Kick out opportunism

Posted: 19/02/2018 by zandtao in Struggle
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Here is another excellent BAR article “If the Democrats were decent” describing the opportunist nature of this supposed party of the American people. Following a Russell podcast I wrote this blog about George Monbiot in which I described the 4 class enemies:-

In the US the democrat leadership seem to be the height of opportunists, putting America First they are the leading opportunist exploiters in the world. In the Democrat party there is Bernie who worked with the grassroots and got support, the opportunists, this time under Hillary, shafted him.

This BAR article clearly shows the face of opportunism in America. Know who is working with the grassroots, work with them, and kick out the opportunists. Don’t tolerate them – kick them out.

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Cycle of Violence

Posted: 19/02/2018 by zandtao in Struggle, War


My heart goes out to all the people who suffer from violence, any form of violence, but especially state violence. How can any rational society sanction violence except as a last resort? Then when we examine the root causes of so much state intervention and see that it is for 1%-profits, we have to scream. And when your family is killed by state intervention violence, who do you hit back? There is no-one to hit back, and terrorism is born. Then when those same state interventionists declare a war on terror ie indiscriminate war, how do people hit back?

So much was heard about the Manchester Arena, but what about MOAB – after this podcast on the Manchester Arena? The mother of all bombs was dropped on Afghanistan last year, how many people died because of MOAB? Do we know? Where was the media outcries? Did Under the Skin have a podcast?

When acts of violence happen “randomly” we blame craziness.

Mass school shootings happen regularly in the US, everyone except the US knows that it is to do with the availability of weapons.

The UK government accepts that a high proportion of British revenue comes from the sale of guns. When I grew up people selling guns in war-torn areas were seen as the lowest of the low, now governments sell. And weapons end up in circulation.

Countries that create wars for profits such as NATO are now claiming that the people who commit these “random” acts are crazy. A state can sell arms and create war – this is legitimate and sane, but individuals are crazy.

Same old, same old, Russell. Forget your Essex roots, and promote non-violence.

You ask what can be done? The number of acts of Muslim terror are proportional to the amount of state interference violence, the number of troops and the number of drone attacks. There is an intuitive statistical correlation – real stats somewhere? Think about the numbers. Reduce the state violence and you will reduce the terror attacks. Mathematical logic. It is correlation just not linear.

If someone is grieving and they hit out at a family member we turn the other cheek. But when it is state violence we turn a blind eye to the state action, and blame the grievers for hitting out.

And there is a logic to the correlation if not the individual act. Every government who is committing this state interference is a democracy, vote for a government of peace and there will be less acts of terror – mathematical correlation.

Stop with the same old, same old, Russell. And why didn’t you have a Muslim person of peace on you podcast? Brad was a regular, Jonathan supposedly advocates peace but apparently has no connection to the incident, a Muslim person of peace would have had a relevant perspective.

I would not have written this blog 3 days after the Manchester Arena when Russell’s podcast happened. Two reasons:- first insensitive to families, second fear of British backlash – fear a bit, I live far away. But there’s plenty of the conditioned right living in Thailand.

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New Narrative?

Posted: 18/02/2018 by zandtao in Corbyn, Democracy, Struggle
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It seems to have taken a long time to deal with Simon Amstell, and here is George Monbiot LINK – a name I have seen often but I know nothing of him.

I liked his talk but I have to ask “why is his narrative new?” Is it just political rebranding?

All my life what mattered was grass roots campaigning. It didn’t matter whether it was grassroots campaigning in the Labour party or grassroots campaigning for the trade union. It was grassroots campaigning. And that meant campaigning in the grassroots for the grassroots – campaigning by and for the people, not the Labour party or trade union. That is real democracy.

Who are the enemies of grassroots democracy?

Politically as a system neoliberalism is the enemy of grassroots democracy. But what types of enemy are these neoliberals?

1) The 1%
2) The bipartisan system of neoliberalism
3) The right-wing party
4) The opportunists within the party of the people.

The rise of the right-wing has occurred because we have failed to promote the grassroots movement. Slowly through my adult life the power of the grassroots movement has got less and less, and now people are calling for a new narrative. But this is also divisive.

Monbiot is calling for communities, those communities are the grassroots. There has always been organising in grassroots but that organising has failed because the left has failed because there has been the rise of liberals who have “taken over” the left – the rise of opportunism. Does Monbiot attack liberals? He can’t, they are Guardian readers.

The genuine left has always organised through the grassroots, in trade unions and begrudgingly in the Labour party. Why begrudgingly? Because the Labour party has increasingly been taken over by opportunists, people who are using the Labour party to gain political power – Blair, Guardian readers, Clintons.

