Memes

Meme 1

A friend posted this meme on facebook:

EDL

She did not read to the end, thinking it was about Austerity, rather than about immigration and foreign aid. I searched for British austerity memes, without great success (or great application) and decided to make my own.

Two political ones:

Submarine

pig

And- any excuse to publish these pictures again:

Sun shine memeshopping in Asda
And a new-agey sort of one:

dog sled

What I need now are a few jokes.

I love my blog. What other site would be reached in the same day by searches for “Photos of tucked and folded penises” and “guide of childhood by George Elgar Hicks“?

A Catholic

File:Pannello di pittura parietale da area vesuviana, miho museum, shiga 02.jpgOh no! Not another bigoted homophobe! Wait a while, he is interesting as a specimen. He shows how thinking within a closed system can completely insulate you from reality, and how brilliant Constantine was in creating an ideology to control his empire.

Here, he is writing on a debate between a Christian and a bishop. The bishop says that there is only one Catholic view on gay marriage, and that those who do not accept it should leave the church. This has Mark crowing in delight: “Booyah!” Never mind that it makes opposition to gay marriage one of the most important doctrines of the church.

It is the comments which display the full horror of the man. Those who accept all the church’s teachings are Catholic. Those who do not are not Catholic. The Church, that is, the real Church, is indeed shrinking and that’s a good thing, for at the end of the day the Lord’s work of separating the sheep from the goats will be made all the easier.

I pressed him on “goats” just to make sure. He replied, Matthew 25:31-46 That’s what happens to the goats. The verse says,

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

You’re all going to Hell!! gloats Mark. God wills no one to go to Hell, but there are those who are so insistent upon their own will, their own sense of what is right, that they completely reject the things of God, and thus close themselves off from Heaven forever. God loves us all so much that he is willing to honor the choices we make. File:Affresco di giardino da pompei, museo archeologico nazionale, napoli.jpgMark backtracks on this later, possibly having realised how foolish it looks.

This is a simplistic view, but he can take into it all sorts of complexities. Later, he blathers on about what mortal sin is, even though this contradicts what he said about those who accept gay marriage shrinking out of the “real church”. Whether it is mortal sin is between the person and God, and not for others to say. Possibly, he has read Irenaeus: God save us from an educated idiot.

I cannot deduce his answer to Plato’s dilemma “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” He may imagine there are moral arguments against gay marriage separate from his false biblical authority.

In his own eyes, he will always defeat me in argument because he has a moral truth: God and the Church condemn all gay sex, in a LTR or not. He simply does not accept any moral argument against this. No-one can get through to him.

Constantine produced a hierarchy, right down to each individual citizen or slave, and anyone disobedient would go to Hell. Mark shows that the attitudes of slavish obedience and arrogance live on, which with the conspiracy of silence produced the worldwide child abuse scandal. His idolatry of his church insulates him against the promptings of God- he has no ears to hear.

Dependence

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Purgatoire_in_Alban.JPG

I said I want independence, which is not quite true. I want to avoid dependence.

I do not pursue independence, but flee dependence. Where there is interdependence in my society- I am entitled to ask for X- I do not wish to ask for it. I would rather be separate. Nor do I want to negotiate interdependence. I do not see that I can. All this is a bad thing.

You might think I am beating myself up, but that is not quite it. I would rather be otherwise, but I have just about ceased to blame myself for this, or be ashamed of it. I seek instead to diagnose- to see- to sympathise- to enter in to my own desires- so to accept myself rather than in a semi-conscious state to reject and seek to force myself to be otherwise. Freed from that impossible task-master which is that semi-conscious self, I-

will see what happens, and have faith it will be better than this.

Meanwhile:

The pool of Hirosawa
 Its waters never intending to reflect:

The moon, itself never meaning to be reflected.

The pond of Hirosawa.

An illustration of no-mind, from John Teramoto’s translation of Genwa Nakasone’s commentary on the twenty guiding principles of karate. I thought it a beautiful thought, worthy of poetry but prosaically expressed. Try the 5.7.5 pattern:

Moon without intent

Water without volition

reflects reflection.

