On being and belonging….

I’ve probably mentioned in earlier posts about my admiration of the work, or at least some of the work, of writer Paul Kingsnorth. When reading his latest book Savage Gods – which is, quite frankly, a strange and thought provoking book – partly about his and his family settling, or at least trying to settle, into a new life in rural western Ireland….and also about his sense of belonging, his life in general and about writing and words – it made me examine my own life.

I will do a book review of Kingsnorth’s book in a later post.

Before I begin, there is something that you should know. I don’t like myself. I used to when I was a child – young and innocent. But not now. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be my friend, or spend time in my company. I think it was Woody Allen who once said – and I am paraphrasing here – “I could never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”

I once had a dream. At the time of dreaming it, it was very clear. I don’t remember now who it was that I was talking with in the dream, but I was explaining to the person how confused I was about my purpose – why was I here on earth, what was my “raison d’être”? The reason or purpose of my existence. The person in my dream then told me the meaning of life in one short but clear sentence. I remember saying to him…or was it her…”That’s it? It’s that simple?”. And then realizing I was in a dream, I thought “I must tell everyone about this as soon as I wake up….it’s amazing and such a wonderfully simple concept”. You can imagine my excitement.

Of course on waking, the explanation about life and why we are here disappeared into the ether. All I can remember is how simply it was explained to me. I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to find my way back into that dream ever since. It often feels tantalisingly close, but is always just out of reach.

Kingsnorth’s book has started me thinking about that dream again and questioning why I am here, where is HERE and my sense of belonging to the place where I live. My thought pattern is a rush of jumbled thoughts and ideas, tripping over one another as they all trying to come out at once, so please bear with me while I attempt to give them all a place on this page, in some semblance of order.

When we are children we are often asked by adults “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. The question that they actually want us to answer is not what we want to be, but what job or career we want to perform in order to earn money which will then allow us to live in a certain manner. We answer and are then often told that we’re wrong in our choices and should strive to become something else….something perceived, by them, as better in some way.

In my case, I loved playing in the woods as a very young boy, but you can’t play in the woods as an adult. I wanted to do a job that would allow me to remain in the woods and keep me connected to nature. You can’t play in the woods as a job. But why not? Why is it that we cross an invisible line when we go from childhood to manhood that means that what was once a happy, pleasurable, natural thing to do – playing in the woods amongst nature, as a part of the natural world – now becomes unacceptable, even embarrassing. Something unbecoming. Man and nature are not and never should be separate. We are part of the natural world and we lived within it for thousands of years, until suddenly that wasn’t good enough. We considered ourselves above nature and decided that we needed to control it. Not just felt the need to control nature but assumed we had a god given right to control it. To use and exploit its “resources”. (If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll know how I feel about nature being looked upon as a resource). Somehow we have lost our way, allowed ourselves to become detached from nature.

So, after that little rant – my answer was “I want to be a forestry worker” – not the type that cut down trees though, but some kind of fantasy forester who cares for the trees. A protector of the natural world.

This, in later years changed into wanting to join the army and to be just like my older cousin Tony – whom I admired greatly – who joined the British army, travelled to exotic places and also learned a trade. He learned welding, and after leaving the army worked on a huge pipeline across Australia where he earned enough money to build his family a beautiful home in Adelaide where they settled, way back when, to live the dream. I thought that I wanted the same thing.

When I visited him and his family back in the 1980’s on my world travels I asked Tony how he was doing and his reply was “Living the dream mate”. He seemed very content.

For some reason neither of my career suggestions was good enough for my dad and I was pushed towards going to university and/or becoming a quantity surveyor. Why a quantity surveyor? I have no idea, but dad seemed to think it was high enough up the food chain to command respect and a good income. Like most parents, he wanted a better life for his kids than he was able to have. (He missed out on university because of a little thing called world war 2, which found him at the tender age of 17 crewing destroyers and minesweepers in the fight against Hitler). But who defines better and how do you define it?

The pursuit of happiness wasn’t a consideration. By now I was a teenager 16 years of age and naturally, as teenagers do, I revolted. Although up to that point in my life I’d done well at school, even enjoyed being there some of the time, had good grades, was in the top end of scholars and achieved 6 O’levels without expending too much effort, but rather than bowing to dad’s “suggestion” of going to university I deliberately scuppered my chances by missing lessons and instead spent my afternoons in one of many local pubs near the school. Naturally, this ended my run of good grades, served to keep me out of university and limit my options in a world where pieces of paper are deemed proof of intelligence and a persons worth.

It also brought out a bad side of me. I was irresponsible, got drunk often. I must have been a real pain in the arse to live with, but mum and dad (and my brother) were there for me. It certainly wasn’t a time I was particularly proud of.

I realize now of course that this was a stupid thing to do, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

In the end, neither my dad nor I got our wishes granted and on leaving school I ended up taking on a mediocre job working as a shipping clerk for a freight company. My idea, at this stage in my life was to do this job for 6 months or maybe a year and then pack a bag and travel to distant lands. To escape my childhood home and explore new possibilities. Cast off the old and embrace the new. However, life gets in the way of living the dream and it wasn’t until 8 years had passed, living a comfortable but numb life, before I quit and set off for a year to backpack around the world.

As I stood in my bedroom, on the morning of my departure, and looked around both within the room at the furniture, the decore, my Olivia Newton John poster, my drawing of Diana Ross, my map of the world with the places marked with pins that I wanted to visit…and at the view of old cottages, trees and gardens through the window…and of course my beloved woods beyond… trying to absorb everything into my memory bank for what could be the last time, as I had no idea when, or even if, I would be back again, I wondered if I was making a mistake. Was severing ties with the place I was born and grew up – the place where my dad was born, the place where my grandparents lived most of their lives, the place where my great grandparents settled and made their home – the right thing to do?

At the time I didn’t feel that I belonged there and there were far better places to explore, more interesting people to meet, more exciting experiences to be had. Why be a stick-in-the-mud? Why root myself to the spot like my great grand parents, my grand parents and my parents had done when I have 2 feet that will take me anywhere in the world? So I left.

I didn’t realize it back then but I had, and still have, a self destructive streak – a certain self loathing – a feeling of never being quite good enough. An underlying feeling that accepting failure and giving up or walking away from things – situations, people – was easier than struggling to succeed. “I am not worthy” is my underlying mantra. This wasn’t always the case though.

As a child I had a more or less happy life, particularly in my younger years – say from my earliest recollection of memory up to the age of maybe 10, or there abouts. I was confident in my abilities. I was a good reader and read lots of children’s books – devoured them would be a better description. I loved stories of adventure, of friends going off to explore exciting places together, the feeling of camaraderie and trust among equals. I loved to play and run through the woods, to go biking with friends, to play football in the park, to read endless books in the quiet solitude of my bedroom, to write my own stories, to sketch pictures in my sketchbook, to take my dog for long walks where I could just let my mind wander, to sing at the top of my voice when no one was there. I had confidence in myself. I thought I was good at everything, could do anything. I even got to sing solo in one of the schools productions. Then one day my mum criticised my singing, so I stopped. I started whistling, but my wife doesn’t like that – so I stopped that too….or I try to. I sometimes forget and I get THAT look from her.

I had a lot of friends back then. Good friends. Kids I could count on. I have been keeping in touch with many of my old friends from primary school through the magic of Facebook. Or I should say I HAD been keeping in touch with them. And here’s where my self destructive streak comes in again. I have decided that it’s important to stick to one’s principles. I detest the way that modern man – and modern woman come to that – are destroying the planet, or more accurately, destroying the natural world – real plants, trees, animals, birds, insects, the microbes in the living soil – for something as false as money. The worst of such people are the likes of the new billionaires like Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook….or the Metaverse) who controls what opinions we are allowed to express on Facebook and other (anti) social media platforms and (as I saw it) backs up oppressive governments and helps them to push their agenda. So, I decided to delete my Facebook and other social media accounts (which are a huge absorber of my time) and therefore get back lots of free time, give a 2 finger salute to Zuckerberg, but at the same time this decision sadly served to sever contact with my long time school friends.

Before deleting my account I did post on there to let people know of my decision and to advise them of my email address in case anyone wanted to keep in touch. But my self destructive, self loathing side tells me that no one will. I am not worthy – remember.

I know that it sounds like I am sinking into the pathetic realms of self pity here, but I’m not. I have no pity for myself. I don’t deserve any pity. I don’t seek pity from you or anyone else. I made my choices, rolled the dice, made many mistakes, so many mistakes – thankfully along with a few good choices such as marrying my wife and raising 2 great kids. But other than that I find myself asking “what have I done…what have I achieved….how can I become happy?”

