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The Path Less Taken

..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, April 13, 2015

A point worth considering.. it may well be one of the symptoms of ageing.. that the most profound thoughts on life, the past, the future, come just at the cusp of sleep.
I find, as my eyes are finally really losing focus, that my mind is gaining.. that the acuity of what could be called revelation is vastly heightened past the mundane levels of the day.

If I could but drag myself from the comfort of my bed, and make my bleary way to the computer to record these weighty thoughts, I could possibly found a religion.

In fact, having dragged that old saw out from it's dusty jacket, the concept of 'faith' is often one of the many flashes darting through my mind as in the dark I lay. I'm becoming more and more aware of my own mortality, as an actual entity.. Not quite the elephant in the room stage, but growing faster than a Labrador pup..
I have watched many of those who were close enough to me in age to be called contemporaries slip away this year. Many were prominent, too many familiar and known to me. Now the thought of leaving this shell does not give me pause whatsoever. I cannot believe the 'spark'.. both literary and literal.. which is in each of us, can be destroyed. It's analogous to a house being removed from the electrical grid. The power from that house merely returns to the flow, until there's another light to be lit.
Sounds more new-age than I'd like it to.. I suppose I'm as close to a follower of the Albigensian Heresy  as anything else.. Be that as it may, it is a 'faith'. It affords me peace, in that death does not frighten me. I have attended the funerals of enough of those close to me, to understand a basic fact; death comes for all. 
And if all those who have gone before can take that step with equanimity.. who would I be to do less.

And I'm not even in my bed yet..

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This day deserves marking before it comes to an end..
Today the second of my children left this island, and returned to Canada. My youngest son joins his slightly older sister in forging a life in what I still believe, even after 20 years, is a gentler place.
Canada is not paved with gold.. it is not a paradise.. it is however a country which allows you to make the best of yourself if you're willing to put the effort in. Ability is appreciated and rewarded, at least for the most part.
I wish my son all success. I am sure and safe in the firm belief all my children are prepared.
Sure. From this keyboard to God's printer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The oddest thoughts pass through the head, as the clock speeds it's way towards midnight..
I wonder, at the marvels of the quotidian day, reduced to fragments of memory which wisp-like float through the mind.. How many of the interactions we face remain exactly as they happened.. how many are redacted to excise the unpleasant.. how many are exaggerated to enhance the pleasure we felt..
The mind's our best line of defence against the constant barrage of nonsense taken in by eye and ear.. and the best defence when our mouth opens and tripe flows forth..
Amazing. No doubt it's what keep politicians sane.

Politics. How dry and dusty can a topic be.
But, we on this island go to the polls on the 2d of May, and the hustings are in full swing. There's no need to go through the various Party Manifesto's.. no need to examine every plank in their platforms.. They are essentially all the same, perhaps with minor variations on a theme..
It seems the Conservatives hold a very slight lead over Labour.. But fringe parties the likes of the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) and UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), both jokes 18 months ago, could well be King Makers in this new Parliament. Under the leadership, such as it was, of Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats who have traditionally been the also rans, are about to disappear, eliminated in Scotland by the SNP and in England by UKIP.
Yet, while we're teetering on the brink of an horrendous coalition, the majority of Brits simply don't give a damn.

It's a statement in itself, that ennui can set in so strongly, when the man on the street has lost all belief in the system that governs him, and those elected to run that system. 
It's a bitter pill to swallow, this knowledge our personal situations will not really change regardless of who is in power.
Two months, a little less actually, to decide which Party is the least of all evils.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Upon reflection, I feel my stance on nature/nurture could be misunderstood. I am not suggesting our collective morality has imposed a situation upon those who become fringe hangers; I am suggesting a certain mentality can be swayed to extremism in reaction to the various stimuli provided by those the impressionable mind encounters. Be that ridicule, physical bullying, or simply being part of a suspect race, it all contributes.
But it says something about a cause whose dogma must be propagated behind the barrel of a gun. It says something about those who follow that cause that they are willing to pull the trigger. They have condemned themselves by their actions, and must be subject to the legal pro forma and then executed.
But, the followers who came from Britain must give we who remain , cause to examine our own devotion to our own cause and to what length we will go to preserve it.

