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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

U is for Utopia

This is a short post but one that I feel we all need to think very carefully about.

What would be our ideal world?

I always think I know easily but then I analyse it more closely and find that nine times out of ten my ideal world is actually not what I really want.

First of all we must accept that we can never control the will of other sin our in our ideal world. If we did then it would not be them and would only be a... fraction of them and for me to have only a fraction of the person I care about would not be ideal.

So then we have to take into account what they really want in their world, which, as sad as it is, may not be us.

So therefore we can never make an ideal world what assumes the wants of others. Obviously there are psychopaths who are happy for everyone else to miserable but assuming most of us here have empathy then  I’m guessing we would be happy at least on a basic level if those we love are happy?

Thoughts?

DFTBA

Monday, 23 April 2012

T is for Treason

Now this relates to the post of Society. Keep in mind I’ve wrote all these together.

Treason is defined as being an extreme crime against ones sovereign or nation.

On this note then Treason is not a moral term. Treason is a societal term. Treason is basically a threat that Governments or Monarchies use to keep their power and prevent people from bringing down society.

Now obviously you’ll have gathered from my last post I do not particularly want people to bring the Government down, it would inconvenience me.

However it is worth exploring and looking at how someone accused of Treason is treated like the scum of the earth. In reality you cannot take an act of ‘Treason’ at face value until you have all of the facts.

For example, all of the freedom fighters trying to get diplomacy for their country and probably branded as committing Treason, yet really many would argue they are fighting for a good cause and doing something morally right.

Just because the Government does not like it, does not make it wrong.  I’m very sceptical over the arrest of the guy who runs wikileaks.

In principle I do not like wikileaks and think it should be closed down, I do not believe in freedom of information (it all relates to my dissertation, I’m not going into that) however, I also do not believe the man should have been arrested over it. We all know they just looked for a reason to arrest him because they couldn’t say that they were arresting him for the leaks.

Even then, it depends on the motive. Treason is morally wrong if you just feel like causing societal meltdown. Treason is not morally wrong if you are trying to change something for the better.

All of which is of course relative.

DFTBA

S is for Society

I should specify here rather, rebellion against society.

I don’t mean here teenagers going through the goth or chav phases and writing on walls with “Take that society” (Family Guy quote). This I think can be explained with hormones and growing up.

I’m taking about serious rebellion, things like the riots that took place last summer. People being extremely destructive to the overall society. These people who blockade fuel runs or want to bring down the Government.

Hate to break this to you folks, but bringing down the Government is not a very good survival tactic. The Government is an entire backbone to a society, if you bring down a Government without another one ready to jump in and take up the slack then you are just going to starve and kill those you are trying to liberate.

With no Government there is no trade. Britain survives on Trade.

With no Government there is no defence. You got any idea how much Iran hates us right now? Oh and our good friends at the Falklands are screwed with a capital Scra.

Obviously this is does mean stand back and let your Government oppress you. In the case of the Arab Spring I do believe rebellion is justified.

I’m talking here about messing with society for the sake of being destructive and sadly many close minded idiots do. They want to cause disruptions to get their points across.

I’m thinking here along the lines of that group of animals rights activists who killed people to make their point that they thought killing and harming animals is wrong...

Society is not a perfect system, but you need to be very careful when wanting to change things within it. As Churchill once said, and I firmly agree with. (he didn’t phrase it quite like this): Diplomacy sucks but every other option sucks more.

This relates back to what I said last post about humans not meant to be living in such high volumes. This is why society doesn’t work and you get such a gap between the rich and the poor.

S is also for Sloe Gin: <3

DFTBA

R is for Revenge


Revenge annoys me. You see so many movies where the hero is out for revenge on a villain who has done him wrong. I don’t think this is right.

If someone purposefully did me wrong, I don’t think I would ever act out of revenge. It just feels wrong to me. I think it casts some kind of authority on yourself which is not earned. To have a wrong act done to you does not justify then doing a wrong act back.

As clich├ęd as this sounds, two wrongs do not make a right (and two bowls don’t make a bowling ball).

I would act more in the idea of justice. Now there is a very fine line here and possible conflict of motivations which I completely accept. If you want someone arrested and punished for a crime against you then this can easily be seen as revenge.

The key is the focus. If the focus is on the victim regaining some kind of moral high ground etc then this is revenge. If the focus is on making the criminal see why what they did was wrong and truly repent, or to protect other innocent people from suffering then same fate then this is justice.

Now the bible of course talks of an eye for an eye in the Old Testament (I think, should really have looked this up, do correct me if I am mistaken). I have issues with this because I just don’t see what it achieves. If someone takes your eye out then you take out theirs what do you get? Just double the blindness.

I don’t really believe that revenge brings closure or makes a victim feel better either, not really. Or I should say if killing someone who killed your parents does make you feel better then I think there is something wrong with you.

This is why I like Batman.

Batman refused to kill, he seeked out justice not revenge.

