Category Archives: Mental health

Objective sanity in a crazy world, or madness in a sane world. Probably both.

I was reminded of my byeline today.  A sane voice in an insane world or vice versa.  When I originally wrote this I saw the truth that lay within but largely wrote is out of a sense of humour.  The reason I was driven to think of it today was because of discussion of psychological disturbance in Oliver James’ book Britain on the Couch.

It shows how good my attention span is these days that I have taken to writing a blog by something that was mentioned at the beginning of chapter one.  At least I made it through the introduction anyway.  James describes the case of Jim, a lawyer who has led a fairly successful life and has had no history of mental illness.  He has reached the age of 33 and is progressing well in his career and is married to what sounds like a marvelous and intelligent girl.  Things begin to fall apart on a trip to Scotland with an old friend from university.

In Scotland Jim is convinced to try MDMA.  The result is a weekend of deep introspection that leads to a crisis.  Jim realises that his life does not hold the meaning he had previously accepted it did.  The MDMA seems to have pulled the trick of enhancing Jim’s world view so that he can look at his own life from a distance with a far broader viewpoint and what he sees leaves him in serious conflict.

That is as far as my attention span has so far allowed me to read, but it got me thinking.  Jim’s life is relatively successful but he has been conditioned like most of us to plug away at his job day after day as one of the cogs in the mechanism of society.  It is probable that Jim is giving himself too little credit for his importance but it has led him into crisis.  The crisis strikes me as being a sign of having been overwhelmed by an insane society.

We all need to survive and we do that by fitting into our niches the best we can.  Sanity is to conform to the standard set by everyone else around us.  If we look normal then we are normal.  When we stop being normal it becomes pretty obvious to the rest of the world.  We become the loony, the mad bloke that everyone avoids.  The problem is that in being normal we are conforming to a society that has no objective comparators in our daily experience.

If we look far enough we can see the example of many other different societies but largely they are all in as much difficulty as our own.  Corrupt politicians and collapsing economies seem to be a theme to most advanced societies.  In order to really make a judgement about the way in which a society operates we need to take years of study at university, perhaps even writing a Phd before our understanding is solid enough to take action.  Or we could pop some MDMA on a weekend away like Jim did, and then those years of understanding will hit home in about 20 minutes instead of 5 or 6 years.  It is hardly any wonder it caused a crisis.

The things about which Jim was concerned within his life were simply who he was.  They were aspects of his nature as a homo sapien and of the world around him.  The resultant neuroses was the natural response in someone who has not had the chance to build a coping mechanism to deal with the circumstances in which he found himself.  A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
This ultimately led me to realise that the world around us all is mad but only when held up in comparison to our ability to cope with it.  If we can cope with the world then it is relatively sane.  If we can’t cope with it then we appear to be insane, though really if the world is that difficult to cope with then it is hardly a shining example of balance itself.  Perhaps my byeline should read that I am a sane voice in a sane world and an insane voice in an insane world simultaneously.  Though that is far less catchy.

In defence of Katie Hopkins? Wait, what?

Currently one of the most hated columnists/celebrities/presenters/human beings in the UK Katie Hopkins does have some fans though they are probably fairly demented.  She has far more enemies. She regularly receives death threats and is parodied by alternative press, and most people think she deserves pretty much every response she has so far received.  Not only that but she doesn’t care what people think of her.  In combination with no tolerance whatsoever for those who she criticises, she has a remarkably high tolerance for any negative reactions.

It seems that her detestable personality may have a physical basis and that it could shortly be affected by a physical procedure to be carried out by open brain surgery to cure her of epilepsy.  Hopkins claims to have attacks that affect her on an almost nightly basis.  This is extreme given that most epileptics would expect attacks perhaps twice per week.  The abnormal qualities in her personality are similarly extreme.

Bert Park describes one of the mechanisms of epilepsy as involving “An inability to assign appropriate emotional significance to external stimuli.” This certainly sounds like Hopkins, and describes her explanation of her behaviour.  In the same chapter on saints and fanatics Park also has similar suggestions to make as a partial hypothesis to explain the actions and behaviour of a number of figures through history who fall on both sides of the line of good and evil but are all linked together by the exaggerated emotional response to external stimuli.  Joan of Arc being one example and Adolf Hitler another.

I not only proposed that the Fuehrer suffered from gallbladder disease and Parkinson’s syndrome but also suggested that his personality disorder might have been explained on the basis of temporal lobe epilepsy

Interestingly when watching video of Katie Hopkins she does show herself to have similar mannerisms and exaggerated movements to those which Adolf Hitler uses in his speeches on film.

After the conclusion of her current television series Hopkins is to make a choice about whether or not to go ahead with the surgery to cure her epilepsy.  She has spoken of a fear that she may die during the surgery or lose the use of one or more limbs.  She also mentions the possibility that she may come around to find that she has a Welsh accent or has become a communist.  While these comments may be tongue in cheek there is a very real chance that her personality may be radically changed after the surgery.  It is wise that she waits till after the current television series as she may not have the same outspoken views afterwards. Although it is also possible that her attitudes may have become such an ingrained part of her brain that they will remain even after the instability has been corrected.

In general where surgery is successful it is likely that personality disorders will see some improvement, the improvement being greater, the earlier it is caught.  Hopkins is therefore taking a risk by waiting for work commitments to be ended, but then as she has made a career out of having an abrasive personality that is probably a considered choice.  At any rate improvement will likely be gradual and in different areas of personality.  The irritability and anger that power Katie’s rants is likely to decrease, as is the spontaneity that often gets her into trouble, especially some time after the operation when things have started to repair themselves.  Looking at past results it seems that it is the more severe symptoms that are likely to be most profoundly affected.  At Katie Hopkin’s age it will be difficult to have as major an impact as would be possible with a younger subject but over time the new way in which the brain works will start to have an effect on the existing architecture.  The gradual changes that appear in the first couple of years after the operation will continue to a degree in the future.

When Phineas Gage’s head was penetrated with an iron bar his entire life changed. He had lost substantially more of his brain than is likely to be removed in an operation for epilepsy. People said this is not Gage anymore.

It may be that whoever comes out of that operating theatre will not be Katie Hopkins as we know her. Her personality may grow to be so different that she will be deeply ashamed of the Katie Hopkins persona. Then again it is also possible that she may become even more Katie Hopkins than she is now.  Whatever happens it seems a bit too coincidental at this point that she has a brain disorder and she also has an obviously malfunctioning personality residing within that brain. If a new improved Katie Hopkins emerges from the operating theatre then we may be able to look back on her time as a columnist and see that what entertained and outraged people was an effect of her disorder.

The reason she is on television might be very much like the way in which people laughed at fools, madmen and dwarves in history.  In one episode of Blackadder the queen reminisces about the funny people with bells who made her laugh as a child.  When her nurses suggests “Jesters?” it is revealed that the queen was actually thinking of lepers.  One of the earliest examples of compensation for injury in the service of the crown was given to a man who fell from his horse, not because it was intended as compensation but because it amused the king so much.  The manner in which disability and injury was treated in past centuries seems abhorrent to modern civilisation, in a similar light to the way in which Hopkins herself often speaks on television.  It may be that in our blindness to their being an actual cause for her behaviour we are guilty of having a similar attitude to the afflicted of today simply because we are unable to recognise their affliction.  She may have a disorder that renders her entertaining and is therefore the modern equivalent of a court jester.  Because mental issues are so much less visible they are far easier to deride.  Mockery of physical disabilities is no longer acceptable, I guess until mental disorders and personality disorders can be more easily identified people will continue to be used in this way because the state of their mind is easy to mock and makes an audience drawing spectacle.

