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Confusion……

5 Jul

‘The ability of a child to understand their feelings is limited.  Confusion can easily arise, especially between shame and guilt.  If it persists into later life it can become extremely counterproductive……’

Confusion……

Confusion is nothing new to me.  At six years old sexuality wasn’t something I understood.  I was different and, it was made abundantly clear by those surrounding me, intentionally or not, that it was wrong and shame was something I did understand so I kept quiet, terrified of being ‘found out’.  There was a simple solution to this dilemma; be someone else, which is what I spent my childhood doing.  Soul destroying though it was I needed something to hide behind for fear of the consequences of the truth becoming known and with it, the shame……

Guilt or Shame……

Substantive, tangible guilt is easilly dealt with.  I’m talking about doing something definitively wrong, like theft or vandalism.  You can admit or deny them, but once dealt with any guilt can be let go.  Shame, on the other hand is less easy to reconcile and can become guilt in ones own mind.  It’s the perceived, self-imposed guilt that isn’t so easy to draw a line under.  It has a tendency to to have a cumulative effect over time.  Even things about which you should feel no guilt whatsoever somehow end up in your bag.  I think it’s because guilt and shame are easily exchanged for one and other, to the point where you can feel shame for actions taken against you due to other people’s predudices……

Twisted Reasoning……

I was abused when I was a child.  Not by anyone in my family, but once again shame was at the forefront of my thoughts.  My immature reasoning and fear of shame stopped me from speaking out so it carried on, and worsened.  I had convinced myself that I had been ‘chosen’ because my abuser had worked out what I was and knew that coming forward would ‘out’ me and shame would keep me quiet.  He programmed me to that end.  Yet again guilt and shame became interwoven.  This should never happen to anyone and shame, guilt, embarrassment and fear should not stop you shouting it from the rooftops to make it stop……

A Sad Irony……

Having kept my secret for years, at the age of 21 I finally found the courage to tell my Mother.  Although now I would have done it face to face, I revealed all on the phone.  She was kind of sympathetic but being from a different generation was about to drive in a nail which hurt more than anything I had experienced before.  As if to reinforce the confusing emotions.  This secret could not be revealed to my Father as she was convinced he’d disown me.  To this day, 20 years later, friends and neighbors could not find out for fear of the shame it would bring.  In one telephone call which had taken me 21 years to make, and which could have reconciled the confusing emotional turmoil I had suffered for years, had the opposite effect, making me feel everything I had thought was indeed ‘normal’.

Maybe it’s me, maybe there are others who feel the same but I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality.  This might come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.  Although, it isn’t so much that I’m uncomfortable with who I am, rather, I’m uncomfortable with the ‘scene’ that somebody of my orientation is supposed to inhabit.  Maybe it’s all the guilt and shame bestowed upon me that makes me feel that way.  Either way it has made it very difficult for me to sustain any kind of long term relationship.  I feel like an alien that has no place in this world……

Epilogue……

In yet another twist of irony which I blame on my life experiences, but in reality are the result of my own bad choices, I have more guilt and shame over some of the things I have done.  Although, anybody carrying so much emotional confusion would likely have made similar bad choices; choices that have only added to my feelings of guilt, especially towards the people closest to me, who are affected by the fallout.  I have on many occasions considered putting an end to everything, only to be stopped by the powerful feelings of guilt that are inherent in such a definitive action, but I would know nothing about and be unable to feel by virtue of not being around; yet it still has the power to control……

So, guilt and shame have made me who I am, ruined my childhood, strained family relationships, been at least in part responsible for bad choices and, ultimately, prevented me from taking definitive steps to end my suffering.  And all they are just transient feelings that will end when I am gone……

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The Right to Choose……

1 Apr

‘Regular readers will doubtless know my feelings on the right to self-determination when it comes to assisted suicide.  Well, yet again, another terminally ill man has to suffer the indignity and stress of fighting the British Courts on top of being in an unimaginable position……’

The case of Noel Conway, 67, from Shrewsbury, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease more than two years ago and fears being “entombed” in his own body as his ability to move declines, is the latest to reach the High Court.  He is not expected to survive beyond the next 12 months.

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Noel Conway

It is  completely understandable that people in Noel’s position fear the indignity, pain, inability to communicate and all of the unimaginable horrors that come towards the end of life as the disease progresses.  To have the added distress of having to fight a court battle, when all he is requesting a peaceful death when the disease becomes intolerable, seems cruel and totally unecessary.  We have the medicines required to bring about this ending painlessly when the time comes.