When George describes Bernie he talks about the latest form of grassroots campaigning, that is all. No new narrative – just a “return?” to grassroots campaigning. I question return because I haven’t lived in the UK since 1992 – never lived in the US, I missed New Labour, I missed the continuing rise of opportunism, I missed the rise of Liberal power and Guardian Readers, I missed the failure in grassroots campaigning. I missed the rise of George Monbiot?

As for Corbyn I think he is fighting back for the grassroots – same as Bernie. George, you defended Bernie but did not defend Corbyn. I don’t know enough about the grassroots in the UK now, but the Labour party has had years of Blairites, Liberals and Guardian readers dividing the class. They are still doing it. Class Unity is the grassroots call, do you make it, George?

The issue has and always will be class, redefine class so that class unity is contemporary. But it is still class, not a new narrative. Look at the 4 enemies and how they fit in with class. The 1% is bourgeoisie – clear. The bipartisan electoral system has always been used to divide the proletariat – 1%-system. Working within the grassroots movement, people have always said “look at this or that puppet opportunist climbing on my back and taking my money”. King UK user – Blair, Marx couldn’t find a clearer example of opportunism, Blair is the past master. The 1% love him, that’s how he hung around for so long, he was a tool, an opportunist puppet. And he promoted liberalism, now we have people demanding a new narrative when all we want is a return to grassroots campaigning – my apologies to all the comrades who have spent their lives campaigning within the grassroots, comrades who would not allow class analysis to die.

The people who have let the grassroots down are Blair’s liberals and the Guardian readers who have not understood class and not understood the meaning of grassroots campaigning, and the people who have failed to educate them.

Because of this failure to support grassroots campaigning amongst the proletariat, there has been a rise in the right and their parties. When Liberal intellectuals call for a new narrative, what is happening is a further cut into the underbelly of the grassroots? Every Guardian reader, who does not stand up and say “I am a member of the class and proud of it”, is helping the 1%, their Liberal arrogance whether for identity politics or some intellectual distraction is enabling the accumulation by the 1%.

There is no new narrative, just a need for new education, a new understanding of what the class now stands for. The 1%-system is consumerism. The grassroots working together for mindful consuming based on class interest is one strategy, withdrawing labour used to be a strategy now we can withdraw purchasing power as a class strategy. Look at how much Israel is frightened of the Boycott campaign. Make the Boycott campaign a pillar of your Guardian columns, George, and see how long you keep your job.

The class will always be divided on race gender and sexuality but they are united by class. Where is the class rallying call that unites all races, genders and sexual preferences together as people who are demanding an end to exploitation by the 1%? Instead Liberals, Guardian Readers whine about this or that issue. They climb the wall about Trump instead of fighting back against the latest 1%-puppet, Trump. Apart from the 1%, it is Liberal intellectualism that wants the separation, that wants to say we are different to the guy who cleans the toilets. Well you are being used, exploited – any other word.

Where are the calls for the end of war, end of wage-slavery, those are the class interests, not fighting for the scraps that trickle down? Class Unity.

There is no new narrative – just class and their enemies.

I learned one thing George. There is a term for all the people who are causing confusion on the internet dividing my class – the Dark Money Network. But remember, George, even though the mainstream media, MSM, are not funded by the Dark Money Network, they don’t have to be because MSM is already 1%.

The only people who are not 1%, Dark Money or MSM, are the grassroots and their organisers who have maintained their integrity and discipline throughout. I thank them, and call for greater class solidarity.

George, we all must earn a living. Have you compromised with the above? I really don’t know.

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Meditation not ayahuasca

Posted: 18/02/2018 by zandtao in Meditation
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My formative years (early adulthood) was in a time greatly influenced by the hippies. For me the mid-70s was a tremendous time influenced by the efforts of these people to open up minds. I will be eternally grateful.

But I do not know what opening minds means in terms of drugs. For me the constitution of people is made up of aggregates (khandas) – rupa (body), vedana (feelings), sanna (memory and perceptions), sankhara (mental processes and proliferations) and citta (consciousness). How mind-blowing drugs affect this constitution I have no idea.

We exist in a world of conditioning, conditioning that is harmful, conditioning that prevents us from properly connecting with sunnata – with love. I have great sympathy for those who choose the way of drugs and ayahuasca to try to make that connection. And therefore it is with sadness I offer this warning, be careful.

