Scientologists activity in Brighton

Stress - Scientology

Stress - Scientology

Amongst the post that came through my front door this week was what appeared at first glace to be some kind of local free newspaper, the lead story being “Two in three people suffer from STRESS at work”. I picked it up and carried it in doors.

Later when I got a chance to look at it I noticed that the supposed newspaper had no title and was in fact a four page advertisement for Dianetics. With photographs of office situations, stressed workers and happy smiling people it outlined the theory of Diantics and included an advert for a DVD for £10.50. The back page even had a cross word puzzle.

For readers not in the know Diantics is the theoretical basis for the church of Scientology. From everything I’ve seen on these people they appear to be a bunch of intolerant, totalitarian, bullying, obsessive, ignorant loonies.
As with most cults their supporters appear to suspend disbelief and when questioned merely chant the lines which they have been indoctrinated with. Scientologists are not the only group to behave in this way, I’ve seen it with Christians and Moslems too. What makes Scientology more dangerous is that they appear to have adopted deceit and bullying as tactics to increase their numbers.

Scientology - small print

Scientology - small print

It is quite telling that the Dianetics adverts pushed through my door this week mentions Scientology only once in tiny print along the bottom of the back page. Presumably this is for legal reasons.

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9onb8RcVnmE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFBZ_uAbxS0

Guest Article: A Better Future for the Planet

I would like to invite women to play a significant role in helping to orchestrate a better mayanfuture for the planet and all who occupy it – humankind and animals alike. All of nature, for that matter.

If we continue to pursue a path of negativity, an apocalypse could be the outcome. To avoid that happening, we need to make more conscious efforts to think, speak and act positively to create a more peaceful, compassionate and harmonious future. By developing a more positive outlook on life we could in the future create a haven on earth.

Well, how can we women play a significant role in making the changes which will improve the quality of life on this planet?

1. Firstly, I think we need to return to the qualities of the goddess. The god, I feel, has outlived its time, a time of wars and destruction, a lack of regard for the planet and an abundance of greed and selfishness.

The god or masculine energy – yang – needs to be replaced or rebalanced by the energy of the female – yin, the nurturing and compassionate.

In order to achieve a balance which could significantly improve the quality of life on this planet these are the changes I would like to suggest.

Bring wars to an end so that we may live in harmony with all of our brothers and sisters regardless of background, nationality, skin colour or status.

Wars have been perpetrated by men since time immemorial and continue in this so called age of enlightenment. With more women in positions of influence in decision making, a more peaceful environment could develop over time, changing future generations of men from a war like to a more peaceful harmonious species.

Another of my suggestions is to have a closer look at the effects religion has had on society as a whole.

Religion is a system introduced and organised by men and if looked at more closely is quite disturbing. For example:

God is portrayed as being male

Woman (Eve) was created from the rib of a man (Adam)

It was the woman (Eve) who disobeyed the word of the Lord and ate the ‘fruit of the tree’ and was cast out of the garden along with the man (Adam).

Men were given the freedom to ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’ (Genesis 9) whereas the woman was told by the Lord ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you – Genesis 3-16.

earth56As one continues to read Genesis there is little mention of daughters, but sons were constantly being portrayed.

Until quite recently, women were not allowed to be ordained as priests (priestesses?) Even now, the Catholic church continues to forbid women from being ordained. Although religion has been around for a very long time, have we stopped to consider how much or how little it has served us?

Religion over the centuries has been the cause of countless brutal wars and remains the cause up to the present day. Because of our advanced technology regarding the war machinery, far more people are being killed as a result with little regard for civilians. Men’s yang energy is one of the likely causes of this aggressive behaviour.

It is my belief that a good strong healthy seed of spirituality was implanted in each and every one of us at birth, but has sadly been contaminated by religion.

Religion was introduced into our lives at a very early age, either by our parents, our teachers or the church. When we look more closely at the teachings of religion, there is more fear taught than hope.

Fear is one of the most negative of emotions and seems to have a much stronger influence on the minds of young children than the more positive emotion of hope.

