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

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“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?

Will Economic Growth Slow Planetary Warming?

In the UK people, politicians, chant the mantra of economic growth. It will, by magic, put more money into the treasury and be the answer to all our woes. We have had growth before and yet social injustice and financial inequity persist. The wand of growth lacks efficacy and generality. It is perhaps a false God.

I would really like someone without recourse to hand waving, gesticulation, assertion, and bluster, to explain to me how and in precisely what manner economic growth will slow down planetary warming.

“Blah, blah, blah, green economy. Blah, blah, blah, more renewables.”

I would really like to be enlightened…

Just exactly where is the energy going to come from to fuel this economic growth? Is nuclear fusion a ready technology? How much energy is needed to build a nuclear power station? Can we buy enough solar panels from China?

I doubt anyone will be able to provide a watertight and cohesive argument to prove {or even theorise sanely} that continued economic growth will slow planetary warming.

There may be wishful thinking and vested interests.

This paradigm of exploit, waste, and “grow”, is old fashioned.

Yet we have people saying that we must set targets for emissions, {moveable according to convenience}, and gather together to save the planet. There is a lot of show and tell, much less do.

The problem is these agreements have fewer natural teeth than someone who has been to a Turkish dentist for a full refurb.

The world is not yet serious about this and despite natural disasters it keeps pressing the snooze button.

There is a logical flaw.

On a planet of finite resource continuous economic growth cannot be sustained indefinitely, nor for that matter can population growth.

I really, really, would like a genius to explain to me {in reality} how “growth” will slow down and/or reverse planetary warming.

I just don’t see it…

Alternate Realities

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

Brian Eno and David Byrne

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I have been pondering upon this a little today and not from a weird science fiction multiverse angle rather a view which is much more mundane.

The alternate realities stem from how we cognitively assemble the world or rather our version of it.

It would be possible, for example, for me to carry out an experiment using a laser to record a vibronic spectrum of a molecule and to agree almost entirely on the outcome of that experiment with someone who “lives” in an alternate reality to mine. In the context of the experiment my means of interpretation would be entirely consistent with others around the globe equally skilled in the art.

Yet the “reality” we each live in would be different.

I had a Muslim student once who used to pray in a darkened laboratory and was consequently a trip hazard. Although our core believes were different, we shared common ground, our worlds intersected in spectroscopy.

The “reality” in which a country of >60 million souls is “besieged” by an influx, a horde, of cross channel immigrants is not one which I share. There has been precedent, William the Conqueror.

Immigration is a natural phenomenon. World history is underpinned by it and aboriginal cultures are often ethnically cleansed on a massive scale. I don’t see an ethnic cleansing of the UK currently on the cards. No need to be so dramatic, then.

If for example you are hardwired into the Matrix of modern living, there are elements of my world which would be alien. You may be Pavlovian tuned to a small microcomputer with three cameras and a hefty price tag. When “God” beeps or vibrates you must consult the pocket oracle. Yesterday I turned on our new Moto ‘phone for the first time in three weeks. The idea was for it to do updates and then for it to go back into hibernation. That ‘phone has sent and received only two texts since purchase and has never been used for a ‘phone call.

In my alien world that makes sense. It is a non-sequitur for others.

If one has attained a measure of non-attachment, that alters the very fabric of reality in comparison to someone who is still hooked line and sinker, to the socio-political world construct in one of its guises.

If you have not attained non-attachment, it is impossible for you even to begin to experience or guess what non-attachment is like. I can remember attachment so I have a better chance of assimilating your “world” than you do mine. I could probably operate in your “world” with less difficulty than you in mine.

A step function change from clinging and attachment to letting go and nonattachment would be very unsettling.

Overnight if you had to drop attachment to your career, your status, your beautiful house, your marriage, your status and turn off, extinguish, your pocket computer deity, it could be tricky to handle. {Could you go cold-phone-turkey?}

Your mind might ask, “what is wrong with attachment?” It may seek to justify being attachment to a host of stuff.