I find myself where I am, disconnected and adrift, without the roots and connection that indigenous peoples have to their land and their sense of place and belonging to that place – in some cases over millennia, such as the Australian Aboriginal tribes. I no longer look at my ancestors as being foolish for putting down roots. I envy them. I envy their sense of belonging.

Now if you ask me where I feel most connected to, I am drawn back – almost tugged back on a long stretched piece of elastic – to a particular place in the woods where I played in my much younger years and felt a certain contentment with where I was and more importantly perhaps, who I was. As a child I lived in the now. I didn’t worry about my future or regret my past. What was to come or what had already happened didn’t concern me. I had no ambitions, no expectations, no ego. I was there, fully there in the moment, enjoying life – just living.

To cut a long story short I settled in New Zealand – as far away from my place of birth, geographically speaking, as I could be without heading off into space. I just used the word settled, but despite living here for longer than the time I lived in my birth country, I am anything but settled. We, my wife and I, have lived in our current house (notice I use the word house, not home) for almost 28 years. I’ve been in New Zealand for 33 years now. I am surrounded by books, many of which came with us when we emigrated here in 1989. We have made gardens to grow much of our vegetable needs and planted over 25 fruit and nut trees. The trees have put down roots, deep roots to anchor them in place no matter how rough the weather is. But I remain unable to show the same commitment to place as they do.

This place may be where I live, but it will – I fear – never be my home. I don’t belong here. It’s a beautiful country to live in, as far as scenic beauty is concerned, but I am alien to it and in it. I don’t fit. I’m an outsider. A “bloody Pom”, even though I have New Zealand citizenship – something that I waited over 12 years before committing to. I’ve always felt that living here was meant to be something temporary. Our house may be “home” as far as my children are concerned, it is their home because during there formative years it’s where they were brought up, where they played football and cricket in the back yard, where they felt most secure (I hope). But it’s not mine.

That being said, even my children seem to have rejected it. Both of my children have left for places new. One is still in New Zealand. He was born here, but now lives in our Capital City. Preferring city life to our more rural, small town backwater lifestyle. My older son, has lived stateside for over 10 years. I suspect that he feels an even bigger disconnect…or perhaps doesn’t sense the disconnect just yet. (But he will).

He was born in England, brought up in New Zealand, lived for 9 years in Boston and now lives in San Francisco. I hope that they both discover the importance of belonging to where they currently live or realize the importance of coming back to their roots.

As I get older I have more respect for my forebears. They put down roots, they became part of the community, they made friends, they belonged. I’ve lived here in this house for almost half my life and yet I have failed to commit to the place. I have failed to make friends here on this side of the globe. I had colleagues and co-workers at the various jobs I have had. I’ve met others through playing sports, but once I leave the job or stop playing the sport, those people slip away from my life. We have nothing in common any more. The job or the sport was our only common ground. I know a lot of people but there are few, if any, that I can count on as true friends. We reap what we sow I guess. On the bright side I have my long suffering wife by my side (for which I am eternally grateful), my collections of books all around me, my opportunity to use this blog to practice my writing and express myself…and my cat, who sometimes looks like he’s actually listening to me. I’m also very grateful for my kids and my grandchild….and more to come. But they are not here, where I am. It would be wonderful for us all to be together in a place where we all feel that we truly belong. But we aren’t and probably never will be.

On my travels I have felt a connection to a few special places that I have visited, passed through. Places that stir some strange primeval emotion deep within me, something bordering on the spiritual. But they are fleeting and my “modern man mind” dismisses it and I move on.

At the time of writing this, I’m 62 years of age and live 12,000 miles away from my childhood home, but I can see, hear, smell, sense in every way that particular place in the woods. The path is wider here and on one side is an old sandstone wall, waist high, tumbling down here and there. To the other side the land and the trees and bracken beneath slope slightly down hill away as far as the eye can see. Ahead of me the path forks and – like another writer by the name of Frost – I have to decide whether to take the well trodden path or the one least taken. Or do I waste my life and just stand here unable to choose? Then again, is simply being here at this spot in the woods, surrounded by nature and where I am happiest, wasting my life?

I can feel the bits of fallen twig moving in the sand on the path under my feet when I walk on them. I close my eyes and I can hear the constant buzz of insect life and see the beech leaves gently swaying on a whisper of a breeze that is barely audible, but is just enough to make the leaves dance. And below them, in springtime, an endless sea of bluebells that me and my younger brother would pick and take home for mum. The smell of earthiness all around me as fallen leaves decay into fresh soil and bring about new life. This place where I stand leaning against the sun-warmed sandstone wall in the woods, on this sandy path, in dappled light beneath the century old beech trees is warm, safe, familiar and comfortable. It is where I feel most at home, most rooted if you like. Despite the years passing, and the distance I am from it, everything is fresh and in the now.

This place is also where, 27 years after my departure from by birth place, I returned, briefly, with the ashes of my parents. They followed me, my wife and most importantly, their first grandchild out to New Zealand to live, back in 1990, having never even visited there before. Abandoning their roots, their friends, their entire previous lives. They asked that, eventually, their ashes be returned to the woods where they once walked. These woods where my father scattered the ashes of his parents – returning them to nature – ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This is the place I chose to scatter their earthly remains, beneath the beech trees with a good view of the springtime bluebells that my mum loved so much. It was the least that I could do for them. It’s also the place that I wept inconsolably as I scattered their ashes, despite the fact that they had both died a couple of years earlier, so those wounds were no longer new, fresh and raw. I wept not for them, but for myself….in my own typically selfish way. For they had returned to their roots and could never be separated from them. They belonged.

I had made some notes about life and being and belonging that I was going to refer to and work into this post, but once I got going the piece more or less wrote itself and I didn’t need them. I can perhaps use the notes when I tackle my review of Kingsnorth’s book. As usual thank you for reading. I honestly do appreciate any constructive comments.

The bad news is that WE are the problem. The good news is that we can also be the solution….if we want to be.

It was a rainy evening so, with nothing much else that needed my attention I thought I’d spend an hour or so on YouTube. I guess, due to the algorithms that YouTube use, based on my most recent searches and views, they suggested I may be interested in content from a provider called CURRENT IRELAND who were running the first of a string of episodes to be hosted by Jennifer Boyer, head of the Dublin School of Architecture, TU Dublin. These episodes are intended to be broadly related to the theme of consciousness and social responsibility.

Since I have no idea about architecture – except in knowing what I like or dislike about a building simply based on aesthetics – I was tempted to X out of it, but then noticed that their guest was Paul Kingsnorth. Kingsnorth was (actually still is at heart, despite his protestations) an environmental activist. He’s also a writer of fact and fiction, a poet, a recent convert to Christianity, a champion of traditional England and a simpler way of life, and he’s one of a dying breed of men – a great thinker. I don’t always agree with everything that Kingsnorth says, but I do have a great respect for the man and his ideas and ideals.

Kingsnorth delivered a few startling facts and figures about the impact of humans on the planet and other species, particularly since the industrial revolution. But before I get to that, can I just say that here in New Zealand our government have set a target of 65% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030. Frankly I can’t see it happening because the current government have been in charge since 2017 and have had no impact on climate change figures over the 5 years that they have been in power. There was a big reduction during March of 2020 during the 4 week Covid lockdown, but that soon rose to pre lockdown levels again.

Another thing is that they are fighting the symptoms of Climate Change rather than the cause. They would rather blame New Zealand farmers for methane emissions from cows belching and farting and so tax them, rather than tackling the real problem which is the continuing push for economic growth. Economic growth as a guide to a nations wellbeing is absurd. We’re burying ourselves under mountains of stuff we don’t need, in order to keep the economy on an upward trend, making a few billionaires even richer, at the expense of nature and other species. WE are the cause of Climate Change…..and if you don’t believe in man made Climate Change, you can hardly deny the polluting effect that man has had on the earth, the seas and the air. Our need to consume is killing the planet and every other species on it.

The big problem is that we like our stuff and we don’t want to give it up. We want the latest iPhone, tablet, smart watch, MacBook, smart TV, in home A.I. – we’ve become addicted to our gadgets. We don’t need all the things we amass around us. Many of us have so much stuff that we have to hire off site storage containers. We have allowed everything on earth, including everything in the natural world to be commodified, given a dollar value, and once that happens it all becomes a resource to be exploited. WE can stop it, but we don’t want to. We love our stuff more than nature, more than other disappearing species, more than our fellow man and more than our children and grandchildren. Why else would we continue to drive the bus, that is humanity, at ever increasing speed toward a high cliff? We have the ability to apply the brakes, to change course and steer away, but we haven’t so far and probably won’t.