Lets all be a little more like Batman

DFTBA

Q is for Quaint

Q is for Quaint

Apologies for the large gap, I’m going catch up to Q,R,S and T today

The reason for my lack of posting had been twofold. The first is my laptop broke down making posting difficult which is why I did not post of then Thursday as promised and the second is I was away in Wales all weekend with no computer access.

I went to a little cottage that is owned by Liverpool Hope University, nearby was a small Church called Saint Philips and the nearest town to us was called Barmouth.

My first thought when seeing each of these places was “oo... Quaint.” But I never really knew what the word meant.

So I searched into Google and got this:

1.
having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddlypicturesque: a quaint old house.
2.
strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, oramusing way: a quaint sense of humor.
3.
skillfully or cleverly made.
4.
Obsolete . wise; skilled.

I think the first definition is the most accurate to what I experienced. I am after all a city boy, but despite that I have spent a fair amount of my time in the countryside. What I really notice whenever I stay in the countryside is my ability to get up early without feeling as tired and my ability to eat breakfast as soon as I get up.

Something about the atmosphere and environment changes me. I would be very curious to know if anyone else has noticed a similar thing.

I think I feel most at home in more Quaint settings, or should I say, at peace. I know my good friend Nel is equally fond of old fashioned houses and cottages. Maybe when she is a rich author she’ll by me out in Ireland.

Wales itself is a quaint little country and gets what I can only describe as an unjustified negative attachment. Wales is beautiful and Welsh people are lovely and kind and I would even go as far to say that there is not a well established community of people who practice bestiality.
I think I like quaintness because it is not as guilty, large cities you can see the vast consumption of the natural world, in a quaint little cottage you feel less of a burden on nature, you can see forests and mountains and other natural beauties, you can hear birds and the soft wind. Rather than destruction.

I don’t believe humans were ever supposed to live in the vast communities that we do. I would even be tempted to go on a village or tribal basis (only in the point of view of working with nature rather than against it)

DFTBA

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

P is for Paranoia

I think we all tend to feel a little paranoid at some in our life. Usually about what others think of us. The way I have been trying to look at this recently is by observing how I look at other people.

I generally do not think badly of people unless they have done something pretty bad to deserve it. As a result these day I am trying to convince myself that whenever I get paranoid and think people are thinking badly of me, they probably aren’t!


This is only a short observation today and I’ll warn you all now that I will be posting Friday and Saturday’s blogs tomorrow as I am away for the weekend with no computer access

DFTBA

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

O is for Obesity

I think weight has very quickly become one of the most interesting taboos of society.

It always irritates me when people make fun of other people because of their weight, it is just one of these typical looking out for anything that is different which can be exploited to hurt another human being.

Being overweight is obviously bad for a person’s health and undeniably costs the NHS millions every year. This is no excuse however to then bully someone because they are big. We must remember that we are all human beings with real feelings and real weaknesses, we must also remember that to just judge someone because they are too big (or too small for that matter) is immediately unfair if you know nothing about them.

Likewise if you are one of these people who does pick on others for their weight (I genuinely doubt any of my readers are) then have a look at your own lifestyle first. Smoking and drinking equally costs the NHS tons of money every year, so if you use the whole NHS costing excuse to pick on someone and you smoke or drink then you have no right to say anything. (If you don’t drink or smoke then... fairplay...just be nice about it).

I know smokers and drinkers are being Tax bullied but it is very rare you’ll get people picking on another for smoking, picking to stop maybe, but not for the thing itself. There are of course exceptions to the rule there but even then it is not in the same way that those who are bigger seem to be constantly judged and penalised by society.

I must of course come to that current up in the air argument about fashion magazines causing social damage by making women think that super skinny is what is beautiful. Reality check here folks, Skinny is not beautiful, if I hug a girl and have her ribs rip me open then this is not sexy, if I look at a girl and fear that just breathing to hard would snap her then this is not sexy. I believe there is a healthy looking weight and super skinny is not it. Nor is very big.

Women who are the right kind of weight level feel the need to slim themselves further because they believe that is what society wants. Fashion is the biggest cause of this and is why I have no time for the entire industry.

On a quick related note about this current campaign to get softcore porn magazines of the shelves, yes I agree that it probably is not nice to have these things on show in shops and should be stopped, if no0thing else for the sake of children, having them on the top shelf is not the answer. However before you even dream of complaining about this sort your own magazines out as they are just as dangerous if not more so to society.

I must of course, before I get the entire female community leap on this, explain my reason for thinking it is more dangerous. Porn magazines to a majority of women is seen as vulgar (proven by the current campaign to sort it) women’s fashion magazines on the other hand are glorified and in the hands of a majority of teenage girls spreading the same poison about what size is sexy, except it is done far more subtly because it isn’t associated with pornography. This therefore does not have that negative connotation that pornography does, making it sink in easier.

