Blogging, blogging, bloggingbloggingblogging … blogging, blogging.
Blogging, blogging, bloggingbloggingblogging … blogging, blogging.
It's been an odd few weeks and months.
I'm looking for a bit of stability here. I'm finding some.
Returning to the recent Sprout Burrito theme, this from Fark; "Hey, at least it's got beans on it now B-b-burrito? DIT"
The best comment across a couple of hundred posts, the very best, most succinct whilst retaining a flavour of what they must be thinking:
"This is some bizarre performance art or a social experiment. Regardless, there's no excuse for these 'burritos' should they exist. They are an abomination."
A man puts Brussels sprouts into a tortilla wrap and, well, the response is inevitable isn't it!
In an attempt to reinvent myself on social networks I've been silent for a long while, to let the old stuff out and the void in. That's not to say I haven't missed the interactions, I have. But life, as-ever, got in the way.
I'm not back yet, far from it, but I see encouraging signs. One of them was an attempt to engage with people I don't know on IRC. It's literally 20 years since the last time I had a go, and there's no coincidence that was also my first try; it's synchronous chat, quite a fast-paced, and an unforgiving environment. But once in, it appears a sense of community remains. Nerds, geeks abound. The attempt went reasonably well, but I definitely sensed some insularity, mistrust of outsiders; most unlike the entirely positive experiences on the 3 most-recent small networks it's been my privilege to be involved with.
So, to the title of this post?
First, it might be, though probably isn't, a good idea to read this:
And then this:
Incidentally, the mobile version of the Fark site works really well on mobile devices.
Getting there, not just socially.
I started to write this post with a point to make and a structure to work around it but part-way through I gave up, the events of last week took away my focus (both in the news and personally.) So yes, I gave up and just typed stuff. Here it is:
We all search for meaning in life, whether or not we know it. Logotherapy provides, when meaning is elusive or nonexistent, an attempt to restore it, to restore an individual's human spirit.
From the Wikipedia article, a basic description:
> "Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
> Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
> We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering."
It's a branch of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is, I'll admit, not my forte let alone within my experience. So, again quoting directly from the article, 'we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:
1. By creating a work or doing a deed;2. By experiencing something or encountering someone; and3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering" and that "everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."'
Pretty straightforward stuff it seems: some find meaning in the job they have, others in the sports teams they support, their friends, the pain of loss, or fundraising for those less-fortunate. Meaning can be found in scenarios from the passive involvement watching a television series, to the total immersion of running a country. Logotherapy provides a mechanism to make sense of life and to restore an individual's sense of meaning, when all seems otherwise lost.
No, I'm not undergoing any form of externally-sourced therapy, I arrived here during a study of Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism and Inverted totalitarianism this last being, by the way, the most relevant to our times:
> "In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism."
First coined 14 years ago to describe the tendency of United States governments to increasingly ignore the best interests of all that country's citizens in favour of the few at the top and those who shout the loudest, the description is eerily accurate now. 2016-2017 brought new lows: voter suppression, the rise of the far right, the rise of populism and nativism. The removal of essential healthcare protections in what was previously easily the world's most expensive healthcare system is particularly disconcerting for those condemned to an uncertain fate by it, and must be utterly terrifying for those condemned to a certain fate.
I'm particularly interested right now in the bit about 'intolerable suffering,' especially my observations of the grades of what people imagine the term 'intolerable' means to them. We do after all live in times of hyperbole and instant gratification.
I've a list. It's uncomfortable to write, but I'm in the mood:
I could go on, but thinking about things is hard, you see. I've enough on my plate just reaching the end of each day right now.
There's a saying, purportedly Chinese, which is appropriate on so many levels. It's this:
> "May you live in interesting times."
At first it seems a positive phrase, in this context however 'interesting' means unsettled, chaotic, even dangerous. It's a curse.
We live in interesting times.
We're watching the #OneLoveManchester concert and, perhaps unconventionally, I contributed a few pounds towards the UNHCR Mosul (Iraq) appeal unhcr.org then signed their #WithRefugees petition unhcr.org/refugeeday.
Worldwide more than 65 million people, greater than the population of the UK, have had their lives put on hold, been forcibly removed from the safety and security of their homes, and less than a third are being cared for by the UN in any manner.
No, this isn't me giving you a dose of perspective, I haven't got a bloody clue what's going on. It does need fixing though, and quickly. Here's a repost of my words from the week of the Manchester bombing: http://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/26/ffs-sweary
One final point, simply attempting vengeance, to kill terrorists without any other coherent strategy to stop ordinary people being turned into terrorists, will never work.
I read the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2017 General Election: http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto. More precisely I first read the 'Easy Read' variant then skipped through each of the party's next-Parliament pledges.