One of the Buddha’s precepts is concerned with taking substances that maybe affect the mind. Before I was a Buddhist I was addicted to alcohol, this drug has nothing to offer – other than it is socially acceptable when not in excess. It took me a long time to readjust my mind and body to the after-effects of alcohol. But alcohol is not “mind-blowing”. What do mind-blowing drugs do?

I see a few people of the hippy time who I feel are disjointed, whose minds don’t feel holistic. It felt to me that in these few the drugs had severed the integrity of their minds, that is vague because I cannot say more.

I know nothing of ayahuasca other than Rupert Sheldrake, old experienced and seemingly having got it together, and Simon Amstell. I will not argue with those who advocate ayahuasca as I just don’t know. But it concerns me, and there is an alternative.

In the end there is nothing that drugs can offer that meditation can’t. Meditation is what nature has given us to find the path, use it. In my view it is better to gently unpick the conditioning through meditation rather than the potential risks of ayahuasca. It is harder work, not so romantic as a trip into the jungle with shamen, but meditation is safe and with discipline effective.

So I warn people to choose meditation over ayahuasca, but beyond this I cannot say as I haven’t touched ayahuasca. But remember the objective is the path, and not a wild jungle experience.

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Free to feel love

Posted: 18/02/2018 by zandtao in Insight
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This is the most impossible piece of writing I have attempted, how is it possible to talk of love with my analytical style of writing? Still here goes.

It began with something Russell said to Simon Amstell about control to feel love. It’s not control, it’s more no control – freedom, aaaggghh libertarians. Being free to feel love. What freedom? For me the biggest freedom is the freedom not to be vulnerable. This makes me understand some of the trauma that Russell, Simon and others felt with their early initial awakenings to the path. How awful must it have been to have the path open up inside, and to be too young to be able to express it because of parental repression. Who could recognise such a path? I still feel so fortunate that in the repressive environment I grew up in – middle-class society and middle-class education – my path hid me from such exposure.

On the path you are vulnerable, in love you are vulnerable. Because love is so important, for me it is the greatest crime that love can be exploited. All the lies around love are so criminal. For men use of the word “love” is a key to getting their end away, I hate that. For women …. ask.

When we are loving and making love we are so vulnerable, for most instead of love we end up with hurt because of the vulnerability. Or we focus on the physical. We do not know of, we have not learnt the value of this love – Gaia’s greatest gift.

I hope I am wrong but can there ever be a moment when two people feel that love, can allow themselves to be vulnerable enough with another to be love?

I do hope it is possible.

But after with the vulnerability, what repercussions?

But feeling love does not end there. I remember the “guys” when I was writing Kirramura 25 years ago. It was a Summer holiday, and by this time in my life education had taken over so most of the path was only free during the Summer holiday – I had stopped drinking by then. And I got into Kirramura. My whole day was waiting for writing, waiting for the muse, waiting for the “guys”. I knew they would come when I went to bed, and I waited the day for that.

I would go to bed and lie flat – no pillow. …. I knew I couldn’t write this ….

I am lying flat with my body full of its consciousness – a kind of daily stress, daily agitation. The agitation started to lift coming out to meet the “guys”. All this agitated consciousness started to raise, and as it rose the “guys” were there. They mixed and there was just the “guys” as my body lay flat – almost pinned to the bed. I loved this feeling of love for a while, and started writing. Eckhart would call this presence. There was emptiness, Yuval nothing there, but the whole room was so alive it just wanted to write. I was so lucky. The Winds of Kirramura came “out” that Summer, and I hadn’t written since Lidors maybe 6 or 7 years before.

I am older now I meditate and there’s no pent-up writing happening because I am much closer to my path. Writing now. The “guys” are here – just here, I don’t lie down to reach out and meet them. I don’t think I can reclaim the power of the Kirramura times.

But I am happy with the path. I can just let go and feel free to love. There is vulnerability but there is no-one there to hurt me. Sometimes during the day when I mix, I forget the armour necessary for society. But mostly I just drift out, have the necessary daily transactions and drift back again. Vulnerable a bit, but it is just simple transactions conducted pleasantly. But there are always those around who seek out vulnerability, and I am prone …. But I learn more and more to avoid them.

And the “guys” are there – I don’t have to reach out now.

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Path not fame?

Posted: 18/02/2018 by zandtao in Insight
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Russell was talking with Simon Amstell, I found this talk interesting and worth listening to.

