Saturday, 29 March 2014

Post No. 538 - Hope

There is a saying that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" : the same applies to hope.

Just as it is pointless to talk to someone who is depressed about why they should not be depressed, so too it is pointless trying to enforce hope in another person. You can seek to inspire them to attain a state of hope, which is perfectly valid and spiritually noble, but you can no more force another to be hopeful, or to not be depressed, than you can to force another person to love someone ...and you must remember that words which will help one person may not help another, and may actually trigger despair in others: if you say something that is perceived as patronising (and women can be as patronising as men, in this sort of matter!) or lacking in understanding, you risk  making  matters  worse.

The key to understanding hope is, in my view, understanding the balances between perception and evidence, the significance of time (particularly around things like exhaustion), and what I will term authentic spiritual power and strength, which is derived from the Tibetan concept of authentic presence.

I'll consider the second aspect first: time.

Modern life in 'the West' is exhausting. I've written elsewhere how Western lifestyles create a virtually perpetual 'fear-of-famine' state in us (e.g., here and here) that our bodies were evolved to have only once a year, not all  the  time. Given that, it is easy to get into such a state of exhaustion that one feels like a coolie or some other type of slave, and think that things will never, ever change, and one will simply die of overwork before long term or important goals are achieved.

Now, in response to that, I have to say that death by overwork is a real possibility (including work leading to having insufficient time and/or energy to do the things that idiotic doctors stupidly and ignorantly bleat that one should do - do they have no idea what is involved in keeping a job these days??? Sometimes finding the time and energy to go for a walk is not actually easy – especially if you have children or elderly, ill parents). To avoid that, it could be necessary to simplify your lifestyle, and to reduce your expectations to your budget - having champagne tastes on a beer budget can literally be lethal. In most cases, that means things like not having too much of the latest fad(s), not want a house to live in that is too flash (see the seventh dot point in my quotations block), and/or too big (think of all the housework, if nothing else - all that time, energy and money that could have gone to more appropriate and enjoyable things - and see the eighth dot point in my quotations block), and not have too many or too flash cars (or boats ... and, for many families, I acknowledge the benefits of two cars - but make them smallish, if possible). All of this is more difficult if you are in a family situation, particularly if you are in the unenviable situation of being the sole source of income (and even worse if you are supporting stereotypical teenagers … and blessed if any teenagers in your life are not stereotypical, which is the case more than is acknowledged).

Moving on, I know people who get their sense of hope from the thought that they could win a lottery. I personally regard that as irresponsible escapism - from themselves and their decisions, as much as anything else. It is better to simply live within one's means - as I write in my quotation block (on the pages in the side bar):
The secret to being (financially) rich is not to have lots of money: it is to have an income above the poverty line, and then make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to live within 90% of your means.
(I must correct that one day to point out that the income needs to be at least 11% above the poverty line … )

The thing is, to live this most effectively, you would have to start as soon as you move out of the 'parental unit's place', and be prepared to be quite self disciplined about doing so. It is possible to convert to this approach to life, or to resume it, later in your life, but if you have family obligations or financial debts from your life decisions, that is potentially very much more difficult - and it may require negotiation around joint matters such as expectations of lifestyle.

In terms of hope, the point I am making here is that our past decisions will have an impact on us now: those past decisions need to be faced up to, and resolved - which may take time and effort. In some cases, that time and effort may be beyond what we can do or have.

As a somewhat mundane example, for a number of reasons it has been some years since I was able to exercise effectively - I was last properly fit in 2002, when I competed in the sailing at the Sydney Gay Games. That was 12 years ago. I would like to get reasonably fit again - not to the extent that I was back then, but it is going to take time, possibly around another 12 years or so, which is based on the rule of thumb guide that one should take at least the time to lose weight that one took to put it on. [3]

So, how do I keep myself having hope, or a sense of hope, over that next 12 years?

Well, what works for me is remembering that I have done this before, and did so in a shorter time period than that rule suggested. When I started getting fit for the Gay Games, I hadn't been properly fit for nearly the same sort of time period, and yet I managed to accomplish it in eighteen months or so - although my work was less demanding, life far simpler, and the hope of competing in the Games was a source of inspiration and emotional upliftment.

In terms of regaining an acceptable level of fitness now, there are many other details that have to be sorted out along the way, such as tweaks to my lifestyle (e.g., getting to bed earlier .. or exercising in the evening, now that we're heading into winter), setting up the plan in a way that works for me (just adopting what worked for others is no more than a starting point - and I have many years - decades, actually - of my own experience with fitness plans to draw on), and measuring my progress in a way that is meaningful to me.