I am not a fan of Katie Hopkins myself and do not think she should be allowed to say the things she says on television.  Her opinions step beyond the boundaries of defensible free speech because they are abnormal.  She does not represent any valid opinions on the subjects she discusses.  I do look forward to seeing if the surgery will create positive changes for her.  I can only wish her the best in that regard because in wishing her the best we may also be free of the negative persona that she has inflicted on us since her time on the Apprentice.  She fears she may die on the operating table but it is just as likely that if she does then a far better Katie Hopkins will live in her stead.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/31/katie-hopkins-brain-surgery-welsh-accent_n_7910418.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/katie-hopkins-inadvertently-raises-over-22000-for-migrant-search-rescue-and-medical-aid-operation-in-the-mediterranean-10191985.html

http://www.ok.co.uk/tv/katie-hopkins-rape-threats-twitter

http://newsthump.com/2015/05/12/pope-admits-defeat-after-three-day-attempted-exorcism-of-katie-hopkins/

https://patients.aan.com/resources/neurologynow/?event=home.showArticle&id=ovid.com:/bib/ovftdb/01222928-200703020-00025

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17904823

Bert E. Park, Ailing, Aging, Addicted: Studies of Compromised Leadership , University Press of Kentucky.

Political point scoring? Politics by penalty shootout.

I am guessing anyone who has found their way to this page has seen Question time this week in which Shadow Cabinet Minister, Angela Eagle MP, was accused of political point scoring in demanding the resignation of Lord Freud for stating that those who were not ‘worth’ the minimum wage due to disability should be permitted to accept a lower hourly wage.

Lord Freud has been quoted out of context in many places.  In reality the question seems to have been posed by a father who was concerned about the future employment prospects of his disabled daughter.  Without this context the appearance is that Lord Freud is a heartless Conservative ogre with little respect for human rights.  I kind of get the impression that a similar description would suit most MPs so I am not going to dwell on it.  I have certainly met many MPs who have impressed me with their humanity but it seems that once they are given positions of power in the executive they have to make choices between their principles and practicality.  For a prime example of this I would consider the pleas to end ‘Punch and Judy Politics’ before the election by Mr Punch David Cameron.  Another example would be the pro-Europe attitudes of many MPs until UKIP started doing well, whereupon their principles were pushed to the back of the shelf.

Certainly one aspect of the Punch and Judy system of politics is that one must always try to stick the dagger in when the time seems appropriate.  Those who succeed in achieving positions of power seem to have got there partially due to this particular skill.  Naturally Angela Eagle would say that Lord Freud should resign; it is probably the opinion of most people in the shadow cabinet that the entire Tory government should resign, so that can’t really be held against her.  Of course she did seem somewhat surprised that her failed attempt on the point scoring goal seems to have been met with complete hostility by so many people that even those who agreed with her (all across the nation) quietly started examining a bit of fluff they hadn’t realised was stuck on their sleeve whilst feigning a moment’s deafness.

Since then there appear to have been a constant barrage of penalty shootouts against Angela Eagle for having used the opportunity to try and make Lord Freud look bad.  Aside from the fact that Lord Freud was doing perfectly well with making himself look bad already it is the Punch and Judy nature of her response that lost her the opportunity to make an extremely valid point.  In fact she did make the exact point she wished to make but it was completely missed on two occasions because the audience was too intent on scoring points against her for her attempt to score points.  The newspapers have now gotten hold of the political football and are hurriedly scoring political points all over the place.  Angela Eagle only tried to score one point and now there are balls flying all over the place.

The one thing she repeated which should have been heard was that it should not be an issue of money.  It was put to her that Lord Freud’s intent was fully reasonable and everyone knew what he had meant, as though what he had meant was eminently sensible.  Angela Eagle suggested that it was a weakness of the Conservatives that they always brought things down to the issue of money.  The point she wanted to make, at which she should have stopped, is that there could be other ways of doing things.  Employers could be shown how their businesses could benefit from the diversity offered by disabled employees.  There could be ways to balance the work done so that those whose abilities didn’t cover all tasks could take up the slack in areas where they might excel, whilst more able bodied workers could cover for them in other areas.  The efforts of disabled workers could be coordinated to make them more effective.  Fittingly this task could be done by someone who had knowledge of what it is like to be disabled, this would enable many disabled people to be employed in this capacity as well.

Some of those were my own ideas rather than ones put forward by Angela Eagle.  The point I wish to make is that she was right to the extent that all issues cannot be solved by simply throwing money at them.  Whilst one way to get employers to take on disabled employees would be to subsidise wages this is not an ideal solution in our current economic climate.  When all that is on George Osborne’s mind is austerity and saving money the first option in any situation should not be to pay out money to deal with every issue on the agenda.  Subsidising the wages of the disabled is akin to paying employers to make the disabled go away.  Whilst it is the disabled who should be getting paid for the work they are doing, it is the employers who are being paid to hide them from public view.  The system would be ripe for abuse.  At present there are a huge number of people with disabilities in employment and the reason for this is that it has been discovered that many people on the autistic spectrum are actually far better than mentally typical people in many technology jobs.  By subsidising the wages of the disabled, government would only be encouraging employers to continue seeking out the best candidates for positions at a fraction of the cost.  Large companies would become expert in sourcing the best candidates for the lowest prices.  Also how would government accomplish the task of grading each individual to judge how great a subsidy they should receive?  Throwing money at situations leaves them ripe for abuse by those who are most adept at abusing situations for monetary gain.

The most ironic thing is that it was a Labour politician who was complaining about the idea of government paying out more money versus a Conservative politician that was suggesting there might be a way of dealing with the issue by the government paying more money.  It is my belief that most of our problems can be solved through methods other than spending cash.  We have all heard stories where the official line in some organisation has been that things must be done in a certain way that costs hundreds of pounds while the people involved have been saying something like, “If you just gave me the £2.50 for the bus fare I would do it myself.”  Again and again we hear tales of ridiculous amount of money being wasted not because the system allows it but because the system demands it.  During the MP’s expenses scandal there were tales that the clerks involved in controlling the expenses were the ones making the suggestions of how best to take the most money.

There are many times in our daily lives when we can see the absurdity of pricing and costs with the implications that they will eventually have on our environment.  I could waffle on for ages about ways in which money could be better used.  I don’t think that Angela Eagle’s point was too difficult to understand; it was just too easy to miss, especially in the noise of the furor over her ‘point scoring’.  Behind the call for Lord Freud’s dismissal she did make a very good point, one I think could be listened too and adopted by Conservatives, Labour, Libdems, Greens, whoever.  Our first approach to solving any political problem should never be to simply throw money at it.  We are all short of money, government included, but one thing that we all have in excess is common sense, but most of us rarely exercise it.

Looks like I have to save the world again.

I feel like today’s post may be a long one.  There seems to be so much despondency in the world that I wish to address.  Mind you, Barack Obama says it has always been like this, it is just that we never had Facebook to keep us continually informed before.  On the bright side it has come to my attention that there are a huge number of people trying to make things better.  There are the heroes who go to the darkest most dangerous places of the world to try and make a difference and end up getting killed or imprisoned, but there are also the heroes that are making small changes to the world around us that barely anyone ever notices.  In the end I wonder which will end up creating the longest lasting difference.  I like the Tibetan Buddhist approach; it will all work itself out eventually, lets just wait and see.

However, I guess that is kind of point number one on my saving the world score today.  For all the harm in the world there is also someone somewhere who is trying to fix it, they are just not all that newsworthy.  Besides which, if you knew about all the good stuff then you wouldn’t need to go out and buy yourself treats to cheer yourself up, the economy would fall, and big fat suited men wouldn’t be able to enjoy the finest cognacs… as much as they would like.  Rest assured there is good stuff going on.

But don’t grow complacent.  People are sorting things out but it is a big world and it needs a lot of people to help fix it.  Point number two on my world saving scale is that people don’t worry too much about trying too hard themselves because they think one person can’t make enough of a difference, but one person times a billion can.  While that might sound a bit preachy, it is actually beneficial for the individual more than it is for the world.  That’s right, being selfish enough to boost your own smugness with good deeds probably helps you more than the world.  The improvement in your own emotional health has been shown to be dramatic. If however you do genuinely care about the world more than yourself do not fret because if everyone selfishly boosts their own smugness by doing good deeds the result will be a better world as well.  How is that for a win win situation.

