Anger, truth and politics

Why would anyone create pizzagate memes, anyway? How can we respond?

I had not heard of John Podesta before the RussiLeaks email dump. Some of his emails concerned domestic trivia like getting pizza. Pizza was seen as a code for child sex, and the links between them endlessly elaborated on 4Chan. Why?

Message boards members like attention. Creativity, originality, clever expression and even playfulness bring Attention. Members flock with like minds in echo chambers and hugboxes. Manosphere people, white nationalists and others who hate Mrs Clinton, congregate. If you do not feel you get sufficient respect yourself, you may resent moral injunctions to respect others. Unsuccessful millennial males resent being told to check their privilege.

The hatred and anger is enough. Accusations of child abuse and child murder express that anger- they are proportionate to the levels of anger felt. If no expression of anger is acceptable, then any may erupt. It does not need to be true. So Michael Flynn junior tweets, Until pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. Well, Birtherism, never credible, rumbles on. Pizzagate expresses rage against the “liberal elite”, who the 4Chanists think are so horrible to them (for ignoring or lecturing them): it is as bad as if they were child-sex-cannibals.

Michael Flynn senior tweeted U decide- NYPD blows whistle on new Hillary emails- money laundering, sex crimes w children etc, though that tweet was about false stories connecting Mrs Clinton to Jeffrey Epstein, not “Pizzagate”. The general is a disastrous choice for National Security Adviser, a prolific source of conspiracy theories known as “Flynn facts”, but not a 4chan addict.

The President-Elect expresses such anger. He claims stories of Russia working to influence the election in his favour are valueless, the product of Democrat sore losers: These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That derision is music to the ears of the 4Chanists. Derision is the opposite of respect. Feeling derided, they deride back.

If we feel we have something in common, then we will show respect and listen to the other side. Trump can whip up his own side, with derision and anger, accentuating the divides in society. He is not a fool. He uses it as a weapon to build political support. Lies are his tools to build resentment, rage, and derision, so he may destroy as he wishes, and profit from it.

It is tempting to use anger in response. Certainly, anger can give energy. Charles M. Blow writes, Angry yet? Yes. Good!…This is the reason I write, to remind people of honor and courage; to tell them that their cause isn’t lost, that their destiny is victory. Maybe I am confined by my craft, pumping out polemics that, it is my great hope, help to stiffen the spines and lift the spirits of those determined to stare down the threat. However, I fear that such angry confrontation may make the gulf between us worse.

Can we use truth to overcome Trump’s weapons?

I am a critical realist. I believe there is a “Real world” where we interact and where there is objective truth- but it is too complex for human beings to grasp. It is worth the attempt. The closer we get to understanding truth, the better we respond- but perhaps (thinking it through now) there is an optimum level of truth, for each individual. After a certain approximation, greater effort to be more certain of the truth will not yield proportionate returns. If the truth seems to be that you have no hope, denial and lies may be comforting.

People see things differently. Nietzsche did not say, And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music, though he came close. For Nietzsche, accusations of sickness go both ways:

Even in the German Middle Ages, under the same power of Dionysus, constantly growing hordes thronged from place to place, singing and dancing…. There are people who, from a lack of experience or out of apathy, turn mockingly or pityingly away from such phenomena as from a “sickness of the people,” with a sense of their own health. These poor people naturally do not have any sense of how deathly and ghost-like this very “health” of theirs sounds, when the glowing life of the Dionysian throng roars past them.

And, he wrote, ‘You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist’. That is called “Perspectivism”.

I was fascinated by Jack Maden’s To Be Frank magazine article on the quote, aimed at Millennials. It addresses a complex philosophical question in a simple way. It starts by asking its readers to digest and unpack the meaning of the quote, fearful that they will merely see it, declare it deep, and move on to click-bait, forgetting it; because their attention spans are hurling some real angry, sustained abuse my way: ‘BORED. THIS IS BORING’. Maden summarises Nietzsche: there is a multitude of differing perspectives that are subject to cultural, societal and biological limitations. It is only through combining these different views that we can begin to appreciate a broader understanding of the universe we live in. Against that, he pits scientific investigators, patiently accumulating data and mathematical theorising to create objective explanations. (My answer there- Newton was a genius, explaining the observations through his theory of gravity, and Newton was wrong. 19th century observations demonstrated that.) All human observations are subjective, and have different meanings for each of us. Metaphor dances beyond objectivity.

