Showing posts from 2012

Twenty Twelve: The Absurdity and Joy

It is always the level of absurdity and chaos in human affairs that captures my attention. In 2012 the gold medal for absurdity must go to the Italian judicial system. 

In October 2012an Italian court convicted seven scientists of manslaughter for failing to adequately warn citizens before the earthquake struck L'Aquila in central Italy in 2009, killing more than 300 people.

The prosecution maintained that the scientists were not convicted for failing to predict the earthquake per se, but because just a week before the quake they had been overly optimistic about the probability that one would not occur! That's beyond absurdity.
While any number of candidates qualify for the bronze medal in absurdity, including the Church of England, the silver medal goes to the French.

Just before Christmas the French courts convicted a psychiatrist of manslaughter because her client had hacked a man to death. The 58-year-old doctor with 30 years experience was given a one-year suspended prison …

The Business of Climate Change

The environment and the economy are really both two sides of the same coin. You cannot sustain the economy if you don’t take care of the environment because we know that the resources that we use whether it is oil, energy, land … all of these are the basis in which development happens. And development is what we say generates a good economy and puts money in our pockets. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves.” {Wangari Maathai, Kenyan Environmentalist}

Following on from yesterday's comment that the private sector was in large measure responsible for global warming...

For the first time in its history Wall Street, the engine of the market economy, shut down on two consecutive trading days courtesy of 'super storm' Sandy.
In the wake of Sandy, a group of British Fund Managers indicated to the British Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was time the Government took climate change seriously. 

So, is the private sector, the engine of economic growth, su…

A Natural Mystic

And it’s almost over for another year.
Christmas seemed to return in 10 months this year rather than the customary twelve.I love the family gathering and doing all the things that I don’t do at any other time of the year: eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine; playing board games, pulling crackers and wearing silly hats (all except for the teenager).
But for many households this Christmas was a washout. Flooding came once more to the South-West and North of England, Wales and Scotland.Several homes and businesses were inundated for the second time in three years, with families evacuated three days before Christmas. Some businesses watched their merchandise float down the isles, as Mother Nature flushed the festive season down the drain.
Although in the UK 2012 began with a drought and a ban on hose-pipes, it turned out to be the 2nd wettest year on record. At any given time during the last week there was anything between 100-200 severe flood warnings, indicating danger to life.

In th…

Barack Obama: Prophecy?

So President Obama has confidently secured a second term. For a short period in 2008 I wanted to be American. I know the exact day and time when this wish flooded over me. It was about 1030 on Sunday June 8, 2008. It was on one of those rare occasions when I purchased a Sunday paper, and approximately five months before Barack Obama would become President Elect of the United States of America.
 In the Sunday Times that day Andrew Sullivan, columnist and political commentator, declared:

Obsession and Addiction

It's shocking how many kinds of addiction exist. Often, too often, things that starts out as just a normal part of your life at some point cross the line to obsessive, compulsive, out of control. The thing about addiction is it never ends well. Because eventually, whatever it is that was getting us high, stopsfeeling good, and starts to hurt.
Dr Meredith Grey in “Grey’s Anatomy” (2007)
As you may have gathered I am gripped by (obsessed with?) archetypes and climate change. In my view the latter poses more of a threat to me, family and friends around the world than global terrorism. Furthermore, many of our habitual behaviour patterns – e.g. addict, hedonist, saboteur, thief – play a major role in accelerating climate change. Today I want to put the spotlight on the addict.

We all have a personal addiction or obsessive compulsions: e.g. shopping, computer games and the latest technological gadget, tobacco, food, prescription drugs, cosmetic surgery, nail biting, co-dependent relation…

Message in a Metaphor

A visual metaphor is a device for encouraging insights, a tool to think with…that is, with visual metaphors, the image-maker proposes food for thought without stating any determinate proposition. It is the task of the viewer to use the image for insight.  {Noël Carroll, Beyond Asthetics}
         I am fascinated by the metaphors that manifest in the world, in my own life, and in other people’s lives. Their role, as NoëlCarroll says above, is to encourage insight.

          For the last few months I’ve been listening to the artist aspect of a friend’s personality...but by the time the conversation is over, several others have also had their say!Bet you didn’t know that various aspects of your personality will express themselves in the same sentence?

Significance of Cinderella's Slipper My friend and her partner, a writer, founded a small community theatre. They create the most amazing pieces of work on issues that concern and challenge communities, such as Conflict Resolution, Educa…

The Trickster as Teacher

I received mail from a reader who was unable to post a message following my comment last week about ‘Myth as Metaphor’ (see The Fool Unmasked). He asked whether I knew any myths which were more relevant to his African culture. Well yes I do….but not a myth as such, more of a folktale. But all myths are relevant to every culture.
Archetypes are generally referred to as "the gods". It is generally claimed that Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and a founding father of depth psychology, brought knowledge of these innate patterns of human behaviour to the attention of Western psychology. Certainly all my training text books made the point. 
I guess he did do that but long before Jung, West African Orishas were known as multi-dimensional beings representing, not only the forces of nature but certain human attributes. Their characteristics and legend were similar to those used to describe the ancient Greek and Roman gods.

However, the Orishas were not seen as remote divinities but t…

When a President Cried

At a time of year when Christians around the world are commemorating the birth of the Divine Child, some parents in Newtown, Connecticut, USA are mourning the death of their children. There are probably hundreds of children around the world – in under developed countries, in conflict zones – who will die every day up to Christmas and beyond. But right now the focus has been on what one British newspaper described as a massacre of innocents. How horrendous to lose your child in such a manner. Schools should be one of the few places where you expect your children to be safe. I worked with several of the paramedics who were first on the scene dealing with the carnage on the trains at various metro stations after the 2005 London bombings. Many, especially the younger ones, suffered severe post traumatic stress. Not trained for such horrors, those teachers immediately on the scene at that school in Connecticut will carry the scarring from that day for some time. How many more terrible sho…

Perception and Perspective

Interestingly the blog on Climate Change is way ahead in terms of readers’ choice. I’m surprised. My perception is that while many people do a bit of recycling, there is generally little engagement with a threat that looms large in my lifetime, and certainly my children's lifetime. Perhaps I'm wrong; or perhaps we just feel powerless in the face of something apparently beyond our control.
A viewer who appears to be an engaged environmental activist, took great exception (on fb timeline) to my view that the ‘ravages of climate change does not discriminate in terms of race and social class…’He believes the key reason why little progress is made in tackling climate change is that the richer you are the less you suffer. After Hurricane Sandy he said, it was the lower middle classes who lived closest to the water line who had their homes destroyed by fire and flood.He went on to say that the Dutch can pay for and know how to build dykes and barriers, but good luck if you are Bangl…

Mortgaging my Life Force

A Long Blog by Necessity:

So, HSBC was fined a record $1.9bn by the US authorities for ‘circumventing banking laws and accepting the tainted money of rogue states and drug lords’ – in short money laundering.  Britain's biggest bank, said it was "profoundly sorry" for "past mistakes" that allowed terrorists and drug traffickers to move billions around the financial system. HA.
Deciding not to prosecute the Bank, the US Assistant Attorney General said the "collateral consequences" of doing so would have been “dire”. “In this day and age”, he continued, “we have to evaluate that innocent people will face very big consequences if you make such a decision”.

Did he mean people like me?

A definition of madness is to keep recreating the same experience expecting a different outcome.

After a number of 'near misses' over the years, 2008 brought a major financial crisis, generated by sheer greed. It shook the foundations of probably every nation on the plan…