More Thoughts on the Statue of Liberty.

So who are those huddled masses that the USA took in? The refugees from Europe. The ones who were at the bottom of the heap, who could barely survive in the overcrowded cities of Europe; who were looking for space and opportunities.

Perhaps the ancestors of many of those now living in places like New Mexico and Texas? The intrepid pioneers who set off across America in wagon trains; who suffered hardship; who fought off the Native Americans and fought wars against the Mexicans; who took the land off those who lived there; who settled it and farmed, mined and hunted. Those are the ones.

Who are the huddled masses now?

The hard-pressed from Central America and South America, the Mexicans and Muslims from war-torn Middle East.

The dispossessed, frightened, hungry and oppressed looking for space, freedom and opportunities.

Who are the ones most stringently opposing their entry?

Perhaps it is time to take the Statue of Liberty down??

The Future is upon us

The Future is upon us!

Some laugh at Jeremy Corbyn when he promotes the 4 day week. It will not be a four day week we will be grappling with. It will be the three or even two day week. For the majority of us it may well be the no day week.

The future is here. The world is changing. We are in the winter of the old ways. Artificial Intelligence is coming fast. We have to prepare.

Corbyn is right. We need rapid change. We have to ensure that this tsunami of change will carry all of us along, not just the few.

Automation will displace people from factories as it is more efficient. A machine does not need pay, sleep, holidays, meals and rest periods. It can work 24/7. Productivity will go through the roof. Wage bills will go down. Profits will soar – but will they be flowing into the pockets of workers or into the pockets of bosses and profiteers?

Do we really want a society of billionaires and paupers?

The age of driverless cars is coming. Car ownership is hugely expensive – purchase cost, insurance, tax, fuel, and repairs. The days of owning a car are limited. Driving will soon be a minority leisure pursuit.

It is also inefficient. For much of the day cars sit in traffic jams or are parked in drives, streets and massive car parks.

The future is here. We will summon up an Uber. A driverless electric cab will pick us up, drop us off and drive away to collect someone else. It will be cheap and efficient. There will be no driver to pay, no cars clogging up our streets, no need for carparks, garages, traffic lights, traffic cops, or traffic jams. No-one will break the speed limit or make dangerous manoeuvres. The roads will be safe and efficient. Travel will be cheap. Traffic pollution will be a thing of the past. Already some cars and trucks are driverless. The industry is getting us used to automation. Some cars can park themselves in tight gaps and have automatic lights and windscreen washers. We are gradually becoming accustomed.

Instead of an army of drivers delivering goods there will be an efficient fleet of driverless trucks taking cargo from ports to warehouses where machines will unload. Convoys of lorries will take merchandise to stores where machines will unload and stack shelves. No more drivers, shelf stackers or loaders.

You might head to a fast food joint where, after you have placed your order in an automated machine, a machine will flip your burger. Your meal will be delivered quickly and efficiently, perfectly cooked, with no sight of an unhygienic human hand.

You ring up the doctor and find Alexa at the other end. She will ask a series of questions, consult her ever increasing data base and dispense drugs to treat your ailment. I doubt you will get an appointment. In most cases there will be no need.

The days of receptionists are already almost over. Alexa will have many names, genders and personalities and her voice will always be comprehensible.

You are insulted by Kim Jong Un and decide to go to war. You deploy your drones, launch missiles, and have a new batch of fearless automatons armed with the latest weapons, who never miss, do not duck or run away, and are programmed to take out all enemy combatants efficiently, quickly and cheaply. They are backed up by automated tanks while a fleet of automated ships and drones deliver the new robosoldiers to the battle front without a real flesh and blood soldier in sight.

When there is another Grenfell it will be a robofireman who will tirelessly bound up the stairwells at great speed, impervious to heat, not having to breathe the smoke. He will gather you up, encase you in a heat resistant envelop and bound back down to safety. And you know what? You will be grateful. You will be grateful because you will know that no human, no flesh and blood fireman, no matter how strong and brave, could have rescued you from those flames.

Brain surgery is already being carried out by robots. Planes are being flown by computers. In Japan the elderly are companioned by robots. We will have robotic nursing in hospitals. No patient will be left unattended, without food or drink – or a soothing voice. Their biometrics will be automatically assessed – continuously.

So what is going to happen to these tens of millions of factory workers, drivers, receptionists, carers, shelf stackers, burger flippers, brain surgeons, police officers, nurses and all manner of other workers who are surplus to requirements?

Do a small number of people continue working 60 hour weeks while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs? Or do we organise a shorter working week and apportion the new jobs created, more fairly?

Do we share the fruit of this increased productivity? Do we find a way of limiting the pay of the bosses, create a fair taxation system and increased pay for the workforce, or do we end up with gross inequality – a country of billionaires and homeless?

We may not like it but Artificial Intelligence is surely coming and it will sweep the past away.

