Stereotype and Social Conditioning in “Religion”

In so far as I can tell there is nothing in the source code for Christianity, a.k.a. The Bible, that suggests opulent robes, gold ornament and the accumulation of wealth, is Godly practice. It does not promote show nor lording it over. Feeding the five thousand is better than having a gourmet dinner and fine wine in a Bishops’ palace. It does not suggest kissing rings or bowing before priests neither does it recommend kiddy fiddling.

If you picture Buddha, then the most likely frame of refence is a garden ornament bought at a garden centre or online. If you think of meditation, you might imagine someone sat in the lotus position either clad in sexy yoga pants or monk’s robes. You might imagine abstemious behaviour and softly spoken calmness. The voice might even be affected. You might imagine a monk to be holy and enlightened, when in fact most are struggling and at the start of journey. You might associate the word wholesome and not inner conflict. People are pictured benign and not in constant battle with self. The image is of success and not travail.

I have seen novices in the lunch queue at a Thai forest Buddhist centre. They looked eager and you could almost hear the stomachs grumbling in anticipation. They were like cats waiting for you to open a packet of Whiskas.

Although familiar with the Jesus story and the Old Testament shenanigans, the West knows less about the Buddhist hagiography. There are some parallels between Jesus and Siddhartha.

People put priests on a pedestal. They create some quasi-idealistic view. One encouraged by the priesthood so as to ensure power and position. Always religion and power have walked hand in hand. Humans have manged to twist fundamental teachings to serve power imbalance and enforce obedience.  

Religious artwork so often, at least in the past, has depicted holy or saintly figures as radiation emitters with plasma coronas or halos. If you saw Buddha or Christ in person, you might ask them, “hey man, where is the groovy disc that I see around your head in your Insta-feed?”

In Buddhism you can sit under a bodhi tree or deep in a cave to gain enlightenment. You would not be sat on a mat in a porch, with a glass {or two} of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a packet of Marlboro lights and an ashtray, come rain or shine.


No monk or priest is ever seen farting of having a J Arthur (1). Though I suspect that these practices are not uncommon. They may even defecate and take a piss.

I will postulate that for the vast majority of people there is stereotype, social conditioning and prejudice associated with any and all kinds of religion.

I have been stereotyped as being an academic “boffin” despite the lack of leather patches on the sleeves of my jacket and my relative ability in performing common or garden everyday tasks. The brother in law thinks that I might be “clever” but on the other hand is not so keen when my opinions differ from his.  There are stereotypes associated with the religion of “science”. Covid brought these to the fore with “Professor doom” etc..

I have gotten several parts drunk with a catholic priest at a bar in Bristol and had a brilliant craic chatting with him. He cared deeply for his flock at Brixton prison.

It is not until you spend substantial quality time with anyone that you can get even a smidgeon of an idea concerning what they are like or what values they have.

This marketing phrase “Wellness” is often associated with wholesome and meditative practice. It is marketing. Many of the purveyors are form obsessed and shag like rabbits.

Marketing and image have sullied many things over the years. Fad, fashion and trend are not synonyms for spiritual evolution.

I am writing under the name drquantumyogi. Unlike many people who use the word quantum for marketing I can, hand on heart, claim to have an understanding of quantum which is better than the top 2% of the population.

If I was to market myself as a meditation type dude, I might use an image like this…


I am 58 years old, > 95 kg in mass and there is no way on earth that I could do a lotus position.

There are a lot of people who make money out of coaching people towards, wealth, happiness etc…

There is a lot of image, a whole lot of show and much attachment. Business is business.

I guess we all pay our money and take our choice. If we make a donation at church, then we might grease our way into heaven. If we give alms to the Sangha, then we have accumulated good merit.

It is all about motivation…


What do you think of my postulate?

Does it ring true?


1.) J. Arthur Rank has also been used as cockney rhyming slang, both for “bank” and “wank” (slang for masturbation), typically shortened to “J. Arthur” or just “Arthur”. In golf, especially in the United Kingdom, a “J. Arthur” is slang for a shank.

