Friday, 11 December 2009

I am Going To Die

I am going to die
Climbing up a mountain
Swimming in the sea.
Doing Something dangerous
Will be the end of me.

I won't stay -- won't linger
Surrender breath by breath.
I would rather rush
Toward my impending death.

To depend on others' mercy
To be a burden or a curse
S'not my idea of of living.
I can think of nothing worse

So I am going to die
Climbing up a mountain
Or swimming in the sea.
Doing something dangerous
Will be the death of me.







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Friday, 21 August 2009

What is Happiness?

I believe that happiness is that joyful lighthearted abandonment that comes when you can partake of the pleasures or activities in life that enhance your self esteem, self awareness and world awareness. When you look around you and are heartened by the view should it be a beautiful pastoral scene or a gritty dark backstreet view.
I think it feels transcient because perhaps that light headedness gradually starts to dissipate but if what we are left with is a sense of contentment, a tranquility of mind and a sense of inner peace and well being then we have true happiness.

So I agree with Epicurus that Pleasure is the goal in achieving happiness. Life is brimful of pleasure from sharing a meal and a drink with friends to going for a walk in the park, or even just sitting reading a book. If you sit and think "You know Love, or feel loved and love in return" think how happy that makes you feel? Think how lucky you are.

Sometimes I think the people who are the most unhappy are the people who do not appreciate many of the simple things in life and are constantly searching or wanting to acquire more and more things to boost their self esteem. It is the people we love and who love us back that matter in the long run. A meal and a drink with friends is of much more value than the procurement of 'stuff'

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Returning To An Ex Repeatedly: Karma or Weakness?

On the face of it returning to an ex repeatedly would be viewed as stupidity by some, as weakness by others and then again some others would view it as a mixture of both stupidity and weakness. The stupidity, having an almost impossibly optimistic outlook; that “this time things will be better” or that “this time we will get it right”. I believe that life is just not that simple or straight forward. People are by nature complex and so are relationships. There are many reasons people return to ex's from economic to feelings of insecurity. Some people fear being alone and some are manipulative and find ways of persuading their ex to return. Others believe that they are in love and feel it is worth giving it another try. I think these are all valid reasons and should not be dismissed as weakness or stupidity. Nor should we use the concept of Karma to blame.

If people say it is “Their Karma” meaning that it is their fate and they cannot escape it, they are mistaken in their understanding of Karma. I think we all have a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the concept of Karma.

In my understanding Karma is bound up with concepts such as causality and good and evil. Some people view it as a sort of spiritual balance sheet were they store up rewards in this life for their next life. Again I believe this to be a simplified (and popular) view of Karma. Karma is not about rewards or punishments in this life or any other life.

My understanding of Karma is that it is intentionality, It is of the mind and is all about our thoughts our words and our deeds.(What we are going to do). It means ‘to act’; it is about ‘doing’ therefore we should not think of our Karma as our fate or destiny. The words destiny and fate imply a fore gone conclusion were no action is necessary. It is true that our existence or changes in our lives is dictated by our karma and that in Buddhist teachings we carry over our Karma from past lives but we should not look on our lives then as predetermined or have a fatalistic worldview. Although Buddhists believe that the situation that we are born into is a reflection on Karma from past lives; for example if you are born rich you were probably good in a past life, poor you were probably bad (another simplistic explanation). It does not mean that we are trapped in a cycle of being that sort of soul eternally. We all have free will, and are able to make choices that can redirect our own Karma. So we are not compelled by fate or predestination. So it would seem that karma cannot be held accountable for someone repeatedly returning to their ex but Karma can break that cycle because Karma is about action.


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Monday, 27 July 2009

The Wizard Of Oz


The film The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939. Even though Judy Garland and Edgar Yip Harburg won Oscars it was not a commercial or a critical success, the New Yorker said of it that it had "No trace of imagination, good taste or integrity" and the New Republic said it was full of "Freak characters". The success and the cult of the Wizard of Oz was to come later when in 1956 CBS leased the film from MGM for television. They had been after Gone With The Wind but settled for The Wizard Of Oz. The films popularity grew with television

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009


The news that eight servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan within a 24 hour period has given the opposition something else to batter the Government with. The charge.. that they are not sending the troops out with proper equipment (but I wonder would they have done any better)? If any Government is going to send its troops out to war the least they can do is provide them with proper equipment. One of the problems is apparently that soldiers are apparently using land rovers that where designed to be used in the Northern Ireland troubles. (a totally different sort of military campaign). I believe in Afghanistan troops on the ground say they need more tanks and helicopters.

