The abuse of privilege

I have once again been irked by an arrogant journalist, bemoaning the fact that the media has been denied access to a coronial report, until such time as the coroner has made findings. “After all it’s our right” he expostulated to smarmy nods from news anchors.

These are the vultures who pitch up on the doorsteps of grieving families for a tragic The press as vultures.news bite and travel to other States when there’s no house fire, road accident or crime of sufficient horror to merit news in their own state.

They apparently have the right to pronounce on evidence before judicial officers and the right to demand statements from accused criminals, family members and supporters.

media changes

The Police do little to prevent these leeches from swarming around these stressed people, seeking some blood or tears. It was likely this ilk of journalistic parasite that hounded Princess Diana into her tragic fatal flight. They are the ones that intrude and pursue public personalities exaggerating their lifestyles and often their own opinions of themselves.

Editorial discretion and journalistic integrity have been lost in the fight for ratings and first headlines. Now anything people will pay for is media fodder: “if it bleeds it leads”!

first bad news

Then there are the reality shows … scripted productions where people mimic courtship and marriage to the detriment of those once hallowed and personal treasures.

Not to mention the ‘fake news’ phenomenon which has cast doubts on the veracity and reliability of every media publication, because some spray extreme and sensationalist stories without rigourous research and scrutiny to verify them or consider the impact on society at large. Thus the total output has become contaminated and should be treated with great scepticism, which most fail to do, so they become affected by the ‘fake news’ disease.

Television especially has an exceptionally privileged position in society: they have access to nearly every household. Their output is available to all at the click of a button. this is the newsIt is reasonable to expect some awareness of and responsibility for the material they broadcast.

They have the opportunity to build the appropriate culture and values which show people how to behave. Instead, they promote false and distasteful realities which many unsuspecting viewers are unable or unwilling to discern and base their dream worlds and behaviour upon.

It and the internet have replaced the traditionally revered positions in our society that judges, priests, doctors and bank managers held. These figures and their images have been lampooned and trivialised by media series.

Where are the heroes and models of good behaviour.  real idolGovernment regulations require us to barricade swimming pools to prevent danger to children, but they don’t require barriers to television or internet to prevent access by children.

The ordinary voter is not inclined to the exercise of judicious or temperate thoughts and deeds. Just like the political and economic systems, the freedom of the press needs curtailing and review, because democracy has failed.

media control

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Flit like a butterfly…

meer focus

You might wake up some mornin’
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you’re quick enough to rise
You’ll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone’s fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow

That was Bob Lind singing about the elusive butterfly of love.

The butterfly I am thinking of flits aimlessly, changing direction for no reason other than a splash of colour, is wafted up and sideways by the breeze….

That’s my mind, which generally has a struggle to focus and apply itself. Distraction is easy and frequent and false hares are irresistible once started, so I end up foxless.

Is that procrastination, a lack of discipline, poor focus, scant 1 thing at a timeconcern? Probably all; which is somewhat depressing. Tenacity and determination have always been my weak point: it took me 14 years to achieve my BA, for heaven’s sake!

 

in the momentPhew! This started out as flash realisation it was Friday and I had not written my weekly blog and a mild self castigation for following  bloody butterflies again!

 

I have been meaning to read up on meditation; maybe this is another message?

who cares

Enjoy your weekend, y’all!

Would Jesus have escaped his fate in 2017?

The manner of Jesus’ death was not unusual for the times, in a conquered country ruled by powerful Roman overlords, who would have required Hebrew authorities to maintain a peaceful and calm populace.

Pilate washHowever, the attempts to evade responsibility for the decision to execute Jesus, suggest some uneasiness.

Jesus preached radical views and evicted the moneylenders from the Temple in Jerusalem and defied the Pharisees and Sadducees. He gathered crowds around him and had clearly attracted quite a following. He also defied the Sanhedrin – these were the power brokers of the times.

There would have been some who recalled the 12 year old boy Jesus,
who had displayed advanced scriptural knowledge in discussion with the elders in the Temple and who even then said he was about his Father’s business.

As a man, in accordance with custom, he read the scripture of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, and claimed to be the fulfillment of that scripture. No doubt there were reports about miraculous cures and the wonderful feeding of thousands and other miracles. Certainly 1000’s gathered to follow him and listen to what he said.

The Pharisees and Saducees were obviously sceptical and disbelieving and examined him. He remained obdurate and popular – a clear threat to the hegemony of the local government of the times, who had also caused the execution of John the Baptist who had announced the coming of the Messiah.

