The sugar snake

When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. That is peace. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

But we forget about that and still drink Coke. coke sugar

The average person in industrialized countries consumes about 33.1 sugar snakekilograms of sugar each year.

Sugar has been implicated as chief culprit in the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, hyperactivity and Alzheimer’s disease

My Dad died from dementia, diabetes and depression which are by-products of sugar consumption. I am overweight and my brother has diabetes.

Sweetness and sugar pervaded human taste buds and became embedded in our tastes. An injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the same pleasure centres of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine – it is literally an addictive drug.

Most modern day people are aware of this and cut down on sugar in their tea and stop drinking Coke.

But sugar is everywhere:

If a slippery slab of barbecued ribs makes your heart skip a beat, there’s a good reason why. Blame the 13 grams of sugar for every two tablespoons of BBQ. And with all that grilled meat to coat, who stops at just two.  too much sugar

Fruit yogurt is one of the biggest sugar bombs on the shelves, with 19 grams of sugar, no wonder it tastes like dessert! Dried fruit might as well be candy. Just ⅓ of a cup can have 24 grams of sugar.

A granola bar can pack 12 grams of sugar, so be sure to read the label before demolishing one.

Some types of energy drink pack 83 grams of sugar – no wonder we get a buzz. killing me softly

Sooo … what’s the point?

My point is that we are not just talking toothache here – we are talking disease and death. Don’t be blasé about this – it’s a real threat to all of us!

Taxing sugar is probably a good way to go. Education and example are even better. Become knowledgeable and talk to your children about controlling their own destinies.

But it’s not easy, you have to be strong … not many succeed.

If you acknowledge your addiction, you can significantly better your own health.

But if you don’t, you won’t.

 

sugar diseases

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

Fake News Too

For years now we have been bombarded by marketing campaigns.

marketing-shoutVitamins, insurance, bullet blenders, carpet cleaners, supermarket value, lawyers, housing developments, cruises, charities… the subject is endless and of unlimited creativity.

All of them polished and exaggerated, shined up to make you like them – the thin edge of fake news and not so fake news. Vitamins and health remedies are apparently not what they are made out to be, insurance overcharges with pitfalls in fine print, bullet blenders destroy healthy fibre, carpet
cleaners only work on some carpets…

overwhelmedI remember the riots and looting in London a few years ago; with speculation that the have-nots were so driven and manipulated by marketing that they quickly resorted to marketing-tornadotheft when mayhem let them off their leashes. I thought then and think now that it is bad and immoral to dangle steak in front of hungry dogs, knowing that only the very few top dogs will be able to enjoy it.marketing-pressure

Advertising drives acquisition into addiction – one has to have the latest iphone, music, earphones, news, cars, jeans, sneakers, piercings, tattoos, hairstyle…  All of which is unnecessary shit.

Now the fake news and alt facts confrontation testing journalistic ethics the world over is hopefully a wake-up call to society in general to shake up our values.st-malachy

It is the right time for a new Testament which will show us a way through the lies and blather! St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh forecast in 1132 that Francis would be the last Pope! Brace yourselves non-believers… maybe Armageddon is at hand.

But wait – maybe that was an early version of fake news!

Just to juice up a current debate, let the news seeker become a news xenophobe: only trust those sources you know are reliable. And here’s the rub: how do you authenticate these reliable sources? They are not necessarily (and are very unlikely to be) those that produce stuff you like and agree with! Seek out and examine dissent and contrary views.

Get back and examine your basic values and principles and work from there. Remember distrust of new and different things is not all bad, it can be appropriate.

 

Change is gonna come

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” -Richard Feynman

If one despairs for too long, one may resort to desperate acts.

Certainly if I was an American, the Trumpfarce would lead me to believe that the prevailing system of government has failed. I am not American, but that’s what I think.

Democracy as we know it originated 2000 years ago; the US Constitution and European parliamentary conventions were designed for agrarian society.