The only thing that will possibly save us, if not the planet, is when our civilization, driven by our economy collapses. I say when, not if. The signs are all around us of almost imminent collapse. Spiraling debt, supply chain issues (thanks to our reliance on globalism), rising cost of living, the lowest stock market figures since the financial crisis of 2008, desertion of the church and spiritual beliefs, a lack of what used to be called moral fibre. The constant need for more, more, more. A lack of sense of community – even more so since the Covid pandemic, lockdowns and a huge increase of doing everything on line and becoming physically and emotionally isolated from the world around us. Community has been in a slow state of decline for at least the last 40 years. A rise of The Police State and the Surveillance State, Political tension around the world. Russia and Ukraine – China and Taiwan – the endless Middle East problems. Something has to give, sooner or later.

Anyhow, getting back to Kingsnorth and his facts and figures. He pointed out that everyone wants the modern lifestyle and all the trinkets, baubles and gadgets that go with it. Businesses want increased profits and “a growth economy”. But for us to maintain this lifestyle we need the resources of 3 and a half planet Earths…..and we only have one. If we do go on at this pace -toward the metaphorical cliff – we guarantee our deaths and that of most of the earths other species. He also pointed out that we won’t change things by moaning about it on social media, by endless Tweets, or by petitions or marching in the street. We can only change things by changing what we do in our own lives, and we need everyone to follow suit. We need to walk the walk, not just talk about it.

BUT again we probably won’t, and if we do, we could fall in to a trap and become part of Klaus Schwab’s “Great Reset” – we will own nothing and we will be happy – according to Mr Schwab.

We are currently in the 6th mass extinction event. The last one was about 60 million years ago and that one caused the extinction of the dinosaurs – possibly due to an asteroid impacting the Earth. The 6th mass extinction is not caused by an asteroid, but by humans and our way of life. The World Wildlife Fund states that since the early 1970’s man has been responsible for the demise of 60% of the worlds mammals, birds and reptiles. The most dramatic decline being in central and south America where the wildlife populations have collapsed by 89%. This is over a time period of less than 50 years.

Over the last 10,000 years which basically covers the arrival of human civilization, it’s estimated that we’ve lost 83% of all wild mammals. These are just a few of the depressing figures that show that we as a species are not just part of the problem of the decline of the natural world, but THE problem. Our effect on nature has been devastating and it’s way past time that we started to both accept responsibility and more importantly to act in a responsible manner. This requires a complete change in the way we think and the way that we do things. It means abandoning the growth economy model and living in a more gentle way on the earth, in harmony with nature and with a reverence toward nature. So there is a way that we can be the solution to the problem that we have caused….that’s the good news.

The worse news of course is that we’re too comfortable and too greedy to change our ways, even if it means the total destruction of life on earth, including our own. We’re meant to be the smartest beings on earth….at least that’s what we claim to be. What we’ve done and what we will most likely continue to do is not at all smart.

Modern man relies on advances in technology to solve all our problems, rather than just ceasing our bad habits and being responsible beings. Technology will not save us. In fact, and here’s an interesting figure to ponder over, internet data storage facilities currently emit the same amount of greenhouse gasses as the entire global aviation industry. Get your mind around that little nugget. Just by being on our smart devices – to which we’ve all become accustomed and dare I say addicted – we are doing as much damage as every plane on the entire planet. I don’t have the latest figures but in 2017, at any one time there were on average 9728 commercial flights in the air. That’s a lot of flights and a lot of pollution – but we equal it with our reliance on the world wide web. It’s also estimated that the internet will consume a fifth of the worlds electricity by 2025. Who still thinks that progress is always a good thing?

If everyone in the world deleted their social media accounts today, it wouldn’t only free up a lot of wasted time, it would also make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of course we won’t because it’s addictive and the “likes” we get give us a huge dopamine hit. Every time we go on Twitter to tweet about being angry about climate change, we are causing climate change. This is just one example of how we are seriously buggering up the planet.

Since the latest wipeout of species began, almost 50 years ago, there have only been 2 occasions where greenhouse gas emissions have fallen. Global agreements on greenhouse gas reduction, Paris Climate Change agreements etc. have done absolutely zero to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses. Political solutions are not solutions. The carbon tax that polluting companies have to pay doesn’t reduce greenhouse gasses, it just monetizes the pollution. Planting a tree to offset your pollution is also not helping much in the long term. Stopping your pollution is the best way to solve the problem.

See the source image

The years that emissions actually fell were 1990 – which was as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union and the corresponding decline of their major industries / closure of factories – and 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis when many businesses went to the wall and the global economy almost collapsed. So you see, there is a direct correlation between the rise of industry, the economic growth model and Climate change/pollution. But we won’t abandon this model until it’s too late. It makes most of us uncomfortable to even think about abandoning our technological lifestyles, giving up our smart toys and (anti)social media.

Our own government here in New Zealand made such a big deal about getting supermarkets to ban individual use plastic bags. Another feather in the cap for Saint Jacinda of the empathetic smile. A step in the right direction maybe, but not a big enough step to make much of a difference…..rather like fighting a forest fire by throwing a thimble full of water on it. We need meaningful actions and we all need to take responsibility, me included.

Kingsnorth doesn’t own a smart phone, but still uses the internet, and owns a petrol powered car. He lives a life that is gentler on nature than most of us, on a smallholding in western Ireland, growing his (and his family’s) own food, homeschooling his children so they have a healthy respect for the natural world, adding value to his community rather than turning his back on it….and trying still, to point out the error of our ways to us before it’s all too late.

Thank you for reading. Comments are always appreciated.

Life imitating fiction.

I find it quite ironic that someone over a hundred years ago has a better grasp on what is happening today, to humanity, than many of the people (read “sheeple”) of today.

There have of course been other writers who have predicted our future through their writing – such as George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Sinclair Lewis, George R Stewart. These writers I knew of and have read their dystopian tales of the demise of the human species, or of the end of the world as we know it. But, I hadn’t realised that E.M. Forster was amongst their ranks,(if only for one story) until I was made aware of his short story The Machine Stops – written in 1909 – which was mentioned in an interview on YouTube with “reformed environmentalist” Paul Kingsnorth.

There are many eerie parallels in Forster’s story with what our society today seems to be adapting as the way forward. I’m referring to people staying in their own little bubbles (in the story these are pods underground), isolated from the outside world, communicating via screens and other devices, relying on The Machine (big government/big pharma/big tech) to meet their needs. All they need to do is follow the rules and do as they are told and they will be housed and fed, given access to medical care and be allowed heavily censored information that has already been through ten retellings so that they can not tell fact from fiction – real news from fake news. Basically the “Facebook Factcheckers” on steroids. Original thought, unless it falls in line with the doctrine of The Machine is not only frowned upon, but could have you cast out and made homeless. This is understood to be akin to a death sentence.

Transport – physical movement – outside of your designated pod, is only achievable if you first apply for permission. Going up and outside onto the earths surface, under the sky and clouds and sunlight is discouraged and is only achievable if you wear a respirator and have permission from The Machine….sound familiar?

The human species in the story have been genetically selected (Eugenics….as promoted these days, by the likes of Bill Gates)- by The Machine – to become little more than unmoving blobs of pasty flesh, devoid of sunlight, who sit in their chairs all day connected to the outside world by their communication devices – much like plugging into virtual reality worlds of today. The only time they get out of their chairs is to go to bed. Athletic types are not allowed to breed as they are deemed unsuitable in this new world where sitting all day is the new normal.

Physical contact with other humans – to touch another person – is considered uncivilized. Everything is done (on line) via The Machine. The Machine tells them what to do, how to behave, what to think.

Not only are there parallels with the world wide covid-19 regulations, but also very ominous similarities with the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset”. I would hate to think that we would allow ourselves to be manipulated into a dystopian nightmare such as the world described by Forster. However, the last 2 years have proved how compliant we are, on the whole. So, perhaps our fate is sealed?

BUT….that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

I’ll link E. M. Forster’s – “The Machine Stops” below. It is a PDF just 25 pages long and definitely worth a read if you haven’t come across it before.

And for those who claim that the Great Reset is nothing more than conspiracy theory, here is a link to the World Economic Forum website where you can read articles and view videos all about how our future will be, after the Great Reset, according to Klaus Schwab. Our consumer driven lifestyles and our pursuit of “progress”, profits and Capitalism is pushing us closer to Forster’s dystopian future – which is what the WEF is all about, only now they have adopted buzz words such as sustainability……sustaining their wealth perhaps?

