmingham.
* Eye color: Blue- grey. Blue round the edges, grey further in. So they look more blue when my pupils are dilated.
* Hair color: Brown.
* Height: 5ft7
* Righty or lefty: Right handed to the degree I really only use my left to smoke with.
* Zodiac sign: I dispute this. In the days when they took this seriously, the hour of your birth was only important to work out when you were conceived. Premature births are actually in the wrong star sign. So I'm kind of a False Pisces.

LAYER 2: What's...

* Your heritage: Irish on one side, Swedish on the other.
* The shoes you wore today: Suedes.
* Your weakness: Addictive personality, Indecisiveness.
* Your fears: Dieing having achieved nothing.
* Your perfect pizza: Ham, Pepperoni and Mushroom.
* Goals you’d like to achieve: A General Strike across the globe in all sectors, May 1st 2025.
* Your first waking thoughts: Why do I have to get up now?
* Your best physical feature: My eyes, I'd say. Though I have a cute pout.
* Your most missed memory: How can you MISS a memory? A missing memory is one you can't remember, surely?
University days, I'd say.

LAYER 3: Do you...

* Smoke: Yes, quite heavily.
* Cuss: Yes. Lots.
* Sing: If you call it that, yes.
* Do you think you’ve been in love: Yes. Twice.
* Did you go to college: If this is what we call University in the UK, yes.
* Liked high school: At the time, no. Actually, no. It sucked.
* Want to get/stay married: You must be kidding!
* Believe in yourself: Yes, I do.
* Think you’re attractive: I am, in a kind of boyish little elf kind of way, but I don't know how long it will last.
* Think you’re a health freak: No. It's against my principles.
* Get along with your parent(s): Funnily enough, I went to see them to day. I see them every couple of months. I find if we keep it to that, we get on great. I departed laden with gifts, so as things stand, yes, I do.
* Like thunderstorms: Do I look like a crazy scientist?
* Play an instrument: No.

LAYER 4: In the past month have you…

* Drank alcohol: Yes. Most days.
* Smoked: ???? In the past hour I've had three.
* Done a drug: Believe it or not, no.
* Made out: I believe so, yes.
* Gone on a date: No.
* Gone to the mall: Several.
* Eaten an entire box of Oreos:.No. Mainly because I haven't a clue what they are.
* Eaten sushi: No. I do like Sushi though.
* Been on stage: Afraid not. I do love being on stage though. Better than sex.
* Been dumped: No. That's not quite how things work in my life.
* Gone skating: ???? No.
* Gone skinny dipping: It's November!
* Stolen Anything: No.

LAYER 5: Have you ever…

* Played a game that required removal of clothing: Isn't sex a game?
* Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Well of COURSE I have.
* Been caught “doing something”: Is this sex again? Well, yes. That's part of the reason you HAVE sex in public.
* Been called a tease: Yes. Frequently.
* Gotten beaten up: Believe it or not, no.
* Shoplifted: I was a teenager.


* Age you did get/hope to be married: I never did.
* Numbers and names of children (either you have or want): 6. Isildur, Anarion, Eowyn, Names of other three to be decided as and when.
* Describe your dream mate: Rihanna.
* How do you want to die: In a hail of bullets in a blaze of glory, a Martyr to the Revolution.
* What did you want to be when you grow up: James Bond.
* What country would you most like to visit: India.

LAYER 7: Now tell...

* Name a drug you’ve taken illegally: Every one of them, pretty much, except I've never injected heroin.
* Name a person you could trust with my life: My best mate.
* Name a favorite CD that you own: Violator, Depeche Mode, 1989.
* Number of piercings: None.
* Number of tattoos: None, but I keep thinking I should...
* Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: My name appeared once when I was five. The URL to this blog appeared in the Financial Times letters page recently. Pass me my trumpet....
* Name a past experience that you regret: Only one. A person I wish had never been in my life.

Well, I actually answered them all!

So, next week, same deal again.
Hope you had a good weekend, you bunch of sultry, luscious, sophisticated darlings and philosophical, debonaire, urbane comrades that I call my readership.


By Whose Authority?

I would like to formally make a statement to the British government defining my relations with the group of individuals who claim the lawful right to exercise that authority.

I am reliable informed that their official position is that I can do this.
For now, anyway.

You are claiming that you have been chosen by the British people to administer us and determine how the laws of this country are to be implemented. That the body of men and women who form that little clique of people we call the cabinet was chosen by the people residing in the territorial unit known as the United Kingdom to implement the laws they live under. This is the mandate you claim.

Only- this isn't so. I do not believe the British people would ever have chosen you, had the choice been theirs to make. From a free choice. And they didn't choose you. Your authority does not proceed from the British people, it proceeds from commanding a majority in the House of Commons. That isn't the same thing.

Your lawful right to govern, if you call it such, proceeds from the fact that the Queen appointed one of you as Prime Minister and he gets to hand pick all the rest of you.
It actually proceeds from nothing else at all. The Queen, technically, can appoint Gary Glitter as Prime Minister. The authority of all of you derives from an unelected woman who holds that position because she is the the most senior Protestant descendant of the ultimate victor of centuries of dynastic transitions involving various people claiming descent from a Saxon warlord named Cerdic.
So you do not any of you govern because the people chose you, you govern because a woman who wears a funny metal hat and who bases her right to wear that on descent from a pirate gave you the job.

Ok, I admit, in practice her choice is limited. A woman in a funny hat appointing whoever she pleases to run the country doesn't work. Because of this thing called parliament. This passes laws. And because laws have to be passed a lot and budgets have to be passed every year, it helps if she only ever appoints the leader of the party holding a commons majority.

So- in a practical sense, your authority is dependent on that. That you lead the party with a commons majority.
Indeed, pretty much everything comes down to that. If you have a commons majority, you can do what you want.
Now this is interesting, this House of Commons Majority thing. This is the democratic bit, apparently.
The House of Commons passes laws. It also decides, by inactivity, what NOT to change.

Now I know you're going to say, that it's composed of 646 elected representatives who we all got to vote for, but that's pants and you know it.
There's only a certain amount of independence they have. If you have a party majority, your laws will usually get passed.

The reality is, every four or five years, we the people get to vote for an elected representative.
The question we're really being asked is; 'Here is the list of proposed changes my lot will do, here is the list of proposed changes their lot will do. It's not a pick and mix, you choose one or the other. Because if you vote for me, I'll vote for all these things and against all these things. And so will every other representative of my party.'

In case you haven't realised, this means that the statistical certainty that at least a minority of the programme of ANY 'government' are actually passed WITHOUT popular consent, is inevitable. And an even greater amount of laws that the public WOULD repeal, will never get repealed. Because it isn't in your 'programme'.

If you promise to run the country better than the others, we'll hold our noses and vote for you EVEN IF your manifesto contains a promise to pass a law outlawing driving purple cars.

So- you DO pass laws WITHOUT consent. Because you don't actually pass laws by popular consent. Laws are not made by the people, they're made by their elected 'representatives'.

Ok, you concede. We don't actually govern ourselves by consent, you say. But we're still a democracy because the British people have consented to delegate their power to elected representatives who then choose a government from their majority who...

When did we consent to this?
I don't remember us ever voting on this transfer of our popular sovereignty in this way.
I don't remember the time the British people were ever asked if they wanted to hand over their right to democratically vote on the laws that govern them to 646 people chosen every five years.

