Screwtape revisited


This week on Facebook: Any human thoughts on Theism present many different conclusions, as do human thoughts on the subject of Atheism and you must draw your own conclusions. To a certain extent the Inklings shared religious views¹, particularly on Christianity. Views that were certainly more prevalent than they are today, I mention this because their shared religious views was probably the glue that held the Inklings together, that and the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien)². Read more of this post

Sunday 14/7/2019


I essentially use Facebook as a repository for my WordPress account, having had my fingers slightly burned by the demise of a previous social media site. Last week I was looking at some previous postings on C.S. Lewis that I was going to make reference to and found that some of the url links were ‘lost’, which is a common feature of social media. I replaced or deleted the links and next week intend to revisit C.S. Lewis with a posting titled ‘Screwtape Revisited’. most, if not all, of my C.S. Lewis reprises refer to Screwtape. Not long after I started seeing with my ex colleague for a ‘pie and a pint’, he remarked that any theist must lack intellect to believe such nonsense. I would not say that C.S Lewis and his ‘Inkling Friends’ lacked intellect. Read more of this post

We the People


This week on Facebook: I would venture that there never has been a time in history of mankind when there was not a wealthy Aristocracy. The Encyclopaedia Britannica opens with the definition that aristocracy means, ‘government by a relatively small privileged class or by a minority consisting of those felt to be best qualified to rule’.

Of course the vast majority of people supporting this ‘privileged class’ have no desire to rule, they are only interested in their own welfare. However, the even smaller privileged class¹ that they currently support most certainly do. Furthermore, be they capitalists or socialists, or even the demos (whoever they may be), the ruling elites always claim that they represent the views of ‘we the people’.

It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley – Berkeley 1962)

Written nearly 500 years ago and preceding Aldous Huxley’s remarks, the prescience of Étienne de La Boétie ought to be remembered for his essay The Politics of Obedience — The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Both are now largely forgotten by a demos that loves its voluntary servitude under a controlling oligarchy. However, searching for a political system on which there would be a consensus in the nature of a more perfect union is a fruitless task, as is any reliance on ‘we the people’ seeking political solutions to their subjugation. Read more of this post

Aasof on English expletives


This week on Facebook: English language¹ has always been replete with expletives and having spent from 1956 to 1969 in the forces I am no stranger to their use. I posted Philip Larkin meets the moderators, remarking that the now defunct My Telegraph site would arbitrarily imposes automated censorship by deleting expletives², which seems like a neat solution but it completely disregards the context.

Moderation unconnected with context made me unable to call King Charles II ‘a bastard’, an expletive that I had cause to believe was an apt description of his vindictive pursuit of the ‘regicides’. By way of a response to this unwarranted moderation I posted ‘Everything in moderation?’. It may even be that the general use of expletives as imprecations — with their ever increasing use on social media — become simply adjuncts to the development of the English language. Read more of this post

Aasof: “You know how to whistle don’t you?”


This week on Facebook: My post last Sunday brought home the fact that I belong to the Pinocchio generation, that of the Walt Disney era but including Sabu and long before Disney’s Jungle Book. I now realised why my mum took me to the pictures so much during WWII, but that’s an anecdote for another time. Lauren Bacall belonged to my mum’s generation and the memories of the films she took me to see live on my mind. Excerpts from the films may be enhanced by references in the social media, but I now belong to a generation whose memories increasingly have little in common with my children and nothing in common with my grandchildren.

Why coming to see death’s naturalness should have caused belief in an afterlife to melt away, I am unsure, but it did. Diana Athill¹

Born in May 1939, on becoming an octogenarian I thought it an appropriate time on Facebook to at least mention the inevitability my demise. I know that some of you have already passed the octogenarian milestone — as had my mother-in-law, whom I told a story about in 2016 (encounter with the dying). I trust that demise never become millstone, like a dead albatross hung around the neck².

The following video by Peter Saul talking about dying was really enlightening and had a profoundly serious effect on my approach to the subject, increasingly so in my attitude towards others. Among the many articles that I found ‘Talking about death and dying’³ seems an appropriate adjunct to Peter Saul’s talk.

In the event that you became too sick to speak for yourself!
Who would you like to speak for you?

Peter Saul


1. “Memento more.” It’s time we reinvented death: (2012) As if we needed any reminder. While few of us know exactly when death will come, we all know that eventually it will. It’s usual to talk about death overshadowing life, and the passing of loved ones certainly casts a pall over the lives of those who remain behind. But contemplating our own deaths is one of the most powerful forces in our lives for both good and ill driving us to nurture relationships, become entrenched in our beliefs, and construct Ozymandian follies.

2. What Good Is Thinking About Death? (2015) But we’re not always actively thinking about it. When people are reminded of death, they employ a variety of strategies to cope—not all of which are as well-adjusted as Stoic gratitude. That many kinds of human behaviour stem from a fear of death is the basis of one of the most prominent theories in modern social psychology—terror-management theory.

3. What It’s Like to Learn You’re Going to Die: (2017) The shock of confronting your own mortality need not happen at that instant, Coyle notes. Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and suddenly realize how skinny you are, or notice your clothes no longer fit well. “It’s not necessarily verbal; it’s not necessarily what other people are telling you,” Coyle says. “Your soul may be telling you, or other people’s eyes may be telling you.”

4. How to Recognise When Your Loved One Is Dying: (2018) Death is a personal journey which each individual approaches in their own unique way. Nothing is concrete, and nothing is set in stone. There are many paths one can take on this journey but all lead to the same destination. What happens in the journey of dying, beginning one to three months prior to death, during the last two weeks before death, and during the last few days of life? In this continuum, how can you know when your loved one is dying?

