If you are right … I am wrong (or vice versa)

The origin of this thought was  my ongoing despair when I consider religions.

What finally shook me out of the tree is the fundamental rule of most religions: If you do not believe, you will be denied Heaven. You have got to pay your dues to be able to get the benefits. Sorry for you if you haven’t actually heard about Him/Her or just think that there may be better explanations out there

You may be thinking that is a bit tough for pygmies, headhunters and Amazon Indians? I shouldn’t worry because humans are amazingly adaptable and flexible: they make their own gods, who make their own rules which will let you into Heaven by another door. The Dalai Lama had it right.

roman greek godsBut the gods are jealous and they protect their interests by excluding non-believers, some more radically than others.

I yearn to believe, because that would make the world easier to understand, accept and depart from – knowing there is a happy landing on the other side. But I am sceptical: I believe that man has manipulated the yearning for God and produced evidence that his version is right, so I must do what he says.

stone age warrior

Way back in time, people realised that they could hunt and defend themselves better and more easily find mates if they worked and lived together. If the strongest man kept on taking all the meat for himself, others would leave seeking safer and more co-operative groups.

So he gave some of the kill to others; if somebody took too much or too soon, they got whacked. The old and weak drank from rivers first to ascertain if there were crocodiles, women carried the food and walked behind, children could be seen but not heard… rules were born.

indian shamanWith rules came priests… they became the recorders of the rules, distinguished between right/good and wrong/evil and in due course became the explainers of the origin of the rules, the guardians of the Light.NagaSadhu

The easiest explanation was that God made the rules, but he was invisible and only spoke to his priests. The forte of the strong was brawn not brain, so warrior kings believed the priests…who anointed kings as gods…

bishop

In due course, the magic of rituals and symbols was developed, by the priests, who jealously guarded their access to God.

So we saw the Crusades and the rise of Islam and the Inquisition and the Reformation and pogroms and all the terrible rituals and punishments that we were led to believe were sanctified by God.

This continued for millennia, until priests became too greedy. Learning uncovered the sources and mysteries of faith, which allowed the freedom of choice, in turn allowing the common man to accept or reject or even offer a better explanation. And so religions proliferated as the advantages of power over the minds of people became apparent and commercially viable. Christianity alone has seen an increase in denominations from 1600 in 1910 to 43,000 in 2012.

Too many are saying: listen to me, my interpretation is better than yours; my Bible is better than your Koran or her Baghavad Gita. If you do not then you are wrong and I may not love you.

What that means to me is that religion causes division, not unity. I fear the magical powers of pastors ordained by their own gods or their own vanity or cupidity.

I fear that religion becomes more divisive despite the many good works performed in its name by the billions of believers.

However, for your peace of mind: China has made re-incarnation without government permission illegal.

 

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Sentiment and the distortion of memory lane

Before you read on let me give you due warning: it is soppy, sentimental, sappy stuff….!

I was idly wondering the other day about the influence that music had on my life and started recalling songs and how old I was when they impressed me.

For some unfathomable reason the first one that came to mind was:

Two little Boys  – I recalled it as the source of some sort of comradely

heroi2 little boysc ideal and thought that I must have been extremely young and immature to think so. Rolf Harris sang it in 1969 when I turned 18!

 

last farewellAnother in the same heroic genre that appealed to me was Roger Whittaker’s The Last Farewell  That came out in 1971 when I was already a quasi-hippy student! What was I doing listening to such establishment warrior class stuff?

Then I remembered a real tear jerker which used to reduce me to tears when I heard it. I thought it was lucky that in Founders House the hit parade was after lights-out so no-one could see me snivelling. When I checked, I found my memory had deceived me again. The song was: Honey  Number 2 on 23 June 1968 LM Hit Parade. I was 16 and playing First XV rugby! – What a toughie!

I began recalling my all time favourites and the number one was a sophisticated piece of music – it must have been in my student years in the 70’s … wronggg again : Procul Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale came out in 1967, when I was still a schoolboy.

 

francoise

I was pretty close with All over the world by Francoise Hardy which came out in 1966 and New York Mining Disaster 1941 by the BeeGees in1967.

Another of my ‘own’ choice of singers was Barry McGuire – I remember playing Eve of Destruction and Masters of War to my Mum – it made her weep and I had to stop. That was about 1969.

Of course, I have forgotten about the Simon and Garfunkel songs, which we used to sing in the school bus on long trips back from rugby games; like I am a rock and Sounds of Silence; my favourite was probably For Emily wherever I may find her

Heavens! I was such a sook!

I musn’t forget my pre-teen years and the influence of my older brother and sister and my parents. My Dad loved Gilbert and Sullivan so it was all The Mikado and HMS Pinafore operetta stuff with a bit of Bach, Mozart and Tschaikovsky thrown in: Jesu Joy, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Piano Concerto No 1 and Handel’s Messiah and Water Music.

Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Pat Boone, Elvis and Cliff also come to mind – so a fairly eclectic exposure, I suppose.

I am still a sook and weep every time I hear Danny Boy for goodness sake!

 

 

 

Just another day*

Awakened by the crowing of my Bantam rooster, I lay thinking of the day ahead.

It is my son’s 95th birthday! I must catch the 15h00 rocket to London. I’ll be there by 18h00 – in time to have a beer and watch him blow the candles out on his cake carrot. I should be back home by midnight, even though Brisbane is almost the furthest Earth journey from London.