One thing I took away from the experience can be summed up by the range of formats available on that page: the Liberal Democrats are a party of inclusiveness, honesty and pragmatism. A bit of a leap maybe but if anyone was to read the Manifesto they'd understand why I feel my personal choices have been vindicated. I saw it when, in government, they moderated the worst excesses of the Conservative party, and I'm seeing it now in opposition.
Labour comes a close second, their Manifesto document alternatives don't include Braille.
The Conservatives attitude to inclusiveness is ably shown by the single PDF download and oddly-sized inline document viewer.
One final point, none of the three include languages other than English. Maybe I missed something but maybe, just maybe, people that come here from foreign lands are better at integration than native Brits will ever be.
On the eve of the Brexit vote I urged people who'd never done so before to vote, to vote whichever way their consciences told them to. This time around the ones who voted to leave Europe, if not voting Liberal Democrat, can get fu
Like everything else I write what follows is only my opinion, however anyone reading this should know it's a fact in my mind.
'Peppa Pig' is the best fly-on-the-wall documentary series television has ever produced.
I often fall into the trap of assuming people know more than they do about the things I'm interested in. I should be paid for it, along with my ignorance I'd make an absolute fortune!
I've just recovered from watching the car-crash television interview of Tim Farron, UK Liberal Democrat political party leader. Interviewer Andrew Neil came across as being spectacularly ill-tempered, intolerant and ultimately ill-informed.
Part-way through it devolved into a shouting match, a wholehearted removal of any pretence of mutual respect.
From the brief article accompanying the video clip, this: "In heated exchanges where Andrew Neil told his interviewee not to "heckle" him…"
I haven't seen his preceding interviews of the other 2 main party leaders, I wasn't interested. It seems though that modern interview technique mandates that interviewers must show how 'tough' they are by constantly interrupting the interviewee then accusing them of not answering the question. Do politicians deserve respect? The reasonable answer fits somewhere within the range from 'No' to 'It depends', of course it does.
But part-way through Andrew Neil made the same mistake I've heard from him before, offering Mr Farron the blunt assertion that "we all already know that."
Mr Neil might be very surprised indeed how little a lot of people outside his political bubble know about the realities of modern politics, and modern life in general. The failure of British people to engage on anything but a superficial level with politics, and Brexit in particular, ensures people are either spectacularly uninformed or spectacularly ill-informed. What better time than now to give the party leaders a voice?
But no, the terms of the modern interview mean they've got to be shouted down and called names before they get the chance, and be judged on those terms.
Tim Farron proved himself to be human this evening.
But we're not voting for a party leader are we, despite the Conservative party leader's wish we were. No, we're voting for a party's policies and its ability to present a coherent front. A Labour vote is ultimately a wasted vote, it's a party that'll fall apart as soon as the temporary, fragile cessation of internal hostilities the election imposes finally breaks.
All of this is why I'll still be voting Liberal Democrat.
I'm not sorry if the language in this post offends. I cannot get past a (probably primitive) need to use it. I know it's wrong and anti-social, and yet releasing the pressure cooker valve of crude and vulgar language will help me come to terms with it. So, here goes.
An acquaintance turned to me today and, totally out of the blue, said this (I'm paraphrasing a little):
"Today's a special day for them, they commit atrocities on it."
There was no preamble, nothing I'd said that would indicate how receptive I'd be to the statement.
"Eh?", I replied, then headed to Google, partially to block out thoughts of axes and sweeping majestically across the Steppe, laying waste to…
It turns out today marks the beginning of Ramadan. So I told him so. "You mean Ramadan."
Doubling down is usual, and he didn't disappoint this time. Well actually he did:
"No, no, sometime soon there's a special day where they commit atrocities, it's part of their religion."
"No it isn't. No it is not," I had to reply before shutting the conversation off.
Should I have asked him for proof?
Should I have attempted to educate him?
For fuck's sake, we're not living in The Dark Ages; we're not living in a time during which, if we didn't understand something, it automatically had to be excluded from the community, or maimed, or killed. Or made the subject of a decades-long feud. Or a bleedin' Crusade! Now we are living in a time of information overload, of that there can be no doubt, but it's so bloody easy to use Google to check, that even a child could do it. But I guess the twat who so casually opened the conversation with religious intolerance (he's also a racist) has lost a child's ability to wonder about things, and would rather remain ignorant.
For some perspective, a headline on my favourite web site:
"24 Coptic Christians killed in Minya, Egypt in what authorities are calling the largest attack on the community since last month". It's now at least 28 deaths and, added to the 44 from just last month, adds a teeny tiny sense of perspective.
But for a real sense of perspective, there's this site:
The word 'stark' doesn't even come close to my thoughts on the disparity between this week's Manchester death toll and what's going on in Syria and all the other conflict-torn countries.
We really do not know how lucky we are.