As children we are force fed religion and at that early age we are not equipped with the discerning faculties to make the distinction between religion and spirituality. They know of no way of regurgitating the religious teachings as they grow older and as a result they pass the teaching on to their children when they become adults.

Children have a natural tendency to live in the moment, but as they grow older they seem to lose that ability and learn instead to live in fear. Fear of doing or saying the wrong thing and from the religious point of view, there is fear of going to hell.

I speak of no one ‘brand’ of religion, but religion across the board.

2 While we are considering change, why not abolish marriage altogether. Give couples the choice, without denying them any possible benefits, to consider a binding contract for a specific length of time which can be renewed when they come to the end of the said contract.

I see marriage as a form of slavery – ‘my’ husband, ‘my’ wife! One should have the freedom to live and love without the feeling of ownership hanging over one. Let me quote this passage which is a part of the marriage ceremony: ‘until death do us part’. This is another stumbling block in a marriage ceremony. We have to remember that nothing is permanent, including marriage.

One can put one’s best efforts in trying to maintain a happy, peaceful and loving marriage for as long as one can, but nothing remains static. Everything around us is changing all the time and so are we humans. Marriage is no exception.

It would be an ideal situation if both parties in a marriage changed in the same ways and at the same time and remained compatible. This, no doubt, happens, it seems, in some cases but obviously not in all as we see from the increasing number of divorces year by year.

It is no less an insult on the part of politicians who try to bribe couples to stay together by offering monitory incentives. Whatever the incentives I think it is a grave insult. We have to think of the impact on children in a family where there is no love between partners but constant conflicts.

What I think, is for us to recognise our strong procreative instincts. One of the most powerful instincts in most women is to have a child. In men their most powerful instinct is to ‘sow their seed’. The institute of marriage, organised by religion, has created deceit in men who lie to their wives about their movements when the need to ‘sow their seed’ becomes pressing.

Children are extremely delicate creatures who need as much quality of life as possible in their early childhood. Having to adjust to both the male and female energies at such an early stage of their development cannot be easy for them.

As the female energy is all encompassing – loving, gentle, kind and nurturing, children thrive better in such an environment without having to adjust to the male energy which tends to be more destructive.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do not hate men. On the contrary, I cannot begin to think what life would be like without them. But we have to recognise the difference between the male and female energies and allow our children to benefit from them at the appropriate times.

We have to think of the impact of our behaviour on our children. Perhaps it would be better for couples to separate amicably for the sake of the health and well being of their children than to stay together in a loveless atmosphere, shrouded in continuous conflict.

Contract unions between consenting adults could replace marriage.

In the first instance, couples could elect to stay together for a specific length of time, eg seven years, under a legally binding document. At the end of that period, if they were able to maintain a strong loving relationship, they could consider renewing the contract, the length of which could be agreed between them.

We all know of the seven year itch. After a period of time the itch may become unbearable, in which case the couple could decide to live apart and not renew the contract. The children would remain the responsibility of both parties even in this situation.

In some African tribes, children of both sexes are brought up solely by their mothers until about the age of seven when the male children are sent to live with their fathers in order to learn male skills.

This seems like an excellent arrangement as both male and female children benefit from the female yin energy in their formative years, not only from their mothers, but from all females in their environment.

Although this system is unlikely to be replicated in our sophisticated western society, there is much from which we could learn and perhaps a modified system adapted.

3 The next change I would like to see are women reclaiming their bodies.

We read about women in developing countries who are encouraged or, more likely, forced to abort female foetuses. This is not acceptable.

Women should retake control of their bodies and not be influenced by their partners or parents. To abort a female foetus simply to perpetuate cultural demands, in favour of a male child, in order to carry on the family name, or to be able to fight for their country as adults, or for whatever other spurious reason, should not be allowed to continue. This sort of pressure and procedure can create untold damage to a woman’s psyche.

Men have both the X and Y factors in the sperm and are therefore responsible for determining the sex of the foetus. But it is the woman who bears the foetus and should be the one to make the decision as to whether she wishes to bring the gestation period to its normal conclusion or to abort the foetus. This should be wholly the decision of the woman.