Great Ideas and Assumed Understanding

There has been a fair bit in the press about the Rwanda anti-immigration “strategy” and the send back the boats to France mind-set has purchase in the English mentality. The immigration mentioned here hardly scratches the surface compared to that of the Rio Grande. It is odd that many of those who are anti-immigration are first or second generation immigrants themselves. When people tout Rwanda as a safe destination, they do not include images of the Rwandan genocide.


There is an assumed understanding that “stable” Rwanda will not regress at least when pitching the “great idea” to the public. Again, Northeast Africa is in throes of conflict.

It is my thesis that people turned on by a so-called “great idea” often do not bother to think things through at any depth.

During the wife’s illness the level of on the ground support I have had is zero. I have also found myself supporting some of her friends and her family. Yet the French medical system has not once asked me if I can cope nor what level of support I might have. I can speculate that there is an assumption of proximal and helpful family. {It seems to me family is bigger and the ties are closer here.}

They do not get that we live alone and without either ‘phone or personal contact.

Nobody has checked that I understand what is being said to me. Not once has anyone asked if I understand. There was no social care visit to check that our home was suitable to receive a very severely ill patient and that I could cook beyond beans on toast.

I have had people talk at me in French. If they talk too fast, I can just glaze over, switching off any attempt to understand. This could be a tad dangerous. My face can be deadpan. But I can research on the internet and I have a science background. I am pretty self-reliant and only in utter emergency am I likely to ask for help. There was an assumption that I would telephone the nurses for information when the wife was very ill. This assumption was wrong.

It seems there is an embarrassment about initiating conversation with someone who might not speak French well which is almost pathological in some people.

It is kind of bizarre on one level. In the hospital I am assumed to understand complex technical information and in public because of my “poor” French I am assumed to be a stupid Inglish.

There is a level of assumed understanding which is underestimated in the latter case. I can probably read and understand more complex texts in French than your average Jean-Jacques or Marie-Claire. Do they read Camus?

I am not having a go. People do different things in different countries and the approach varies. In Britain they are shit-scared of litigation. In France personal responsibility is more important and despite the size of “state” it is less of a nanny.

What is common across all cultures is “assumed understanding”. People are too scared to check if they have understood, by asking.  It is bit of folly. Nobody wants to look an imbecile by checking if they have gotten the right end of the stick or not.

It is my other thesis that assumed understanding, including my own, is often wrong and almost inevitably incomplete. People assume understanding far more often than is wise.

Different Ends of the Stick

I have been mulling over this afternoon how on a fair number of occasions I have had a different end of the stick to others. This to the extent that my assimilated world view is / has been radically different from theirs. Others have told me that they know what I am thinking and have been adamant that they are sure they have me “sussed”. They have insisted that they know me, my motivations and what I am all about. They may even have asserted this to their pals.

I’ll postulate that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some of them may have been mistaken.

Depending upon how you view things it can be a moot point as to which end of the stick is “right”. It is entirely possible that I have always had the “wrong” end of the stick. I can countenance that statement. Others may have trouble accepting that it is they who have had the “wrong” end of the stick and for a very long time.

Who defines what is and is not the “right” end of the stick? I guess it is “they”. “They” have the right end of the stick, always. At least in their assimilation of the world. They know best.

They may mock others who have the “wrong” end of the stick.

A Pinch of Salt and Discernment


take something with a pinch of salt

idiom UK (US take something with a grain of salt)

to not completely believe something that you are told, because you think it is unlikely to be true:

You have to take everything she says with a pinch of salt, because she tends to exaggerate.


In our times it has become very important to have the Saxa close at hand. This is because there are terabytes of stuff available on the internet. Few of these bytes are sound and reliable. Hype proliferates and fake, made up stuff, can be found readily. Clickbait often has little basis in physical plane reality.

How do you know what is true? Well, you could ask an erstwhile government advisor or even Fanny the wonder-dog.

There is difficulty in knowing what is a reliable source and what exactly is the provenance of any titbits one stumbles across. The phenomenon of willy-nilly cut and paste is to be found on all sides. I have seen so-called “learned” pieces of text copied verbatim into quasi-informative internet documents…{Without reference} One piece of text spreads like a virus, seemingly making copies of itself at will. Few check the “facts” of the textual RNA which proliferates.