Before I go into the things that arose for me about this talk, I want to rant. And it is a rant I have never heard from others. Before I rant I want to describe an aspect of my life – partying. I have never enjoyed partying, I think this is because I was a drunk …. and then too old for parties. I can’t remember a good party, but I can remember glimpses of being at a party – none of those reflect great joy. I can however remember times when I went to the pub, played pool and felt good if I won a few games, or maybe got into a deeper conversation although drunk. I never did drugs so parties didn’t grab me that way. I did go to dances at uni/education college but not other than that. Parties were traps, they often went on late, and so I couldn’t get home because I was drunk – although I was used to taxis (see anecdote in comment).

So the party scene and clubs never got me when I was young and looking for entertainment. Now I watch TV, and I ask why are people doing this. I know why I did what I did – my addiction. But these parties, what are they? These clubs, what are they? Are they just things that people go to because parents say you can’t go? I watch TV promoting glamour, not only the glamour of celeb parties but the glamour of young parties. It is standard for a series to begin with sex, presumably that pulls people in otherwise why would ratings people do it. And then alcohol, glamour people are always drinking alcohol, not drunk – just cool with a drink. Glamour shows women strutting their stuff, immaculately prepared in clothes and make-up, and my base side just sees women dressed just this side of legitimate sexual provocation – no justification implied or granted in this statement. Women can choose how they want to dress within the bounds of cultural decency – this is a legitimate right, but why do so many reformist feminists decide that the way they want to dress is the way of male sexual provocation and fantasy. Why does a woman when she says she is looking good appear to be conforming to a sexual view of women? Why aren’t reformist feminists changing this image? Revolutionary feminists do. Where is the path?

But I look at these clubs, parties and alcohol on TV and I see tedium – addiction and tedium. Most of them are a prelude to some form of crime or relationship hell as well, and that is not just TV. These are images the establishment want to portray because they are about celebrity and money, system success can buy you this “fun”. It is conformist consumerism. Where is the path?

My first job was in computers in the West End of London. I was young and attracted to the glamour, but on reflection there was nothing I was attracted to other than hype – it was all media hype “up West” I had grown up with. I look back there was nothing going on. People want to believe celebrity and glamour means something is going on but there is nothing. Spirituality tells you there is nothing there. Putting sexual pleasure aside for a moment, a spiritual high, coming from the insights or “Eureka” moments of a good talk or getting into “dhamma” talking, knocks the spots off listening to dreary posing of young people strutting, intoxicated one way or another. Listen to Simon question running to the Eiffel Tower. Is this the path to the Eiffel Tower?

But when you are young you are driven by lust as well, that cannot be ignored, but if you are comfortable with your sex drive there is nothing better than “dhamma” talking …. a big “if” when you are young. There was a time when I was young when we said “Thank God the sex is out of the way now we can relate.”

But then I am here in Thailand, beautiful sea, pleasant environment – mostly pleasant society, and I just don’t understand why old guys are losing life savings trying to exploit the young and pretty (and vice versa). Where is the path?

My rant – get out of the clubs and parties. Sort your sex out and get on with the life of finding your path. And for me the only time I did get the sex sorted was when I was following the path. I occasionally found love with women (I am cis gen and hetero, are those the words now?), but in the end love came with the path. I fell in love but it didn’t work out, but that falling in love was the basis for my understanding that the path is love, I love now, and I am happy to love. The path is love, find the path.

This rant was prompted by part of the discussion between Simon and Russell where their lives were pre-occupied with sexual addiction – and Russell’s talks with Matthew Todd, and Russell’s fight with his own ego and celebrity. It is the norm to talk about sexual exploits, it is not the norm to talk about the path; if you keep talking about sex it is a problem, people measure each other by sex and not the path. Celebrity and addiction get bogged down in social expectation, forget all that, it is the path that matters. Russell and Simon are now in love (separately ), I hope their relationships work out. But if they don’t they should be happy they have found love. Love is wonderful, love is the path, and that love can be used for humanity – not just focussed on one person. [It took me 7 years to work through that after my love finished, but it was a turbulent love.] Now I am loving, and I question the social acceptance of all the men that they throw away their lives on pretty young Thais. They laugh at me and say I have gone wrong, been hurt or whatever. But I have loved, and I am loving – that is fine. I am not old struggling for an erection in bodies – and damaging hormones, old age is meant for contemplation and feeding back.