I actually don't think your power comes from the British people at all. I think your power comes ultimately from the Crown. These elections every five years or so are a concession, a concession to the people. But power, power we have none.

Because this system was never voted on in my lifetime. These laws you govern us by, these laws you pass, I question how any of them can be said to have legitimacy, because they were voted on by only 646 people, and the people who they affect were never asked if they wanted to vest the power to make laws in a mere 646 people.

These 646 people are members of one or other of two organisations which basically exist to fight elections and fill seats in the House of Commons. These organisations are not democratic organisations. Within them, no dissent is tolerated. If you don't tow the party line, you're out. Internally, both of you, red and blue, are run the same way as any political party, call yourself National Socialist, ZANU-PF, New Labour, whatever. Political parties existed before Universal Suffrage. I doubt we'd have tolerated their creation in the first place, had we had the power to prevent it.

What we the people get to do every five years is a tick a box saying 'Which Tyranny would you like, red or blue?'

And you only have to preserve some semblance of ethics about the whole thing, because if you govern too tyrannically, we'll vote for the other tyranny in five years.
And you have to follow the laws you make, because otherwise when you lose, the other lot will prosecute you.

But your authority most certainly doesn't come from the people.
The people never gave it to you.

Saturday 29 November 2008

Crushed By Ingsoc- The Start of the New Dawn

Today is the start of a new day for this blog.
It has to be.

Today has to be the day that this blog says goodbye to its year long adolescence, a painful adolescence perhaps, but still part of the journey any blog must make.

Adolescence is a funny time of life. When we are children we dream of growing up. During adolescence, we try avoid doing that. Adulthood is when we realise that, like it or not, we now ARE where we wanted to be as children, and IS as hard as we realised it would be in adolescence.
Adulthood is where we merge the playful dreams of childhood with the angsts of adolescence, to create a composite of both, a fully rounded adult.

I think, over the timeframe this blog has existed, it has become possible for people to form a good idea as to the overall scheme of ideas put forward by this blog. It should also be possible for people to form an idea of the political creed I put forward. But for those who haven't been following this blog, for long, I've drawn up a list of the posts of relevance and put them at the end.

This should give you an idea of the philosophy and purpose of this blog.

By having listed these posts, I'm hoping it thus becomes easy to follow my overall thought processes.

I also think over the time this blog has existed, you have had opportunity in my writings to gauge what sort of person I am. I'm not sure it's ultimately constructive for me to write too much more on that front. I rather feel that topic has kind of been done to death. Pretty much anything in my life that was worth writing about, anything you really need to know about me, is there. So in terms of my life history, facts you may want to judge me on, it's all in the archives.
Of course, there are other versions available online, should you choose to read them. And I suppose it's only right and just you should evaluate those too, and see if you think they paint a more accurate picture than my own archives.

For the record, the archives will have been cleaned by the time most of you read this post. Why? Because they belong to the adolescence of this blog. It's hardly like this blog has a shortage of posts in it's archives. Posts that belonged to the adolescance of this blog, just like ones that belonged to its childhood, are going.

A lot of things belong to the adolescence of this blog.

When this blog was in its childhood, I vowed to keep my own persona out of it. To keep Crushed and me separate. I guess my post on seeking Cyberlife the other night was perhaps a final burst of blog adolescent angst at the seeming muddying of that idea. But of course, the principle still exists.

I also had several principles on comment deletion, moderation, etc. As in, don't. Unfortunately, these things cannot always last. But still, I don't want to be deleting comments unless I absolutely have to.
So all I'm asking is for people to please- nicely- keep to my comments policy. I won't delete comments unless they're aimed at me the person, as opposed to me the blogger. That, essentially, is comments policy. It's that simple. And it goes for friends as well as foes. Though foes, foes is a concept we need to be moving away from.

Blogwars. That was the big promise I made to myself. DON'T TAKE SIDES IN THEM. Because my view was, it doesn't matter who is right, there is no point in them.
And there isn't, really there isn't.

I said to someone once 'I doesn't matter who started it, it doesn't matter who's right. What matters is both sides are ALWAYS responsible for continuing it.'

Because that's true. You yourself are always responsible for fighting back.

I actually read an e-mail I sent last year where I said pretty much those exact words. What happened since?

For me to run posts acknowledging the existence of blogwars, is a misuse of this blog. For me to run posts which even acknowledge there are other bloggers out there writing posts about me the individual, which I happen to dispute the factual content of, is a misuse of this blog. And I admit to having done it. I admit to forgetting that when I write this blog- and post to it- I can't just treat it in that way. If Crashie got into a blogwar, as a co-author of this blog, she'd have my full support, and this blog would support her, but it wouldn't itself become part of the battleground.
And I have to adopt the same approach myself. People will have noticed that the blog is Crushed by Ingsoc, but I myself have now become 'Crushed'. This is deliberate. I hold sole admin powers on this blog, but the whole point is, there is now a distinction between me and the blog. In practice I can do what I like with it, and I still intend to do so- more so in fact, now.

But I cannot allow the blog itself to be dragged into 'blogwars'. Or attempts by others to drag the blog into blogwars. To do that, is for me to go against my own rules and fail to maintain a distinction between me and the blog.

I'm going to take the view now that personal issues of this sort really are no concern of this blog. This isn't a tabloid blog. That is not what I have in mind for it.
By the same token, don't assume that this blog and every link I provide here will be suitable reading or viewing if you're easily offended. Part of this blog moving into adulthood is, if I choose to link it, I'll link it. With appropriate readership warning.

Part Two means that I believe this blog has earned its right to be judged on the merits of what is written. If you really give a damn about the life history, the character and the personal habits of it's primary author, they're in the archives. If you think such things are relevant, feel free to browse. Such things may possibly be of some use to you, but myself, I don't see that they matter.

Yes, I guess some of what I write I am only able to do BECAUSE of the person I am and the life I've had.

But this blog isn't- or shouldn't be- about me. Not me the person anyway. That's not how these things should work.
When you read an article in a paper, do you really care about the author's life history and private life?
No, and nor should you with this blog either.

The time has come to move away from matters involving personalities. I don't see Peter Riddell writing his column in the Times going on about how he heard that Polly Toynbee was in a threesome the other night, and I don't see Polly Toynbee responding by quoting mails to prove that actually, Peter Riddell was one of the other parties involved.

I suppose the Policy of this blog HAS to be, HAS to be, it doesn't matter if X blogger is falsely accusing ME of buggering goats and I actually have photographs of HIM buggering goats, the fact is, if you are writing blogposts about other bloggers buggering goats, you've lost touch with what this is all about.

I've come to realise- and I thank all those people who've made me see it- is that accusing other bloggers of buggering goats, whether it be true or false, doesn't reflect badly on the alleged goat buggerer.

No stories of goat buggering likely to appear on this blog.
Unless startling new evidence comes out that Napoleon was a secret goat buggerer and invaded Russia solely because he'd heard the goats near Moscow were extra soft.

I guess part of this blog growing up is actually about standing back and looking at what's been achieved.
And not just sitting navel gazing. As bloggers are prone to do. And this is the danger the blogosphere is facing. We move in such narrow circles and we actually find ourselves trapped in the mindset that our blogroll is our readership.