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/

I’m not really a cat person…

…or so I kid myself. Cat people have a reputation for being slightly crazy…or at the very least eccentric. Thankfully, my mother and her brothers always had dogs as pets, when they were children, so it was a natural follow on for me and my brother to gravitate toward dogs first as our choice of pet.

Our first dog was a black and tan Manchester Terrier cross puppy that was given to us in the local park by another boy, whose mother had told him to get rid of it. My mother was pushing my brother in the baby buggy (known then, in England, as a push-chair), as I ran on ahead through the park. By the time mum had caught up to me I was busy fussing this cute little pup, and the boy quickly explained that if we wanted it we could have the pup. Me and my brother then pretty much bullied mum into letting us keep it. You know the thing…”please mum let us keep it”…..”No”….”Oh go on mum please”….”No”….”Oh PLEEEASE mum, we’ll be ever so good won’t we Dave” to which my brother nodded so hard his head fell off….Obviously it didn’t, I was just trying to emphasize how hard he was nodding – but, never mind. Eventually after so many pleases and no’s she could stand no further whining from us and gave in. And let’s face it this technique usually works – it’s been passed down through generations…probably in our DNA….we don’t want it to be passed down obviously. We don’t want our kids knowing that continuous whining is our kryptonite do we? No matter how hard we try to suppress it…it still squeezes through, generation to generation.

At the time, the pup was very young and we weren’t absolutely sure if it was male or female. Turn it upside down and everything’s so small…and at that age they all squat to pee. The lad thought it was male so we called it Timmy – after the dog in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. Pretty soon it became clear that Timmy was actually a girl, so a quick name change was required and Lassie was decided on. Those of us old enough remember Lassie the collie dog in the movies….”What Lassie? Tommy fell down the well?”

She quickly became my dog and would follow me everywhere without a leash, although I also trained her on the leash and she quickly learned to heel…and not to tug and pull when we went for walks. She was a lovely, really lovely dog. Affectionate, well behaved. Unfortunately one day she, my mother, my brother and me were on our way home from my grandmothers and it started to rain. I had my bike with me so mum sent me off ahead to get home to shelter. The problem was that mum thought I’d stay on the same side of the busy road that they were on. But I decided to cross it as it would be a quicker way home. Mum was distracted, putting the rain cover over the push-chair, Lassie saw me disappear into the distance, ran across the road to try to catch up to me and was struck by a car. We’d probably had her about 2 years by that time and were all devastated at her untimely death. I never stopped blaming myself.

Next, after several years, came Bess. Bess was a brown and white Springer Spaniel who’s owner, a friend of my mothers, couldn’t keep her any longer as they already had another dog and the two did not get along. The lady insisted that Bess, who was about 18 months old, was a gentle, good natured dog and never did any damage or anything naughty. Pretty soon, after a few pairs of shoes had been destroyed and Bess also tried to eat a corner off the kitchen door, we came to the conclusion that we’d been had. After discussions with people “in the know” we were told that first thing is to move anything that the dog can chew, second thing is to smear the door with something pungent or spicy tasting to put the dog off and thirdly to not let the dog get bored.

Hiding the rest of the shoes, and applying Coleman’s Strong English Mustard liberally to what was left of the door, we thought would soon solved that problem. Turns out that our dog loved spicy food. Loved mustard. Could not get enough! Yum, yum, yum…loved it! Bring on the next course….chicken vindaloo perhaps? Fortunately she loved it so much that she stopped eating the door, just licked off the mustard…..and then squirted diarrhea all over the porch where we kept her. You would not believe how much of that stinky, yellow/green slime one medium sized dog has inside it…nor how far a medium sized dog can project it. Thank God she wasn’t a Great Dane or Saint Bernard….imagine it!

I don’t want to go on about it, but I will because I don’t think you can fully appreciate what a mess it was. You know those plastic squirty bottles that hot dog mustard comes in? Imagine a bottle 100 times the size and then picture a hippopotamus or an elephant leaping from a 12 metre diving board onto it. Actually that’s stupid, how would a hippo or elephant climb up there? Imagine it a hippo climbing a ladder…just not possible is it? OK, so imagine then that by some magical way, a hippo…..or elephant is up there on the 12 metre diving board. Maybe a crane – obviously the machine, not the bird….god imagine the bird flapping like mad trying to lift a hippo…just wouldn’t work would it….ridiculous….so a crane put it up there…or helicopter…perhaps, with a harness….then again hippos and elephants don’t have fingers so how would they unfasten the harness once they were up there? Hard work this. Whatever way it got there a very large animal is up there and leaps majestically into the air and plummets onto the squeezy bottle and well, you can guess the rest.

The porch was carpeted too….yes I know….not pretty! Not fully carpeted you understand we weren’t that posh! Just old rugs laid on top of a parquet floor. My dad years earlier had got hold of this old parquet flooring rescued from some wreck of a building or other and being a true Yorkshireman…never wanting to “chuck ‘owt out”….decided to re-lay it over the concrete flagstones in our porch. You know those little gaps between the slats of wood on a parquet floor? Particularly runny diarrhea can find it’s way into any little crack or crevice. There was no way that dad was going to let us destroy his handy-work so we lived with that particular cologne for years…and years. It’s the scent that keeps on giving.

After that, it became my job to take Bess for long….very long….walks to tire her (and me) out so that neither of us were capable of getting up to any mischief. She became a well loved family member. We spoiled that dog….to the point that she became diabetic. Mum would feed it ice cream for gods sake. So yes, she died of problems caused by diabetes.

Next came Baldrick. Named after the unkempt, slightly smelly, rather stupid character from the Blackadder TV series. And to be fair he did his best to live up to the name. Not a very high target to meet granted. But despite this he was still a lovely and loved pet.

Jumping several years and my brother-in-law ended up living at our house. I won’t go into the how, why and wherefores of it, but while me and my wife were overseas on an extended holiday, my brother-in-law and his son either allowed, or more likely encouraged, a couple of kittens from next door into our house.

Who doesn’t think cats, particularly little fluffy kittens are cute….I think it can be safely said that when it comes to a little pussy….we love ’em don’t we? By which I mean a small cat, a kitten.

Well, it turns out that, at that time, I was not like most people and I was annoyed, nay outraged, that our house minders had allowed felines through the door and into my hallowed space. Rather pathetically I tried to barricade the doorway so that the cats couldn’t get in. Of course as they got older and larger, leaping over my version of the Berlin Wall became like a game to them so, in the end I simply gave in, accepted their presence and – what do you know – the little buggers grew on me.

My wife didn’t have my built in aversion to cats, having owned a cat of her own when she was a child. Actually that sentence is ridiculous, as anyone knows who has a cat as a pet…..it’s the cat that owns you!

Anyhow, my wife soon named the 2 kittens – who were brother and sister and incidentally already had other names – Tiberius and Scarlet. The 2 kittens were inseparable during the daytime and were usually to be found in one another’s company, in a sunny spot in the garden. Although Scarlet would usually go back next door at the end of the day, Tiberius….or Tibs as I shortened his name to because I didn’t want to sound pretentious calling him in….”Tiberius, Oh Tiberius, where are you?” – made our home his in a very short time.

Scarlet on the left and Tibs on the right.

Tibs would come and go throughout the day, but at night time, he’d settle down on the couch and that would be the last we’d hear of him until early morning when he’d wander into our bedroom, jump up on to the bed and then settle down on my chest and push his face into mine, just to let me know that he loved me…..actually to tell me to get up and get him breakfast.

We became firm friends. He was my confidante and we had many a long discussion. Well I talked, he just looked aloof, but I’m pretty sure he was listening to every word. Then one evening in January at 10pm, for no apparent reason, he went out the front window and never returned.

Devastated doesn’t even come close to how I felt.

Oddly the very next morning Scarlet appeared meowing constantly, with a little bundle of fluff in tow. It was as though she was saying “I know Tibs is gone, but don’t be sad, I brought you a gift”. That little bundle of fluff became a regular visitor then a permanent guest when we became official carers for him. I would say owners, but we already know who owns whom when it comes to cats.

Scarlet…the mother cat laying on the chair and our little bundle of fluff Hector (yes, of course, named by my wife).

That was almost 3 years ago. Hector is my present confidante and my new owner. He rules the roost, as it were. He’s more of a night owl than Tibs was and is frequently in and out of the cat flap during the hours of darkness, announcing his arrival with a very loud “I’m here!” – or at least I swear that’s what it sounds like. He brings home “gifts” such as dried flower heads, the occasional rabbit…. or half a rabbit (always the bottom half, never the head)….and mice…sometimes dead but more often than not, very much alive. Hector, it would appear, has signed up for the mouse catch and release program. It seems to amuse him to watch me chase the mice around the house trying to catch them again. He thinks it’s great fun.

