Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Untitled Aphorism #1

What kind of future have I been left. I had plans you know. Finish my PhD. Do a post-doc in Germany or the Netherlands. Come back. Teach. Live and learn. Not too fussed about research but want the security of an academic position.

Now what? Is my nationality toxic? Am I British for Britain? I don't like that type of exclusivity. I live on a planet not an island.

Everything I ever learned seems to be a lie these days. Equal rights, equal opportunities, equal pay, equal representation? No. Take the common factor away. Replace with exclusive. That's better. Sod intellect, meritocracy or freedom. Replace with pathos, aristocracy and oppression. Oppression of who? The oppressors of course. Isn't that a contradiction? Seemingly. But natural if one believes in true doublethink.

Was my education so far removed, so distant? Am I perched on my ivory tower? Unable to connect with the common man. This certainly supports my disconnect with reality. I believe in logic. Is logic even real or is it just pathos masquerading as civility? Difficult to conclude there. Certainly logic is self supporting and circular.

Does anything truly matter? Is matter even real? What even do I mean by matter. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Far too late.

The left wing squabbled
About who, was the most politically correct;
The most modest and humble in the face of opposition and yet,
still opposed to oppression.

Whilst the populist mad men riled the working man,
against his neighbour.
Told them that it was only people who
weren't from here, that caused oppression.

And when they realised,
that being politically correct no longer got them voted,
and that they should have listened all along,
to the person who spoke his left wing mind.

It was far too late.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

On Piety

So I hereby task myself with writing a short, unfocused meditation upon a certain topic every Sunday for a couple of months. Perhaps I shall meditate upon Sacred Writ or perhaps just upon the changing of the seasons or the subtle melodrama of my own existence. It will be as the muse takes me. But my subject this week, to begin is piety.

Often, after the Sacred Sacrifice has taken place I note the devotion of others, once my own is concluded. Some offer quiet thanksgiving after the dismissal, others go to statues and icons and give great public devotion. Others slink silently back into the world, perhaps, I assume, to give thanks in their thoughts and deeds for the rest of the day.But what of this simple act of supplication; piety. The gentle love of God from man, a people unworthy of even the slightest affection of the Supreme. That we are afforded a foretaste of His divinity in the Sacred Mysteries should cause us to fall to our knees and sing aloud from our hearts. But is this right? Perhaps it can be said that there is a sort of false piety that we, as sinners, are doomed to fall into. Overcome with hopelessness at our own wounded state, or consumed with the presumption of His wont and mercy. Can the person, who falls at the feet of the icon of our Blessed Mother, to recite his prayers in the ancient and holy tongue of the church be but an obstacle to true devotion and piety? Is there more to piety than just devotion? And to this end, what is true devotion and piety? Perhaps to better understand this question, we must think in terms of the truly divine. Of what the essence of God truly is. For God is Love. This we know. But what manner of Love is this? Scripture takes it to be ἀγάπη - the distinction between this and filial love or the eros of man and wife. No this is a love that is gently spoken, that proceeds from the father and the son, that is attributed to the πνεῦμα of God but is God for God is in totality in each part as unified as one. This is the breath of Love that flows from the Father through the Son to the Holy Ghost. It is not the love of mourning; that is not love. That is the hopelessness of love lost. Nor is it the love of a man for his sweetheart. For this is the productive love of mankind, that is derived from our nature and is not divine but earthly in nature. This is a sweet love. A private love; not ἔρως but divine in origin. A guiding and revelatory love. A love that underpins all existence. To think of it in terms of love is not to know it all. To think of it in terms of grace perhaps is more helpful. For as this love flows into us, it is accompanied by the outpouring of grace. Grace that we are undeserved of.
But is it piety to fall down and declare, striking our breast "domine non sum dignus"? No. This cannot be the case. For grace is outpoured on us, whether we deserve or do not deserve. It is what we do with this grace, how this love shapes our will that is most important. Piety is in essence, not the falling down and crying that we are not worthy, but more an acceptance of the following line "sed tanctum dic verbo et sanibitur anima mea." God is the word. And grace from the sacraments is the healing medicine of our souls (the Sanabitur) as St Thomas Aquinas puts it. Piety is putting the word of God into the world. Literally "Et Verbum caro factum est. Et habitavit in nobis" Literally, to dwell within us.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Upon freedom of the press...

