Category Archives: Signs of the times

Coal Yard Couture

Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.

Advertisements

Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.

Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.

It would be fair to say, a lot of philosophers, theologists, linguists, psychologists, neurologists and other accidental or deliberate ontologists have expended a great deal of time, thought, ink and small patches of electromagnetic difference on this topic.

The current secular physiological stand is roughly that a complex patternated network of neurons with differentiated potential transmission capabilities along the pathways within it, gradually forms in response to stimuli and that this is a knowledge representation of the world, in which the constant activity eventually also forms a representation of the self as part of this world-model. The relating of the self-portion of the model to the rest of the world-model, constantly necessitated through the interactive experience of agency (tocsin – reticulating actions in babies*) as part of this learning of the self), causes the emergent phenomenon we call consious experience.

This is of course a wholly self-referential system. As such it gives me some cause to question whether such a flying by pulling on ones bootlaces model is really sufficient to explain consciousness. Is it rather that the current theory just cobbles together the few bits of information it has into a partial theory that scientists hope is right and hope to be able to make more robust as more evidence, hopefully supporting it, comes along. Well of course it is, as that is what all scientific theories do. However, as such incomplete things, all scientific theories also have to suffer the slings and arrows of logical objections picking them apart, offering alternative explanations, and demanding a re-think. I present my slings, arrows and demand.

The self-referential emergence (I’ll shorten that to SRE) theory of consciousness does not really drill down into that nub of the question we all really want to get at: Who or what is it that experiences being? SRE just says, in effect, “It is me that experiences being me.” This kind of answer does not satisfy, me.

Generally wholly self-referential answers are deprecated in science, logic and philosophy. The whole thrust of these branches of enquiry is to constantly seek what the next underpinning layer is, with perhaps some vague vain hope that eventually there will be some irrefutably logical underlying truth. The secular scientists of today hope of course that this will not turn out to be some supreme deity forever beyond their understanding. That would bring a whole heap of consequences that society after thousands of years has only just managed to stop worrying about.
The problem is that firstly there is unlikley to be any end to the secular process of scientific burrowing because the answer would need to be sustained by logic and the question is then: “But what sustains logic?”

Are we to arrive at yet another self-referential answer – logic sustains logic? This would seem very unsatisfactory. Despite many attempts to burrow to the bottom, nothing more fundamental has yet been obtained.

We are given clues however. The problem is these clues point to the theistic explanation. One such clue is the etymology of the word we use “logic.” This greek word means “that which is spoken; the word.”

We are burrowing down to look for the bedrock, the underlying truth, the progenitor of being, the foundation upon which logic itself rests.

Let me tell you, anyone that is willing to hear to the (initially) difficult (in terms of personal and social consequences), THIS truth. We have arrived at the bedrock!

It is there written for all to see. Logic (the word) you seek. The spark of being that experiences consciousness you seek. The basic original progenitor you seek. Your answer was already written with absolute clarity by the man who was given all the answers 2000 years ago. He was told to tell them to us. His name was John and he tells you what he was told to tell you, then he tells you who he is, that he is just an ordinary man given a mission to hear the truth and pass it on, then he explains why people will find it hard to believe him. He does not say anything in this immediate answer part, about the consequences of you knowing this truth (that information comes later), he simply answers these ultimate existential queries that we all harbour.

John 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

You can stop digging only if you are prepared to yield that there is a God, that God underpins everything, including space and time so you cannot ask what was before God or where did God come from. The answer is not however self-referential for us, as it refers us and our world to something beyond. It refers us to God. God may seem self-referential to God, but we cannot apply logic to God as God is logic.

