Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mind bending or Mind blocking?

It does not take a great brain to understand the vastly different concepts created and released by the title reference above? Mind bending or Mind blocking? Each one in its own way suggests a total view of matters at hand. Although it can be taken as a negative view, it would be much more thought provoking and stimulating taken in the positive sense with the question put in this way, a vastly more interesting perspective reveals itself.

As it is understood Mind Blocking is the imposed restriction, by self or outside determination, on the desire to learn, understand or investigate an idea, behaviour, or way of life that a body of influence feels, or considers on balance will be detrimental to the continued well being of the population at large or the ruling elite. The past century as the world's population mushroomed and the proliferation of ideas that disturbed the stability of many countries it became a mad scramble to solve problems under the age old salve of : might is right.

When despite two World Wars and many massive other conflicts the century apparently ended with a vast global stalemate. The economies, and moral disciplines; the two main crutches of social civility bankrupt. All the world leaders seemed agreed that a new approach had to be found, even as they grappled to understand how to avoid the mistakes of the past half century and more. So the Mind Benders who had been having a field day since the ferment of the Second World conflict, with their computers, satellites, and electronic devices of every hew competed to constantly improve and hone their inventions, to faster and more subtle applications.

A new concept had arisen in the last thirty years of the century. The computer, radio, television and a vast new array of intricate electronic devices, manipulated by young men and women had opened a cornicopia of possibilities that far exceeded the wonders of the tales of Aladdin and Thousand and One nights. With the mad dash for wealth, fame and influence, the previously sneered at oily rag merchants, mechanics and tinkers, had suddenly userpt the patronizing , lawyers, entertainers, and financial whizz kids. The long derided uncouth engineer was climbing to the top of the heap.

Of course there is more to it than that otherwise some smart cookie would have seen the defining trend. And it is true, one did so. He saw that the melding between the, new bursting with energy technology, had to be married to and exploited with the established arts. The intersection of the disciplines was vital, new and in the mind of Steve Jobs essential. Unfortunately before this became widely accepted a vast amount of totally unnecessary damage had been done by the indiscipline of the narrow minded in power, and the ill-disciplined young men and women exploiting matters while they could.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Cultureshock: Outside the box.

Cultureshock: Outside the box.

Do you know what this expression means? As someone who has been thinking outside the box since the beginning of 1973, it is absolutely certain to me, what most people identify this expression with is the small realignment of their thinking when their main comfortable belief constructs are shaken by new ideas.A good many of us have heard the expression: thinking outside the box, in this context it is quite often used in the past ten years or so as a political ploy to lull the long suffering electorate into thinking that this or that side of the political equation is about to let one of their colleagues, who has displayed a little more concern that their fellows for the plight of those they govern, and often pillage without too much conscious consideration in depth for their well being.

All too often, after the honour of a pep talk from the Might One, a good natured pat on the back from the media. The latest sacrificial goat from the back-benches disappears, charged to come up a year or three later with a number of solutions to a list of problems so they can be used to muddy the waters of indecision and maintain the lack of focus. This continues to handicap any real evaluation  of the situation and how it may be overcome. The real point is that nobody who values their life, liberty and freedom wishes to put their name to list the obvious constructs that should be included in any box needed to be considered in the case of really original thinking outside the box. To start with perhaps the most obvious point to illustrate this confusion is not that we have too many people in the world but too little organisation.

The recent navel gazing brought about by the calculated arrival of the seven billionth citizen on Plant Earth threw up the fact that all the people in the world could be placed in the state of Texas, USA. I doubt whether the Texans would appreciate their sudden lack of space? To put it another way. It was also opined  that France could accommodate the World's billions but even with space to spare the friction might be a little too much even for those with sharp elbows? A second vital point which is worthy of more than ribald laughter, is the length of the life span, which, after many centuries considered to be around the seventy year mark, has for some decades been increasing steadily.

