I was born in 1944 and have been interested in both still photography and video for several decades.

My other passions are playing electric blues and jazz guitar and being a bit of an "armchair philosopher"!

I get angry about injustice.

I both love and hate modern living - it's exciting but psychotic!

I'm opinionated on social issues but not so much on photographic issues because art is purely subjective.


I see life as a journey - a journey with no destination - a journey with countless  diversions from which to choose - a journey with no divine plan or purpose. I think we create our own lives; we make choices and those choices, together with our genes, family and our environment, shape our personalities and how we experience life.




Is Philosophy for phoneys? 2012
The subject of Philosophy has often been regarded as a pointless exercise in which dons and their students on that “other planet" of Academia can play word games with each other and ensure that the topic is too difficult and inaccessible for hoi polloi to understand.
There may be an element of truth in this but there are plenty of good introductory books on the subject these days which makes it relatively much easier to understand: Moreover, these books help the layperson to appreciate the potential real value of Philosophy.
I believe that Sociology (another much ridiculed subject) should be seen as a close a sibling of Philosophy, and interrelated: Surely Philosophy really is pointless if it is not used as a sociological tool with which to attempt to enlighten and hopefully improve the cultural values of a society.
Philosophy doesn’t have to be the preserve of those in “ivory towers”: We all philosophise - we all make judgements every day as to the best course of action to take or the best solution to a problem in the long run. Every time we wonder about nature or seek to increase our knowledge about life, we are philosophising.
So, there is surely nothing wrong with philosophy per se but so much depends on how it is used or interpreted.
Philosophy does not always provide the answers, but at least it can help to us to ask the right questions and to provide a framework and a point from which to start.
*An excellent and highly accessible introduction to Philosophy can be found in “Philosophy - The Basics” a book by Nigel Warburton.
Crazy World   ‎20/‎07/‎2015
I think many of us probably tend to think that we humans are fundamentally rational beings and keep our feelings and emotions in check most of the time. I'm not so sure: I think we are at the mercy of our emotions more than we think: Of course, if we were always slaves to reason, and never listened to our emotions, we would become like robots - less human and unable to excel at or appreciate art and entertainment - unable to have fun.
When I look around me, I think the world is crazy - maybe it's an age thing...or perhaps my expectations are too high...but I can't help feeling that society as a whole is falling under the spell of increasingly insane dogmas - and I'm not just talking about fundamentalist religious dogmas - I'm also talking about fundamentalist political and economic dogmas that seem to control our lives whether we like it or not.
Many of these dogmas still persist even after they have demonstrably failed to benefit most people. They of course, benefit the elite who promote these dogmas.

Under the dogma of the so-called Free Market Capitalism, only the rich have become better off with no evidence of a "trickle down" effect to help the poor. However, research by the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development)  has shown that there is powerful evidence that developed countries with a smaller gap between rich and poor have happier, more stable and harmonious societies.
Big business and market forces don't just control our lives economically: they also dictate the politics and the pace of our lives: As a result, many of us seem too busy, too wound up and stressed but we don’t recognize the fact - or we’re in denial. Maybe we don’t like to admit that we suffer from stress. I think stress is like a dependency drug and we get withdrawal symptoms if we try to get rid of it - so we forget how to relax:  We have this mad obsession with targets - targets that are superficial and simplistic - they look good on paper but often only serve to tick boxes that don't relate to the real world.  
This crazy society is too busy and complex now: too clogged up, too much chaos, too much going on but going nowhere. It’s as if we can’t bear the sound of silence and so we have to fill that void with anything – anything so that we don’t have to face up to our inadequacies – so we don’t have to look into that black abyss and confront our innermost doubts and fears. We don’t have enough time to reflect and examine our lives or who we really are or who we want to be. Maybe we need to step back and see what’s really happening. Many of us search for identity and yet still choose to follow the crowd. As the great philosopher, Socrates once said: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’.
Life without meaning

I think one of the important changes in modern life in the UK and Europe is that we are becoming less religious and we are having to adapt to the new wave of atheism and agnosticism. Many of us are increasingly beginning to doubt the authority of the Bible, which after all, wasn't written by God himself, but by many human beings creating their own interepretations of the truth and therefore lacking in objectivity.
In the past, many of us felt that we ultimately had God on our side and that gave us some degree of certainty and security in life; but now many of us are beginning to question the validity of such religious beliefs as science presents us with alternative theories: But still, religious dogma persists.

