Filed under: Uncategorized
For years it has been common practice for protesters held in a kettle (police containment) to be forced to submit to police filming and/or provide their details as a condition of leaving. There have been countless incidents in which protesters who have tried (lawfully) to refuse these demands have been threatened with arrest, or told they could not leave the kettle.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, Justice, Politics, success | Tags: courtesy, disability, discrimination., equality, ethnicity, humanity, race, respect
I have certain phrases I use often, one such is, “There is one greater than I, I call it God”. It is not my intention to talk about God, but rather about humanity. If there is but one greater than I and that one is God, then it follows that there is no human greater than I. As a corollary I would add that, equally, I consider no human less than me.
Burns had it right when he wrote, a man’s a man for a’ that”. The whole structure of status is a sham, that which commands respect in a person is their humanity. When we look at some of those who have been recipients of “honours” like Fred Goodwin or various celebrates, we see how hollow those titles are. I was watching “New Tricks” at one point a secretary objected to the way her boss was addressed and said, “You may call him, Your Lordship” and I thought, “Aye right”. If I don’t give a man a title I won’t call him by one, Mr. is good enough except for those I may call, “comrade”. People have a right to expect the courtesy due to their humanity, but no more. Even more pathetic than clinging to titles are those who feel that their celebrity or wealth, somehow confers upon them status; these are the people who stoop to expressions like, “Do you know who I am?” or, “I pay your wages”, to which I am inclined to reply, “No, do you know who you are?” or, more bluntly, “I don’t care who you are.” perhaps even, “my wages are miserly, are you claiming to be mean?” Money is not evidence of humanity, celebrity is not evidence of worth, by all means respect someone’s achievements, but they are still only human, no better or worse than any other person. What is certainly true is that neither wealth not celebrity nor formal status confers any authority except in the field in which that person earned their recognition and yet our media will seek their opinion on a range of subjects, upon which they are no better equipped to give an opinion than any “man in the street”.
I have the utmost respect for the Queen and her ability to do her job, I would, however, question whether that job should exist. When one looks at how the queen’s ancestors gained the crown, it becomes apparent that acceptance of monarchy is to condone treachery and violence and worse, it is founded in immorality and so an ethical person cannot support it, except, perhaps, where the possible alternatives are worse. Several of our titled families received their titles as a reward for providing sexual favours to the king, Charles II seems to have been particularly fond of enobling bastards, to respect these titles is to encourage debauchery and adultery, however the holders of these titles are human and as such command the same respect as any other human.
Just as there are people whose accomplishments are worthy of respect, there are those whose behavior is utterly contemptible; we all have our own lists, mine would include both the murderer, Ian Brady and the Chancellor, George Osborn. However someone behaves, they too are human and should still be treated with respect as far as that goes. Sometimes accepting another’s right to be treated as a human may almost choke us, but it is a right to which we are all entitled. There are those who would treat the disabled, particularly those with learning difficulties as less than human, others would deny humanity to those of different ethnicity or belief. That a Hitler allows Slavs to be treated as less than human, or Lincoln the native Americans, neither makes it right nor entitles others to do the same. There is only one greater than I or, indeed, you. We are equals.
I posted a couple of photos to Facebook the other day. I took them in 1994 on a trip to India with my father in law. I took them on my Yashika, long since gone. It occurred to me that the pictures have a finish that today people use apps, like Retro Camera, to reproduce. It may be fanciful, but it feels as if the pictures belong in a different age, an age before digital. So much has changed in less than twenty years.
I am typing this on my smartphone, twenty years ago very few if us had mobiles, and the mobiles that there were were too big to carry easily or fitted in cars. Cameras captured images on film. The photos I took in India,I took to a shop in Delhi for processing and my family back in Scotland saw them when I returned home. Nowadays people take their pictures digitally, often on their phone, and chasm upload them in seconds to the web.
I wrote yesterday of the pace of modern life, those weeks in India, in 1994, feel somehow slower although they were, in fact, full of events. They were happy days and I look back on them fondly. I saw some wonderful things, wonderful places and met some wonderful people who made me very welcome.
I have been back to India since then, it is a wonderful place. One of the things that made that first visit was listening to my father in law reminiscing about the India of his childhood, “this was all jungle” he’d say as we drove through outer Delhi. We would walk into a shop and give his name and young men would come out to touch his feet, I had not realised how extensive was my wife’s family. My photos contain so many memories. Sometime I shall revisit this blog post, but for now time and the internet are against me.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, success, Writing | Tags: belief, faith, god, honesty, integrity, Krishna, Mahabharata, religion, role models
Krishna, allegedly, gave the world the sublime Bhagavad Gita, which I consider almost as highly as the Siva Sutras and the Ashtavakra Samhita in terms of value to me. However sublime the teachings of the Gita, as a role model Krishna is a very different person. Although Krishna is a popular focus of worship, his conduct leaves much to be desired, his one great virtue was his protection of his devotee the dishonest and licentious Arjuna.
As a child Krishna was disobedient to his mother, he was also a thief and stole butter despite being ordered not to, and led his friends into mischief. All small boys can be naughty, but the fact remains that Krishna was a liar, a thief and disrespectful of his mother, hardly a fitting role model.