Equally I don’t particularly want photographs of men’s muscled chests and arms thrust in my face, I admit it is not vulgar but it damages my self esteem to no end. I think people ignore or simply are not aware that anorexia in men is the highest it has ever been and we are having the same self esteem issues as a result of this media farce. Women are probably still suffering more so, but the point is it is happening to men and it is quickly becoming an equal playing field. I think men let their pride get in their way.

So I think people need to stop looking for reasons to hurt another human being. If you think someone is obese then fine, by why judge because of it? They still have a mind and a soul.

Besides you try telling a walrus it’s obese and see what happens to you.

DFTBA

P.s

Blast it another rant... I’m a happy person!!!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

N is for New Media

As a young man entering the world of media I am finding myself coming face to face more and more with that broad spectrum known as ‘New media’

New media is mostly internet based and revolves as social networking websites sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Youtube and Google+, all of which are slight variations depending on what it is you want.

One common theme between all of new media is the speed. An hour is out of date. New media is all about constant updates, continual barrages of information seconds after events themselves unfold. With most mobile phones now having Twitter and Facebook alerts this information will arrive at you where you are and whatever you are doing.

Is this steady stream of information passing through our minds almost every second of the day good for us?

I find myself often getting distracted from what I’m trying to do because I am trying up to date with all of the latest alerts and news bulletins.

I do not believe this constant alertness and multi-thinking that people need to be doing to cope is actually healthy for us. From a spiritual point of view it prevents us from ‘stopping to smell the roses’ of life as to stay separate from this social media for more than an hour would produce a backlog that would take two additional hours to catch up with.

I certainly think some things are important to come direct to us as events unfold. Fires in  a nearby area, bomb scares or other such serious matter, it could save life for people to have the locations of these events at their finger tips.

I get so many tweets telling me about sentences that criminals have earned or something a politician has just stated... which is all very interesting and important to know, but right as it happens? Something’s can still wait until an end of the day round off and I feel we need to go back to that. The trouble with immediate information is you also find journalist panicking when they haven’t tweeted something fresh for half an hour, as a result you get a stream of useless or unimportant babble just to full up the space until a piece of gold passes through.

On twitter there is something called hash tagging (#) the idea behind this is twitter will search for these and group all conversations with a certain hash tag together. Now this is very useful as some journalists may have quicker updates than others so you can get a broader idea of the same story from a number of different angles by searching a hash tag. So for example #Cameronisaplonker. Anyone who has written a tweet about Cameron and puts #Cameronisaplonker will have their posts group together so you can quickly and efficiently find other related posts to what you are discussing.

I was watching Britain’s Got Talent the other night and notice dhow after every act a hash tag would appear. One was after that troupe of homosexual sailor people and it said #newonedirection.

This annoyed me because it is ruining the hash tag system, if you create lots of different hash tags for lots of different things then it dilutes the hash tags and makes it just as impossible to find related stories as it started with. Going back to my #Cameronisaplonker example, people instead of looking for the hash tag they want to associate with simply make up a new one, so they will go #Cameronisajerk which is a completely separate hash tag, taking the entire purpose away.

A thing like BGT creating separate hash tags for every act only confuses the system. What they should be doing is just show #BritiansGotTalent as the hash tag and that way people can all view conversations related to that episode of BGT, not separately for each act.

As per usual when modern television and Journalism jumps on these social band wagons they misunderstand it and bloody well ruin it! Uh!

*cough* ... hmm I’m really not doing a good job of writing positive posts am I? I am a happy person really #Paulisnotamiserablegit

DFTBA

Saturday, 14 April 2012

M is for Minecraft

Since most of my posts have been quite deep so far I thought I’d do a review for this post.

Minecraft is a PC downloadable game (although will be coming out as a disc game for X-Box) which uses basic game coding to create a world divided into cubes. Cubes range from dirt, gravel, stone and wood which you have to mine and gather and then by putting them into different combinations you can create various items.

Think of it as a computer game version of Lego. There are two game modes, Survival and Creative.

In survival mode you have to build yourself weapons and shelter to protect yourself from the hordes of zombies , skeletons and other evil creatures which spawn at night to kill you. One of these creatures is the iconic ‘Creeper’ which effectively looks like a walking cactus. Upon spotting you a Creeper will then hiss and explode, blowing up the building you just spent the last few hours constructing.

Creative mode is more to test people’s skills at building, and I can tell you, there have been some amazing creations on Minecraft, people creature entire cities with working electricity and even complex sewer systems and public transport.

Minecraft goes back to the idea of playing with blocks, helping to nurse people’s creative side and show that given a basic platform people still want to create their own worlds.

I am a big fan of Minecraft (although I am not very talented so my creations are not as elegant and amazing as others I have seen).

I see we are halfway through the A-Z April, and I must admit I did not think I’d be able to manage it to this point, but hey!

DFTBA

Friday, 13 April 2012

L is for Liverpool

Before I get into today’s post I feel the need to advertise the Radio Show I aired today. For those of you who don’t know I presented a show for 3 years called That’s Debatable on my student Radio Station which I am now employed to run. I decided to get back onto presenting so have been doing a Folk music show called Folklore.

