There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first is excellent, the second good, and the third useless.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm a student of Religion

As an introduction (after all this is my blog and I wish to be neither faceless or nameless) let me explain. I am not a religious fanatic, I do not believe in God and no doubt if he did exist, he wouldn’t believe in me. I consider myself an atheist but it’s a classification that is subject to change.

When I was small my parents asked me if I wanted to be christened, I said no. I don’t know why I said no or why my parents accepted my decision; after all, my sister was christened and conformed and my parents both are stead fast believers in their own visions of God. Since then I’ve been intrigued by religion, I’ve read about it, studied it, travelled across to world to see it in it’s different guises, and yet still I’m no closer to understanding why I said no.

For some reason people find it hard to accept that any one can be an atheist, that someone can be completely solid in their absolute disbelief of creator and superior being. I often get the word agnostic thrown in myself as people criticize my stand point and try to change my mind.

“You don’t not believe in him, you just can’t prove it either way”

I don’t believe. In some respects this has made my studying much easier, it’s given me a broader view and a clean slate. I can approach any god I want to because to me any god is no god. Once upon a time I used to think that maybe it was because there was a plan for me, for some reason I was cursed with an inability to believe in the almighty because it was my purpose on earth to do something else. The stupidity of youthful thoughts had me chasing my tail.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

We are all fat

It’s everywhere, everyone is complaining about everyone else being too fat, but should the government intervene? Should the nanny state step in?

It’s a tough one, and in some cases I think it can be a double edged sword. So the government should intervene to stop people getting fat and draining the National Health Service with weight related health issues.. they should also intervene to stop people smoking and drinking excess because they drain the national health service.. good points but what exactly do you achieve? A nation of people with no freedoms and a social norm with absolutely no diversity. We are all healthy, thin and completely detoxed.

That’s great!

But I think there is danger is taking away peoples freedom to do what they want. If you want to eat, smoke or drink excessively then it’s your choice, the government do enough to inform people of the dangers, I don’t think they need to do any more. You pick up a packet of cigarettes and it blatantly tells you that you are going to die by rotting from the inside out. You have weight and nutrition rammed down your throats all the time in our new ‘fat free’ world. Everyone knows what alcohol does, and the same with drugs. We’re all told that excess in anything is bad from the moment we start school, so I don’t think it’s a case of the government having to do more to stop such things, it’s more a case of the every day Joe having to wake up and look around.

I mean realistically what can you do? You can take alcohol, cigarettes and MacDonalds away from people because you’re infringing on their freedoms.

It all stems from personal choice. Regardless of how much you warn people of the dangers regarding alcohol, smoking or drugs, people will still take them. So is the nature of a free society, so is the nature of the human being. If you go down the route of criticizing people who don’t fit the healthy, detoxed imaged you really do open up a whole can of worms.

“I think the NHS should help people who DIDN'T bring stuff upon themselves.”
[this is a quote I saw on a website in response to an article on obesity]

And how do you quantify that? I once told a gang to get lost and leave me alone in the subway, they then stamped on my head. I bought it on myself though; I could have just walked away, should the NHS have helped me? I also go out and perform stupid tricks on a stupid bike with complete disregard for personal safety, you are paying for my constant trips to a&e. Does the government need to be doing more to curb my behaviour? More to stop my sport?

I think all people in this country should be entitled to the same level of care, regardless of how little respect they have for their own health. Yes the government should educate people about the dangers but it isn’t their sole responsibility to do so. It’s all of our responsibility. If my sister went out binge drinking I’d kick her arse into shape and tell her when she’d had too much.

People fall into drink and drugs for their own reasons and it’s not for anyone to take the moral high ground, dish out blame and tell them that they aren’t worthy of treatment. If they do damage to them self, they will have to live with it, surely that’s enough?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Living in the country that dreams of made of.

I’m privileged, lucky if you will, to live in such a country as England, the United Kingdom. If I’m sick, the state will care for me, if I need educating, the state will pay for me, and if I find myself suddenly homeless, jobless and on the streets, the state will provide for me. So why, if I have all these privileges, do I feel so ashamed to be called British on this day?

What I once saw as a proud and noble country, I now see as the lap dog to a greater power.

The first time I ever voted, I voted for new labour. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was young and voting was a big step into the world of adulthood for me, the fact that I wasn’t educated enough to make the right decision didn’t phase me, I just wanted to vote.

But now, now is a different story. It seems that every time I turn on the television or read the newspaper, I wince as another sordid tale of corruption or shake my head at another government blunder is revealed.

The most recent events that come to mind are;

  • The revelations that paedophiles have been cleared to work in our schools.
  • The release of hundreds of foreign criminals back into British society when they should have been deported.
  • Family tax credits being miscalculated resulting in £2 billion worth of overspending (and the government has the audacity to ask people to pay it back! Do the calculations right first time)
  • Labour ‘rewarding’ donors with peerages
  • NHS having to cut jobs (What?)
  • The rarity of NHS dentists (also known as the NHS dodo)
  • Old two jags affair with his secretary (oh dear lord was she blind deaf and stupid?)
  • Crime, crime, crime and more crime. Criminals released early to re-offend, people on probation committing murder, light sentencing..

I could go on and on, but you get the point. It’s all just sleaze and incompetence.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A few funny points about Russia...

It is the land of Nyet...

Quirky cultural differences

Always love the FREE public toilet, god how I missed them whilst i was there. Prices for taking a pee in Russia range from 10 rubles (which will get you a squat on a porter loo of doom) to 15 rubles (which will get you a posh toilet in a shopping center or similar) I must admit, at one point I was desperate and had to take my chances with a street vendor and her porter potty…. Never again! They must operate as some kind of mini business as you usually find a man or woman with a little row of two or three mobile toilets (the sort you get on building sites) tending to them and taking money off people in exchange for a quick pee. They tend to these toilets religiously though, sweeping them out and changing the toilet paper every so often and generally just trying to make sure they are attractive to potential users. One of the toilets is also usually occupied by the vendor, who in my case was a little fat woman who appeared to be reading a copy of the Russian ‘take a break’. She laughed at me for some reason.

Was it clean? Yes actually it was but it was damned uncomfortable, cold, windy and it stank to high heaven. Like I said, never again.

First impressions

On a whole Moscow is very similar to a lot of the world’s capital cities. It’s dirty, busy and every one seems in a rush. The only difference is that it’s covered in dirty perma-snow and on the whole the people are ruder than most. Still, it’s bearable. The snow is less majestic than a thought it would be, the stuff on the pavements is black and grimy and the stuff on the roads is like sludge. All along the edges of the pavements the stuff is piled high up to your waist with deposits of beer bottles and fag ends strewn all along it. The air also stinks. A lot of the cars are very old (the Lada rules here!) and still use leaded petrol, also the skyline seems to be emitting a steady belching black smoke that looks almost purple in the darkness. Petrol is cheap though, 19 Rubles a liter and with 50 rubles to the pound you can do the math.

Home for my stay in Moscow was a hostel called Godzilla’s that was in a pretty central location and right next to the Tsvetnoy Boulevard metro station, which is good. There is a sort of park outside with lost of statues of circus performers, clowns and animals. I find the clowns sort of creepy though, especially at night when they seem to be peering at me all the time. The hostel really is good, we have a double room for the duration, a locker and a choice of two kitchens. Also the internet access is free which is really good. The place is run by a westerner and the staff all speak English and are really keen on giving out information about the city, i'd recommend it to anyone!

(sorry if this sounds fragmented, i copied it straight out from my dairy so it was written in the present tense)