Springingtiger's Blog


We Are One

There is a saying that when you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person. People differentiate between disabilities, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, visible and invisible disabilities. However in the eyes of the Conservative government all people with disabilities are legitimate targets for exploitation. They try too to divide other oppressed groups whether economic or racial and turn them together. The disabled, the refugee, the victim of abuse, the woman and the worker, we have only one enemy the establishment and its representatives in parliament.

image

We are one, we who you reject.
They say that when you have met one
Autist you’ve met just one person,
But a person, not a defect.
Your fear and the walls you erect
Hurt us, but we are not alone.
All the disabled, we are one,
We’re the stone you builders reject.

One, the disabled and the poor,
The black and workers you eject
From your councils, we demand more.
We have a right to your respect,
We are human, you can’t ignore
Us anymore. We vote, we elect!



Peace that Passes Understanding
wpid-fb_img_1428155818643.jpg

Photo from Don Macbride

There is a common misconception that peace is merely an absence of war. I notice this is something those who support the retention of nuclear weapons keep trotting out in support of Trident renewal, “Nuclear Weapons have kept the peace for over half a century”. It is true that no one has launched a nuclear attack upon us since the second world war, however there is no evidence that this is because we have nuclear weapons. Another one popular right now is that because of the European Union European Countries have been at peace with each other for over half a century. There is rather more reason to accept this as true because of the active cooperation of member states. What we must not forget is that although European nations have not been fighting each other and we have not had a nuclear war we have been engaged in armed conflicts more or less non-stop since the end of World War Two and the situation is not improving.

I have heard it said that ‘Peace is the absence of fear’. Down in the South of England the people who love having nuclear weapons may not fear a nuclear attack. It is somewhat different in Scotland where the Faslane Submarine Base is the UK’s primary nuclear target. Even if there is never a nuclear attack Scotland has to put up with a fear imposed by the English who happily run military convoys carrying nuclear materials through Scottish towns by road and rail. The most likely source of attack on UK soil is apparently from terrorists and what more inviting target than nuclear warheads being transported by lorry? Even were there never to be a terrorist attack, trains can be derailed, lorries can skid and crash. There can be no peace as long as England insists on keeping its weapons of mass destruction in Scotland. And as long as it seems that they are prepared to risk Scottish lives in order to protect their own, there will be little of peace in the Scots’ attitude towards them.

But what sort of peace can a people know when thousands are forced to sleep rough on the streets and many more compelled to turn to food banks to stave off starvation because the English government is imposing austerity upon them. There is no freedom from fear for the disabled whose ability to retain a job is threatened by the English Government’s removal of their Employment Support Allowance. What peace is there when in the Commons debate on ESA the English government made scarcely veiled threats against the Scottish Government should they try to prevent implementation of the cuts? I can’t remember the exact quote but it went along the lines of ‘It would turn them from Law Makers into law breakers’, Westminster refused to say what sanctions they would take preferring to leave the threat open ended. When an extreme government is deliberately hurting its own people it is a country that cannot know peace. When a subject nation is unable to care for its own people and has austerity forced upon it by a more powerful neighbour the country cannot know peace. The ordinary citizens of the various countries of the UK are being forced to live with an unnecessary level of uncertainty by the Westminster government and the vested interests that it represents. Would destroying the protected peace of those vested interests bring about peace for the rest? Justice and fairness perhaps, but peace? Peace is another matter.

