Fwd to Feb >

 

.........Ritual - Religion - Prejudice.......................................................................................Pointless Effort
 
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HELICOPTER
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One of the questions that most frequently goes through my brain - and has all my life (most especially when Uri Geller was at the height of popularity) - is:

Why is everyone so THICK?

By which (except for the Geller episode) I don't mean everyone exactly - there's loads of people out there with double my IQ, I'm sure - but while the discerning ones instigate the FUTURE, those in a position to use the innovations are nearly always blind, stupid or monumentally obdurate.... whether the issue involves the latest empirical psychology or the most modern mobile-phone/computer technology. (The 'obdurate' option, I suspect, usually has political roots).

The recent helicopter crash in London should these days have been impossible (unless due to sabotage or mechanical failure). With a comprehensive mobile phone network, and SATNAV, together with 3D maps of many cities now, which are constantly updated, the data already exists - except from cranes and other temporary structures that could be automatically scanned-into the network every few minutes simply by installing strategically located mobile-phone type devices.

The US accurately, if brutally and indiscriminately, remotely operates dozens of drones over alien terrain thousands of miles from their control base. What kind of technology does that require? Cranes and other large plant are frequently operated remotely these days, so a crane needs a cab about as much as a drone needs a cockpit. And why a helicopter needs a pilot might soon seem an apposite question, if it doesn't already.

In a few years it will be possible to set-up a system where huge buildings - any buildings - can be constructed entirely by remote control and automatically - just as drones operate now: set a target, press 'GO' then sit back and watch it happen. This is inevitable.

In fact, more than that - because unlike a drone, for a structure everything is known beforehand. I sometimes muse about when and how the house I live in will be demolished or become dilapidated. It's a relatively new house ~30-years old, on a small residential estate on a hill facing the sea about half-a-mile away. Some day - maybe in a couple of hundred years - probably sooner - a colossal machine will sweep the estate away and lay instead the base for a sensational future city with skyscrapers and domes and sweeping gardens with a fabulous promenade and all kinds of amazing things I can scarcely begin to imagine. Or if the capitalist system leads to chaotic climate change and continuing wars between corporate masters (the elite rich) and dogsbody slaves (the downtrodden poor), then the estate could become like a shanty town, eventually abandoned and overgrown - reverting to the grassy hill strewn with wild blackberry bushes and a few trees as before it was developed three decades ago. Who knows?

Either way, this century WILL see cars become exclusively electric (or H2 powered) and SATNAV controlled (no drivers); and COULD see virtually every logistics issue and most routine work too fully automated; so that pursuing a life of leisure finally becomes the norm for us all... NOT only the rich.... Dream on....

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The Strange Phenomenon of ...

POINTLESS EFFORT

A generation ago most people were intolerant of all kinds of trivial things. For instance, it was common for pedestrians to shout abuse at drivers who cut a corner, or failed to unnecessarily indicate - and likewise for drivers to yell at pedestrians who dodged safely around them. Nowadays, no one even notices. And a generation ago, few questioned a laid-back approach to life, or criticised idling. Yet nowadays, imputing negativity to repose and an easy life has become the vogue: if you're not slaving at some task then you're a shirker, a delinquent (unless, that is, you're rich).

Often through the deliberate manoeuvrings of some interested body or other, fashions change. For instance, dustmen (as they used to be called) were once looked down on, as were cancer victims, unmarried mothers, blacks, gays, gypsies, swearing, naturism, pornography... in fact, anything pertaining to sex. Since the continued existence of the species depends on it, the sex taboo is probably the most irrational. These phenomena - as for most fashion - are all fundamentally irrational.

As I say, such fashions are generally driven and maintained by subtle propaganda (advertising), though also by withholding information (such as the smoking/cancer connection, or shift-work/lifespan data), but a variety of psychological issues too can be as problematic as they are absurd. Even more menacing than social fashions, though, are ones involving commerce and the pursuit of profit. Next year - who knows? - miniskirts and flares could again be the rage; but whatever the clothing elite decide, it will definitely mean change - otherwise the industry could no longer offload vast amounts of overpriced trash onto a gullible public. For cars - instead of the contemporary rounded look, maybe it will be back to the square sleek shapes of the 70s? And millions of cars that would be good for another 100,000-miles (if it wasn't for built-in corrosion) will go for scrap - otherwise the motor industry would collapse. Most things come with built-in redundancy: cars, clothes, washing machines.... but can usually be patched-up - like 70s cars are still going strong in Africa and New Zealand even.

The colossal, unnecessary waste of effort and resources demanded by the system of constantly changing fashion and built-in redundancy has always struck me as one of the most ludicrous situations imaginable. Who'd rather spend a whole day turning-out loads of inferior gizmos instead of making just one of lasting quality in about the same time for about the same price?

