Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Before we start I should like to make clear I am not ashamed of supporting Chelsea. I have done so partly due to family reasons and also I hasten to add before the Abramovich era-indeed for most of my life.
However the last week has made me feel ashamed on behalf of decent Chelsea supporters.
Kicking off in Bremen for the Champions league match I like to go and see parts of the place Chelsea are visiting rather than the nearest pub or beer hall. However there is nothing wrong with this, each to their own. I just feel I can do that at home just as reasonably while I may never visit Bremen again. I would like to though as it is very picturesque -pictures soon (writing this at uni and my pictures are not on the hard disk obv).
While looking round I visited a wonderful cathedral St Petri. While inside the building which reminded me in some parts like I was in my own version of the Da Vinci code I went into the quiet room.
Here was where I first became shocked at the behaviour of some Chelsea fans as in what I presume to be a visitors book some mono braincelled fan had scrawled Chelsea 3 Krauts 0.
Not very pleasant for many reasons. I presume the priest was at least fairly broadminded as next to the slogan was written the phrase "forgiven them father for they know not what they do".
I was also fortunate to find myself at the team hotel and saw Jose Mourinho and one or two players before having to leave to get to the game but again one or two fans had to sully the atmosphere.
The first instance depends on your view point but some fans had gone to ask for Mourinho's picture/autograph as he was walking by. He said no and put up his hand. Now, whatever you think of the merits of this, as far as I am concerned thats where I'd leave it. Instead these fans walked away a bit before become mildly abusive.
Also at the hotel whilst waiting in vain for the players to get on their coach I witnessed the shameful name calling of a couple walking in the lobby to the lift. The reason for their victimisation ? The couple comprised a man of middle eastern appearance and a woman in a hijab. Like I said mono braincelled, some supporters.
At the match itself I witnessed a Chelsea fan obliterate a seat through various loutish behaviour.
Then at Manchester United at the weekend the bad apple element reared their ugly heads again. Man U were giving a tribute to George Best one of the finest footballers of his and arguably every generation, a year on from his death. Some Chelsea fans decided to sing derogatory chants about Man U/Best and also to sing about Chelsea's Peter Osgood, also arguably one of the best footballers of his era, during the tribute. Now whilst chanting for Peter Osgood, who sadly passed away earlier this year, is arguably a more positive one than the derogatory chants the time was not appropriate. The only decent response was to join in the celebratory songs or maintain a dignified silence.
However I must stress again this seems to be a minority element of knuckleheads with the vast majority of Chelsea fans being law-abiding and repectful of others. I just could not keep my silence about the idiots any longer.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Okay, first of all I have not blogged for a while been busy but also wanted to make sure my reasoning was ok on this one. This is another view that spun off the blog by Chris Horrie , one of the tutors at westmin uni Journalism. The blog was concerned with Tom Wolfe and his views on Nietzsche and can be found at Changing Journalism.
This was my view:
But you will fail, he warned, because you cannot believe in moral codes without simultaneously believing in a god who points at you with his fearsome forefinger and says "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not."
Is this necessarily the case? Just because Nietzsche is one of the more modern political thinkers does not mean he sweeps over old philosophical traditions like new research into science would.
Firstly from the ancient Greek philosophers we learned that what is centrally important to human existence is our ability to reason. This is not logical steps or even rationality as we can sometimes behave in neither manner, but our ability to use our sometimes fallible logic and rational ability to reason in the abstract, i.e. imagine a world without moral codes and thus reason that moral codes are necessary regardless of an existence of a god.
This leads on to social contract theory and also leans on liberal thinkers such as John Stuart Mill. For example one of his arguments can be summed up thus. The right for me to throw my fist ends at your face. This is because my liberty should not infringe on your liberty. If one adds in the principle of utility we can draw a social contract of morals without the need for a god. This would go like this:
I cannot go round randomly killing people. Why? This would be wrong? Why? Because other people will also be free to kill me! Do I want this? No! Why? As I would not be able to live my life and fulfil whatever potential I have.
Having reasoned that killing people is not a good idea I have to convince others of this. Supposedly if my persuasion is good enough and they are reasonable enough they would agree with my idea. Together these others would sign a social contract to enable us to walk around and freely live our lives. The reason why we don’t kill each other is because living is a more preferable situation than being dead. Thus the utility of everyone living supersedes the liberty of people to freely kill each other.
Show me the god in that argument. Also show me somebody who would not see that as a reasonable argument for do not kill. However we can still shorten this using Orwell’s principle of to the point language back to the original You Shall not Kill. Just the reason is different!
As for the “barbaric brotherhoods of Nazism and Communism” both of these were borne out of flawed and downright malicious interpretations of philosophical works principally Marx and ironically Nietzsche himself. I shall avoid paradoxical arguments about if Nietzsche had not written about the Ubermensch and the Will to Power whether the Nazis would have been able to exploit and twist them for now. Clearly though these brotherhoods were not simply a creation of destiny but malignant human beings.
Nationalism, which the Nazis also perverted in their nasty time in power, is in itself not necessarily a bad phenomenon. Without nationalism it is harder to justify democracy for example-rule by ones peers. Well surely those peers have to be defined somehow and usually it is as citizens. Citizens of what? Well, a nation. That does not necessarily mean Britain, which is a state. A nation is a people with a common language, history, culture etc. However at no point is nationalism necessarily advocating demolishing other nations. That there is expansionist nationalism returns us again to the machinations of the human mind.
However, nationalism can be creative not destructive. For example the desire to preserve customs and traditions against an aggressor, like the free Tibetan movement in the face of Chinese occupation.