5. Let’s talk about the art of living and dying well: (2019) In a society that struggles to view any death as “good”, it is also an unmistakeable opportunity to share what at least constitutes a better death. Acceptance is foremost. Some of my most remarkable patients have accepted early that they have not been singled out by misfortune, that suffering in different shapes is the course of humanity.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular article (1-5).
  • Links reference a source and where necessary, those words that include a link in italics are intended to indicate its context.
  • A long read url* is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹It’s silly to be frightened of being dead (url*): Death is the inevitable end of an individual object’s existence – I don’t say “end of life” because it is a part of life. Everything begins, develops – if animal or vegetable, breeds – then fades away: everything, not just humans, animals, plants, but things which seem to us eternal, such as rocks. Mountains wear down from jagged peaks to flatness. Even planets decay. That natural process is death. Killing is the obscene intervention of violence, the violation which prevents a human being or any other animal from reaching death as it should be reached. Killing certainly did affect the minds of those exposed to the first world war. It shocked most of them into silence: many of the men who survived fighting in it never spoke of it, and I think it had the same effect on most of those the men returned to. It was too dreadful. They shut down on it.

²An introduction to death, dying and grief (url/OU Free Course): Explore interesting and challenging ideas around death, dying and grief. This free course, An introduction to death, dying and grief, invites you to think more deeply about death and dying and encourages you to think about it in different ways. This course will introduce you to different perspectives on death; ethical issues related to dying and end-of-life care; as well as expressions of grief. Please note that this course includes video about people talking personally about their experiences in relation to death and dying. If you have been affected by the issues in these videos, there are resources included in the course for further information and support.

³Talking about death and dying (url): It’s not always easy to know how to talk about dying. Awkwardness, embarrassment and fear means we tend to shy away from connecting with those who are dying or those who are grieving. But when we don’t talk about what matters it can increase feelings of isolation, loneliness and distress.

 

Aasof ‘whistling in the wind’


This Sunday on Facebook: Some years ago my youngest son gave me ‘Mort’ by Terry Pratchett, I don’t think that he gave it to me to start a conversation, I’m sure he just thought I would like it. It turned out to be one of those books that I ‘skimmed’ through, being (for my part) a time when my immortality was assumed. The book by Terry Pratchett was quite amusing in parts but not being a ‘Discworld‘ fan, as the reviewer above clearly is, I didn’t enjoy the read that much.

PS: I am a fan of Douglas Adams  and my son did present me with The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in hardback book form, but you may like the 1978 BBC Radio 4 version.

Read more of this post

Are Lyricists Poets?


This week on Facebook: Perhaps two of the thing that have stuck in my mind associated with music was listening to an aficionado who was in raptures about the tune ‘Begin the Beguine’ and someone writing about lyrics, especially opera, being transposed into english. I don’t remember the sources of either, but the aficionado thought that Begin the Beguine was the only complete story line reflected in the lyrics of a tune and the other writing that words set to music in a foreign language needed great care to be taken when translating the lyrics into english. The latter sentiments intimated in an article written on operavore:

It struck me that opera in English is particular, and often challenging, because our vowels are not always beautiful and unfriendly consonants tend to intrude. The Problem with Opera in English

I can’t answer the question, ‘Are Lyricists Poets?’ with so much obvious disagreement. Latouche and Sondheim clearly disagree but perhaps the question is a lot more complex than it first appears — Latouche may have thought the term lyricist to be somewhat demeaning.

His friend the novelist and composer Paul Bowles recalled that Latouche “made his living writing song lyrics, although he called himself a poet, and bitterly resented my calling him a lyricist.” Words and Shadows

Lyrics, even poetic ones, are not poems. Poems are written to be read, silently or aloud, not sung. Stephen Sondheim

Read more of this post

A Reprise for Sunday


This Sunday on Facebook: I offer a reprise from July 2018 as a link to next week posts in which there is a repeat of 2 songs. Those who may be fans of The Great American  Songbook like me (greatly influenced by my mother), may enjoy this Sunday’s reprise. I assure you that although next week’s offering also includes 5 (posted) videos, they are different, as is the theme of my post.

The following are extracts taken from my July 2018 of Aasof on The Great American Songbook and are about my 2 repeats next week, although both are by different artists and intended to add to my question next week: Are Lyricists Poets?

Unlike the instrumental piece composed by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke in 1947 with lyrics added in 1954 by Johnny Mercer. Midnight Sun became famous as a jazz standard and is certainly (currently) one of my favourites.

Begin The Beguine was written by Cole Porter for the Broadway show Jubilee  in 1935. Begin The Beguine has a set of lyrics that are hard to remember and a melody that is difficult to forget (at least the opening bars). It’s interesting that it was Artie Shaw’s instrumental version that was a big hit in 1938.

Cassandra on Climate Change


This week on Facebook: I think that action on climate change (which I have been writing about) is a euphemism that enables people to write about the effects of Mathusianism, particularly when comparing economic growth and climate change. Not only is Malthusianism influencing world populations, it is increasingingly being used as a political weapon. A Malthusian catastrophe (in this case) precipitated by an Anthropocene Epoch which not even Thomas Malthus foresaw — a Malthusian world tied together more by individual  concerns over economic growth of their State, rather than the ideology of climate change. Read more of this post

Cassandra and the Climate Apocalypse


 

This Sunday on Facebook:  I had already decide to post ‘Cassandra on Climate Change’ as the theme for next week and was looking for s short piece to introduce it. In doing so I read a piece with the title ‘Cassandra and the Climate Apocalypse’ and decided to repost it — in full — here. Read more of this post

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The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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