Mmm. “Pond” is a one syllable word, which might do. “Will” is a one syllable word for intent. I would like to refer to Hirosawa:

Moon and pond, unwilled

reflected and reflecting

Hirosawa's pool

Here is another translation:

The moon has no intent to cast its shadow anywhere, 

Nor does the pond design to lodge the moon: 

How serene the water of Hirosawa!

For your delectation, some haiku of Basho:

the moon: 

I wandered around the pond 

all night long

So, I mourn the thought of free will, and crave the state of no-mind. Good job I don’t have to be consistent!

Free will III

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Allan_Ramsay_002.jpgSebastian, a young, high flying executive, is going to a meeting crucial to the next great leap forward in his career. He sees a woman getting mugged, and her handbag stolen. If he stops to help he will miss his meeting. What does he do?

Robert Kane, Professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, says that his choice in that moment is a “Self-Forming Action” or SFA. Kane is a defender of free will, and I bring him to you through the summary of Richard Oerton, a determinist. The SFA is a decision in an instant where “we are torn between competing visions of what we should do or become”. Kane’s example is a choice between pro-social and selfish, and clearly it may affect Sebastian deeply, whether he runs for his meeting but, disturbed by what he saw, performs badly and loses his job soon after; or he intervenes and, delighted by the success of his heroism, joins a charity removing land mines from conflict zones.

How is this free will? The sight stirs up chaos in Sebastian’s brain and sensitises it to “quantum disturbances at the neuronal level” opening “a window of opportunity that temporarily screens off complete determination by influences of the past”. There are hypotheses of parallel universes, and there might be separate “places” where each possible action he could perform has happened, and each possible set of consequences: though whichever we see as the “right” response to me it seems no more http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/Allan_Ramsay_-_Portrait_of_Lady_Susanna_Campbell%2C_n%C3%A9e_Bernard_%28d._1751%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgblameworthy than any other choice; and whether to go for a run or spend another half hour in bed, three weeks earlier, may also have far-reaching consequences for his character: it, too, is a decision made in an instant which might be finely balanced.

I went to Dr Dalrymple with logical arguments why I was transsexual, and he refuted each of them, leaving me only how I felt and what I wanted. This was intensely painful, and it freed me to value my feelings more, and seek rational justification less. Had I waited longer for such a change it might have been more painful, and I doubt it could come about in a less shocking or painful manner.

That was July 2001, and from February 1999 I have been conscious of changing my understanding of the world and responses to it, as a process of growth or healing, getting closer to an organismic self or real me. Part of this is in accidental encounters with the world- as in the film Sliding Doors, in one reality Sebastian caught the earlier tube, and did not see the mugging.

Even if there are different Sebastians in different worlds, earning different amounts, doing different things, with different levels of health, we cannot blame any of them. And- as living is better than not-living, and I want to take in more ideas and experiences, I choose to believe that this living being is capable of further growth and healing.

Free will II

File:Lady Mary Coke.jpgPeople act (and choose) as they do because they are who they are.
They have not made who they are.

Thus, in two lines, Richard Oerton disposes of free will, in favour of determinism. Events have causes, and the conscious or unconscious choices and acts of a human being also have causes, in her upbringing and environment: we are not entrapped by remorseless fate against our desires, but our desires themselves have causes.

Perhaps I should not ask a Determinist to define free will, but Oerton postulates an Originator, something outside the causal chain. It is under the control of the person who possesses it, or it would not be his free will, but it is not linked to his character or his desires, which arise from his circumstances. It requires the ability to choose freely between stealing and not stealing, when other circumstances are equal. I will not take a laptop from an unlocked car, but this does not feel particularly like a free choice between two alternatives. Therefore I empathise with the person who does, who might not notice the choice either, just the opportunity.