“I saw it once on the internet so it must be true…”

I personally like the notion of intellectual ambiguity. I can hold several explanations and am not overly fussed which one is “right” and which one is “wrong” in a thought-form binary sense. I find that many things have partial resonance and that suffices. I like pictures and not absolutes. I like to synthetise and not to cleave.


The use of discernment is underrated these days. Trends are addictive, it is easy to get caught up in any brouhaha. It might even be fashionable that way one can be all Kool and the Gang, down with your homies, or on trend with the hive or shoal. One can become a courageous woke warrior for insipid political correctness and illusion.

But from time to time, we are all required to believe in something, whatever that may be. We need to make decisions. Our beliefs may seem vitally important. History shows that many beliefs are inaccurate and fanciful. Yet they can persist for millennia. We perhaps scoff at the folly of the past forgetting that we are deeply engaged in our own. Though we may be adamant and insistent that we are right and have got it sussed.

History shows us that we do not learn from history…

We know best only we don’t…

I will postulate:

Folly, is an eternal characteristic of human mind and behaviour…

Scientist Quotes

A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.

Niels Bohr

No, no, you’re not thinking; you’re just being logical.

Niels Bohr

Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.

Niels Bohr

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.

Niels Bohr

Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.

Niels Bohr

And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call “sustained incoherence”.

David Bohm

The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.

David Bohm

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

Werner Heisenberg

Every word or concept, clear as it may seem to be, has only a limited range of applicability.

Werner Heisenberg

Think of colour, pitch, loudness, heaviness, and hotness. Each is the topic of a branch of physics.

Benoit Mandelbrot

There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.

John von Neumann

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.

Isaac Newton

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.

Isaac Newton

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.

Isaac Newton

To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.

Isaac Newton

Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.

Michael Faraday

Scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man’s struggle for good and evil seems inadequate.

Richard P. Feynman

It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.

Richard P. Feynman

God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.

Paul Dirac

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner.

Ernest Rutherford

It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young.

Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.

Konrad Lorenz

Salacious Gossip

One of the perhaps most difficult things to quit, to give up, when one seeks to adopt a “spiritual” way of life is the modern addiction to salacious gossip in all its forms. One could say that gossip is a bedrock of social media and that it sells newspapers and magazines. Humanity lives vicariously through the lives of others presented for our consumption. Gossip is pushed like a wrap of fentanyl laced heroin.

Many would say, “oh no not me, I am not a gossip”. Well they may not be a pusher but they will score a wrap from time to time. This pays the pushers.

Quite a while back I was thoroughly shocked by an old acquaintance from school. We met up and he wanted to know the ins and outs of both my private life and those of anyone we knew in common. I was genuinely surprised because it was so obvious that he was almost salivating. “Really?”, I thought.

I have joked that the collective noun for a group of academics is a gossip of academics.

In principle an academic is detached and has a cool considered oversight. But that is not the case, they seemed obsessed about who got which grant, who has the higher measure of esteem and where people are in the “blessed” league tables.

Lofty pursuance of academic thought, nah. One upmanship and gossip about who is on the up and who is on the down are readily to be found. If there is any sex scandal, all the better. In the past academia had its own version of the casting couch too. Academia gets a metaphorical hard on for scandal. It likes the salacious just like anyone else.

Trungpa suggests that the Ego is forever trying to use spiritual teachings for its own benefit. Thus, gossip about whichever guru may masquerade as intelligent inquiry, when in fact it is just gossip clothed differently.

If you look at various publications you can classify a very large amount of their content as being gossip related and much of it hearsay carefully couched so as to avoid libel court action. It seems we all want to know what people are speculating as to the minds of Harry and William. There are “clairvoyant” royal “experts” who can read their minds for our “benefit”.

I know that at various stages of my life I have been a subject of gossip. The use of “a” is deliberate because I was only one topic amongst a host. It rarely occurs to people that gossip can damage even ruin careers. But people, it seems, cannot resist and love the attention from listeners which a juicy titbit might offer them


“Have you heard about…”

“Really? Well, I never…”

I will make a postulate.

