Sunday, August 31, 2008

London Greenbelt - The Ingrebourne Valley

Hello There! My name is Mr E Ed, the silent horse! Welcome to Dagenham. Thank goodness we have a glorious summer's day today, Saturday, the second last day of August. I was getting tired of chomping around out here looking at skies that were greyer than my coat.

Oh yes, of course we're still in London. Nope, you aren't in the Green Belt yet, but this is the last valley, the Beam River, before you get there. Oh I know, my parents told me that there used to be loads of other horses about, all the way into London, because even poor people used to be able to keep horses on waste land. And I won't be here for long, but here I am for now. My mane and tail might be full of burrs because I haven't had a brushing for days, but what do you think I am, some sort of spoilt rich kid's silly obese pet horse? Nope, you know the folk around here don't have money, but they still love animals and nature, even though most of them used to work at that horrible car factory founded by that damned American, what's his name? ... Something to do with river crossings. Oh yes, Ford! My great, great grandparents called him Satan, because he might as well have been eating horses, so evil was he, making all those nasty monster metal machines, that put us out of jobs, and setting the 20th Century on an irreversible course so that now YOU are just a bit of rust in the Global Human Economic Machine.

So you came along the Wantz Stream, I see? Nice bit of work they did there, didn't they? And what did you think of those gravel pit ponds and lakes in Mayesbrook and Parsloes Parks? Those ponds are the only things decent in those parks, eh? Did you see that heron drying its wings in the sun on that little island? Oh yes, that heron comes over here sometimes to visit me. I can't get over this fence, so he has to fly to me.

Well you better carry on your journey. You want to go to Hornchurch Country Park, which is in the Ingrebourne River valley. Oh they aren't big rivers, because they flow into the Thames, but they're nice. Bye! And if you see any of that Ford fella's children, kick them for me, would you?

Hornchurch Country Park - lake.



Coprinus Comatus, the Shaggy Inkcap, not uncommon, but I've never seen them in a wide open grassy field of a park before.


These mushrooms were growing amongst the needles under a young Scots Pine. The ring on the stem was very prominent, and notably was not continuous all the way around (did not join, but overlapped). The larger specimens, like this one, had 11cm diameter caps. Gills were chocolate brown,closely spaced/crowded. Agaricus Silvicola or Agaricus Abruptibulbus? I'm no expert! It probably is something totally different.

Also did the Ingrebourne Valley, Thames Chase, Dagnam Park, and then I ended up sleeping outside in a cornfield. Not very well, because it got cold and foggy, and I wasn't well prepared. (Meanwhile just imagine all those spoilt fat humans sleeping comfortably in huge suburban houses, or even small flats, whom have never experienced English condensation under the stars.) Nice to know that when the time comes, one only has to go out to a cornfield, even in August, and be killed by the elements, instead of rotting away under some pseudo-Christian palliative care regime.

I also can comment from personal experience now on the lack of invertebrate life in the soil of what must be a chemically farmed cornfield. To its credit, it did at least have a few broadleaf weeds that were a few weeks old, so the farmer was either being stingy with the herbicide, or careful about not using more than necessary.

And that was all the summer we had in August, because the fog and cloud was Sunday's weather. To Hainault Forest, where one had to thank the people in history for saving a few old trees in England (although their countrymen then had to go and chop down all the old trees everywhere else in the world where they claimed Empire). I wondered if in 50, 100, 150 years time, there will be people standing there giving thanks. Unfortunately it is a tiny woodland, and you cannot help but hear the endless jet traffic flying into Stansted Airport, (the Macrophages feeding pathogens into the lymph nodes of the Global Human Economic Machine?).

But the last thing I have is one of those symbols of hope, an example of a sustainable fusion of Man and Planetary Ecosystem. Yes, it is a picnic table, and note amongst other things how it uses natural sections of the tree trunk instead of planks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Double Fig - Siamese Syconiums

What we have here is a freak fig that was developing on my dwarf fig tree Ficus Carica that produces edible seedless figs. One fig is growing out of another fig, Or according to the website Wayne's Word, linked, one syconium is growing out of another the ostiole of another syconium.
This is intended to be a rude post, but self-penetrating figs? The things they get up to when there aren't any wasps to get up their ostioles! Nature finds its own Perversity.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Love and the Planet - the Innaturate

It is so easy for me to blog. It is easier to blog than to cook breakfast. When first I started blogging, it was a retaliation against a lifetime of one-way media.

Like everyone else I was born, went to school and was fed information from mouths, blackboards and books. Outside school, we were fed information from more books, magazines, television, newspapers, film, concerts and the stage, radio, audio and video recordings, outdoor advertisements, and then computers.

When the Internet came along, and blogging appeared, it gave people of my generation a chance to retailiate against the plethora of media that has been used since before we were born, to oppress us. Even when those media are used in helpful constructive educational ways, they oppress us through their ubiquity, omnipresence, saturation and most of all because they are uni-directional flows of information.

Yet once upon a time, not even 500 years ago, there were few blackboards or books, so there was only the sand and a Bible that you weren't allowed to even touch. Back then, there was plenty of Nature about, so it was impossible to be ignorant or innocent of nature.

