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.

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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.

Self-Diagnosed Righteousness

Before I get into this it might be fun to take a look at your acquaintances and ask yourself, do they pertain to the light or the dark side of the force. Those that use any form or coercion however slight and apparently justified have at least a hint of shade to them

Many imagine themselves righteous, the good and the just. History is littered with these and the corpses which they produced. Racial apartheid was practised in America during my lifetime and to an extent it still is only now it is pecuniary apartheid which dominates and that may overlap with racial apartheid too. There were wars for the right to own and flog slaves. People who fought for the right to have slaves imagined themselves righteous and perhaps even Christian. Funny how one can twist religion as proof of being righteous over the heathen, whichever religion that may be.

I’ll postulate that the self-diagnosis of righteousness is often faulty.

Group mind can easily polarise and entrench this faulty diagnosis.

There is a related phenomenon group-diagnosed righteousness.

“We are right and justified, let’s go and kill all those bastards who disagree.”

Perhaps Mr Trump believes himself to be righteous?

At the moment there is debate about Harold Windsor hinting that everyone else is to blame for his dissatisfaction. He is making a few quid out of it. His wife has found her soapbox. He perhaps sees himself and his mother as the righteous. The truth perhaps is that everyone who read{s} a juicy and well paying gossip about Diana has had a hand in the current hand wringing. Each one who took {takes} a salacious bit of news has {is} adding fuel.

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Would you diagnose yourself as being just, justified and in the right?

Do you pertain to the light or the dark side of the force?

Does butter melt in your mouth?

Utter Balderdash and Six Sigma

The previous post outlines “magic” in a sense and there are many who would consider such notions utter balderdash, made up shit and ergo bollocks. Your average Tom, John, Ian and David the Marks and Spencer jumper and chino wearing scientist might scoff at such “primitive” superstitious notions.

To imagine direct knowing at a distance would be a step too far.

There is a mindset that needs six sigma proof before it can even countenance such far-fetched ideas. We must be able to measure it with electromagnetism based instrumentation.

I have knocked around some martial arts dojos and some of the things that can happen in the best of these beggar belief. Thus, I am a tad more open minded. I am pretty sure that I have “memories” of previous lives.

I am allowed to say that now as an eccentric retired person.

I do not mind if people think I am bat shit crazy.

I will postulate that anyone who swings between the two poles of utter balderdash and six sigma proof is prone to holding extreme and dogmatic points of view.

On the one hand we have unicorns and telepaths. On the other we have the Higgs Boson, blessed be its name.

What lies between these two extremes?

Unrealised Potential and Out of Joint Noses

Postulate: People can be upset by facts if these contradict their self-image and sense of importance.

So often when the England men play rugby I am bemused by the quality of their performance. England have tremendous strength in depth when it comes to players and by rights should on a regular basis be competing for a genuine top spot in world rugby. There is perhaps a sense that team cohesion is lacking and that they are a collection of individuals. The sum might be greater than all the parts but it often isn’t.

This is because everyone thinks “me” first. The sense of “us” does not permeate deeply. It is like trying to herd cats, so to speak. There are a lot of power games and many want to be top dog, even though a pack identity is lacking. There are many who do not like to be told what to do.

People have accused me of being negative when I say things like, “is it going to be an invented in Britain made at vast profit by someone else elsewhere thing?” They may not even be aware that thematically this is a common theme. A lot of people do not know their own ignorance. And when I have pointed out flaws in much hyped plans, I have put people’s noses out of joint and had some pretty unpleasant immature reactions.

It is not my fault that they haven’t thought things through.

Several of these have been ENTP Myers Briggs types…Each New Though Propels, gets them all excited but reality can piss on their bonfires. One can be accused of pissing on fires.

Because Nigel Farage did not like EU paperwork, he launched a campaign to get out of Europe. His nose was out of joint that someone as important as him had to fill out forms. Forms are for plebs…

Now people complain at queue length with their precious blue passports…

Whatever potential I had to offer was not and can not now be realised. I could argue that I have been a wasted resource.

I’ll speculate that the UK as a whole does not fulfil its potential partially because it likes internecine power games / squabbles. It is very showy, over promising and under delivering.

Inventing new ideas is fun, turning them into reliable cost effective products for which there is a market takes a lot of work. There is no limelight for doing a solid productive piece of work. No headlines…no groovy catchphrase…not much kudos…hard to do a show and tell…

In Britain there is the notion of cowboy traders and people use these trust-a-bloke type star rating applications. Here they are hardly used. People give a quotation, tip up and even if the have underquoted, stick with the quote. They then tidy up after themselves. They get on with the job quietly and don’t expect a chat or a brew.

