Feel Good

Number 1670 is up and a recent thing in the current time period is to explain what was going on in England at that time. Charles II was still the monarch and signed the secret Treaty Of Dover, Spain recognises that some islands conquered now “belong” to England. Some man, a politician no less, got maimed for making a joke about the king. Also, it was bad news to be the wrong religion, something I am sure you will appreciate the world has matured about since then [ha ha].

There’s a problem within our society where we yearn for “good news” and so accept anything as good news if it seems at first glance to be a good thing. In reality the “good news” hides the horrors of our current society. The news story shouldn’t be about the good thing the real news story is why does that situation exist in the first place?

I got thinking about this when I saw a number of headlines about a deputy headteacher of a primary school who is making and distributing packed lunches to vulnerable pupils during this crisis. Here’s a hyperlink. I haven’t read the whole story because it hides the real terror. Why, in this rich country, are there children who are unable to be fed in either their family or where ever they are living? Why does this happen in this country? What changes should be made so that this isn’t a thing?

This does not mean I am criticising the Deputy Head of the school. I have nothing but admiration for him. But the fact that this is a news article covers up why that situation exists in the first place. We are made to feel good for a situation which is utterly avoidable and shouldn’t happen in any country. Keep an eye out for these and think about the news you read, what is the real story?

Star Washing

This communication is number 1669. In keeping with recent references to plague hit London in the 1600s I, again, give a brief rundown of things that happened in this year. Pepys stopped writing because his eyesight was failing much like Donald Pleasance in The Great Escape, Newton is appointed as a professor and Robert Boyle discovers phosphorus. Along with all that there was plenty of life and death as all those who played insignificant roles in society aren’t recorded.

In another day of discussing society with poorly constructed arguments and leaps of consciousness I will explain the brainwashing of our society to maintain the current social and political structure. I was out on a run yesterday, it’s where I do plenty of thinking while also listening to podcasts. Being in the open and feeling good, or at least healthy, or at least as though I am doing something healthy is really good for clearing the mind. I was thinking about how too many films and stories all cover this idea that we are born to a particular level in our society. These stories we hear and films we watch reinforce this subconscious acceptance of “our place in society”.

From Where Do We Get Authority?

At a basic level we all need to be told what to do and the best systems work when you respect that person telling you what to do. You want to know that the “manager” has the experience and understanding along with the intellectual capability to think deeply about how things work. You want the “manager” to be fair and allow you some freedom. You want someone who knows the job and has been appointed to that position because they have some capability or understanding or talent beyond what you have. If the “manager” is respected by the workers then they will do their jobs for that manager and the “manager” will look good because they have a good set of outcomes from their workers. Authority comes from the respect that the workers give the manager through the manager’s skills and experience. Have you ever worked for someone you don’t respect? You might do as you are told but it will be a miserable experience.

So, we want authority to come from someone/thing who understands better than the workers and someone/thing who is able to be supportive and responsive and understanding. If you have those qualities then maybe you should be a “manager”.

The Worst Case

In the worst possible case scenario you claim authority through some vague system which you also happen to run. You might be a good “manager” you might also be a shit “manager”. At the very worst level you claim authority through the idea that you have that job and are therefore better than everyone else. You convinced those who appointed you that you are fantastic where, in reality, you suck and are shit at managing. Your life will then become a series of constructions to create the results that mean you look great but you are also destroying everything in the process.

If you want ultimate authority over many people then you claim it was given to you by god. That way, if you run the religion, you also run the entire system of authority. In the UK pretty much everything is owned by the monarch [legally] because god says so. The ultimate authority is deferred to god via the queen because you can’t get a higher authority than the imaginary god. God is the ultimate scapegoat and giver of power. Look at the pope. Put there by a human voting system but is god’s representative on earth because “god”. It’s brilliant. It’s also terrible. If you have to claim authority by referring to some divine right or prophecy then you suck and should try fucking off. Which god? Whose god? Not mine. I don’t recognise your authority. Oh, by the way, I write this just after Cardinal Pell’s conviction was quashed by the Australian Supreme Court through “lack of evidence”. Fuck the pope and the catholic church – evil cabal of child rapists.