No, your blogroll is the blogs you advertise, some of whom comment at your blog. It accounts for ten percent, approximately, of your readership. The ones who also read blogs. The ones who tell you what they think. It's NOT your readership.
Is it the most important bit?

Well, in some ways yes. But I've come to realise, never forget the other ninety percent. Because the ten percent whose opinions you get in the comments sections, they aren't the full picture.

Of my five most googled posts, one of them only received two comments. One of the worst posts EVER in comment terms. And at the time I was a bit upset, because I thought it one of the best I'd ever written.
And it is. Time is proving that.

My two posts on Core Theory got a few polite comments, but no one really got my points and I actually came across a blog where the posts were obliquely derided. Shall I tell you something? I almost left a comment saying 'Yes, but they still got quoted in the Financial Times.'
Yes, it's true. And thanks to the commentor who reminded me of that.

It was a while back- letters of August 15th.

And I came across a forum the other day, where the post put up for discussion was my post of last year 'Did a Russian Spy Get The Top Job?'
And then I smile.
Because THAT's why I run this blog.
Because people really are coming across my posts through Google, my posts ARE living longer than the time they stay on the front page. People out there, people who don't give a rat's arse about all the crap us navel gazing bloggers have seemingly got distracted by, are reading and discussing my posts.

And it occurs to me- finally- that I've got this business the wrong way round.
Who cares what other people are writing about me on their blogs?
It doesn't matter.
Because the bulk of READERS don't read their blogs. More readers reach this blog by googling 'Crushed by Ingsoc' than come to it through a link.
In other words, they read this blog because they FOUND it. They come because they want to read the serious posts. They might read a few random blogs here and there, ones they came across at random through googling something else.

They come because when I'm writing the posts I SHOULD be writing and not giving a flying fuck what other bloggers are saying, this blog really is a blog worth reading.

And they're ACTUALLY the ones I really want. Because they're the ones who really do just come to read. Blogging isn't a hobby to them. They haven't come to be sociable. They've come to read.

They're the ones, in truth, that I write for.

So from now on, this blog is going to be targeted at them.
For those of you who visit and comment, it's written for you as well, of course. It's just that I'm now going to keep in my head at all times, that primarily the purpose of this blog is to get ideas out there and it's not primarily meant to be a social activity. That's just a pleasant by product.

So I hope you'll all still come by and comment, nothing is going to change in the way I interact with those of you who comment, nothing is going to change in my visiting habits, I'll visit and comment as much as usual- in fact, I'm hoping to do more. Content isn't going to change. I'm not going to try make this blog more 'respectable'. It will remain a Libertarian/Anarchist blog. If anything, you can probably expect me to up the ante in terms of relaxing self-censorship. Again, that's part of this blog growing up.
What IS going to happen, is I'm going to target every post at the wider audience. Posts which are written SOLELY for bloggers, are wasted posts. They are written for a minority of the readership. And I can't help feeling that readers who aren't bloggers, simply have contempt for us with these internecine feuds.

Frankly, I think they're more likely to think higher of a blog which says 'fuck' every so often and doesn't mind linking to porn, than one which does neither, but simply bangs on about other bloggers.

What's going to happen is that whilst the subject of posts will be the same as ever, the way the blog is MANAGED and the way it RELATES, will now simply operate on pure professional marketing ethics. I'm going to run this blog the same way I'd run a business. It's here to deliberately and consciously put across my ideas, and that's what it's going to do.

Essentially, I'm going to take the view that the relations of this blog with other blogs are essentially the same as WORK relationships. Decisions on the value or otherwise of something or someone to this blog, will not be affected in any way by personal considerations. Don't think that means I'm not going to continue treating you all the same as I already do. It's merely that I categorically rule out anything which would be a 'bad business decision', in my book. Marketing is everything, and I'll freely admit that.

A blog growing up is the day it realises;

You're not writing to the blogosphere.
You're writing to the internet.

You're not writing for today.
You're writing for all time.

You're not writing to make friends.
You're writing to make a difference.

And now;
The following posts are the ones which outline to anyone who wants to see, just exactly what the philosophy of this blog is.

Theoretical Posts: Altruism- The Ultimate Self Interest, Primary Reality- How Universes Work, Quantum Theology, or How I Think the Universe Works, Human Dynamics- Where we are Evolving to, Power, the Strange Engine of the Species, The Origin of Duality- The Plant and the Parasite, Core Theory Part One, Core Theory Part Two- How it works, Evolution- Where are We Going?,

Historical Posts: They're Everywhere..They Control Everything, Did a Russian Spy Get the Tob Job?, The Legacy of Empire, When Monarchy Served a Purpose, Jesus- What Kind of Man Was he?, The First Systems- Why Man Invented Tyranny, Hellenes, Helots and Horses- A Knowledge Based System, The First Ideologies, Why the West Seized the World and How, A New Type of Empire, Man Comes of Age- The Thought Revolution, The First Battle for World Domination, The Rise of the INGSOC systems, Feeding Tezcatlipoca, The Belief System of the Conspiracy Theorist, The Romans of Tiberius

Political Posts: What do You Want? Political Parties or Democracy? , The Forbidden Taboo of the Middle East, The Apartheid We Ignore, Wage Slavery, Where I stand, Liberty but Not for the Few, Why it Just isn't Working Any More, Interest- The Demon That Drives, The Cracks are Widening, A Hope for a New World Order, Jumping Off This Rock, The Revolution- What it Should Bring, Celebrating Life- a Basic Human Right, Wake up-They Got You Fooled, Prohibitions, Censorship, Forbidden Knowledge, The Ultimate Choice of the Free Market, Basic Lies at the Heart of the System- We're Not Governed by Our Consent, Basic Lies at the Heart of the System- The story of Your Enslavement, Do You Believe Islam is the Problem?,

Religious/Philosophical Posts: Why I am a Nietzcheist, Finding a Way Forward, The Totalitarian Impluse, The Most Intolerant of Creeds, War is Peace- How the Terror Threat Works, Evolving Towards Perfection, Hedonism and Ethics, Power- The Greatest Urge of All, Pleasure Distribution- How the System Works, Bliss is Ignorance, Heaven is Not Enough, Evolution- The Only Way is Up, Good and Evil- They are LOGICAL concepts, Marx The Misrepresented Prophet, Why Love Never Loses, Good and Evil as Real Concepts, Religion and Society, The REAL choice between Good and Evil, What Kind of God do You Believe in?, Towards a New Philosophy of Life, The Theology of Free Love, World Exclusive- An Interview with Jesus Christ, Beyond Heaven and Hell, My Catholicism- Liberation Theology, God and Moral Relativism- Hope in Hell,

Sex- In Defence of Sexual Freedom, Free Love- When Sex is no Longer Dirty, Free Love- Why it is a Higher Ideal,Love, Sex, Anarchy- The extremity of my Fantasies, Monogamy and Male Pride, Pornography- Does it Corrupt or Free us?, Eroticism and Love Making, Psychenotity- The Most Perfect Human Experience, Fuck Racism- A Campaign For All to enjoy, Make Love to Her, Sexual Morality After the Revolution

Inner Monkey
Inner Reptile

Other Key Posts- Proclamation of the United Peoples of Earth, The Grand Vision- The Utopia I Dream of, Passive Revolution- How we Can Overthrow the System

So. For anyone really wanting to understand this blog, the posts listed above should be seen as the 'Bread and Butter posts' produced to date. They are the posts this blog is really about.