When it comes to substantive problems one of the worst at the moment is that people are hungry.  A rise in poverty is causing a great deal of people to need food banks.  Whilst there are a lot more poor individuals out there than most of us feel confident enough to help there is a way in which we can do it through selfish self interest if we all get behind it.  It is nice that the way I have in mind also saves us money, it improves our health through helping us exercise, helping us eat better, and helping us avoid harmful chemicals.  If you haven’t guessed, this is a gardening blog post.

Number one on my list of fears at the moment is related to GMO food.  I say related because GMO food has the potential to really help the world and everyone on it.  If a plant was genetically modified to have a massive yield despite the weather and soil conditions not being as great as they could, and there were no side effects then this can only be a good thing.  The problem for me is that currently the number one genetically modified crop being tried out is Roundup resistant maize.  The first problem with this is that being Roundup resistant it becomes possible to soak this crop with Roundup in order to kill all the weeds that might grow around it.  Now while I may be able to think of many reasons why killing the weeds might not be the best plan, such as the fact that any pests now have no choice but to eat the maize, leading to necessity for greater use of pesticides as well, or the fact that this will diminish the biological diversity of the soil and necessitate the need for more chemical fertilisers, it is actually the Roundup itself that bothers me most.

Roundup is a herbicide and as someone who has suffered from digestive disorders due to imbalance in intestinal flora it has worried me that traces of it on food can kill the flora in the intestines.  I have seen charts that show a correlation between increased use of Roundup and increased hospital visits from people who have conditions involving the digestion.  I have also seen correlations between the heavy use of Roundup in third world countries and the increased depression and suicide of the poorly educated farmers there who do not take precautions against exposure.  If you want to find this information a Google search can easily uncover it.  At some future time I may seek out the links but do not have the time today.

As far as I am concerned I am not too bothered by artificial fertilisers.  A lot of them seem fairly innocuous, though I have no doubt there may be a few harmful ones.  Pesticides bother me less than they might bother other people.  Recent testing has shown that there are foods coming into our country that contain banned pesticides such as DDT.  The most recent report showed leading tea brands which contained a number of banned pesticides and permitted pesticides in higher than permitted quantities.  I think that this sort of thing is more of an exception and I don’t think it is as worrying as the herbicides.  Mostly because people assume something intended to kill insects is going to be more harmful to humans than something intended to kill weeds.  It is the herbicides that are not worried about that may get through in the kinds of quantities that may be problematic.

For this reason I have taken to growing food.  This has a number of obvious benefits.  It keeps me healthy and young to keep having to plant seeds and dig holes.  When research has shown that every additional hour of sitting in a chair after hour number one can knock 20 minutes off your life expectancy then gardening is a good idea if you would like an extra five or so years of life.  It has the benefit of exercising my mind.  An active mind has been shown to keep one alive and more healthy as well, how else do you think judges keep working into their 80s?  Learning different varieties of plants and their properties is far better mind exercise than sitting and watching NCIS marathons, which I have not managed to stop doing.  I need to visit doctors far less often because many of the things that ail the population are caused by things in their diet.  The blind faith that people have in modern medicine is akin to the faith that people used to have in religion or magic.  Whilst medicine is taking a scientific approach, it is still in the stone age compared to our technology.  While you can run experiments on computers in a matter of hours dependent on what you want to know, it may take years to run an experiment involving a human’s health.  Not to mention you would need hundreds of humans in the experiment to be sure and there are also ethical problems with human experimentation, and the impossibility of being able to conduct the kind of pure science one can conduct in the laboratory, and the fact that if you could then it would be largely irrelevant to understanding what happens in the world outside the laboratory.  Almost all modern medicines are derived from things that grow outside in our gardens.  Generally the garden variety is healthier than the distilled and amplified chemical variety.

If everyone was out there then everyone would be working their physical fitness, learning and stretching their brains, eating fresh food that maintains all its vitamins in the minute or two it takes to get from the garden to the front door.  Surprisingly even those who prefer to grow floral gardens rather than vegetable gardens are still growing huge numbers of things that can be eaten or used in some way that can benefit your health.  I remember hearing about one person who worked in a health food store and he was always amused by the fact that people would come in and spend several pounds on a bag of chamomile teabags with its associated CO2 equivalent in packaging and delivery, when right outside the door of the shop there was loads of organic chamomile growing wild and fresh.  If we cultivated our knowledge we would all be saving a few quid at his shop.

A big problem of our disconnect with plantlife is that fewer and fewer people have gardens now.  Fewer people consider it a necessity, they are quite happy to move into apartments or town houses.  If more people insisted on gardens then it would benefit those who did not make the cost savings associated with having a store of free food right outside their house because gardenless properties would drop in price.  Our selfishness therefore has begun to help those who do not garden straight away as their rent drops.  As we no longer need to buy so much from the supermarkets it means that the supermarkets will need to become even more competitive and drop their prices more to try and maintain the sales they currently enjoy; our selfishness once again helps those without gardens.  If less food is being delivered and packaged because we don’t want it then the environment benefits; our selfishness is beginning to save the planet.  If the environment is not deteriorating at the previously expected rate then more money that was being used to save the planet can be diverted into improving public services; our selfishness in smugly growing our own food for our own health and enjoyment is just causing no end of good in the world.  With millions of gardeners growing their own food and saving their own seeds the number of vegetable varieties will increase as new varieties adapt to different climates and become ever more developed for size, flavour, etc;  it looks as though even if we fail to fix climate change we will have plenty of plants that have adapted to it, thanks to our selfish insistence of saving money by growing our own food and seeds.

Like I said before, if only one person tries to make a change then of course there is no change but if everyone tries then solutions are not far away.  The important thing is to realise it is not a chore or a pain, it is something that will make you feel happier, more accomplished and healthier.  What I have outlined in this page is not enough to save the world on its own, but I’m not Superman and I think that it is enough of saving the world to satisfy me for one day. 

Jimmy Savile and the Reality Distortion Field.

It is shocking to read the information that has been coming out at the inquiry into the activities of Jimmy Savile.  A lot of what has been said implies further actions that cannot be proven.  A child taken by Savile who is not seen alive again; admissions of strange behaviour in the morgue and abuse of bodies; the keeping of trophies taken from the dead; connections with children’s homes where sexual and physical abuse was now known to be rife.  Worst of all is the fact that all this latest information is only that which is associated with his behaviour within the hospital system.  There is such a huge amount of abhorrent behaviour that it is easy to forget that he would have led a similar life out in the rest of the world.

A lot of the claims being made against Savile in the NHS reports being discussed at Leeds General Infirmary sound so outlandish that if it weren’t known that this is an official inquiry it would be easy to believe that a lot of his behaviour was nothing more than urban legend surrounding a vile criminal.  As it is, the truth is that he very probably did not just the things that have been claimed in the NHS reports but also much else besides.  

Inevitably where there is a likelihood of making financial claims against his estate and claims in tort against the hospital services that enabled him there will be people trying to take advantage of this.  Even if there is no one trying to take advantage there will be a perception that people will try to take advantage.  For this reason each claim of abuse will have to be examined to determine that the claimant is not simply making things up.  Another inevitability is that a lot of real claims may not have the requisite level of proof to satisfy an investigation.  When many of the victims were already dead there is even less proof; dead men tell no tales.

The police have identified fewer than 300 crimes according to one of the reports I have read today.  Over the long life of Jimmy Savile this would not even represent the tip of the iceberg.  Anecdotally, sexual assault was literally something that Savile habitually committed with a far greater frequency than anyone I know has ever had hot dinners.