The legal arguments against assisted suicide always seem to come back to the same thing; that relatives will ‘push’ a terminally ill person to prematurely end their lives for some spurious reason, or that the person feels they will become a burden as the disease progresses.  It has been demonstrated in countries which allow assisted suicide that with the right checks and balances in place this is almost impossible.   I know of no instances where relatives or carers have been prosecuted in such situations.  In independent polls a large majority agree that it should be an option.

There are options available to some, but only if their condition and financial status allow.  Dignitas, Switzerland, are one organisation that can arrange a peaceful death for sufferers of incurable, degenerative diseases, however, the cost involved (approximately £10,000) is prohibitive for some.  For others, their condition makes travel impossible, denying access to the service.

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Established 1998

The unfortunate inability of our courts to legalise assisted suicide has led to despairing people taking things into their own hands which can cause more suffering or, in the worst case scenario, a prosecution.

Death is not something to be feared.  The idea that your place in Heaven will be lost is  nothing more than the remnants of outdated superstition.  When you are dead you are effectively in the same ‘place’ you were before you were born; and anyway, surely a loving ‘god’ will understand your need to end your pain.

It is time we removed the superstition and hysteria from the argument and listened to common sense, ended the anguish and suffering of those people who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having an intolerable illness and placed assisted suicide on the statute books.  It is a sick irony that we don’t allow animals to sufifer but our fellow brothers and sisters are allowed to suffer…….

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What is Reality……

8 Mar

The answer to the question “What is reality?” is actually quite simple and can be put into one short sentence: it’s whatever you perceive as real. However, the simplicity immediately becomes complicated by the word ‘perceive’. Perception is subjective but there are many things we all perceive in a very similar way, but those things, such as the sky being blue are largely down to a common evolution. In the case of the sky, we agree on the colour because the receptors in our eyes are fundamentally the same in everyone (unless you are colour blind, which is a genetic defect of the eye). There is, however, a further complication to reality which is much, much deeper……

It is well known that an atom is predominantly empty space. It could be argued that it contains nothing ‘solid’ at all as we probe ever deeper. If everything we perceive as solid contains nothing at all, then how can anything exist to make our reality? This is the point at which we have to disassociate everything we think of as real and remind ourselves that perception is nothing more than an interpretation created by the sensory input to our brains. It becomes difficult to discuss, because all we have is language and mathematics to describe things, and both are coloured by our perception of reality……

Physicists ran into difficulties in the early 20th century. Called ‘The measurement problem’, the act of making a measurement actually affects the outcome. This is easily demonstrated visually with the famous double slit experiment, is still as yet unexplained and is one of the central mysteries of quantum mechanics. Follow this link to see a demonstration and the paradox will become clear. A well known thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 applies the double slit experiment to the macro scale with a cat in a box. Follow this link to learn about Schrödinger’s Cat and the paradoxical nature of the measurement problem becomes abundantly clear……

As we have developed the technology to ‘see’ things on smaller and smaller scales using particle accelerators, it appears that our ‘solid’ particles vanish altogether and all we are left with are forces and ‘virtual’ particles. The illusion of reality is a consequence of those forces being slowed down by the Higg’s mechanism; a sort of cosmic treacle that slows down the forces from the speed of light, giving them mass. Without it everything in the universe would move at the speed of light and nothing would exist at all……

So, what is reality? In our daily lives it is what we see, no matter how strange it is. But we have to accept that it is an illusion and, personally, I don’t believe we will ever really know. It’s a Rabbit hole which just get stranger the further down you go……

The reality right now is that I need a coffee, a smoke and more time to scratch my head……

Infinity

A Review of 2014……

31 Dec

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‘Thank you to all of my readers during 2014…  Below is an automated summary generated by WordPress…  More to come in 2015…  Bringing you the truth behind the ‘commercial medias’ headlines…..’

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog:

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

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Click here to see the complete report.

Absolute Zero……

23 Nov

‘I was thinking about absolute zero and thought, if there’s a minimum , why not a maximum’

Not being a thermal physicist I applied what I do know and read up on the other stuff, only to find I’m not the only one seeking the answer and it gets pretty complicated. Without over complicating the issue and removing those scary equations, here are some possible answers (yes, plural…..)