I had suspected that there was a lot of bullshit before I left blighty. By contrast from afar it looks a lot worse than I had imagined.

I wonder if the UK caught the hype-it-up virus from the septics…maybe…

I do wonder if people are starting to believe their own BS and get upset if someone comes along with a pin to their hot air buffoon balloon.

Watching the drama from the house of commons, it all seems so very unnecessary child like even.  Why can’t they have adult constructive discussions?

Squabbles in parliament is the lead provided for squabbles up and down the land.

It is archaic…

Yup… I am Victor Meldrew…

Challenging Lives – Good for Evolution

As we progress and evolve the nature of the challenges we face whilst incarnate must also change. To evolve we need to learn new things in each lifetime. Along the way there will be a variety of different flavours of life. What is challenging to one being might be facile to another. What we can endure mentally, physically and emotionally will change.

This evolution means that we must learn to drive the vehicle, the physical plane being, as best we can learning as we go to detach from whatever dissatisfactions may or may not arise. It is a human tendency to bemoan our lot, though many so doing, have relatively little to complain about. For swathes of humanity mere existence is a harsh and difficult challenge, for others there is food on the table, money in the bank and a relatively easy physical life. For these the challenges are not about survival, they are more psychological, emotional, and pertaining to the quality or otherwise of their orientation to other humans. Some, already comfortable, are insatiable and greedy. In this instance they are succumbing to avarice {in whatever sense and for whatever} and not facing the challenge of taking only what is truly needed. Excess wins over moderation. Insatiability dominates the notion of enough.

Some challenges like the forced separation from a loved one, test mettle to the core. Some have unpleasantness directed at them and to forebear this without ire or revenge sets one above the average. Have a think about how prevalent the notion of revenge is in modern society. It underpins much “entertainment” and people go on about getting revenge on ex-partners and other sports teams. It is so primitive, yet it is an emotive theme present in art, literature, and film. There is a tendency to gloat over revenge accomplished. Yet the challenge to resist the temptation to be petty has been missed and no doubt this motif will reoccur until the being learns. Revenge begets revenge and it is silly.

In general evolution is about lifting oneself up, out of the mud of socially conditioned behaviour, reducing pettiness and point scoring. Taking one’s mind out of the mire and yet not judging it. It is to see where people are at and not looking down the nose. We are all on a journey, some have travelled a little further than others. That is all.

I mentioned previously shortcomings. These amount to things which we need to learn, not to be egotistical for example. Indulging is the opposite of facing. It is the nature of all challenge that we will fail many times before we learn. Human beings who imagine themselves homo sapiens are in fact rather slow and stubborn learners. One of the hardest things to acquire is a genuine, proportionate humility. The other is a sense of patience and forbearance, with no grumpiness and sense of being hard done by. This is particularly so in our times of instantaneous gratification.

In this life I picked an athletically able body with a sound intellect. In my mid-thirties I was tempted by power and money together with the trappings, and I chose that word deliberately, so associated. In general, I did a decent job of facing these. Since then, the vehicle has had numerous health concerns and I have had to take it to the mechanics often. I have joked that this is to cure me of the desire for another piece of meat in which to abide. I have renounced status and now live as a foreigner of low status in a foreign land. To many the loss of status is an idea which they dread, status and kudos are desired and sought. It takes a long time to realise that they are like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, not real. This loss of status challenge implies that I was a tad too fond of status in previous lives.

“Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear.”

Marcus Aurelius

In one sense we, as the reincarnating causal jiva, select the vehicle and circumstances for our next learning experience, or life.  These lives may be easy or difficult. The level of challenge offered is proportional to the potential for evolution and learning. As per the above quotation. If we handle our life challenges well, we learn. If we do not, we still learn only we do so the hard way. How we use the potential for any given life is causal of the effects called subsequent lives.

“What we do now echoes in eternity.”

Marcus Aurelius

If we are slow to learn and arrogant, sooner or later we will get a life in which we are thoroughly knelt by the universe. If for example you are arrogant, you won’t believe what I just wrote. If you are self-diagnosed omniscient sooner or later you will be shown the error of your ways, if not in this life, then in subsequent ones.

There are lives in which much progress is made, and these are characterised by some form of hardship. The harder the life, the more daunting the challenge, the greater the potential for evolution. If your life is characterised by struggle and hardship, it is a good thing. It means that you, the causal jiva has decided that you are up for it, you can hack it. You may not enjoy, but you can do.