How do the denizens of 4Chan or Reddit view truth? Their attention spans might not be long enough to consider evidence, preferring the quick hit of a witty allusion- These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It mocks The Enemy, and encourages Our Own Side. Your resentment and anger are Right! You are the Good People! Let me smite your enemies- those who tell you what to do, the Liberal Metropolitan Elites- for you!

They follow the leaders of the Right. No-one says that voter suppression is necessary because they don’t want people of colour to vote, they say it is necessary because of fraudulent voting. Disregard for truth did not start with Trump, it has been happening all this century.

I am glad when people speak up for truth. I hope that people can be taught to value truth, and to see that seeking the truth is worth the effort- but that is not an easy lesson for people in despair, who enjoy the buzz they get from anger. What good will truth do them? Why should they listen to you?

The antidote to derision is respect. The antidote to anger is Love. Love can still be derided, called patronising, and portrayed as weakness, but it is the only way. In the world of Trump and Farage, where centre-right Conservatism bows to the Nationalists, we have a long way to go.

The Charles M Blow article is illustrated with a protestor holding up a banner- THE FUTURE IS NASTY. Women have adopted Trump’s arrogant dismissal of Mrs Clinton as a “Nasty woman”- no more deference! Self-respect is necessary; but the energy of anger must not give rise to an angry reaction, but a loving response.

From Common Prayer- a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals:

Peace is not just about the absence of conflict; it’s also about the presence of justice.  …  A counterfeit peace exists when people are pacified or distracted or so beat up and tired of fighting that all seems calm. But true peace does not exist until there is justice, restoration, forgiveness. Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice. It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free.

Being good

What would it mean to be good? I wrote “I lie to myself because I want to see myself as a good person” and it felt like a huge insight: everyone wants to be able to live with themselves, and that gets in the way of seeing themselves clearly.

I am amazed by a self-pitying rant on fb from someone I met once, who carried around with him the defining characteristic of his life, as if his heart was really on his sleeve. I can’t give details as it might identify him. He could just have walked away but was self-sacrificing; it could be noble, passive-aggressive, ridiculous, a pure act of love. I liked him. He was doing his best under difficult circumstances. Now I find he is on a fb group I am on, when I read his complaint of being accused of being a misogynist by the woman he chose to marry. Um. I read on and find she has sought an injunction against him for harassment. I don’t know whether this is the woman who did not participate in the self-sacrifice, or a different woman.

His self-righteousness is such that he can tell of her allegation of his being a control freak, even dangerous, and seek sympathy. He goes round healing workshops in tears. He’s been judged negatively. He shares his Great Wisdom: it is the sitting with, the processing, the allowing of the pain, that, as it works its way through me and out of me, seems to create space for a flowering, a blossoming to take place.

Look, mate, if she’s getting the courts and the police on you it’s time to back off, however much she has let you down. How is this working for you, exactly?

And another says, Bless you. You are a warrior. You believe in yourself, your broken vulnerable heart finds your way.

Ah, self-belief. What’s that like? Today I am thinking about a meeting, and rather than thinking what it might achieve I am thinking of all that could go wrong.

I have no idea what “good” is. I grew up with a Daily Mail morality, I am now hard-Left; I was conservative Christian- abortion bad, gay bad, saying “There is no health in us” in a general confession every week- and I am now liberal Christian. I lie, feel guilty about it, tell myself I could not do better. I can forgive myself a lot. Perhaps I get it wrong both ways, tolerating aspects I should seek to change, being hard on myself when I could do no other.

Also on fb: “Sometimes I’m so down on myself”. It is not just me. We judge ourselves and get unhappy. We direct our anger against ourselves rather than the world.

Will Self writes of a man who nurses his unrequited passion for a woman. She allowed him to attend her musical performances, but not to approach her. Instead, she allows him to write to her once a week, and he does, copiously. She never replies. This is insane. But romantic Love is not there to make us happy; it has no purpose at all, it just happens to have coincided with enough successful parturitions to be a common trait. If I think too often of a woman that I am nervous of seeing, if I cannot just switch that off, though it is not as bad as it was four months ago-

I want to be able to live with myself. I have all sorts of guilt and second-guessing, denial, misinterpretation; it could be a hiding to nothing. Can I free myself of any of this?

-Accept- it is as it is, I am as I am…
Every day is a new day…
act to achieve real-world desires not produce emotional states…


If pressed to define good, I would say it is whatever promotes human flourishing. That means the flourishing of the whole biosphere, and the fulfilment and happiness of the greatest number. Nietsche put it differently: What is good? Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases – that resistance is overcome. At the moment, I am not good by either definition. I am closer to the first, but far less than promoting human flourishing I am reduced to not causing much harm- and even on that, I am part of the oppression of food animals and third world sweat shops.