If this trend were allowed to continue, future generations of men will be deprived of females with which to procreate. What then? Let us be a bit more far sighted and stop this unacceptable trend in its tracks.

– Hilda Carni

Eurostars Tower, Madrid

Eurostars Tower, Madrid

Eurostars Tower, Madrid

Last week I was in Madrid and stayed at an excellent new hotel named The Eurostars Tower on Paseo de la Castelllana. This is one of four new skyscrapers that have recently been finished and are a dramatic change to the Madrid skyline.

The hotel is set back from the main dual carriageway that is Paseo de la Castelllana and nearby are modern fountains and sculptures. The hotel has only one restaurant but this is at the top and has fantastic views over Madrid and the surrounding area and this probably explains why one needs to book to ensure a table.

The rooms were modern and the bathroom appeared to be constructed of opaque brown glass which, while attractive, had the most vicious metal door handles I’ve ever seen. However, the shower was excellent and sported multiple horizontal water jets.

My room had a very large and comfortable bed plus mod-cons such as kettle, iron and an ironing board. The flat screen TV at the end of the bed was remarkable for the brilliance of a tiny blue LED light which, when the TV was switched to standby, shone a beam of apparently perfect laser light directly into my eyes as I lay in bed.

TV

TV

 

 

 

 

While I was there the International Fire Safety Conference  were having some kind of shindig and this appeared fairly jovial showing that at least one industry does not seem to be suffering from the economic downturn.

For fast food one can head south to Plaza de Castilla where there is also a metro station or cross the Paseo de la Castelllana and walk to Calle de Maruriceo Legendre where there are a number of restaurants which serve food in an open area. Alternatively head south past Plaza de Castilla and slightly west to Calle de la Infanta Mercedes where there are many restaurants and bars.

View from Eurostars Tower Restaurant

View from Eurostars Tower Restaurant

Lord Rogers complaints over Prince Charles are hypocritical

 This morning I heard Lord Rogers on BBC Radio 4, Today program complaining that Prince Charles had overstepped his remit. Lord Rogers was tipped to build a new luxury apartment block on the site of the old Chelsea Barracks overlooking Hyde Park and Prince Charles has written to the sites owners complaining that the plan was unsympathetic.

On the Today program Lord Rogers was puffed with self riotous indignation (PUWSRI) and said that Prince Charles has broken the “constitutional understanding” governing the role of the monarchy. He also said that there could be “a dangerous political clash” unless the power of the royals is re-examined.

Home of the Future by Lord Rogers

Home of the Future by Lord Rogers

Lord Rogers is famous for controversial structures such as The Lloyds Building and The Millennium Dome and accuses Prince Charles of preferring classical designs. Lord Rogers said in the interview: “I think there’s a dangerous precedent that the Prince has entered into, which is very much about how he sees style,” and Lord Rogers said a committee of constitutional experts should be set up to examine “the powers of the Prince and his ability to change the political direction” and complains that Prince Charles is not an expert in the field of architecture. Lord Rogers makes mention of The Prince’s Trust which helps  disadvantaged young people. Presumably this also is unconstitutional and dangerous?

It seems to me (ISTM) that the construction of any public building is a matter for public debate and that one need not be an expert to express an opinion because large architectural projects affect thousands, if not millions, of people.

It’s interesting that Lord Rogers is so interested in democracy now that he is having problems getting one of his designs built. I don’t recall him arranging any referendum on The Lloyds Building or any of his previous buildings. Come to think of it, I don’t recall Lord Rogers expressing any interest in democracy when he was created Baron Rogers of Riverside in 1996.

In actuality Lord Rogers is part of an unelected establishment which feels free to, not only comment on, but make laws in The United Kingdom. The same unelected establishment which has the British monarchy at it’s head.
Lord Rogers does not care a fig for the British constitution or democracy but only about his own balance sheet. I wonder if Lord Rogers would quietly accept defeat if the criticism had come from Gordon Brown. Ah, but of course he wasn’t elected either.