Much of this increase can be put down to the ability of the human race to collect, collate and disseminate the good survival practises that have evolved in the twentieth century and have now been extended into this century. These advances worry many people who see a time when their own standard of life and well being will be eroded by the influx of people who, with the wealth of new communications opening their eyes, understanding, and desires of the less well off. This pressure to protect, and maintain what you have worked to achieve, or inherited by good fortune, often encourages a rush to re-erect the barriers of prejudice: anything will do; colour, race, gender,  status, real or imagined. Blindly rejecting the evidence of our own experience and lives that the world has changed and continues so to do, at a breakneck speed.

Humanity is an intense mixture of good, bad and indifferent. Really we have not even begun to think outside the box yet. One thing is certain we are not going back to the old status quo. The genie is well and truly out of the bottle. All the old rocks of faith, certainty and acceptance  have been washed away by a tsunami of new knowledge and empirical experience which refuses to be denied by old traditions and misplaced comforts. When my mental upheaval occurred in December 1972, the vision and experience left me not just thinking 'outside the box,' but totally, bodily removed to the outside, at least that for a time was my feeling experienced.

Difficult to give a satisfactory explanation to but the nearest description I have been able to relate is that of having my total knowledge condensed into a tiny spot of existence then exploded rapidly. Putting this experience into words is totally and utterly inadequate to do it in anyway justice. For months after this 'happening,' I spent many hours weighing up the possibility that my vision, or whatever it could be described was a viable experience and worthy of record and logical analysis. As I said it left my old constructs and rocks of faith completely shattered. Over the past four decades I have examined the whole approach to the accepted and ingrained concept that: give or take a few years, human life is limited to a span of seventy years.

Why should this be so? My own feeling that humanity started to evolve goes back to the acceptance of  the greatest tool that the creator has placed into the mind of mortal men and women. Abstract Thought. To my thinking this greatest tool of all the creator's gifts has been, in the main, been overlooked, ignored and perhaps worst of all distrusted, or at least mistrusted. Often because it is a gift which is often discovered in the ignorant, poorly educated, the mentally unstable, or the disabled. In a phrase those who are outside the box, and think that way. Which obviously often makes their modes of expression and communication a chore, difficult, or at times impossible, unless the patience and encouragement is cultivated, when these minds are striving to express their alien ideas then the whole richness and this avenue of great potential this opens up can often be lost.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Cultureshock: Michael Ashiel @ Ease.August 2011.

Cultureshock: Michael Ashiel @ Ease. August 2011.

This image [below] points up the difficulties people such as myself have in trying to extricate themselves from situations which some will consider of very minor proportions.This note has been added several weeks after the initial attempts to assemble in my mind just how to approach the writing of a look on the incident which happened to me in December 1972.

In essence this is an exercise to answer the question:  Does all human existence and knowledge come down to a random  hotchpotch of coincidence and luck? Or is there a plan to be discovered, manipulated and exploited? As I understand it the major religions of the world subscribe to the idea that all of us are subject to a preconceived plan, though, as the Christian believes in free choice then any plan by a Creator must be in distinctly broad strokes. Which reminds me that one of my initial, 'straws in the wind,' the term I used to suggest to myself that perhaps there was the odd person who saw in my writings, confused as they were, more merit than material for ridicule. On that occasion it was during a speech given during my elder son's prize giving by one of the academic staff. This of course was early days but time enough for the Word to have filtered through to the school. After all several years had passed since the incident.

To me one of the major difficulties with sitting on an unofficial, unacknowledged breakthrough in new knowledge is to discern whether a comment, chance remark, or ribald piece of humour is a signal of support, a put down, or a challenge.

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I felt from the beginning this incident was a good deal more than a freakish aberration and something that had been troubling my sub-conscious for many years. Possibly going back as far as October 1953, while serving aboard the warship, HMS Diamond, at the time part of the Home Fleet on a NATO exercise.