It airs every Friday 2-3 pm on
http://www.radiohope.co.uk – I do hope people will tune in and support me!

If you miss it I will put up soundcloud files, today’s has just been put up:
http://soundcloud.com/paul-rawcliffe/


I am a born and bred scouser. This city has been my home for my entire life and I do say I adore it to the max.

What does amuse me is people often do not realise I’m a scouser, especially at University, it would always come as a surprise when people found out. This is because I don’t have a scouse accent, in school they called me posh but I wouldn’t go that far, I just don’t have an accent.

Liverpool seems to get a bad reputation around the country and this does annoy me greatly. I have found the people of Liverpool to be some of the politest, kindest and well meaning people you’ll find. Admittedly there are a lot of strange and bizarre folk here but the major are good. Yes there are those bad eggs who steal cars etc, but they are a minority and are called ‘thugs’ which exist in every city.

During the riots of last summer Liverpool was the first (possibly second) city to organise mass community cleanups and most were organised by young people, the generation getting the bad press as the cause.

There are bad places in Liverpool of course, as there is in London, but for some god be known reason no-one wants to see the positive aspects of Liverpool, they go with the stereotypes. I have recently looked into the Hillsborough incident and it does not fill me with anger as it does most Liverpudlians. It makes me sad because people ignore the obvious facts of that disaster and disrespect all of those who died by falsely blaming ‘drunken scousers’, a theoretical cause which has been officially proven to be complete rubbish.

I feel sorry for the Sun who managed to alienate an entire community with thoughtless lies and rumours. The Sun is mud in this city and quite right too, during times of disaster we should not point the blame at our own countrymen, we should unite together to prevent such problems from happening again.

The world is not a nice place, if we cannot trust our own fellow Brits then who can we?

I love Liverpool, I love Britain, let us earn the Great in our title again by all standing up against prejudices, racism and mass bullying. We can all do it my friends, I have faith!

DFTBA



Thursday, 12 April 2012

K is for Karma

Karma has always fascinated me as a concept. There are of course several ways of interpreting it. Buddhists have it as an element to their belief of Samsara or reincarnation, so if you live a ‘good’ life as a cat you get born again as a human or if you live a ‘bad’ life as a cat you get reborn as Nick Griffin or Walt Disney.

In the modern day context of the West, people see it not so much as a religious theory as a general life rule. If you do good things then good things will happen to you in return, but if you do bad things then you’ll get what is coming to you.

This, much on a similar level of Luck, I just do not believe. At least I should clarify that I do not believe either of these as a supernatural context. There are no scales on the world waiting to balance if you do something bad or good. Nor is there a supernatural context of luck surely, why would having a four leaf clover or smashing a mirror alter your entire life course.

Seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror? Is this the mirror spirit haunting you or the God of mirrors taking it personally?

I think these things come down to people wanting there to be justice in the world. The idea of karma is to make people (good people usually I may add) feel better about how insanely cruel the world can be to people who do not deserve it. We like the idea that things will balance out because it takes the edge off how bad things can be.

I remember an advert for yogurt a few years ago which had a similar idea with pleasure and pain. These amusing TV anecdotes would show someone enjoying one of these yogurts and then some poor sod in the background would get beaten up by a bear or something.

Of course this is only an advert but it brings up a small theme that has been developing through many of these posts.

Humans seem to be very quick to categorise things into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ whether this is emotions or physical feelings. Naturally as part of our instincts we attach synonyms to certain things such as: Anger = Bad, Pleasure = Good. Of course then it depends on the context, so sometimes Pleasure = Bad and Pain = Justice.

I’m starting to think that people need to take a step back from this and simply see it as Pain is Pain with no kind of just connotation behind it. I do not believe in karma because I don’t think the world makes value judgements on actions or feelings, only humans do.

I must point out here, that what I am NOT saying is that I don’t make value judgements on actions or that humans shouldn’t. We should, it is vital that humans pursue justice and protect innocent and eliminate evil. What I am saying is that there is no spirit of the world that makes these value judgements. Hurricanes do not flatten entire towns because the population of it is corrupt or because the world needs to balance out that some people are evil.

With all this said it is a completely different story when we reach the idea of deities and Gods but I want to avoid that topic for now. The point is that the world of itself does not have these extra laws of physics of karma and luck.

Then again, I may be completely wrong, if a physicist turns around and discovered the ‘laws of luck’ well I’ll be the first to post a retraction quite happily! I love the idea of luck and the idea of karma, I want them to be real things... I just can’t!

DFTBA

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

J is for Jealousy

Are you hit by the green eyed monster?

Of course you are! We all are! Admittedly to varying degrees. It is of course perfectly natural to be envious of others. Yet people still see it as a bad emotion that people should not feel. I have said similar things like this during my first A-Z post about anger.

I believe it is actually very important to be envious, if you think about it. The grass is greener syndrome helps us to survive because it pushes us.