I got up and listened to the good news while taking my shower massage. The shaver mask really left one’s face feeling fresh and zingy. The body scanner gave a ping of good health as usual. I haven’t had a problem since replacing all my teeth back in 2048.

I dressed as I scanned the vertical garden on the wall screen. There are some ripe tomatoes, peppers and radishes to harvest; the peaches and strawberries are ready too. Sometimes I miss the lawn but the space is better utilized by the three tower houses I had built. This was easily possible as private lawns were banned and  garages are no longer needed – no-one has owned a motor car for sixty years. With the world population now over 50 billion, living space is at a premium. Global Rule preserved the last 25% of the world’s forests and jungles just before they were consumed. The universal carbon tax saved us from melting down with global warming in the 2020’s. Well done Elon Musk (see blue link above) – he made it abundantly clear for us all, so voting for it wasn’t an issue. He also pioneered the colonisation of New Australia (Mars).

It is startling to think that next year I will reach Euthanasia Day –  I accepted mandatory death and cremation at 133 years of age, long ago. Since the rebellion of the middle-agers, refusing to serve the mandatory 30 years on New Australia (NA), finding more living space on Earth has become impossible. Global Rule has eliminated conflict: wars are no more and the Global Surveillance Judicial system has made crime almost impossible – so our numbers are no longer reduced by the death sentences on major criminals or banishment to NA.

instant justice

Of great satisfaction to me is the fact that politics and legislation, in fact the whole of government is e-based. All the corruption, errors, bias and partisanship of party politics was eradicated by the establishment of RexRegina, the e-Parliament system. Instantaneous referenda and decisions, laws promulgated and updated based on the latest intelligence make life clear and easy.

With the universal availability of free energy and water, every household produces their own food and the drone system enables barter exchange for more exotic needs. In order to avoid the overweight penalty tax, exercise is compulsory but you can take your dog for a run in the virtualpark and program your route to meet as many other people as you prefer. The PoopScoop drones take care of the messy bits.

The only major problems in the world now everyone had a home and education were the continuous tinkering with the gene pool and the lemming-like mass movements of people. Bored out of their skulls by the repetitive agricultural cycle of maintaining their own houses, growing and bartering their own food and ensuring the education and exercise of their child; thousands frequently transgress the virtual barriers of their suburban playgrounds to trash their neighbours’.

Nihilist and mass suicide cults are proliferating as the search for meaningful creativity becomes more difficult.

Enough negative thinking or I will have to have a chat with my Wobot to put me back on the happy track. Hmmm! I think a good old egg and bacon fry-up with boerewors and mushrooms is called for.

boerie and egg

(At least the meat tastes like the real thing, which I haven’t tasted since 2024, even if it is earthworm protein).

 

Maybe I will take a virtual visit to the Louvre to see the Renoir exhibition…

Just another day in 2083.

Kissing Frogs: is lynching the antidote?

 

 

The Heavy Winestain saga is one describing a nasty bully, who is a famous, rich and successful movie producer. On 5 October 2017, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment. More than 90 women including leading actresses and people of great talent and influence, have made accusations of sexual harassment, assault or rape; reports go back as far as the 70’s.

The frenzied reaction has been incredible: after conviction by the media, despite protestations of consensual participation, he was pilloried. Vengeance has been sanctified and the lynch mob been swift and savage:

  • Without benefit of trial he has been condemned, castigated, ostracised;
  • had all his honours and awards withdrawn and
  • the man and his company and other organisations with whom he worked have been slapped with claims for $ millions in damages.

wild dog frenzyIn a snowballing reaction many women and some men who allege unwelcome propositions or harassment by other men, have raised their voices saying #MeToo! More people have had their careers and reputations shattered by lynch mobs with untested allegations.

The outrage has been so holy that women have been castigated for expressing some hesitation over condemnation on the basis of mere allegations of ancient conduct.

It seems that the principles of justice like due process and the statutes of limitations are not applicable.

Winestain was someone who could grant access to stardom: he must have been besieged by many people willing to give their all for a break … one has heard about the casting couch after all.no-bully.jpg

A number of women said NO! to unwanted advances and nothing happened. Some women suffered more than one instance of unwanted attention – why did they expose themselves to that risk again? … and why the delay in reporting…? why were they there in the first place….?

Would it be that they didn’t get what they wanted after they kissed the frog a second time?

He has never been criminally charged for crimes of a sexual nature. Even Saddam Hussein had a trial!

 

Don’t get me wrong: I deplore the abuse of power in order to achieve personal advantage – I also hate bullies. But I get very suspicious when I hear that over 90 intelligent, talented people were cowards – I smell more than one rat. It seems bullying begets bullying!

 

In all of your life there are are going to be some people bigger or stronger, richer or more powerful, or cleverer and meaner than you.

 

timid brave mouseHow do you survive?

  • Avoidance is a good idea;
  • so is shouting No! leave me alone!
  • a slap in the face or a kick in the nuts can be deterrent
  • walking away and calling for help;
  • reporting and drawing attention are all clever things to do… or
  • … you could trade for something he wants…. (just make sure you get before you give!) 

The main thing is: be clever about it: tell others, warn them and stand by them in their time of need, make a noise, shine a light … run fast!

stand_up_dont standby.png