At present in Britain, the tone du jour is the so-called "Brexit" referendum, called for June this year. A referendum seemingly called by the Conservative Party to claim back votes that might've been lost to EU sceptic party UKIP.
Now, for some time in Britain, there has existed the claim that we are being overrun with immigrants. Being that I am middle class, work in science and university educated I don't see this. I've never seen it. I grew up in a village in Northamptonshire. A village where we could count the people of differing ethnicities on one hand. A village where, upon reading the record of the "Board School", there was a delightful account of the time the "Negro came from Northampton."
But, also I've never seen immigration as a problem. I've lived in Bradford and Leicester which are 2 of Britain's most ethnically diverse cities. I've always embraced multiculturalism, sought to learn more about my neighbours and enjoyed the benefits of living with different people. It creates a global atmosphere in my own back garden, so to speak.
My childhood was interspersed with long phone calls with "Uncle" Ghulam in Kashmir, and I learned the Arabic greetings before I started at secondary school. And I loved it. It wasn't cultural misappropriation, it was necessary to allow cohesive discourse with those who I lived with. I knew my Hindu Gods, and aspects of Brahma by the time I was 10 and I made my first Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic church at the age of 11.
Now building back to my initial point, I have encountered in more recent times, an alarming streak of xenophobia running through this country. The type that we mock our elderly relatives for, is rearing it's ugly head. But why should it be? I mean, we seem cohesive. Living in Leicester, I always enjoyed seeing the men in the town in their mosque hats, and occasionally bumping into a Dominican Friar. There was no "us and them", it was all us.
Yet, certain newspapers and internet media seem to fan the flames. The Daily Mail runs a non-story with the headline "THE NARBOROUGH ROAD IN LEICESTER. OVERRUN WITH 40 SHOPS FROM 60 DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES"
and the comments,
"It's political correctness gone stark raving mad."
"White people are a minority in Britain"
"My Grandad died in the 2nd world war for this..."
This statements can be handwaved away. The vast errors can be pointed out. Now, it seems as if the press wants to link the exit from the European union with the "immigration problem" - which it isn't.
But why are they doing this? What do they have to gain. Well, the press are unfortunately now in the employ of the power hungry ones. They understand that the European Union, with it's regulations that do such pointless things as securing maternity pay and equal rights for men and women and fair working hours and prevents child labour. Oh only the cornerstones of civilisation. But not something that really sits well if you're trying to turn a profit.
And that's really what it comes down to. They are fostering their own interests at the expense of their fellow man. It is how history has always been. We have hoped that perhaps it had been overthrown but the foul taint of monarchy and plutocracy are rearing their ugly claws once again.
And it is for this reason that a free press is so essential. To call out the media in the employ of big business. It is why magazines like Private Eye are so important. It is why inquisition like institutions like the recent enquiry into the actions of the News of the World are appalling. They tear down any semblance of a sane and free democracy.
"EVERYTHING FINE" reports newspaper in employ of authority.
Tony Benn said "The people in power don't want the public to know too much as they might challenge what they decide themselves."
If we know this, and we understand it, we must move to protect our free press before it is totally bought under the control of the Murdoch's and the oligarchs who have no interest in morality, freedom or society but in turning a cheap profit at the expense of human misery and life.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Aphorism on the state of politics

I am not a political theorist, or even an expert in politics. However, I shall comment as little more than an outsider on these matters.
It occurs to me that politics in this country is fundamentally broken. New Labour stripped away any semblance of a right and a left. However, where New Labour succeeded was as an institution.
So the principle problem with right wing politics is the contempt that it appears to hold the electorate with. The outcome of right wing politics is logically to ensure a free market, however the means employed to get to this stage is to rely on fear and misinformation to coerce a public, viewed as fools, into submission. This can have the unexpected side effect of collapsing into totalitarianism when not balanced by democracy.
Conversely, left wing politics succeeds in that it does not view those who vote for it with contempt, but fails fundamentally as it has lost its moral compass. The foolish electorate, unfortunately, require morality to be spelled out. When a left wing government does this, it becomes right wing in that it will view its electorate as fools to be goaded but when it doesn't do this it can never succeed as no one will support a cause that has no morality.