Friday, 23 March 2018

Inscrutable






Throughout the years, people from East Asia have been depicted in European media as being more reserved and stoic than Europeans. This comes from the perceptions of European merchants, soldiers, and officials unable or simply unwilling to appreciate the astonishingly diverse social customs of a region of many million square kilometres and more than 300 million people (from the 17th century onward). Faced with a continent even more heterogenous than their own, they more-or-less gave up on trying to figure out what each region's 'hat' was and simply wrote them all off as 'inscrutable' or mysterious/unreadable.

If treated positively, a character who follows this trope can come across as being a calm, cool, and fairly collected (if a bit eccentric) person who may also serve as a source of wisdom and encouragement. If treated negatively, characters come across as being overly dour, uptight, dull, and all around boring fellows who seem to have trouble comprehending concepts like leisure or fun. The distinction is similar to that between Stiff Upper Lip and British Stuffiness, respectively.

This can be shown tropewise as being The Stoic in more serious and/or positive portrayals. And as The Comically Serious or Only Sane Man in more comedic and negative portrayals. The Old Master may also be this trope.

All in all, this trope can be described as the Eastern counterpart to Germanic Depressives. Any kernel of truth in the stereotype can be attributed to the one universal social mannerism throughout East and Southeast Asia of "maintaining face", and which British people would understand: Don't make a fuss. One reason for this trope being less popular nowadays is its association with offensive Yellow Peril villains, who were frequently untrustworthy, scheming Chessmasters who used their lack of emotion to disguise their motives.

Contrast Asian Rudeness.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Death of Stalin



This Soviet figure was probably one of the most prolific leaders the world has ever known. 

He led the Soviet Union to victory during the Second World War, though many suffered greatly under his rule. 

His personal life was complicated, and the circumstances surrounding his death still remain a secret. 

He was the man with an iron heart: Joseph Stalin.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Rule 8 - In This Age of Grand Illusion






Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street




" How shall I educate my people? Share with them those things I regard as truly important. That’s Rule 8 (Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie). 

That is to aim for wisdom, to distill that wisdom into words, and to speak forth those words as if they matter, with true concern and care. 

That’s all relevant, as well, to the next question (and answer): 

What shall I do with a torn nation? 

Stitch it back together with careful words of truth. 

The importance of this injunction has, if anything, become clearer over the past few years: we are dividing, and polarizing, and drifting toward chaos. It is necessary, under such conditions, if we are to avoid catastrophe, for each of us to bring forward the truth, as we see it: not the arguments that justify our ideologies, not the machinations that further our ambitions, but the stark pure facts of our existence, revealed for others to see and contemplate, so that we can find common ground and proceed together.
What shall I do for God my Father? Sacrifice everything I hold dear to yet greater perfection. Let the deadwood burn off, so that new growth can prevail.

That’s the terrible lesson of Cain and Abel, detailed in the discussion of meaning surrounding Rule 7. What shall I do with a lying man? Let him speak so that he may reveal himself. Rule 9 (Listen …) is once again relevant here, as is another section of the New Testament:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them 
(Matthew 7:16-7:20).

Rule 7 — With the Desire Thus to Help Others Comes the Power to FulfilIt




Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street


" In claiming the power of speech, as it is called, the Neophyte cries out to the Great One who stands foremost in the ray of knowledge on which he has entered, to give him guidance. 

When he does this, his voice is hurled back by the power he has approached, and echoes down to the deep recesses of human ignorance. 

In some confused and blurred manner the news that there is knowledge and a beneficent power which teaches is carried to as many men as will listen to it. 

No disciple can cross the threshold without communicating this news, and placing it on record in some fashion or other. 

He stands horror-struck at the imperfect and unprepared manner in which he has done this; and then comes the desire to do it well, and with the desire thus to help others comes the power. 

For it is a pure desire, this which comes upon him; he can gain no credit, no glory, no personal reward by fulfilling it. 


And therefore he obtains the power to fulfil it. "





Rule 6 — Say What You Will About the Tenets of National Socialism - AtLeast it's an Ethos



Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street





It does not seem reasonable to describe the young man who shot twenty children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 as a religious person. This is equally true for the Colorado theatre gunman and the Columbine High School killers. But these murderous individuals had a problem with reality that existed at a religious depth. As one of the members of the Columbine duo wrote:

The human race isn’t worth fighting for, only worth killing. 
Give the Earth back to the animals.
They deserve it infinitely more than we do. 
Nothing means anything anymore.