You cannot achieve liberation whilst you are a purveyor and consumer of gossip. If you are in anyway attached to gossip you are not free. You are addicted and suffer from the fear of missing out on the latest juicy and salacious titbit. You damage the web of life by your obsession.

You may be able to do the most complex asana but if gossip has you, then you are simply a bendy gossip.

In order to be free one has to reorient oneself apropos of gossip, maybe go cold turkey.

Here are some questions to help. Honesty instead of justification may help.

Do I like to hear gossip?

Do I find it a tad salacious?

Have I ever damaged anyone by gossiping about them?

Have I ever been damaged by gossip?

Am I perhaps more addicted to gossip than I would like to admit?

Is gossip in any way life enhancing?

Assumed Understanding

In our times it is possible to find “instant experts” keen to profess their assumed knowledge and understanding from the nearest soap box whether made from wood or electronic. You can buy little sachets of “Instant Expert” which you can mix with water, add a little Ego and a dash of encephalitis pop them in the microwave and “hey presto” you become an instant expert on whichever subject you choose irrespective of whether or not you have researched said subject. The “Instant Expert” sachets are the latest wisdom hack. It is the new shortcut to omniscience.

There are those who may actually be an expert in one area who might assume that said expertise is transferrable to others.

I have been very fortunate in this lifetime in that a very large number of people have told me stuff, presumably to educate me, they have offered me their expert opinion and told me what I am. Many, to my eyes, have deemed that they “know-it-all” and in their largesse have been keen to share.  

If somebody desperately wants to be right, to “win” an argument, I am generally minded to let them. If they are so certain, so adamant, it would be mean of me to piss on their campfire. If their opinion is so concrete and set, why would I waste any energy trying to alter it?

I will make a postulate.

The phenomenon of assumed understanding is widespread and in many cases that assumption is invalid. People understand much less than they might imagine. This does not stop them from opining in an adamant and assertive manner.

Or a more concise version.

People are often loquaciously full of bullshit.

One of the things one learns in higher education is that smart people, when they tip up, assume that they know more than they do. One can spend three years {or more} altering this knowledge self-diagnosis.

What do you reckon?

Is assumed understanding prevalent?

Susceptibility to Temptation

The dark jewel Temptation has the number 25 which means in effect minus seven or unwillingness to take any guidance. This is a seven year. If the planet offers us guidance in terms of ecological disaster we could listen, pay attention and try to find a solution. Or we could be tempted to do bugger all and carry on with our excessive luxury and consumption.

As a boomer I can say with a fair degree of likelihood that I will be dead by 2050. No male in my family has made it past 80 and I used to smoke like a chimney. I won’t be here to see the failed climate targets but I will experience the deterioration before I pop my clogs.

I believe the word “hack” is common parlance for finding a shortcut to at least temporarily “solve” a problem. They are good clickbait. Unfortunately, there is no hack, no shortcut for liberation and reduction in attachment.

In terms of life difficulties I am very sceptical about short cuts, am not interested in having advantage over others nor do I seek the lazy man’s way out. Very often the Elastoplast or sticking plaster “solution” whilst apparently expedient causes larger problems in the long term. Quick fix is an oxymoron.

There are some people who like, if possible, to find a low effort path. As a younger person I helped a number of people write their Ph.D. theses more than was perhaps appropriate. I was not in fact doing them a favour. They saw it as a quick fix and it was easier for me to help than to go thorough endless rewrites with them. Once you have written one thesis it is pretty easy to do others, especially in physical sciences.

There are others who instead of taking responsibility for their actions succumb to many excuses, the blame game and finger pointing. They imagine the world is against them and have a truly massive victim chip on their shoulders. “It is not fair mummy…”

Whilst is might seem expedient to succumb to the temptation of blaming others it rarely solves the character deficit such blame is meant to conceal.

Many people are very tempted by money, promised kudos and being all Kool and the Gang. If you look carefully, just like in cartoons, you can actually see $ signs rolling in their eyes in some cases.

The mutual backscratching, nod, nod, wink, wink, culture is seen as good business but it can mean yielding to temptation and evil.

“Go on old chap. You know that we are the best people to fulfil the PPE contract. After all we went to the same school as each other. I’ll return the favour in due course.”