When I first started investigating Savile I was struck by the coincidences surrounding his connections with The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.  One of the victims was left just outside Savile’s home; another was left inside the grounds of a hospital, not one of the hospitals with which Savile was intimately associated, but that would be stupid, however it would certainly cross his mind that a hospital’s grounds would be a reasonable place to dump a body; another victim left at a location that even shared Savile’s name, sadistic humour?  Savile’s friendship with Sutcliffe at Broadmoor; the fact that during Sutcliffe’s teenage years Savile was the manager in one of the local clubs Sutcliffe may well have frequented.  As if all these coincidences weren’t enough I later discovered that during the investigation into the murders Savile was even accused by an anonymous tip off.

I am certain that the crimes of Savile go far further than we will ever be able to prove, far further than we will ever even be able to suspect.  What interests me now is how he could ever have managed to get away with it for so long.  If anyone were to commit half the atrocities the police are certain about they would ordinarily have spent most of their lives in prison.  Savile has been described as being perceived as a National Treasure despite the fact that so many people knew about his personality traits that everything short of public accusations had been made on television.  Somehow he sustained his image as the kindly millionaire doing a lot of work for charity right up until his death.  Once he was gone the house of cards collapsed.

An expression associated with the late Steve Jobs was the ‘reality distortion field’.  Steve Jobs was able to assert his personality so strongly that he could make the impossible real.  His engineers knew that the things he asked of them could often not be done.  Steve asserted that they would be done anyway.  By the time of Steve Job’s death the things they had made were of such excellence that they had reshaped the technological landscape and made his company the most valuable company in the world.  Steve travelled in India in his youth, spent a lot of time meditating, and had claimed to have been enlightened.  These are all the sort of things that one would expect to hear from the sort of person who could have an ability to shape reality with the force of his own personality.  

Steve had the backing of the traditions of eastern mysticism and ancient belief systems in the qualities he used to change the world.  It seems to me that Jimmy Savile exercised a dark counterpart to this reality distortion field.  He could seemingly do whatever he pleased and never be caught.  It was so obvious that his behaviour was conducted in full view of the British public.  He was a regular fixture on British television, often with children sitting on his knee, often with his arms around scantily clad teenagers on Top of the Pops.  He made open admissions of some of the things he did to nurses in the hospitals.  Many of the things he did there were well known to them; he had a reputation.  Yet it was only after his death when his personality was no longer there to exert its influence that the reality distortion field came crashing down.

This all sounds a bit esoteric and I apologise for that.  I am making no supernatural claims about either man.  I am merely observing that there is a similarity in their two vastly contrasting contributions to mankind, a similarity that could certainly appear to more primitive minds to have supernatural explanations.  The psychology behind whatever allows for such forceful personalities to extend beyond themselves is at present something that we are not yet able to fully understand.  The disciplines of psychology and psychiatry are still in their infancy and the number of variables involved, plus the difficulty in making constant enough and accurate enough observations on something as impermeable as the human mind makes it tricky to develop our knowledge further.  

Despite my belief that this could all be explained in purely scientific and rational terms I am convinced that what we are able to observe in these two contrasting examples is an ability to shape the perceptions of others by providing such psychological cues that they could effectively twist reality to their own wills.  The fact that folklore has developed describing such personalities before is evidence that this sort of thing is not previously unheard of.  Where Steve Jobs has changed many of our lives for the better with his ability to push technological development forward, Jimmy Savile has done the opposite, satisfying his own selfish desires and inflicting misery and unhappiness around him.  Where one might have been seen in the past as the prophet (he certainly turned a profit), the other would have been seen as one of Satan’s minions on earth.  Had he lived in an age where such beliefs were prevalent I have no doubt that Savile would have used such a title to enhance his power.

Jimmy Savile. Concidences? Surely they must be.

It is interesting how many coincidences you can see if you only look for them. Why was Jimmy Savile keen to fix it for the Yorkshire Ripper to shake hands witha Frank Bruno? I wonder how this occurred. What did Peter Sutcliffe say to Jimmy that would make Jimmy do something that was bound to create such a cloud of negative publicity? The human mind can find patterns anywhere even if there is no substance to create such a pattern. It is one of the talents that helped us evolve. It is probably just coincidence when a star who is accused of heinous crimes does nice things for a criminal accused of heinous crimes. It is probably just coincidence that one of Sutcliffe’s teenage victims had her body discovered in Savile Park, Halifax. It must be very unlikely that it just appealed to the sense of humour of a man that did heinous things in front of the world and was laughing because he felt that nobody could ever catch him or accuse him. I am certain that conspiracy theories could be built upon flimsy coincidences like these.

BBC: When Louis Met Jimmy Savile – Zero Tolerance!  I have noticed that a great many people who have been coming to the blog today have not been watching the Zero Tolerance video here.  It is a scary video in that it is simply showing Jimmy’s own words about his time as a dance hall manager in leads.  For those who do not wish to click through I shall describe what he says.  Jimmy worked in the dance hall in the early 60s, around the time that Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper was a teenager.  I have seen no evidence that Sutcliffe went to this dance hall but it is another coincidence that when Jimmy was sleeping with all these teenage girls it was around the same time that Sutcliffe was a teenager of about the same age, living in the same area.  In this video from a show by Louis Theroux the cameraman has been left with Savile after Theroux has retired for the evening.  I do not think Savile realises that the camera is still rolling.

Savile describes how he operated a Zero Tolerance policy.  He never called the police if there were trouble makers in the club, he didn’t even throw them out.  Savile says he would tie them up and leave them in the boiler room until he was ready for them around 3 or 4am.  He describes himself as being, “judge, jury and executioner.”  He says that he used to have trouble with the police but he didn’t care.  They would complain that he had been too heavy handed with his victims bu he would say to the Police,  “Your daughter comes in here. She’s 16.  She’s not supposed to come into town but she does and she comes here.  I presume you would like me to look after her.  If you don’t want me to look after her, tell me and I’ll let those dirty slags do whatever they want with her.”  He goes on to tell the camera man, “I never got nicked, he he he he he.”  These are his words.  Said by him.  On video.

I did not know much about Jimmy Savile but after seeing the video above I thought that it would be far too much coincidence to discover after finding a connection with the Yorkshire ripper that Jimmy had a personal connection with Yorkshire. I hypothesised that if there was a connection then Jimmy would have a connection and if this was so then my hypothesis would be backed up. Apparently the nightclubs in which Sir Jimmy says he was judge, jury and executioner were in Yorkshire. I wonder if Peter Sutcliffe enjoyed the nightlife. I will have to go and check dates now and see if there is any correlation.

So apparently Peter Sutcliffe was around 15 at the time when Jimmy Saville was running ballrooms and allegedly sleeping with 15 year olds in Leeds. Leeds of course being the place that Peter Sutcliffe began his string of murders years later.

Apparently as a boxer in his youth Jimmy said he broke every bone in his body and loved it. It seems to me that only a psychopath would love it if they were breaking every bone in their body. Psychopaths are often considered to be very intelligent. Perhaps they might be clever enough to join MENSA. Jimmy was a MENSA member coincidentally. So many coincidences. If it turned out that there was anything else that made him appear to have any odd similarities with any psychopathic killers it would all seem far too much. I wonder how people would interpret it if he were to be overly close with his mother. Perhaps he might live with her and refer to her as the Duchess. Perhaps on her passing he might keep her room exactly as it was during her lifetime and perhaps he might have her clothes dry cleaned once a year for her even after she had gone. That would be more than a little suspicious on top of everything else wouldn’t it. It would also be apparently true according to some sources.

One could imagine that a paedophile who worked in hospitals might possibly be there for victims in addition to generating good will but why would a paedophile volunteer at Broadmoor. I suppose it is possible that he might have old friends there or perhaps he might wish to pave the way for if he might be forced to have new friends there.

Any other bizarre coincidences would really make a person think. Like if during the time that Jimmy was the honorary president of PHAB (physically handicapped in the able bodies community) and volunteering to work in hospitals this was also the period when Sutcliffe’s victim Vera Millward turned up dead in the grounds of Manchester Royal Infirmary.