Russell Brand’s public persona does not interest me to say the least, I feel that all people should be considerate and Russell publicly has not been – I accept addiction as an explanation. It also appears that Simon has done some of that. Because I was out living life when I was young – mostly drinking, I never got hooked on TV although when I stopped drinking I watched too much TV when resting after teaching. Once I left the UK, I enjoyed natural beauty and when not doing that and teaching I wasted time in front of the box. I have never watched Buzzcocks – I find it pretentious, so Simon’s raison d’etre of knocking pretention here for me is just part of the celebrity fix that TV is. This talk with Russell is the first time I have heard of him. To make meaning of this talk I had the time to look him up because there were some interesting things said. I found the knocking pretention part of the problem, but his stand-up routine was funny – but just seemed a cry for help.

I was so pleased for him that he found Ayahuasca – I note Rupert Sheldrake went there as well (see this warning – meditation not ayahuasca).

Even with both claiming some allegiance to the path, I see wavering. Will I/won’t I commit to the path? I can observe now but cannot be critical for them at their age. I was so fortunate to find the path so young, but my immaturity was an issue that eventually became resolved only through my second childhood. At their age I was just going out to Africa, and the path was only there in the background, having found it and got sucked into education.

But the path demands commitment. There needs to be work – money coming in, but fame and glamour – drugs – have nothing to do with the path. Money gets in the way of the path but is a necessary evil. Accept that. Sorry, I’m being didactic. I should be asking questions not making demands – are the fame and glamour just addiction? Are you committed enough to the path? These decisions are yours, I apologise for the pontification. Slap my judgmental wrist.

Being judgmental leads me to another criticism, Buddhists are not necessarily vegan. The question of meat comes from the 5 precepts in which respect for life is one. There is a strong logic that respect for life means not eating meat, but many Buddhist monks in Thailand don’t accept that. I understand the vegan push. I have been vegetarian most of my life, but for medical reasons am now eating meat.

I respect life but am forced to eat meat – see explanation 1 and 2. For most westerners healthy eating often means abstaining from meat – as with Simon. As a result such mindful eaters pressurise abstinence and the ending of the horrific practices of the meat industry, there is not a real drive for healthy meat eating – not a misnomer although I might have said so a year ago. My biggest concern at the moment is the level of chemicals involved in meat production. I think my way out might be Halal as there are nearby Muslim communities. A brief study of Halal indicates that it is healthy, geared towards the natural but I am unsure how much their natural production rejects chemicals.

Up until last year (4 months ago) I would have absolutely supported Simon’s vegan approach. It follows Buddhist principles of respect for life, but it does not mean Buddhists must be vegan. Watch his movie “Carnage” – no “legal” link, it is funny. I also note that the Buddhist book he read about the monkey mind was Tibetan. I am not decrying Tibetan Buddhism, I have made my choice, but Buddhism is a very broad church so broad that some Buddhist churches have a tenuous relationship with what the Buddha taught. That is not a reflection on “Taming the Monkey Mind” by Thubten Chodron that Simon read.

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Wisdom in voice

Posted: 18/02/2018 by zandtao in Insight


In this talk Russell meets with Sophie Scott to discuss voice and laughter. Both have been very important in my professional teaching life. Whilst maintaining the emphasis on the need for conveying how the students do the maths technique, perhaps gaining some insight into problem-solving, I consciously used humour as a means of maintaining interest to varying degrees of success – low success.

The voice can also be monotonous, and I used the voice to engender interest in the subject matter – however limited. Even now when I am banging on, I can feel that the subject material is not of interest. Mostly I give up, but sometimes I look to humour.

I have talked on platforms other than the classroom, and was able to deliver a prepared talk. So somehow with other factors my voice has the ability to convey.

I rarely have conversations that are not meaningful, that are not concerned with change, that are not attempting to be ennobling. This is brick-walling since most of the people I know are not interested – people coming to rural Thailand to have a final fling with a pretty-ish and die happy; despite the myth this never happens. Many just talk of drink and girls – I don’t know them, others I know but are not really interested. This is a good environment for enabling a writer.

Voice and laughter are tools of communication, and communication has a main purpose – passing on wisdom about the path. That sounds a laugh when you consider the mundane (non-wise) way the voice is mostly used, at best to convey information mostly just gossip – often negatively so.

But I still maintain that the main purpose of communication is to convey wisdom about the path. And here’s the rub, we know when someone is wise. This is so important, we know wisdom when it is spoken. There is a faculty within us – insight, which we can use to discern wisdom. There is a phrase – “that has the ring of truth”, many professional people develop a nose for truth. I call this insight as well. When you are with a partner there are times when you know lies. These faculties of insight – sensing wisdom and truth – are never 100%, so are discounted by science for that reason – not being empirically observable 100% of the time, yet especially as we get older we know such faculties exist in others even if science doesn’t.