They are the posts which set the case (or cases) this blog is ultimately here to make.

And now onwards to the future of this blog, goodbye to the past.

There is work to do.

And I leave you with what I have now come to see as this blog's official anthem.

Friday 28 November 2008

My Niece

Here is the daughter of my former flatmate.
My niece.

Just thought I'd show her to you all again.

The fact I got to help choose the names she carries is a remarkable testament to the friendship I have with BOTH parents.

Holding her in my arms just after she was born was a very proud moment for me.

If this looks like it was posted in response to something, it was.
It's all the response I need to show really, isn't it?

And now, I bid adieu to a whole epoch in the history of this blog.
I bid goodbye to a whole blogging mindset that must end, and must end now.

It's time now for me to trust in you.
All of you.

And I do.

Good Night and God Bless.

Tomorrow is the start of something new.

Shifty Dude

Just to amuse you whilst I write the next post, because I think I might actually end up going to bed before its completion, I thought I'd share this pointless clip with you.

Only it's not really. It's an insight into one of those little things that make no ense to anyone but me and the Baker.
Every so often it will happen that one of us will say 'I reckon Shifty Dude would fit in here' or 'Do you reckon Shifty Dude could abseil that building?' or somesuch remark relating to this curious character we refer to us Shifty Dude. Shifty Dude appears at varying intervals in our banter. And people always say 'Who IS Shifty Dude?'

And the answer is....

That shifty looking dude in the Sinbad cartoon. We watched it early on a Sunday morning after a VERY heavy weekend. We couldn't really follow it, because we hadn't slept much, but this guy made us laugh. And we couldn't work out what his name was (it's Rat, apparently), so we just called him Shifty Dude.

Yeah, ok, it's lame, but I thought this little insight into the things that amuse the Baker and I might amuse you...

The Jilting of Carlotta

This Short Story is a sequel to the previous one. As before, all resemblance to characters living or undead, is purely coincidental.

He had felt in a curiously good mood all day. Last night's conversation with Carlotta had seemingly gone remarkably well. He had manage to avoid speaking to her till he got back in from the pub, having evaded speaking to her all evening. So when he finally rang her, he was well lubricated. And for once she seemed reasonable. Well, kind of. He'd actually heard her use the words 'I think we should stop talking'. Woohoo! Not just me then, he'd thought! He'd vague memories of her wittering away about 'bitches online' out to get her before the phone battery mercifully died and he'd turned over to go to sleep without thinking anything more of it. He doubted he'd heard the last of her yet, but surely, progress was being made.

This unjustified optimism was brought short on the way home. Up came 'Douglas calling' on the screen of his mobile.

Him: Yes mate!

Douglas: What the fuck have you done now? I am not happy with you!
Him: Slow down, slow down. I'm not a mind reader. What am I supposed to have done now?

Douglas: This woman off the internet! The one you talk to!

Him: Carlotta, yes.

Douglas: Well, when you were out last night she rung and Diana answered the phone (Diana was his flatmate and Douglas' girlfriend)

Him: O---kayyyy.

Douglas: She went off at Diana, Diana was quite scared really. This Carlotta or whatever her name was was going off about how she knows loads of stuff about me and Diana, our full names, stuff about us, that she knew you and I liked the odd bit of Charlie, loads of stuff. And she was saying how you've used her and how you've promised to go to Canada with her and you're going to Paris with her at Christmas and how she thinks you treat her like shit.

Him: Douglas, Douglas, slow down. None of this is going to happen. I am NOT going to Canada. Nor, to be honest, do I think I want to go to Paris.

Douglas: Well, that's as may be, but I kind of got the impression from Diana that she was pretty much threatening that things could come out if you don't honour your promises to her.

Him: Well, yes, I think this is undeniably true. This is a problem I've faced for a while, but I don't think she'd go for you two. But I AM worried she'll go for me. It's my blog I'm worried about, so I need to find a way to get her out of my life in such a way as that she doesn't turn on my blog.

Douglas: Look, I think I'm being pretty patient here. Your women related fuck ups should not affect me and shouldn't affect Diana, who is not only my girlfriend but YOUR flatmate. She shouldn't have to put up with this shit from people we don't know and haven't asked to be involved in our lives. Deal with it.

Him: I know, I know. I'm sorry you got dragged into it. But really, it's not my fault. I've tried to get her off my back, but she seems to have- got the wrong end of the stick about a few things.

Douglas: Don't give me that! I can work out exactly what happened. Because Diana has filled me in on these little phone conversations. You did your usual thing of being interested and lovey dovey and spouting romantic shit and you probably DID say you wanted to go to Paris and go to Canada and all that. And then when she got all clingy and you found her a nuisance, you got bored but couldn't get rid of her. This is what you do time and time again. Only this time you probably went extra overboard because she was at the end of a phone and not in reality.

Him: I guess so. I guess it never quite entered reality for me. Just some fantasy at the end of the phone. Like a chatline or something. But not the sort of thing you want in real life. You're right of course.

Douglas: (Calming down) Only because I know you. I know how your mind works. Because I see similar cycles over and over again. Ok, right, well no point me getting angry at you, we just have to be about decisive about this. Decisive. You know, that thing you are incapable of doing most of the time.

Him: Ok. What do you suggest?

Douglas: Ok. Well- you went it over with her, yes?

Him: Yes.

Douglas: Go home, write her an e-mail. A nice e-mail. Explain the situation and say that in view of how Diana took that call last night, you want that to be an end and her not to contact you again. No open ended maybes or anything. Thankyou, but goodbye. But do it NICELY. And then change your numbers.

Him: I only need to change the landline. I got a new mobile two weeks ago when I lost the other one. She keeps asking for the new one, I won't give it her.

Douglas: That's one less problem then.

Him: Right. What do I say then? How do I word it?

Douglas: You're not a fucking idiot, you're a salesman for God's sake. And you write posts which, from the odd one I've seen are well written. Surely you can write a goodbye e-mail?'

Him: Douglas, I tend to end it with people by sending them one line text messages. Or meeting them in crowded pubs, saying it's over, and then making a sharp exit. I finished with a woman who may actually have subsequently given birth to a child of mine, by downing my pint, saying 'Goodbye' and running. Does this strike you as someone who does these things very well?

Douglas: Ok, well for once in your life, just once, you can try rise above the generally inept and incompetent way you ditch women and try and use your charm skills, you know, the ones you tend to use to get the women in the first place, actually use them to get rid of them for once?

Him: Ok. I'll call her when I get in and say all this.

Douglas: Are you sure calling is the answer? Wouldn't a mail be better? Isn't the problem with the phone that you can't do it?

Him: No, because this time I'll say Douglas and Diana want us to stop talking.

Douglas: You can't phrase it like that! Bring it in, maybe. In a subtle kind of way, make it clear that what she did last night was not well received and you can't really carry on talking after what happened last night, but don't phrase it that we demanded you don't. We'd both rather you stopped talking to her yes. But so would you. From what I see, none of this is doing you any good.

Him: Ok, ok. I'll ring you when it's done.

Douglas: Good. I'll be waiting to hear how it went.

He went home, but found he had a problem. The landline phone still lay on his pillow, uncharged. That left his mobile. Could he 141 a mobile? He'd never tried and now wasn't the time to see if it worked. Payphone then.
He tried using a payphone, but she didn't answer. She knows what this is about, he thought. And she knows this is a payphone.