If I look at another goal, that of being able to sail again, there are family issues which I consider far more pressing and of greater importance, so, if I had my 'druthers', I'd have a boat big enough to be a 'second home' for us - I can build boats (I've been sailing since I was 12, and doing major work on them nearly as long), so, particularly in light of the price mentioned in this article, a simple barge type 30 to 40 foot boat would be feasible ... but FIRST, I want our family to be in a really good financial footing and we all want somewhere nicer to live, so it might be 10 years or so before I can build us that boat. So ... how do I get from here to there? Well, my partner's preference is that I build a small boat for now (maybe a 16 to 20 footer), then we address our other financial goals, then we get the home afloat thing ... (my partner's comments on this have been believable and genuine, and are a perfect example of how to do or say something to help give another person hope).

So, I have used my personal experience - my history - and personalisation to make the quest for this goal something that is relevant and meaningful to me, and thus believable to me. As part of that, I have acknowledged my 'errors' and 'sins' around not keeping my fitness up, and, of very considerable importance, many of the key factors that prevented me from keeping my fitness up are no longer in my life.

Now, what if I did not have that past experience to draw on?

Well, that is where the more commonly accepted and/or stereotypical views on what provides inspiration or emotional upliftment (i.e., 'hope', according to most people) could have a part to play - learning that others have done what you seek to do, positive thinking, and so on. In my case, however, at that stage of my life where I was trying to do this for the first time, curiosity was a major influence - the desire to see, not for accomplishment or reward, but simply in order to know, what I could accomplish or do. Curiosity about oneself is a vastly undervalued attribute ...

If you are, rather than trying to accomplish something, enduring something that is incredibly harsh, hard and negative that is beyond anything you have experienced, this is where most people would quote the Persian Sufi saying "this too shall pass" - or, as the Anglo-Saxon poem "Deor" puts it: þæs ofereode,            þisses swa mæg! ("That passed away, this may too").

I like the Anglo-Saxon version better (even if I can’t pronounce it :) ), as it has an element of realism – or doubt, if you prefer. Let's take ... oh, being tortured. People do die under torture, so, yes, it is possible that the pain will end, but by means of death - not by being freed, or one's torturers having a change of heart and mind. The Sufi version has, to me, an inference of hope - that things shall pass and a better time shall come. In the Universal scale of things, they will, in maybe 10,000 years ... but not necessarily on a time scale that means much to me.

As you will have noticed from my opening point, I prefer realism as the basis for hope. Others, equally validly, prefer the dream (whether of a lottery win or something else) approach. Both are right for some people, wrong for others, right or wrong on a situational basis, and there may be other categories or approaches I'm not yet aware of. The key is: what works for a person for a given circumstance, at a particular time?

The 'correct' answer will vary ... proper meditation will help you get some answers that are valid for you personally (see here, here and here).

This does raise another very important aspect of working with other people on anything, not just hope: accept that others' views and preferences around hope are equally valid as you own. To fail to do so, and thus be over-forceful about your views is control, which I consider evil, whether it is coercing someone into a political view, blackmailing someone into an action or inaction, shanghaiing someone into military service, slavery or servitude, or insisting that your approach/view is the one, true and correct approach/view (e.g. in the workplace, which is often associated in my experience - with bullying).

On a lighter note, the time I started writing this post is the time when many people make 'New Year's resolutions'. Those help some but not others, and actively hinder yet others - and who is in which category changes, possibly within any year. It is important to be flexible, as well as resolute, and to know when it is better to be each for you.

Going back to realism vs. naivety, my view is that a lack of realism leads to loss of hope and despair - see my post on the time it takes to change the world as an example of a more realistic approach, where the approach was along the lines of wondering how long it would take for something to occur. I have been involved in seeking significant changes before, and it takes a lot of effort - the lobbying I was involve in a decade ago was successful because it built on over two decades of prior work. On the other hand, I've known people who tried to reduce the traffic accident rate, and became disheartened when they didn't get observable results after a few weeks - which I consider utterly ridiculous, and indicative of a very superficial and inadequate understanding of the influences on this situation - which includes the attitudes of every single person on the traffic networks, their lifestyles (e.g. are they tired, distracted by stress/worry), attitudes (trying to 'prove themselves' if they're young), karma, etc, etc, etc. This person's expectation was as ridiculous as the person who thinks a one-off prayer will do a miracle ...