Because of man's track record, I should think.
Precisely, there in lies the enigma and answer to the problem. Once we thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. Until we stop making excuses for ourselves and have another paradigm shift-that we are at the centre of our thoughts, actions, beliefs-than we will continue to have wars.
Yes wars were bloodier in the twentieth century. But then the technology of war was also bloodier.
Religion too has had its bad days, atheism is not the only killer.
The Crusades, surely a religious fight if ever there was one was hardly less bloody in context of the era, technological or otherwise.
The Spanish armada, although a failure, also had a religious motive as well as a political one.
There were the wars of religion in France from 1562-1598.
Today, one can argue against Nietzsche’s assertion that God is Dead, as he seems to be making something of a comeback, perhaps Nietzsche missed a trick by not patenting cycles of religious belief followed by belief in non-religious rationality. The disillusionment with one reinvigorates the other.
In the present day religion can also be “blamed” for some atrocities. Have not Islamic fundamentalists created their own “barbaric brotherhoods” with which they terrorise others. “Infidels” are basically anyone that do not conform to the fundamentalists violent expansionist version of Islam be they atheist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist and even Muslims. This terrorism has fuel dumped on the fire by the religious right in America, where the priincipal battle ground is Iraq
Yet the Bible or the Koran does not kill people. Human beings who interpret scripture strictly, or more likely bring their own twisted strict interpretation to scripture kill people. This can be applied to Christianity as much as Islam. Back to thou shalt not kill again in the ten commandments. There are no ifs for aggressive wars, no buts for capital punishment just a full stop at the end of thou shalt not kill.
Thus like an atomic wind through the neurones there seems a recurring theme. At the centre of the chaos, the death, the crumbling edifices of “gods”, be they religious or psychological, past, present or future ones like genetics and neuroscience, remain humans.
Perhaps that is the truth to which Dawkins refers and of which we should not be afraid.
But perhaps the truth hurts the most of all and that IS why we run, and we erect barriers and “gods” as excuses. The New God never dies as we create new ones like neuroscience to excuse our actions “I’m wired wrong!” or “My Genes made me do it!”
Remove these excuses and we have to take a long hard cold look in the mirror and into our own eyes and see whether we do have souls and what souls they are. Ultimately, who we as a species want to be and perhaps that’s the revaluation, of which Nietzsche referred, we need.
If we are Hobbesian bastards we WILL fail but then perhaps we deserve to. If on the other hand we are not, using reason we CAN create moral codes out of respect and empathy for our fellow man, and maybe then we can Will to Power in the more creative manner, which Nietzsche envisaged, possibly using our will power to realise it is us that control our actions and their consequences rather than some “gods” we create.
Ultimately, you can believe what you want to believe, that is the beauty of life and your own will to choose your beliefs.
Just don’t close your mind; it’s the only sound worse than a closing door.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I am finding myself so busy at the moment and also getting tired in the process so much so I managed to oversleep twice in two days which is not good.
Not good because the commute to westmin is long and involves the sometime unreliable transport medium of trains thus I am late!
Thus the desire to be in two places at once!
It seems its not just me but the whole world. A member of my course (albeit the periodical path-I'm on boradcast) has mentioned her long to do list and scienctists discussing "slow-down time".
Well moving on from this, at the game yesterday, Samsung's new ad campaign for their mobile phone range Ultra also plays on the being in two places at once idea.
Added to this was more scientific research, which I read two weeks ago in the New Scientist, that basically an elephant can be in two places at once.
Well, unfortunately it will not really help us mere mortals as the hypothetical situation relies on the need for a blackhole and bystander perspective.
Briefly summing up, if an observer is outside an event horizon of a blackhole watching
as an elephant approaches it, the observer will see the elephant slow down but never "fall" into the blackhole.
If on the other hand, the observer is able to survive directly above the event horizon the observer will see the elephant enter the blackhole and return as radiation. Thus the elephant can theoretically be in two places at once, no copies, same elephant, different places.
Unfortunately, while this is interesting from a science view, it still does not solve my sleeping or time management issues but hey! at least my blog has a much needed entry and I can cross it off my to do list temporarily.
Onwards and hopefully upwards!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Some other members of my course have also raised this phenemenon of rude, inconsiderate, or even woefully blind commuters, too wrapped up in their own rush to notice anybody else.
Today it was my turn.
Waterloo station, heading towards the escalators for the underground from the platform and this man came barrelling towards me.
I noticed he was trailing a case on wheels behind him so I realised side stepping was only going to trip me up. So I stopped, as his then course would miss me to my left.
But no he seemed oblivious to my considerate gesture and actually continued to move towards me, changing direction even. Perhaps if he had looked up rather than blindly assuming I would leap out of his way into a wall I would not have got irritated enough to add to the growing social study of commuter behaviour. Or perhaps he did not even see me engrossed in clutching his morning cuppa.
In my opinion he was a fool!
After all I thought we were meant to be social animals. So how come we seem to have lost the ability to organise ourselves properly when we come together en masse. The above is a less dangerous microcosmic example of the kind of blind tunnel mentality that helps cause multiple pile-ups on the motorways. One man (or woman, but admittedly it is statistically a male) in a rush suddenly sees a bigger opening for a lane change then he would normally attempt and bang! all hell breaks loose.
So remember your journey to work. You may have done it a thousand times. But always remain alert. Do not autopilot. Think where people are in relation to you and try to move accordingly.
This way we may all have less collisions. In cars or otherwise.
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