For example in caveman times it would go a little like this.

Ugh is strong man in tribe.

Nuh is weaker man.

Ugh fights big dinosaur (I know they never collided but ya’know)

Ugh brings home big mammoth and feeds tribe, all ladies want piece of Ugh.

Nuh gets annoyed and so makes himself stronger, so he can fight Rex and get big meal for ladies too

Nuh benefits.
Well that’s what should happen anyway. I know in my professional environment that I am riddled with jealousy at every turn. One would assume it would push me to work harder and fight for the career I want. Don't even start on beyond professional!

Unfortunately I’m sure we all know that this is only one several possible outcomes to jealousy. People sadly do not all have the drive to be inspired. Others instead slash out. Jealousy can lead to assault and even in extreme cases murder. More likely jealously leads you to act in hindering the one making you jealous, rather than bettering yourself to surpass them.

I would like to point now that this is bad. Hindering another in whatever form out of jealousy... it just isn’t gentlemanly (or ladylike).

In my case I don’t tend to do either of the above. I am not a malicious person so would never consciously hinder another out of spite. On the flip side my self esteem is so none existent that I do not have the confidence in my abilities to take the steps to better myself. So I take on the third option which is to wallow in self pity hoping that God will take pity on me and makes things fall into place.

This is a silly way to look at it since I know you have to work for what you want, that is just life. Having said that people do underplay the importance of self esteem. If the self esteem is not there then nothing you can say to someone about how good you think they are or that if they work hard enough things will get better, will improve how they feel. Only a life event, achieving something to prove to themselves and raising that low self esteem some will do that.

Has anyone noticed the catch 22 here? If self esteem is so low to begin with then how do you convince someone to do something which succeeding in will improve their self esteem?

Or alternatively... what if they manage to mess up a seemingly easy task... downward spiralling their self esteem more.

DFTBA

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I is for Icarus

I am very fond of Greek Mythology and one of my absolute favourite stories of Icarus, the son of talented craftsman Daedalus.

The basic upshot of the story is his father creates him wings out of feathers and wax to escape from Crete and the clutches of the evil Minotaur. Despite warnings from Daedalus not to get too close to the sun or water, he inevitably flies too close to the sun (or in some stories, the sea) resulting in the wax melting (or becoming too heavy with water) and drowning.

This stories is generally accepted to be a symbol of getting too big for your boots. Now I am very torn with the message of the story (at least as I understand it) because I believe we should aim for the difficult things and should aim high as that is how we progress. I don’t believe we would be anywhere near the technological level we are at now if we were not ambitious.

Having said that there obviously has to be caution and common sense involved. I think the key part of the story is the fact that Icarus ignored warnings. Humanity is defiantly an Icarus type symbol. A few years ago now there was a big fuss about the particle accelerator at CERN being switched on and I read a couple of blog posts (I’m trying to find them to give you the links, I’ll update if I find them) that compared this act of ‘stupidity’ to the flight of Icarus.

I don’t think this is a fair comparison because common sense has been used. The most intelligent men on the planet work for CERN and I’m fairly sure those men wish to live, which makes me think that there was no risk involved with the particle accelerator.

What we should be careful of is the fact that our current human lifestyle is being warned against by scientists. Time and time again they warn what permanent damage we are doing to our planet by destroying rainforests (and more importantly disrupting ocean life such as Algae) and releasing pollution. Yet we still do it (I am just as guilty).

This mirrors more the flight of Icarus to me.

What does annoy me, is it isn’t the average man’s (see what I did there...) or woman’s fault, our society and mere survival is based around the whole network of the world which relies on this pollution. We have no power to change things, we can do small things in our communities but unless we can convince everyone to do the same it will be futile. It is the powerful people, the leaders (ish), who we need to change the world and help us change our lifestyle before our wax melts.

DFTBA

P.s I will try and write a happy blog post during this... I’m really not usually this much of a pessimistic git.

Monday, 9 April 2012

H is for Hedonism



I have wanted to do a post on this for some time now, but decided to wait when I found out about the A-Z of April.

As a life philosophy, Hedonism has to be the most infuriating.

Let me first of all make it clear that when I refer to Hedonism I am not talking about the kind of modern day life style where people sleep around and binge drink at clubs etc. These are obviously key parts of a Hedonistic lifestyle but having a bit of fun does not make you a Hedonist.

Hedonism as a life philosophy is actually impossible in our modern world mostly because of economics. First of all we need money for the basic things for our existence such as food and shelter. We also need money to facilitate a Hedonistic lifestyle such as for buying alcohol or drugs etc.

As a result of this we need to acquire money which of course means we have to work. Working takes up a lot of our time, time that therefore is not being spent being a Hedonist and since the definition of Philosophical Hedonism involved the pleasure to be roughly 90% of the time target, this makes it impossible.