One would certainly have to wonder if Sutcliffe and Savile were connected. If they were might they even exchange gifts on birthdays. What sort of gifts would you give in such a situations. If two people had such macabre attitudes in common what would they do to celebrate each other’s birthdays? Naturally it must be another in a long string of coincidences that sees Sutcliffe’s first successful murder taking place the day before Jimmy’s birthday. It is easy to see how conspiracy theories build up out of all these patterns.

Edit:  Although I have written this from the measured point of view that the human mind sees patterns even where it is simply coincidence that the patterns appear to exist, there does appear to be something far stranger and darker about Jimmy Savile than we have seen so far.  I did the research above last night with a few perfunctory unbiased Google searches on Savile and Sutcliffe.  When I awoke this morning I started doing searches targeted to specifically uncover information that might suggest Savile was darker than we have so far understood.  According to my searches there are a lot of people out there who have spotted not just my coincidences above but a lot of other circumstantial evidence that does point towards Savile being a figure that actually makes this last week’s news seem very tame.

http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/jimmy-savile-and-serial-killer.html

I had not read the story in this link last night as I had not read any opinions that were deliberately biased towards making Savile look like more than we thought he was already.  The suggestions in the story back up the information I had already discovered last night and paint a picture of Savile that suggest that while we are good at creating patterns out of nothing we are also good at ignoring the evidence right in front of our eyes.  I do not know how deep all this Savile stuff goes.  So far I have only dealt with simple facts and looked at simply coincidence.  I am now going to start looking into the darker conjecture that thinks the unthinkable.  I had heard that David Icke had a lot to say on this subject.  As we all know Icke is impossible to take seriously and for that reason I know very little of his theories.  Apparently his Savile theory was correct though.  I do not know the entirety of his Savile theory or whether it corresponds with my own but in the elements that have so far been published it seems to be one of those rare occasions when Icke has actually been correct.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I wrote to Jim myself as a kid.  I guess I dodged a bullet in that he never replied.  Ironically I had said, ‘Dear Jim’ll, (I thought that was his name) can you fix it for me to be a detective?  He never replied but in being as suspicious as he is, it looks like he has indeed fixed it for me to be a detective.

Edit 2:  Well this is interesting: http://www.execulink.com/~kbrannen/trial03.htm .  Bear in mind I have not judged whether execulink is a legitimate source of information.  It could be that this is a false account but as I have no reason to believe this I am posting it anyway with the advice that before accepting what it says it might be a good idea to check that it is a reliable source of evidence.  If whilst reading this page you do a search for Savile you will discover that one of Sutcliffe’s murders was committed within hearing distance of Savile’s house.  Sutcliffe says he heard a car driving away from it and later discovered that Savile lived there.  This is definitely one coincidence to many in my opinion.  If this is a true account of the evidence given in trial then I very much doubt that Sutcliffe’s version of the facts is accurate and I very much doubt he just happened to hear the car and knew nothing of Jimmy Savile’s occupancy of the house.

Of course there is always the possibility that somebody is laying a false trail but never-the-less all of these very strange coincidences do lead to incredibly dark suggestions.

Edit 3:  This is another page from the blog above that offers a little more insight.  The blog asserts that it takes no legal responsibility for the information and does not necessarily reflect the views of the writer. http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/jimmy-savile-kray-twins-cliff-richards.html

I will also disassociate myself from the information contained within.  I am finding all the coincidences to be far too much to cope with.  It is making me feel sick to read the things I am writing.  The link above suggests that there are people involved in this dark story who are still household names.  Perhaps portraying saintly images like the image that Jimmy himself portrayed.  People whom we know had unusual qualities to their sexual lives anyway but had never linked to this sort of thing, much as we had never linked Jimmy to this sort of thing either.

It does make one think.  If you were committing terrible crimes then wouldn’t you want to cover that up and project an image that suggested you were whiter than white.  Well obviously we would indeed.  I am not going to draw any conclusions myself.  My stomach on the other hand is not as impartial as me.  My stomach is turning and my stomach has reached its conclusions.

One article I have not mentioned so far is the following Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2213636/Uncle-Jimmy-took-sick-parties-Nephew-tells-childhood-stolen-13.html#ixzz28V6p6JTy 

This is one of the articles I read before I even considered reading this blog.  At this point I was still at my incredulous, ‘wow, wtf with this news’ stage.  Of course as it is an account according to one of Savile’s own relatives it has to be put in amongst the evidence.  Imagine if you were taking to a house belonging to a group of paedophiles and then your uncle Jimmy walked in.  This story is just too bizarre for me to even think about any more.  I shall continue adding things if I find them but I have given up all pretence of applying my writing ability to create a cohesive blog now.  I am simply shocked, upset and, really at a loss for words.  I will just add information if I find it.  I really hope I do not.  I have seen too much already.

Before I duck out on this and go and try to find where my innocence of all this horror is hiding I will leave the following link: http://www.blumarten.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Jimmy%20Saville.htm This was apparently an internet meme back in the days before I owned my own computer.  It has been said that it was either written by Victor Lewis Smith or Chris Barrie thought nobody has ever admitted to it.  It is a fictionalised account of an episode of Have I Got News For You.  In it the Paul Merton character has rather a lot to say to the Savile character.  It is meant as some kind of satirical humour and it is possible to see this, but really I don’t think anyone can laugh any more.

Drug abusers or drug users?

I think a big part of the problem with modern drug use/abuse is that in order to grow we must test boundaries to discover what is safe and what is not. We must experiment. I do not mean specifically pertaining to drugs but just in general. While we are at a young age we experience. We learn the meaning of things by testing the boundaries. We live in a world of dualities. We reach towards pleasure naturally but often find that this causes the consequence that we are pushed towards pain. Drug misuse many would say, is a choice, it is the choice to follow our natural evolutionary instinct to learn about our environment. When drugs take hold of you you no longer have that choice, then I think it has many parallels with disease in that it disrupts the ease with which one approaches life.  It fits the etymology of the word and can legitimately be characterised as a disease.

There are solutions of course. In our youth we are seeking sensation, we wish to go to the boundaries of pleasure and pain because we have a need built into us by evolution to map the limits of experience. People can tell us what they are but we cannot understand by being told, we can only understand by experiencing. In older age, maturity, we are far more willing to take things on faith. Someone will tell us something and we will be able to compare it to analogous experiences we have had and understand it through analogy and metaphor. We do not need experience so much then. We do not need the heights of ecstasy we were seeking earlier. We would be content to just be, but we are not. Either we have become habituated to the use of drugs or there is something that is preventing us achieving our natural equilibrium.

Psychological discomfort is something that the mature drug user is constantly trying to combat. The cause of psychological discomfort is the discordance between the world in which the biology of his brain has evolved and the world in which his brain now inhabits its body. People are not built to fit into the modern world. Drug use has been heavy for centuries and perhaps millennia into totally different worlds but it is becoming more widespread the further we move from our original state of nature.

People who ‘abuse’ drugs are not drug abusers. They are self medicators trying to find a solution for not fitting into the modern world. For not understanding it. In every environment we have entered throughout hundreds of thousands of years we have always lived according to Darwin’s principle of survival of the fittest. The human population becomes trapped in an environment with certain conditions and the maladjusted cannot deal with the change in their natural environment with the result that the strongest survive and the weak die out. The modern world of bureaucracy and forms and pollution, etc, is one of the most extreme environments that we have ever found ourselves placed in during our entire evolution on this planet. It is a world created by this new organ we have been developing, the sentient brain. As a construct of the sentient brain it is naturally the sentient brain that is the tool that is needed to negotiate it, but being a new organ in evolutionary terms it is still evolving.