Human life is fraught with uncertainty and no amount of wealth or legislation can prevent that. It is pitiful to see rich people desperately trying to hide behind walls or worse, like Howard Hughes, living in fear of natural processes of illness and disease. It is sad to see chubby children getting fatter because their parents fear to let them out into a world perceived to be too dangerous. No matter how much people anaesthetise themselves with religion, drink, sex, drugs, television or anything else, there is no peace. There is no peace anywhere. There is no peace anywhere unless you create it for yourself. The only people who know peace are those who generate it within themselves. They may be poor or rich, living in Syria or Sheffield, educated or illiterate, married or single, it does not matter, peace is not a function of what you have but of whom you are. Remove every cause for fear you can imagine, you will find new ones. Remove poverty, old age, disease, you will still find cause for anxiety. Fear is nothing more than perception; the conduct it causes: wars, amassing weapons or money, passing restrictive laws, following priests and politicians are the actions of immature and deluded fools who, whether they like it or not, will die. But the person who creates his own peace passes untouched through wars and recession, plagues and famine, celebration and bereavement. The man who generates peace from within may find no pleasure in some things, no pain in others, but joy in everything.



Cuts Obscentiy

Am I the only person who find it obscene that multimillionaires feel that the only way to take the UK’s debt is to cut the benefits of the disabled and purple on low incomes. I watched disgusted as yet again George Osborne announced that, yet again, the poor and disabled are to bear the brunt of the cuts. He wants to make savings of twelve million this year from the welfare budget, when you bear in mind that last summer he committed to spending thirty million pounds to building a totally unnecessary garden in the middle of London’s commercial district, this cut is shown to be the obscenity it is. Osborne is taking food from the poor of Britain to pay to prettify the City. Everyone outside London as well as the poor of London have a right to be angry.

George Osborne says that a further twenty five billion pounds of cuts are needed, buy he shows no sign of taking it from the rich, he will still subsidise the banks and the poor will pay again. If he is serious about cutting twenty five billion pounds from the budget there is an obvious place to make the cut, unnecessary military spending. If we refuse to replace Trident we will make the required saving, we don’t need nuclear weapons and in Scotland we don’t want them. If we were to cut the other unnecessary spending on aircraft carriers and planes bought from the USA the saving would be more than double, perhaps four times what is required. Britain could have a substantial surplus. However the Conservatives in Westminster seem to be determined to continue on their current path of forcing people into poverty.

Here in Scotland we are faced with further cuts inflicted upon us by a government for which we will not have voted. It seems increasingly certain that the power of Holyrood to protect Scotland from the worst excesses of Westminster will be drastically curtailed. Now more than ever we need to be free of Westminster before they plunge us further into poverty. If I needed a reason to vote Yes, George Osborne has provided it.

Blackadder star and Gove in WW1 row http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25612369



The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
image

Five is the number of Mercury, the messenger of the gods it relates to communication, but also divine inspiration. It is a number for artists and communicators. Five makes me think very much of blogging, particularly writing a daily blog, which demands both inspiration and communication. In two days time, on the Seventh day of Christmas, I will complete my challenge to publish a blog post every day of this year; I do not intend to rest on the seventh day, celebrate yes, but rest, no. I shall complete the Twelve days of Christmas, after a year of discipline I am not going to miss the twelfth day’s celebration of the Lord of Misrule.

Five is the age at which children, in this country start school, which may be appropriate to the number of inspiration and communication, but how long before the education system crushes inspiration and constrains communication along carefully directed paths. Some educators recognise that children differ from each other in how they learn, and in vocation, unfortunately politicians would have all children be taught the same lessons in the same way without regard to the individuality of the child. On the contrary, to a politician education is a tool to enforce conformity and compliance on the greater part of the population for the benefit of the elite. To the elite there are two sorts of education; there is mass education designed to produce a moderately educated workforce at no cost to employers, and there is the education of the elite which enables them to establish the networks they will use to retain power for their class. For the bulk of children education is designed to channel their aspirations into a desire to be good employees; whatever their dreams, they are told to be realistic and limit their aspirations.

I find it very sad how frequently I hear people say, “I’m just working to get the money to do what I want to do” they are in a box, it may as well be a coffin. How many are waiting for retirement to finally live their dreams? How many are going to be disappointed? Disappointed because this society is not designed for their fulfillment; it is structured for one purpose, to provide for the ruling elite and for their children who will succeed them. We only have to look at the Labour Party to see what happens to workers with aspirations. At one time the Labour Party represented the working classes and even returned some working class members to parliament. Now, however, after generations of exposure to the corrupting effects of power, the party is full of professional politicians whose children either succeed them to parliament or occupy other places at the trough.