Could I have done otherwise- that pound I gave to the collector in the supermarket? Yes, I could have walked past him, but- I was not motivated to do so, and the motivation is within me, from a chain of nature and nurture causes. I have done in the past, and it might be that my thwarted motivation to give before became stronger in this case because I had not given the previous time (I see myself as charitable) rather than my generosity wasting away because of a bad habit.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Allan_Ramsay_%28artist%29_-_Portrait_of_the_Artist%27s_Wife_-_WGA18996.jpgWhat about a choice over which I spend a great deal of time agonising? My motivations may be evenly balanced, but eventually one wins out, causing that choice just as they cause any other. If I am desperate to get the best outcome even in my choice of breakfast cereal, every visit to the supermarket will be a trial, but if I reason that of many choices there are several good enough options it becomes easier. That reasoning also comes from my nature, which is to reason and amass ideas.

It seems that there is no such thing as pure chance- if you know the exact force and angle of the spin of a coin its result may be predicted. But if there were pure chance, divorced from cause or personality, affecting someone’s acts, that could not be called his “free will”. Whether I make a decision consciously or unconsciously, it comes from those causes. The unconscious, making a decision 0.35 seconds before I consciously realise I have made it, is still me, with my character. I might want to falsify a prediction, being counter-suggestible- but then the prediction is itself part of the causal matrix around my decision.

“We cannot prove that our minds make sense rather than nonsense, because our only way of doing this would involve us using and relying on our minds, assuming what we set out to prove. But this ultimate uncertainty has to be ignored.” We cannot define what the “mind” is, but we can define and explain determinism. Therefore, the fact that we cannot make any sense of free will shows it does not exist.

Tomorrow: the self-forming action and my own self-forming.

Free will

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/La_Giuseppina%2C_the_Ring%2C_by_Walter_Sickert.jpgIs the World getting better?

Until 1485 in England, 1745 in remoter parts of Scotland, fighting was the ordinary pastime of gentlemen, and murder, sometimes by show-trial, as the way of politics lasted later. These practices are now gone. Over coffee after Meeting, as so often, we are on darkness in the World. You can turn your TV off, we suppose. You do not have to watch the news.

And- I found through Madame Weebles about a man getting away with murder, through a Texas law, and that was the news story I wanted to pass on. He was acquitted because he claimed he was protecting his property, which appears to be worth more than life in Texas, at least the lives of poor people. It is a story calculated to make us feel angry, miserable and powerless: why should I want to share it? Even though I know the news can make you depressed. Perhaps: I know we will share feelings of shock and horror, and the sharing is what I desire.

Why so much violence, now? The human drive which produces that violence, it seems to me, also produces the fire of our creativity. British foreign policy is like British imperial policy- do-gooding, and a ruthless drive for the Money, both more or less brilliant or incompetent. There is that range in humanity, from our pacifism.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Harold_Gilman_portrait_by_walter_sickert.jpgThese thoughts merge with the book Terry pressed on me, “The Nonsense of Free Will” by Richard Oerton, a lawyer. When young, before Inclusive language, Oerton decided

a person acts because he is what he is
he has not made himself what he is

I do not like this. I am tempted to invoke the two slits experiment, but beware new agers spouting Quantum mechanics: I do not understand it. Perhaps in an alternate universe I am a famous TV star. If one night I meditate, then go to bed at a reasonable time, and another night I stay up until two pawing at my mouse pad “playing” spider solitaire, the different competing motivations have different strengths at that time.

In an SF novel, the invaders possess hapless natives who, fully conscious and aware through the senses, but unable to affect their bodies’ actions at all, observe the invasion in horror. Competing motivations: the smoker gives up- and lapses, and may feel horror as well as relief on that first drag. We have these competing drives, for instant and deferred gratification.

Is it enough that I have a drive to be who I am, to what pleases me, and to create what I see as Good? As we progress, we create greater and greater complexity, and have choices even if our decisions are moulded by the past. So legislators can move towards the society in which a man can shoot a woman for $150, or a society where he would not have a gun. Our society is built, and we have no more freedom than a microbe in a stromatolite, yet we build it.

