Filed under: Justice, Scotland, success | Tags: democracy, freedom, Glasgow, integrity, justice, Mandela, Nelson Mandela, respect, Scotland
I was late to bed last night or, rather, this morning. The nonstop coverage of Nelson Mandela’s passing held me like a rabbit in the headlights, a sort of compulsive sadness. I remember that day in 1990, glued to the television, waiting to see Mandela walk free, the commentators trying to fill in the delay with talk, hoping nothing had gone wrong and then the tears when we finally saw him. Neelam and I went down to Nelson Mandela Place to celebrate; two of our friends had named their son “Mandela”, the little fellow was most confused as so many people asked him, “Mandela, what’s it like to be free?” We’re a funny lot in Glasgow!
Even more than watching Mandela walk free, more than his inauguration, the thing that moved me was the sight of the queues waiting to vote in the elections of 1994, particularly one old woman picked up by the television cameras who had waited in line for more than a day to vote for the first time in her life. In April 1994 this black woman became a citizen of her own country, a human being in her own right. It brought home to me just how precious is our right to vote. It saddens me that people don’t use their vote, they don’t realise how dearly it has been won. The ordinary people of Scotland have never been consulted on whether they want to be part of the United Kingdom, next year, at last, we have our say; whether you oppose independence or whether you want to see Scotland free, it is important to vote. Democracy is too precious to squander, we have the opportunity to bring meaningful democracy to Scotland, we must use it.
Nelson Mandela holds up an ideal of leadership to the world. His example is a rebuke to our politicians because it shows that a politician can serve the people, a politician need not be self serving and greedy. Nelson Mandela holds up a promise of the possibility of integrity in politics and mutual respect between people of different opinions. Today we remember and celebrate Nelson Mandela and his contribution to our lives. Tomorrow we go forward to build the future and a fitting legacy for Nelson Mandela.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christianity, Creationism, ecology, evolution, In Our Time, Melvin Bragg, Psalms, Saivism
This morning I was listening to Melvin Bragg’s “In Our Time” on Creation in the Hindu traditions. The thought occurred to me that how the Universe was created is utterly irrelevant. The argument between Creationism and Science is an utter waste of time. Ultimately all we, as humans, can say for sure, is that the Universe exists. No amount of speculation can tell us how, whatever the Large Hadron Collider may discover, it is discovering now, but “now” is not necessarily “then”. The best that both science and religion can do, when it comes to Creation, is present us with theories; we can choose to believe what we will, but, empirically, we cannot know. As the ancient Scripture, the Rig Veda says,
” Who knows the truth? Who can tell whence and how arose this universe? The gods are later than its beginning; who knows therefore whence comes this creation? Only that God who sees in highest heaven: he only knows whence came this universe, and whether it was made or uncreated. He only knows, or perhaps he knows not.” (Trans. Ralph T H Griffith)
The point is not to waste our time in idle speculation, but to act. Whatever we believe we are presented with the Universe as a fact and with facts we can work. We can discover the laws that govern the operation of our world and use them for good or ill. We can apply our faculty for drawing rules from observation and experimentation to improve our methodologies for living, whether in agriculture, psychology, physics, medicine or any other discipline. Better still we can do so holistically taking into account all our fields of study so that, for example, we don’t modify a food crop without taking into account the response of human physiology to the modifications. It is a good thing to be able to feed the peoples of the world, but not at the cost of poisoning them and destroying the quality of their lives. It is good to be able to provide fuel, but not at the cost of poisoning our environment. I believe passionately that science should be used to advance humanity, but that requires balance and an awareness of the totality of our needs, both physical and psychological; I include spiritual needs within psychological because, in reality physiology, psychology and spirituality are one system.
As a Saivite monist who grew up in a mystical Christian tradition, I have my own very profound beliefs on Creation, I am sure you do too. I am neither stupid nor arrogant enough to impose my beliefs on other people. I find the NLP injunction to respect other people’s maps of the world very empowering; I do not have to share another’s belief, but to merely reject it precludes the possibility of any real communication or cooperation. It is more important, to me, to make a word that works for everyone than to propate my opinions at the expense of others. When the psalmist says,
” The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” I take that to mean that there is something greater than all our beliefs and opinions, but also that we are all part of this creation and none of us has the right to dictate to others. The psalmist goes on to say, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” I would suggest that if you do not match this standard in your own life, you are not only in no position to dictate to others, but are failing to even meet the basic standard of human conduct, whatever belief system you follow. The only standard that matters is one of absolute integrity, but before you become smug, we are one so if anyone is failing to meet the standard then so are you and I. We are in this Universe together and if we want it to work then we have to work together. Sorry, but that’s the bottom line; anyone who is a not respecting the needs of the whole is the enemy of us all.
Filed under: autism, disability, Parenting, success | Tags: cooking, DIY, family, food, grandchildren
Some days I can think of nothing better than being at home. Today I have been at home, a good day, a family day, a happy day.