When he’s had his fun for the night, and a feed, he’ll jump up on the bed and spread out, so my feet are wedged down a narrow strip of bed so as not to upset his highness. He’ll have a scratch, groom himself and then purr himself to sleep….where as I’ll lay there uncomfortable, very much awake and developing a cramp in my crushed legs.

You’d think that this would piss me off….the constant meowing at odd hours of the night….the mouse hunting when still half asleep and bleary eyed…the demands of “feed me” at all hours…..the lack of sleep. Some would call me insane for putting up with it, but funnily enough if I don’t hear those middle of the night calls for attention I lay awake and worry….where is he, is he ok? Crazy or just a softy? I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, when I say I’m not really a cat person I guess what I mean to say is that I wasn’t, but now I most certainly am.

Me and the boss….Hector.

Aging and the quest for the past.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post. It just seemed to me that as I advance in years much of my time seems to be spent looking behind me….in a way yearning for the past.

My father once said to me, when I was having a really shitty time at school, that my childhood days were the best days of my life. At the time, obviously, I was skeptical, I thought “Oh great, if these are the best days, it’s all down hill from here…..the man is crazy, being an adult and in control of our lives has to be better than being a kid and being told what to do all the time”. But, now as I near retirement age I think that what I really miss is the simplicity of life back then.

The “Covid age” has brought this home more than anything else. We can’t simply go places any more. We have to scan QR codes, be tracked by the GPS on our ubiquitous cell phones, be forever on call – be connected on the off chance that someone wants to phone us, text us or “tweet”” about us. We have to justify our movements, (anti) social distance and stay in our “bubbles”, we are told who we can and can’t visit, or allow to visit us, even family members…and I won’t even mention the lunacy of mask mandates. Oops I already did.

I say lunacy because for a mask to be effective against viral particles they have to be of a quality to be able to filter out the viral particles – and to be worn and handled correctly. Most of the masks that we are “encouraged” to wear do not meet this criteria, hence the lunacy of the matter. The inefficient masks therefore become mere symbols of conformism or virtue signaling.

When I was a child – actually up until I was in my mid 20’s – we never even had a phoneline to our house. It wasn’t a necessity. If we needed to tell a friend or family member something, we’d go visit them, or if they were far away we’d write to them or, if the news was urgent, we’d use the pay phone at the end of the street. When me and my younger brother went out to play, we’d be told to be home for dinner, or before it gets dark. Our parents trusted us to have a certain amount of common sense – and we’d be gone for hours enjoying our freedom and the joy of using our imagination to entertain ourselves. I do miss that.

Now, particularly since the first lot of lockdowns in March of 2020, our lives have become more regimented, more restricted, less free. I want to point out here that when Covid-19 was first reported as some deadly virus from China with the potential to kill more than the Spanish Flu did in 1918/19 I was in full support of the New Zealand governments decision to close our borders, schools and “non-essential” businesses in order to keep Covid out of our country. The 4 week long lockdown initially made sense.

However, there has been a lot of water flowing under the bridge since then. Once it became clear that this virus was not the plague it was initially made out to be and that some of the measures enacted by government were not serving any purpose except to punish those who were not complying, I started to question what the end game was.

They say hindsight is a great thing and truly it is. Foresight would have been more helpful though, me thinks. Because of the fear generated by hype from the government and in the media about the potential deaths from the virus, we allowed the governments of the world to enact emergency legislation – which was meant to be short term – in a bid to stem the tide of the virus. These short term emergency measures are now being pushed harder and are becoming a permanent fixture, despite the obvious fact that the virus, although dangerous to the old and infirm, is not so problematical, in most cases, for the average healthy person. The powers that be then decide to mandate the vaccine on certain sections of society – based on peoples jobs mainly.

This is a vaccine in name only – because they changed the definition of what a vaccine is. We are presented with a “safe and effective vaccine” which has not gone through full clinical trials, is a new technology as far as use on humans goes….the trials end in 2023….and data will continue to be gathered for another 7 years. There have been thousands of injuries and deaths related to the vaccine, particularly causing heart problems in young males, but we are still being told it is safe and effective.

It doesn’t prevent the vaccinated from getting the virus, neither does it prevent the infected from passing on the virus to other people but we are told that the “effective” part is that it makes symptoms less harmful.

The real danger to all of us though is not the virus, or the adverse effects of the vaccine. The real danger is the authoritarian regime that has been brought in, with our approval to a certain extent, right under our noses. We have traded freedom, tradition, community and our old way of life, for perceived safety. I say perceived because the story of safety they promise us, smacks of the story of the Emperors New Clothes. It’s a falsehood, it doesn’t exist. We will never be truly free unless the system collapses either of it’s own accord, or by freedom seekers, revolutionaries, the resistance – call them what you will – deliberately collapsing it.

What we have now is a two tier society where those who have been double jabbed and are willing to keep up their vaccine status with ongoing booster shots “earn” freedoms that the unvaccinated (or as I prefer to call us “vaccine free”), or those who decide not to keep on with the endless rounds of booster shots, do not have. We become excluded from certain aspects of society such as the ability to visit a cafe, bar, restaurant or even a hairdresser. Sporting events and concerts are also a big no no for the “unclean”. What gives the government the right to force us to “earn” back our freedom? On the brighter side, not being able to dine out is saving us money.

History has shown us time and again that when this sort of thing is allowed to happen, the outcome is not good. Think apartheid…..think the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany…..think the Russian Revolution (or the events leading to the Russian Revolution). When totalitarian regimes are allowed to flourish, things have a habit of becoming very messy with much loss of life.

Life was certainly more straight forward back in the 60’s and 70’s before the technology age really came to power. As children me and a large number of friends (20 or more from the nearby housing estate) would play in the woods for hours on end, communing with nature, benefiting I believe from natures healing powers. We’d get our daily dose of vitamin D from the sunshine, we’d get dirty crawling through the undergrowth and climbing trees, great for building our immune system.

The writer and his wife in the woods where he enjoyed much of his childhood….and where the ashes of his parents and grandparents are scattered.

Nowadays mothers would be fussing around their pasty looking kids with lashings of sunscreen, “wet-wipes” and hand sanitizer to prevent them from picking up germs. We’d climb trees, sometimes fall from them and learn lessons from that….again, these days not many kids play in the woods all day like we used to do. They are more likely, when on rare excursions from the “safety” of the home, to be taken to a man made, purpose built playground with netting and rubber cushions to fall on, building a false belief that falling doesn’t hurt. The real world then comes as a shock to them in later years….and of course they get offended by oh so many things.

Of course, modern day children have so many other distractions – digital gaming, smart phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches – which provide all kinds of excuses to prevent them from getting out into nature, exercising…..and most importantly in my opinion….making friends (real physical friends) and developing an idea about the importance of community.

This wasn’t meant as a rant against Covid…..or against modernity. I’m not a Luddite….or, perhaps I am. I do think though that it serves as a reminder that not all “progress” is good. We seem to accept new technology, whether it be smart phones or mRNA injections or whatever….all new technology as progress, as something good and something that we need in our lives. What we should be doing is looking at each new technology separately and asking ourselves “does this benefit us as a species, as a community, or does it take away from what we already have?” This is the approach that the Amish community have. They do not shun all technology, just the technology that threatens their way of life and their sense of community. They live simply, they value one another, their community, their religious beliefs. I’m not suggesting that we should all become Amish….although that’s not altogether a bad idea.

Somewhere along the way we have become very lost and disconnected in our digitally connected lives from the physical world, from the spiritual world – whether that be organised religion or other spiritual beliefs – from one another and particularly from nature…..all of which therefore begin to lose perceived importance. Living with nature as we did back then – rather than playing god with nature, taming it, using nature as a commodity and putting a dollar value on it, as we do today – is surely preferable, more healthy and freer than the path we are now on.

These are of course just my own thoughts. I don’t expect everyone to suddenly agree with me. Frankly I’d be shocked if they did. BUT if you’re feeling down, drained, battered by the pressures of modern life, try taking a walk in the woods. Stroll at a leisurely pace, don’t rush it. Take it all in – the sights, the smells, the sounds….even the feeling of the place, it’s “spirituality” – and recharge yourself. Regain, if you can, an appreciation for nature and the simple things in life. Thank you if you have read this far and all the very best to you and yours for this new year 2022 and hopefully better things to come.

Everyman (2006)- Philip Roth – Book review

I’d never read any of Roth’s work until recently, when I read “The Plot Against America”. (I reviewed this recently on my blog). I was alerted to Roth’s work when I was reading Woody Allen’s autobiography and in it he mentions several writers who have either influenced him, or who he rates highly. Now I’ve finished “Everyman” I can see similarities between Allen’s characters and writing and Roth’s.