By the lake

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Cadell_Florians_Cafe.jpgThe decking is suspended above the water, and between the planks I see sun sparkling on the surface, and making ripple-patterns on the muddy bed below. The corner of the decking is an acute angle, like a prow, and the building behind also has an acute angle- the prow-look is accentuated by wires like horizontal shrouds around it, and a triangular mesh like a sail. We enjoy tea, in the sun.

I was walking to the corner shop, and two young women- I would say late teens- came out of a side street ahead of me. They kept looking around, back at me, and then they stopped at the bus stop- and I only thought later, but the bus doesn’t run on Sundays. They were examining me, and I feel they have read me- and that is a threat, after my experiences. I try not to be too frightened by it.

-Well, teenage girls, especially two together. At that age you are interested in everything and everyone, what they look like, how they walk, how to live and be…

That is reassuring, actually. No-one wears skirts here, not below the knee at any rate. They are not necessarily hostile. And- I wasn’t, at that age. I had life completely sorted, and even though I was completely wrong about it that did not detract at all from my certainty.

-You do illustrate however deep the suppression, freedom is always possible.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Edgar_Germain_Hilaire_Degas_038.jpg-I heard of a tax scam. It is no longer possible, but the idea was to import mobile phones, sell them round a chain of seven or eight companies, then export them again. In fact there might be no phones at all, just bricks, or paperwork unrelated to any physical object. The company exporting would claim VAT back from Customs, and the company importing would not get round to paying VAT on the imported phones before going into liquidation.

-Such energy and creativity people put into being parasites! And- imagine being completely alone, only able to manage an armed truce with your partners in crime, unsure when they would stab you in the back-

-How awful it must be to be them!
Though they would probably say the same about us, and between them and our pacifist co-operation there is a huge range of human behaviour and character.

-Oh, the Carousel scam, said Ian when I talked of it later.

I was thinking of cycling there, one day, and photographing the church. But I have only just become politically aware, and think, how awful that the masses lived as subsistence peasants and labourers while the surplus was used to build this huge, useless thing.
-But beautiful. It is still beautiful. Value that.

Everything

I know some people listening are thinking, “That’s a bit sad”, and- some people are thinking, “Yes. Mmmmmm….”

I heard the first bit, and thought, he is projecting. He thinks his own interest in the ZX Spectrum computer, with its 48 kilobyte memory- it could barely hold that Rich Text File I just emailed- is a “bit sad”. And then he says something positive. Is he projecting then, too?

There will be people who dismiss his interest as a foolish failure to interact with the real world, and there will be people who sympathise- all kinds of human reactions- and all these reactions are in him. Even though he is interested, he judges his interest, and finds it wanting. All those reactions are in me- so I can feel with the man who rejects, and with the man who affirms. Actually, the phrase “that’s a bit sad” was the words used by the man on the radio this morning, but I have not quite remembered the words he used after. They were affirming, but “Yes. Mmmmmm….” is my expression, I think slightly different from his- though I am not sure quite how. Like trying as an adult to make a sound in a foreign language, Japanese or German, or even a different English accent such as Scouse. Others can hear a difference I cannot.

Or it is the way I want to recall it.

In my ritual space, after hearing this, before putting on my gi, I feel playful. Yes, I could channel Qi to my chakras, but that is not the mood I am in, now. Such a wide range of human emotion and reaction in me, that I may relate to so many different humans. Yet with my own accent or idiolect; some seen and recalled, some seen at a slightly different angle. And- of that wide range which I can be in my ritual space, some I can recognise and welcome, some feels strange or frightening- conditioning, it seems.

The All is in me, or its Emanations, with a distinct Clare flavour. So beautiful, when I can bear to look at it.

Morbidity

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/%C3%81ngel_Z%C3%A1rraga_-_Votive_Offering_%28Saint_Sebastian%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/741px-%C3%81ngel_Z%C3%A1rraga_-_Votive_Offering_%28Saint_Sebastian%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgDo gay people die younger, and if so, why? Is it the prejudice of the straight population?