A few months ago I created the word innaturate to define the ignorance and innocence of Nature and Natural History. Compare the word, innaturate, with words like illiterate and innumerate. Today there is less Nature than 500 years ago, but there are infinite Media. The percentage population who are innaturate today is as much as those who were once illiterate or innumerate. Innaturacy has replaced illiteracy and innumeracy. Nature has been replaced by all media, from books to computers.

My blog started out as Love and the City, as a challenge to the then popular television series Sex and the City, which even I enjoyed. To me it was obvious that the Western World had suffered from the demise of Love, which since the Sixties had been smothered by Sex.

Having been cultivated (I might as well have been battery farmed) in a globalist city during its period of greatest rate of increase of innaturacy, it had been obvious to me since the infantile dawnings of consciousness that there was something vital missing. By the time I started this blog, the history of humanity had obviously arrived at the stage where it was threatening the future of The Planet and all its living things.

Love and the Planet became the obvious title for my small, David versus Goliath attempt to combat this phenomenon in the history of Mankind on the planet Earth. Unfortunately, unlike in fairy tales, this David will never defeat Goliath, and knows it.

A review of postings on this blog will reveal that they have increasingly strayed from the mission of Love and the Planet. I cannot bring back Love into a civilization when I can barely survive of my own sustenance, let alone survive the onslaught of the civilization that I call the Global Human Economic Machine. I cannot protect the Planet when I am just only able to protect myself. I cannot care for the Planet when I am barely able to care for myself. I cannot nurture the Planet when I cannot nurture myself at all. For I cannot love the planet if I cannot love myself, and I cannot love myself without the love of others.

If one can resign from a blog, then this is a resignation. It is of course, a resignation from my overly noble ambitions. Like the finality of death, all resignations are a sort of failure, but they are also a release. I will probably continue to blog, but this is my formal resignation from the original mission of Love and the Planet.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Doubt

Doubt. A 5-letter emotion word, hence less significant than love, but as significant as anger. What is doubt?

The assessment of unlikelihood.
The calculation of improbability.

Or from the pocket Oxford: Consciousness of uncertainty; to disbelieve in or feel doubt or distrust

In Christianity, the emotion is criticised entirely through the parable of Doubting Thomas. It is doubtful that Doubt has any moral defenders in societies evolved from Christianity. To believe and to go about believing with a shining look in your eyes is to be committed to the social group, one more sheep in the flock who together affirm each others' belief of unerring certainty. Hence in Christian societies, doubt is anti-social, and can only arise randomly in individuals, or else enter from the assimilation of an indigenous non-Christian culture.

Tony Blair, as a leader, was a notorious example of the Believer, whose self-belief and lack of self-doubt made him the ideal leader for a nation of lost sheep who had abandoned its Christian ancestry and not even obthered to understand its legacy and influece. The fact that it was only after he left office that he could voice the strength of his belief is proof how blind the secularized British nation were to their evolved Christian need to have communal Belief.

What does this mean for the doubter in a nation of sheep who do not understand the substantial degree of influence of Christianity in their makeup?

Rationally, in a society of believers, the doubter, being the assessor of improbability, provides an essential service. In such a society, the doubter would necessarily be made a lonely person and would be compelled to overcompensate for being surrounded by unquestioning believers.

The service provided by the doubter would inevitably go unrewarded by the masses of sheep, and consequently any reward would have to be either by a gratuity from another individual , or through individual gain.

Instead of believing any of this, it is normal just to listen to Marcus Brigstock and laugh while he gets paid for doing everybody's doubting. Then revel in secularity while denying any inherited need for communal beliefs.

Finally, let the Hedge Funds develop and apply the mathematics of human market behaviour. Their mathematics, together with certain branches of economics, have the closest analogy to Asimov's science of psychohistory. They do not provide the free services of the Doubting Thomas, but prefer to play God, by calculating the likelihood of sheep-like behaviour, the likelihood of predators and weather, and securing their own rewards and wealth long before a winsome innocent boy and a sheepdog is sent as a messenger to cry "Wolf!".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dow Agro Herbicide in Contaminated Horse Manure

Forefront, the name for Aminopyralid has caused Dow Agrosciences a lot of trouble this year.

The amazing thing is, if it weren't for organic farmers and allotment growers, the whole thing would have not come to light as quickly as it did.

Agroscience. The name is enough to bring on an attack of Global Human Economic Machinitis. What faith can one have in science, when global companies who market herbicides hide behind the name of science in their job of making a profit? Even scientists can rarely hide behind science. The true scientist must always doubt his findings and leave them open to active scrutiny. The true scientist must also alert everyone to the limitations of his findings and his knowledge.

Common sense dictates that new science is untried, untested, and hence should be the most untrustworthy, and subjected to ruthless trials. Here was just one example this year of the limitations of trialling in the agricultural environment. And there are examples every year, and there will be more examples, every year. For such is the role of the scientist in the Global Human Economic Machine (GHEM). The scientist is just a particularly insular and ignorant form of cog in the GHEM. One who performs his job without asking embarrassing questions, then conveniently dies without ever venturing beyond his field (the field in which he is only a serf, not even a tenant).

There are other cogs, who go about sabotaging websites that advertise the embarrassing truth that the scientists didn't reveal.