Secondly, part of the definition is that everyone is having all this pleasure, whatever race or class. It is a kind of childish “Look everyone is getting laid hooray!”, which is also never going to happen in our modern lifestyle. If you are one of these arrogant childish people who decides to life a completely hedonistic life in our time then usually this is at the cost of people around you, who are either directly affected by your lifestyle choice or for some reason facilitate you living this life (Such as paying for you to do it) these people are not having fun, therefore you are not being a Hedonist because you are not assisting in others having fun, your just being selfish.

I cannot stand that song about “Girls just wanna have fun” or however it goes. Hate to break it to you ladies, but Guys just wanna have fun too, everyone just wants to have fun, but we can’t just have fun all the time and that is the sad reality of it.

I also get annoyed with Hedonism because I doubt if push came to shove it would be all inclusive, some people would be deemed to ugly for example “Everyone should sleep around! Whats that? Bob can’t get laid? No... i’m not sleeping with him he’s ugly, but someone should!” for example.

Hedonists also have a very narrow view of pleasure, limiting it to the physical, some people do not enjoy such activities are cannot partake for whatever reason, where do they fit into the grand scheme?

So if you are one of these who thinks everyone should just have fun all the time, nice idea and I wish it was possible, but it isn’t sorry!

DFTBA

Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Generosity

I actually had two posts written for G in the end. G for Generosity and G for God, I decided against the latter and decided to post the former, I may at a later date submit the second one.

I have become quite sceptical of people over the last couple of months, I used to take people in my stride but recently I have come to see that things are not always as they may first seem, especially when it comes to acts of kindness.

I really do not believe in altruism, depending of course on your definition. For this purpose I am going with altruism as being a complete act of selflessness, just for the good of the other person.

When you give someone a present what are you actually doing? Are you thinking of them or are you thinking of what they are going to think of you? Always be careful if someone gives you a present or does something nice for you because chances are they are after something.

Now before I continue I should explain that I am not one of these untrusting, paranoid lunatics who think that everyone is trying to con you. Quite the opposite I believe most acts of generosity are done for good reasons just not necessarily the good reasons that would be deemed the best.

For example, we all know that there is no such thing as a free meal or a free holiday etc. Most people are cautious of generosity from strangers as sadly the chances are there is a con, a bribe or a trick involved, and this is just being realistic.

In that case this is not really generosity is it, so we can pretty much discontinue that line of thought.

No it is our nearest and dearest who we should analyse their actions more.

I must reiterate that it is NOT a bad thing.

If a member of your family does something for you then this could be for several reasons. The first out of a sense of loyalty. For example I would give my mother the last Rolo (if she could eat them -_-‘) not out of some genuine act of kindness, but because she is my mother and will glare at me if I don’t.

This is fine, this is what family is for.

I consider myself a pretty generous person, I will help people and do things for people quite willingly. Most of the time I do this because I want people to think well of me, and I find myself being even more generous towards those I am most insecure about.

I’m sure we have all experienced that feeling where we want the respect or to be liked by someone. Well in my case to achieve this I find myself trying to be more helpful to that person. So really what I am doing is primarily for me, and for them second. This makes me sad, because I don’t want it to be for me that I do it.

Almost to counter this, I find myself also being particularly generous to people I do not like or find annoying. This time it is out of guilt, to try and reprimand myself for thinking these things about those people and almost silently apologise for something that they don’t even know has happened (by this I mean I rare tell people when I don’t like them or find them annoying, but the reasons for that are a different story).

And finally, of course, we are generous towards those we admire or have a crush on. I firmly believe that we will all be guilty of this one to some capacity. We want them to like us in the way we like them so we are more generous towards them as a bribe or in some cases even a kind of emotional blackmail.

Having said all this. It is better to be generous to people than not to be, so despite these realistic selfish motivations I believe we should all continue, many times a secondary effect of our generosity is to make the other person feel good. That must be worth it.

DFTBA

Friday, 6 April 2012

F is for Folk Music

Okay so very nearly did not make this one on time!

Most of you probably will not be aware that I am very into Folk music at the moment. A very unusual genre for someone of my age. Despite only recently getting into this type of ear joys, I already started doing a music based Radio Show for Radio Hope on Folk Music and Folk Myths.

I have called this show Folklore (Ready for the advertising?) which can be heard every Friday at 2pm on http://www.radiohope.co.uk (Boom there we go).

I first got into Folk about five years ago in my old Fencing club. A pal of mine there introduced me to the Pogues. I enjoyed their music and needed something new and fresh to what I was already listening too. This then quickly spread to the Dubliners but then kind of just mulled out from there.

A year or so later I started exploring Irish culture a little more (Still haven’t managed to actually get over there though, that is high on my to-do list). To learn a little more about Irish music I went and impulse bought a couple of Irish Music Compilations and quickly found a love for this kind of music growing. Songs such as Midnight Well’s ‘Still Believing’  Tara’s ‘Devil’s Song’ captivated me with the right fast based tempo that I enjoyed and philosophical or at the very least, historical meaning.