He went home and considered the e-mail option. Then it occurred to him, there was a better solution yet. The problem after all, was related to his blog. If he didn't have a blog, the problem wouldn't exist. He would have just not taken her calls, period, as soon as she started to annoy him.
The whole thing was about the fact that he had to keep her sweet, to make sure she didn't cause damage to his blog in her anger.

So- wasn't the answer to simply state the situation on his blog? Not name names. Preserve her dignity, but simply say he no longer wanted any communication with her, and describe the fact she had called his flatmate and spoken to her in a manner his flatmate had found threatening?

He smiled. That, surely, was the answer.

That, surely, preserved him. It preserved her dignity, yet if she then started to reveal all his dirty laundry on her blog in her anger, it would be seen for what it was. Her anger at her rejection. If he put it on his blog, then if she had any sense, she wouldn't want anyone to know it was her referred to.

So that was what he did.

Of course, he had a made a classic mistake. Assuming jilted women are rational people. Because she commented- twice, in fact. He pointed out to her in replies, that he hadn't revealed who she was- she herself was doing that.

And he hoped FINALLY, she was going away.

The following evening, he and Diana were watching Eastenders. He was the happiest he'd been in a long time. It had got to almost eight O'clock, he'd been home two hours and not seen or heard anything from Carlotta. What more could he ask for.

As the phone began to ring in the background, he settled down on the settee with a contented purr 'That'll be Douglas for you, I expect'.
Bliss. But he was wrong. Diana returned to the living room holding the handset so he could see the number. 'It's Carlotta. Do you want me to take it for you?'
He breathed out. 'If you wouldn't mind, hon bun. You're a star'.

And he listened. 'Hello, Carlotta. Mmhmm. Mmm. Well, that's what you said. No, I never said you threatened to go to publish our names, I said that you threatened that you knew our names. The way it was said....Well, that's what it sounded like...Carlotta...Carlotta. Ok, well maybe that's not how you meant it to come across, but it did. Well yes, it is my business. Not from where I'm standing. What do I mean? Well, you're saying you're in a relationship with him, well, from where I'm standing you aren't. Well, because I live with him. Carlotta, whatever you had, it seems like it's over to me. Yes, he is here. (Diana held the phone to him, he declined) No, he doesn't want to talk to you. How do I know? I just asked him. Ok, I'll ask him again. Do you want to talk to Carlotta?'

He shouted 'No, I don't. Go away you psycho! Leave us alone!'

Diana resumed 'Did you hear that? Well, I can't make him, he doesn't want to. That suggests to me, it's over....Well....Carlotta, these things happen. I'm sure he did, he does that. Well, I'm not saying that was right either. But you have to let these things go...He doesn't want to talk. Yes, I think I do have a right. Well, I think I know him better than you. I'm not saying he does. Well, I've never been his girlfriend, so I don't need to worry about that. No, I wouldn't put up with it in my boyfriend, but he isn't my boyfriend.'

In boredom, she held the earpiece away from her ear and carried on watching Eastenders whilst deranged rantings came out into the air. He got up 'I'll leave you to it, shall I? I'm going for a fag.'

When he got back, Dianna was still sitting there, holding the phone away from her. She did the crocodile snapping gesture with her free hand. He took the phone 'Carlotta, why are you bothering us? Can't you just go away now? You've already interfered in our home life enough!'

Carlotta: I had a right!

Him: No. Since when did my home life become something you should stick your nose in and start threatening my flatmate? And threatening to tell my mate's firm shit about him?

Carlotta: I never said that, didn't you hear? Diana misunderstood what I was trying to say.

Him: Well, then you expressed yourself quite badly. Either way, you didn't endear yourself to her, and now Douglas has got in on the act, and he don't want you calling here. Simple as. Diana shouldn't have to put up with your crap.

Carlotta: Diana is a twenty three year old chit of a girl! What would she know?

Him: More than you in many ways. She's a solid, sensible, working class girl. With a good head on her shoulders. With a grip on reality.Diana can see when someone is being over the top.

Carlotta: OVER THE TOP???? IS THAT WHAT YOU TOLD HER??? I bet you told her you never planned to meet me!

Him: Well, the thing is, I'd never discussed it with them. Had it come nearer the time, I'd have asked approval from both of them. And after last night, that approval is unlikely to be forthcoming. Understandable, really. We've already got Ben about to marry someone the rest of don't approve of, and it's me that's kind holding the moral highground there, so I'm CERTAINLY not going to meet up with someone who the general feeling is, wouldn't be a welcome addition to our group.

Carlotta: But the conversation wasn't like she said it was! She misunderstood me! You're going to take the word of an insecure girl over me? Your 'soulmate'?'

Him: Yes. My experience of the two of you is, Diana has her head screwed on, you are not good generally at seeing how you come across to others. I can well believe she found you scary. And that's what matters. Because I live with Diana. And she is seeing my best mate. In fact, I'm not even that bothered WHO is right. The important thing is, I'm not having relations soured with the people in life that are important to me.

Carlotta: That should be me! Douglas and Diana will go off and have a family and they'll leave you.

Him: Ah, I see. So try part me from them now, is that it? Well, you're wrong. That might be how it works in Canadian bourgeois culture, not in British working class culture. A man's best mate is his best mate for life, women, women come and go. I always told you, never try pick a fight with my friends, I'll pick them every time. Now I'm hanging up on you. Goodbye.

He literally bounced back into the living room 'It's over, Di! Over!'

Diana: You sure? You said that a few weeks back, after that blog club thingie.

Him: Ach! I'm sure she won't call again.

Diana: Do you want to talk about it?

Him: I don't know. Usual shit, but nastier this time. Like Sarah, but with Sarah I could just ignore her texts. Di. Tell me honestly, am I total bastard, or do I attract nutters? What I mean is, do I turn them into freaks, or were they freaks to start with, just I'm crap at detecting it?

Diana: I don't think you turn them into freaks, I think they are freaks to start with. BUT. But you need to look at what you do. I think you bring out the freakiness.

Him: Explain.

Diana: Because you attract women with needy qualities. Because in a sense, you don't want to bother actually doing the hard work and finding someone really suitable. So you latch on to lapping up attention from needy women. And then they get too much for you. All you actually want, is their attention. You don't want- the rest of it.

Him: Well, no. Not when it's freaky. I just want someone NORMAL. NOT FREAKY. Someone a bit more like you and a lot less like Carlotta. A down to earth girl who doesn't take things too seriously. Someone who'll just leave my tea on the side and then go back to watching the TV. (He smiled) Like you do. That's one of the things I like about you. Why though? Why do they go so freaky?

Diana: Because you don't give them closure. Yes, she's being freaky. But she wants closure. Any woman does. Men don't see it. And you, well, you don't give it, ever.

Him: Because I don't quite get the whole thing. What do you need, an autopsy? A fucking inquest? It was fun, it ain't, let's stop. Problemo? Ok, point taken, it's something I clearly need to work on, for next time. Plan for closure as well as having clear exit strategy planned. Still Diana, I'd like to avoid these types of women generally. I need to be better at spotting the smell of Lagomorphs in saucepans.

Diana: What are Lagomorphs?