People who think such things view Being itself as inequitable and harsh to the point of corruption, and human Being, in particular, as contemptible. They appoint themselves supreme adjudicators of reality and find it wanting. They are
the ultimate critics.

The deeply cynical writer continues:

If you recall your history, the Nazis came up with a “final solution” to the Jewish problem.…
Kill them all. 
Well, in case you haven’t figured it out, I say “KILL MANKIND.” 
No one should survive.



For such individuals, the world of experience is insufficient and evil—so to hell with everything!

Timon, Son of Athens - Redpill Original






There's nothing level in our cursed natures,
But direct villany. Therefore, be abhorr'd
All feasts, societies, and throngs of men!


His semblable, yea, himself, Timon disdains:
Destruction fang mankind! Earth, yield me roots!


Digging

Who seeks for better of thee, sauce his palate
With thy most operant poison! What is here?

Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods,
I am no idle votarist: roots, you clear heavens!

Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.

Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads:

This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed,
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: this is it
That makes the wappen'd widow wed again;

She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds
Among the route of nations, I will make thee
Do thy right nature.


Rule 12 — Hello Kitty


Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street



Rule 11 — High Noon



Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street



" Some might call that stupid. Maybe it was. But it was brave, too. I thought those kids were amazing. I thought they deserved a pat on the back and some honest admiration. Of course it was dangerous. Danger was the point. They wanted to triumph over danger. They would have been safer in protective equipment, but that would have ruined it. They weren’t trying to be safe. They were trying to become competent—and it’s competence that makes people as safe as they can truly be."
 


" The boys who shot up Columbine High School, whom we discussed earlier, had appointed themselves judges of the human race—like the TEDx professor, although much more extreme; like Chris, my doomed friend. For Eric Harris, the more literate of the two killers, human beings were a failed and corrupt species.

Once a presupposition such as that is accepted, its inner logic will inevitably manifest itself. If something is a plague, as David Attenborough has it, or a cancer, as the Club of Rome claimed, the person who eradicates it is a hero— a veritable planetary saviour, in this case. 

A real messiah might follow through with his rigorous moral logic, and eliminate himself, as well. This is what mass murderers, driven by near-infinite resentment, typically do. Even their own Being does not justify the existence of humanity. In fact, they kill themselves precisely to demonstrate the purity of their commitment to annihilation. No one in the modern world may without objection express the opinion that existence would be bettered by the absence of Jews, blacks, Muslims, or Englishmen.

Why, then, is it virtuous to propose that the planet might be better off, if there were fewer people on it? I can’t help but see a skeletal, grinning face, gleeful at the possibility of the apocalypse, hiding not so very far behind such statements.

And why does it so often seem to be the very people standing so visibly against prejudice who so often appear to feel obligated to denounce humanity itself?

I have seen university students, particularly those in the humanities, suffer genuine declines in their mental health from being philosophically berated by such defenders of the planet for their existence as members of the human species. It’s worse, I think, for young men. 

As privileged beneficiaries of the patriarchy, their accomplishments are considered unearned. As possible adherents of rape culture, they’re sexually suspect. Their ambitions make them plunderers of the planet. They’re not welcome. At the junior high, high school and university level, they’re falling behind educationally. 

When my son was fourteen, we discussed his grades. He was doing very well, he said, matter-offactly, for a boy. I inquired further. Everyone knew, he said, that girls do better in school than boys. His intonation indicated surprise at my ignorance of something so self-evident. 

While writing this, I received the latest edition of The Economist. The cover story? “The Weaker Sex”—meaning males. In modern universities women now make up more than 50 percent of the students in more than two-thirds of all disciplines.

Boys are suffering, in the modern world. They are more disobedient—negatively—or more independent—positively—than girls, and they suffer for this, throughout their pre-university educational career. They are less agreeable (agreeableness being a personality trait associated with compassion, empathy and avoidance of conflict) and less susceptible to anxiety and depression, at least after both sexes hit puberty. 

Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people

Strikingly, these differences, strongly influenced by biological factors, are most pronounced in the Scandinavian societies where gender-equality has been pushed hardest: this is the opposite of what would be expected by those who insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct.