Why do we feel the need for there to be a purpose behind our existence?
Let's just suppose for a moment that if there is a meaning and purpose for our existence: Just what would that purpose be?
Humankind seems to be intent on destroying itself and the planet. Humankind contributes absolutely nothing to the sustainability or evolution of the universe. I'm sure the universe could manage perfectly well without humankind altogether.
So why do we need a God? Why would a God need us? Why do we create this fantasy super-parent figure... so we can shirk from taking responsibilities for our own actions and morality? Do we really need someone or something on high to dictate to us their rules on morality? I really don't think we are acting morally if we simply behave well because we are told to or because of the fear of punishment. Surely, we should  behave well because we feel empathy with others and a desire for harmony.
Another question might be: Surely, wouldn't a perfect being produce other perfect beings, or for that matter, why would they bother to produce anything because God is supposed to be already perfect? Why should an omnipotent God create an imperfect world with imperfect people?
Why would God create anything - for his own amusement, perhaps?  I'm not sure I like that idea...

My view is that there is an energy or life force behind everything and that it has always been there and always be: In other words, there has always got to be something: I think the concept of absolute nothingness is an absurdity. I mean if I empty a box of matches, we would all agree that the box is empty.   However, it is only empty of visible substance but it is alway full of invisible gas particles of some sort.
Because I think substance and energy of some sort, however dilute or invisible, have always been and always will be part of the universe by default - then surely we don't need to look for a God or indeed a purpose for our existence.
I just don't believe in a God or any supernatural force that can create miracles or impose its will over the laws of nature. I feel that we are just thrown on to this earth, as it were, and have to simply get on with things and make life as comfortable and pleasant as possible for each our mutual interests.
So that leaves me with the feeling that everything exists by chance - that this life force doesn't create stuff for any purpose - it creates stuff because it just can't help itself....