Time is a major block to sustaining a sense of hope. Obviously the timelines I've given for getting fit are an example, but if I consider looking at the earlier example of fiscal responsibility and realism, the time required to clear debts can be a problem. It may means years of hard work, or compromise by staying in a more stressful but higher paying job than you want, or both (this is a situation where it may take a lot longer to get out of the problem than it took to get into it). That introduces time management - not in the sense most people use it, of being better organised (‘more’ organised is not necessarily ‘better’ organised), but of planning ways to cope with that long term goal.

For some people, that will be celebrating milestones, for others it will be simply ignoring the passage of time until one is near the end, others may need distractions along the way (for instance, nice holidays from time to time), and so on.

Again, the issue is, what works for you? And be prepared for it to change – for instance, the distraction of a regular weekend out of the city used to be enough for me, but not now (although … it has been a while, maybe it would, now).

In a sense, this could be a balancing act between accepting the grind along the way and looking to future ...and, maybe, changing your goals - for instance, I have to accept that I will never own my own home, as I do not have enough health and working years left to work for long enough to pay off a mortgage, and thus have a stack of grieving to go through, along with making plans for being a renter all my life (which is a heinous social crime, here in Australia :/ ... sigh ... ) ... and I can blame no-one but myself for that, and would change very few of the decisions I have made in the past which led me to this point.

It's about a balance based on an appropriate time-scale, an appropriate perspective - or perception, if you will. Ignore those idiotic New Age type publications which blather about how one should be emotionally ‘up’ all the time, or getting the most out of every day - they do a massive disservice for the majority of people, for whom it is healthier to honestly allow oneself to have ‘down’ emotions in one's life and deal with them as constructively as one can, rather than possibly suppress such feelings.

One point I would strongly suggest, on the basis of my experience, is that you accept that it is normal and, in fact, healthy, to have a certain amount of time that you will be depressed, frustrated or angry, and simply back off on those days and be gentle with yourself - as also others about you may need to be, which can be hard for those who love you - and plan for recovery from such days, and watch the frequency of such days. This is probably the aspect I personally find hardest. If the frequency of such days increases, then you may need to see if you can do something - go on a short holiday, if money permits, or adopt an easier routine for a month or so as a 'quasi-holiday'. Remember the interim plan my partner suggested for me around getting back on the water - build something small and cheap now, then move on to the home afloat option: is there an equivalent of that which you can use to help sustain yourself through the passage of time?

If you are worried - as I worry, from time to time - about not completing one's tasks before dying, then talk to those who help you from Spirit, to gain an understanding of how your work could possibly be done from there if you do die. That is, so they tell me, slower and more frustrating, particularly if one has an impatient, hard-headed nong ("like me", they said :) ) to work with, but it can be done (I have to admit, I would like a little rest after dying before getting back in to such work ... ).

Now, at this point, compare what I've been writing so far with the notion that one can make a (possibly drunken) commitment to doing something, perhaps with a whole bunch of other drunks, late on one night of the year, and it will work ... yeah, right.

Now, the first of my listed points: the balance between perception and evidence.

To some extent I've already covered this with the realism vs. idealism debate, but this is probably where conventional counselling has a particular part to play. Just as depression can have a physical basis, a psychological basis, a psychic basis, or a combination of any two or more of these and other factors, so too can our perceptions and thoughts about hope have a few flaws in them. That means we may have, for instance, an unduly pessimistic view on matters, and thus not have hope when we should have (of course, the view could also be realistic, and those saying you are pessimistic be idealistic or naive). In terms of psychic aspects, things like meditation, flaming, grounding and shielding, asking for protection, alternate nostril breathing, working with colour, karmic regression-rescue and so on will help; in terms of the physical side of things, getting fit will help; in terms of the psychological side of things … consult with a professional :)

It is also the case that this is where people's experiences should not be belittled - for instance, the continual discrimination is an active evil that needs to be countered, and is the problem for correction of the evil-doer, not the person who may have lost hope as a result of being subjected to the continual discrimination. In their case, the person who has been subjected to continual discrimination, their needs are not around hope as an abstract, but the capacity to fight a war against the discrimination they are being subjected to, which requires things like psychic defences, legal defences, physical defences (particularly where neighbours might be the ones doing the abuse), endurance, recovery from injury, the skills required to change another's bigotry - or to at least contain their evil (I'm actually thinking of one particular neighbour - not immediately next door - at the moment - and we've had problems with others including trespass and criminal damage which show how little most people know about the law … also a friend of mine who had a neighbour break in with a knife to kill her because she is trans [fortunately the police turned up in time, but she wound up living on the streets in reaction to the trauma – I actually thought for many years she had died, but found her shopping in a department store) and fight a prolonged campaign against such evil ... hope is a small part of the mix and could be argued to be ... just a bonus.