However if you look at this from a historical perspective, roughly 20,000 men died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in the 1st World war. So from an numerical point of view eight people does not seem to be an awful lot. In fact, you could say that we are getting much better at protecting the people who we send out with an expectation that some of them may die a sudden and violent death. When I say 'we' I mean our Government. There is also the argument that were soldiers are concerned there is a percentage expected to die in conflict, after all part of their job description is to go to places where there is conflict to protect the interests of their country. So taking the law of averages into consideration it makes sense that some of our soldiers will die. This is something in reality that we cannot get away from. In any war lives will be lost and any Government prepared to go to war accepts that soldiers' lives are expendable


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It is however, when you see their photographs on the television news and you realise that some of them are barely more than boys of eighteen. Young men who haven't even begun to live their lives that you wonder why those people in Government justify sending such young people out to fight, to kill and to die. Last week eight soldiers died. Now there is a debate on whether people would be willing to pay extra income tax towards giving the armed services the extra equipment that they need. Most people understandably want their troops brought home.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Freedom to Smoke

In 'Two Concepts of Liberty' Isaiah Berlin states "To coerce a man is to deprive him of freedom".

A week or two ago the European parliament was voting on taking the anti smoking ban a step further by banning smoking outside the workplace, pubs, beer gardens and such places. The fact is that they are doing everything possible to penalise the smoker short of outlawing it altogether. it is understandable enough that it has not been outlawed after-all it is still a lucrative source of income for Government and what Government wants to be responsible for criminalising a sizable proportion of its citizens.

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Saturday, 27 June 2009

Heraclitus

"Of this Word's being forever do men prove to be uncomprehending, both before they hear and once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Word they are like the unexperienced experiencing words and deeds such as I explain when I distinguish each thing according to its nature and declare how it is. Other men are unaware of what they do when they are awake just as they are forgetful of what they do when they are asleep"
(Most of us sleepwalk through life)

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Machiavelli And The British M.P.s

In light of the recent expenses scandal in the British Parliament it would be no surprise if we thought of our politicians as Machiavellian. Politicians have traditionally been viewed with a healthyamount of distrust and cynicism by the more discerning electorate. Where politicians are concerned I believe the rationale is that if they have Machiavellian traits that is only to be expected because that is the nature of politics and politicians. But are the British politicianstruly Machiavellian and therefore good politicians in the way that Machiavelli suggests what would make a good prince (or politician)?


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Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Prince

“The Fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. Therefore if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must learn how not to be virtuous, and to make use of this or not according to need.”

Machiavelli 'The Prince'

Friday, 19 June 2009

Business As Usual

Are you a carer? Do you ever feel sick to the back teeth telling people (social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists etc) what exactly would help you and the person you care for? Have you read books and watched documentaries to find out as much as you possibly can about the particular disability until finally you don’t want to know any more for all the knowledge you have gathered hasn’t really helped anyway? Do you feel that your case is so well documented it probably has its own room in the social worker’s office?

Apparently many people who care for others are isolated because of the situation that they find themselves in. So they don’t know about the things monetary or otherwise that they may be entitled to. Social workers are there to make sure that these people don’t miss out.

Carers (in my experience) are not stupid people, as a general rule they do know what they are entitled to, or they know about most of the things that they are entitled to. What happens though is that entitlements to make your life easier are trickled down to you gradually, not necessarily when you need them but sometimes when you are starting to come to the end of your tether, they give you something just to keep you going. That way they give you a little hope that things are ‘getting sorted’.

Getting services of any sort is usually a never ending round of meetings and discussions with mostly the same people who reassure you they support you and they are going to write a report. In between these meetings you (the carer) are left to deal with the stress, the physical exertions, the coping from day to day.

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