TUESDAY 17th DECEMBER 2013
DAFTER AND DAFTER
May be I am somewhat jaundiced in my view of life as I am currently suffering another aspect of my diverse health problems: a half-closed eye with complications. Regardless, I do not think at any time in my life I have ever flamboyantly boasted any special intellectual skills: simply a run-of-the-mill type of guy. Either I am more intelligent than I have previously believed or people are becoming more and more stupid!
INCIDENT 1. The other day I received a knock on my door, despite a notice stating “No cold callers”. However, I had heard a bell next door and assumed my neighbour was either out or indisposed. Knowing his health is arguably worse than mine I accepted a parcel on his behalf and disposed of it in our joint rubbish area to which he also has a key, assuming the driver would leave a note through his letter box.
Finding the parcel still there two days later I looked at it and found it wasn’t for next-door but for someone else. Knocking there a young boy, somewhat nervously, opened the door and decried any knowledge of the addressee. Nonetheless, I deposited the parcel under the locked security of their storage area.
This morning, I am greeted by the same driver asking what had happened to the parcel. I explained the foregoing and then discovered he had been talking to that neighbour who had the parcel with her!
Apparently it was not the parcel, it was a replacement parcel because with whom she had been told the original had been left had denied all knowledge of it. This was because the driver had indeed left her a note telling her where her parcel wasn’t! He had put the wrong address on the note!
It then turned out that neither she nor her neighbour had keys to their storage area and never had, despite an obvious requirement to keep the area locked for security reasons. This fact throws up another aspect of crass incompetence. How did she acquire her front door key? By the same token, the key to the bin cupboard door should have been with it and both buyer and seller should have been aware of what was involved in any handover. Each as daft as the other?
So, they had suddenly discovered they could not dispose of their rubbish because I had locked the area to protect her parcel—the locks are universal throughout this group of maisonettes. She was concerned that her son’s Christmas present was not going to be available for Christmas and had chased the supplier for an immediate replacement, which the same van driver was delivering this morning.
The obvious thing was for him to therefore take back what he had just delivered. “Oh no, I can’t do that, I only deliver, I don’t collect!” What will now probably happen is that the manufacturer will have to arrange for another entity to liaise with her to arrange a convenient time for her and them to be available to collect!
INCIDENT 2: I was just settling down to a slice of Christmas cake and a freshly poured cup-of-tea when my doorbell goes again. No one there. Looking out into an empty street a walker across the way waved and came towards me. “Sorry about that, I don’t want you.”
“Then why did you ring my bell?”
“I didn’t know where I was.”
“How come, my number is in two inch high numbers on the door. My name is under the bell push. There is a notice on the door stating ‘No cold callers’. Why then did you ring me?”
“I mistook you.”
“Well, since you have acquired my attention, what exactly are you doing?”
“I’m chasing people who have not returned their electoral form.”
“I do mine electronically.”
“Yes, I know, that’s what it says here.” He waved a form at me.
“Why ring my bell, then?”
“I got confused.” He then became prolific with clearly heartfelt apologies, presumably my internal seething was becoming noticeable.
He was probably twenty years younger than I, so I looked straight at him and replied with all sweetness and light, “Not at all my dear chap. When people reach your advanced years dementia insidiously slides in without awareness but I’m very much in tune with the modern concept that one should not be ashamed of it. Clearly you aren’t ashamed of it either. Good for you. Happy Christmas”
I think I left him feeling somewhat put out.
SUNDAY 15th DECEMBER 2013
EDUCATED BEYOND THEIR ABILITY TO COMPREHEND
- Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "Universities UK agrees entirely with the prime minister that universities should not enforce gender segregation on audiences at the request of guest speakers. However, where the gender segregation is voluntary, the law is unclear. We are working with our lawyers and the EHRC to clarify the position.”[Their web site.]