If you seek some Biblical confirmation – you will find that important things are usually stated in the Bible more than once – I can refer you to:

Colossians 1:17 King James Version (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

There are numerous cross-references of course:

John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Proverbs 8:22,23 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old…

Isaiah 43:11-13 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior…

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, …

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Revelation 1:8,11,17 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, …

Psalm 75:3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up …

John 5:17,18 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work…

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also …

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …

Finally, why am I spending my time telling you this? Because all my nearly 60 years I have enjoyed having an enquiring mind. “Why, why, why?” has been my way of thinking. Finally God came into my life and supplied answers. Incredible answers. Answers to questions that everybody asks. Answers that can be very hard to beleive, but there they are anyway. Finding answers is joyful and it is my joy to share them. In Mathew 7:7 you find the famous “Seek and ye shall find” passage. Matthew actually tells you that if you seek answers from God, He will give you them. John actually told you the answers already because God knew you would ask those questions. There of course many other questions people have, some very philosophical, some personal, some socio-political, some moral and ethical, and some very scientific. Pretty-much the answers to these are actually already in the Bible, and usually in shockingly more detail than you might suppose.

Today, instead of being in Sunday morning church (usually I am but not today), I have instead read some Bible and chosen to pass on some information, in the hope it might bring joy, enlightenment and blessing into your life. I cannot think of a better thing to do with that freely given by God than to share it.

Enjoy Being as God intended.
God Bless You. Amen.

being.jpg

NOTES:

* The presence of repetitive movements, described as the repetition of the same movement multiple times, is considered a necessary step for the development of voluntary purposeful movements and seems to have an adaptive role during limited temporal windows of psychomotor development.
(Thelen E. (1979). Rhythmical stereotypies in normal human infants.
                     Anim. Behav. 27 699–715. 10.1016/0003-3472(79)90006-X [PubMed] [Cross Ref])

Disappearing Cambridge

Here is another “episode” of Disappearing Cambridge, again in Mill Road – place of my birth. In a private courtyard at the end of the road near the centre of town, just about opposite the swimming pool, there were two mosaics. Sadly one is almost completely worn away and the other is in a very poor state. Given the condition of this art I think it will not be there much longer. They were commissioned from a world-renowned specialist mosaic artist in 2004. I can find no photograph of them in original condition online. Here they are as of now, sadly. Based on the one still visible, I think they had real class.

IMG_1651.JPGIMG_1656.JPG

 

Brittania: Resurgemus!

Being a global citizen is simply a matter of being British. To succeed in the world, act British. Discuss.

I am British (you guessed already), quite specifically born 1959 English in Cambridge, UK. That has shaped a lot of my outlook. Post-war (WW2) post-Empire post-Cold-War and brought up with and amidst USAF people stationed in the UK at the time of the moon-landings. Add in 44 years of UK EU membership and travelling Europe extensively in my twenties. Those factors and an enquiring mind have given me a somewhat international outlook.

Here we used to look to the USA for the wow factor. Europe was a bit exotic too. We Brits felt a sense of great history and entitlement, technological, cultural and military superiority. Now we look to China for wow factor and wonder what our trade, prosperity, ease of travel and future will be. Yet, I feel my country will ultimately benefit from the forthcoming Brexit shock to make it strive again to be the exciting prosperous place it has shown in the past it can be.

Mine is the country that did the industrial revolution, invented the internet, jet engine, railways, maglev trains and phones, designed the mallard, spitfire, e-type, harrier, mini, miniskirt and half of Concorde and the channel tunnel, as well as giving the world Shakespeare, the best translation of the Bible into English (partly by Shakespeare) and at least half of pop music. I want us to put the Great back into Great Britain so it not just the geographic descriptor for these islands.

This is I feel, necessarily about us as individuals. I am too small to steer history in any meaningful way whatsoever and nor do I seek to, but I can still be a butterfly wing beating out fractal consequences, cheerleading and hoping for a nascent hurricane. I define myself as and enjoy being a global citizen and urge my fellow Brits to delight in being multicultural, outward-looking and to play and shine on the stage that is the world.