Government bureaucracies can no longer keep pace with the chsamson-destructionanges and complexities of our world today.

There are all sorts of distortions and allegations and conspiracies and we can no longer discern what the truth is, nor rely on elected representatives to tell the truth.

What we are witnessing in the US is the self-destruction of a huge political system.  Hopefully it will be the harbinger of a new dawn in political mechanisms. It is not just the US that needs political change.

It is not just the US that needs political change.

Post truths have been bolstered by alternate facts and the need to be first with the news makes Twitter the prime source, with its fake news and flake views of the mad, bad and greedy. Journalistic integrity has largely sold out to Mammon.

All of a sudden, people are hating each other because of the political T-shirts they wear. The concept of loyal opposition in Parliaments or Congresses no longer exists. The modern political goal is solely the attainment and retention of power, notwithstanding the destruction and obliteration of the views of nearly half the population!

When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when different kinds of thinkers aren’t at the table, parliaments become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.

If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.strong-from-weak

Most great things in your life won’t happen by chance, they will happen by choice.

I believe we need to do a reset, and stop limiting next-gen governance by the tools and assumptions of our past approaches.

To meet the huge challenges confronting us, we need more than incremental digital tweaks, we need a breakthrough in large-scale collective wisdom.

We need new political systems which enable effective governance which meets the needs of our society; the information age is when and where it should happen.

We also need an acid test to identify the truth.

ph-3

Most of these thoughts and quotes come from blogs on medium.com and particularly:

Arthur Brock https://medium.com/metacurrency-project/broken-assumptions-of-governance-63cc946ccc6c#.2xe4svqwq

Don’t worry, be happy

I like the idea of positive psychology.  she-believes-she-could

Instead of studying what’s wrong with us to eradicate it, study what is right to emulate it!

The stoic philosopher Epictetus believed that: ‘It’s not things that upset us, it’s our view of things.’

We all have inherent tendencies to certain negative thoughts that evoke unhappiness and disturbance. Once we accept that fact, we can learn to spot these negative thoughts as they arise and then challenge and re-think them.

Or just stop thinking negatively:                  i-decided ctrl-alt-del

 

get-upi-can-do-it
face-sunshine

roses-and-thornsCognitive therapy is all about learning about how our thoughts create our moods; I can recommend it.

be-kind-to-yourself

let-shit-go

It teaches one to test one’s negative thoughts, which become beliefs which become thunderstorms.

 

Looking at them closely discloses their falseness, so they can be discarded.

Fill that space with good thoughts! 

you-are-stronger

Trump: week one

Personally I think he’s a pig: big, orange, clever and dangerous.

trump-finger

But he has generated thoughts and movement and stirred outrage – which I am glad to see.

My first thought is: why do so many find solace in his offerings?

My second thought relates to the stridency of the relatively newly anointed disadvantaged groups, particularly black people and women – that’s what I want to take a dab at.

As historical barriers are removed and cultural confines lifted, black people and women have stepped forward and taken the lead in many enterprises.

Numbering their advances and expecting some sort of parity with historically more numerous white males in leadership roles is not a justifiable measure, it’s a political club to be wielded by the strident.

This very stridency may explain some of the support for Trump: people who feel threatened by the increasing anti-discrimination actions, which frequently enshrine the premise that if a person feels unfairly discriminated against, then that feeling is de facto discrimination.

What has happened of course, is that the stridency of those recently empowered groups has increased and there has been a new cohesion and legitimacy attached to their ccat-fightauses.

Protests in such large numbers such as the women’s anti-Trump marches have thrown up some bitter antagonism seen in blog- attacks on the lack of harassment experienced by the mainly white women marchers compared to past protests by black people.

Talk about losing the plot!

The orange Donald will relish the in-fighting between the two biggest discrimination claimant groups.

orange-donald

State Capture

under-table-dealThis is a form of corruption whereby people in office unfairly enable favourable access to state resources for their benefactors and abandon their duty to protect the state’s interests.