Jesus said, Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. I can’t manage my difficulty living with myself by calling myself in any meaningful way “good”. It involves too much denial. Perhaps I am good enough, as good as I can be. I have needs and desires and I act to gain them. My managing to live with myself is more about considering my intentions, and deciding they are good enough. This might be too high a price to pay; there might be better ways of living with myself.

It is as it is.
I am who I am.


Love trumps hate

A Trump supporter leant me his coat once. I was cold and unprepared, and am grateful. In my almost monochrome Facebook bubble of despondency his elation, increased by the successful bet he laid on the outcome, is a contrast.

I did not sleep well so was awake around 4.30 to hear the Florida result, and as I type the Republicans have taken the Senate, the House and the Electoral College decisively even though not all results were declared. So they will take the Supreme Court, perhaps more partisanly than before. This is worse than being awake to hear Nigel Farage’s first snarl of triumph in June.

Leadership matters. An organisation takes its culture from its leaders: do they inspire creativity, trust, and joyful working together, or do they have security search warehouse workers in case they have stolen goods during their shift? Hearing Mr Trump’s rhetoric for four years will embolden those who speak and write coarsely in imitation of it; and, worse, his demonisation of out-groups will prevent many from growing beyond that false view of the world, when they believe some enemy is the cause of their privation so cannot address their real difficulties. In Britain, I am one of those demonised already, as Mrs May sneers at “Liberal metropolitan elites” who voted against Brexit. I am comfortable enough on my income, but doubt many calling me “elite” would be.

And people’s desire for a leader as saviour will be tested to destruction. Already it has: President Obama did not close Guantanamo, his drones are still killing, and we still need the Black Lives Matter campaign, in England as well as the US. There will be no growth in purchasing power for Mr Trump’s rural and rust-belt supporters from his policies, no reduction in violence against them, no real hope.

The ozone hole is healing, but our dependence on chloro-fluoro-carbons was far less intense than that on hydrocarbons, for fuel warming our planet and for plastics in particles from microscopic to huge, non-biodegradable, polluting the web of interdependent life. The Anthropocene threatens the biosphere, including us, and English-speaking political leaders have concerns, such as economic growth, that they deem more important than mitigating it. Mr Trump’s world view is one of Winners and Losers, a zero-sum game where he may use nuclear weapons.

And- we are human, capable of love and self-sacrifice as well as blind obedience and cruelty, finding joy in compassion and togetherness, our mirror-neurons forcing most of us into empathy. We are made in the image of God, and so are loving, creative, powerful and beautiful. Without a leader as saviour we are thrown on our own resources, to build communities of trust and co-operation in the face of exploitation and oppression. Truthful, compassionate people can show the frightened a better way, for we are alive, and living beings all strive towards health and wholeness, and we are a social species, fulfilled when brought together. A man I did not know well leant me a coat, because we were in a social group together. a-v-of-geese

All’s fair

I hurt. The New York Times recommends Tylenol, which a quick Google tells me I would call Paracetamol. I have hesitated to call my hurt Love, as my reaction appears ridiculous to me, self-destructive, chemical, against reality and my rational mind. Neurons in my anterior cingulate cortex and insula start firing, the NYT informs me. Like Melissa Hill, I hate how much it hurts.

Yet I will call it Love, for I am beautiful and worthy of Love. And my reaction has been a reasonable one. My love has never been requited but always encouraged just enough to keep me simmering. Like that kiss: never a kiss on the lips, hugs allowed but not kissing, then we hugged just before I left and you kissed me on my bare skin, above the low neckline. Or that email, or that one- I would not suggest you did not mean the word “bravery”, nor that it meant love rather than friendship, but I printed it out and read it again and again.

I do not give up easily. At times there felt such a spark. We fit: without language for it, you like men like me. I like women like you. You have such wonderful charisma that I have definitely gained from your company.

Do I resent that encouragement? Yes. People push boundaries- you most of all, your freedom is delicious. If a woman is beautiful, vital and charismatic, men may resent her power. I must own my feelings, and not blame you for them, or imagine that they impose some obligation on you; and that kiss kept me coming back longer than was good for me. I call it encouragement. I knew I was getting little from this, and still I kept coming back: we agreed to meet, and I obsessed about it for a week until the time arranged. And eventually the pain got too much for me, and I gave up. It is a process rather than a decision.

