back to Basics
Sat Nov 10, 2018 18:07

I cannot promise this article won't be anathema to my readers but I'll try not to go down in the gutter more than necessary!

Talking of politics - no, lets not- I've had a belly full of bullshit and frankly I believe that whatevers going to happen will happen no matter how much or how little I have to say about it.

Every night I have made it a habit to select a long playing audiobook and use that to send me to sleep and more importantly banish nightmares. I've discovered that a constant stream of human voice interrupts the nightmare process. Anyway, I decided I fancied listening to 'Dune' by Frank Herbert but unfortunately I cannot find it so I settled for this channel:-Ideas Of Ice and Fire:-
because it contains a lot of very interesting Dune information and lots of lovely pictures and some nice typography which all in all must represent a lot of hard work.

I don't do downers, at least I try very hard not to depress my readership with doom and gloom peregrinations but these books all seem to follow a similar pattern. Which books? Oh, Dune for one but especially 'Lord of the Rings' which I'd been saturating myself with before I switched to 'Dune' by way of a change. I saturate myself with LOTR in the hope of generating mental images which I could draw and paint and then use to stimulate my own stories. Its a laborious process but it works - well, usually.

Trouble is that I've read (and listened to and watched) Tolkiens work so many times that the excitement and adventure aspect has now gone, leaving behind the strongest, longest lasting impression of depression. Its all so bloody hopeless, look at the way it goes. Elrond loses his daughter to mortality which she accepts to be wife to Aragorn who despite his victory is already more than halfway through his lifespan.

The destruction of the Ring means that all the elves have wrought will fade away and they will leave Middle Earth for good. The world will become a world of Men in the 4th age and look at their less than stellar record. They managed to screw it up when they had been given everything by the Valar or whoever these semi-angelic buggers are that fatalistically watch everything fall apart without doing much to prevent it.

Dune is no better. Paul Atreides loses his father Duke Leto and becomes omniscient which means he must be responsible for a Fremen jihad that will upset everything over which turn of events he has very little control and the universe proceeds to go to hell in a handbasket.

I've said this before and I'll say it again -


In fact, dopey though it may sound, I truly believe that postulating outcomes like those above only sets us up for failure by making us believe that it must occur because everyone says so and the historical record confirms it. No, all that pessimism does is create a perfect setting for a self fulfilling prophecy. Sod it, why bother?

Never give up! Never surrender! Civilisations fail through a combination of corruption, apathy and a lack of backbone. You only have to look at the circumstances that preceded the fall of empires to track the disintegration of human aspiration that comes about by and large because we're indolent and too willing to allow ourselves to ignore the obvious in favour of having an easy life now.

The British Empire came about through a series of fortuitous circumstances starting with climate change (mini ice age) giving rise to trading opportunities (the wool trade) helped by mastery of the oceans (forced on us by our enemies) and natural resources (First oak forests to build a navy then a need for coal as a replacement for charcoal) that jump started an Industrial Revolution which needed iron and steam power to drive the pumps that made deep mining possible. The Age of Enlightenment came about as a direct result of the Protestant Reformation which itself owed much to the invention of the printing press that led to books and news sheets and general basic literacy.

So what happened to this impetus that drove us to such heights?

The furking French and Germans between them put the skids under Britain which was bled white fighting two world wars and look at the thanks we got for that from the rest and America needn't pat itself on the back either because the first two years of WW2 were the crucial fulcrum upon which the worlds future security teeter tottered although a lot rested on the incompetency of Hitler and his toady Goering who between them really lost the war.

The French have done more to undermine geopolitical security than the rest put together thanks to their own version of Hitler, Napoleon the little Corsican dictator. Their cruel and incompetent colonialism did much to make European hegemony seem worse than it palpably was because they ruled with an iron fist and gave back little or nothing that wasn't of direct benefit to themselves whereas Britain did at least try to give back some benefits to the various countries they ruled directly or indirectly. Hence the following:-
"All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the British ever done for us? "

WW1 was the beginning of the end because it showed the small countries we'd colonized that we weren't invincible and that really was that for Empire. However in the long run we'd have had to give the colonies their independence anyway and one could argue that in the long run we benefitted from losing a lot of territory which was already beginning to cost more than we got back in trade. That huge mercantile navy cost a fortune to maintain and fuel and that went double for the Royal Navy that protected trade routes.

When I was at college one of the mandatory courses was Sociology which frankly struck me as a complete waste of time and incidentally why are so many Sociologists thinly disguised Marxists? I mean surely theres an obvious example of a system that palpably does not and can not function as advertised because it turns a blind eye to humanities greatest failing which is greed.

However one lesson that Sociology did teach me was how systems become inefficient and eventually collapse only to be replaced by a new system which in due course begins to fail because of the inflexibility inherent to all such systems. A perfect example being the American model of 'democracy' which is on its last legs if the current administration is any indicator.

As an Englishman what has always appalled me is the level of bigotry rampant in America and its strange that this should be so when you consider what a nation of mongrels it is. Why in a nation whose constitution mandates the separation of church and state should religion have as much influence as it does? Especially since their followers are the worst bigots of them all and their frequent pronouncements run counter to the ten commandments and the sentiments expressed by Jesus. After the horrors of the Holocaust how can any American express the hateful anti-Jewish comments that one sees every day?

About the only way that I can see we might be able to extract society from this morass of evil is by ensuring that everyone gets a proper education. Whether by accident or design and despite my truancy I was given a very good education but my wife just pointed out that all a good education might do is to equip one to rationalize ones bigotry!

The trouble with that term 'Education' is that it doesn't specify what exactly does a good education mean? How does one quantify what is 'good' and why it is or should be so considered? This is a good point that I should have overlooked were it not for my wife. I realized that its only my assumption that my education was good, it certainly didn't feel like it at the time, not in my early years though my college education was so stimulating and enjoyable that I could have happily stayed for another four years.

I achieved an Honours Degree as a Bachelor of Education which was a dual pathway of General Education and my specialism as an instructor of Craft, Design and Technology which covers all aspects of what used to be called Industrial Arts. Everything that I had ever tried my hand at came in useful, the course integrated all of my previous employment experiences and added a lot more besides and perhaps the most valuable was computer programming in Basic which in 1980 was a big leap forward and one that stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.

However that will have to do for now as its dinner time, I'm starving and I need to think more about where I'm going with this topic.

    • Back to Basics again - mike, Thu Nov 15 10:16
      Back to Basics - Part 2 ...'perhaps the most valuable was computer programming in Basic which in 1980 was a big leap forward and one that stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.' (from... more
      • Re: Back to Basics again - roger, Fri Nov 16 09:09
        Mike, I agree with you.
        • Thankfully, that's done... - sarge, Sat Nov 17 12:23
          Both the election and the Legion Holiday are over. We had quite the snow here, eight inches or so. Funny how the fear-mongers and pundits made it out to be so unusual and hazardous and such. Unusual? ... more
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