The walking dead

Without love
I am just another one of them
The walking dead

I've heard we're born alone
and we die alone.
I suggest it is a plain truth that we are more alone when we die than when we are born, if only because you cannot be born if your mother isn't there!

In between, to live alone is like being dead.

Hell of an Air Crash

“It’s horrible. Everything is burnt,” a rescue worker said. “It is the closest thing to Hell that I have ever seen. The bodies were boiling. They burnt our hands when we touched them.”


Dante's Inferno being updated to the 21st Century experience of the Global Human Economic Machine. A metal machine aeroplane failed, and the horror affects the local people around it, but not the whole machine of humanity.

Stuck in England in the cloudiest and wettest summer in my memory, with no consolation but the moral ecological position of having for so long avoided all wasteful or indulgent air travel, even I cannot help but be touched by the horror of "boiling bodies". For the local people there is horror, but it was like a paint scratch on the Global Human Economic Machine, and I would be amazed if anybody cancelled their holiday or business flights because of this.

I am so bored. Grey clouds parted for 10 minutes of sunshine this morning, and the heat of the sunshine on my skin was as strange as a Martian invasion. There is no local news, for news has long gone global. Why should the news of an air crash serve to console me? Things could be worse, true. Such is damage limitation. Yet the temptation to dream is the knowledge that things could be so much better. To be for so long a part of the GHEM, always dreaming of the wilderness and freedom, and then to be part of nothing, always fearing things could be worse: this isn't really a sign of cleverness, is it? Living in reality isn't by itself more clever than living in fantasy. So cleverness must have nothing to do with living in either fantasy or reality.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some silly global event in Beijing

There is some silly event going on in Beijing which is one of the most global communions of Masturbation known to Mankind.

Curiously, the Three Nations at the top of the gold medals table are each the owners of the acknowledged centres of Globalization, namely New York, London, Hong Kong (NYLonKong).

Also curiously, the IOC and Seb Coe have stated that they know it will be the very last extravaganza of its kind. The 2012 version will be "sustainable".

Some people will say that they are chasing the fashion of being green. But to me it seems that the people at the top have had their fill of globalization, and know the party is over. They are pulling back, even as I am at last fully aware of what they have been doing. They will change the rules now. What will they be next, do you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That Global Human Economic Machine

It is a juggernaut.
It is the largest thing ever to exist.
It is just one living thing.
All over the Globe
Those Humans connected
Working, producing, consuming
In a Single Economy,
A single Organism
A super-organism greater than any ever seen
Upon this Earth.

Its advocates are clear.
Its advocates are confident.
Its advocates are wealthy.
Its advocates are the high-priests
That maintain and repair the machine.

Its prey are scattered.
Its prey are confused
Its prey are poor
Its prey are consumed
To feed its growth

That Global Human Economic Machine.
The biggest thing ever made that now makes itself.
Grows inexorably to consume all before it
All the Earth before it,
While its high-priests indulge in its tawdry boudoirs,
enticed by its lurid perfumes,
Convinced that they and all before them
Are richer for it,
And there are no other types of riches,
that they have overlooked.

That Global Human Economic Machine,
Sucks you in
With a Contract
You will be fed
You will be watered
You will have the cars,
the luxury dwelling,
the bright lights,
the ease of never having to lift a finger,
not even off your mouse
the trips abroad,
the laughing of those who have plenty
about you,
the misery and confusion of all the others,
hidden away,
here on the internet.

The Global Human Economic Machine
Will run and run and run,
And they will oil it and add to it
And it will grow ever bigger,
For they learned to make machines,
And with machines they could make the biggest machine of all
The Global Human Machine.

If you can't beat them
Join them,
But then it grows bigger
If you won't join them
Avoid them
But then it swallows you up.
You can try to hide,
But even the birds have less places to hide
And so too will you,
And all the time from your hiding place
You will watch fearfully
As it the Juggernaut comes ever closer.

You can take up a Faith
And protect yourself with some Words
And believe that you are only here on Earth
To be tested
And the test will be
how easily you are assimilated
Into the One
The Only,
The Single Global Human Economic Machine.

Book Review: Survival of the Sickest by Dr Sharon Moalem


Survival of the Sickest is one of the most engaging educational books I have come across for a long time. The reason for this is that its scientific content has been woven into narrative by co-writer Jonathan Prince (a Clinton speechwriter who should know a few things about the emotional power of narrative).

First of all, the ingeniously accurate title challenges the simple-mindedness of the phrase "Survival of the Fittest". That notorious trite summary was wrongly attributed to Darwin, then over time misleadingly foisted on the masses through poor teaching and poor journalism, as an explanation of the process of evolution.

The popular misrepresentation of evolution, is that living things progress from generation to generation with randomly created mutations, but only the fittest specimens with the best mutations survive. Even with a cursory understanding of genetics, the mathematics of this made no sense to me. The chance seemed very small that a random mutation could occur in one generation that could KEEP all the best of its ancestor, while ADDING a new superior genetic feature.

For a long time I have only known one example that challenged this view of evolution as a continuous and ever-increasing upward drive toward Genetic Superiority. It was sickle-cell anaemia, where a misshapen red-blood cell that loses a lot of its oxygen-transport capacity, is nonetheless an excellent natural advantage against malaria.