It is also the case that some people's ability to perceive is limited, and thus they may not actually see real problems, or may miss real evidence. If you've got the better perception on something, then you need to believe in yourself, not the under-informed critic (or supporter), and that can be tough: begin by admitting that is what is happening.

Now, what I've written about is largely how to prevent the loss or erosion of hope: how do you actually rebuild it, once it has gone?

Well, first and foremost, you address what I've covered so far - there is no point in trying to be blindly, stupidly optimistic, as that is a delusion, not hope. Look after your physical, emotional, mental, psychic and spiritual healths as best you can, deal with vulnerabilities and problems you have created for yourself, including any negotiations you may have to go through with others, and so on.

Next, I personally would research to see if others have been able to achieve what it is you would like to do, whether that is … live long enough to achieve a goal, or achieve a particular goal, or recover from some trauma. If you find such people, do not assume that they are automatically an example for you: look into the matter more deeply, to find similarities and differences between them and you. Did they have an attribute that helped them that you do not? Can you develop it? If yes, make that an intermediate goal; if not, move on.

An important part of such research is, in my opinion, ‘psychic’: consider what you - and your parallels – have done in past lives, or whilst existing in the astral (you may, for instance, have dealt with major psychic problems whilst you were between incarnations). Consult with your BPLF Guides and Patron Deities for additional insight and a broader spiritual perspective.

After that, consider how you nurture yourself, including finding some fun. At one stage when I was fighting depression, a couple of decades ago, the best advice I had from a shrink was to make sure I did one thing a day for me, solely, simply, purely for me. Initially, that was often just playing one song for myself each day (I had quite a few duties towards others, and that was all I could find the time for, back then). Currently, I’m finding that making sure I have some time to just relax and idly day dream is the most healing thing I can do.

What may be best for others will vary.

You may also need to rethink your lifestyle, or life goals, and do whatever grieving is necessary to deal with having to abandon life goals – and I know, from personal experience, just how difficult that is.

Now, one of the key themes of this blog is the balance between improving reality and improving the self: both are important, both are valid, and the importance and validity of each is subject to change according to time and circumstance. I've written about this elsewhere (see here, for instance), but in the context of this particular point it is worth being mindful of the fact that, in assessing perception and evidence in the context of hope, one is performing a balancing act - doing something for which one could usefully use the bow exercise I have written about elsewhere (specifically, here, towards the end)

OK, the third of the points I originally listed: authentic spiritual power and strength.

Most of what I come across regarding hope assumes that we are helpless bits of flotsam with no control over storms or what is happening in the world. To some extent, that is true, but to a major extent, it is WRONG – we have more power than we are prepared to admit. This is where the quotation by Marianne  Williamson, often wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela, is relevant:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of the Goddess. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of the Goddess that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The good ol’ Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr is also relevant:
Goddess, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
(Note: I’ve changed the original versions to a more Wiccan-friendly version.)

In the Tibetan belief systems, there is something referred to as ‘authentic presence’. In Marco Pallis' book "Peaks and Lamas", first published in 1939, republished in 2004 by Shoemaker & Hoard, ISBN 978-1593760588 (my copy is older, from a lovely, packed-to-the-rafters-with-books second-hand bookshop) there is a discussion about the view that, if one is bitten by a dog or attacked by a wild beast, it is because one did not have what they would describe as authentic presence.

This is an extension of what I’ve written previously about the state of one’s aura. Consider this from an older post of mine:
A spiritual person is aware of the impact they have on others, both through personal presence, and through conduct - a spiritual person doesn't trigger asthma or disturb others by doing burn outs.

Is it power? The answer is supposed to be no, but a spiritual person has authentic presence, and that has an inevitable power, a presence that cannot be completely ignored without effort .- unless the spiritual person wishes it so ... A spiritual person is a doer, even if it is the doing of being still, and listening. In that action, in any action, a spiritual person stands out, as this world is now, and has an impact. Think of Gandhi, of Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela in his mature years - of Desmond Tutu. Do these people have power? Yes! The same power that we may feel as the peace of a gentle country scene ...
There is a view that we create our reality, which to some extent confuses the choices our Higher Self makes in advance of an incarnation with the ability we have to influence the world - and ignores that some experiences are for the learning of ourself or others (or the testing!), and that some stuff is just the result of negative influences in this world (negative influences such as evil in the forms of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, bullying, and such as materialism, and so on and so forth). Now we can shape the world to quite an extent, but there are limits to what we can do.