Monday, March 02, 2015

To most of the world, those who live on this island are seen stereotypically. There are many variations and gradations on the themes, but all have at their kernel an overweight, pint drinking darts throwing football watching bloke who'd have your back in a fight. Probably.
It wouldn't be politic to go into how we see those from the US or Canada, or India, or Central Europe. Maybe as a follow-up.
However, we, even with our inherent cultural differences, see ourselves as tolerant, sensitive, yet determined people. We are fair. We accept those among us from lands far away as positive additions. Differences in faith are not questioned; tolerance is paramount in being 'British'.
We're neither the stereotype the world may hold, nor that we're determined for ourselves.
We wonder, how three teenage Muslim girls could throw their life on this island away to fly off to Turkey, and then take a bus to the Syrian border to join Islamic State jihadists. We wonder how the man video'd beheading several people for the benefit of those who feed on propaganda could turn out to be a Londoner, a man who grew up and was educated here in the UK. The man known to his family and friends here as Mohammed Emwazi is now 'Jihadi John' to both the world, and his confrères.
We, in the collective sense, made this man. Somewhere along the line he decided to abandon being British, and committed himself to an ideal into which he could fit comfortably. We have had several incidents involving those who believe themselves to be following the dream of establishing a Caliphate over the past couple of years, and while we in our comfort can surreptitiously snigger at the US with it's race problems, we must become more introspective, for ours are worse.
We are not as tolerant as we believe ourselves to be. We are not as accepting of foreign ideas as we tell ourselves we are. We are not a society of equals.
Not that any country can make that claim confidently, regardless of constitutions or bills of rights.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Perhaps it comes from growing up in Canada, with it's laissez faire attitude and a sense of 'right' which had been distilled from British roots with a dash of European flair thrown in for good measure..
But I find it disturbing to be bombarded with the oddities and sexual predilections of our celebrities. From politicians through the ranks of children's entertainers, we have had a five year parade of those named and shamed and prosecuted, for historical sexual misconduct dating back into the 70's.
Now I'm certainly not implying that such behaviour should go  unpunished.. but the relish with which the British public, clamouring that no stone to be left unturned in the search for these fossilized miscreants, reads reports from those claiming to have been the target of one public figure or another, leaves me somewhat sickened, tell the truth.. It's schadenfreude personified. 
In the gentler atmosphere of Canada, such things are recognized as horrific crimes, and those found guilty of such actions as paederasty are quietly locked away, with the victims left in relative peace and quiet to try and deal with the effects with the help of freely offered psychiatric support. There is not a running commentary on the trial of the accused, and so slavish delight expressed by the media when they're sent off to rot in jail. Just a sense of justice having been served.
In contrast, this Britain laps eagerly at daily reports of gruesome detail.. terrible suffering.. both from the victim and the now geriatric accused.
Gary Glitter has been sentenced to 14 years for historic acts of sexual abuse. This alone would have been sufficient.
But his trial, and the trials of several others, have kept the great unwashed entertained for more than 5 years now.
I say enough. This airing of filthy linen for the amusement of hoi poloi, needs to come to an end.

I do realize to expect positive reaction to this is bucking history.. such trials have been aired publicly in this country since before the case of Oscar Wilde, who by the way was sent to Reading Gaol for two years for 'gross indecency'.
We do love to see our perverts exposed.
Makes one wonder if the media is really the mirror in which we see both ourselves, and the world around us..

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Now, think carefully.
What would you say, if the question 'how good do you feel about life in general' was put to you?
We have, on this island, an air of suspicion which has wafted in like a mist, falling on everyone's shoulders. There are cliques forming in many camps.
While we in Scotland have recently put political fervour behind us, for the most part at any rate, the parliamentary kettle is bubbling merrily away in England. It could be considered disturbing to watch the growing support for what used to be a marginal party with limited appeal blossom into a force which could conceivably form a substantial presence in the Commons come the 3d of this May. The United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, has snatched seats in by-elections from all of the established parties, and it's leader, Nigel Farage, has graduated from a joke, to a powerful joke.
We have been told our economy is recovering; little seems to have changed as far as the ease with which the average household income stretches. We have been told being 'British' carries a responsibility by the media and David Cameron; we are told several times a week of how British football supporters have disgraced themselves abroad and at home, and of British men and women running amok. We are maintaining; we look over our shoulder guardedly. 

But never you mind..
Put on the kettle.. 

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