Him: Douglas would have got it. Sorry, I'm doing what I usually do. Use grandiloquent language to emphasise my detached contemplativity. Lagomorphs are the Order to which bunnies belong.

Diana: One day you're just going to have to bite the bullet and let someone past those walls. That's the problem, really. That you're scared to really let someone in.

Him: What, now you're saying I should have let her in?

Diana: No, not Carlotta. But someone. Some day.

He looked at her and looked away again.

Him: Maybe. I don't know.

Diana: Douglas said earlier, he thinks you should go up to Manchester this weekend. Because I'll be babysitting my brother. And he thinks really, you need to be away from the flat. Away from the PC. Away from the threat of phones ringing.

Him: That might be an idea, yes.

Diana: Go. You should. You two need time together right now, after this.

He felt a curious warm feeling. Douglas would always be there to look after him. Douglas would always be there. He would be safe from Carlotta and any other person who ever tried to force their way into his life as long as Douglas was there. Safe.

His world was not yet broken into.
Not yet.

Maybe his chance to find happiness in life, could yet be.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Walking the Tightrope of Knife Blades.

Note: This should be considered a piece of fiction. Any resemblance to characters living or undead, is purely coincidental.

He turned his key in the lock and walked down the hallway leaving the door open.
He switched on the PC and entered the password, before popping for a piss.

He went to the kitchen and switched on the kettle and then returned outside for a cigarette.

He grabbed his cup of tea and returned to the PC, smiling.

He answered his blog comments and then went travelling round the blogs. He was IMed by another blogger. He chatted away to her, flirted a bit, asked her if she'd cheated on her boyfriend.
Then it came. The moment he had been dreading.
Up came the little message. 'Carlotta Wayne is now online'.

Oh no. Not long now.

And it wasn't.
Went the phone.
He ignored it. It went through to voicemail.
Two minutes later it began to ring again. This time he clicked to answer, then immediately cut the call off.
It rang again.
This time he clicked to answer, but threw the handset into a box containing flags and various other items sitting in the corner.

He carried on typing away to his online friend. After a few minutes he returned the phone handset to its socket.
No sooner had he done so, it rang again?

'WHY are you calling me?' He said.
'When people are in a relationship they have to talk, you know'.
'I thought we agreed we weren't going to talk. You'd wait till I called you'.
'Why, what are you doing now that's so important?'
'I just don't want to talk. I want a break from talking. We need to spend less time talking. A lot less. At least till I get my nerves back'.
'You used to want to talk every night.'
'And now I don't. Things have changed. I work much longer hours and have a lot more blogs to comment at, and a lot more comments to answer.'
'And that's more important than me?'
'Well, yes. Right now, yes. I just can't take the stress of talking to you'.
'So- when do you want to talk?'
'I don't know. When I feel like it. Could be a few days. Weeks. Depends on when I feel like it.'
''No, that's not good enough. When you're in a relationship, you have to invest time.'
'Ok, well bottom line, I don't want to, so if that's the deal, I don't want it. The deal is this, we talk when I want to talk, or not at all.'
'If we don't talk, the relationship will die off.'
'It might, but frankly, that's not really my main concern. My main concern right now is just us not talking.'
'So- what are your feelings for me?'
'Right now, the only feelings I have are total exasperation that you are on my phoneline when I don't want to be talking. Fear. Just wishing you weren't on my phoneline.'
'You must have other feelings than that.'
'No. How is it possible for me to have other feelings when now my entire sensations are driven entirely by hoping this call ends as quickly as it can, because I don't want to be talking to you?'
'Is there someone else? Your feelings can't change that quickly.'
'CHRIST WOMAN! It's not about feelings, it's about being freaked out by you not observing boundaries. As in not calling me, just waiting to be called. As in you getting the idea to call me and not thinking 'Actually maybe he doesn't want me to. If he wanted to speak to me, he'd call'.'

'Don't you want me any more?'


'As I keep telling you, as things stand I'm just sick of talking. If you go away and stop calling, if I'm able to go a set of days without getting muscle spasms every time your number comes up on my phone, if I'm able to go a few days or weeks without having to think about you at all, then maybe I might be able to answer questions like that rationally. All I know right now, is I don't want the phone conversations. That's it. That's all I know.'
'So I'm supposed to wait around till one day you decide to call? Just put my life on hold?'
'No. Forget about me. Consider it as over. And then if one day I call, I do. And if I don't, I don't. And if I call and you've found someone else, that's my loss isn't it?'
'So you want to end it?'
'Well, like I say, if the choice is speaking to you every night or never, ever again, then I have no choice but to go for the second. If you won't allow me what I've asked for.'
'Ok. Then we'll end it.'
'Great. Can I hang up now?'
'Just like that? We're never going to speak again and you just want to hang up?'
'It's best, Carlotta. Clean break. Just let it all go, cut off, hang the phone up, both pretend none of this ever happened.'
'NO! You at least give me the decency to give me ten minutes so I can at least have answers and have peace of mind.'

At this point he was lieing face down on his bed, handset to one ear, the other hand punching the pillow in sheer desperation.

'Ok. Fire away.'
'Tell me when your feelings changed.'

He screamed with exasperation.

'CHRIST WOMAN! How many times do we have to go through this! It's not about feelings! It's about you being too much!'
'Too much? No other man has ever had a problem!'
'Well, I'm not other men! I keep telling you that. I'm not emotionally equipped to deal with having this sort of thing too much. It's causing me to make mistakes at work. It's not good for me to have people around me who shout and get angry.'
'Well I wouldn't shout if you didn't flirt with all those other women!'
'Flirting is what I DO. I enjoy flirting, it's fun. It's one of the pleasures in life. It's a big part of how I do my job.'
'You don't have to flirt with people online!'
'Why not? Harmless enough. People like to be flirted with. It establishes good relationships.'
'But what about me? You know it hurts me but still you do it. You'd rather have twenty cyber kisses than a real kiss from me!'
'Ok. But flirting is me, it's what I do. As I said, if you don't like it, don't argue with me about it, just stop calling me.'
'When you're in a relationship you have to make these sacrifices.'
'Maybe. And maybe this is it. This is why we shouldn't talk. Because ultimately, we're destructive for eachother.'
'No! Only because of your flirting! People argue, it's normal!'
'No. Not in my world it isn't. If women argue with me, I just stop taking their calls in Real Life. I told you- I don't give women explanations in RL why I'm not taking their calls any more. One strike and you are out. I don't give second chances. And I don't much care if they think they have a genuine grievance either. Fact is, I don't like being shouted out, and I don't care for arguments. So my normal response to an argument is just to walk away. In RL, it really is my rules, or no that's it. I don't compromise. I only pacify you because you've got my blog to dangle over me. Otherwise, I'd just hang up.'
'Listen, remember when we first talked? How good it was? Remember that!'
'But things are different now. I don't have the time to waste..'

He banged his head against the pillow.

'Well, kind of. Like now. I wanted to be reading blogs and writing a post. I'm supposed to go out later. I work much longer hours then I did when we started talking. So to be honest, there really isn't time for me to spend an hour every day talking to you. It's not productive. I have my blog and then the pub to fit in.'
'Your blog and the pub. And you can never sacrifice either of those for me.'
'Well, no. Why would I want to? I mean, there's weekends.'
'And weekends your friends are around, so you say I can't call!'
'Exactly, you sum it up better than I can. There just isn't the time for these conversations. They have to stop.'
'If you meant any of the things you said, you wouldn't treat this so lightly! A relationship should mean more to you than it does.'
'To some men, maybe. But I don't think that much of men like that. To me, certain things are more important. My job. My blog. My mates. These are priorities in life, the role you're wanting to fill, comes after those.'
'And if you had a dog, I'd come after the dog too!'