I would not want you to be other than you are- you are very beautiful, and I am glad of the opportunity to have got to know you.

I beat myself up. I should have seen. I should have protected myself. My reactions are ridiculous. Or I could treasure little hints in order to blame and resent you- “You held my hand! How did you think that would make me feel?” Anger inwards or outwards is pointless: it was as it was.

I have said, I do not want to see you in this way. I am on tenterhooks: will you respond? But I will take paracetamol, and recover.

Titian, Nymph and Shepherd

New York Times on falling in love and breaking up.

Two together

Consider the body language. They are close, but not touching. One has her right elbow on the back of the couch, pointing towards the other, her hand supporting her head. Her left leg is crossed over her right knee, the foot extending forward. Her body is an arc. At the centre of the arc sits the other, sitting forward on the couch, ankles crossed demurely and pulled back on the floor beneath her, hands folded in her lap. Enveloped- symbolically, at least, though she is taller and heavier. Quite sexy, actually.

Nothing makes sense. You can rationalise, of course. I had a pointless debate this morning about “assisted dying”- the new neutral/in favour word for euthanasia. Having been suicidal, I will cling to life until I can no longer keep conscious, no longer draw a breath. I know this. S counters with a man with kidney cancer metastasised into the bones, in agony, in a hospice. He is given a particular arranged time with all his faculties to express love and say goodbye, and then he is given enough analgesic to take his pain away, even though it nearly sedates him. He is “out of it” until he “passes away”. Thank God I don’t have to choose for real, for a friend, or for the Law of the Land. You are allowed to think people should have the choice to die! The Oregon rules sound rational and compassionate. Please let me remain revolted.

Transition certainly does not make sense. You can make the case about brain differences or “woman trapped in a man’s body”- or against about autogynephilia being perverted- and for anyone for whom “I wanted to so I did” or “It’s disgusting and they shouldn’t” is not enough, there is reams of rationalisation, arguments from the authority of thousands of trans women’s responses and peer-reviewed journal papers, but no argument will change any mind affected with desire or revulsion. Thank God most people don’t care much, and “they seem harmless enough” is good enough for them. “She wanted this, so why not?” “Takes all sorts to make a world.” I cared- so- Much! How can anyone not? Yet they don’t.

Being attracted to people who are controlling and manipulative, I can hardly complain when someone is controlling and manipulative. Given that nothing that I want makes sense, why should this? If someone plays my heart-strings, and makes me feel soft, I enjoy and resent it, for Love has almost always been a source of shame and misery for me. Stop thinking! Stop knowing there is nothing promised, and just enjoy the moment, that word, the single “x” in that text. I was a lawyer for a time. It is a game, or a battle- judges might need to consider justice, representatives can’t (except as a rationalisation for fighting harder) and if having a lawyer means the opposition caves in, knowing winning a case is more hassle than giving in to you, Hooray!

Let it happen
Just enjoy it

If only I could!

Gerda Wegener Les Delassements d'Eros

Negative and positive

I moved this morning (Thursday) from negative to positive and I would love to know how.

I have a job interview coming up. I was thinking how much I hated interviews, how much effort it would be, how desolate I would feel after having been rejected again (of which I was certain) and how I dreaded it. I was thinking I will see her, which will give me perplexity and yearning, dissatisfaction, alienation and a sense of groundlessness. And other stuff, which makes me fear, or judge myself as wanting.

Liz came over as arranged, and we went out for tea and cake. I frightened her on Sunday with that outburst at meeting: my distress, and the effect it has on all of us. We shared our fears at meeting. One of us, his family has given an inspiring gift to the world, and he fears that when he is gone it will become less. It is a wonderful example and it might cease to be so. How can it be protected in all its beauty? Another fears for his daughter, beyond contact through facebook or telephone- yes, even in 2016.

And I fear for myself. My income is OK at the moment, and might just cease. There is little I can do about this, apart from look for work- see above. So. Afterword. I said the verse that plagues me- From the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken from them. Sue spoke of her fears for refugees and war zones, and I interrupted: “And I fear for myself”.

On Tuesday Gill say in our meeting room and observed that prayer hallows a place. This place is hallowed. It feels different from the other room, though the path through the garden by the gravestones is lovely, and the movement into the Real World starts at our gate.