There is nothing wrong with the maladjusted brain. It is not broken, it is merely suitable for a different environment but the problem is that the well adjusted brains are creating the environment and they are creating an environment in which they will flourish. evolution does not promote the survival of the fittest whilst killing of the unfit in humans anymore. Our humanity causes us to care for our maladjusted members and thus they survive. Unfortunately while their bodies are given the opportunity to live within tolerable limits their brains are the issue and brains are not well understood so these member of our society self medicate with drugs.  Drugs that are illegal only on account of the tendency to be habit forming or open to abuse due to their nature of creating extremes of sensation that are the reason for their potential to cause addiction.

Those who do not ‘abuse’ drugs live their life without ‘abuse’ for two reasons. 1) they are the well adjusted inheritors of the world. Or 2) they do not self medicate because a doctor prescribes alternative drugs that do not have the unfortunate side effect of creating extremes of sensation. This is what most mature people want. They do not want extremes of sensation. They just wish to avoid the knowledge that they are living in a world that has been created by determined, intelligent, mercenary people when they would rather be living in a natural world that had not been reformed by human will. There are huge amounts of drug users being given mind altering prescriptions by the medical services. The only difference between those on these substances and the mature users of illicit substances is that one is prescribed by a doctor and the other is prescribed by a lost soul in a world not of their making. One is no more or less an abuser than the other.

Of course it is plain that these people who do not fit into the modern world love many of the features of the modern world. I.e., computers, televisions, etc. Who wouldn’t love these things? However, if you were to take all these thing away and eradicate the memory of them and place those people in a peaceful 18th century country side environment then they would find themselves psychologically far more easily adjusted to their environment. It is true there were many physical hardships in those times but in general people’s minds had greater strength back then. The people in the modern world if exposed to those kind of hardships would be far less able to cope due to the additional weight of all they experience in the modern day.

So how do you prepare for an exam?

I have just finished reading an article over on my favourite blog, Gizmodo.  If you were to go there you would discover everything I write here in the comments as I am not bothered about where else I write just so long as I also publish it here for my own benefit.  The article dealt with ways of increasing intelligence, such as wearing a particular outfit to focus the mind and eating the right foods, etc.  It was a very enjoyable article. I love this sort of stuff. I am always trying to find an edge. Unfortunately I have succeeded to the extent that I am no longer satisfied to be as stupid as when I started but not satisfied enough to stop trying to become more intelligent.  I do see the disadvantages to having more knowledge but it is a game of swings and roundabouts and there are also advantages.  The Gizmodo article in question can be found here:

http://gizmodo.com/5905310/nine-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

 

The thing about the clothing is part of the reason why priests and witches and suchlike where special outfits. They need to be able to apply a lot of focus in their work and in order to do so they need to have a shut off point between daily concerns and entering the world of their religions. The changing of their outfits is going over this point. Have you ever noticed how if you go out into town wearing a scruffy pair of jeans and trainers you will feel and behave radically differently to when you are wearing a sharply pressed suit with patent leather Oxford shoes. Obviously feeling different is going to have an affect on our clarity of thought. Incidentally in Oxford they have for years taken their final exams wearing sub fusc, the formal academic outfits that top class university students are always pictured in. It is not just for the ceremonies, it is for the exams as well.

I always went to special measures to ensure my edge in exams myself though I never wore any particular outfits beyond that which I would have worn anyway. Of course I would have been living in a certain way throughout university but in the final couple of days I really focussed on preparation in building my advantage. Of course because on a number of occasions I had far too much to drink the night before I really needed this advantage.

The night before the exam I would drink beer or wine. This was partially just coincidence but additionally studies have shown that people who drink a glass of wine in the evening will show a better performance in mental tests the next day than people in a control group who did not. For this reason I also had a small glass of red wine about an hour before the exam. It is also helpful as it loosens you up, relaxes you and deals with nerves. Have you ever noticed how you can play pool better when you are drunk than when you are sober if you are a practiced player. Same theory I guess.

In addition I would have a cup of coffee after my wine. This is only advisable if you are also in the habit of regular coffee because you want to ensure your state dependant memory is working well. Essentially the way to help your memory is not to alter your state of mind from the condition it was in when you were originally learning. Like how you have dreams at night and do not remember them at all during the day but as soon as you start dropping off and your mind is once again in that state you suddenly remember them. Or how you do something when you are drunk but can’t remember it clearly when you are sober but the next time you are drunk you do. For this reason you do not want to alter your mind too far away from its learning state. Coffee has been shown to aid memory when studying but only in moderate amounts. When taken to excess it can cause your memory to deteriorate.

Of course if you have just had a coffee and a wine then you need to ensure that your mind is properly hydrated so make sure you also have a glass of water just before the exam. Do not go into the exam without a bottle of water as well because water is a lubricant of the brain that is very much overlooked. Also not having water can itself be a distraction if you are thirsty.

It is also good to take something into the exam that can power your brain. I usually take a selection of things. Glucose tablets are good; chocolate is good; dates are good. Often I barely touch them because when you are focussed you are so distracted by the task and the fact that you can remember everything that you need that you do not have the time to enjoy a piece of chocolate but the fact that it is there is very reassuring and it is one less worry, so even if you do not eat any it will still help you relax in the knowledge that you are prepared.

In addition to these very important items I would eat salmon in the run up to the exam. Salmon the night before is good, it definitely sharpens the mind, and even if this is merely a placebo effect we all know that even a placebo can have a powerful effect anyway.

The morning of the exam a muesli for breakfast is a good idea. Muesli, containing oats releases its energy gradually during the day so is a good constant source of energy for the mind. Another good source of energy is carbohydrates, which is why athletes load up on carbs the day before a race. Perhaps think about having your salmon with some tagliatelle the night before. With my breakfast I will have berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. These do indeed help. A nice extra that can be obtained from a lot of health food shops, in England at least, is hemp seeds that are packed full of energy and omega oils which will aid thinking. Sprinkle a few of these on your breakfast.

While it is a good idea to always try and stay in shape it can help a lot if you exercise vigorously before the exam. Preferably about 3-4 hours before. I mean really pump it. Cycling always helped me. Do not do it too soon before the exam as your mind will be racing and you will be useless. You need time to calm and cool down again. The extra blood rushing through your brain will really help clear the cobwebs out. In addition endorphines will add to your sense of calm and well being. Following the exercise it is a good time to review your revision. Do not try to revise hard or anything, this is the point that you satisfy yourself that you have already revised enough and just try to remember what you already know. This is the time that you want to be meditating rather than revising. The important thing is to get you mind into a state of calm.

Of course there are a huge amount of ways that you can improve your memory. This would be far too much to go into here. I would recommend checking out a book called ‘remember remember’ by Josh Foer. Josh decided as an experiment to train himself and see if he could become a memory champion and memorise the order of packs of cards in minutes. He was tutored by Ed Cooke who owns the memrise website. Memrise is an excellent place to train your memory as you can create your own tests but the real beauty of Ed’s method is his use of mnemonics. The book goes into a little detail about them but more than anything it is an interesting story about a year of training. The real mnemonics are best if they are ones you have created yourself.

Aside from these points I have already mentioned I would say that it will help if you take a vitamin supplement the morning of the exam. I also took a gingko biloba pill and a cod liver oil capsule. And of course definitely try to get a good night’s sleep. This will make a massive difference. Poor sleep leads to your IQ deteriorating rapidly through the week. Make sure you are not late or flustered. Being early, prepared and calm can help a great deal. Aside from those tips I do not recall anything else that I had in my regime but these things were things I would follow like a ritual for exams. Ultimately it all helped because I managed to finish in the top four of my course at university. This was helped by having a natural knack for coursework but a major disadvantage I had was that I was extremely bad at exams. It was only through the development of this regime that I gained the advantages I needed to achieve results in my exams that I could not have achieved if I had not focussed not only on the subject I was supposed to be studying but also on the topic of how to enhance intelligence.

God?