He was also sexually incontinent and disrespectful of women. We have already seen his lack of respect for his own mother. He also treated other women badly, when the girls of the village were bathing, Krishna stole their clothes and forced each of them to stand naked and humiliated before him, despite custom decreeing that only a husband should see his wife naked. Krishna seduced the women of his village and later had many wives. One sees in the modern disregard for women that can allow a young girl to be raped on a bus, the consequences of the example bequeathed by Krishna.
In the Great War of the Mahabharata, Krishna is so determined that his devotees will win, he actively encourages them to cheat and lie. The Pandava princes’ guru Dronacharya led their opponent the Kaurava king, and their cousin, Duryodhana’s army and it was impossible to beat him fairly, Drona’s only point of weakness was his equally undefeatable son Ashwatthama, so Krishna devised a plan to use this against him. Because Ashwatthama could not be killed, Bhima — one of the Pandava princes — killed an elephant called Ashwatthama and announced it loudly. Drona could not believe his son was dead and asked Yudhisthira — who was known never to lie — if it were true that Ashwatthama had been killed, Yudhisthira replied that Ashwatthama had been killed and added sotto voce “I am not certain whether it was a human or an elephant” this caused Drona to lay down his arms at which point he was murdered. It was said that because of his adherence to truth Yudhisthira’s chariot floated a couple of inches above the ground, but at this point it sank to the ground because he had made it acceptable for a king to sacrifice integrity to expediency.
The five Pandava princes, unknown to them, had an elder half brother Karna, or Radheya who — because, despite being the son of Surya the Sun God, was brought up in the house of a charioteer — the Pandavas, especially Arjuna, treated with contempt setting an example of caste discrimination which still continues to this day. Krishna knew that Radheya was a better warrior than Arjuna and that he had a weapon — the Vasava Shakti — that he intended to use against Arjuna. Krishna persuaded Ghatotkacha, Arjuna’s demon son by one of his many wives, to use his magical powers against Duryodhana’s army, because Krishna knew the only way Radheya would be able to stop him was by using the Vasava Shakti. Unlike Krishna and his devotees Radheya kept his word, and he had promised the Pandavas’ and his mother that he would use the weapon only once. Krishna’s sacrifice of Ghatotkacha who despite being a Rakshasa, behaved somewhat more honourably than his father and the other princes on whose behalf he fought — saved Arjuna from facing Radheya’s most powerful weapon. When Radheya and Arjuna finally met on the battlefield, Arjuna was incapable of defeating him, indeed at one point Arjuna collapsed and while unconscious, not only would Radheya not take advantage, but he protected Arjuna from the King of serpents who wanted revenge on him for the murder of his children . Unfortunately Radheya’s chariot wheel became stuck and although the rules of engagement entitled him to expect the courtesy of being allowed to release it, as he did so, with his back to Arjuna, Krishna persuaded Arjuna to fire on Radheya; even then because of his accumulated virtue he was not easy to kill.
After the battle Duryodhana the last of the Kauravas intended to fast to death, but the Pandavas found him while he was in meditation. Yudhisthira gave Duryodhana the choice of which Pandava he would fight and with what weapon. Duryodhana was a master of the mace having learned from Krishna’s brother Balarama and could easily have beaten any of the brothers with the mace except Bhima. Duryodhana chose to fight Bhima, who had also studied with Balarama. Gradually Duryodhana got the upper hand, but before Bhima was defeated Krishna signalled him to strike Duryodhana’s leg. Bhima did as Krishna ordered, although it was against the rules. So Duryodhana died, but not before pointing out that the Pandavas’ victory had only been secured by cheating and lies.
In the other great epic the Ramayana, Rama, his brother Lakshmana and their allies behave with honour except, possibly, for one incident, but Krishna’s tutelage of the Pandava brothers establishes a precedent for rulers to use dishonesty as a tool. The corruption of politicians, the abuse of decency in war and the readiness of those in power to embrace corruption are the legacy of the example Krishna gave his devotees, never since has a king’s chariot floated above the earth as witness to his devotion to truth and honest conduct.
There are few activities as pointless as comparing Gods qualitatively, except perhaps comparing creation myths. However I may point out that it appears to be that when we anthropomorphise God then, whatever we call him or her, as well as the virtues the less pleasant traits of humanity become visible in the worshipped God, and this is as true of any religion as of the followers of krishna. Those believers who can devote themselves to God without form, existing before worship and belief, and needing neither are blessed. They have no need of rules and rituals, only the experience of being, they live beyond worship and belief, they alone are free. Those believers, on the other hand, who need Gods they can worship, and a society based on those rules, are little better than any other animal, controlled with whips or with treats and fussing. They are condemned to have their personalities formed by their faith, however corrupt their God, or worse, his priests and prophets. Their lives and their ends are shaped accordingly. I do have a God and he is very like me.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ambition, happiness, poetry, success, words, writing
Is a good word
For the thrusting,
To make a name for themselves.
I am not dynamic.
Content is a good word, but
I am happy.