First, the law is unclear because the EU has presumed to inflict itself upon us in direct defiance as to whether or not we wish it to, we haven’t been asked! Because the EU’s legal process does not understand the basis of legal precedent it disassociates itself from the reality of life as already established, therefore rendering much of its law seriously questionable.
Confusion has undoubtedly been caused by the crass stupidity of the Church of England’s own mixed messages on gender relevance, despite four centuries of factually declaring gender irrelevant by default. The Church of England was founded by a woman, Elizabeth I. Today, the Church of England’s supreme governor is a woman, Elizabeth II. How could it ever be remotely possible that a woman should not hold every other administrative position in the Church of England? It is irrational and all religions’ first duty is to be rational, for most of them declare a belief in a Universe Creator. Since rationality exists as part of Creation that Creator must be rational. For any religion to therefore be irrational is to deny the very belief it exists to purvey.
The EU chooses to deny precedent because it wishes to be all newly embracing of new concepts. On that basis alone it trips itself up because in its Human Rights it insists in allowing existing historical beliefs, now totally outmoded in today’s modern EU society, that act contrary to the now required even-handedness of gender equality. The result is that we have complete confusion in what was once a perfectly straight forward social precedent.
The UK is a Christian-orientated society, specifically of a Protestant persuasion, whose flagship is the Church of England. Like all religions that believe in a personified Creator it has a duty of care to lead its flock in the ways of that Creator. As time moves on that Creator’s Creation learns more and more about itself and its surroundings. Why then has the Church of England taken so long to understand the significance of Darwin and subsequent medical and other scientific discoveries but has insisted on total entrenchment in the knowledge first acquired two thousand years ago? It simply is not rational. When a religion fails to entertain new knowledge; fails to see how that knew knowledge may affect society; fails to understand where and how society might, or should, move forward in the light of new knowledge, then it fails its people in providing the guidance and understanding they need to continue their fulsome appreciation of their Creator. The failure to move forward is religion’s failure of duty of care for what it claims to promote, thereby declaring itself invalid and irrelevant.
Now the Church of England has finally got off its over-ample-seated backside and recognised there never was a problem over a woman possibly being Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps we can all move forward in a meaningful way.
Because of the failure of the Church of England to recognise the social evolutionary changes brought about by agricultural, transport, industrial, economic revolutions, it was secular society that had to support: the suffragette movement; the reduction in voting age; the removal of related property requirements; the entitlement for women to own property in their own right; for women to earn in their own capacity; for women to control their own bodies and make planned parenthood a responsible response to life’s and society’s changed realities.
Where was the Church of England’s lead through all this turmoil of change? At best, simply getting in everyone’s way, who were doing their best to cope, by doing something productive and useful: at worst, being blockheadedly defiant of the reality under its nose; ignoring the truth that this was all brought about as a consequence of Creation’s inherent ability to develop and expand, as was intended from the beginning, because that is the reality of God’s Creation! Change is the only constant, requiring continual changes in perceptions: of how things factually are; how things may develop; and perhaps most meaningfully of all, understanding how things not only were but were perceived in their time as being and why.
Now Universities UK confronts us with the sort of hotchpotch twaddle burbled by the intellectuals that opposed Copernicus and Galileo. Purportedly composed of or for vice-principals of universities, any competent manager would have summarily dismissed this entire entity as being totally unfit for purpose; not just for the waffle it burbled but for the extraordinary insensitivity of its timing—the celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, the world’s key opponent of segregation!
Just as the Church of England has tripped itself up over women, so Universities UK trips itself up on religious bigotry. I can well imagine a situation where a speaker, perhaps on the subject of criminology, might want their audience divided up into blocks of different social classification, to illustrate a point in their lecture; or in music, to segregate according to vocal or instrumental proclivity; or in a vocational skill, to separate left-handedness from right-handedness and those blessed with ambidextrousness. All these options seem to be specifically denied as acceptable. Why? For an advising body to vice-principals of universities to pander to the emotional inadequacies of a speaker unable to properly relate to women, or anyone of a sexual persuasion contrary to their own is beyond belief. Such people clearly have not acquired that educated state as to be worthy to address a university audience.