He smiled.
'Yes, you probably would! If I had a dog, yes, the dog WOULD be more important than a romance. A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. Careers, mates, blogs, dogs, these things are things that are kind of serious. Relationships, well, they're either fun or they're not. And right now, I just don't enjoy our conversations. Like I say, it's very simple, you either make me feel good, or you don't. You don't make me feel good.'
'Relationships should be about a little more than that.'
'Not for me they ain't. I either feel good, or I don't. It's that simple. Right now, all I feel is STRESS.'


'Look, if you get off my phone now and let me write a post, I promise we'll speak later.'
'Yes. Just let me write a post. And go for a drink. I'll speak to you at eleven.'

And he hung up. He breathed out. He'd got her off the phone. He could write his post and go for a drink. Not worry about her for a few hours at least. By the time it got to eleven, he'd have a few pints inside him and be able to face the ordeal. Keeping her sweet, so she didn't ruin his life. While he tried negotiating her out of it.

It couldn't be far away, surely. Surely the day would come when he'd finally persuade her to end contact. Surely he could persuade her to let it be, to just forget about it all, to get on with her life and get out of his. Forget about the Holiday in Paris he didn't really want to go on any more. Just let it be.

How many more conversations till he got there though?

He'd never felt so frightened in all his life. Like his life was being invaded. That someone was forcing their way into his personal space and he couldn't evict them. It was the most unpleasant sensation he had ever had. It felt much the same as being strip searched. Having someone whose access to himself he had no control over. That was the awful part.

The whole thought of it made him shiver. The degree to which she wanted to invade his life. The degree of control over his life she wanted to prize from his hands.

He cursed himself that he had broken his own rules 'Never let anyone close, unless you have full control over their distance. Never let anyone into your life, unless you are able to remove them again at will'.

He had broken his own rules, and now he'd pay.

When would the day come when he never heard from her again?

Or would he just have to change the phone numbers?

Something would come up to rescue him from these phone calls, surely?


Seeking Cyberlife

An odd conclusion that I came to a little over a year ago.
Around August, I think.

But true, in my case.

If there were a way possible, if some Cyber-God came up and said to me; You have to choose; one of your lives must end this instant. Your Real Life, or Crushed; If it were possible then, having made that choice, you still exist, but only as Crushed, somehow magically inputting those posts, somehow still able to e-mail and IM, somehow still able to comment; if the Cyber-God could do that, but he was saying, I'll give you that, you can have that or the life as you, but one or the other, would I even hesitate?

No, no, I wouldn't.

At first glance you think of all the things you'd miss. But of course you wouldn't. You wouldn't miss food, or alcohol, you wouldn't even miss sex. These essentially are needs related to possessing a body. Being a mind without a body, Crushed wouldn't desire these things.
And wouldn't miss them. I'd just be a Red V, wondering round the internet.

And for over a year now I've kind of seen that as a kind of elusive perfection.

Crushed's entire life would be one of gaining knowledge, of discussion, of interaction, of chatting.
All the other tedious bits of life wouldn't exist.

I guess I'd have to give all my friends the URL so they could still come and chat to me.

I suppose what really brought it home to me was having a woman bang on and on about how a 'rel-ay-shun-ship' was more important than blogging. That blogfriends were here today come tomorrow things.
And it suddenly hit me; No. She was wrong.


I don't feel like that.
I'd only been blogging a few months, but I already knew the relationship I had with my blog towered in significance over some petty romance like the Empire State building towers over the newstand outside.

I realised that it no longer really bothered me that much if I never had a romantic relationship ever again. Not really.
I realised that finally, there in 2007 I had finally- serendipitously- discovered something which rendered all that sort of thing fairly superfluous to me.

Because why, after all, do people settle down?
I guess because they're afraid of being alone. They don't like the empty flat.
No, nor do I. And I guess I always had this idea 'One day you're going to have to settle down and have a serious relationship. You can't just go on just picking up random women, because one day, you'll be past that. And then you'll be alone'.

But now there's a way round that. When I do get too old to just pick up random women, I'll be too old to be much interested in sex anyway, I would imagine.
So all that matters is that I'm not lonely at that age. Or at least, not lonely during the time I have to spend home alone.

And blogging provides the answer to that.

A far better answer than settling down.

I think what I like most about this IS that is a life free from the taint of the flesh.
Blogging has made me realise how much I loathe the idea of being desired as ME, as the flesh and blood form that I am. Or not loathe it. I mean, it serves me well enough in Real Life, it's a powerful tool in many ways, and I won't pretend I don't have a fairly powerful need for both sex and intimacy. But I admit, I don't much care for mixing them with connections of the higher sentiments.

I've found I really don't care for the idea of ME being loved. I'd rather Crushed was loved. Because Crushed is a pure mind without a body.

Blogging allows us to form connections solely on the basis of the higher sentiments.

Blogging allows us to finally divorce body and soul.

It allows me to divorce forever the connections of the mind from the connections of the body, something I have subconsciously striven for all my life.

It allows us to live as we once imagined we would do in an imaginary afterlife.

It allows me to create a life where I can live as pure intellect, and leave the needs of the body to that lump of meat out there that must be fed, watered and fucked every now and then so that the me I want to be- Crushed- can live.

I have created separate lives for body and mind, and having done that- I want to keep it that way.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Religion For The Future......?

There is no question that religion has had a powerful effect on human culture, for good and for ill.
I think it's no secret that I personally belong to a religion and that being a member of that religion has both positive and negative effects on me.

I belong to the Catholic faith, but subscribe to a branch of Catholic thought called liberation theology, which is often regarded with suspicion by the curia, and if it existed a few hundred years ago would undoubtedly be branded a heresy.

Not only that, I don't buy into a wealth of the fundamental tenets of my faith. Indeed, there are several areas where I subscribe to beliefs from other faiths or, belief systems that aren't conventionally seen as faiths.

To me, Catholicism is more of a system of thought, I don't personally feel the need to ACTUALLY believe that a lot of its propositions are actually true, but I am able to commit 'doublethink' whilst attending mass. For the purposes of mass attendance, I am prepared to believe that Christ, Mary and all the Saints truly are present and that when I put that wafer in my mouth, it truly HAS turned into the flesh of Christ the redeemer.

But for me, the real value of mass attendance is in the faith statement involved. I'm not attending so much to agree with everything the Church says, as to affirm my own beliefs in my own relationship with the universe.

And in my view, having faith in SOMETHING is important. The problem with religion, is we've thrown the baby out with the bath water.

Perhaps this has a lot to do with the way we now look at faiths. We don't actually bother to evaluate them any more. We don't any longer seem to treat them as systems of thought, some bits of which might be more correct than others. People seem to think religions are 'all or nothing' propositions. You believe the lot, or nothing at all. And then we have that curious outcome of modern day thinking, that all religions are essentially equal in value. This of course, carries the subtext; they're all equally wrong. That is the only possible way they can all be of equal worth.