This is where I’m expected to introduce the view that, if we control our reactions to events, we control the world.


That is a cop out, a view that allows bigots off the hook and keeps the world a far more nasty place than it should be. If you avoid that trap, and genuinely find such views useful (I don’t), then for Goddess’ sake at least don’t LIE to yourself that you are in control of Reality: you are in control of yourself, not Reality.

This is also where I make the point that being happy to ‘survive’ without upsets is not necessarily a solution to problems.

Now, here is a challenge to this particular point (and much of what I have written before): what if the situation you’re in is one where you’re dependent on others, as then hope may be very difficult. As an example, consider the situation of asylum seekers languishing in Australia’s concentration camps … How do you maintain hope when you are being crushed by an overwhelmingly stronger force that one had hoped to be beneficent and helpful? In that case, in addition to being physically helpless and dependent on the good graces of people who may well be physically tyrants, one is subject to the machinations of political processes … Or, what about someone being abused, perhaps through domestic violence? How do you keep going long enough to heal? Is hope the answer? Desire for vengeance? Maybe hate keeps some people going in such situations long enough to get a situation where things might change for the better, or justice may finally be served.

As I’ve said, what works for one, won’t for another. Everyone is unique, and the ‘solution’ is likely to vary. In some cases, hope may not be possible, and future healing may be the best that can be made of a literally hopeless situation.

But … a key to the two admittedly extreme examples I’ve just given (and to add in a third, what about someone, perhaps a political prisoner, perhaps a hostage, who is being tortured – or is subjected to one of their loved ones being tortured?) is that their fates depend on others. I am of the view that we should all be mindful that our actions or inactions may be affecting others – whether that means crushing others, or uplifting and inspiring and strengthening them. (That would be quite a dilemma for the person who is being subjected to the horror of a loved one being tortured: give in for the sake of loved one, or perhaps hold out for the sake of many, many others?)

And, finally, and I did not list this in my initial list of three points, it is also important to be aware of the possibility of confusing (my first draft used the word 'conflating' ... but that's a bit high brow for me :) ) things like hope and faith, or fulfilment and endurance, or a mixture of patience, persistence and pragmatism, with hope.

Faith is the blindly optimistic view or personal value / approach to life that things will inevitably get better ... and they will, if you adopt a long enough or broad enough perspective: for instance, one could look at the improvements in life for many people in Western cultures over the last one and a half millennia, or one could look at the cycle of Yugas - where, despite things occasionally going worse in the short term, when one goes to the Kali Yuga, in the long term things tend to improve, so each successive Kali Yuga is - or is supposed to be - slightly less worse than the previous Kali Yuga ... none of which is particularly comforting or useful if you are drowning in shorter term events. 

Now, the way I have presented this reflects my bias towards evidence. Faith doesn't need evidence: it is blind expectation - not hope! It is stronger than that - that things will get better. Many people find this a great source of hope, and endurance, and equanimity.

I don't.

Endurance is comprised of those characteristics which enable us to persist - strength of mind, strength and fitness of body, the tricks and tools - such as meditation or regular escapes or hobbies - that enable us to deal with stresses, so that we are capable of keeping doing whatever it is we want to develop, and to keep doing our daily living or keep going despite the difficulties, grinding mundanity and unreasonableness of that daily living, whereas fulfilment is the emotional or spiritual reward we gain from persisting and/or doing.

Hope, on the other hand, is of the mind. Hope, when all is said and done, is that combination of true, correct and proper perspective, of personal attributes such as discipline and skill, and of planning and application (e.g. for me, daydreaming, realistic planning, facing past decisions, etc), that enables us to keep working, with reasonable optimism and sanity, at our goals until we get there.

[3] Interestingly, I am finding, as I burn fat, that the energy stored in the fat is released as it is burned (often energy that was locked away so I could deal with problems - they were not challenges), and I am able to deal with that and other energy in my aura (and unburned fat) by extending the number of alternate nostril breaths that to do to more than 44 per day - which takes an hour or so (I've written about this previously - see here). Combine that with over an hour for the physical exercises I am doing and that is a fair chunk of the day gone, but I am hoping to deal with the problems I have created for myself over the last couple of decades reasonably efficiently and effectively - all of which is feeding into further insights I am developing on forgiveness, including the challenge of finding a non-passive alternative to ‘forgiveness’, which is partly influenced by thinking about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but for everyday life ...