In one reality attachment and clinging are the fabric of a reality.

In another where attachment holds far less importance reality has already changed.

On the same planet, without a wormhole, these two different realities can co-exist.

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If you dropped all of your attachments would your reality change dramatically or stay the same?

Ponder on this…

What would it be like to have next to no attachments?

What is Significant?

I ask this in terms of life events. What is significant to some is not for others and vice versa. In a sense significance is personal and sometimes aligned to priorities, though life can chuck in a few curve balls.  Having a child is significant, for example.

Long long ago, in a land far away, the notion of getting a “chair” held some significance in my imagination and more so in that of those around me. It was some kind of a big deal and many worked directly at this “pot of gold”.  The career held significance and obsession for many to the extent that they sacrificed elements of their intimate relationships and mental health upon its altar. For some reason being able to say prof. was important. It was a rite of passage.

What I mentioned about superconductivity previously is significant to the science community and perhaps eventually society at large. Bold claims are bound to be met with scepticism and critique. It could change much.

Science loves a scandal and is terrified about being tainted by one personally.  There are a lot of hand wringing, ultra-conservative people who would not go near any whiff of a scandal even with a bargepole of infinite length. However, when the scandal passes, they will claim to be bezzie-mates with the prior leper. Courage is not a common quality amongst the conservative fearful of their precious reputation.

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Everybody wants to be bezzie-mates with a Noble prize winner and might even dine out on such reflected glory. Nobody wants to be associated with a plague-ridden leper.

People can be fickle and many are “fair-weather” “friends”.

Human nature does not always attain lofty excellence and impeccability.

Significance is often a quality of hindsight and this is evidenced by the Nobel science prizes themselves. In general, though not exclusively, proximity to death is a common factor in the award of a prize. The committee is said to look into any reasons why not, these include any scandal and may once have meant that proven public sodomy precluded award. Fashion always plays a role in prize giving.

Blue LEDs have the changed the world but it was not “rocket science” to invent one, it was incremental progress.

People can miss things which are truly significant only for hindsight to slap them around the chops with a wet pollack.

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What do you deem to be significant?

What does significant signify to you?

Have you ever missed something truly significant because you were self-absorbed?

Has hindsight ever slapped you with a wet pollack?

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?

Who Are You Monitoring?

I started using the internet in the mid-late eighties using FTP to transfer large files produced by quantum chemical calculations. It has changed a lot since then. It has become the #1 enabler of person stalking. It is very easy to look somebody up and find out stuff about them. One can monitor all their social media and see if they put photos up which are inconsistent with the narrative they tell you. One can obsess about the exes of current partners, or the new partners of one’s exes.

The internet is a doorway into obsession which never existed before.

It is therefore possible that people are monitoring me via this blog, in a manner unknown to me and with a motive which I do not know. In the unlikely event that this is happening I wonder if they think it wise to do so. We all feel it our right to monitor, spy and otherwise act in a voyeuristic manner here on this brave new world, the new playground which does not have a literal sand pit rather an ability to comment on content, judge and obsess.

Most of the people who visit this blog do so in a grown up way, they swing by, if they like something they click. They are not playing sneaky secret squirrels; they are being sensible and overt. I don’t think there is any conscious “monitoring” vibe.  Some may use keywords or topics and that is about as far as it goes.

I have been experimenting with Twitter, TikTok and Instagram. I cannot see what all the fuss is about. There is so much stuff that I would never want to read / look at. OK. I am an old fart and a dinosaur. Given all the hoo-ha I was expecting something less shite. Expectations…hype…next best thing since sliced bread…hmn…

It turns out that if I was to ever need a new CV I could say, given this blog, that I am an Internet Content Creator. I could hype that up at interview.

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Knock me down with a feather

Clever Trevor

Widebrows wonder whether

Clever Trevor’s clever

Chaz Jankel / Ian Robins Dury

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So, despite my best efforts I have been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Next thing you know I will be downloading Android apps to my ‘phone so that Big Brother can monitor my whereabouts by GPS. They can look at the chip which was implanted by Bill Gates during my Covid vaccination. They can control me electronically with it like an Iranian drone. And when the Aliens come, they can offer them some of my DNA.