Survival of the Sickest gives new genetic medical examples in Man to show how random mutations often occur causing the LOSS of one useful genetic feature, which accidentally turn out to be an advantage under certain enviromental conditions. Evolution is a constant process of change, and the loss of useful features often comes first and becomes the foundation for further additions and losses.

The first example covers haemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder whose sufferers cannot regulate their blood iron levels, which can build up and damage their organs and can cause death. The preferred treatment is periodic bloodletting (phlebotomy).
One in 200 people of Western European descent have full haemochromatosis, yet as many as one in 3 carry at least one copy of the haemochromatosis gene. How did such a genetic disorder become so widespread in the population?

Iron-locking is usually part of the immune system's acute phase response. It starves invading pathogens of iron. People with haemochromatosis have a form of iron-locking that operates continuously. Particularly their macrophages (one of the types of white blood cell) are so iron-deficient that pathogens engulfed by the macrophages are starved of iron and so prevented from multiplying into the lymphatic system. This probably was a huge advantage when the bubonic plague (yersina pestis) attacked Western Europe.

So haemochromatosis is a superb example of recent human evolution. Initially, normal iron-regulating behaviour would have been lost in a few random individuals. Before Yersina Pestis these individuals would have moaned about aches and pains and died young, while their fellow men lived long and lusty reproductive lives. When Yersina Pestis came along the tables were turned. The ones with the haemochromatosis mutation suddenly became the healthiest and fittest people left alive. They got all the women, or had all the children. Since then continuing evolution has meant that the advantages of haemochromatosis have further varied with other features and been further selected, while the disadvantages have been further dying out. To this extent one third of the population have the genetic advantage of at least one haemochromatosis gene, but only one in two hundred people (not one ninth, as you would expect) actually have it in a combination where it is by itself a disease.

The book also examines the evolutionary roles of Diabetes, high cholesterol, favism (an enzyme deficiency that makes the consumption of fava/broad beans fatal). It looks at how parasites and pathogens continually evolve with their hosts. It explores genetic redundancy and ventures also into epigenetics and has an eloquent indomitable assault on the educators who have ritually ridiculed Lamarck in the teaching of evolution. Finally it explores the evolution of ageing and age-related diseases such as cancer. I will summarize those in a second installment, when time permits.

****
Away from the book, let us revisit the scenario of how Sickle-cell anaemia's evolution may have started and how it might continue to unfold:

Sickle-cell arises randomly in one individual in the sub-Sahara. It is the loss of normal function in haemoglobin and red-blood cells. Without malaria, that individual would be disadvantaged and die out. With malaria, instead of being a disability, the sickle-cell feature actually makes the individual fitter and healthier than his neighbours. He breeds and his offspring have the same advantage. Eventually the incidence of sickle-cell rises to a level in the population where its growth levels off, say at 10%. This is because the advantage of malaria resistance does not sufficiently outweigh the disadvantage of a shorter and attack-filled lifespan, for this population to compete with the non-sickle-cell population.

The sickle-cell presence in the population stabilizes, say, for a thousand years, as being only a disabling condition that confers advantage against malaria. During this time, other random genetic mutations (for other genes, not sickle-cell) in the population continue to occur at each generation, in all sorts of combinations. None of these turn out to be particularly useful, but neither are they a disadvantage, so most changes and mixes of changes survive and are passed on at every generation.

Eventually, some mixture of lost and added genes and mixing within the population spawns a new individual who still has sickle-cell, but who has also at last gotten some genetically working form of compensation for its disadvantage. This individual and its descendants thrives in the population, in malarial conditions, displacing all other people with no sickle-cell feature.

Finally a future scientist comes along to marvel at sickle cell and prononounces these people to be superior with their malarial resistance, ignoring the fact that for a thousand years, the feature was considered a sickness and disability.

So now do you understand how survival of the sickest works in evolution, and how it is more likely than survival of the fittest? The genes of the future fittest lurk amongst those who do not appear today to be the fittest.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Labour Party Oversteps the Mark on GM

This week saw Prince Charles doing his job by speaking up about the dangers of GM crop production and what do we get?

The Labour Government, full of little boys and girls who get fed fat in the House of Commons on food grown by machines and a few lonely farmers, has overstepped the mark by suffocating the debate with a feeble call for science.

Scientists whose jobs depend on Genetic Modification obviously only have one motive: the need to keep their jobs, get rich, and puff themselves up by making themselves famous.

The Labour Government, whose jobs depend on espousing humanitarianism, obviously only has one motive: appear to be directly helping human beings all over the world to live.

Both Scientists and the Labour Government will delude themselves and us with all sorts of lies to achieve these motives. Who is supposed to keep a check on them? Friends of the Earth? Greenpeace? The Press?

Obviously Prince Charles recognized that his help was needed. He has a background of wealth and privilege, and now considerable maturity, that has given him an overview of the world, and its planetary ecosystem, far above the usual self-serving ambitions of a few specialists (scientists and politicians) in the Global Human Economic Machine.