Top Down

If you want to claim authority over people you either do it through talent and skills or you claim intangible things which apparently give you provenance. So, you can claim that god speaks to you and only you and everyone needs to do as they are told. You can claim the authority through birthright [whatever the fuck that is in reality] or you can just shout louder than everyone else. We have this sense in our society that if you are born from the correct vagina and parentage that you are therefore more qualified than someone else to take the power. This is rather strange. It doesn’t follow. There have been so many family dynasties it would be impossible to list them here. But let’s look at one in particular.

The queen is the top person in our country. Why? Because she was born to it. She’s lived her life in “service” to the country and commonwealth. Why? Because she was born to the right father and mother [even that’s not needed as illegitimate people have power too if they grow up in the right environment]. But she’s been brilliant? Has she? How do we know that? How do we rate that? Isn’t against her human rights to be placed in this position before she entered this world screaming? The queen’s authority lies in her birth and the fact this in this constitutional theocratic monarchy god happens to have said so. She’s the leader of the state religion. What?

Most stories you heard as a child reinforce this idea of family being your station in society. You are successful and deserve respect if you come from the correct family. You are in servitude to those people if you are born elsewhere. Firstly, there’s god and his zombie son Jesus. The provenance comes from the seed of the father. The right to lead and to have the power comes from who your father is. The queen is who she is because of her father. We have hereditary Lords in this country for fuck’s sake. They are called Lord. The title passes on through birth. We fascinate over who our ancestors were. We have TV programmes about who you think you are where you can claim legitimacy from the history of your family. People seek out that link between them and long dead people of power because our society is so bought into this idea that who fucked who years ago is really important.

There are stories about adopted children really being from a dead family of aristocrats. There are stories of knights marrying princesses. There are stories of kings and queens and those with power having gained that through being accidentally born to the correct family. Why do you think the bible spends ages proving the ancestry of Jesus? He’s descended from David. Who was descended from . . . . I don’t actually know or give a shit, probably Abraham? Legitimacy comes from your parents, wrongfully. All of our culture is given over to being submissive to the wrong people based on DNA.


This was my original thought while having a run yesterday. I pondered the film series Star Wars. Now, I used to be a big Star Wars fan but managed to let go a few years after being upset at the prequel trilogy. But let’s look at the important parts:

  • Darth Vader – evil doer until a last minute recant – virgin birth. That’s the great thing about christianity, you can be as evil as you want as long as you seek forgiveness just before you die and accept jesus as the saviour. Having him divinely concepted was a stroke of genius
  • Royal Family – Leia was a princess born to a queen. Legitimacy from her mother.
  • Inherited – Luke gets his powers from his father. Has the right to be a leader through his birthright. Gets discovered and his “true” destiny is revealed. By the way, FUCK DESTINY.
  • Kylo Ren – gets his powers from his mother. He’s a royal. It’s his birthright.
  • Afterlife – if you are good enough you get to live forever as a ghost?
  • Rey – powers from her father/grandfather I can’t remember. Taken away from her family and finds the truth of her “birthright”.

Power is inherited through the family system. You can look at too many films and see this story played out again and again. All of this reinforces how society thinks. It shapes how we behave. How many films have you seen where the son or daughter claims their “birthright” and becomes the leader or manager? How often is this scenario played out in kids’ stories? How often do you reinforce this? Why? Try and think a little more about the things you see and read. Question how much of it is there to maintain the “structure” of society. Question those who defend the “systems”.

Think about why the following statements are required be be written down and whether you think they are true for your life?

Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2 – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.


If you read more on this you’ll start to see how everything works against you. Our current society doesn’t do the best for everyone. It exists to serve those who are born to the power. So, I am now officially one of those weirdo people who I was concerned about when I was younger. The type of person who thinks of society and sees a massive problem with the reinforcement of its structure. Time for a beer I think.

It’s Almost As If

Our society wasn’t set up to cope with a massive short term change to the way it operates. By short term I mean in the order of months. We aren’t even months in and it feels as though the world is ending. There’s panic in the supermarkets and many many businesses are going to go bust. People won’t get paid and it’s not going to be pleasant.

If only our society hadn’t been chronically underfunded over the last ten years. If only the “gig-economy” wasn’t a thing. If only companies weren’t driven by responsibilities to shareholders but rather to a social responsibility that means they would look after their employees and make sure everyone had a decent standard of living.