Now I don't for one moment accept the idea that all religious systems are of equal value. Nor that they have all offered an equal contribution to the advance of mankind. Nor do I accept that any one of them is offering us a picture reconcilable with what we actually know of the universe.

The problem is, the point of view offered that we don't need faith at all of any kind, is wrong. Just as is the idea that religion in itself is bad.

Looking at my own faith, I would say it has many good points. In spite of what some would argue, I would say that the history of the Church shows it to have been generally, a force for enlightenment, a vehicle that provided a powerful dynamic in absorbing disparate cultures into a wider framework, a political and philosophical force that allowed the slow steps towards a global civilisation that began with Alexander the Great, not to die with the collapse of Rome, but to survive as a result of a thought system and one day lead to where we are now. I actually believe that in its early days Catholicism provided the most progressive and forward thinking system the world had ever seen and it took humanity a long time to come up with anything better.

Even looking at my faith today, I see things in it that are remarkably worthwhile keeping within any system of thought. I think belief in an actual Devil and a duality based on personal identities is superstitious, but Catholicism provides a comprehensive system of thought for understanding Good and Evil in layman's terms- or in better terms; What's good for humanity versus what holds it back.

Christ's teachings, if used as social commentary and used as a guideline for how people should live, are pretty good. Though most of Paul's letters should be thrown out. The sentiments are often- not overly pleasant.
And the same goes, I'd cautiously suggest for almost all the Old Testament.

I like Catholicism for a lot of its ritual aspects. But there are many aspects of it I don't think are at all healthy.
I don't think a religion useful to mankind is helped by Catholic teaching on Sex and the Family. I understand that these aspects are welded into the Faith and cannot be prized out, but- aside from on abortion- I don't agree with a word the Catholic Church has to say on sex, marriage and the family.

Nor do I think Heaven and Hell are remotely tenable concepts any more.

But I have ultimate respect for that 'self righteous suicide'.

Looking at other religions, I can see good and bad bits in many of them- though not in equal measure. I like the Buddhist principle of Karma. I actually think it's true. I do think the universe DOES seem to right itself. I think Karma IS actually a belief reconcilable with what we know of the universe. Not reincarnation, that's just as silly and Heaven and Hell, but Karma is a good principle.

Hinduism, too. I like the idea of everyone and everything basically being an aspect of the one consciousness. All avatars of Brahma. And I think Hinduism is often a very practical religion. The inventor of eclecticism. The first religion to not seek to annihilate other creeds- merely absorb them, take their good bits and see opposing views as maybe a way to the truth.

Islam. Of course, this is now the one we're all trying to see the negatives in. And yet of course, we secretly fear its strength. A religion that can inspire its followers to that degree shows exactly the dynamics faith can put to. OK, we as westerners are on the receiving end. And we spend a lot of time debating some of the interpretations of ASPECTS of that faith that don't fit in with our values- specifically where they cause abuse of women. And there's no doubt there are INTERPRETATIONS of Muslim thought CAN lead to that.
And yet, doesn't it also show the strength belief can have, if the beliefs are strong enough.
Most Muslims aren't terrorists. Most Muslims I know or have known, the main thing that strikes me about them is their dedication to leading a good life. How seriously they observe their faith. And it's not a faith that ties up the practitioners in either guilt or a belief that he personally is the elect. It's about proving yourself by your deeds.

So it would seem- to me- that a lot of faiths have IN them things we would be foolish to throw away.

But on a deeper level it seems to me, there are so many other things we now know, things that we DO know about the universe today which we interpret wrongly. We use them as excuses to have faith in nothing, but in fact, they are actually in themselves things that SHOULD give us things to have faith in. We no longer have to be blind about our faith than our ancestors were. It is actually possible to develop a life affirming set of faith principles that can serve our time, a set of values which accord with what do actually know about the universe and could, if we allowed them, be brought into play as a set of faith principles to serve humanity in the twenty first century and beyond.

Firstly- we don't have to MAKE UP a Creation. Or an Armageddon.
We know how the Universe started, we're pretty sure how it will end.

No need for a faith belief, then.

Well, no need for a bearded God and his hosts of angels, no.

But I disagree with the Atheists that we can just dispense with any centrifugal consciousness. The fact is, the universe is doing something, it has ONE definite set of laws.
Well, what else is a deity, if not that? Ok, its not a person, but nothing is ever going to stop the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Can we just agree on that? Chaos DOES not rule, Thermodynamics does.
And because of that, evolution will ALWAYS progress from the lower to the higher and more complex.
The fact is, everything is connected, nothing happens in isolation. And everything is connected to eachother by particles bouncing off eachother and communicating information, so none of it, none of it has ever left the central unity, which is doing something, is a process, and we might as well give a name to, and say, the Hindus are part right, or the Pantheist approach is valid, or whatever, but Atheism is only valid if you adopt a very narrow definition of what type of God you are saying DEFINITELY doesn't exist. If the universe follows rules, which it does, the laws of thermodynamics, then Pantheism of some kind is the only valid belief system.

So it is possible to build a faith system based on modern knowledge, a moral creed corresponding to modern knowledge, a religion built on tolerance, on love, on scientific knowledge, on the brotherhood of man?
Yes, I think so.

Myself, I find that what we know of evolution offers us one of the most life affirming opportunities to have faith imaginable.

We have a whole history of life to look back on that is WAY more fascinating than any mythology ever written, far more a story of triumph over adversity, a story of the marching of forward of life in a slow, upward conquest of nature. THAT, that surely is a worthy basis of faith.

A faith in something perfectly reasonable, something validated by everything we know of the universe.

Can we not revere and take pride in our monkey ancestry? Can we not incorporate this into our faith and make a central fact of which we are proud?
That in our universe, it really is possible that one day a monkey will actually type the Bible?
Because we did.

My belief is that we can find faith again. We can build a new creed for the generations to come, not based on life after death, but on faith in the advance of man.
Faith that the amazing spirit of life, whose pinnacle is ourselves, will carry on rising.
Let us revere history ALL history, including natural history, the ways our ancestors revered the Bible and the Quran.

Let us look into history with reverence, let us see it as showing us by what happened, WILL happen.
and let us have faith in that.

Let us worship the roots of man, in that curious tree climbing primate, that mischievous, inquisitive creature that through his highly evolved love and sense of community found himself selected by evolution to supplant the predators who ruled solely by tooth and claw.

Let the victory of Inner Monkey over Inner Reptile- a real battle between the real natures of man, be the battle we focus on, not an imaginary battle between Angels and Demons.

And let our faith be that Mankind's journey will go ever onwards, that we will carry the torch of life forward, propelled by Inner Monkey.

And let us see affirmation of life as the greatest celebration of it. How better to worship the life process than by enjoying the chance to feel pleasure?
Now here the ancients were right.

Pleasure isn't a vice. Excess, maybe. But it's only excess when harm is done- Buddhists know that.

So- why should we not celebrate our faith in life by ENJOYING it?

Let the acts of devotion of the future be- all the ones we told ourselves were guilty pleasures before. Let us affirm that we believe the universe does not lead our sense of pleasure astray.

Perhaps it might be an idea if in the future, we practise our religious rites on a Friday Night? After a week of moderate behaviour and hard work, the entirety of humanity parties and affirms their belief in the positivity of life, in the invincible nature of Inner Monkey.

And parties solidly for a good six hours.
In an orgy of total hedonism.