It isn’t. 

This isn’t a debate. 

The data are in. "






Do male crustaceans oppress female crustaceans?

Should their hierarchies be upended?



Sunday, 18 March 2018

Rule 10 - Anyone, Who? Moves Will Be Killed, Instant-Lee


No, no, that's German - it says :

"The Bart, the."

Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street






" We assume that we see objects or things when we look at the world, but that’s not really how it is. Our evolved perceptual systems transform the interconnected, complex multi-level world that we inhabit not so much into things per se as into useful things (or their nemeses, things that get in the way).

This is the necessary, practical reduction of the world. This is the transformation of the near-infinite complexity of things through the narrow specification of our purpose. This is how precision makes the world sensibly manifest. 

That is not at all the same as perceiving objects.

Rule 9 —Thou Shouldst Not Have Been Old Till Thou Hadst Been Wise

Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street





" Psychotherapy is not advice. 

Advice is what you get when the person you’re talking with about something horrible and complicated wishes you would just shut up and go away. 

Advice is what you get when the person you are talking to wants to revel in the superiority of his or her own intelligence. If you weren’t so stupid, after all, you wouldn’t have your stupid problems.

Psychotherapy is genuine conversation. Genuine conversation is exploration, articulation and strategizing. When you’re involved in a genuine conversation, you’re listening, and talking—but mostly listening. Listening is paying attention.


It’s amazing what people will tell you if you listen. Sometimes if you listen to people they will even tell you what’s wrong with them. Sometimes they will even tell you how they plan to fix it. Sometimes that helps you fix something wrong with yourself. One surprising time (and this is only one occasion of many when such things happened), I was listening to someone very carefully, and she told me within minutes

(a) that she was a witch and

(b) that her witch coven spent a lot of its time visualizing world peace together.

She was a long-time lower-level functionary in some bureaucratic job.

I would never have guessed that she was a witch.

I also didn’t know that witch covens spent any of their time visualizing World Peace. 
I didn’t know what to make of any of it, either, 

But it wasn’t boring
And that’s something.

David Mills: 
Well, that was money well spent! 

William Somerset: 
He happens to be with The Agency. 

David Mills: 
What, Captain Smelly there? 

CIA Guy: 
[hands over printout
Only you I do this for, okay? 

William Somerset:
[back in squad car
Say you want to know who's reading Mein Kampf...

WHY?



House of Commons Hansard Debates 
for 9 Jun 1997 (pt 13)

Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield): 
I welcome this debate, which takes place in entirely new circumstances. 

I got the feeling that those on both Front Benches were talking as Europeans. 

I, too, was born a European and will die a European. 

It is not really a national matter: we are discussing the future of our continent as we enter the new century. The implications of the decisions that we take are profound constitutionally, politically, economically and socially.
Our cause is not best advanced by talking as though it were a matter of conflict between one nation and another. The history of Europe in this century has been a history of conflict and war arising from nationalism. As I hope to show, if we take the wrong decisions, nationalism could be reawakened.

We have had two wars and the cold war. Fifty years ago, the Marshall plan was designed to strengthen the western European economies. The American ambassador was in the Palace of Westminster the other day and pointed out that the Marshall plan was part of the beginning of globalisation. He said that it was about the containment of communism. The European Economic Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation were set up after the second world war to create a western Europe that would be able to perform again its function as a series of capitalist economies and to resist the onset of communism.

There are many people--I think that the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath), who I am sure will be speaking later, is one--who look back at that history and say that we must build a political federation in western Europe to ensure that does not happen again. I understand that view, although I have never shared it, and the right hon. Gentleman, who as a young man went to Spain to visit those engaged in the Spanish civil war and who played a notable part in the war, is fully entitled to it.

I want to express some of my anxieties, which have been rather delicately touched on in the debate so far. First, the Europe that is on offer is a deflationary Europe. That is what the stability pact and the Maastricht criteria are all about. There has been much anxiety in local government about the standard spending assessment limiting the capacity of local authorities to spend, but I dread the day when the Chancellor comes to the House and says that a standard spending assessment has been made for Britain and that if we go beyond it we shall be fined under the provisions of the stability pact.