One thing I did not really consider at this stage was English Folk Music, my mind was purely set on Irish. This was until my third year at university when I was having a random music based conversation with my friend Anna (Hello! Hope you do not mind the name drop :p) who told me about a band called Bellowhead which is an English group brought together by Jon Boden and Jon Spiers (Part of the aptly named duo... Spiers & Boden). For a while I only then listened to Bellowhead until I got hold of a CD called ‘Umbrellowhead’ which was a sample of some of the work from all of the contributing artists to the 12 piece band.

Now I am faced with an absolute explosion of music from Spiers & Boden, Rachael McShane, Chavo, Belshazzar’s Feast, Faustus and Benji Kirkpatrick. Faustus lead me to the original manifestation of the band Dr. Faustus and Rachael McShane lead me to explore an event from the Shrewsbury Folk festival of 2009 called ‘The Darwin Song Project’.

I had also forgotten until recently that my sister had sent me a single song that I quite enjoyed by a man called Seth Lakeman. Only through discovering his work with Benji Kirkpatrick did I make that connection then between him and Folk.

I am still young on the Folk scene, trying to widen my knowledge everyday, but as I am quickly realising, to really become immersed in a genre of music takes much work!

Naturally a joy about music is participating as well as simply listening. This is proving to be a harder challenge as I am trying to teach myself Banjo. I may add at this stage that I am failing MISERABLY. Part of me wants to learn the Concertina or Accordion but I fear the same dramatic failure.

I am just not musically talented sadly. I used to play the Violin which of course is a folk instrument, but gave it up at a young age. Boy do I regret that decision now.

DFTBA

Thursday, 5 April 2012

E is for Enigma



For some reason human beings have this natural attraction towards the mysterious. For example I cannot stand an unsolved mystery, it bugs me and grinds away at me. It is also the reason why many women go for the ‘bad boy’ as they are also equally quite mysterious.

I have been racking my brain to find some kind of evolutionary benefit to this strange fetish human beings seem to possess and my only real conclusion must be because solving mysteries is how we learn new things and develop. If human beings weren’t curious then we would not have achieved half of the things we have.

From an evolutionary perspective being inquisitive has helped us create tools, find a wide variety of food and other such things which has all strengthened our survival.

Can a thirst for knowledge be isolated to an actual gene? I’m no expert so wouldn’t know.

I often get annoyed with myself, I want to be this mysterious character in the world who people find interesting, but realistically I end up being quite an open book. I am very curious as to why I have this instinct to be a shroud, especially since I have always been told to just be myself.

I now find myself caught in a very complex game where I have be constantly aware of what I tell people, giving each person I know different fragments depending on what would be likely to keep them keen to know me. I also have to aware at this stage that many of my friends are friends with each other, so I also have to make sure I don’t give enough away to any one group that they might piece it all together and figure me out.

But what would be so wrong if they did? Nothing.

It would just ruin the enigma that I have worked to create for myself despite it realistically having no benefit for me what so ever.

Funny that.

DFTBA

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

D is for Doe Eyes


I've been noticing how many story lines in soaps and just stories in general have been creating these great tales around love. These stories are great, especially love triangles where everyone takes a "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" style stance on who they want to get with who.

However I have noticed in mainstream circulation of narratives there only seems to be two ways love goes, either Disney style everyone ends up with who they love (or in the case of love triangles someone gets together so there is still a romance) or a romance occurs in a form but something drives the two beings apart again and spills tragedy on their lives (such as with The Fault in Our Stars). Nothing is wrong with either of these, but there is a lacking of the third option which I believe is both the more realistic and more common. That is no-one ends up together or the love is one sided. Now here I don't mean in the sense that a guy yearns for the girl but she goes off with another man and he is left heartbroken (although this is also frequent). The point is that someone in that scenario someone still ends up happy.

Quite often a relationship can never blossom because the feelings from one (or possibly even both) is kept a secret. It is actually very difficult to admit to someone you have feelings for them if the circumstances aren't right. A typical example here would be in school if you 'fancy' one of the cool kids and your in the nerd group. You can't admit your feelings because you will be laughed at and humiliated and probably labelled as a stalker or something simply because people look for any weakness to exploit. The other situation would be the typical 'Friendzoned' where you know your friendship would be ruined just by admitting.

Here is a little video by Hank Green on the subject of the Friendzone, if you like give it a watch, but then I will get to the main point of this post:





So now to the main point of this post. I decided to try and add to the prose that expresses this third and sad option that love can present. Now I've done this as a poem. I am not a natural poet, I have never written much, and I am aware there are structuring issues with this, but the important thing to get from this poem is the feeling, a feeling I believe from my experiences as the agony uncle of many groups, to be extremely common and hopefully relate-able. 

Doe Eyes:

A Realist knows what cannot be
meaning the biggest fool ever is me.
I walked right into this obvious trap
knowing that all I was going to get is crap
I even ignored my brain’s loud plea.

I don’t want you to know, I don’t want to tell you.
It takes all my strength to not even let slip a clue,
People advise me to stop whinging and just reveal
but they don’t get that to do so would make my soul congeal
as the only outcome would be to bid you adieu.