Factories could cut their output by perhaps as much as 90%, employees could work one week in 10, and resources would last 10-times longer.... if only the system wasn't governed by twisted economics (where it's impossible to live on an income from working for one week in 10). With owners seeking max output for max profit and workers making max effort over max time - what kind of lunatics would invent such a bizarre arrangement? And what kind of idiots allow themselves to be so hideously exploited? Are we all - or almost all - zombies, or what?

Reflect on THIS - what more needs to be said? QED (I must stop quoting that little cliché 'quod erat demonstrandum', it's becoming tiresome... if also increasingly appropriate).

 

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THE BURDEN OF RITUAL, RELIGION & PREJUDICE

I think Rod had been watching that 'Family Guy' episode with the circumcision joke where Peter asks the surgeon if he makes much dough from it, and the surgeon replies: 'No, but I get to keep the tips.' Because a few weeks back he asks me to write a poem on the subject for Christmas in the style of Blake. Always willing to oblige, this is what I came up with:

If you were lucky and born a boy,
Intact with a fabulous penis toy,
Beware the surgeon, your protection to snip,
And wreck the ecstasy in the tip.

Not brilliant, but what do you expect from an idler... and as anyone who visits this site knows, I'm neither Muslin nor Jewish nor anything else remotely connected with such tosh.... most definitely NOT when it inspires the mutilation of defenceless infants - as appropriately warned in my little verse for 1st Jan.

In addition there's the monumental indoctrination problem, ie:

"It is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, whilst the brain is impressible, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."  - Charles Darwin

 

Millions of hapless victims are shackled for life by these burdens - imagine that: your whole life muted, blunted, second-rated, unable to experiencce the freedom of thought, the range of sensual pleasure, the full essence of being alive that even most people born into poverty take for granted.

Lucky for me I escaped these horrors, but I don't feel particularly smug about it. My feelings are the same as when learning of any barbarity that goes on in the world - which is relentless these days with huge corporate interests in the military, dirty energy, keeping the poor enslaved, crushed, disenfranchised (hollow choices, like the Monty-Python 'spam' menu). What a pointless farce it all is.... How easily people could escape - if only they knew it (they only have to open their eyes) - so many of us, blinded by the culture we're brought-up in and its relentless propaganda, act like dumb caged animals who if they just had the imagination to lift a simple psychological latch could free themselves for the rest of their lives.....

Q. E. D.

 

Wake-up.... is anyone there?

 

All this is brillinatly clarified in the life work of JAMES BALDWIN

His 'Go Tell It On The Mountain' illustrates how insanely swamped by religion the lives of black people in the USA deep south became as a means of coping with their repression and enslavement - all greatly encouraged by their white owners.

Even when they were no longer enslaved in that way, and moved north, still their lives were entirely dominated by religion and associated rituals - even the most banal conversations, everything was steeped in it, distorted and corrupted by it. Baldwin captures the dialogue perfectly.

But far more than this, Baldwin's essays - as in a book I acquired recently 'The Price of the Ticket' - shine with such vivid light and reality that reading the most well known of them left me feeling like I'd been born black inside but with white skin. With piercing insight the essays address religion and race, but much more than that. I've been to New York, though not to Harlem - nor would anyone need to because Baldwin presents his experiences there in a universal context so that anyone can relate to them. The horror of events that befell him is all too palpable in those essays - almost 700-pages of them.

With a keen eye for prejudice, Baldwin pulls no punches in describing the sordid truth of his observations and experiences. As one reads, his words become self-evident - western society is solid with prejudice. We find prejudice on several fronts, not only according to skin-colour. Just as the Nazis under Hitler discriminated against gypsies, gays, non-white, non-blond.... etc., the class system in its various forms discriminates everywhere too. Even in Paris in 1948, though Baldwin did not experience colour prejudice himself, he noticed that Algerians were victims. Subsequently, he came to realise the phenomenon as an aberration of every society he lived in, whether France, Turkey, or the USA - and probably applies almost everywhere in the world.

Baldwin died age 63 in 1987 of stomach cancer. There's some fine interviews/discussions, etc., on youtube. He was as courageous as he was perceptive, and we're lucky he survived to write the truths that most people seem to prefer not to acknowledge. If I get around to re-writing my Heroes page, then he'll certainly feature near the top - but I hadn't even heard of Baldwin when I wrote that; and I'm not in the least surprised: he belongs among those prophets and geniuses who establishments of all kinds would like to erase from history. I could select several of Baldwin's short essays that I think everyone could gain from reading as an eye-opening part of their education. Ie:

'Notes of a Native Son' (1955) - Scanned-in for anyone interested....

'The Fire Next Time' (1962)

to name just two....

see ALSO (youtube)

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