Unemployment in Europe, at 18 million or 20 million, is at an horrific level. It is all very well blaming the continental Governments' policies, but unemployment performs an essential function if we want to achieve what are called flexible labour markets. Without unemployment, wages cannot be brought down. Unemployment gets wages down. If wages are brought down, profits go up and imports are limited. In my opinion, the discipline of unemployment is an integral part of the policy being pursued in the European Community.

I am old enough to remember that Hitler came to power when there were 6 million unemployed in Germany. As a 10-year-old, I bought "Mein Kampf"; I have it on my bookshelf still. The problem is beginning to re-emerge with Le Pen in France. With mass unemployment and despair, it is easy to find scapegoats: the Jews, the communists, the trade unionists. To read what was said by the Nazis before the war and consider how it is being echoed today must make people worry about what is in

9 Jun 1997 : Column 821

effect the reimposition of the gold standard in Europe in the name of economic stability. The social price is very high.
My second anxiety is that the whole business--to call it a legal personality is only a way of describing it--involves the transfer of power from the people to Governments. That is what it is about. There is a new political class in Europe that has been accumulating, in the name of the European Union, more and more power for itself. I sat on the Council of Ministers for four years. I was president of the Council of Energy Ministers. The laws in Europe are made by a Parliament that meets in secret. When I was made president, I wrote to all the member countries saying that as we were a Parliament that passed laws, we should have it open so that everyone could hear the debates. That was vetoed; they want to meet in secret. In secret, the negotiations and deals can be made more easily. If the press had been present, as Hansard is here, a very different perspective would have been seen.

I do not draw a direct parallel, but it has sometimes occurred to me that as communism required a party central committee and commissars, Europe has a central bank and Commissioners. Both have a certain distrust of the exercise of popular power because they pursue in the one case a communist philosophy, and in the other a very ideological free-market philosophy, that require the people to be kept at bay.

We are now discussing also something as important as the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, but these other constitutional changes that the Government are contemplating, which I wholly support, involve the transfer of power from London to Edinburgh and Cardiff at the very moment that we are also discussing the transfer of more essential powers from London to Frankfurt, Brussels and Strasbourg.

One reason why I am not in any way nationalist in my approach is that if the single currency goes ahead, power will be transferred to a central bank that will exercise all the levers of power in economic policy. It is no secret that I have some anxieties about the transfer of power to the Bank of England, but at least I have the comfort that the House of Commons can take it back again. In 1946, the Bank of England Act was passed by a majority in the House of Commons. After that, the Bank became subject to Treasury control. If it can go once, it can come back again; but hand power to Frankfurt and it cannot be retained.

If one thing is sacred for me, as I have said time and again, it is the power of the people by using a pencil on a piece of paper to remove those who made the economic policy that determined their lives. It never ceases to amaze me that people without a policeman in sight can take a pencil, put a cross on a piece of paper, pop it in a box and get rid of a Government: whether the last Government, the Callaghan Government, the Wilson Government or the Churchill Government. That is what democracy is about. Transfer the key decisions to people whom we do not elect and cannot remove and we abandon centuries of struggle by the common people to have some say in determining their future.

One last aspect was not touched on by the Foreign Secretary, but I must mention it: the lunacy of extending NATO into eastern Europe and rearming Hungary,

9 Jun 1997 : Column 822

Poland and the Czech Republic. If the history of this century shows one thing, it is that we do not need rearmament in central and eastern Europe. Think of the people we have rearmed at different times for different reasons. We armed Serbia because Tito was hostile to Stalin; look at the price that was paid in the break-up of Yugoslavia. It is beyond the range of common sense when Europe's problems are so enormous, and when we need jobs and health facilities, to launch an arms drive to re-equip the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians.
I mention that because under our constitution--happily, we are looking at it; I have been interested in constitutional reform for a very long time--the power to extend NATO was taken by royal prerogative. Parliament was never consulted because all foreign relations are dealt with by the prerogative of treaty making. To put it as quietly as I can, I am worried about a deflationary Europe, a centralised Europe, an anti-democratic Europe and a rearmed Europe. Those anxieties in no way relate to Euro-scepticism because if we get it wrong, it will affect every country, not just Britain. It will take away democracy from Germany, France, Italy and the rest.