These social media apps encourage you to follow people like footballers and fashion influencers. The Daily Mail gives a précis of social media. If someone famous un-follows a partner, it is big fricking news. The newspapers monitor social media. Weird.

The only account that I look at regularly is “No Context Brits”. I don’t monitor it but I do visit. A bit of piss taking can help with the day.

Anyway, here are some questions

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Who are you monitoring?

Why, what do you get out of it?

What is your motive?

Is it entirely healthy?

Are you a clever secret squirrel?

Differing Notions of Reality

I’ll kick this off in the mundane. Today the wife has been to hospital for her Zometa infusion to help strengthen her bones against disease.

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Tomorrow morning before dawn we will try to get Bowie into her cat carrier and take her up to the vets to have her bits done and vaccinations updated. After that, assuming all goes well, Bowie needs to be indoors for ten days. The stray cat will get central heating…it already knows how to use a litter tray. We should pick her up before close of play tomorrow.

I read in the news that Western Australia is looking to recruit Brits. There is a job going as head of Molecular Sciences at a university in Perth. Unfortunately I no longer fit the bill, nor do I have any referees, so there is no point in me applying. I know {briefly} one senior member of staff there.

After the work done to repair the Clio the lights on the trailer have stopped working. I have isolated the problem {I think} and should be able to have a crack at fixing it. This will save a few hundred euros.

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There are many people who might be afraid, bricking it even, after a dream like the one I had this morning. In general people do not speak to/with disembodied dead people. But how else could you speak to a dead person? They are not going to be walking around all meaty and perhaps malodorous, despite however many zombie films/programmes you may have watched. The essence of the dead no longer animates the form. They must by definition {almost} be disembodied.

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A lot of people pooh-pooh the notions of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Yet their unwillingness to enter a so-called haunted house at midnight is directly proportional to the volume and adamant nature of their pooh-poohing.

I can make an unverifiable statement.

I have communicated with people who are dead as per the criteria of the medial profession. The number of “people” I have done this with exceeds a dozen, in this lifetime. Some were very distressed, others not, they were simply swinging by.

So, while people may pooh-pooh, I will say, “place your bets”. If you are right then we will never speak again. If not, then maybe you {the disembodied you} might just drop by one evening to say hi. I would resist the urge to say “I told you so…”

There are two different notions of reality here.

1) There exists no communicative entity after death. Alan is therefore a complete loony-tune. He has lost his marbles and is a few cards short of a deck. That a “scientist” like him should fall so low is a shame. Sad.

2) A fragment, a part of the essence of being remains after death and is able to communicate with appropriately skilled beings.

I personally am not overly fussed if people believe me or not. If they are adamant, I would like to invite them to hang out in a haunted house overnight with me. Put your money where your mouth is, balls out and all that. A soap box is a good place, a good height, from which to shit a brick. Armchair and keyboard warriors may feel more courageous in their executive or gaming chair in front of a computer.

In front of peers, and with the courage that proffers, many are insistent that their notion of reality is the only one.

At twilight, in the middle of the bush or on a dark unlit inner city street, the rigidity of that professed reality starts to shimmer, refract and change.

The “reality” if context dependent, is not universally real, it is a perceptual context dependent ersatz.

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I can switch comfortably between talking about diary entries in mundane physical plane reality and talking with the dead in the wee small hours. I have no need to change my trousers. I know which world I am in and when.

Do you?

Wrong Battles

Because of late I have been setting “traps” for cats and moles I have found it interesting re-reading Castaneda. People who are paranoid and suspicious might imagine that I am metaphorically talking about traps which I am setting for them. Nowt so queer as folk. I am really catching physical plane cats and physical plane moles.

There are a group of people for whom winning is important, and losing is something which they hate. Trump says he is a winner but many of his businesses have failed. He forgets these in his victory rhetoric.