First of all back to school. What is heat? (heat and temp are for our purposes the same). Gold star to anyone whose answer was ‘it’s the product of the speed at which atoms move’. Absolute zero is the point at which all atoms stop moving as do quantum mechanical effects . This happens at 0 Kelvin or minus 460 F. You can’t get colder than that. It would be like trying to go south of the South Pole. That’s Absolute zero; simple hey……

Sun_in_XrayWhat about Absolute Hot. Surely, a similar set of equations govern that; like I said it’s not my field and had two choices; read up or blame ‘God’ (I’m starting to think I should have chosen the latter). Little did I know it but I’d opened a can of worms, the one labelled ‘The Theory of Everything; a sort of UN for physicists where String Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Multiverses go to argue their point……

I’m not actually going to try and explain the five most popular theories because they all have a fundamentally plausible reasons but involve very complicated mathematics which I was trying to avoid. I will, however, tell you what they are and my intuition as to the final answer……

There are many theories. 10 to the power of 32 Kelvin is one. That’s 100 million million million million million degrees Kelvin. It is based on the Standard Model of particle physics and relies on the Planck temperature. Max Planck’s measurements and ratios have proven accurate now we can test them and form the basis of many quantum calculations. But as one physicist put it, it’s largely accademic as it is in an order of magnitude beyond that of a Gamma Ray Burst or Quasar and makes the Sun look like a tiny spark millions of light years away. There are no sufficient words in the English language to express it. Saying it’s hot is like saying the universe is quite big……

Working Physicists at CERN think that the power of the particle accelerator which reaches 10 to the power of 17 K, is around the maximum temperature. To reach the energy needed the LHC produces 14 (Terra electron Volts, Terra meaning trillion); 15 orders of magnitude below the Planck temperature……

How about a boundless temperature that just keeps on going to infinity? It is possible but some very strange quantum effects would be observed. Anyway, much of this speculation has to do with those pesky billion billionths of a second when all conventional models break down.

Infinity

In my humble opinion absolute zero and absolute hot could be the same thing. (Now he’s has lost the plot I hear you cry), but hear me out. Once a really high temperature has been reached all bets are off with regard to the behavior of matter. The known interactions between the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity become unpredictable and, more importantly, equal out, forcing the system to stop, just as it does with absolute zero. So, the scale maybe +0 K – +300 K – K +infinity – K -infinity – -300 K to -0 K. This also explains beautifully why infinities pop up whichever way or with whatever model you choose to calculate……

Happy pondering……

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Religious Education……

10 Jun

Religious Educating should not be ‘taught’ in our schools.  This is the 21st century, not the 19th.  Making statements of fact that are completely unsubstantiated, if not disproven by science.  We tell our kids there’s a Father Xmas and a Tooth Fairy but they’re little tricks parents play to say well done.  As soon as they develop some awareness and reasoning they forget Santa and Pester mum and Dad.

Religion is different.  It is a long term brainwashing strategy that’s worked quite adequately for a few thousand years.  Re-enforce the nice stories of Nohah then bring in the facts about God and what awaits children who don’t follow the doctrine.  Many kids like me went to Sunday School but that was the norm and it gave our parents a break.  A lot will question the validity of what they are being told and turn Atheist like me.  But some don’t.

RE has been given the title ‘Religious and Social’ education but that’s just smoke and mirrors.  When teaching other religions, questionable events in history become facts by way of veneration through time and a manuscript, of which there are hundreds of differing versions. Many of these ‘facts’ have been disproven by science, right from Genesis which God’s description of is impossible and it is only by evolving the interpretation the bible that it survived.

Stop wasting tax payers money indoctrinating children into a single minded process of thinking and replace it with physics or PE.  You wouldn’t make your kids Liberal Democrats and send them to Lib Dem schools so they leave as caring lefties with not much understanding of the Torys of Labour.  Let kids make up their own minds when they’ve been given all of the information……

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An Autobiographical Account of Life……

10 Jan

“How’s it going Steve, I haven’t seen you for ages?” is the unintentionally robotic greeting that I am inevitably met with, followed by “What you up too?”  This happens on almost all occasions when I find myself unable to avoid a social function.  I, presumably like other people whose lives aren’t sailing along nicely, give the polite answers expected; “Oh, okay; this and that”, when nothing could be further from the truth.  Similarly hollow questions would never be asked of somebody, whose partner had just died, or their house repossessed and business in receivership.  Depression is an invisible illness.  Depressed, unemployed and living in almost complete isolation, save consultations with doctors, one encounters dark and suicidal thoughts.  Clearly, battling with ones inner mental turmoil, alongside addiction is not a consideration of those who ask.