The Truth is out there – but do we choose to see it?  Nov/2008
Many of us seem too busy, too wound up and stressed but we don’t recognize the fact - or we’re in denial. Maybe we don’t like to admit that we suffer from stress. Maybe stress is like a dependency drug and we get withdrawal symptoms if we try to get rid of it. Much of the stress is difficult to overcome by individuals on their own – many feel trapped by circumstances and events beyond their control. Governments and big business employers cause much stress with endless talk of targets. Are there not far too many targets? The achievements of these targets are frequently cosmetic. In the Health Service for example, targets have often been achieved in terms of numbers of operations completed but too often the more serious operations are put on hold while easier but less urgent operations are given priority instead – just to make the figures look good. So though on paper, the targets appear to be met, I’m sure most people would agree that it would be better and more ethical to clear the serious operations first. Surely, quantity isn’t everything – but priorities, quality and efficacy are. Some employers run stress relief courses - as if to shift the blame for all the stress they cause on to the individual members of staff. However, if management talked a little less about targets and first ensured that they had enough staff and resources to achieve their targets (and that the targets were sensible in the first place) then we might be able to avoid a lot of stress. Of course, a certain amount of stress is natural and inevitable – that’s life – but I’m talking about the huge amount of unecessary stress created by the artificiality of much of our our way of life. Undoubtedly, the standard of living in economic terms, for most of us in the West, is better than it was in the earlier decades of the 20th century but surely there is more to life than material wealth and consumerism. Of course we still have poverty - or what is called relative poverty: the gap between rich and poor has widened more than ever. Of course the rich elite tell the rest of us that they must be patient and wait for the 'trickle down' effect. Well, many of the poorer sections of society are still waiting! This is not about envy, as many right-wing critics would say, because I'm personally quite content with what I have. It's more about a fairer distribution of wealth - I mean, we're told repeatedly and ad nauseum, that those at the top who create the wealth need to be constantly incentivised: But what about those at and near the bottom? Do they not need incentives to take them out of the dole queue? Surely, those 'at the top' need to recognise that they would not be where they are without teamwork and support of some kind. So it seems to me that we have become slaves to big business and the media - whether it be related to advertisements or political propaganda. The ‘Credit Crunch’ is biting ever deeper into society, highlighting the weaknesses and lack of regulation of big business and financial institutions as the cracks keep appearing even as I write this in 2008. This should surely be a chastening lesson to a society that gets itself into trillions of pounds of debt - the bigger the boom, the bigger the bust (if you’ll pardon the expression!). Many people complain about the ‘nanny state’ and tell the government not to keep interfering; but clearly, the credit crunch is an instance where maybe the government really should have intervened a long time ago. Before the so-called ‘free market’, we had much tighter controls on how much we could borrow and how much financial institutions could lend. Some might say that in a free and democratic society, we should be free to make as many big credit transactions as we like. But what kind of freedom is this if people are permanently stuck with big debts? Freedom and democracy are pretty meaningless words that have no absolute definition. This makes it convenient for politicians to bandy such words about when trying to justify imposing their domination over other cultures. So at best, freedom and democracy are merely relative values – it’s clearly impossible to have absolute freedom because one man’s liberty is another’s slavery. I suppose the best we can hope for is some degree of consensus as to what is fair and just. Of course, in many ways, our society is more free and democratic than many other societies across the globe, but we are nevertheless controlled or conditioned by the media into a certain blinkered ‘mainstream’ way of thinking – an acceptance of the status quo. The commercial media is constrained in what it is allowed to print by its reliance on advertising and the BBC has to kowtow to the government of the day to ensure it’s licence renewal. The BBC’s board of governers are appointed by the government – and most of them have business interests. We have to ask, do they truly represent the views of the average viewer? I doubt it. 
What kind of Education for the 21st Century  25 October 2008
I believe we need a thorough overhaul of our education system. Yes, there should be plenty of emphasis on spelling, mental arithmetic and learning tables but surely in addition to vocational study, there’s a need to take a more holistic approach that gives equal importance to the personal development of more fully rounded individuals.This means the nurturing of our young to become citizens who are capable of thinking for themselves and not being too easily influenced by government propaganda or some of the media nonsense. Many of us don’t realise just how much the establishment elite and the big corporations control our lives via the media to serve their interests and maintain the status quo, regardless of which government is in power. I’m not talking conspiracy theories here – it’s more of an insidious complicity between the ruling elite and the rest of us. It doesn’t much matter which of the main political parties is in power - big business, with its media links, calls the shots. All three main parties rely on business backers to gain power and to stay in power: So how can we