We SHOULD be paying for goods and expecting everyone involved in those process to make them to be paid a FAIR wage. It is utterly immoral that they don’t.

This was meant to be the start of something big but I think I’ll have to leave it for a while. I might keep my ramblings short while we go through this.

Pretty But . . .

I went to see a friend and we met up at Audley End house near Saffron Walden. It is a lovely garden and classic English country house.

Third Of Original Size
Third Of Original Size

The gardens were designed by Capability Brown, the house is old. I didn’t get to look inside because after walking the dog the house was shut to new visitors. It’s quite an impressive building.

We, as a country, like to visit these places. We like to keep them as part of our history and they are definitely part of our history. The problem is houses like this are part of the problems of our current too.

Odd For Essex?
Odd For Essex?

These buildings serve to act as reminders that the people are subservient to the masters. We are to do as we are told and assume that those in charge are looking after us. This building is built to impress but also oppress. The modern visitor has little thought for the structure of society and the machine it has to keep everyone in their place.

The leaders lead and rule and at the same time those below that level are constantly told of our position and that we should do as we are told. The upper classes assume the position of lord of the manor while the rest of us live in shit. There is a perception that the leaders and chiefs will do what is good for the whole of society. But the vast majority of them don’t. Look at the current political leaders. They will do whatever they can to maintain their power at the expense of the country and population as a whole.

I look at these houses and churches and see the waste of money. The consumption of the planet for the greed of the few. The repression of the masses for the stability of a family.

Viva la revolution!

All Part Of The Plan

“It was meant to be”

“It’s my destiny”

“Whatever will be will be”

What a load of shit. All of these sayings just lend credence to the idea of agency behind your life. The concept that someone or something is controlling YOUR life. The idea that the great zombie sky fairy is looking out for just you and not necessarily any of the other seven billion people on this planet.

The idea of agency is so built into us that it’s hard to get rid of it. It takes a lot of effort to give up thoughts of our destiny and the plan.


We are so enamoured with the concept of agency that we see it everywhere. Hollywood makes films constantly suggesting that there is a plan for us all, look at the messages and what you are told. There are bullshit books that tell us about the universe working for us, see The Secret or the bible or any other religious text referring to a sky-fairy.

Your life is mostly in your control, but you will regularly get fucked over by things outside of your sphere of influence; politicians, bankers and the economy and mostly just random events. There’s a great lie enforced all the time by the media suggesting that we can control the economy and that our politicians are able to tinker with the tax rates to build a stronger country. This is rubbish. The amount of the economy that the government has direct control over is not enough to impact our growth or economic health. We are pretty much at the mercy of such a complex system where there is no overall control that it is more comforting to think we can blame particular politicians. We feel uncomfortable with the idea of randomness and things just happening.

I might get started on agency and our belief in control with respect to the monarchy and society as a whole. How we give our trust to government and yet fail to understand the randomness of the world. But, I shall leave that to another communication.

You are the person who can change your life. There is no destiny. There is no great plan. However much you aim to control your own life you are still going to be subject to random events, things that are outside of your control. Other things are going to mess you up.

There is no plan.


[The title needs to be shouted in an Ian Paisley type voice.]

Have a look at these:outrage5


From my humble point of view it seems that we are outraged often these days. The media jump on the OUTRAGE bandwagon pretty quickly. The media believe they represent our views, what the population think. But they don’t, they just tell us what to think. The media is controlled by few, very rich people who want to keep us supressed and the politicians jumping from one thing to the next. The politicians have to be seen to be doing something. Using “outrage” allows the media to claim “public opinion” but I doubt they’ve really surveyed this. It’s what the string pullers want, not what the public want.

outrage defnI’m not happy with the definitions given by the Cambridge Dictionary. Outrage to me is more than anger. It’s almost violent. Nothing seems to make me this angry. Perhaps I am too old and have an aire of cynicism about me now, although I feel I’ve been like this all my life.

I would like the media to gain a sense of proportion [and for Christmas I want a unicorn]. Let’s use “outrage” when it means something like Blair taking us into an illegal way. Let’s use outrage when it’s something really worth fighting for. Let’s keep the public informed and tackle the politicians when they aren’t fighting for social justice and freedom for all.