It was an early start for me. My cold had had me sleep for so much of the previous day that I was awake at four in the morning, and in my bath shortly thereafter. I took some time to decide whether to return to bed or do something useful. In the end I decided to do something useful. My porch is finally clean and, at last, I have replaced the curtain that keeps the winter beyond my front door.
As Neelam was late to bed so, as she was still in bed, I crawled back in, while I waited for the plugs in my drill holes to harden. It was a couple of hours before I woke again, there are few indulgences as satisfying as an afternoon nap.
My afternoon was rounded off nicely when my daughter and her children turned up. There is no greater validation of the value of the licence fee than the joy of watching a four year old interacting with Cbeebies; I can’t think of another channel that so inspires her. I always know when she has been waiting, at our house, for her sister to finish school because the television has been tuned to Cbeebies.
We ran our daughter and grandchildren home and then we cooked dinner together. It is nice to share food, but better still when the sharing starts in the kitchen. It has been a good day, but now I am tired enough to sleep again, but not before I have taken another look at ny new door curtain.
Filed under: autism, Parenting, Writing | Tags: cats, colds, Mog, notes, poetry, Wee Man
I have a cold,
My life’s on hold
For today, at least;
And against my knees
The Wee Man sleeps.
As I wrote that
About my cat,
The television said
That, “Mog is now dead”
Mog’s not my cat.
Is the world safe?
Here in this place,
With my cold, in bed,
Thoughts remain unsaid
Within my head.
To be a cat,
How about that?
Asleep on a knee
That’s good to be.
My cat’s asleep,
But we two keep
Could things better be?
I’m glad I’m me.
Filed under: autism, disability, NLP, Parenting | Tags: asperger's, Big Bang Theory, modelling, neurolinguistic programming, nlp, Sheldon Cooper
I personally think that having a diagnosis of Asperger’s should enable one to adopt strategies that increase one’s ability to interact with ordinary humans. I find myself at a loss to understand why some Aspies, admittedly mostly self-diagnosed, so determinedly want to model themselves on Doctor Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory. While I can recognise the appeal of Sheldon Cooper, surely he represents an extreme of the behaviours from which we wish to escape. Some of us at various times have felt rejected by society and in turn have rejected society’s norms, but in practical terms an ability to interact with society is useful, to deliberately model oneself on someone virtually incapable of interaction with normal humans is illogical if not downright perverse.
It occurs to me that there are some people who feel a need to prove they have Asperger’s and so deliberately adopt Aspie traits as if to give themselves an identity. When one has these traits involuntarily they do not possess the same appeal, indeed for many of us life has been a struggle to escape their domination. My wife says that the Big Bang Theory reminds her of home, she doesn’t always mean that in a good way. It is a principle of Neurolinguistic Programming that we should seek flexibility of thought and behaviour and flexibility brings a degree of freedom. I was running my daily washing routine this morning when I realised I picked up my flannels in the wrong hands, rather than swap them over, I deliberately chose to continue. Sheldon Cooper tends to find himself paralysed when his routines are frustrated, why would anyone choose that?
I discovered people’s determination to be like Doctor Cooper from interactions on line, in particular I remember someone admiring Sheldon Cooper’s tee shirt folding gadget. I realised then they were governed by their need for identity, rather than logic, because they had failed to notice that the gadget does not fold equally, it leaves one side longer than the other. It is far better to fold by hand so that the shirt is folded evenly. Having written all that, Doctor Cooper does have admirable qualities, but one can model selectively, as we say in NLP, you don’t have to wear purple to model Milton Ericsson. Richard Bandler emphasises that the difference between NLP and conventional psychology is that psychology focuses on what is wrong NLP, on what is right. I shall not cease to enjoy Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory, but I won’t model myself on him.
Filed under: Scotland, Travel | Tags: Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, village
I find that many people who live in cities, when asked, “Where do you live? ” tend to reply not with the name of the city (London, Liverpool, Manchester), but with an area like Primrose Hill, Huyton or Moss Side. Glasgow is different; ask a Glaswegian where they live and they reply, “Glasgow”", it takes further questions to elicit the area, except for the people of Bearsden who can’t bear to be thought of as Glaswegians.
Our cities are conglomerations of neighbouring villages that have been joined together by the process of urbanisation, Glasgow no less than other cities. However the difference is, I believe, that while Glasgow is a city in name and facilities, it is a village in attitude. Glaswegians may have hereditary attachments to their boroughs, but they identify with the city; people from Maryhill are closer to people from the Drum than, say, to Stirling and not only geographically. They share the same challenges and the same attitudes and the front they present to the world is that of Glaswegians.
Living in Glasgow is a bit like living in a village. Not long after I came to Glasgow in the Nineteen Seventies I wanted to go to a GasWorks gig in the City Halls. I asked directions at Charing Cross, the man I asked asked me, “Do you know George Square? “ When I said, “No”, he turned round and walked me the Candleriggs before turning round and resuming his journey. To me that is the essence of Glasgow, people help each other, people share; I came from a village in the mountains, but I have always felt at home in Glasgow. I enjoy living in Glasgow it’s a like a big village, but with much more entertainment. I don’t see me anywhere else this side of heaven.