I sometimes find myself playing truth or dare (without the dare) and when asked, ‘you alright?’ I look at the enquirer, stony faced, and answer, ‘No!’; leaving an awkward silence and the questioner not knowing how to continue the conversation.  For the facts of the matter are that I’m not alright and the only thing I do from the confines of my self induced isolation is write an occasional blog entry, and when the mental fog clears, allows me to finish it.  The similarly vacuous platitude, ‘We must get together for a coffee some time’, when you both know that you have no intentions of meeting up, falls into the same category of polite conversation.  I suppose the scales of apathy are strictly tilted in my direction, after all it isn’t the responsibility of my counterpart to understanding my depressed isolation.  Hence the easiest way of avoiding vacuous questions is to remain in social isolation on a diet of Morphine, Benzodiazepines and Antidepressants.

Life in all its many forms; animate and inanimate, from the unimaginable small building blocks of particle physics to the infinite beauty of the Cosmos beyond, from a flower bursting fourth from its bud, a basking Dragon Fly awaiting the moment its wings are dry enough for it to take to the sky, to the rainbow of autumnal colours and the dust clouds of distant nebula beyond hold an infinite beauty.  One does not need to be either a scientist or traveller to appreciate this beauty.

It is not hard to understand why, for all its destructiveness, explorers in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries collected specimens on mass in order to show their contemporaries the strange diversity that existed in far away places, after all would you have believed in the existence of the Duck Billed Platypus had you not actually seen one?  Now, however, due to the wonders of the technology operating because of the strange properties of the Quantum Theory, we are all able to experience nature’s beauty, albeit from the point of view of a camera combined with the comforting tones of David Attenborough.  Perhaps we are spoiled, being in a position from which to see the actuality of what beauty lays beyond our horizon, especially as there are still billions for whom the beauty of our planet is pushed further down their agendas as they pick through rubbish tips salvaging what they can to afford a cup of rice from which they may need to feed a whole family.

I should be grateful for the facility to watch the beauty of our planet whilst eating a pre-prepared meal from a super market, which is certainly thrown into perspective by the considerations above; yet, somehow, I remain dissatisfied with my circumstances……

Although the immediate pharmacological concerns of my basic health needs are catered for, along with food, shelter and the other western necessities to which one is accustomed, I still feel I need more.  It can it be attributed to the greed that western capitalism has allowed us the time to develop that makes depression possible?  It is, however, for me, a reminder that I am trapped; cocooned in this man made shell, for I too would like to experience, first hand, the rain forests of Borneo, the remnants of ancient civilisations in South America, Asia and the Middle East.  I yearn to see the Northern Lights and watch pods of Whales majestically swimming in synchronisation.  To fly over the Grand Canyon and stand in proximity to feel first hand the power of Victoria or Niagara Falls; the list is almost endless, and, given an inexhaustible cash flow, would still not have the time to experience them all.

Reality is not something I would advise devoting much time to.  Because the reality, for most of us, makes us the victim of globalisation whereby to feed the machine we are tied to a banal existence, the reward for most is one, or maybe two weeks restitution packaged, door to door, by a travel agent.  If you happen to be in that majority, many of whom can barely afford their electricity bill, then your future is already written.  You will be enslaved by an employer who is unlikely to know your name, let alone the state of your welfare or that of your family, and nor does he care.  You are a small component in a machine expected to work at maximum efficiency and like a worn out bearing in an engine the minute your efficiency falls below the benchmark on a spreadsheet, you will be replaced.

Those in power, who govern, do so without a mandate, moving ever closer to the Orwellian nightmare whilst distracting the electorate with meaningless statistics, manufactured half truths and disinformation designed to turn neighbour against neighbour.  Whilst the political mud slinging fills the mundane news, most of which is simply ignored, the rest of the globally corrupt iceberg continues unseen, making a chosen few rich off the profits of war, terror and human misery.  And in order for them to continue they need a subdued population.  They take what they wish from what you have earned, do as they wish with it whilst continually preaching the mantra that we are all at the precipice and must continue to operate the machine at an ever increasing cost.  They will do this to you until you reach an age they have decided; currently 67, 68 or even 69, at which point they will tell you that the vast sums of money they have taken from you was not enough.  They will provide you with a small amount of money that is barely enough to survive on then let you spend the 4,5 or 6 years you have left doing as you choose.  Then, should you have been in the fortunate position to have acquired any wealth through property, they will take half of it before allowing you to give it to your children.

To me this does not seem to be a life.  It is more akin to slavery where, without any choice, you must work for your master, allowing your master to achieve great wealth whist making your existence just about possible.

I don’t believe I will ever experience any of the worldly beauty I described above.  In fact, I believe I have experienced it as closely as I ever will through the medium of television.  Therefore, I see little if any point in contributing to the machine and will, at some chosen point exit this world, and perhaps in hundreds of billions of years, the energy I give back to the universe will recombine in some other entity and experience the magic at first hand, or be a part of it……

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