I watch La Tour, support the Baltimore Orioles, listen William Gibson audiobooks, wear a Mondaine Swiss watch (or “for best” my 1942 limited edition Juvenia), cheer England in the world cup, suck a Ricola, enjoy a McDonalds breakfast (still miss the old Big Breakfast), drive a (unique special edition – one-only OEM) Smart car, listen to (South African) Kaya FM, work for a global construction consultancy headquartered in North America with internationally known architects, read Monocle, Flipboard and Cool Hunting, watch Paul Begley, New China TV, SerpentZA and Naomi Sexy Cyborg, on my many different Apple, Windows and Android devices of course. I sponsor two children in Kenya and enjoy Scandinavian, French and German TV crime dramas. I dance Tango and listen to Jazz and Classical from everywhere. I eat British, Indian, Chinese, North-African, Middle-Eastern, American, Thai, Polynesian, Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Italian food. I like root beer, British, green Sencha and Macha, Moroccan mint and lemon tea, coffee, beers, lagers, really fine French wines (Margaux), the very best Scottish single malt whiskies, Swedish Vodka and that French café speciality La Bomba (Cognac in hot chocolate). I snack on corn chips, pretzel sticks, and peanut puffs. I love merguez, belly pork, falafel and Singapore fried rice. For chocolate probably Rittersport tops it. I am a born-again Christian helping construct a mosque designed by a Jew, sponsored by Turks, fabricated and assembled by Swiss, Irish and Greek people.

Almost everything in my homeland’s culture including food, language and genetics result from us invading others or others invading (or trying to invade) us – mutual assimilation. We are perfect mongrels on a just-enough-isolated island that has made us fiercely independent seafarers, traders, invaders, exploiters, explorers, colonisers and conquerors. Romans, Saxons, Angles, Vikings, Normans, the Crusades, the Empire, the Napoleonic, two World Wars and numerous other wars have made us rich, strong and diverse. Our history is certainly not all noble but the result is incontrovertible. To me Jamaican is a very British accent, curry is a typical British dish, American English is just an old Elizabethan accent, the best bridge in France was designed by one of my countrymen and so were all those lovely Apple computers. Brits are the Borg – we assimilate everything. If we invade you when we eventually leave we take all you had that was good and leave you our language and culture which is also quite good, if you invade us we assimilate your language and culture and eventually you simply become us.

It is however not now simply about looking back, sitting on laurels and past glories – those things past are just examples of what we are capable of time and again at every point in our history, I believe because the psychosocial identity we share as a nation. Right now we are the financial capital of the world and we will not let the EU steal that. We lead in satellites and are global players in aerospace, defence (defense), energy, biotech, physics, pharma and have Oxford and Cambridge amongst our universities. We are a nuclear power and sit on the UN Security Council. We are the fifth or sixth largest economy on the planet (argue amongst yourselves while we make more money by inventing insurance – oh we already did that). We will play every advantage we have. We will no longer be contained and constrained by a couple of rich old rivals in Europe keeping us from competing with them too well by getting us to pay for all the poor countries they have appended.

I notice that Britain never really got the Marshall Plan money after WWII – our share was more than cancelled out by lend-lease war debts to the USA. How convenient. Europe and Japan got all the help, then as we started to get out of the economic dip we got lured into the EC. A very good way for competing economies to keep us down post-Empire (I think they were scared of our capacity to dominate the world and conspired to keep us down to their advantage). Imperial competition between Britain and German led to WWI and on to WWII. The Japan-US Pacific conflict of WWII was also a trade war. The USA wanted to be the next empire, economically if not territorially, so keeping the UK away from the money and playing Europe and Japan made sense. Getting the EU to mop up Eastern Europe post USSR was also a cheap way for the USA to counter Russia. Britain has been paying a good bit of that bill for a long time. That era has ended. Europe is falling apart. America is receding, China is rising. India is a player too. Africa is the next sleeping giant and China already can see it. It is time for a newly free from the EU Britain to carve its own path again. Not the old path, although strangely there is a tiny little space for a new British Empire in there – countries in our Commonwealth that might ask for a really close relationship with us in return for stability and protection from terrorising neighbours – much as China is subtly offering some African states already. So something new, something better, something great. An international multicultural future beckons.