[happy christmas]

The Extreme Rule – A Gaussian Explanation

Why do nutters make the headlines? Why is it reportable if a 13 year old kid decided to go and fight for Islamic State? There are plenty of people who have decided to go and fight, it shouldn’t surprise us that one of them turns out to be a youngster. It WASN’T news. People lied about their ages and signed up for WW1, that was seen as patriotic [different issue though].

The crazy 5% of our population seems to inhabit 95% of our news time and concern. This is pathetic. The news reporting for the Islamic killer kid should have been more realistic, along the lines of “This kid has decided to do go to Syria and fight for a cause he believes in but there are approximately twenty million children who haven’t”.

Crazy person drives down the wrong carriageway on the motorway, it happens and makes the news. The reporting is never “out of 200 million journeys this has happened only once”.

Here’s a diagram to show what I mean [with apologies to Karl Gauss].

Gauss Again
Gauss Again

The continuum in the top graph is meant to describe how there are stupid people who do stupid stuff and there are nutters who know what they are doing but do it anyway. 95% of the population are somewhere in the middle.

The media seems obsessed with crazy or stupid people who, by definition, do crazy or stupid stuff. This is made even more evident by the amount of this shit on the internet. There is never a realistic version explaining that actually this is a rare event and we shouldn’t be bothered by it.

Humans have a very poor “risk calculating” ability. We are unable to understand probability correctly. Partly because it actually gets quite hard and complicated and partly because we are shielded from correct interpretation of risk by a culpable media.

Some things we don’t seem to understand:

  • Flying is safer than crossing the road
  • MMR is safe
  • The difference between relative risk and absolute risk
  • Crime is falling
  • Education is a good thing [the stupid are celebrated]
  • Weather is not climate

A final hurrah before I go and do some ironing:

Q: If you have twenty people, how many different soccer teams could you create from those people (if you specified which position they played in)?

A: 6,704,425,728,000

Wow, that’s a lot you should say.

Q: If you have twenty people, how many different soccer teams could you create from those people?

A: 167,960

Q: Suppose you were the captain. How many different teams could you create from the remaining nineteen people?

A: 92,378

See, you are useless at numbers and probability.

The Worst Reason

This communication deals with some ideas I have been having recently and I hope I put my argument across well.

In life and society we sometimes give people special dispensation from our general rules because we see there are special reasons. We allow disabled people to park closer to shops, we allow single dwellers to pay less council tax, we allow the poor to pay a lower rate of tax, we allow the young and the old to have cheaper travel. You get the idea.

It is right that we have varying rules and that we shouldn’t treat everyone the same. I think this is right because of my moral structure and that there is evidence to show that these actions improve the quality of life for those people. The justification for these dispensations is good.

If you are reading this you are probably aware that I don’t “believe” in a god or gods and therefore do not follow any form of religion. See the communication directly preceding this one. As there is no god everything that hangs on this premise is mistaken. All of the rules and societal requirements we have are unjustifiable using religion, holy books or holy men’s rantings. Some religious ideas are good but they can be derived from a general principle of “do good” and “do no harm”, principles which are humanistic rather than from a sole religion. If your argument for behaving a particular way ends with the line:

It says so in this good book


My preacher/imam says so

then it’s time for you to appraise what else the book says.

I think it is wrong to make dispensations from our normal laws and rules for religious reasons. In fact, I think that dispensations for this reason are the worst form of dispensation and incongruent with a liberal society.

This communication and my view on these things was formed from the following events:

  • On a run one day I passed a building site. There were 4 people working on the site at the time and three of them had bright yellow safety hats on. The 4th person had a turban on. It would appear that he had special dispensation to wear this turban, probably for religious reasons. I do not understand this argument. If there is good evidence to show that wearing a turban gives as good protection as wearing a safety hat then I am ok with that but if the evidence doesn’t exist then why does religious requirements get a “free pass”?
  • In some places of work people ask for special dispensation to go to prayer at certain times during the day or they have rules about certain types of food. I do not understand why these religious reasons are special and can’t be questioned. Could I ask for dispensation from the canteen to avoid serving any form of pasta because I follow the Flying Spaghetti Monster? My argument for this is just as robust as any other religious argument.
  • I think it is morally wrong that dispensation is given to some abattoirs to avoid our rules on humanely  slaughtering animals because a religion requires animals to be killed in a certain way. If I can show you two slabs of meat, one slaughtered normally and one slaughtered using religious requirements and IF you can tell them apart then I would be seriously impressed. Mind you this still would not justify your reasons for wanting animals slaughtered inhumanely.