One reason why this debate is important is that it comes during the aftermath of some important elections. The British general election saw a major landslide which, dare I say it without being confrontational, rejected the policies of the previous Government. I put it no stronger than that. It appeared that those policies did not find favour with the electorate. I do not know whether to describe the French elections as an "old Labour" victory because that might get me into trouble with Excalibur. Lionel Jospin won an election on the basis of creating 750,000 new jobs and a shorter working week. In every country in Europe, people want jobs, full employment--what is wrong with that as an objective rather than a bit of modernisation of skills and training?--a living wage, homes to live in, lifelong health care and education, dignity when they are old, and peace. That is the voice of Europe that we heard on 1 May and in the French election.

We should seek a Europe in which we co-operate without coercion. I have presented to the House twice before, and may again, a Bill that would make it possible for the 47 countries in our continent to co-operate. All the arguments about pollution and the dangers of fraud could be dealt with as well by co-operation as by coercion. It is the fear of failure that concerns me. If this scheme fails, the result will be a recrudescence of nationalism. It is already beginning. The Sun had a headline, "Up Yours Delors", a typical Murdoch insult. The problem was not Delors, whom I have known for a long time, or his nationality; it was that the system was wrong. How easy for some editor to turn that into hostility to Germany, France, Spain and Italy when their people suffer from the same problems as we do.

I believe, and I have said it so many times in the House that no one will be surprised, that this is a supremely democratic question. It is about whether the people of Britain, France, Germany and Spain are to be allowed, through their domestic democracies, to get rid of the people who control them. That is not possible within the framework of a politically driven federal Europe. It is not about economics; it is politically motivated. I understand and respect that, but I know it. If that ability were lost, I believe that we would have thrown away centuries of history.

9 Jun 1997 : Column 823

I recognise that these issues divide everyone. It would be a mistake to suppose that the matter could be fitted neatly into party loyalties; the evidence shows that it cannot. When we vote on the matter in the House of Commons, there will, however one puts it, be a free vote. There will then be a free vote in the referendum on the matter. I beg the House not to see the matter, as it so often has in the past, as a choice between those who are pro or anti Europe. It is about democracy or dictatorship. I do not mean dictatorship in its more elaborate and terrifying forms but the right to govern ourselves.

Julius Caesar arrived in 55 BC with a single currency; we still use it. It took Boadicea, the original iron lady, to raise the men of Essex, known then as the Iceni, to fight the seventh legion to try to contain it. That is not the approach that we should take. We should try to ensure that the people of Europe control their own future. Mistakes will be made by any Government; if we cannot correct mistakes through the ballot box, we will have thrown away everything that matters, including all the ideas that have led to the creation of this House and of our democracy in Britain.


Rule 5 - I Play Blindfolded



Rule #1 :
Stand up straight with your shoulders back

Rule #2 :
Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping

Rule #3 :
Make friends with people who want the best for you

Rule #4 :
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today

Rule #5 :
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Rule #6 :
Set your house in perfect order before you criticise The World

Rule #7 :
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Rule #8 :
Tell The Truth – or, at least, don’t lie.

Rule #9
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

Rule #10 :
Be precise in your speech

Rule #11 : 
Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding

Rule #12 :
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street


“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. 

And to tell The Truth, there’s hardly any difference.”



Harry Truman



THE HOODWINK

By Bro. Henry Taylor, Missouri

In the candidate's experiences of initiation the hoodwink plays a larger part than we are wont to think. To him it is one of the most impressive of the things that are done to him. Being darkened, his other senses are all the more alert; what he touches, hears or smells takes on an added significance. His imagination is aroused, everything becomes magnified, so that some of the simplest things done about him, steps taken or words said, assume almost terrifying magnitudes. His fears and apprehensions are abnormally active. In this state he is, so far as his emotions and mind are concerned, in a state of such impressibility that every stage of his experience leaves behind it an indelible memory. The reader may verify this for himself by recalling his own impressions, especially of his First Degree, though there were times afterwards when his being in darkness possessed an even greater power to move him to fear and awe. It is, no doubt, because darkness heightens all the sensibilities, and thereby increases the effect of the ceremonies, that the Hoodwink is used. It is an instrument of psychological effect.

This was early discovered by those in charge of initiations, for it is a matter of record that in the most ancient ceremonies the candidate was made to walk in darkness, either by shutting all light from the room or by the use of the Hoodwink. It was so in the ceremonies of Eleusis, of Isris and of Mithras; it was doubtless so in a hundred other secret fraternities of which no records remain to us.