THURSDAY 5th DECEMBER 2013
FAILING TO DEAL WITH REALITY
The only reason religion creates wars is because their supporters lack faith in their own stated beliefs. Meanwhile, the rest of society has to get on with the realities of living, not with religions' archaic perceptions. Governments of all political colours have likewise failed to address the realities of sound management, preferring to broadcast their beliefs in political philosophies rather than deal with life's realities.
Regarding pensions, the initial idea was that they would only be paid for four or five years after retirement, by which time the beneficiary was expected to have died. Universality was administratively less costly than means testing and payment in by the recipients over the time period was not expected to lose so much value. Raising the state pension age to seventy is keeping in step with the original concept but not reality: people are living into their eighties and nineties. What governments should have done decades back was to encourage private pensions and make clear the state pension was not intended to be more than a cushion against personal misfortune, in developing one's own savings in preparation for that period of life when one would not be earning.
The good will intended when socialism raised any ideas of working people having a pension has created a society of expectation without preparation. No one seems to start out looking at their intended, preferred or hoped for lives ahead, seeing first the work needed to afford basic essentials, before then looking at tbose items geared solely for pleasure. Society is geared to pleasure now and worry about tomorrow when the dawn breaks. Dawn light can be very cold.
In exactly the same way, successive governments have failed to provide for energy change and failed to make it clear to society that people are individually responsible for their own futures, the state being only the bulwark of last resort.
Likewise the NHS was created within concepts of knowledge at that time and no account has been made of the way science and technology have developed, such lack of awareness paralleling society's perception that people only needed to borrow, not to save, before purchasing or lumbering themselves with excessive debt; all upon the assumption their economic circumstances would always rise, never fall.
Religion, previously, in its time of attempting 'leadership' made the same mistakes. It did not take into account the reality of the world about which it preached but persisted in its philosophies, regardless of the increasing awareness of life's realities science was continually showing. Now we have hit the buffers and have no choice but to address reality. Religion must do likewise, as has the Church of England at long last, so Protestant England can once more lead with the moral values to which we are accustomed and to which other religions have yet to learn but must accept.
On the naming of the soldier awaiting sentencing for callous murder in a war zone what is the problem with open public accountability, save that we have clear examples of the appalling indiscipline of some members of our society whose egotistical arrogance demands they should stick in their own contribution. I refer to not only the current murder of a British soldier in a London street for no apparent reason than the alleged murderers' egos but to the incident when a paediatrician was hounded by a local mob because they were too ignorant to know the difference between a paediatrician and a paedophile. Another example of the appalling inability of our educational system to teach even simple everyday basics. As a nation we really do give all the appearances of going down hill with ever increasing rapidity.
WEDNESDAY 3rd DECEMBER 2013
ON LIFE, COMMUNITY, NHS
Simply introducing aspects elsewhere. On my NHS page (in due course) I comment upon my recent colonoscopy experience as a result of an alert from the national blood screening programme for bowel cancer. The tests are being changed next year so as not to throw up so many false concerns. Arguably, it is better to be safe than sorry although aspects can still be missed on a colonoscopy examination. I was initially miffed by the fact that what I had received appeared to be nothing more than a junior laboratory assistant's report, getting over-excited and wanting to rush into an investigative procedure without reference to my overall recorded medical situation. This was such as to offer many explanations having nothing whatever to do with a possible cancerous or other serious possibility and the idea that another oncologist should get involved witout refeernce to my current one was just ludicrous. In fact, concern to assure me this did not necessarily mean I had cancer was mildly irritating since we all knew I already did have cancer!
However, being told as soon as they had finished that I was clear and there was nothing wrong with me but standard wear and tear from age was worth the knowing. Had they found anything what could be done at the time was so considerable that it really is worth finding out early if anything is going adrift.