There are those that really want to beat others, perhaps that makes them feel less insecure.

Those keen on winning have some metrics of success by which they might measure their victory. Rarely does it occur to them that their success metrics may not transfer to those who they are seeking to beat. They the imagined protagonists may be fighting entirely different battles. They may not be fighting at all, there can be a unilateral imaginary “war”.

For example if someone wants to gain one-up-man-ship against me in their own context I am quite likely to let them “win” because I do not assign any importance to the context in which they are so adamant about winning. It is their drama not mine.

If someone wants to be right and clever, who am I to disappoint them by proving otherwise?

Those keen on winning want to win quickly and soon, this means that although they may have a short term victory the long term consequences may differ. The sweet taste of victory may pale in the subsequent shit storm.

They know nothing of patience.

When I was a child of 10-11 my father bought me “Don’t Die in the Bundu” by Colonel Grainger of the Rhodesian army {SAS}. He had me read this. He himself had been an army officer in the Malayan insurgency. So, I learned theoretical bushcraft at an early age, in Zambia. I have practiced some of the techniques subsequently.

Although a “city slicker” on one level I have lived in the African Bundu and the Australian bush of the far outback.

The thing about traps is patience. Without it they are no good.

People convinced on their victory metrics and thereby blinded may walk straight into a trap of their own making. There is no need for me to set any traps.

Many people walk head first into traps of their own making, because they are fighting the wrong “battle”.

The correct battle, in normal society, is nearly always with self and not any external enemy.

Am I your enemy?

Self-Obsession – The New Pandemic

I think it accurate to say that the phenomenon of self-obsession is reaching dizzying new heights in this century. It is pandemic in that it can be found on all sides and in all nations. Never before in human history has there been so many terabytes of self-images recorded either with or without filters or photoshopping. People are obsessed by and with image. The imaginary illusion of image holds great power over the human psyche and causes untold self-induced mental angst and suffering. The obsession with self-promotion and having a blurb to sell to others about our wonderful “self” is a cul-de-sac, which leads nowhere other than our own lower posterior sphincters. It causes myopia and blindness, whereby we imagine that the entire universe rotates around our own wants, needs, desires and things that we imagine we deserve.

If we do not engage in this pictorial and presentational folly, we are to an extent excluded from the lunacy of the herd.

People can go to extraordinary lengths to protect this “image” without acknowledging the specificity of language implied. They can even imagine that their image is real!! They defend an illusion and feel thoroughly justified is so doing.

They do not suspect that they are blinkered or blinded. They cannot see the blinkers of obsession which prevent them from having a wider view with a more comprehensive perspective. They are unaware of their own selective and limited world view.

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Are you blinded by your obsession with your own self-image?

Is your world view almost entirely self-centred?

Are you an important being?

Does the universe revolve around you?

Carbon Budgets

We live on a plot of land of 0.8 hectare which we tend and there are ~100 trees of varying sizes, some are ginormous. There are four big lawns, many shrubs, and bushes. There are irises, rushes, pondweed and phytoplankton.  A very rough estimate suggests that this greenery sequesters something like 10 metric tonnes of CO2 per year. We don’t travel very far {none by air} and burn about 1.5 tonnes of propane a year generating 4.5 tonnes of CO2.

The rest of our heating comes from wood, which is a renewable, most we grow ourselves. Of course, we use electricity but do not have a need for a new mobile ‘phone every five minutes. We are not dedicated followers of “fashion” and we do not buy a new Mercedes every year.

We try to be sensible but not obsessive with recycling.

I doubt that our electricity, water, and car fuel {carbon} budgets exceed 5.5 metric tonnes per year.

One could argue that our carbon footprint is ~net zero or even negative.

It is a very interesting thing to do for one, a human being, to assess. The information needed is available on the internet if you look hard enough.

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What is your carbon budget like?

Are you net zero or are you adding significantly to global warming?

Have you ever tried to do your own calculation?

Give it a go….I dare you…