Embarrassing Seagulls

Isn’t it about time to recognise Pythonesque features in Cantona’s feathered friend. Hasn’t his seagull followed its last trawler? Isn’t it appearing decidedly nailed to its perch. Frankly, we have been propping it up for far to long and I’m feeling quite as sick as the hapless Norwegian Blue did before it ‘joined the bleedin’ choir invisible’.
Let’s examine this odd bird. 17 or so years ago Cantona used a simple metaphor. What on earth is going on in philistine Britain that we still want to scratch our heads? Are we ‘bird brains?’ Cantona made a perfectly straightforward, albeit figurative statement to the effect that ‘the press are scavengers’ and we descend into awe at the incomprehensible obscurantism of a Gallic genius. At the time I was reasonably comfortable with the idea that Cantona had said something a little unusual for a man of his profession: that he had risen a little above his fellows in revealing that he could string a sentence together; even, let’s give him his due, a quite entertaining little metaphor about the vagaries of the British tabloid press. But to hold it up as some incomprehensible jewel of deep philosophical profundity is frankly embarrassing.

Seagulls

Seagulls

Lets deconstruct it a little to follow in the footsteps of a Foucault or a Baudrillard.

“when the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea”.

The seagulls are the press – the sardines stories, Cantona is the trawler: end of.

How difficult do we think this is? I am truly astonished that perfectly intelligent (one presumes) commentators and journalists continue to resurrect Eric’s quip as if it was drawn from the depths of French intellectual tradition to take its place as an unfathomable mystery of our time. ‘What could he possibly mean?’ our perplexity grows and the mystery deepens.

Perhaps if he had said, ‘the press are like a rats going through my bins’ he may have inspired less awe. Perhaps it was his heavy french accent. Maybe it gave the squawking metaphor something of ‘a lovely plumage’ denied to more home grown breeds. But whatever it was it’s got to stop.

Now, please don’t take this as a criticism of Cantona. Were that everyone expressed themselves with a little elegance and intelligence (I won’t dwell on the karate kick incident that led to Eric’s delusion that he was being hounded). Indeed, I shouldn’t wonder if Eric himself has come to view the seabird as more of an albatross everytime he sets foot in Britain. For my part I am simply ashamed as we cry out to our near neighbours across the channel; ‘look at us, we’re stupid!’ Yes, it was a little bit clever for a footballer judging by the normal post match comments – but not for most of us. We do know what it means, its not that tricky – please stop going on about it because it makes us look like morons. The press followed Eric around because they expected to get a story; doh, doh, doh! We got it at the time and we still get it. We are not a nation of idiots! Stop telling us that we are bewildered, confounded or otherwise perplexed after all this time
by something that never baffled us in the first place. Why do we want to appear stupid?
Throwing sardines to the dead gull should cease, it must go to meet its maker.

I’ll leave you with a proper bit of obscure French philosophising. This one from the pen of Jean-Paul Sartre and I hang my head in shame, in advance, toward all those of you who find these words equally straightforward.

“My position in the midst of the world is defined by the relation between the instrumental utility or adversity in the realities which surround me and my own facticity; that is the discovery of the dangers which I risk in the world, of the obstacles which I can encounter there, the aid which can be offered me, all in the light of a radical nihilation of myself and of a radical, internal negation of the in-itself and all affected from the point of view of a freely posited end. That is what we mean by the situation.”
– Dominic Duckett

Gordon Draws a Line….

I find so much that is going on in British politics so reprehensible that it is difficult to keep up.

Tony Blair came to power promising reform of The House of Lords. We thought this meant the introduction of democracy but Blair rigged the system so that the incumbent party could pack the Lords out with their mates.

It’s worth considering here that, though hereditary peers are not democratically elected, they are, at least,  independent of the executive. The abolition of hereditary peers and the expansion of Life Peers meant that this independence was removed without any compensating democratic accountability. So the promised reform of The House of Lords was merely New Labour spin.

Now that New Labour have run into trouble, democratically elected MPs are deserting Gordon Brown. He has reacted to this by rushing through membership of The House of Lords for his mates and making them Life Peers. He does this so that they can become members of his cabinet because no elected MPs worth their salt are interested.

By doing this Brown shows that he can rival Blair in his brazen contempt for democracy and cynical manipulation of the system.