A bunch of democratically elected children prancing around the House of Commons, none of whom will every bother to look for an earthworm in an industrially farmed field of Genetically modified crops, are putting not only the planet, but democracy itself, in danger. These twits think that because they have a moral case, that they have the overview of the moral case. They will not bother to count the pitfalls of GM:

- Breeds and varieties of crops that have been developed over centuries and continue to be developed to suit local conditions, will be driven into extinction in favour of the adoption of the quick fix of a globally marketed GM variety.

- Local economies and hence cultures destroyed as they are moved from local market farming to international industrialized agriculture.

- And the worst: Vulnerability to catastrophic crop failure by using monoculture varieties of GM, which in the face of a changing climate, will be challenged by new varieties of fungi, viruses and pests. New diseases arise more quickly and in a globalized world, new diseases spread like wildfire, so there is no way that new GM varieties could be developed in sufficient time to avert unforeseen disease catastrophes.

Consider the scenario of when half the world's wheat production is grown from the same single variety of GM wheat. Suddenly a new strain of wheat rust arises and spreads within a year to half the crops in the world. There you lose instantly 25% of the crop.

On top of all this, in a changing climate, there is no ability of Genetic Modification to adapt a crop to a climate that varies wildly from one year to the next.

Even if GM food production turns out to be successful for the first ten years, there lies the danger that the global food economy will become complacent and the global human population will be allowed to multiply to yet higher levels, at which even GM food production no longer can provide any solutions.

There is only one sustainable solution to world hunger: putting a limit on the number of human beings on Earth.

China has a one-child policy, and the rest of the world should have the courage to implement its example all over the world. The one-child policy is the most moral and sustainable of humanitarian solutions.

The External World demolished to serve Global Greed



Here you see a picture from Leicester Square looking towards the North East. Notice what is missing? The Swiss Centre, in Soho, London is gone for ever. This building once had a Swiss clock with glockenspiel that amused even the most jaded of tourists in Leicester Square.

It is uncommon in England for 40 year old commercial buildings to be so unceremoniously demolished for re-development, so I was surprised. Normally buildings requiring re-development are older and have a facade worth preserving.

No they don't need terrorist attackers to demolish buildings in London. The greed of Global Economics does the work. The demise of the Swiss centre begs symbolic comparison to the Swiss banks that have also been demolished by Global Economic Greed.

London was dead today. It is becoming like Paris in August. Deserted except by those who cannot afford to go away on holiday, and with the poor weather, even they cannot be bothered to get off the sofa. Today was more than 95% cloudy.

Fortunately my favourite cheap Chinese restaurant in Chinatown has not yet been demolished, and I had a super Crispy Belly Pork and Roast Duck on Rice, which sated a very deep spiritual need, quite apart from filling my stomach.

Soho was also deserted and dead. Not even worth mentioning. A parody of its former self.

The Internal world in the External World of the Globalized Economy

Spirituality is as much of a need as sex, food, mental exercise, work and socializing. Today I caught on Radio 4 a repeat Catholic service by one John O'Donohue that was recorded in March 2001. Note that this was still at the height of the Millenium Economic Boom, just when the Dot Com crash had begun, and before the New York 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks.

There is something lost in the transcript which is conveyed in the service, but it is possible to Listen Again for up to a week on Sunday Worship

There is a sublime wildness in God that calls us to risk becoming who we dream and have long been dreamed to be. .... More often that not, the language of religion falsifies the subtlety of Divine Presence and Imagination, and labels and names mislead us into the bland territories of the obvious. Often, when you wake in the middle of the night, unprotected, uncertainty finds you. The role and name you wear during the day, the things you do, what you have achieved, who others hold you to be, all of that seems so far away now. You feel alone, a stranger in the world. Though disturbing, such moments of dangerous knowing draw us deeper into who we really are and why it is that we are here.
..

We can have everything else, friends, achievements, possessions and success, but if we have closed off contact with God, something gnaws at us and the heart can find no contentment. Deep in every heart, this longing is alive. It seems that Hegel and Nietzsche were right. In our times, God has died. Churches are emptying and the public talk about God as clich├ęd, dead and deadening. There is no excitement in that kind of deity, and deftly the psychology of consumerism has stolen the garments of deity, to present products that awaken, even if only temporarily, the call of desire. We need to find a new concept of God in order to awaken our lives and impassion us again with eternal desire. We need to unearth our submerged longing for the Divine. We have allowed our desire to become cheapened through false satisfactions. We seem to have lost the practice and patience of true desire. Our surface minds are saturated with invitations that lack direction and depth. For too long, we have lingered on the chromatic surfaces, where nothing can root and where experience is reduced to a momentary gleaming. We need to reach deeper and begin to excavate our eternal desire. Without the passion of God, all the proofs and arguments of theology become dry and forced. Perhaps belief, after all, is but a helpless attraction go God, and the saints and mystics are people who simply fall head over heels in love with the divine. We have become weary of Religion telling us how to think and what to do. In a time when culture is trading soul for image, we need to retrieve again a sense of what Keats called ‘the holiness of the heart’s affections’. The deepest thing, after all, in each heart, is the imprint of the divine. The loneliness in us is a loneliness for the tenderness of God, and we should never allow any system or voice to evict us from the embrace of that tenderness.
..