Perhaps it was just me being grumpy because I had just entered a stage with all four consultants with whom I enjoy a merry go round throughout the year, saying: "Tests more or less the same as last time, keep taking the tablets, see you in four months." I was therefore planning to think 'Christmas' from the start of Advent and take my time gently sauntering through the next few weeks. I therefore understand how much of a shock such a missive as I received must be to people who, unlike me, have no recent experience of a hospital environment. So I thought I would share my experiences. I fund it a fascinating experience.
TUESDAY 2nd DECEMBER 2013
ON LIFE, COMMUNITY, MEN AND WOMEN
So now we do know scientifically how much better women would be at managing, then the inherent bias of male supremacy has so far proven.
From Pennsylvania's University Perelman School of Medicine. Management requires the ability to multi-task, as does motherhood, so does running a country.
So religion would make more sense were women running religion, for religion is about community, which is about multi-tasking—the management of people. There are of course exceptions: The neural implication is the compatibility of men and women as pairs but the reality is getting the right individual of each together. Science has also proved the validity of same sex relationships biologically... so, are we actually any further forward?
MONDAY 2nd DECEMBER 2013
Good morning world. Today is the first Sunday of Advent. It is a new day in itself, a new month, a new Christian year. Arguably ending a week, it also starts a new week. Fresh, clean, pristine and unsullied; leading officially into the preparations for Christmas, with hope and renewed aspirations. If we choose to awaken to the reality of the everyday that is always around us, yet treated so familiarly we do not notice the difference from the day before, or realise the potential of the day to come; we fail to realise how much is within our power to alter, if only in our attention to detail, to the wonderment of the whole. Is the new day half full or half empty? Will it simply be another day?
We should be looking forward with hope and expectation but for me is the knowledge of so many, not necessarily personally known, who are suffering anguish. The anguish of lack of knowledge, of friends and relatives dying of cancer, or other forms of ill health, not necessarily completing an expected natural term of life; hovering in a state of uncertainty; anticipating the hurt to come with a mixture of relief and sorrow, their anguish highlighted by the contrast with the natural expected happiness of the season.
This is the price we pay for being awake to what is going on around us: awake to the anguish of those in Glasgow; the victims; the victims’ families and friends; the emergency workers and what they have to contend with. Yet, if we choose to sleep in our own worlds we cannot share the inspiring heroism of those rushing towards, not away, from tragedy to see if they could help. Ordinary people going about their every day lives, doing their jobs. Then tragedy. Knowledge of two police officers who lost their lives in the crash and learning that each, for different reasons, had been previously honoured for bravery; highlighting how little we know of so much done by “the average Jo Soap” going about their duties and living their seemingly unremarkable daily lives like us.
Later that evening I watched a programme on the history of the song "Danny Boy". Arguably a main emotional key to uniting the diverse religious opinion in Ireland, being taken up by both Catholic and Protestant Irishman as “our” song. It was only later, during the modern “Troubles” that the third verse was added. The first two had been written by an Englishman and had sat for two years waiting an appropriate piece of music. Then the versifier (a barrister) discovered the “Londonderry Air” and adapted his words to match the tune. Why then did the Catholic church in New York try to ban the song being played at the funerals of irrationalities people after 9/11?
For once the people stood up to their unreasoning church. Pity they did not stand up for common sense four centuries ago at the time of the Reformation. So much anguish could have been avoided. As General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army declared, "Why must the devil have all the best tunes?"
No wonder God is a paradoxical concept: no wonder that which seeks knowledge of Him flounders in diversity of opinions. Dispense with any concept of Him and there is still Life as we know it in our everyday accountability. We still have to contend with its paradox. That is the reality of our world, however conceived. Is it not better to deal with its reality while awake to it, rather than ignoring awkward questions? There are juxtapositions, contrasts, contradictions but there is more fun, if some hurt, to be alive to reality as it is than to pass our time asleep.