ever logically expect a truly radical party that represents the best interests of the nation as a whole?In short, I think a healthy society needs people who are prepared to question everything around them, be it on political, social, economic or religious issues. Parents vary in their ability or inclination to encourage their children to ask questions about life around them (maybe due to the pressures of modern living) and so it is vitally important that schools fill this gap. Education should not just be about facts but also about the testing of the validity of facts. We also need to be encouraged to feel more empathy for others and be a little more inclined to self-scrutiny i.e. to examine our own biases and motives before we condemn others. Perhaps, above all, we need to recognize the biased information we often receive via the media which is overwhelmingly influenced by politics and big business. I would question the assumption made by many of us that we are an enlightened society. In making comparisons with several other countries of the world, we probably are relatively enlightened but we should not be so smug as to think we are continually making progress as a culture merely because, like America, we are becoming more technically advanced. Technological development can never be a substitute for human development. Technical progress is important, of course, but it depends on where the technology is concentrated and how it benefits mankind in the long run. For example, is building and promoting more advanced and deadlier weapons technology really progress? Do we really need enough weapons to destroy the world over and over again? I don’t think so. Instead of being educated to get on with people around the world, we all too often, seem to be educated to seek confrontation. Politicians would have us believe that wars are just a nasty reality, but is that perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than an inevitable fact of life in this world of corrupt and greedy power? I believe all schools should introduce more and more philosophical discussions into lessons. For instance History is a subject full of myths and matters of conjecture and open to different interpretations. Instead of just feeding students with hard ‘facts’ (which are sometimes myths), students should be encouraged to form their own opinions from a wide body of evidence. They should also be taught how other subjects tie in with History and interrelate. There is so much we can learn from history and yet our politicians, in their arrogance, so often choose not to learn. Education should not be used merely to produce work fodder for the economy with the individual’s interests being of secondary importance. Our school children need to be offered a broad and imaginative enough education to hold their interest. Unfortunately, it seems to me, both teachers and pupils are unable to achieve this because they have more and more pressure put on them by constant tests, government tinkering and obsession with targets. These targets are often virtually useless and seem to be a means of making the government look good via the "spin department". Education should be conducted in a happy and interesting environment and can only be achieved if pupils are allowed to learn at their own speed and not made to feel they are failures just because they don’t pass every test that comes along. Education should put less emphasis on status and qualifications for professional careers. I’m sure a good plumber can be at least as, if not more important, as some over-paid management or human affairs consultant, for example.                                                                                            
A Few Thoughts on Morals   Friday, 24 October 2008
I think it’s instinctive in a normal healthy human being, if they are unspoiled by the pressures of our artificial existence, to act in a moral way with or without the guiding hand of a God figure. Surely, if we behave in a certain way because God or anyone else says so, then that is not a moral action – it is an action that we perform because we are told to do so but not necessarily because we feel it is right. We have our own man-made laws that are designed to curb any clearly unacceptable behaviour that harms others and I think it is our responsibility to hone and fine tune these laws to reflect broad justice and civilized behaviour across society as a whole. Maybe the question of morals is a bit like being ill. If you are ill you just want to get better – you don’t need a purpose – your desire to get better is overwhelmingly powerful.I think, in the same way, ‘good’ is better than ‘bad’ and so I think we naturally gravitate toward goodness – we just need to recognise when our soul is sick. The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, apparently believed that if an individual is armed with knowledge, they will behave in a temperate or 'good' way. Socrates has been criticised for being too simplistic or maybe downright wrong but I think he was essentially correct. It all depends on how we interpret this 'knowledge' and I suppose it depends on how absolutist we want to be. Critics would probably say that bad people do bad things simply because they have bad natures.Then we have to ask: How much of our nature is down to inborn traits or to societal, environmental and upringing influences? I would guess that all these factors come into play - but to what extent and in what ratio? Who knows? I reckon that if an individual is properly educated to realise the importance and rewards of reciprocating favourably with others, then essentially, they will not behave badly. In theory, of course, this depends on other interdependent factors like the need to ensure that we are all nurtured to maintain our self-esteem in the face of the tough reality of human competition. This is for another topic, but it surely requires the recognition that most of us have various talents and contributions to make to society - what we lose on one, we can gain on another. We should not feel too important nor too unimportant in the scheme of things.  