I suppose one of the blessings of autism is that we do not conform to society’s norms, we are not wired that way. Of course all of society, not merely the elite, tends to close ranks against the nonconformist. When we are young being different hurts, as long as we believe in the illusion of desirability the education system forces upon us we are condemned to the misery of isolation. However for many of us there comes a day when the reality that we are different finally occurs to us, it is a realisation that brings freedom. True, we are unlikely to thrive and prosper on society’s terms, but neither are we bound by them. It occurs to me that the term “disability” when used by society really means “does not fit in”. Disability is a mindset that cannot see possibility nor invest in it; seeing and thinking differently is not a disability, the greatest disability is being bound by an illusion of normality that deceives you into conformance and slavery. We do not fear a zombie apocalypse, we already live our lives surrounded by zombies, or at least people who have been educated to be zombies; if Michael Gove gets his way the next generation will be even more lacking in free will than the last. I live in hope that someday the British people will wake from their trance, in the meantime, at last, we can reboot Scotland with a Yes vote for independence.

Today’s blog has been brought to you by the number Five and the letter S for Siva, Success and for Scotland, free in 2014!



Stillness in Motion

I cannot sit still, literally, my body moves constantly independently of thought or will. My body is prey to involuntary movement, I often sit and watch my muscles twitching for no particular reason of which I’m aware. We are often told to “sit still”, “don’t move”, “sit at peace” for some of its it is impossible. Some mornings I awaken to discover my leg is bouncing up and down,as it often does when I’m sitting; when I’m awake I may,by force of will, stop it, but rarely in my sleep.As well as the various twitches to which I am prone my fingers have an unfortunate tendency to insert themselves into any convenient facial orifice, for social reasons it’s good to stop them, but my mind is usually focused on other things.

Some of my movements are regulatory mechanisms to support my mental well being. When stressed my body moves more and more violently than usual. However it is fair to say out never stops moving, and most of my movements bring me comfort. I have occasional muscle spasms that can cause considerable discomfort, even periods of impaired movement, but generally I find my movements beneficial.

No one is ever entirely still because the body is always running background processes like respiration and digestion. We are unaware of many off them most of the time, yet without our awareness or wounds still heal and our nails still grow. People make of adjustments to their posture over a day without even thinking about it. The body knows what it’s doing and it knows when to move to prevent cramp or sores; my body just needs to move more.

Strangely most of the time the movement is entirely external. I feel as though I am sitting still and unmoved in the eye of a hurricane.All around me the world and my body are moving, but I am still. Amongst movement, amongst turmoil and drama, in the midst of chaos I am still.

    SPIDER

I sit
Silent,
Unmoving.
Like a spider
I have spun
My web of illusions,
Trapping the unwary
In a web of dreams.
They look,
They do not see.
They think,
They do not know.
They live in hope,
But hope,
Like all dreams,
Will die,
Like my web.
In the end,
There is only
Me



Food Banks and Second Day Bread Shops

image

This morning we were shopping in Tesco because of a special offer. To any food purchased for the food trust food bank, Tesco would add another thirty percent. Yes, it’s good PR for Tesco and I don’t suppose they will be out of pocket, but for people wanting to contribute it is a worthwhile offer. They say doing good should give one a warm glow, however I am upset and angry that in Glasgow we need food banks, I get no satisfaction from what we did today, only sorrow that it’s necessary. Actually it’s not necessary, it’s a result of the financial mismanagement of our colonial masters in London.

In Maryhill we used to have a “second day” shop that sold day old bread to families who couldn’t afford to buy it fresh, now the bread shop is gone, but we have food parcels for the poor. The government and media are portraying our poor as scroungers and cutting their benefits, now many are depending on charity to survive, these are no scroungers they are victims, victims of a callous English Conservative government. David Cameron may claim we are in this together, however that people are depending on food parcels while millionaires get tax cuts, shows how false that assertion is.