“What we cannot bear removes us from life; what remains can be borne.”

Marcus Aurelius

When you have learned by challenge there is less need for repetition so the nature of the challenges evolve, as you the causal jiva, progress on your journey “home”.  The nature of the learning varies and can get very subtle or very harsh. Facing apparent adversity with detachment and a good mental attitude, is nearly always the way forward. To lift out of emotions and see challenge for what it is, opportunity for learning and evolution. These challenges are tests that you, the real you, have set for yourself, here “self” at the level of causal jiva and not personality.

This is my postulate for today:

Challenging lives are good for your evolution.

When Will You Be Satisfied?

Within the paradigm of Materialistic Hedonistic Consumerism there is no space for “enough” apart from in a most fleeting temporal moment. In general people want more. Someone will always be better have a bigger house, a better trophy wife, more postnominals and higher kudos.

The economy in this paradigm is supposed to grow so that the paradigm, blessed be its name, can be sustained. This implies a continuous extension of demand. A global “enough” cannot therefore exist if there is to be economic growth. I don’t know where this mantra of “must grow, must grow” came from. It is not very sensible in the context of finite planetary resource, is it?

If you are not satisfied, then by definition you have not had enough {satis} and are therefore dissatisfied. The level of dissatisfaction varies from person to person. Some are natural Scrooges, some Eeyores and some are like Midas. There is a lot of envy and comparison mind is pandemic. People are forever comparing themselves to some rubric, some fantasy world.

Some like to self-flagellate with their thoughts and criticisms.

There is often a mental barrier.

“When I get my chair at Cambridge, then I will be happy…”

I might say no you won’t. You will be working your arse off!!

I’ll make a postulate here:

Comparison mind is a major cause of global dissatisfaction and suffering.

“Mummy he got one more sweetie than me. It is not fair!!”

I’ll do a little exercise of comparison mind.

I live on a low income, I am in my late fifties, with poor health and a background level of arthritic pain, my wife has an incurable disease, I am socially isolated, I am lacking in kudos and have little or no physical plane power. I have no ambition.

Now think of 40-50 words which describe your life. Make it succinct.

In your opinion who is likely to be more dissatisfied with their lot, you or me?

What was the basis of your comparison?

Which assumptions did you make?

When Will You Be Satisfied?

Marmite, Vegemite and Twiglets…

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
Six foot four, full of muscle
I said, “Hey, do you speak-a my language, buck?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…

The Twiglets arrived today and tomorrow the Marmite is due. I have been toying with ordering some Vegemite.

If you are British, you will understand the Marmite thing, either you love it or hate it. You might get drawn into the Vegemite or Marmite debate. I am bi-lingual.

For three years I had Vegemite sandwiches out in the depths of Queensland, Australia. Many years later in the UK I reverted back from Marmite to Vegemite. I have been on Marmite for over a decade now.

If you have lived pretty much your entire life in the UK, it is difficult to imagine being seared by the semi-desert outback sun and then cooked in the African bush as a child. I say that I am part desert creature and instinctively seek shade.

I’ll make a postulate.

Human beings tend to assume a whole bunch of stuff about others without ever checking if those assumptions are in anyway close to reality. They may make weighty and important decisions based on these assumptions without doing any checks and balances.

What do you reckon to this postulate?

I recently explained to someone that I probably had delayed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder {PTSD} because of events in the African bush as an 11-year-old. This hypothesis is consistent with my hyper-alert state in my early adult life and possibly lent a hand to my anxiety and depression. Nobody who was treating me ever asked if I had seen in close quarters a man being dragged under to die by a Nile crocodile. The idea of PTSD was not very trendy back then. I was in London and not Lusaka. The hypothesis is consistent with some of my risk-taking behaviours such as walking down the tube tracks into Southgate station on my way from Cockfosters to Bounds Green because I had no money for a taxi. The second time I did this I got busted by the transport Police.

Since we have been here, we have seen half-a-dozen or so snakes. When I mentioned it to the professional hunters and the mole hunter, they all reacted, they kind of shivered. Is there something about Catholicism and serpents? Who knows? I am quite relaxed; an adder, or a grass snake is not a black mamba or a brown snake.

People assume a whole bunch of stuff. There was a time when people felt that I was motivated by financial self-interest and greed. But I was seeking to raise money for a retreat centre and not a posh house, car and lifestyle.

I am going to put two questions, one of which is mildly satirical. They related to my postulate.

Have you ever assumed something about someone and been so very far off the mark that it was retrospectively toe-curlingly embarrassing?

Did you behave like a poorly spelled Danish king towards said individual?