The following is the response I made to someone’s comments regarding the nature of God on Google+  I imagine if you are interested in finding the full conversation you can do a search on Google+ but I did not consider my previous entries to be important enough to affect the following writing that it was necessary to ask the other speaker for permission to publish the conversation.  If he has a particularly interesting reply to the following that I then follow up on then I may ask his permission to publish the conversation in its entirety.

The topic is the nature of God.  Which I do not believe to be an anthropomorphically imagined old man sitting in the sky with a long white beard.  Such, is a ludicrous idea that is far less appealing than believing in Santa Claus.  I believe God instead to be infinite and omnipresent; to a contemporary reader a good starting point would be to consider the Force in StarWars though that is far more limited in conception than what I consider God to be as well.  Anyway, read on.

Those who say they have a degree of understanding of god say they could explain it to us but we would simply be unable to understand.  That is why spiritual masters seem to be somewhat inscrutable, instead of explaining to us in words they try to prepare us.  They treat us like children until we are ready to understand and then we realise all by ourselves.

Language is precise enough to explain how to build a computer but if you were to explain it to a 5 year old would he be able to build a computer?  Lead him into a certain pattern of life though and 20 years later down the line he might become an engineer at Apple.  We are like children spiritually, we have to grow and learn, then we won’t need people to understand because we will realise when we are ready.  The destination is not the point, the journey is the point.  If life was all about the destination then we would be constantly hoping to die as soon as possible because what else is the final destination in life, but people prefer to walk in parklands and drink wine, to read books and chat with friends.  These are all about the journey, not the destination.

The development of greater understanding does not belittle what we have learnt before.  I read the Lord of the rings when I was nine, I loved it but when I read it when I was in my twenties it seemed like a completely different book.  Instead of loving the first two books the most as I had before, I enjoyed the third book far more.  This did not take away the enjoyment I had when I was nine though.  Everything that happens on the journey is of importance.  Often when we progress we find that what we left behind was what we really wanted all along.  Consider youth, when we are very young we wish to be grown up but when we are grown up we realise we are closer to death and those childhood years are irredeemably behind us.

As for your problem with God being outside the universe he can be outside the universe and inside the universe at the same time, that is what omnipresent means.  The whole point with God is that he isn’t limited by the same things that limit us.  For instance, we are held to the ground by gravity.  Imagine hypothetically that there were such a thing as anthropomorphic Gods; perhaps Thor the god of thunder.  Now if he hypothetically existed, and you imagined his existence then do you think that he would be limited by gravity in the same way as us?  If I remember my comic books Thor would throw his hammer and it would pull him through the air.  Ludicrous, but this is hypothetical.   I will be surprised if you should imagine that such a mythical god as Thor, god of thunder would be limited in the same way as us.  If he were then he would more likely be something like Thor, god of serving tables at cafe rouge on Brighton pier or Thor god of installing broadband for Virgin in region 14.  Not really what a god is traditionally thought to be.  But lets escape the idea of such a ridiculous image as an anthropomorphic god conjured up to explain the rumblings in the sky as a member of a vast pantheon.

Having established to my own satisfaction at least even if not yours that a god is by definition not limited in the same way as human beings to obeyance of physical laws may I ask you what you think about mathematics.  It occurs to me that mathematics must exist because without it I could not work out how to pay my bills yet even the mathematicians themselves admit that they work with imaginary members.  Mathematics can exist even when you do not have things to count.  Do you imagine that once we escape the limits of space that mathematics might cease to work?  Physics is a different matter; people often debate the laws of physics and hypothesise that physics may work differently in different places but mathematics is immutable.  Even outside time mathematics will exist.  A good question would be whether mathematics continues to exist when there is no one to think in numbers, very similar to God, but then as God is unlimited and omnipresent then he must as well as all other things encompass mathematics.  If mathematics can exist both outside the universe and inside the universe then it would not be logical to deduce that mathematics had a greater reach than a philosophical concept that is defined as being omnipresent and unlimited.

I have already described how the carousing pagan warriors fearing the sounds made by the sky invented their god of thunder.  I imagine a Christian might laugh at them as being primitive even whilst believing in their own controversial creator of all.  It is possible that religions will die out soon as the world grows more logical.  I personally believe religions will die out very soon.  I think they are all a load of hocum, I just don’t believe God will because of my personal views on what God is.  Once again if we consider a hypothetical situation of religions not dying in the near future, perhaps they continue for another thousand years; as far beyond contemporary Christianity as they are beyond the Norse warriors.  Wouldn’t the developments made in culture and world view lead their God to be one which would leave them laughing at the primitive Christians of the 21st century?  If we leap ahead another thousand years from there maybe they will again laugh at our imaginary future believers with the same contempt they showed to our contemporaries; the same contempt our contemporaries show the Norse.

Maybe sometimes their beliefs would be more rational than those currently held, maybe sometimes they would be less rational.  Perhaps the Spaghetti monster will be discovered by future students of philosophy and perhaps they will not recognise his satirical nature.  The point is that there are many different conceptions of what God maybe.  Admittedly none of them are accurate; even though I am a believer I will grant you that.  However as we evolve and our minds become more powerful as they may well have done over the last 50000 years our ideas develop.  It is a little arrogant to assume that because something does not make logical sense to the primitive man apes of the 21st century that it therefore cannot be.  Imagine how our conception of the world might be if we had a brain twice as large as we have now; very different.  What if we evolved two brains.  Perhaps this is a bad example as we have a bihemispheric brain but imagine we evolved four brains then; our world view and any God we imagined would be very different.  I was watching an interview with Laurence Krauss last night to publicise his new book on the origins of the universe and although he is a staunch anti creationist it occurred to me that many of his ideas were considered by many in the field of theoretical physics to be impossible.  I would not go so far as to say heretical but then Galileo saw plenty of that for his contributions to physics.

The central tenet of science in my mind is that until you prove something it can not be said to be a fact.  Certainly things like the evolutionary theory carry the name theory but really very few of us would doubt that it adequately explains the development of every living thing on the planet though there is still not a universally accepted theory in the scientific community as to exactly how life was originally sparked.  I like to think that there may have been a number of different triggers as it would give more hope of extra-terrestrial life elsewhere.  However, my point is that God is not the sort of thing that is open to being disproved.  As I said, I believe in evolution.  Creationists say that God created the universe in seven days or some poppycock but to me it seems God, which I will colourfully describe as having some direction, even if it is only an urge to greater complexity, with a mind (pardon the expression, I cannot find a more adequate word), the size of the universe and everything beyond it, would most likely seek to develop complicated biological organisms through testing every possibility over billions of years and allowing those who fail to die out.  Simply because evolution has been proven, in my mind at least, beyond all reasonable doubt does not mean that such a concept as God cannot exist.  And without proof science cannot positively deny God’s existence.

I am very fond of Julian Jaynes’ theory of the bicameral mind leading to the belief in God.  The idea that millennia ago the two hemispheres of our brain were separate and as they grew together to become vaguely linked as they are now, the subconscious mind in one hemisphere started to communicate with the conscious mind in the other hemisphere.  The subconscious mind is of course privy to information that the conscious mind cannot deal with due to filtering systems built into consciousness so the subconscious would give directions and commands based upon the more complete picture of any situations in which the owner of the brain would find themselves.  These commands would seem to be voices from God that the person would act upon to their benefit and then consider it to be the input of a supernatural being. Perhaps this is an explanation for the phenomenon of atman.