All I want is to save myself the Humiliation and the Pain
Risking no sunshine is better than endless Rain
So I raise the shutters to block out all skies
but then you look at me with those bloody Doe Eyes
and it undoes all of my hard work again.
DFTBA

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Chalk and Cheese



I always squirm slightly whenever someone uses the term ‘As different as Chalk and Cheese’.

Mostly I hate these kind of phrases anyway, although I’m not really sure why, but this one in particular bugs me. To me it encourages people to instinctively look for what is different in other people rather than what is similar. I know it is merely a figure of speech and should not be taken so seriously, but as an academic exercise it is interesting to observe.

Chalk and Cheese are actually very similar. They are both soft solids, often crumbly and contain Calcium. Both also remind me of France what with cheese being something I would have low down but still existent on a Family Fortunes survey about France and Chalk as the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

For me they are also quite similar as I do not particularly like either. I don’t enjoy the taste of cheese generally (Pizza I seem to tolerate and white cheddar) and I dislike the texture of Chalk on my skin.

I try and look for similarities in everything I come across, whether that is similarities to myself or people around me (In the case of strangers) or other objects. This is of course part of the human natural process to categorise things and find patterns.

This casual throw away phrase therefore does not actually make as much sense as we may originally think.

I’m probably over thinking it slightly...

Whilst we are on the subject of annoying phrases 'Like a hot knife through butter' also bugs me. A knife is always going to find it easy to cut through butter, yet often this phrase is used when we are surprised or puzzled by something being easy. Would it not therefore make more sense to say "Like a frozen turnip through butter" as at least then that would be a surprising thing to cut through butter.

Ah well

DFTBA

Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Blackfeather

B is for Blackfeather

I believe that in this world people do not take the time to help others achieve their dreams. At least not simply for the sake of it. For example a husband may well support a wife’s dream or vice versa, but they do it out of loyalty or because not to would be strange.

With family this becomes difficult since there is this bloody or marriage vow of support.

Friends choose support one another’s endeavours out of loyalty in a slightly different way.

Today however I am doing neither of these. Today I am writing to tell all of my follows about my friend Nel Ashley who (or whom in this context?) is writing a book called Blackfeather.

Despite Nel being a close friend, this is not the reason why I have chosen to promote her book in today’s post. To do so I believe would actually be an insult to her work. Instead I am promoting her tale on the merits of the story itself.

I am the one of the lucky few to have received a previous of it’s delights. I tell you my friends, keep an eye open for this book, it will be worth reading.

Do yourselves and Nel a favour and check out her own blog for more information about this. (Mostly as I do not want to cause spoilers or say something Nel may not want me to.)

But also take the time today to help a friend with their dreams in whatever way you can, and only if they actually deserve it.

It is important for them to deserve it, or you can make things worse. For example, some of the lunatics you get on things such as X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent must have been told by their friends and family that they are good, even when they are terrible, leaving to embarrassment on national television. Is that being a caring friend to you?

DFTBA

For more information about Blackfeather and it's trilogy visit these pages:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nel-Ashley-Author/105440296251114

http://nelashley.blogspot.co.uk

have you clicked them yet?

You should you know...

I recommend it.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A is for Anger

A is for Anger and Annoyance

Emotions such as Anger and Annoyance are often regarded as ‘bad’ with current cultures having strict taboo penalties for displaying such negativity. On the other hand, the people who get very defensive when someone displays angry or annoyed feelings at them will be the first to tell others that it is not healthy to keep such feelings bottled up.

Displaying anger or annoyance at the majority of people is a useless endeavour as more often than not rather than getting an apology or fear (depending on your aim) in return you will be greeted only with higher levels of anger or annoyance. This then just escalates a simple emotion into things which are much much worse.

This kind of takes the point of feeling annoyed. Surely the emotion is designed to spark guilt in the other person/people involved. It stops doing it’s job when the response you get is people becoming very defensive and annoyed back, a kind of counter attack.

I cannot help but wonder why such an emotion develops, since it is seemingly useless.

Kierkegaard (Omg I actually just spelt this right first time!!!) has a very interesting take on emotions. He believes that there are actually only two emotions, Love and Fear. I’m inclined to agree with him on this particular point.

The more I think about my own emotion responses to a situation I can easily link them to either Love or Fear (or even more frequently, both).

To me anger and annoyance stem from fear primarily. Things that annoy me are usually money related, so my fear of not having enough money, or losing money, causes the irritation. So here it would be on a scale with Love at one end and Fear at the other.

Admittedly feelings like Fear and Anger are hard to place as they are slightly different feelings, but to me Anger very much branches from Fear. I get angry usually out of Fear of losing something or someone I Love. This causes Love and Fear for me to be connected quite frequently.

The thing I fear most if having no love. But fearing this makes me angry, which is more likely to prevent you from getting love, terrible pattern that.

DFTBA