I follow the news of the sub-continent of my birth and read with interest the reports on “state capture” in South Africa. This is supposedly secret corruption which lonobodys-puppetots the government revenue intended for all citizens, inflates project costs and denies fair competition.

Government ministries, processes and security services have been corrupted by the appointment of corrupt and pliant associates, apparently at the direction of a wealthy  family that has spread its tentacles wherever government money is to be had.

In Australia, the curse of the resources boom blunted governments’ abilities to ensure institutions sufficiently robust to withstand the end of the boom.

The Labor party, dazzled by the riches of the boom and driven by Unions, embedded industrial relations structures that cemented employment costs at unsustainable levels. This has stifled enterprise and competitiveness, crippled essential services and generally hamstrung the political ability to change. Looks like state capture to me.reforms-and-corruption

The recent squirms of the  Labor Party Transport Minister while being skewered over the recent train driver debacle in Queensland are interesting. Not surprisingly the whole issue had been engineered by union demands leading to a shortage of drivers. The union went on to talk about stop work meetings over the new arrangements …Talk about wielding the whip hand.

Then there is the ongoing kerfuffle with the construction union and its bunch of standover artists, holding up project schedules and threatening managers, which started over two years ago; surprisingly unresolved by the Labor government.

who-in-chargeOne wonders who is pulling the strings and for what purpose? Are the unions aware of the groundswell of opinion swaying to the right? Is the government allowing these infrastructure breakdowns to stimulate electorate outrage and thus justify smothering the unions?

The plot sickens.

When will the pain to the electorate drive government to break the power of the unions to enable economic and social reform to re-open pathways to growth and stability? Something has to happen.

The neo-liberalism of the 1970’s was essentially a swing to the right by western democracies to roll back the structures that socialism was building into society and the economy. Australia missed that bus, which was hidden by the rich dust of the resources boom.

We are now seeing another swing to the right, this time emanating from the electorate, who seem to be rejecting the status quo and the increasing faceless and ineffectual bureaucracies which are resulting in the abandonment of the middle and lower sections of society. Maybe Australia can catch this bus?

It strikes me that what government is all about is control of governcareer-corruptionment revenue, expenditure and the benefits to be derived from the awarding government contracts, (read “backhanders”).

Reading about the patronage in the American Presidential election, makes me wonder if the South African politicians are just clumsy.

It certainly puts a new perspective on the need for changes.

nice-day-for-rev

A Stairway to Heaven

stairway.jpgYesterday I re-posted a blog which ended in a quote from the Dalai Lama:  “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they got lost.”

That raised thoughts about the pursuit of happiness and whether such a seemingly hedonistic, self-indulgent goal is virtuous and whether it is compatible with a ‘good life’ in the religious sense.daily-choice

Aristotle enshrines happiness as a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself. His conclusion is that happiness depends on the cultivation of virtue

You have got to choose to be good to be happy and good is not that easy, sometimes.

bee happy.jpeg

 

 

 

  • Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence
  • Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. It is the exercise of virtue.
  • Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. Hence it is a goal and not a temporary state.
  • Happiness is the perfection of human nature. Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason.
  • Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one’s life. These virtues involve striking a balance or “mean” between an excess and a deficiency.
  • Happiness requires intellectual contemplation, for this is the ultimate realization of our rational capacities.

In keeping with the Stephen Covey model, 7 habits of happy people are identified:

  • Express your heart – People who have one or more close friendships are happier.
  • Cultivate kindness – Reach out
  • Keep moving and eat well – “sound body, sound mind” 
  • Find your flow – do what you’re doing  because you like what you’re doing
  • Discover Meaning – a close link exists between spiritual and religious practice and happiness
  • Discover and use your strengths – the happiest people are those that have discovered their unique strengths  and virtues and use those strengths and virtues for a purpose that is greater than their own personal goalspiglets-heart
  • Treasure gratitude, mindfulness, and hope – gratitude is one of the greatest virtues. It defeats pride which is the sneakiest of vices.