The future belongs to the brave, so confidence is all important. On the past 2000 years’ form – taking the long view – I think have every reason to be confident.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start.
(Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III)

FREEDOM COUNTDOWN

Disappearing Market Street, Cambridge UK

“Trollbeads” the very idiosyncratic jewellery (faux) Art Nouveau-fronted shop is no longer there. Perhaps the lovely shop front will be retained if the unit can be let, although the number of empty shops even in prosperous Cambridge centre is now quite scary – feels like 5%. It is true that Main Street / The High Street shopping is dying as clicks overtake bricks – sad and horrible, because “going shopping” is something fun to do even if one is only “window shopping.” Therein of course lies the problem.

watch shop petty curie 2018.png

New Mac – old story

Oh dear, the new Mac Pro desktop is a lovely machine. No really it is and I would be happy to have one if I had silly amounts of extra cash and actually needed something that can do all that the new Mac can  However, the advertising for it is stuck in the usual hidden-in-plain sight satanic imagery rut that nearly everything is subjected to these days. Yeah, I know, its a sign of the times.

Demons erupt from someone’s body, tentacles come out of a book, freemasonry style platonic solids float around and alarming creatures aggressively fall to earth like lightning à la Terminator.

Is there not something more wholesome Apple could suggest people can do with those powerful computers? Do we have to use them to render nasty evil and satanic images? Come on Apple, nice product but how about leading on the spiritual front as well as on the design and technical eh?

(Screenshots above are from the Apple official films site) https://www.apple.com/imac-pro/films/

Protest

I am protesting against lazy use of English language.

I will not “Protest lazy English” because that phrase is an example of the lazy English language usage that I am protesting against.

The problem with using the verb “To protest” without any qualification, is that you don’t know whether it is a protest against, or a protest for the matter.

“People are protesting wages.” Does it mean people are protesting against low wages, against high wages, for higher wages, for lower wages, or simply for or against having wages at a all. The sentance is wholly inadequate.

Cut-down telegraphic intransitive twitter-squeeze-to-fit Americanese verb-use is deeply annoying to me. I should write someone about it. LOL (in Britain we write to someone – well at a least for now, until the laziness reaches us on that one).

Another linguistic laziness I really dislike is the contraction of “cause for concern” (which was the only way you could say it back in the day) to “concerning.”

“That is really concerning me” NO! This is ambiguous because it doesn’t tell me if it causes me worry or if it is a matter that is applicable to me, or both!

“That is a really giving me cause for concern” YES!

At the rate lazy language is spreading in the UK it will devolve back to grunts before you can say “Ug!” This was of course caused by the BBC letting non-public school educated people (Americans read private school) into broadcasting, so the inadequately educated became our role models. My English is not perfect, I was not privately educated, but at least I care, and I try to get it right.

I guess that makes me an elitist. Well I do prefer aspiration to exasperation.

lionreader

 

 

 

 

What if reality is really a giant pinball game?

Never mind the matrix, if you can get security clearance (you will need a genuine reason like attending some sort of event there) take a walk through the Genome Campus at Hinxton, Cambridge, England.

There are numerous chromed spheres, each slightly tweaked to represent various stages of life. The one with a hole represents the stage at which it becomes apparent that we are coelenterates, a biological taxonomical classification meaning we have a gut that opens at the mouth and exits the other end.

The effect of this tableau of embryonic development is to make the long slopes, interspersed by post-modernist buildings, appear as a giant pinball machine, giving a slightly science-fiction sense of unease that things might just roll down and bowl one over or a huge flipper whack out of the sides.

Oldies like me will remember the blob thing in “The Prisoner” TV series. Well here in Hinxton Big brother definitely is watching and don’t even think what escaped chimera might just be lurking up the next level. Best enjoyed at dusk when it becomes eerily empty.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.20.57 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.22.07 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.22.36 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.21.38 AM

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 9.23.49 AM