Onywye. K came and held me and I let myself be held and after some consoling words she said that I should not use “the fuck word”. Yes. And today Liz said she was driven to think of when she had been a primary school teacher, and how if certain children could not stand it they could say their safe word and go somewhere that she could hear them. Would I like that? Rather than the expression of distress in the Meeting room.

In Oldham CAB I saw a couple. The woman had been on the sick and claimed income support. The man had run a shop, and made no profit from it. They thought they were entitled to IS because they had no other income, but they had not been because he had been working more than 24 hours a week. So they had to pay it back. They objected, but the rules were clear, there was nothing I could do, and I told them that- brusquely. All their anger at their situation suddenly focused on me- how dare I be so unhelpful? They wanted to complain about me. Jenny went to double check and explain more circumspectly, and in the corridor Shahzia asked,

“Are you OK?”

And my “No” let out so much under pressure in me it seems, now, that I could never put it back again. “Not in the meeting room”. Well-

And now I just feel different. That meeting, rather than frustration and despair, promises fascination and delight. The interview- meet new people, probably lovely people, show off my good qualities and possibly get an opportunity. Time spent with Liz- tea, cake, conversation- that could be it, or it could be something else.Arcimboldo, Spring

Master/ Slave

I know myself only if you recognise me. Or, as Hegel put it, Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another self-consciousness; that is to say, it is only by being acknowledged or “recognized”. Humanity is an infinite spiritual unity, and individuals are part of that unity.

Do you know, really know, anyone else? Do you “sublate” them, negating them as other individuals and assimilating them into your understanding of yourself? I have struggled through pure Hegel, and Eric Steinhart’s commentary on it, not understanding. I need to know my own truth before I can judge theirs.

You mentioned this, and I do not know why. Is it because in your radical feminism, man is always destined by Patriarchy to be Master, woman to be slave? Then it would be for me to do the work of knowing myself without your service; and I could never be a woman, because I had never been so enslaved.

My experience is that I did not know myself because I was always looking to others to learn what I ought to be. I knew that was Manliness, which in part I learned from parents, yet I remember cack-handed attempts to fit in with my peers.

(I was delighted to borrow the denim jacket, because I wanted to be “cool”. Dancing in it made me hot and sweaty. “Well, take it off then!” he said, as if that was obvious, not seeing my perplexity.)

There is not enough research on us trans, but some say we have autistic-like characteristics. Which may or may not be like Asperger’s, I read or heard somewhere that the theoretical links between those might be false. Onywye, if autists have “an inability to read the emotional signs of others” (or not) they might like me have a desperation to see from others’ behaviour what is normal behaviour- without being able to relate it to their own emotional states.

If I’m cold I need some heat
If I’m hungry then I eat
I’m not responsible

sang Deep Purple, on their first reunion album in the 1980s. I know because I had that album- see what I mean about trying to be cool, or to understand? And, not? (Does anyone?)

If it rains I stay inside
If I’m scared I run and hide

moving from power to weakness. Is this more profound than I thought?

It seems to me that my mother formed me to be the low status one, deferring to others, at the bottom of the pecking order. Is love, slavery? Christ was crucified, after all, power in powerlessness-

If I want you as a replacement mother, to value me into existence, you will refuse. If I am hurled from “women’s space” into the darkness, rather than weep and gnash my teeth I must value myself. If I depend on another’s perception or valuing I will always be a slave.

Does this help me see you, as paradoxical as I am? I glimpse, but when I try to make sense of it I am grasping at air. Did Hegel do any better? Do you?

Degas Young Spartans exercising


Love is a curse. I took over two years getting over a particular insanity, a syndrome labelled “Love”, in one case: thinking about her a great deal, the thoughts having a great emotional weight. Evolution can be so cruel: it is necessary, in order to bond people to bring up a child successfully, and yet perhaps most Love is a pain and not a blessing, unrequited or better not acted upon, as when the lover is married to another.

I have rarely attracted a partner, but the women who show some interest tend to be at my intellectual level, and therefore have made more of their lives than I have.
Oh bugga.
Yes, it matters. Of course it matters.

And to be mature enough to balance pros and cons and-

Then I thought- it could be a first line, with a lovely rhythm, but I have come up with no more for it-

How could I claim to love you, and ever wish you pain?

I care. There is something sweet in that.

Then I read this, by John O’Donoghue: The eye, when it opens, is like the dawn breaking in the night. When it opens a new world is there. … Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature, and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility and depth.