One of the great mysteries of the world is the mystery of difference. No two pains are ever the same. In a landscape, each stone, tree and field are different, but difference doesn’t seem to trouble nature. Each stone dwells in its own shape of stillness. Outside, millions of years pass, but can never enter or intrude on it. For humans, though, difference is always intense. No two faces are ever the same and behind each face there is a hidden world that no one else can see. Each life is a narrative that remains mostly hidden.

This is why it’s so difficult to be human. You live in two worlds, the outer world of name, family, address and role, and the inner world which is profoundly nameless, where no one else can enter, and which remains intimate, though unknown, largely to you, yet so much depends on how you see and understand this amazing, concealed world that you carry around every moment. If you live only in the outside world, your heart will wither in the famine fields of image, information and noise. You will become so weary and worn, struggling on the treadmills of competition, impression and pretence, and you will never learn to be yourself. One of the most noble duties of the human being is to learn the art of individuality.

The Irish word ‘ushla’ [?] captures this. It evokes the coherence, dignity and rhythm of being at one with your own nature. This finds classical expression, for instance, in the confessions of St. Patrick, where we see his ‘ushla anima’, his nobility of soul, a life of critical and creative presence always at the threshold of risk.

Each one of us is completely individual. No one else sees the world like you do. No one else feels pains like you do. No one else has the view from where you stand, and no other carries the memories and gifts and wounds that you do. You were sent to the Earth to learn to be yourself, to see and recognise the miracle of your own individuality. Something is coming alive in you that can be found nowhere else, and the Divine Artist exercised huge care in creating you. For thousands of years before you came here, you were prepared, you were dreamed and imagined, who you would be, when you would come here, where you would arrive, to whom, and all the drama and depth of narrative that would emerge as your life.

Immense care went into shaping all the events and experiences that unfold naturally as your daily life. Nothing is accidental and when you forget yourself, neglect or deny who you are, or desperately try to ignore your soul, you disrespect the gift that was so tenderly and lovingly prepared for you. When you negate yourself, you diminish the divine, and when you awaken your life and inhabit the sacrament of your own individuality, you enter divine presence. The mystery of your individuality was given to you not merely for yourself, but as a gift to awaken divine presence wherever you go. To be the individual that you were dreamed to be is often a hard and lonely path to travel. Though there is shelter in sameness and predictability, there is no growth or peace in a denied life.



There is a bit of genius here that rises above the mundane doctrines and machinations of the Christian Churches. Nonetheless, although he recognizes that we have to find a new concept of God, he is forced to use the word God endlessly to express his criticism of a soulless materialist life.

Note also that he also resorts to implying that an individual is on this earth by DESIGN, which is one of the ingenious psychological devices used by human beings, and taught by the Catholic Church, to insulate the internal spiritual world from the external real world. To believe that you arrived and exist by design automatically bestows upon you:

- a sense of purpose and direction
- an omnipresent sense of supervised guidance.

There is no doubt in my soul that we all need spirituality, but if we are to be individuals, then we should not want to be sheep with the wool pulled over our eyes. Specialists at the Internal World, in a Global Economy, should beware how they are used to serve the Global Human Machine.

There is at least one new concept of God, mine, or this blog would never have come into existence. It is harder to get words shorter than three letters in English, but the shortest word of all is one with no letters. When I say that there is Love and the Planet, then there is my internal world, and my external world both in the very title of this blog.

He said to His disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear, for life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens. They neither sew nor reap. They have neither storehouse nor barn and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds, and can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?


You see that Christianity dwells on teachings from a time when Nature was so abundant that there was no prospect of Man ever dominating it as completely as today. God does not feed the ravens very much any more, for Man has been killing the Planet while also killing God. Anyone who cannot see that the Planet must be protected, must foolishly believe in Divine Providence. Divine Providence did not build the Ark that saved all living things. Divine Providence made floods, and famines. Divine Providence is an extravagant belief that can only be indulged in by well-fed poets. Spirituality does not need to be associated with such extravagance.

Nonetheless, there is a deep need for spirituality such as John O'Donohue expresses. The Churches and those who think they are Christian, should begin to update themselves so that they can address the world that exists today. They should not rely on applying their speciality for the internal world on those people who arrive at infirmity, old age, and death's door. There is a need in the vast population, and that need must be served, or its perversion will continue to destroy the whole Planet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Swimming Outdoors

At last, a day that started off with a fully clear sky. There was mist, which was strange for August, when grass fires are the norm. But then it warmed up in the sun and the rest of the day was at least 70% blue skies.

I went swimming, and I had the company of a friend, and I had a much deserved enjoyable afternoon. How difficult it is to get just a little bit of contentment like this. One day to savour over for the next 364, so it may be, or if I'm lucky, a day like this I might get again before October? Who knows? Supposedly we live in a wealthy society, yet if contentment could be counted by Economists, I probably have been living in severe poverty for years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Primary Produce of Economists is Shit

"This is why most analysts are now suggesting that the economy will at best only manage to stagnate in the coming few quarters, and that the growth prospects through 2009 and into 2010 look no better than anaemic," Mr Lambert said.

The CBI earlier cut its forecast for growth in 2009 from 1% to 0.4%.

And last week the International Monetary Fund again revised down its forecast for UK economic growth this year and next year.

It now expects growth of 1.4% this year and 1.1% in 2009, although the government still expects the figures for both years to be 2% or above.