As regards our own rites, it should be carefully noted that the purpose of the Hoodwink is not to hide things from the candidate. There is nothing to hide. Moreover, all that there is is later on revealed, for the Hoodwink is removed in the early part of the ceremonies. The Hoodwink is a thing to be used to bring about a certain state of mind, and to suggest certain ideas, and may, therefore, be classified as a symbol.

Like the manner in which the candidate finds himself clothed, and the way whereby he finds himself rendered helpless and utterly dependent on his guides, the Hoodwink may be considered as a symbol of the weakness and destitution of the uninitiated. Initiation is a process of birth into a new world, or into a new relation, or into a new order of experience: relative to that new world into which he is about to enter, the candidate is like the babe unborn, a helpless creature lying bound in its mother's womb. Accordingly he is in darkness: not yet born he has no use of his eyes, and no light whereby to see if he could use them.

The effect and meaning of the Hoodwink, as the candidate himself knows and feels it, may be thus interpreted, but there is a larger meaning to the Hoodwink, considered as a thing apart, as one of the many symbols of the lodge, which, if we will consider it aright, will lead us into an order of ideas from which much light flows. Indeed, I have come to believe, after some study of the matter, that the Hoodwink, and the rites and experiences attendant upon it, deserves a place among the outstanding landmarks (if I may thus use a word usually reserved for other connections) of our system of symbolism.

In searching for its meaning as one of the major symbols it is significant to note that the Hoodwink is removed (symbolically, that is) by the declaration that there must be light, and that there is light. When the light comes the darkness flees away. The lodge does not cause anything to come into existence that was not already there; it creates nothing; it furnishes the candidate with no new faculties or senses; it furnishes nothing but light.

All this is true in a great way of human experience everywhere. The "profane" is one to whom a thing has not yet been revealed; he cannot see. But it is not because anyone has deliberately and arbitrarily forbidden him to see; his blindness is in himself, and is his own fault. There at his side is the object of his search, or, it may be, the great truth of which he has dreamed, but he sees nothing of either because his eyes are holden. When he has learned how to open his eyes, light comes and he can make his own that for which he has searched. The real initiation is an internal awakening whereby he who before was blind to that which lay before him can now behold it, who now can make his own that which he needs.

In another order of speech this is fitly called "revelation," which word carries within itself its own truest definition. Revelation does not create that which did not before exist; it lifts the veil and makes apparent. One stands before a window which opens out upon a range of the Alps, but the blind is drawn and the mountains are as if they were not; then the blind is lifted and the mountains stand forth to the eye. That is a picture of what takes place in revelation.

When the first man drew breath in this life it was true that objects acted toward each other in that invariable manner which we describe as gravity, but this gravity was as though it were not until at last, in this far end of history, Sir Isaac Newton found his Hoodwink lifted and his eyes opened. That same first man walked about upon a spherical earth which turned upon its own axis and revolved about the sun, but it was not until Copernicus and his followers learned to see this which had so long existed that for us it became a fact. In both cases nothing was created, a blind was lifted.

When in our own lodges the candidate is brought to light it is in order that he may have unimpeded vision of the Great Lights of Masonry, which same lie before him as symbolized by the Holy Book, the Square and the Compasses. Now there is no need here that we undertake an interpretation of these symbols; it will be understood what are the realities represented by them. The point is to note that the things for the sake of which Masonry exists are things that Masonry did not bring into existence and which are in no sense its private property. Always and forever God is, and God is the Father of us all; always and forever man is the brother of man, whatever man himself may believe about it; always and forever the human being is immortal, and all the laws of righteousness are as universal and immutable as gravity itself. But just as the law of gravitation was hidden from human minds for millennia of time until there came minds capable of seeing it, so with these matters, the purpose of the Masonic initiation is to "open the young man's eyes" in order that he may be brought into possession of those truths. Masonry does not create, it reveals, and the removal of the Hoodwink symbolizes that fact.

In the case of the scientists above mentioned the act of vision came after a long intellectual preparation. That intellectual preparation was to them their own proper internal initiation. In making one's own those moral and spiritual realities of which Masonry is composed, and which is its function to put into the possession of its initiates, something more than intellectual preparation is required, though it must ever be remembered that Masonry is a patron of education and the sciences, as well as of the moral and religious life. A preparation of the whole man is needed, of the hands, the ears, the emotions, the memories, as well as the intellect.