1953 was an important and pivotal year for the nation, with the coronation of our present Queen Elizabeth,
the conquest of Everest, a triumph alone, but with hindsight can perhaps be seen as the apogee of British Empire's achievement and the beginning of the United Kingdom? In the same year what to many underlined this change of face for the British was the work of Watson and Crick in successfully illustrating the, DNA spiral of life and thereby opening a new frontier of knowledge. In amongst all these changes in thrust which sought to change the ambitions and expectancy of the new generation's aspirations The sinister overlay of a nuclear holocaust placed a constant reminder of the thin and fragile international relationships between the potential clashes of ideas, ideals and politics which could tip the world into a final conflict of Armageddon.

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 A classic pose of an individual, myself, who with tolerable comfortable in life, love and friendship, awaits the day when his strivings will be officially acknowledge so that, his place within the scheme of things is finally totally insecure. Why does he gamble his newly developed more relaxed view of the World, Universe and Everything , for a brief fifteen minutes of spurious fame? In his seventy-six years of life it would appear he has learnt nothing? Despite these doubts as to the worth of his efforts and the humiliation of the jokers' ridicule, his natural human desire to have his worth acknowledged, if only by his peers remains paramount.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Cultureshock: Macro/Micro vision.

Cultureshock: Macro/Micro vision.

Macro or Micro approach to thinking outside the box, while retaining faith and belief in the thoughts and gems of wisdom handed down from masters of past eras. The ability to accomplish this feat of schizophrenic thought, action, and execution can be considered perhaps the most difficult to master and bring to fruition. Attempting this feat with the stability of a mature mind, moulded by extremes of experience and nature, while tempered by the passion etched into a mind from instances of violent youth.

As an ex HMS Ganges boy seaman of early nineteen fifties vintage, the summing up of life can be taken in two contrasting ways from the famous poem, 'IF,' The po-faced version as written by Rudyard Kipling, and the wiseacres interpretation of the content. Nowadays only too easily taken as gospel even by High Judges, it would seem, I fuck. Although I missed this significance which may be an interesting reflection of the naivity of the fifties, or merely my own? This approach to life as a truncated and narrow vision was to be broadened and turned inside out in the next four years of naval life. Every line of Kipling's master piece can be twisted and corrupted by the agile minded cynic or world weary chancer. A great education but one that often needs time to gain the necessary perspective of its advantages, not always readily apparent at sixteen years of age.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Cultureshock: The Greatest Motivator?

Cultureshock: The Greatest Motivator?

Greed, fear, love, envy, revenge? All have their place in the criminal mind set but to me the greatest motivator is: belief. Naturally you need more than just an irrational belief in what you set out to do, or to stick at it through thick, thin and all the parasites who try to bleed you dry of all belief on the journey through to your goal. It is easy to try and tear belief away from its top place in the hierarchy of motivators, but the best I have found you can really do is to match it with all the usual suspects: greed, fear, love, envy, and revenge; alone, paired with belief, or grouped with belief, to reinforce any central and over riding aim. Without belief, the driving force, the backing motivator will eventually collapse under its own lack of conviction and logic.

To take an example of this point might be well made at this moment in time? The pressure the European idea, represented by monetary union in the shape of the Euro, is under with severe strain over this lack of belief, certainly with that of conviction and logic. There is an old saying: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The idea of a European Common Market spawned from the conflict and upheaval of two world wars certainly seemed a good idea at the time, though Britain failed to be convinced and was not an initial signtory to the Treaty of Rome. Over the years their belief and conviction in the idea of following a logic which had cost so much pain and emotional upheaval,financial chaos and loss, never found a total conviction in the United Kingdom.

Certainly there were charasmatic individuals who could take the herd along with their persuasive oratory and rhetoric, but even though they enjoyed long periods of triumph, eventually the pragmatic and some would say bloody minded and stubborn islanders would defeat the smooth city shysters.

The real problem as ever remains the'short life span,' there is an old saying that even now remains true. That the moment you start to build a fund of wisdom from a life time of endeavour, you die. Even with the latest effort to record every syllable there are many who will kill off, with the almost unbelievable pressure applied to the new  idea.