Sadly there aren’t methodologies for developing such awareness because education is dominated by a scientific method that rejects this approach to wisdom. We can possibly improve our own awarenesses by examining the accuracy of our insights, but insight is a faculty impaired by emotion etc. so it is not scientifically measurable.

But what insight can do is know when someone is speaking wisely, know when someone is telling the truth. Some might also call this insight intuition, but for me insight is a word with greater strength.

So how does insight know when someone is speaking wisely. I might attend a talk by Eckhart Tolle or Thich Nhat Hanh, and claim wisdom but that might well be cheating as they are wise people and the assumption that they speak wisely would require no insight. But we hear wisdom elsewhere, and equally there could be times when we expect wisdom and it is not there.

There are many spiritual charlatans and there are many seekers who are exploited – sadly some such charlatans who prey on followers sexually. Insight is the faculty to be used to discern such cheats but unfortunately people opening themselves up to the path are often vulnerable as upheavals can often signal stepping onto the path.

I suspect there is a character of voice that is wise, and that upon hearing this character we associate wisdom. The recognition of wisdom is not simply based on the statement made – otherwise we could just read books and hope that the words don’t pass us by. A voice can have wise character, if you are a person looking for wisdom then this character can be heard.

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Russell meets Matthew Todd, a gay rights activist, erstwhile editor of “Attitude” magazine.

To decide on whether you listen to this depends on how much you are aware of the gay issue. My general attitude towards gender and sexuality issues is that of tolerance, it is not my business what sexual activity people participate in or how they socialise if it is considerate to others. That was until I became active in the NUT in the 80s, and a gay colleague told me that the level of trauma was leading to suicide, and how section 28 was enshrining that in law. What Matthew said was interesting but did not add.

Under liberalism systemic violence has regulatorily disappeared but that does not mean the trauma has gone as there are always “such” people – especially now there will be a rise because human decency is not a public and political value under Trump and Brexit. By this I mean that there were always awful people in the UK but they tended to keep to themselves, but with the move to the right such ignorant violence has become publicly acceptable. Of course, gays would suffer from this.

But in general Matthew feels things are improving.

I further note that he briefly discussed intersectionality in order to include all gender groups as well as Black and Asian interests, with his omission of class my blog agreeing with Black Agenda Report has particular reference.

It was interesting to hear Matthew discuss the addiction that was prevalent in his “gay” lifestyle, and how he had difficulty with the addiction. He noted that addiction was a mental state rather than simply an attraction and attachment to the substance. That just reminds me of the 4 Noble Truths.

Russell and Matthew discussed the relationship between youthful trauma and addiction. I began considering my own addiction, an addiction that I associate with following the path. My addiction started at uni where I was unnaturally immature – an immaturity that I have always felt was a path defence mechanism. I tended to do what everyone else did without any conviction, there was nothing they were doing that I wanted to do – I just did it. There was no trauma, very little bullying – I dished out more bullying than I received in my school years (mostly to my younger brother). Yet there was suffering, the suffering of repression that I dealt with by walking endlessly.

When I think of those early years immaturity I think of incredible shyness, a sound defence mechanism for my vulnerable ignorance, and totally uncontrolled classroom buffoonery. I recall something like a joke occurring out loud and I just kept pushing it, uncontrollably pushing it, until I was chastised. At uni the immaturity hid behind the booze where I had a public mask for meeting people – a pathetic mask.

I see this immaturity as a struggle around the path trying to express itself but unable to do so because of repression, the repression that was an education system of a society that is distanced from the path, and a home where repression was the byword. The immaturity held desire, desire that was not bounded personally but was controlled by repression at home, fear of others at school and in society, and yet a desire that demanded fulfilment where I felt I could. But this was trivial desire, just desire for anything, if I wanted something I got it or was stopped, I didn’t stop myself

And I was not bounded by morality, something I only learned towards the end of my second childhood. For me the maturing process is concerned with internal expression and control, as a child I did not express, I desired without control, and desires were acted out depending on repression or the resulting fear.

Are these the mechanisms of every teenager? Or is there more internal sense or motivation to most teenagers? When I consider teenagers I have taught I see that behaviour is worse, but I also see more self-control. In the 10 years between the end of my schooling and the beginning of my teaching, the education system had thrown out repressive discipline, mainly they had got rid of the cane without replacing it with anything. By the time I was teaching, school discipline was awful; I should note I was a student at a grammar school and my first job was in a Brixton comprehensive. With the controls of institutional discipline being minimal students were left to their own motivations, and for most there was little. But some. To discipline the students, I would appeal to their desire for education. I have no idea how much that was a trained response on their part, but I equally know if I had been asked at the time why I was at school the answer would not be education.