What is Intelligence?   22 October 2008
Intelligence means many things to many people. Is wisdom intelligence? I suppose so, but not necessarily to a high degree - though it implies a certain amount of rationality. Wisdom is being sensible, a quality that is based on experience, but nevertheless subjective for all that – it's as much a quality of emotional intelligence as anything. Intelligence and wisdom seem not to be mutually exclusive - there seem to be a good number of intelligent people doing pretty stupid things. Undoubtedly the ability to work out maths problems quickly and accurately is a form of intelligence - a kind of intelligence that can be measured and difficult to dispute. I think many of us would agree that an ability to quickly grasp the reality of a situation is an important feature of intelligence - but of course, that assumes that there is a consensus on what that reality actually is. Another feature of intelligence might be the ability to extrapolate already known facts to infer conclusions to new or similar problems. Surely intelligence isn't just about quick thinking - it's also about depth and breadth of thinking and the awareness of the many possible ramifications of a certain course of action or idea.The power of reasoning is a sort of over-arching, all encompassing quality many of us might ascribe to intelligence - but paradoxically, intelligence can be combined with irrational behaviour. Intelligence means being clever but being clever doesn’t necessarily mean being rational. What do we mean by rationality? The dictionary provides us with a definition of two strands: 1. logical thought processes. 2. sensible thoughts. Surely these two definitions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Logic is about reasoning; but surely reasoning can be faulty and therefore not necessarily sensible. We need to accept that the views of someone whose beliefs are opposed to (or even hostile to) our own are nevertheless often well thought out and therefore, in that sense, rational. For example, the more ‘tender-hearted’ among us will tend have more liberal and socially aware and compassionate answers to both global and domestic problems: Those of the tougher, more hawkish disposition, will see life as a Darwinian fight for survival of the fittest and expect the less fortunate among us to ‘pull ourselves together’. I think it's worth noting here, however, that the scientist and admirer of Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, seems very much opposed to Darwinian natural selection or 'Social Darwinism' being applied as a 'business model' for humankind.Maybe these tougher minded, perhaps more adventurous, people actually enjoy a state of confrontation and conflict in their world. Maybe the world is like that. For example, maybe the neo-cons are quite happy, untroubled and unrepentant over their intervention in Iraq and the state of affairs they have brought about there or exacerbated. Maybe your interpretation of logic depends on your empathy with and threshold of sensitivity to feelings and needs of other beings. I’m being a ‘Devil’s Advocate’ here – Personally, I naturally lean toward the need for a more compassionate view of life. The trouble is, ‘rationality’ it seems to me, is a highly subjective definition. Anyway, within the framework of everyday life, the general idea of irrationality i.e. of being silly, stupid and without logic, is still supported by a broad consensus. I’m not sure to what degree rationality can be taught. However, I certainly think that we can and should be taught more about how our logic is often skewed by our negative emotions like greed. Our logic is also skewed, I think, by delusions caused by our various insecurities. Then, last but not least, is the stress and overwork factor which prevents us from stepping back and examining our lives and getting in touch with our true selves. We just need to observe the behaviour and decisions of some of our global corporations and political leaders, their aides and think-tanks, to see how close those contrasting bed fellows - intelligence and irrationality can be. 
Self-Improvement - Nice Idea or Narcissistic Nonsense?   October 2012
It seems like there is a plethora of “self-help” or self-improvement books these days but I don’t know how many of them actually work. Maybe it depends on the individual and the way in which he or she interprets these books. Anyway, trying to improve our individual characters and not just our skills and general abilities to function in everyday life would seem to be a good idea. So much attention is given to getting through our education with good exam passes but not enough attention is given to producing good, well-balanced and well-rounded individuals that can relate appropriately to others and to the world around them. It seems to me fashionable to make allowances for someone’s bad behaviour or serious character flaws just because they are top performers in their field. There’s a lot of this attitude: “I can’t help it - it’s just the way I am” and “I don’t care because I’m a great footballer” or “I’m a leading politician”. These attitudes may not always be voiced but are often, I think, implicit in the way some of us behave. So we have a situation were many individuals simply refuse to take responsibility for their actions or their very destinies. For them, morals and decent behaviour are pretty low down their list of priorities compared to having fun or achieving fame and fortune as a celebrity. We all have flaws - some more than others - but I think in this meaningless existence of ours we can find or create our own meaning in life and indeed gain some satisfaction in reaping the benefits of self-improvement. For instance treating others as you would have them treat you is a good place to start. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a Buddhist Karma that bites us back in our next re-incarnation but I certainly think there is a kind of Karma in the here and now: We reap what we sow. Of course, we will nearly all fall short of our aspirations, myself included, but even some movement in the direction of self-improvement has got to be a good thing. It’s a bit like physical exercise: we tend gain a better sense of well-being after engaging in it: In fact, one of George Bernard Shaw’s characters - Octavious - in ‘Man and Superman’ treated self-improvement as if he was in a ‘mental gymnasium’. Of course, there lies a potential problem: It’s quite possible to become a bit obsessive and aim too high like Octavious and become the victim of self-torture. I suppose it’s all about balance - being the best you can be without beating yourself up; trying your best but at the same time - giving yourself just a little bit of slack. Of course it could be argued that all this preoccupation with self-improvement might promote narcissistic tendencies: Well, I think this is only likely if we merely select a limited choice of goals - let’s say goals aimed at physical prowess - at the expense of more important outgoing aims like becoming more empathetic, compassionate, tolerant and attentive to others, for example.