Both writers write stories about relationships, both are of Jewish background, both write about characters who are obsessed with sex and death, particularly the emptiness of death….when you’re dead the lights go out and that’s it.

See the source image

My copy of Everyman is only a small novel 182 pages or average sized print but it’s well written and looks at one man’s life – his hopes and dreams – and his relationships. Sometimes in life we make decisions that we have a pretty good idea at the time are the wrong decisions for oh so many reasons, but we still choose to make them for short term gains, or instant pleasure, rather than looking at the long term effects of those choices and the problems that those decisions can cause – not just to yourself but to those around you.

We follow the life of one man – a successful commercial artist who worked for an advertising company in New York. The story begins with his death during a heart operation in hospital, followed by his funeral. From here we travel back in time – to when he was a boy and helped his father in the family jewelry shop. It’s a story about relationships. It’s about life and it’s about death and how, sooner or later, it befalls us all. We get to examine his relationship with his parents, with his older brother (who he adored and yet came to hate in his old age), with his three wives – as he was thrice married – with his children from the first two marriages…and his infidelities along the way. He’s one of those guys who is controlled by the urges of the libido rather than by letting logical thought take the lead. And when it comes to describing his character’s sexual liaisons Roth certainly leaves nothing to the imagination – he’s very up front and quite explicit.

All through his life, when it comes to a pretty face, or a stunning body – all traces of common sense, and common decency, take flight. He knows he’s making rash, irrational decisions based on lust. Even when he himself makes a point of letting the reader know how perfect his second wife is in so many ways – he still choses to cheat on her (repeatedly) with a much younger photographic model – and to hell with the consequences.

Of all of his decaying relationships, the one which makes no sense at all is the one that he has with his older brother Howie. As a child he idolized his older brother and as they grew up, they had a strong brotherly bond and a supportive relationship, but as our unnamed advertising exec reaches late middle age, his years of good, robust health come to an end and he develops heart disease, resulting in a number of operations. His older brother however, is still the picture of health and he comes to envy and despise him because of this and gradually, as years pass by, they become estranged.

Without wanting to give away the entire plot….it’s a quite remarkable novel about life, it’s mysteries and it’s strange ways of either working out, or turning bad in turn, and the bleak acceptance that death is waiting for us and that we have little to no control over when we take our final breath. It’s also about wasted opportunities, it’s about regrets and about his ideals not turning out how he hoped they would, even about himself not turning out as he’d hoped he’d turn out – as he becomes the kind of man he never wanted to be – and eventually it’s about acceptance. A human story…a story about the frailties of human life.

According to the blurb on the rear jacket of the book “Everyman takes its title from an anonymous fifteenth-century allegorical play whose theme is the summoning of the living to death.”

Douglas Kennedy in The Times writes – “The genius of this short, bleak, remarkable novel stems from the way that Roth turns his desolate assessment of death into something bracing: an angry acceptance that mortality is the price we pay for the sheer wonder of this thing called life“.

See the source image
Drawing of Roth which appeared in the New York Times.

Not the world ending plague it is being made out to be.

I have just read this article on Microsoft News – taken from the Evening Standard newspaper – about the latest Covid-19 figures. The article is copied here in full, in inverted commas and italics, unedited.

The number of confirmed global cases of Covid-19 has passed 40 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

The US research institute which collates reporting of cases from around the world said the milestone was passed today.

It said infections had reached 40,050,902. There have been more than 1.1 million deaths.

The actual worldwide figure of Covid-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been variable, and many people have had no symptoms meaning they are unaware of having the disease.

Some governments have also being accused of concealing the true number of cases.

The US, Brazil and India are reporting the highest numbers of cases, although the increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe.

An analysis by Reuters has shown the global rate of infection is continuing to rise.

It took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 to 30 million, the news agency said.

Record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

My opinion for what it’s worth, and please don’t attack me immediately – I am only reporting on the official figures and asking questions. I’m not saying that Covid doesn’t exist or that it’s not killing people, but please hear me out. This is an opinion piece….but I am asking you to look beyond the news headlines and fearmongering.

So….another Covid infection milestone to wind up the terror. They tell us that there are now 40 million cases of Covid in the world – Hoping no doubt that the moronic masses will say “OH my god that’s a lot. Quickly lock us down again and protect us!”
But remember, this is out of a world population of 7.8 billion ….so percentage wise, you’re only looking at 0.05% of the worlds population that are said to be infected. But then, realizing that this figure is insignificant, they then add that the infection rate could be higher because many who have covid actually have NO SYMPTOMS.
Therefore, we are meant to fear this virus that is so “deadly” that we may not even know we’ve got it, because it has ZERO effect on many of us. Please think about this. Those telling us to be fearful of Covid, are also telling us that it has ZERO effect on many people.
The article then goes on to say the death count is now 1.1 million…again for a population of 7.8 billion it’s about 0.014% of the world population who are being REGISTERED as covid death cases. I am not belittling the lives lost or the anguish their deaths cause to their loved ones, BUT, the majority of the dead were extremely elderly and/or had other life threatening illnesses.

They are, remember, including in this death count anyone who dies WITH covid in their system, not necessarily that covid was the ultimate cause of death. WITH covid in their system not FROM Covid. So if you tested positive for covid but had a history of heart problems and died of a heart attack you are included in the covid death statistics.
So, with the above in mind, the number of deaths DIRECTLY resulting from Covid is therefore much less than 1.1 million and, if the authorities are to be believed, and the actual number of infections are way higher than the reported 40 million cases ( due to infected people having no symptoms and therefore not being included in the infected figures), your chances of dying from covid, if you are infected, are statistically reduced significantly.

In another recent article, this one concerning the curfews imposed on Paris and several other French cities, one has to question whether this is about health and safety or if it is a social experiment about how easy it is to control the masses.

The article stated that the curfews would be in place from 9pm until 6am and anyone found outside during those hours would be fined. In addition you are allowed no more than 6 people to gather in your own home. BUT outside of curfew hours you can go to restaurants, shops etc. with crowds of other people. Link below.

https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/streets-of-paris-deserted-as-9pm-curfew-kicks-in/ar-BB1a9hXU?ocid=sf2

I don’t know about you, but such a news article has me wanting to ask a few questions such as :- Is covid like Count Dracula and only appears after sundown and goes into hiding again at sunrise, hence the need to hide away in their homes between 9pm and 6am? Why is it safe to be among a hundred or more people in other places, such as restaurants and shops, and yet your own social/family group in your own home has to be 6 or under? Is this an attempt to distance friends and family members, stop us talking to one another and forcing us to have less reliance on family ties and more dependence on the State in a bid to divide and conquer? Why is it that, these days, the news media doesn’t ask the hard questions of government anymore, merely parrots whatever they are told? AND anyone who does ask questions about the official narrative are belittled and accused of being conspiracy theorists in order to make their questions appear to be invalid or nonsensical. Why are people not resisting or at least asking questions and are instead blindly following every contradictory rule imposed on them by governments who are meant to represent them, not repress them?

Radioactive and Resistance….2 one word movie titles – review.

We’ve had about 3 weeks of rain recently. I’m itching to get out into the garden but it’s a sodden bog. I’m wondering whether the fact that we now have a pool instead of a lawn will add or detract from the property value.

What is there to do when you can’t go for a walk and you’re tired of reading? Not a lot if you’re still on coronavirus lockdown, but thankfully here in New Zealand at least we have the option of going to the movies. Focal Point Cinema in Hastings, where me and my wife are both members, had sent my wife a notification that she has a free ticket to any movie waiting for her because she’d just had a birthday. What a great excuse to go to the movies. AND on Monday and Tuesday afternoon sessions they throw in free coffee or tea and a variety of baked goods. Very yummy and well received.

There were 3 movies on the list that we wanted to see (the one we missed was The Burnt Orange Heresy) and since the other 2 were based on real peoples lives we decided to do a double header. The 12.30pm viewing of Radioactive – about Mme Curie’s life and work, followed by the 3pm showing of Resistance – a movie about mime artist Marcel Marceau’s time with the French Resistance during WW2. Both fascinating movies which set right some of my false assumptions about both people….for a start I thought that they were both French born, but Marie Curie – maiden name Maria Salomea Skłodowska – was born in Warsaw, Poland. And of course all I knew about Marcel Marceau was of his (annoying) mimes. I knew nothing of his heroics while with the resistance, nor that he was Jewish. But, back to the movies.

Radioactive – A story of the scientific and romantic passions of Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie, and the reverberation of their discoveries throughout the 20th century.