Where I am going with this is self-expression, following the path. I suffered but not traumatically, but for both Russell and Matthew their restricted self-expression was trauma. Matthew described the way he acted out as a teenager for social acceptability because his expression as a gay adolescent was being repressed. I am less sure with Russell but I suspect that his search for the path got hidden behind celebrity, rejection of society and “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”; his book “Revolution” fits in with this, perhaps if I read “Recovery” it will be the same. This failure at self-expression was a failure to follow the path albeit the limited path of a teenager.

When as an adult after my upheaval the relationship between my addiction and following the path was much clearer. Once I made the decision to teach, writing was the only possible alternative but was never viable – I have never felt that my writing could be commercial and I never had the commitment to writing I have now, the path as educator and the job of teaching became increasingly in conflict to the extent that I “retired” early at 34 and wasn’t drinking – although I hadn’t taken the pledge. Personal financial circumstances drew me back into teaching, and three years later I was fortunate enough to stop drinking – ending my alcoholism. By now my teaching path was cemented, and conflict without addiction is how I lived for nearly 20 years ameliorated by travel for the last 14 years. As a teacher I was not expressing the writer, and it took me 10 years of addiction to accept that. And that was when I thought I was an educator. So I question whether addiction arises out of trauma or does it arise out of conflicts concerning the path?

If I am correct, for Russell the problems will continue as he himself says he has not found the path – part of the purpose of Under the Skin. With Matthew I know little of him as well. His life is bound up with his sexuality, and his expression through being a gay activist appears to have given him purpose. How much is this the path? As a human being I cannot answer that. If a gender is repressed and unable to express, then nature will demand that expression thus providing activists. But determining one’s gender is not the purpose of the path, helping your gender express their spirituality of course is – gay activism is not the path but can help towards it.

Matthew was single and sexually active (based on what was said he was born around 1974), but there was a discussion on monogamy as the issue of gay loneliness came up. Russell described Matthew’s approach as spiritual, I am not sure I agree. The younger you are the spiritual issue that is hardest to deal with is attachment to desire as lust – sexual desire; this disappears naturally with age and maturity except for those with serious attachment issues. Following the 4NT, lust is something to let go on the spiritual path; neither Russell nor Matthew were discussing this – at their age neither was I. Maybe discussing “letting go of lust” ought to be on the agenda for spiritual 40-somethings???

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Continuing the Russell Brand binge here is Noel Fitzpatrick, I believe he is known on British TV as the “Supervet”. There were a few things he said that were interesting but he was fundamentally a system apologist, and as such I am not recommending listening to him. I wish him good luck with the work he does for animals – friends, and the joy he brings their owners.

There was a discussion about regulatory bodies that are failing to work effectively. Russell, quite rightly in my view, ascribed economic vested interest, but Noel wanted to work with the people at the FDA, Fred and Mary. Maybe Fred and Mary are good people, but does that mean that the string-pullers are good? Whatever Noel believes deep down, he considered his most effective way of working was a way that disagreed with Russell.

But there is an arrogance to Noel’s position, does he think that he is the first person who has tried to work with these people? His Fred and Mary are not the first who have tried to make a go of the FDA, neither is he the first Noel Fitzpatrick. Throughout my lifetime and before, good people have compromised to try to be effective turning a blind eye to vested interest, and the result? In education I worked hard for 35 years because of the kids. I fought for and with education compromising along the way, and 35 years later education is worse throughout. And I look around to see no difference elsewhere. Were all the hippies calling for change just junkies? The arrogant position of people like Noel is just blinkers – I presume he is not an actor who deep down believes the truth. It is also not insignificant that he is famous on TV, he says what they want to hear – whether he is being duplicitous only he knows [duplicity as in acting the part or just using rhetoric for self-interest, I don’t know him but I have no indication of the second].

The real problem with this level of compromise is that the 1% are comfortable with the compromised efficacy. They can say, here is Noel he compromises and is successful; we are not the block – you are for not compromising. He is a better teacher because he doesn’t fight the headteacher, he gets the promotion, and gets to pontificate about education. Everything appears to work, but the true educationalist is marginalised because they will not buy into the compromise, and the system worsens.

People like Noel survive only because they are arrogant, think most others do it wrong (in this case Russell) and ignore history – no matter how mild-mannered they are. In the end this compromise is destructive because the 1% only choose to work with the compromisers, do not work with the truth, and the system worsens. There is a reason why collaborators are frowned on in war.