Freedom and Democracy   October 2012
In Britain, or anywhere else for that matter, if we are going to evolve into a happier, more civilised and rational society, there has to be a major cultural shift in our values and understanding and acceptance of the nature of freedom and democracy: Without more freedom and democracy, the facilitating of success and self-realisation for increased numbers of individual aspirations is severely limited.In the West we talk about the importance of democracy and how we inherited many of our democratic ideals from the ancient Greeks. However, democracy in ancient Greece only applied to Greek male citizens and did not extend to women or the many slaves that oiled the wheels of Greek society. In our society, democracy and freedom are also merely relative concepts and it is frankly disingenuous, in the ‘real world’, to pretend that they can  they can be practised as absolute values. One man or woman’s freedom might well be to the detriment of the freedom of another. Eric Fromm wrote about freedom in 1941 and some years later, Isaiah Berlin reached similar conclusions in his essay defining the concepts of ‘positive freedom’ and ‘negative freedom’. This idea of ‘negative freedom’ is one that allows freedom without external restraints. Berlin’s idea of ‘positive freedom’ is of a kind of qualified or somewhat restrictive freedom that might mean sacrificing negative freedom but will be for our own good in the long run. This type of transcendent freedom supposedly releases us from our baser instincts and provides us with a richer and truer sense of real freedom.The trouble is (and Berlin recognised this) that governments often use the pretext of positive freedom to impose unpopular and draconian measures ‘for our own good’. Karl Marx described how the ruling class controlled society through capitalism whereby workers received wages for their efforts but profits went back to the bosses or shareholders instead of being shared among everyone involved in the enterprise.In the days when Marx was alive, workers really did have a hard time: Marx saw society as being structured by economic factors. Understandably, he saw society as a conflict between the ruling capitalist class and the workers: He visualised a society where the workers would eventually take over control of their lives. I strongly suspect that if there was a revolution and the workers did take over, we would still have a similar situation - a rich and powerful elite at the top of society and those much less well off at the bottom. In other words, it would be like the pigs’ revolution in Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: That is because I think all humans are alike - we’re all animals, after all - and there is greed, self-seeking, intelligence, and stupidity throughout all the strata of society. My view is that we can never begin to extend our freedoms and democratic values or allow more people to have a voice in their nations affairs unless we put a stop to big business sponsorship of political candidates. This would enable bright candidates from all ‘classes’ to represent people from all walks of life without being tied to the puppet strings of big business.
Programmed for Prejudice     10/‎03/‎2013
As human beings, we seem to be hard-wired to prejudice: I suppose it's almost impossible to avoid being biased at times because we are so influenced by our emotions. This natural tendency seems to be stronger in some of us than in others:  Because it seems to be such an innate part of everyone of us, perhaps as a society, we would benefit from making a conscious effort to re-examine our values, beliefs and preconceptions. For example, the school curriculum could incorporate strands of learning within the Humanities syllabus that encourage pupils not just to absorb and learn facts but to question those facts and everything around them.
We need to constantly question our cultural values and the veracity of our media. We need to question media sources and their connections with politicics and various special              lobbying groups.                                   
Obviously, it's impossible to say definitively, what is prejudice and what is not - after all,  we're often blissfully unaware of our own prejudices. However, if we voice an opinion we should  at least back our arguments with facts. The trouble is, of course, that facts are not always facts: The media constantly bombard us with half-truths, downright lies, disinformation and generally selective reporting of facts - the media, including the so-called up-market papers, seem to feed our prejudices. Of course, there's lots of propaganda on television generally, but I would single out the BBC as the worst offender because they are signators to a Broadcasting Charter which promises to provide viewers with unbiased and unprejudiced reporting. Clearly, the BBC Charter is often ignored and the BBC is merely a propaganda mouthpiece for the government of the day: Witness the non-existent weapons of mass-destruction in Iraq which the BBC never questioned; witness how the BBC almost ignored the anti-Iraq war demonstration and downplayed the great numbers who had gathered for the protest. 
Why do the BBC always take the politicians word for it when the political leaders talk of exporting 'democracy' to the Mid East when what they really mean is they want the oil or at least to control the region for strategic reasons.
Now of course, I could be accused of being prejudiced in my musings about being prejudiced! Well, maybe, but I think it's pretty obvious that the BBC has always had to kow-tow to the government of the day over anything important like foreign policy. For example, presenter Kirsty Wark asked an ideologically-loaded question about the West 'exporting democracy': when someone complained, Helen Boaden, then BBC News director, sent e-mails to the complainer with six pages of attached quotes from Bush and Blair - this was  supposed to prove that their intentions behind invading Iraq were benign! 
So it seems that according to the BBC, a leading politician's word is 'gospel' long as he or she is a western politican!
In short, prejudice is not easy to define - one man's prejudice may be another's honest and objective  assessment of a situation - but with such distorted media, we can never know how much is prejudice and how much is rational assessment.
In an ideal world, we would have media sources that have proprietors and journalists who have a mission to tell all sides of a story - with accurate, honest, probing reports and only concerned with the truth as opposed to sensation and propaganda. However, the reality is of course, that we have on the one hand, a media that is owned by incredibly rich and powerful individuals and is also dependent on corporate advertising and on the other hand, the BBC - which is ultimately controlled by the government of the day.