Rosamund Pike in the lead role was exceptional as the self absorbed Marie Curie who put her work above everything and everyone else in her life…..if the movie is to be taken at face value. What I can say is that she did a very good job at portraying a scientist who was outspoken and had a brilliant mind, but was in equal parts not a very likable person. A psychologist would have had a field day with this woman who was a bit of an enigma, being both self assured but also constantly seeing herself as a victim because she was a woman in what was otherwise a mans world. Indeed it was almost impossible for a woman to become a renown scientist back then because of gender prejudice. Even when she and husband, fellow scientist Pierre, were nominated in 1903 for the Nobel Prize in Physics, initially only Pierre’s name was on the citation. It was only after he had insisted that Marie deserved recognition for her contribution to the discovery of Radioactivity that her name was added and they both became recipients of the Nobel Prize.

However, she got the last laugh by becoming the only person, so far, to win a Nobel Prize in 2 separate scientific fields, in 1911, by winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Rosamund Pike is not an actress that I like to watch. That’s not because she isn’t good at her craft, she is perhaps too good an actress. Her portrayal of Mme Curie leaves me admiring the character’s single minded determination and brilliance as a scientist but as a wife and mother she is a dreadful wretch of a human being with few redeeming qualities….although she does soften toward the end of the movie.

Marie Curie quotes
Marie Curie – the sole woman surrounded by other scientists and professors…..including Albert Einstein.

There is a phrase spoken by Pierre Currie in the movie where he asks “The question can be raised whether mankind benefits knowing the secrets of nature”…. And that I think is a very valid question, the answer to which is hinted at in the movie by injecting little scenes of things that would happen in the future….that did happen since the discovery of radiation and radioactivity, such as the destructive power of the atomic bomb and the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, as well as the benefits of the Xray. It is an excellent question. Mankind (now Humankind because of our PC world) is meant to be the most intelligent species and yet we are the only species which has built the technology to destroy not only ourselves, but all life on earth, and we continue to put military spending over the welfare of people and planet. One could ask is that intelligence or stupidity? Are we actually advanced enough to handle the responsibility? Frankly I don’t think that we are.

The acting was very good, as were the costumes and film sets. The baron wastelands of WW1 battlefields were particularly thought provoking. If I was to rate it overall out of 5 stars I’d feel compelled to give it 4. Very much worth paying money to see on the big screen.

The second movie, Resistance, with Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role was entertaining and disturbing in turn. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz it is about the French Resistance in WW2 and particularly about how mime artist Marcel Marceau – real name Marcel Mangel, a French born Jew – helped to smuggle hundreds of Jewish children out of France and over the mountains into Switzerland.

It’s a movie that shows both the best and the worst of humanity. The good being the number of people and organizations who put their own safety in jeopardy in order to save the lives of the Jewish orphans and the bad….the despicably wicked… as portrayed by French collaborators, the Nazi soldiers and particularly Klaus Barbie, aka the butcher of Lyon. Barbie (SS and Gestapo member) was renown for taking an active part in the murder and torture of prisoners, including the flaying alive of some unfortunate souls. By flaying alive I mean he removed the skin from the entirety of the victims body while they were still alive and then went home to his wife and child. If that is not the epitome of evil I don’t know what is.

Again, as in the previous movie, the acting was first class and we – the audience – come to absolutely hate and detest German actor Matthias Schweighöfer who plays the character of Barbie, (who incidentally has nothing at all to do with the doll by Mattel).

All joking aside it is a serious movie about life and death situations and the betrayal of the Jewish people by friends and neighbours out to protect their own self interests.

It’s a really good story about courage, relationships, the reliance we have on one another and about putting the lives of others before that of your own. I don’t want to give away much about the movie as it’s one that I think we should all see in order to understand and be witnesses to man’s inhumanity to his fellow man….and conversely the selflessness and goodness of mankind.

The “woke movement” would have us tear down statues of what they consider to be “bad people” and remove them from history, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the bad people and their atrocities in order to learn from them and hopefully not repeat them. Just my opinion.

Except for the final scene where Marcel is performing a mime in front of the American soldiers who helped liberate France, (at which point I would have gladly put a bullet through him myself – what can I say? Mime is just not my thing), I thought it was an excellent movie. Entertaining and thought provoking – it gets another 4 stars out of 5 from me.

As a last thought, I think we need to remember that in times of trouble, charismatic leaders can induce others to do things that they would not otherwise do. Hitler was a populist leader who presented to the German people the Jews as the cause of all Germany’s ills. A target for all Germany to unite against. The atrocities inflicted on the Jewish people by otherwise sane people was totally illogical and driven by unjust hatred. We are once more in troubled times, with charismatic leaders in charge of some countries and others waiting in the wings for the right conditions in order to take over and enforce their ideals on otherwise sane people. Please think and consider the humanity or inhumanity of your actions before you blindly follow orders.

Again many thanks for reading this post and thank you for likes, shares or comments….positive or negative.

Controversial documentary removed by “Thought Police”

Years ago, while still at school, I read Orwell’s 1984 and it scared me. I re-read it only a few months ago, pre-coronavirus, and it still scared me. Although at the time of my re-read I thought that although Orwell had predicted a lot of things accurately, there was still a certain amount of freedom of speech in the modern world….and freedom of movement…..freedom to gather in public places….

Then came COVID-19, and everything changed. Not only were individual rights and perceived freedoms eroded, but more and more things on Facebook and YouTube were removed as being “false or inaccurate information”. What they should say is that items were removed because they didn’t reflect the official narrative. Yes, Orwell’s Thought Police from 1984 have now well and truly arrived.

Planet-of-the-humans.jpg

This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – an annual event to celebrate and protect the environment. It falls on April 22nd. Film Producer Mike Moore chose Earth Day as the release date for a documentary movie directed by Jeff Gibbs called PLANET OF THE HUMANS. A movie made because and I quote “we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.

It would appear that Moore, Gibbs and author Ozzie Zehner – who’s book Green Illusions forms the basis of the documentary – have ruffled the feathers of some powerful people….Al Gore included. So much so that website “Films for Action” have removed it from their listings as being “inaccurate and misleading” – in other words they have been leaned on by someone with a lot of clout because the movie does not follow the official narrative. In the documentary some very powerful, rich (billionaires) people are called out for selling the environmental movement down the river. They don’t like it. Moore has released the movie for free in order to get the message out before it’s too late for humanity.

On the day the movie was released I watched it twice, because there was a lot to absorb. I suggest you see it for yourself, check the facts delivered yourself…..use several websites and not just the first ones thrown up by Google….and come to your own conclusions.

I have tried to put a link to the YouTube movie three times now and all I get is a brief loading of the movie followed by a lot of flashing as the link appears and then disappears, appears and disappears. However, I have managed to find another post where someone has managed to embed it successfully….and that won’t load on here either. Try clicking on the link below….

Homepage

It is well worth viewing. You will not believe how two faced some leaders of the environmental movement are and how far they have been “influenced by big money”. It’s an eye opener and it turned my views completely on their head.

I’ll close with this excerpt from Wikipedia below, and thank you once more for reading. Please watch the movie, self check the “facts” and come to your own conclusions.

The central thesis of the film is that reductions in consumption and population might be needed because humans can’t rely on green energy to achieve sustainability. One reason is that sustainability encompasses areas beyond fossil fuel concerns, (like species‘ extinctions due to habitat loss through agriculture). Another that human energy needs are too great. And finally that the green energy movement is corrupt and misleading. Various people and organizations in the United States claiming to promote green energy have actually been promoting biomass energy, which mostly entails the burning of trees instead of fossil fuels. This practice is neither carbon neutral, renewable, nor sustainable. The film also claims that wind power and solar power don’t fare much better once all the inputs for construction and maintenance, requiring the use of fossil fuels, are taken into account. Jeff Gibbs has said that the film is designed to prompt discussion and debate beyond the narrow issue of climate change and look at the overall human impact on the environment, including issues such as the contemporary extinction crisis in which half of all wildlife has disappeared in the last 40 years, and whether green technology can solve these issues”.

The conclusion that the movie comes to is that we have overpopulated the planet – at the expense of all other lifeforms – and we over consume – energy…things in general. We need to reduce population rapidly and stop being so wasteful and destructive. A forest is NOT a commodity….it is NOT a “resource” to be abused by us….it is a lifeform and supports millions of other lifeforms. We get up in arms about destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest and yet allow our local forests to be clear felled….as if it’s OK for us to destroy nature but not someone overseas. AND we are being sold down the river AGAIN by the people who are meant to be leading us out of the climate crisis, people who, by far, value their own material wealth over the welfare of the planet and all life (including ours) on it.