I am not using this communication to ridicule individual beliefs, oh, damn, I am! Oh well. Societies’ laws should be based on humanistic consensus and that is why we have a government and democracy here in the UK, for all its flaws. Over the last thousand years we have produced a decent liberal society even though we are a constitutional theocratic society because people who make the laws understand that religion should play no part in creating laws. As soon as laws are created for religious reasons we have lost our way [just read Leviticus].

If you want to use a religious reason to excuse a certain behaviour or to allow you to break the rules of our society then I will use the Church of the FSM to justify the rules I want to break. The argument is precisely the same. If you want to claim the FSM is not a REAL religion then I ask you to define what you mean by REAL religion.

Religion should play NO part in dispensation from laws and rules. It’s not an excuse.

Religion – Not An Excuse

Just in case some of you become offended at this then please consider what I have said. I haven’t called you stupid, I haven’t said you are wrong and I haven’t ridiculed your religion. I have said I don’t believe. My argument is that religion is not a reason for dispensation. Oh, look! I have given special dispensation to religious people in this post script. Tell you what: Your religion is wrong. It is not the truth. It is not the path to eternal life. Your preachers are wrong. It is not a reason for doing anything. There is no god. Get over it. You shouldn’t get special treatment because you believe in Zeus or whatever you call your god. Join our society and behave within its rules or leave.

It’s What Happens

I teach. It’s what I do. I teach teenagers. A lot of people I meet consider this to be a mad career. Teenagers are horrible. They wonder why I don’t teach younger kids. I teach because of a long series of accidents and uninformed choices throughout my life. However, after starting my teacher training in 1995 I found that I loved being in the classroom and working with kids. I consider myself utterly fortunate to have discovered a career that I enjoy so much. I have often said to myself that the day I “have to go to work” is the day I quit, at the moment I still get up every (working) day and “go to school”.

Teenagers are hilarious. They try to argue and make valid points, they are starting to learn the craft of putting together valid arguments and come to valid conclusions. Some can do this well, others take quite a bit longer. They often try to communicate their thoughts are struggle to do so. Daily I am involved in creating new thoughts and ideas and methods for explanation. This is great. It’s exciting and when the teenagers mess it up it’s just funny. I work with some of the brightest and [unintentionally] hilarious young people.

You’ll have to take this on trust but having a teenager try to explain his/her actions in a logical manner leaves me laughing (inside rather than in their face). Although my role is to teach mathematics I also aim to offer up techniques for questioning and finding out what really happens, how to get evidence, how to appraise arguments. I see this as far more important than the actual mathematics I teach. If I can help people seek their own evidence and make their own decisions then I have succeeded in improving their contributions to future society.

The title of this communication is “It’s What Happens”. I’d just like to point out that society seems to have a massive “downer” on teenagers.

Said Socrates [not the footballer]:

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

This is a quite well known quotation. It’s definitely gives the impression that we hate teenagers and have done for many years of society. There are often modern headlines in the newspapers and web-news-services where the implication is that modern society is going to ruin because of a type of behaviour of teenagers or young people. This is utter rubbish.

Here’s some cases of behaviour of the youth ruining society:

  • Pinball machines in the 1940s
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1950s
  • Sex and drugs in the 1960s
  • Punk in the 1970s
  • Alcopops in the 1990s
  • Mobile phones in the 2000s

Most of the people “corrupted” by these forms of behaviour are now the ESTABLISHMENT. I’m pretty sure that if you look hard enough you will see that society isn’t ruined. My theory is as follows:

People who write opinions and the news are jealous of teenagers. They don’t like the freedom, the care-less-ness, the risk taking, the fun that teenagers have. It reminds them of what they have lost and the dreams that have dimmed. It reminds them of mortgages, children and politics. They want to be young again.

The constant dislike of teenagers in the press is a constant of society, it will always be there. Are the youth terrible? Are the youth poorly behaved? No, not really. Teenagers are meant to be restless and care-free. It means they move on and develop in to fully functioning adults. It’s what happens.