Can enlightenment enable us to evolve into more civilised, rational cultures? 28.10.2010


In our ‘developed world’, sitting in our warm houses and cars with all our elaborate and sophisticated technology, with all the comforts and fancy gadgets of modern life, it’s easy to forget our savage and brutal history.

We just need to read about Mediaeval or Tudor times to remind ourselves how appallingly brutal and cruel our society was a few hundred years ago.

Even the great reforms of the Victorian times were very much overshadowed by mass poverty, slavery, hardship and other injustices.

Waves of enlightenment seem to have reached out to certain wise individuals throughout history but sadly, this enlightenment has rarely touched the powerful elite who control much of our lives.

So enlightenment has always been there; it’s just that so many of our leaders in politics, the big corporations and religion will simply not allow this enlightenment to be put into practise.

Greed is of course the culprit - greed for money or greed for power – greed for status – you name it.

Greed is the thing that destroys our best attempts to evolve and progress as a compassionate and civilised society.

Success is too often measured in terms of what you have instead of what you are.

Many of us are constantly and desperately asking what we need to do about the problems in our society. I think we should turn this on its head; the answer is often more about what we should stop doing.

The credit crunch didn’t come about by accident – it came about because of stupid dogma – the so called free market with its worship of deregulation and encouragement of a society to become hideously in debt.

The Iraq war didn’t happen by accident – it was no mistake – it was in fact a war crime – an unnecessary, and stupid intervention that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.


The drinking of excess amounts of alcohol and drug taking hasn’t just happened out of the blue - much of it is surely down to the pressures that kids are under at school and the pressures that adults are under at work to achieve a certain approved status in society.