How many times do you see the word "growth" in the above? Well done. So if you are able to construct three sentences, each using the word "growth" and throw in a couple of unscientific and mathematically worthless percentages:

YOU TOO can be an economist! You can walk around in a suit, get paid £40000 a year, and the rest of the time you can sit around producing shit. You will be superior to "consumers", because instead of having to go to the toilet and wasting your shit into a costly sewage system, your shit will be spread all over idiots and politicians who cannot count, think logically, or have any vision.

We as a nation have allowed our government (Labour, at that too) to willfully submit our lives into the flawed model of a Global Economy. Then we believed that we were growing, when the economists were actually shitting on us. Of course, lots of us knew something was not quite right, but were completely powerless to do anything about it, other than to withdraw from that unsustainable delusion called the Economy. Such is the power of Democracy. The power to change all men to sheep, and to make believe that they are free.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Squashes


Two Carnival Squash plants, in a cloudy but warm summer. Fruit on one is 2 inches long.








I can't remember the name of this squash, but it still has a long way to go!

Self-Destructiveness as an Intended Feature of Liberalism

This is the first day since having my bike stolen where it has occurred to me that I am not being self-destructive. Well obviously that's good, and that's a relief. But as mentioned before, on Love and the Planet, we examine these things because nobody else does.

I propose that it is almost by design that in a liberal civilization, an individual is given the freedom and sometimes encouraged to engage in self-destruction. I will question why this has arisen, its benefits and costs to both the group and the individual. I will address the responsiblity of the group and the risk management that must be exercised. Most importantly I will define for the individual the needs: to be aware of this feature of living in a liberal civilization and; to know how to use it and to protect (and hence love) oneself from its dangers.


Living in a liberal civilization


The majority of people living in liberal societies have not knowingly chosen to do so. Some were born into the circumstance. Others were attracted to it without knowing what they would get into.

Amongst the many freedoms, including the freedom to leave their liberal society, is the freedom to engage in self-destructive activities. The more trite examples of these are excessive alcohol consumption, drug-taking, sexual indulgence and gluttony. Equal to these, although less acknowledged, are depression, self-harming, danger thrill chasing, over-work, emotional alienation and isolation.

In a liberal society, freedoms which are destructive but not self-directed would result in the rapid death of everyone, so it is impossible in theory for any liberal society to last long with such freedoms. Hence if everyone were allowed to use their guns to kill whomever they didn't like, everyone would soon be dead. So even in the USA, the freedom to own a gun only gives you the freedom to use it in self-defence with provocation.

Freedoms which are self-destructive, on the other hand, are allowed so that an individual can "get their kicks". (As such these freedoms are already effectively encouraged. In fact in irresponsible liberal civilizations, they are actively encouraged.) This is because in order to maintain the delusion of freedom, as many freedoms as possible must be left available. At such time when an individual wishes to exercise the right to one of the more destructive freedoms, then it is naturally imperative that it should be exercised in a self-destructive fashion.

The ideal individual in a liberal civilization is one who enjoys knowing that the destructive freedoms are available, without ever partaking of them. Conversely, the failing individual is one who so persistently indulges in the self-destructive freedoms that they begin to be destructive to others.

Next consider the economic whole of a liberal society as a large single complex Machine. The components of the Machine are individuals, each of which under the delusion of freedom, willingly conducts his/her essential function. The components that never indulge in self-destructive freedoms will need less frequent repair or replacement. The components that are persistently self-destructive are eventually not worth repairing but are removed and permanently replaced.

This seems paradoxical. A liberal society allows self-destructive freedoms, but then has no use for its self-destructive components in its economic Machine. Is there any use for a liberal society? The secret truth is that the role of self-destructive freedoms is as an evolutionary pressure on the components of its Machine. As the Machine evolves, its components are selected on suitability for the increasing size, complexity and sophistication of the Machine. Permitting self-destructive freedoms allows the Machine to evolve into being ever larger, more complex, and sophisticated, with ever more perfect ideal components.

The ultimate purpose of a liberal human society then , is to develop into a single global economic super-organism, the Machine. In the super-organism, the individuals think they can be free, and can willfully self-destruct, therefore inviting replacement with more ideal components. This is like a constantly evolving Borg, perhaps?

The Failing Individual Component

The individual who has to indulge in self-destructive freedoms is considered to be failing. Without these freedoms, the identification of components of the Machine needing improvement would be impossible, and components of the Machine could spontaneously and abruptly cause catastrophic failure of the whole Machine.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Art to Choke on

No not Tracey Emin's infantilism. This is an Artichoke in flower. In a cloudy summer.
But the Beijing Olympics have started and been a success; Georgia and Russia have started fighting over a few mountains called Ossetia, so at last there will be no more of that "Free Tibet" stuff, yippee!

Human Rights in Ossetia? Most people in Britain will never be able to spell it, so it will never take off. But Russia? Most people in Britain know just as little about Russia as they do about China, India, France or even Scotland. So everybody will be able to hate it just as much as they hate China, India, France or even Scotland.

I am having to eat cucumbers because I have grown my first ever ones successfully. But the tomatoes this year are disastrous. Lots of blight, few tomatoes. Of course, because it is a wet summer, runner beans are doing well, and because it is quite warm, cucumbers and squashes are thriving.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

An Individual in an Advanced Economy

Here I am, struggling as ever, to find how I can fit into this insane modern advanced economy, where every job is so specialized that it is unnatural.