For it is true that, as the old saying attributed to St Francis has it, "We know as much as we are." In proportion as a man grows impure all that is meant by purity ceases to exist or grows remote and apparently unreal. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." In proportion as a man develops the habit of lying and of being a lie, the truth will fly from him and seem to vanish. The pathway to moral reality lives through character.

This, I believe, holds true of that which is the search of searches, the one Grand Object of all Initiation - the knowledge of God. Why is it that to so many men God is as though He were not? It is not because God Himself sets out to conceal Himself from His own children; it is not because, for some profound reasons of providence or creation, it is necessary that God veil Himself. It is because these men have never made that internal preparation whereby alone God can be known. The path to Him is the most secret of all paths, not because He has arbitrarily chosen to make it so, but because it leads through the hidden motives of the heart and the innermost chambers of the soul. One of our poets has written of this with penetration:

"I made a pilgrimage to find the God; 
I listened for His voice at holy tombs, 
Searched for the prints of His immortal feet 
In the dust of broken altars; yet turned back 
With empty heart. But on the homeward road 
A great light came upon me and I heard 
The God's voice ringing in a nesting lark; 
Felt His sweet wonder in a growing rose; 
Received His blessing from a wayside well; 
Looked on His beauty in a lover's face; 
Saw His bright hand send signal from the sun."


We can afford to ignore the note of unreal sentimentality in these lines in order that they may furnish us with a concrete picture of that which is the ultimate secret in all initiations whatsoever. As you read, as I write, God is about us each; He is here as surely as He is in any other world whatsoever; we are as well able to find Him here and to know Him here as we shall ever be. There is no veil between us and some other world in which He dwells; this world in which we live is as much His world as any, and He is here if only we can learn to know Him. And we can learn to know Him if we rightly practice the profound saying that the pure in heart shall see him. The gentle Linnaeus inscribed over his doorway the sentence, "Live innocently, God is present." We might, without irreverence to that wise teacher, reverse the saying to read, "If you live innocently God will be here." For all knowledge comes to us through the soul, and if the soul itself is veiled and clouded by passion and untruth, how shall we know? How shall we know anything that is worth knowing? "If thy heart were right," says Thomas a' Kempis, "all creatures would be to thee a book of holy doctrine."

These reflections have conducted us to the true meaning, I venture to believe, of esotericism, or of Occultism. There is and can be no esotericism in the sense that God has whispered into the ears of a few favourites the ultimate truths and left the rest to us, the uncounted millions of the rest of us, outside the closed circle of those knowing ones. There is no esotericism in the sense that in order to discover any truth we must join some secret society. No secret society in existence, one may venture to say with a touch of dogmatism, possesses any truth that the wise men of the earth have not long ago discovered. The truths taught by all the occult fraternities are truths that men tell each other on the street corners. But there is a true esotericism, one may say that it is almost an eternal esotericism, for it is inconceivable that it will ever cease to be, and it consists in this, that truth is possessed only by those who are inwardly prepared to possess it. A man who possesses the light may help another to see it; may teach him many things that help him to open his eyes, but after all is done the major part remains to the seeker himself. He must open out the paths through his own mind and heart; he must inwardly prepare himself. Until he does the light cannot be his, and to him those who do possess it are living in an esoteric privilege.

Of the inward and constitutional lack of faculty, the Hoodwink is the fitting symbol. It stands for that darkness which is due, not to accident, or to tyranny, but to a lack in the soul itself, which the darkened one alone has the means to remove.


- Source: The Builder - September 1923







" Recently, I watched a three-year-old boy trail his mother and father slowly through a crowded airport. He was screaming violently at five-second intervals —and, more important, he was doing it voluntarily

He wasn’t at the end of this tether. As a parent, I could tell from the tone. He was irritating his parents and hundreds of other people to gain attention. Maybe he needed something. But that was no way to get it, and his parents should have let him know that. 

You might object that “perhaps they were worn out, and jet-lagged, after a long trip.” But thirty seconds of carefully directed problem-solving would have brought the shameful episode to a halt. 

More thoughtful parents would not have let someone they truly cared for become the object of a crowd’s contempt.