PalmSundayIn the book of Zachariah it was written: “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It suggests that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, to great popular acclaim.

revol doctrineNow these are acts which are of a political consequence. Here was a potential challenge to existing authority. The claim to be the Son of God was surely false.

coming of christ

Surely, God would inform his priests and give heavenly indication of His Son’s arrival,  by attending Him with Archangels, Seraphim and Cherubim?
So a political decision was made to remove the radical upstart who had attracted a large following and threatened their autonomy. The execution was conducted, comparatively humanely for the times, as his legs were not broken to hasten his demise, but he was stabbed in the side with a spear.

In modern times, rumours of poisoning of citizens in Syria, have attracted swift retribution from powerful military overlords. Yet the decimation of rural population with murdered citizens being thrown down old mine shaafrican-tyrantsfts by an African tyrant, did not even attract condemnation from the same military overlord who had installed the tyrant in years gone by.

Politics is a dirty game, in which compassion and tolerance are hindrances, not given any countenance.

Not much has changed. Even now, I wouldn’t be surprised at the same thing happening again to Jesus – save that His miracles would have gone viral. Mind you they would probably be written off as fake news !

Good Friday Feelings

I must confess to a great sadness that hangs around me as the week nears Good Friday. My mind echoes with the sad hymns of Easter which describe the jesus crowntorment, mockery and suffering that Jesus endured; learned during the torturous (for young boys) service of Stations of the Cross.

There is a green hill far away

I am almost mystified by the full moon and the still, chill Autumn Easter season heralding winter.

This is the influence of a Catholic upbringing in which Good Friday was a sombre day for repentance and sorrow; icons were covered, the altar was bare and the bells replaced by wooden clappers.

The joy of Easter Sunday is a marked contrast which puzzled my schoolboy mind. Vestments are white and candles and Easter Eggs abounded, representing the new life of the risen God.

easter joy

The Easter Bunny too played its part:  “originating among German
Lutherans, the “Easter Hare” originally played the role of
a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in  at the start of the season of Eastertide.”easter rabbit

The holyday weekend usually sees an exodus to the pleasure domes and sultry sea, so the churches should not suffer for space, like at Christmas. But in fact they do – as Christians celebrate the new life and re-commit themselves to spiritual focus and fleshly discipline. Not a bad thing, for we are a decadent bunch.hallelujah chorus stand

And here is a wonder to uplift you!

Hallelujah Chorus

Spreading Happiness by the body

camel feeling goodYeah! I am back on the happy horse again. In the past, I believe that happiness and fulfillment were neglected. It’s like what happened to butter – it was once a no-no, with potentially fatal consequences (it and a lot of other stuff too).

Now we find that butter is really good for you. Suddenly old fashioned cooking and remedies are the in-thing. We should have stuck with our grandmother’s advice – after all, it was based on centuries of experience. Who said: Too much learning is a dangerous thing?  Give him a banana!

And so with happiness, the traditional approach to mental conditions, attitudes and behaviour has been from the unhappy end of the spectrum: cause and cure research has been focussed on the unhappiness in anxieties, neuroses and psychoses.

med next aisleLately, the realisation has dawned that the other end of the spectrum is the cure to many of those ills and greater attention has switched to positive psychology.

So prevention and cure could be: Don’t worry be happy!

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrivepositive-psychology-mind-map

A  Daily Telegraph article by Philip Johnston highlighted the new focus on happiness and wellbeing:

  • More than 200 colleges either have research institutes or offer courses in positive psychology.
  • Politicians are saying things like:
    • “the best society is that where the people are happiest, and the best policy is the one that produces the greatest happiness”.
    • “The first thing we know is that in the past 50 years, average happiness has not increased at all  – despite massive increases in living standards.”
  • Economists have noticed one apparent paradox: that despite a substantial increase in GDP in the industrialised West, the levels of human contentment have remained static.

More and more countries are developing a happiness and well-being index and measuring progress.

be so happyIn 2011, the United Nations invited all countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies. The first World Happiness Report was published in 2012. The 2017 Report is available online.

make someone happyMy point is that if it’s happening on national levels, then everyone should be measuring their own happiness and well-being and working at improving it and spreading happiness.

Always look on the bright side of life!

As you may detect, this is not all my own stuff: I am doing a free course on Happiness and Fulfillment offered through Coursera.

If you are interested, have a look; there are 100’s of free info-only courses. I am on my third one!

Hallelujah Chorus