Richard Dawkins described this theory as being  “one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between! Probably the former, but I’m hedging my bets”.  I am sure there are many theories to explain these sorts of ethereal voices but for personal reasons I believe this one has potential.  However, it does not explain God as atman is merely a psychological phenomenon; what about paramatma?  The words of the Pete Townshend song ‘O Parvardigar’ taken from the universal prayer written by Merwan Sheriar Irani, known to his followers as Compassionate Father, or Meher Baba, read in part, “You are the Beyond God and the Beyond-Beyond God also; You are Parabrahma; Paramatma; Allah; Elahi; Yezdan; Ahuramazda, God Almighty, and God the Beloved.”  I would be surprised if this idea that God or Allah or whatever you prefer, due to his nature being ‘the beyond god and the beyond beyond god also’ is new.  The problem with a concept that is defined as the manifestation of infinity and omnipresence is that, even if with a primitive monkey brain that has only been able to write its thoughts on paper for a few thousand years, you are able to define what it is that causes people to believe in it then you are still overlooking the fact that due to this infinite nature you have only actually succeeded in explaining the tiniest part of it.  So far those seeking to destroy God are looking only on its effects on the human mind, but like an imaginary number it exists on such a large scale that if we were to fully explore it then the universe would have eventually atrophied to nothing before we had succeeded.

Depression

Today’s mind splurge is on the topic of depression.  I have been feeling a little down recently; perhaps with due cause as I have just stopped taking a heavy dose of venlafaxine which has kept me steady for almost 10 years.  I may return to the venlafaxine, it was a casualty of my desire to quit risperidone.  It seemed natural when stopping one that I should also try to knock the other on the head.

Many people around me feel I was a little too hasty in deciding to give them up.  I have been a little bit ill recently and have also been feeling the surge of kundalini in my spine; a sensation I am familiar with due to having spent months in meditation awakening it in my 20s.  My health seemed to take a hit when I was given a vaccination for a trip to India.  The nurse says that I could only have felt side effects within the 48 hours after the injection however over the next week I suddenly became lactose intolerant and developed shingles.  Since then my diet has been bothering me more and more and I have also had to drop caffeine due to physical aches and meat due to general heaviness.

The kundalini sensations began to drastically alter the way I perceived the world.  I realised that when I looked at photos of Meher Baba he looked back at me with disdain.  This is not the way he actually looks of course but this is my projection of my inner demons onto his face allowing me to see what is inside my psyche: the numerous representations of the archetypes of which Jung wrote.

I decided to cut half the risperidone to see what would happen.  The next day I developed a serious pain between my shoulder blades.  I suppose someone familiar with chakra meditation would describe it as a blockage in the heart chakra.  I pushed through it and elevated the sensation until eventually after a few days of concentration I succeeded in pushing it out through my crown.  After this happened I noticed that Baba seemed clearer.  No longer did I see such bitter disdain and enmity in his expression.  I toyed with cutting the risperidone further but made no firm decision to do so.

A couple of weeks later it happened that I was travelling across the country for a couple of days and by chance (or subconscious machination) I forgot the pills I would need during my days away.  Having already been travelling for over an hour I knew that there was no way to return for them without putting off my journey till the following day.  I decided to take the leap and try to do without them.

The agonising pain between my shoulder blades returned and once again I set to work trying to force through the blockage with meditation and prayer.  These archetypal lurkers within my mind started to leave against their will.  I had a number of dreams over the following days:  In each I was in a house of differing atmosphere and design.  One of the earlier houses was a huge dark structure with inadequate electrics inhabited by spiders and dusty furniture.  The lurkers were haunting this house but seemed to realise that they were losing their grasp on their task and were just wandering aimlessly.  There also seemed to be a visitor who seemed to be a real person who was talking with them and perhaps trying to make them see sense.  I did not recognise the man, he was a young black fellow but where all these other creatures were like extras on a film set he seemed like a normal person who had just walked in off the street.

A night or two later I was in another house.  This time it was a far cosier sort of home.  There appeared to be a party going on – a very Christmassy affair.  My parents were in this house.  I enlisted my stepfather’s help at one point as after the doorbell rung I opened the door to have an eastern European woman barge past me and try to make her way up the stairs.  Forcing her out I was confronted by a large group of eastern Europeans complaining that I was cruel to deny her entry.  My stepfather came to my aid in trying to lock the door and explained that the lock was jammed in the open position and an effort had to be made to ensure the door was locked.  I later looked out of the window and there were a multitude of strange characters from around the world looking up at me from the bus stop where they were waiting to move onto a new destination.  It looked like a crowd of zombies wanting entry in a movie.

Anyway, having pushed most of these things out of my mind by meditation Meher Baba looks far more approachable than he did before.  It seems clear to me that there are still a great many emotional barriers between me and a clear vision of his photo but the expression on his face is now far closer to happiness than it was previously to hatred.  However this gets me onto the topic of this mindsplurge.  Having dropped all the medication so suddenly I now feel pretty depressed, though at the same time I feel more real and truthful to myself.  Baba appears to me more clearly than he did before so in that sense it seems that quitting was a good thing to do.  However I cannot deny that I do feel more miserable and less willing to actually do anything.

This led me to thinking that maybe I have been wrong about depression.  Perhaps it is not such a negative force as contemporary sufferers assume.  It seems to me that depression has increased a great deal in recent decades even as quality of life has ostensibly improved.  When man was living in trees and foraging for food I will wager that depression was suffered far less than it is in modern 21st century Britain.  I was prompted to mention to my friends that it was those who purport not to be depressed that are perhaps the ones in need of medical intervention as they are obviously delusional about the state of the world.

Few people live in communities any more.  I have been living in my flat for almost a year now and when one of my closest neighbours knocked on my door the other day she mentioned that I was a new neighbour.  In the whole year that I had been living there she had not even noticed my arrival until a couple of weeks before.  We also have so much more knowledge of the world than we did in centuries past.  I know of wars around the world and despotic regimes over which I have no power.  In fact I have no power over issues that affect the people on my own street.  Even the ability to vote in general elections is only a show to legitimise rule by those who were given the advantage of superior educations and networking opportunities.

We don’t even choose our Prime Minister for his political skills anymore.  He is proposed by his party based upon focus groups that decide he is more charismatic than his opponents.  He then wins by default when they receive fewer votes than him because they do not have the requisite levels of charisma.  I would rather choose a Prime Minister based upon qualities such as intelligence and a grasp of economics.  I am not saying our present choice does not have these qualities in any degree; I simply point out that if charisma and pretty boy looks were not so high on the agenda then a candidate would undoubtedly have been chosen with the more essential elements in greater abundance.

We live in a world that is built by media, the ability to influence the media, and the media’s battle with whoever may yield a similar level of power.  Our world is not designed in an ethical manner or even a manner of common sense.  It is all about the powerful grabbing as much power as they can without creating headlines that are damaging enough to reduce the levels of power that they may be able to achieve.  This is not the best way to run a country or a world.  It is unfortunately a lot better than many of the alternatives the modern world has to offer.

Is it any wonder people are depressed?

Our depression is an act of surrender.  We know there is nothing we can do so we just roll over and let the powerful subjugate us.  It doesn’t have to be this way though.  It is possible to escape.  You simply need to change the rules of the game.  Instead of playing on this global board where you can see the harm that is beyond your powers to prevent withdraw and play on a smaller board.  There are some who can play the global game, they are the ones with the powerful minds that have been built up by years of success and have not been knocked down until they feel they cannot go on.  They are few on the ground though and they are created at first on the personal level.

Our depression empowers us to take control on this small level.  First you must shut out all knowledge of the world you cannot control and then seek to introduce order into the world you can control.  Your successes on this personal level will pave the way for greater and greater successes further down the line.  My personal success today was to take all the books laying on my desk and arrange them – not in any order – but just so that they were neatly in a row.  It is not much but it is an improvement to the world over which I had control.  Some of you may be able to achieve far greater things; maybe some of you will achieve smaller things.  All that you do will be another brick in the wall of protection you have against depression.

Without the depression in the first place we would not have this motivation to build this wall.  We could take pills to mask the depression but then we are just hiding from it.  It is still there, dwelling in your mind like a multitude of demons taking advantage of your weakness, you just do not care that they are there because the pills cover up your concern.  Depression need not be a debilitating illness; it can be a motivator to give you the life you really want.  The only reason you are depressed in the first place is because your life is not the way you want it.  Do not hide from this, allow your depression to guide you to a better world.