Coronavirus update….29 March 2020….New Zealand.

I know that most people are sick and tired of hearing about nothing but this bloody virus so I’ll try to make this brief, and make it my last word on the issue.

As of today New Zealand has had its first and only death (so far) attributed to Coronavirus. The number of infected has passed 500 but only 9 are now in need of hospital care and I believe 56 or 57 have already recovered from the illness.

Just a few things I’d like to run past you at this point. Anyone who has been confirmed to have Coronavirus, no matter how mild a case is numbered among the infected – which is fair enough. What is less fair, and adds to the hype and panic over this “flu like illness” is that even if it was not the coronavirus itself, but other pre-existing illnesses that actually caused the death, the person is still put down as a coronavirus death, due to coronavirus simply being present. I’m not necessarily referring to the single NZ death here, because no details have been released yet at the request of the deceased’s family, but basing it on information about the thousands of deaths in northern Italy. What also needs to be taken into consideration is the age, particularly in northern Italy of the majority of the victims – average age of mid 80’s and the fact that many had other health issues including bronchial illnesses caused by air pollution in that area (worst air pollution in Italy).

Similarly in Wuhan…very bad air pollution and incidentally home to a lab experimenting with viruses.

Other than “essential” workers, New Zealanders are on lockdown supposedly to protect the most vulnerable in the community – the very old and the very sick, with pre-existing medical conditions. And yet, staff working in old folks homes or making home visits to the elderly do not have to wear personal protection equipment. No masks, no gloves. How does this help to keep the elderly and sick safe?

Why self isolate everyone, even the healthy? If a healthy person gets a mild dose of this coronavirus they feel under the weather for a couple of days – some don’t even show any symptoms at all. Once recovered the body has natural immunity, as they do with other illnesses. If enough people who would not be considered to be “at risk” get the illness, don’t need hospital treatment, just a little R and R at home, and build a “herd immunity” for the community and therefore protect the elderly and infirm in doing so, why are we not doing this rather than locking everyone down? By all means lockdown those most at risk – AND then protect them by having all people who look after them wear masks, gowns and gloves. After all they have worked and paid taxes all their lives to help fund their health service and pension funds. Pensioners are not freeloaders….they earned their pensions.

OK, so those of you who believe everything that their government and the media tell them….who believe that their government care more about people than the economy and making money….you should stop reading here.

1100+ Nodes now signal #BIP148 for #SegWit! http://www ...

Those labelled conspiracy theorists, by the CIA in the 1960’s to discredit their claims, might say that todays governments, or the 1% who control the governments have the following aims.

1. Control of the masses and elimination of citizens who are a burden on society – (the old and the sick) – otherwise why lock everyone up and yet leave the elderly and sick without adequate protection – staff without PPE gear.

Are Tory cuts to police budgets the reason we need troops ...

2. Putting armed police and military on the streets to enforce lockdowns (although it’s not got that far yet in NZ)….gets us used to the sight of military on the streets to “protect” us….later to control us.

3. Having everyone at home 24/7 using household internet servers puts a strain on the wifi service. This results in complaints of slow download and streaming times from the public demanding better service. This gives the government the go ahead to roll out the untested 5G network – Which has not been shown to be safe. There are public health issues, but it will be fast tracked during or just after this coronavirus lockdown period. This tactic is known as “Problem, Reaction, Solution”. The government create a problem – strain on the internet caused by locking the entire population down at once – the public react by demanding their internet speeds be retained in times of high use – the government provide the solution – 5G an untested health risk…using technology not dissimilar to the Active Denial System weapon used for crowd control – really, look it up…which will in turn continue to reduce the human population due to the health complications it causes in the community at large. It also disorients bees and birds….but who needs bees right? Who needs bees to pollinate 80% of our food?

Non-lethal weapons technology demonstrated on MacDill ...

Incidentally, it is claimed that the wavelength that 5G operates on is detrimental to human health and weakens immune systems among other health issues. And coincidence or not, Wuhan was a testing ground for 5G which was then rolled out across China. South Korea had 5G rolled out in 2018 and by 2019 85 cities were covered. The UK – coverage of the major cities began in 2019 and by 2020 over 70 cities have 5G. Vodafone launched 5G in Italy in these five cities in June 2019: Naples, Bologna, Milan, Turin, and Rome. And by 2020 had added another 6 cities. Vodafone Spain was the first operator to launch 5G in Spain and it’s available in many Spanish cities already. Vodafone Spain launched 5G trials in various cities in June 2018, including Madrid, Valencia, Seville, and Barcelona. In late 2018, they installed a 5G network node in La Nave, Madrid, and in February 2019 used standards-based 5G phones to complete their first 5G video calls between Madrid and Barcelona. In the USA 5G is currently being rolled out. It’s in a number of cities already and more areas will get at-home and mobile 5G this year.

Is there a connection between 5G and coronavirus victims due to reduced effectiveness of immune systems? Or is it coincidental that every hotspot for coronavirus around the globe just happens to coincide with 5G technology? Why have NO INDEPENDENT TESTS been done on the health effects of 5G before it was rolled out in all these countries? Why are governments – who are supposed to work for the benefit of their citizens – so desperate to roll out this untested technology as quickly as possible?

4. The lockdown period, initially of a couple of weeks in some places, 4 weeks here in NZ will be extended “to make sure that Coronavirus is wiped out”. BUT eventually they will tell us that the only really safe way to make sure that there are no more coronavirus deaths is vaccination of the masses. They could even make vaccination mandatory and attach penalties to those who try to avoid vaccination such as community restrictions – no vaccination, no school, no college. Or no vaccination, no benefit payments (already being pushed in Australia). Possibly even no vaccination, no passport. State sanctioned medication of the masses, even against our wishes. Then again they are already doing this in NZ with fluoride in the drinking water – mass medication of citizens without our consent.

5. The elimination of cash money. The excuse will be that viruses spread on bank notes…true, but you could also say no more door handles, no more petrol pumps, no more manually operated taps, no more library books, no magazines in waiting rooms – all surfaces that could pass on a contaminant / virus. Where do you draw the line? BUT in getting rid of physical money and making everything digital they make control of the financial world so much simpler. Another benefit being that your wealth can disappear at a click of a mouse should you do or say something that those in charge don’t agree with. But hey…they’d never do that would they?

Thousands of Swedes are getting microchip IDs inserted ...

6. Microchipping of the masses. Already underway in Sweden. AND being done to people who are asking to be chipped, not being forced! This is being done firstly as a replacement for money and credit cards….just wave your chipped hand or finger over the pad and hey presto you’ve paid your account. Which is a worry in itself in my opinion. I’d rather lose a wallet to a mugger than a finger or entire hand….BUT, it can also be used to track and control movement.

7. Many of the western countries involved in the coronavirus shutdowns of countries are borrowing millions, billions and in some cases trillions of dollars in order to pay workers and keep businesses afloat. The entire world is in debt, but to who? The USA alone already had a national debt of over 23 trillion dollars – a ludicrous amount – and they are adding to this to bail out corporations who are meant to then let this bail out money trickle down to their workers….good luck with that. All of which adds to a world debt that can never realistically be paid off. Eventually the entire debt based economic system has to implode. So what’s the solution? The big banking families…the less than 1% of the worlds population who hold the vast majority of its wealth will offer individual nations an offer they can’t refuse. A one world currency, regulated by a one world bank which will have total financial control. Enter the one world government. Farewell sovereignty of nations, farewell individual rights and freedoms.

Re: Agenda 21 | Redwood Forest

8. United Nations agenda 21….superseded by agenda 2030 which is meant to be about environmental measures but is actually about making money from the state of the environment….AND massive population reduction.

BUT of course this is all simply conjecture from conspiracy theorists. None of it can be true can it?

I’m not asking you to believe any of it. Just because I’ve written it doesn’t validate the claims. What I would ask though is that you take your time – since we have lots of it on lockdown – and look it up….all of it…. individually. You’ll find sites to debunk every claim….but who runs those debunking sites? Follow the money. Sure, some of the sites you’ll come across are run by crackpots wearing tinfoil hats, but others are respected professionals, experts in their fields. Can they ALL be wrong or is there a grain of truth? Can we really trust those who govern us? Don’t be a sheep….don’t automatically believe the government….don’t believe me either, or the other tinfoil hatters. BUT don’t be lazy or complacent either. Do your own research, don’t just rely on sites recommended through Google either, come to your own conclusions.

Something to think about during your confinement. As usual thanks for reading….and yes, if this is what I write after only 3 days of lockdown… you can imagine what a month or more will look like. Greetings from the crazy house. Take care. See you on the other side.