I started this thinking of parallels with left-handedness. In the 90s I met a number of left handed people, and those at school in 1920 often told me they had been forced to write right-handed. The verbally clever and emotionally barren play on words “The left hand is not the right hand” illustrates this. Those in school in 1930 were unlucky to be forced to use the left hand, by a backward teacher. There is a similar visible reduction in prejudice: the word “left” comes from Old English lyft meaning weak or useless.

So while the common understanding was that left handers died ten years younger, it is not necessarily the case. Merely establishing that there are fewer left-handers in older age groups is not enough: older lefties may have been converted. In England gay lovemaking was criminal until 1967, (in Scotland until 1980!) and older gay people might even now pretend to be straight, or be misreported as straight by prejudiced family members.

Here is an interesting study: gay people have a greater incidence of mental disorder in US states which do not protect us against employment discrimination, or include us as a protected group in hate crime legislation. Such states will be following the wishes of the majority of their population, though perhaps a majority in the recent past rather than now, so such lack of protection indicates historic prejudice in the population. Where that is the experience of gay people we suffer more mental disorder.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/La_femme_et_le_pantin.JPGThe Family Acceptance Project has done research showing that where families reject their child’s homosexuality, suicide and sickness is increased, and life success decreased. Falsely claiming that the Bible says gay sex is always sinful kills children.

Marli Renee at first appears winsome, opposing prejudice against gay people, but accepts those false views about the Bible, and cites the “Family Research Council”. See what they say about homosexuality: Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. This is the bias from which they start, with a paranoid dose of victimhood: Hollywood and the media relentlessly propagate the image of the fit, healthy, and well-adjusted homosexual. Tell that to Fox News, or TV Tropes, which gives hundreds of examples. The research is as selectively cited as the claim about the media.

People continue to be gay, and find partners, under the most repellent persecution: see this gay magazine from the 1950s- so I propose something which Marli may be willing to endorse- as her condemnation of unthinking nastiness to gay people is valuable and Christian. If the conservative agenda is limited to non-sensational claims that gay sex is unnatural and harmful, and discrimination or hate crime against gay people is made unlawful as that against black people, we will see how the morbidity changes.

Toxic Shame II

I have done my best.
It is not “all my fault”.
I am still here.

I am still here. That is success, of a sort, and has to be enough. I have not- done certain things, but if I judge myself by what I have not done, I will be entirely miserable. I have achieved certain things: I wrote a painstaking analysis of every single word in an activity and descriptor in the Incapacity Benefit test, to show that if the DWP’s less generous interpretation were correct there was a superfluous word, and since legislators must be presumed to draft elegantly without superfluous words, my more generous interpretation which gave that word meaning must be correct.

I love Law at its most creative, and at any level I could be employed, it is bureaucratic and repetitive.

Oh! Pain and regret! It is not my fault.

---

It is not my fault- two years not being paid, and not now looking for work, and not, much, engaging with other people. I was looking for work, at the start, and I did my best. I always have done my best, and while the inner critic might say it was not good enough, she had no useful way of making it better.

Pain and regret mingle with shame. I cracked a tooth, and my tongue repeatedly explored the gap, and the new so-sharp edge. And, after a time I noticed- my tongue is not exploring that, much, now, and the edge is not as sharp as it was. So-

I am not working.

Breathe.

“I am not ashamed of that.”

---

Test it. Is it true, or is it just that I would like it to be true so pretend it is? So much easier, to note that particular spiritual growth is possible, and pretend one has done it. I think there are moments when it is true, and they are moments of what I have called Presence, being “in the moment”. Shame is part of the miasma which binds me to past and future.

That miasma blunts my feeling! I do not feel the sharpness of fear or anger or delight when in it!

Shame is different from regret. Oh! That happened! I am hurt by it, I wish it had not, in that way, but of all that feeling Shame is the only one which takes a bite out of me. Shame blames me- I was not good enough, as if that information could be any use at all. There were other options I did not see, and I might see options better after that experience, and it had its positives.

---

Shame. What on Earth is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Emotional Being: Shame is not you. It is like handcuffs, preventing you from dancing. Move your arms freely, and be beautiful.