On a lighter note, many in the media are saying that Gordon Brown has attempted to draw a line under the current spate of resignations. It seems to me that Gordon spends most of his time drawing lines under disasters.

Quotes

On the appointment of Sir Alan Sugar as ‘enterprise tsar’):

Words almost fail me. One can only imagine that Gordon hopes this will distract attention from all the other things…..Sir Alan Sugar is a television personality with a mixed business record. Other than that he has a weak relationship with business. This appears to be a straightforward publicity stunt.

– Jon Moulton, founder of Alchemy Partners

On being asked whether he had been offered a government job:

It’s none of your business.

– Sir Alan Sugar, Television personality and one time businessman

Gordon draws a line..

Gordon draws a line..

Anthropomorphism is a fallacious concept

The Woman On The Radio (WOTR) just said apologetically “of course, this is anthropomorphism..” and this made me think. Anthropomorphism is roundly condemned with patronising self riotousness by Johnny Scientist. People who protest the practice of animal testing, for example, are often accused of anthropomorphism.

From what I have heard the argument runs something like this:

Layman:     Testing on animals is awful because it causes animals pain.
Scientist:    We do not know that it causes them pain.
Laymen:     Well, why the hell is the animals screaming and writing around? It is obviously in pain.
Scientist:.   You are assuming that because screaming and writhing around are indications of pain in humans that they must be indications of pain in an animal. Furthermore you are assuming that because humans are conscious of pain that animals but be conscious of pain. You are being anthropomorphic.

Johnny Scientist thinks that he is so so clever but he is making a major scientific error. Implicit in his argument is that humans are somehow fundamentally different from all animals. If one is religious one might well believe this. Some brands of Christiananity, for example, might believe that humans are the only class of being to have souls. If we assume that other animals do not have souls then it might be possible to argue that they do not experience pain the way humans do.

Feline Grace

Felipomorphism?

However, the introduction of religion and souls into any argument is not good scientific practice and Johnny Scientist would normally scorn such arguments the way he scorns anthropomorphism. So how is it that Johnny Scientist can consider that humans are fundamentally different?

I would argue that this assumption is fundamentally wrong. If one argues that humans are fundamentally different from other animals then one must ask why cannot we argue that cats are fundamentally different from all other animals (including humans).

From a feline perspective one might argue that, although some animals such as humans can move fairly well, they in no way approach the grace and beauty of any cat and they are hopeless at preening. Therefore cats must be considered as fundamentally different from all other animals.

In truth we must assume that either all animals are different from each other or that none are. Surely, from a scientific viewpoint, humans are just another animal. Sure we are more intelligent just as dolphin are better swimmers, just as elephants have fantastic noses. From our perspective our intelligence sets us apart. From an ant’s perspective their ability to work together as a colony sets them apart.

I would argue that the concept of anthropomorphism is fallacious as it is assumes that man is separate from nature. This assumption is derived from a Judeo-Christian interpretation of the world which is unscientific.

We do not have the concept of Felipomorphism or Canipomorphism so we should not have the concept of anthropomorphism.

Crime and Punishment – Am I A Suspect? – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This is an excerpt of BBC’s version of Crime and Punishment staring John Simm.

What FD does in scenes like this is he leads you round and round in an almost arbitrary fashion. It doesn’t matter whether the investigator laughs, cries or does a jig. The fact is that R is damned by his sin and it is struggling to ‘burst’ out of him – yet: “even men like you need a pin”. The investigator is the father confessor, the priest. Its a very 19th century idea of conscience. R wants to confess and needs spiritual guidance to do so but it is only through confession that his anguish will be assuaged – that he will be redeemed.

Nowadays we might believe that the guilty can live very easily with their guilt even given our century of psychoanalysis. Confessions are deployed in cop shows more as demonstrations for the audience that the correct conclusion has been reached. Evidence is the primary interest not confession. Confession is portrayed as the last act once the criminal has had overwhelming proof of guilt thrust in their face. Its icing on the cake for pure drama. Its not redemptive, indeed the criminal is often defiant in confession.