Most of the above comes from http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org

do-i-make-you-happyThis website has wonderful and good stuff on positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness. Check it out and start looking for your own stairways, y’all.

 

 

 

 

Angst, Ennui and Weltschmertz: Petrol of Inertia

how-old-beforeAngst is a type of anxiety that arises in response to nothing in particular, or the sense of nothingness itself. It’s not exactly fear and not the same as worry, but a simple fachappy-crisist of the human condition, a feeling that disrupts peace and contentment for no definable reason.

The mood has flitted through my mind from time to time.

Ennui ii-have-ennuis defined as a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction with connotations of self-indulgent posturing and European decadence. Just a bit frilly for me, like a lace handkerchief splashed with cologne, pressed to the brow.fainting-by-nos

Weltsworld-problemchmerz describes a world weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be with how it really is.  Just a bit too saintly and clear cut for me.

 

My angst is that these feelings predominate amongst those that drove stalled the inert middle of the electorate in recent events, allowing the radical fringes to climb to the top of the dunghill and proclaim the virtues of their causes!

So the solutions, and it is not too late, are to exchange the cologne on the hanky for sal volatile to clear the ennui, energise the angsters and a kick in the weltschmerz for the others to get them moving.

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”- Yogi Berra

 

I am grateful to Arika Okrent (lovely name) for some enlightenment on occasional moods and the gift of lovely words.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

How red is my neck?

Conservatism and its modernising, anti-traditionalist rivals, liberalism and socialism, are the dominant political philosophies and ideologies of the post-Enlightenment era. Conservatives criticise their rivals for making a utopian exaggeration of the power of theoretical reason, and of human perfectibility. 

Conservative prescriptions are based on what they regard as experience rather than reason; for them, the ideal and the practical are inseparable. Most commentators regard conservatism as a modern political philosophy, even though it exhibits the standpoint of paternalism or authority, rather than freedom.

Andy Hamilton:  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy                                           http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conservatism/

I pretty much agree with that and identify myself as of a conservative nature. Back in the day I was regarded as a left wing liberal and warned of deportation in apartheid South Africa.

To gauge my conservatism, I have being trying to articulate what things get my goat or with which I tentatively and delicately disagree.

Let me say first of all that I believe respect and equal opportunity should be offered to everyone, until they stuff it up by poor conduct (and I’ll be the judge of that! Heh, heh!).

The rise of socialism has led to vast numbers of unproductive, dependent voters who have realised how their benefits can be prolonged. The give of the left and the take back of the right result in pendulum governance which can rarely apply sufficient measures to ensure the future economy which is the foundation of a healthy society.

The political party whip and majority rule systems reduce major issues to oversimplified bilateral voting which frequently deny voters’ intents.

trump-clinton-liesA thought that recurs since the Brexit vote and the Trump emergence is how the electorate has seized inappropriate vehicles to express their discontent. It seems democracy has failed to a great extent in the First World . It never succeeded elsewhere really…

 

Arrests and arraignments should be public. The public’s interest is served by knowing the criminals amongst them. Not guilty does not mean innocent. The redress for wrongful arrest is appropriate compensation. I also believe that life imprisonment is nonsensical.

I particularly dislike unbridled media sensationalism which has been given licence to demand immediate response from participant, afflicted, accused and authority all in the name of public interest. Political opportunity is seized and knee jerk responses ensue to ensure something is seen to be done. This has lead to media sponsorship of newsworthy behaviour.

What also gets me is the opportunity and prominence given to yowling of the previously disadvantaged. This is a carriage that has been built without brakes nor uphill in sight. Its wheels turn equal opportunity and traditional courtesy into reverse discrimination and patronisation accusations as quick as a wink.

Please do yowl if you dislike my sentiments: I agree with myself far too often.