It is not only the unemployed who suffer benefit cuts, the London Tory government is attacking the disabled also. As well as cutting benefits and paying private companies millions to exclude disabled people from benefits, by forcing the closure of Remploy they are actually throwing disabled people out of work. Sometimes it feels as if David Cameron is punishing the disabled for living when his own son died. I can see no logic in the Conservatives’ treatment of the disabled, only spite and contempt.

This week, in a display of appalling double standards, we have been seeing the far right politicians and media, largely Tories and Daily Mail, attacking the Trades Unions funding of the Labour party. What is worse is the Labour leadership’s scramble to distance themselves from the Unions. The Conservative Party shamelessly accepts donations from businessmen and in return gives them tax cuts and law changes, yet complains when workers want representation in parliament. The behaviour of the Labour Party in the stooshie over Falkirk has been pitiful, and demonstrates how far they have moved from being a party for ordinary people. In their desperation to regain power, and its perks, they try to coorie up to big business and to the Middle classes while attacking the Unions they were set up to defend. The only reason the Labour party opposes Scottish independence is because they fear that without Scottish votes they won’t get elected to Westminster, even if they manage to prevent a yes vote they may discover they can no longer rely on a people they have betrayed.

It is time the Trades Union Congress recognised that the Labour Party is no longer either their friend or ally. It is time the unions turned their back on Labour and called on the TUC to establish a new political party to represent workers. As for the Westminster Parliament, it is time that Scotland realised, that as long as the union with England is maintained we will get Conservative governments, and as long as we get Conservative governments we will have to suffer the indignity of depending on food banks and Second day bread shops.

image



Aspergian Thoughts on Communication

Although we think more deliberately, I think we are more inclined to observe our thoughts than ordinary humans. Just as we are on the outside of society looking in, so I myself on the outside of my thoughts, scrutinizing and analyzing them. However I cannot be sure whether that is because of my Asperger’s or my religion. On reflection, as I cannot remember a time when it was not so, I shall attribute it to Asperger’s.
We enjoy, or perhaps not, a separation from the world, from common experience, from common understanding, from common humanity. In all that happens we have to find a bridge across which we can communicate. I have in the past described it as being like living in a bubble and that still occurs to me as substantially true. Interaction with humans is quite exhausting, because their language has to be translated into our language. It may appear that we speak the same language, but we understand it somewhat differently. I am perfectly capable of using idiomatic language, but I think my usage has an extra step which involves unpacking the idiom according to context and interpreting it.
There is a common misconception that we can’t recognize gestures and facial expressions. The problem is not one of recognition, but of interpretation. Gestures are quite easy, I learned about the Satir categories as part of my NLP training so I simply refer back to that. Facial expressions are more of a problem as it is quite easy to misunderstand them, particularly as so many of them are indistinguishable, I frequently have difficulty telling the difference between laughing and crying. Because it is usually impossible to separate speech from other noise I sometimes lose the context of a person’s expressions and gestures and become dissociated from the conversation to the point at which I cease to listen or respond. Fortunately most people are so interested in what they are saying they don’t notice I’ve zoned out. My wife is not readily fooled and frequently punctuates her speech with questions like, “What did I just say?” Questions like, “Do you agree?” are easier because a yes or no answer stands a fifty percent chance of being acceptable, if not right.
Some people object that we ignore them and think us rude. Rather they miss that if we do not want to talk we won’t. Sometimes there is nothing I want to say and sometimes I do not want to expend energy on listening, if I am already listening to something else, like the news, I probably can’t understand them anyway. What humans fail to realize is that silence is perfectly acceptable, there is no need, nor should there be any obligation to talk all the time. If there is nothing one wants to say, is it so wrong to say nothing? Should I choose not to speak, why should I be expected to explain my silence, why can it not just be accepted?