The moral compass shatters when wanting to do a “favour” for a pal.

Temptation starts as the thin end of the wedge and in time it becomes normal practice. People can forget and grow ever more accustomed to doing dodgy stuff. People can become inured and tolerant of borderline illegal behaviours. They can find a whole host of reasons and justifications as to why it is kosher. The culture can become “infected” much quicker than many imagine. Academic bullying has been in the press. Is one supposed to take on the chin like a good little pleb? Cultural norms can be very unethical, tax evasion is OK provided that when you get caught you pay your fine, apparently.

Sleaze can become the “acceptable” norm.

I’ll make a postulate.

Anyone who is interested in power and power over is susceptible to temptation.

The type of mentality which seeks shortcuts and cuts corners can be easily tempted and swayed.

Those who are willing to put in a full and impeccable shift are less susceptible to temptation.


Are you susceptible to temptation?

Prejudice Against Loners & Recluses

Whenever someone is murdered it is a shame and a tragedy because they were popular, well liked and an asset to the community. Often the murderer is typecast as a loner, a recluse, a weirdo who simply did not mix well. This is often hinted as causal in his {it is usually him} lunacy and deviance. Rarely is the deviance of someone who mixes well given such scorn. There are lot of deviants who mix “well” and often. Anyone who seeks to escape from the psychotic hurly burly is immediately deemed suspect.

I will postulate that society is prejudiced against loners and recluses.

{There must be something wrong with them, the nutjobs.}

If someone famous falls out of the public eye and becomes a recluse, it is reported as if that is a fate worse than death. Maybe it is a welcome respite from the prying eyes, the gossip ticker tape, and the rumour mill.

{Thank foxtrot I am away from all those vampires.}

A number of people here have asked us if we socialise and have made friends here. When we say no, they do not know what to say next. There is an uncomfortable silence, for them not for us.

What do you think, is my postulate accurate?

Entitlement Homogeneity and Poor Governance

When I saw Rishi Sunak sat around the grand table with a bunch of managers and senior people in a show of trying to solve the problems in the NHS my heart sank. The people he had sat around the table were the very ones who were perhaps causal of said problems.

“I know let us put some more metrics and targets in, that will stop the rot.”

“What the NHS needs is yet another layer of overly paid “management” and “statisticians” so that we can present sound bites {misspelling deliberate} to the media.!”

In MBTI terms the NHS if an “F” type caring service it cannot effectively be perceived as being a car production line for the model T ford. A “T” type target based approach is not at all motivating for an “F” type carer. In fact, it is in all likelihood demotivating, measuring quantity as opposed to quality of care is illogical and inappropriate.

“Oh shit, not another piece of questionnaire / statistic / waste of time and money to which we have to comply. Please let us care, we did not sign up for this Himalayan level of administration.”

Sack the layer of middle and upper management MBA clones and pay the people at the coal face.

A while back I was interviewed for a position on the board for a London based private university. The applicants were very homogenous and all about a decade older than me. They had all been schooled in Belbin etc. The CEO of the school was in my opinion pompous. When I was asked what I would bring to the board, I said difference, relative youth and a less rusty more innovative way of looking at things.

Clearly, I was not Kool and the Gang.

In terms of team dynamics, I know I would have unsettled the board because I would have challenged the gelatinous “group-think”.

Homogeneity lacks any originality, tends towards stagnation and group confirmation bias. Complacency and back patting are the order of the day.

“This is the way we have always done things; don’t you know old boy…”

A sense of entitlement gives rise to poor governance. We have seen in the news Tories giving contracts to their pals. It never occurs that expediency is not fair in the case of award of public contracts. There are shortcuts taken boarding on the fraudulent. The entitled know best and it is only right that a chum, in whom we trust, one of us, should get the contract.

Entitlement suggests that rules and little details are beneath us. They are for the little people. We can cut accounting corners and round the figures up or down depending upon which look best for us.

Entitlement and homogeneity struggle to fully accept any incoming problems and rarely if ever accept that they are partially causal of these incoming problems.

I will postulate that a sense of entitlement and homogeneity of personnel are causal of poor governance at senior management and board levels.