[1] BPLF = Balanced Positive (spiritual) Light Forces. See here and here for more on this.

[2] Please see here and my post "The Death of Wikipedia" for the reasons I now recommend caution when using Wikipedia. I'm also exploring use of h2g2, although that doesn't appear to be as extensive (h2g2 is intended - rather engagingly - to be the Earth edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")

Love, light, hugs and blessings

(pronounced "new-MYTH-ear"; ... aka Bellatrix Lux? Morinehtar? Would-be drýicgan ... )

My "blogiography" (list of all posts - currently not up to date) is here.  

I started this blog to cover karmic regression-rescue (see here and here), and it grew ...  See here for my group mind project, here and here for my "pagans for peace" project (and join me at 9 PM on Sunday, wherever you are, to meditate for peace), and here for my bindrune kit-bag. I also strongly recommend learning how to flame, ground and shield, do alternate nostril breathing, work with colour - and see also here, and be flexible.

I am a Walker upon the Path of Balanced Positivity, seeking Spiritual Maturity. 
  • One size does NOT fit all. 
  • Don't be mediocre - seek to excel.  
  • Gnwmythr's Stropping Strap: Occam's Razor only works if  the simplest solution is actually recognised as being the simplest, rather than the one that best fits one's bigotries being labelled 'simplest'.
  • Our entire life experience, with all the many wondrous and varied people, places and events in it, is too small a sample for statistical reliability about Life.
  • May the world of commerce and business be recognised to be a servant, not a master, of the lives of people.
  • Ban the dream interpretation industry! 
  • A home is for living in, not feeling, becoming or being rich or a “better” class than others.
  • Housework is for ensuring a home is comfortable to live in, not competing to outdo or belittle others.
  • Being accustomed to interacting via certain rules makes those rules neither right nor universal. 
  • Like fire to the physical, emotions to the soul make a good servant, and a bad master. 
  • Expertise at intimacy and emotional happiness is generally not the same thing as spiritual growth.
  • "Following the crowd" is not "going with the flow".
  • Armageddon is alive and well and happening right now: it is a battle between the indolence of "I only ..." and/or "I just ..." and/or "Everyone knows ... " and/or "they can ..." and what Bruce Schneier [2] calls "security theatre" on one side, and perspicacity and the understanding that the means shape the end on the other. Indolence vs. perspicacity, and expediency vs. honour.
  • The means shape the end.  
  • BPLF restraint of uncooperatives is NOT an opportunity for revenge or getting even - even unconsciously. 
  • As words can kill, the right to freedom of speech comes with a DUTY to be as well-informed, objective and balanced as you can be.
  • My favourite action movie of all time is "Gandhi", although I've recently come across "Invictus" and might put that one in to that category. However, I loathe the stereotypical action movie - and, for similar reasons, I loathe many dramas, which are often emotionally violent, more so in some cases than many war films. 
  • All of the above - and this blog - could be wrong, or subject to context, perspective, or state of spiritual evolution ... 
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger [people]. JOHN F. KENNEDY (who was quoting 19th century Episcopal Bishop Phillips Brooks)
Jesus loves you.  Odin wants you to grow up. (Facebook meme, according to John Beckett)
We make our decisions. And then our decisions turn around and make us. F.W. BOREHAM
Females, get over 'cute'. Get competent. Get trained. Get capable. Get over 'cute'. And those of you who are called Patty and Debby and Suzy, get over that. Because we use those names to infantalise females – we keep females in their 'little girl' state by the names we use for them. Get over it. If you want to be taken seriously, get serious. JANE ELLIOTT 

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing. (based on writing by) EDMUND BURKE

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." EINSTEIN

We didn't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we only borrowed it from our children ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Those whom we cannot stand are usually those who we cannot understand P.K.SHAW

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, and the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change." SENATOR ROBERT F. KENNEDY (US Attorney General 1966 Speech) 
Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that -- counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. ... Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile." ROBERT F. KENNEDY 1968
Tags: anger, attitudes, depression, discrimination, emotions, hope, faith, finances, forgiveness, frustration, hope, karma, society,
First published: Laugadagr, 29th March, 2014

Last edited (excluding fixing typo's and other minor matters): Saturday,
29th March, 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

Post No. 537 - Irony

I came across a new acronym at work recently. When I asked what it meant, I found out that the “PE” component stood for “Plain English” …