During the talk he was also trying to promote unconditional love, and by implication was critical of Russell’s 1%-position. This is typical of the myopic nature of system success. Yes, Noel has obtained some success for his unconditional love because they are willing to give a “dog a bone”. There are small victories along the way of class war. Liberals do gain some things whilst they are losing the war. The power and influence of the 1% is such that Noel can talk of unconditional love, and he will gain some victories, but because Noel will put out that he gained that victory by compromise that suits the 1% for whom compromise is a by-word. Remember their profits are based on consumerism and wage-slavery, they need compromise. Their profits are not based on love, they will not reward love without compromise.

But what all such compromisers have to know, they will be dumped. When they have outlived their usefulness they will be dispensed with, no matter whether their compromise is based on unconditional love or just the usual self-interest. It is not a condition of unconditional love that the 1% should accumulate; this is not a law of nature.

During the talk Russell dichotomised art and science by describing art as “negotiation with essence” and science is empirical and practical ideas. Whilst I understand art as negotiation with the muse of Wai Zandtao, Science-Fiction writer, science is more than the scientific method of the rational. What are wisdom and insight? Neither of these are considered arts-based yet they are clearly connected to essence, if they are not you end up with Yuval. As Noel says it is important to understand that the dichotomy is man-made. Why are arts people often wise? Why does picking up a paintbrush make you wise? The muse as an aspect of essence has wisdom and insight.

I am grateful for the help Noah provides.

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Confusion

Posted: 11/02/2018 by zandtao in BigTech, Struggle, War
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Confusion

It is sick the way they are creating confusion.

There is Yuval. He is wise enough to understand the world is fabricated by stories, he uses vipassana to see through the stories, but because of his lack of right view he makes a catastrophic error. His failure to see that there is beyond the intellect – beyond the arrogance of home deus – he concludes there is nothing. He concludes organisms are algorithms.

This is all that AI wants – BigTech, an academic to latch onto for their robotic incursion. Call it humanism, say that God is outmoded as this bearded being above the clouds, but dismiss the pure essence that is humanity, creativity, insight, the muse. Who is searching for this essence? Who is looking for love?

I grew up with stories, these were stories built on fear in middle-class suburbia where all were frightened of war. These stories wanted stability because people were frightened. Now there is no fear of war in the West. Whilst the West is permanently at war that war is exported, there are only a few who are soldiers because war is fought with technology. War does not hurt the West, so the West feels no pain and is not afraid.

But deep down everyone is afraid of blowback. No matter how many intellectual constructs are put forward, deep down the West knows it is guilty of waging war with impunity. Until …. Refugees. For maybe a decade war was fought with impunity, now the implications are returning to source. And more stories are constructed. There is a return of great nations, MAGA, Brexit, ….

But all around is confusion. Stories conflict. Truth does not matter, so long as the story we are comfortable works. Liberal stories are reinforced by mainstream “reasonableness”, the mainstream mocks the ignorance of the right, and Liberals feel validated. Of course these Liberals do not condemn war because their societies are based on war.

At the same time populism drives people to their own media where they are also validated. In this case the populist ego talks of pride, chauvinism, heroism and superiority. It talks of stories of ways of life, of bygone eras, of fictions, of myths, ….

These confronting factions are starting to create a living hell of confusion. Voices in the wilderness cry for unity whatever, but for most it is unity behind their flag whether it is Liberalism or Populism.

And this confusion is a forewarning of dystopia, Trumpocalypse. More and more stories are fantasies of apocalypse, it is as if we are being prepared for it – in the same way as I grew up expecting a Cold War. Did I want the Cold War to happen? NO. Was I prepared for it to happen? YES, in some way. Ian Fleming had prepared me.

Where is the story of compassion? Where is the story that in essence people are compassionate? In havens. In places where people are forced to hide so that they can be compassionate. More and more this is apocalypse, people hiding away whilst the dominant stories drive us to apocalypse.

Why don’t we make our stories positive? Why aren’t our main stories about finding compassion? Because there are no profits for the 1% in compassion. It is so simple to see through these stories if we choose, the message is hardly hidden.

If there is a 1%-apocalypse history will only say “why were we so stupid to accept these stories?”

But remember none of these stories matter deep down to you if you choose. If you participate in the stories you become attached, and they hurt. What if you don’t participate? What if you look at the stories and say, they mean nothing. Go beyond the stories and find happiness. The stories bring sadness, participating in the stories entraps you, move away – move beyond, there is still peace. Essence is beyond stories, essence is the home of peace. Find that home.

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