What is so terrible about economic specialization? The fact that people enter into occupations and progress deeper and deeper into specialties, as if they are cavers going ever deeper into an endless cave system. Never will they ever again get to see daylight, until they are finally retired.

When in Marxist times there were oppressed workers who effectively were enslaved in industrialized factories, it was easy for intellectuals to observe how unnatural it all was, and thereby concoct all sorts of dreamy alternatives.

Now technology has moved on, so that much of the more manifest slavery has been replaced by more sophisticated machinery, electronical controls, and robotics. Or else the factory form of slavery has been exported to countries like China and India, or even less developed countries.

Hence today the unnatural condition of being part of such a specialized advanced economy is less obvious to the naked eye. Intellectuals themselves have become so specialized that they cannot comment on what is outside the caverns that they have gotten stuck in. The few people who are still on the surface in the daylight are generally not in any capacity to influence change.

Humans are having to evolve with their specialties, and unite occasionally under the Gods of Money, Music, Church, Sport, Television and other escapist communions. There can be no spontaneous uprising against this. The human super-organism will eventually grow to a size whereby it has exhausted all the resources the planet can afford, or else it will be so big and complex that it will become susceptible to catastrophic failures whenever various minute components have aged, worn out, or died out.

The many, such as myself, who do not fit in with the human super-organism, are laid to evolutionary waste and left to subsist under the rules of humanitarianism until we one day conveniently die. The malignancy of the unnatural condition of our over-specialized, advanced, global economy is disguised by the humanitarian contract: that we are until we die to have an uninterrupted supply of water, food, law and order, and healthcare.

Marx predicted all the wrong things. How can there be natural uprisings and revolutions, when the humanitarian contract guarantees that like our farm animals (e.g. in the film BABE) , our carefully maintained welfare will prevent us from ever seeing that we humans are not free. Once again, I have to conclude that we are already in The Matrix.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Multiculturalism in Britain

I must admit this calendar is quite cute, but I cannot help but comment on how blatantly it attempts to be multi-cultural, and how from several points of view it does not achieve this fairly.

I can't even be bothered to comment on multi-culturalism any more. Anybody who thinks it is wonderful can come to live in London to test it out. Of course, some of the most vocal proponents of multi-culturalism loathe what they believe to be their own culture. And then there are those who have gotten into a first generation inter-cultural marriage, and even though this is 2008, they still think they are pioneers at the frontiers of global intercourse. Oh Dog, I can't Bear these backward people any more.

Another End of Summer

Dear Blog,

Do I only come to you when I am depressed? I thought today was the end of summer, but according to my older analysis, it was probably yesterday (especially since this was a leap year).

Nonetheless, it is solidly grey, and has been dull or drizzly for days and is forecast to be so for a few more weeks. It already grows dark at a quarter to nine at night, and dawn only begins to break at a quarter to five in the morning.

Another summer is over. I will not be afraid of winter this year. It will come, so I will let it come. There are many things to do before winter sets in, and being afraid of winter is not as good as getting those things done.

What a crappy summer it has been though. Quite apart from the weather being drab, there were few moments of joy. It will be remembered as the summer of a visit to Canada, struggling with the allotment, doing a canal camp, and having my bicycle stolen. Indeed, to be fair the summer would have been tolerable if July had never happened.

I got taken out to lunch on Friday, and the food was so good that I was reminded how important food is to me. Then I went to Brighton, which has become a squalid affair. I stayed at friends' and got to see their new hobby, a pair of chickens, and got a bang up Sunday dinner and was given an unwanted mountain bike on top of that.

I should be grateful for all of it: particularly the relief of getting out of London even just for one night, but since being back I am even more aimless than before. I do feel utterly worthless. The austerity of my diet and my lifestyle is more starkly exposed, for having had a break. My pauperish existence is not one that I wish to endure forever. While I only got to dream of keeping chickens last year, friends with the money and the space just went out and bought the dream from Omlet and have fresh eggs every day. The mountain bike is a good bike, but it is not designed for touring/trekking. I am unfamiliar with its mechanics. Its rack is a feeble affair compared to the one that was on the stolen bike. There are no mudguard stays (or mudguards, or even mudguard lugs) to protect huge panniers from the wheel.

So dear blog, where next? Summer is over, and all the summer dreams have to be retired, even though I achieved only one of them. This is autumn, the season of preparation for winter. This is 2008, the year I wanted to leave London for good. It looks like it isn't going to happen.

Perhaps I should join the masses, and dream of winning the Lottery. No, Dog forbid that I should ever be so common. I could keep dreaming of getting my bike back, but police success at recovering stolen bicycles seems to be less than 10%, so I would be wasting my dreams there.

No, there is only one thing for it, and that is to find Joy. Joy in Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Living without Joy is a means of survival, but why should we Humans develop a globalized technological industrial economy if we aspire to nothing more than survival? Birds can survive and make joyful song, yet they have no machines, no electricity, nothing, so long as they are left enough natural space.

Joy. How many other things are important enough so that in English they have been given a three-letter word?