It is for me to deal with my feelings. I offer a gift, but it may not be wanted. I have not wronged anyone, and while I have been a fool I have rarely appeared one. I have texted when depressed, but not when drunk. I can deal with my feelings by withdrawing: with that woman, I saw her again several times and never without weeping. (Mmm, maybe I did look a bit like a fool.)

How could these Loves relate?

Well, I see beauty in the desired one, and am sure it is there. I can set a woman on a pedestal for worship yet I am keen to know her, and I see real, good qualities. True origin, nature and destiny– human beings are beautiful. If desire is to gain something for myself, some sensation, some relief, this Love as it becomes hopeless might become appreciation. I see beauty in the Other, and unselfish delight in that becomes some small sop for my misery. The sadness and sense of loss at what I have never had is so intense!

And- this is intellectual acceptance rather than heart-realisation- possibly much of my pain comes from my resisting my feelings. I should not be suffering like this. I must not embarrass myself. I hurt, and I must recover! Let it be- sometimes one may influence events, sometimes one may just see how they turn out. Such phlegmatic acceptance does not come easily to me.


Self-respect II

You do this stuff, then you do it again; then you forget, and revert, then rediscover it, and do it again; and sometimes the full beauty and pain of it comes into consciousness, and it is hard to bear.

To the Quaker meeting. Philip reads from Advices and Queries, considering the calls for more bombing in Syria. If you are being bombed, does the intention of the bomber affect how you think about it? wondered Liz, after. Only in that I would seek to thwart him. I stood to speak: there is so much anger and fear, of those who fear refugees and terrorists, and I want to respect and love the people who are angry and fearful, which means hearing the anger and fear. And I want to respect and love those who will make the decision on bombing: though I stand by the pacifist answer, I must show respect for those who think differently. “Slow, sour, dim” intensifies the beauty by contrast.

Ah. It is always about me: hear the anger, indeed. In afterword, Peter says how few people it needs to get an MP to take an interest: ten, in the case of the planning issue he complained of.

In the afternoon to K– Quaker meeting, their “Winter celebration”. Three people have come from Bedford to demonstrate their singing bowls. The woman who has made them, by beating the alloy, is very thin with short hair.

They strike one. Immediately, it penetrates me, getting to the centre of my heart. Oh, no, not this. They continue striking, and also reading poetry. “There is a field”- “I’ll meet you there,” I know it. “Let yourself open to the sound”- I wish I could not. Here is my sadness aloneness regret. I am crying. Possibly I needed a good cry-

It is not “low functioning me”. It is responsive, fragile, truthful me, me in the world, soft me which is beautiful, vulnerable, necessary, a part of me needing my love, my feminine part which I had to deny, which I have to allow.

I might, just, manage the first stage of metta meditation.

I am very glad Peter R. is here and can drive me home, rather than me being forced to cycle. After a three Samaritans phone calls week, I walked in the park and spoke to a woman photographing wild-fowl and hoping for a good sunset.

That psychiatrist really shook me up: probably for the better. It feels as if I integrate myself. And I will be here again, I cannot just do the work of acceptance once, and it be done.

Blake, Songs of Innocence frontispiece

Taking a stand

My test of whether someone is truly Christian is their attitude to LGBT. Any mature Christian will be entirely accepting.

Religion is a tool for helping people to understand and relate to Reality, or alternatively to block out and deny reality in a fruitless search for comfort. Humankind cannot bear very much reality, and those who can bear very little can huddle together in conservative Evangelical churches. There they can be reassured that gays are bad, God made the world less than ten thousand years ago, and everyone outside their little huddle is deluded, and going to Hell. Any threat to that belief system and the bottom drops out of their world, which is why they defend it so aggressively.

And yet, unless they close their eyes, put their fingers in their ears, and shout “La La La” all the time, reality will challenge their falsehoods, and, thank God, so will Christianity. If they actually read the Bible they will realise that God could not create everything, then man and woman on the sixth day, and at the same time create man, then plants and animals, then woman. People do believe impossible or incompatible things, but eventually the scales fall from their eyes. They will also see that while the Bible can be mined for reasons to see other people as bad, it also says that everyone is your neighbour, even those you most despise, then commands you to love your neighbour.

Then the despising falls away. Seen with love, we see the beauty of the Samaritan, and all which seemed most loathsome is seen not to be.

Yet there are these terrible attempts to defend the fundamentalist lie. And some people are just stuck. They cannot turn to Christ, because they prefer the illusion.

I did not like Henry Meynell Rheam, so look at his work more deeply.

Rheam, the fairy wood