We are in the winter of our discontent. Where is the sun coming from? Jeremy Corbyn is shedding light on a bold new future – a time of plenty for all, of leisure and freedom, fun and frolics – a more equal society with a shorter working week and better pay. Corbyn is surely the glorious sun.

Brussels – All you need is love

Brussels – All you need is love

IMG_1068

It seems an age ago that we back in the sixties and there was hope.

The world was not a place of butchery and hatred where young people were willing to blow themselves to pieces.

Love was the message.

Young people trekked out across the planet exporting their smiles. Friendship and sharing were the mantra, equality and freedom was the ethos.

The only blot on the landscape was the war in Vietnam.

That world seems so innocent now. But it was love that made it possible. If you meet someone as an equal with a smile and respect you make contact.

Somehow the radicalised young Muslims have been talked into hatred. They feel ostracised from society and have grown to despise it. Gone are the days that all the world wore flares. We are fractured.

It is time to heal.

You do not cure hatred with more hate.

The Beatles have been rather neglected and denigrated of late. They were the greatest band ever because of their genius and adventurousness. They were at the forefront of the sixties culture and they had a knack of summing things up.

All You Need Is Love

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, loveThere’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easyNothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)

My beliefs – Creationism

My beliefs – Creationism

My beliefs – Creationism

I do not believe in creationism. I think it is brainless to take the words of a medieval document produced by a nomadic tribe over the well-researched view of scientists.

I prefer my science with a rational basis rather than an indoctrinated posture.

I believe that Creationism is the latest attempt by the religious school of thought to repudiate the theory of evolution.

There are no facts.

There are lots of things we do not know. That is what makes science so interesting. We are discovering and finding new things every day. Our tools are immense and every theory is picked over and tested to the limit. If it stands up to the tests then it has some credibility.

Because something is written in an ancient book does not, on its own, give it credibility.

For me to believe something I have to have evidence and proof. There is no evidence in Creationism. It is completely erroneous.

I believe that to teach creationism to children is fundamentally wrong. It is simply not true.

Anecdote – Wedding Number Two – The Registry Office

Anecdote – Wedding Number Two – The Registry Office

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Wedding Number Two

I enjoyed Wedding Number One. It was all up in the air and interesting. Nobody quite knew what was going to happen next.

Wedding Number Two was scheduled for the next week in the morning. We were going to make the whole thing legal, bring all the family into harmonious rapport, bring world peace and solve the Vietnam War. We decided to only invited parents and brothers and sisters to this one.

Liz’s father rang up the night before and begged her to call it off. Liz’s Mum boycotted this one as well. We were off to a good start – I still had hopes for Vietnam.

As Wedding Number Three – The Pagan ceremony – was in the afternoon we brought all the food in the back of the car. Liz had diced Cheese and butter, which was in plastic bowls, and cut French Sticks into slices. They adorned the back seat.

Unfortunately the car wouldn’t go. We were pushing it up and down the road in our wedding gear. Some guy offered to fix it for a fiver so we paid him – and he did.

We set off very late and hurtled round the North Circular – at that time unbeset by Speed Cameras. I was desperate to make up time as we were three weddings late.

We got cut up by some idiot and I had to slam on the brakes. We got deluged with cheese and butter and were picking lumps out of our hair. I think nerves were a little fraught and we found ourselves having our first (but not last) blazing row. I should not have jammed the brakes on!

We arrived only two weddings late.

Liz’s Dad was looking rather pleased. He thought we weren’t coming.

But we’d missed our slot.

Fortunately an old girlfriend of mine helped us out. She was getting married in th3e next slot and had forgotten to pick up the banns. We slotted in to her space.

It was rather a sober affair. We went in with just our family (minus Liz’s Mum) and said our words, signed the certificate and went out.

My Mum tried to add a wedding atmosphere by giving my little sister a little silver horseshoe to give to us. She may even have thrown a little bit of confetti.

Wedding Two was done and dusted!

How interesting to stand back and watch the politicians promise the earth in order to gain power!

How interesting to stand back and watch the politicians promise the earth in order to gain power!

It is quite apparent that none of the politicians, apart from possibly the Greens, are at all bothered about what is best for the country (or the planet). They are trying bribe after bribe in order to sway people to vote for them so that they can gain power.

Power, like wealth, is a terribly addictive thing.

The election brings it to the surface and it is naked for all to see; their lust for power trumps all common sense. They will try anything to gain power. They will lie, scare, misrepresent and blatantly try to buy your votes.

It is quite obscene.

It takes a certain type of psychopath to be a politician!

It’s all short-term, all ideological, all planned out to gain votes. It  does not matter what is right or wrong, best for anyone or makes sense. It’s a big psychological game!

Quite nasty really!

Our lives are pebbles in a still pond – we make waves.

Our lives are pebbles in a still pond – we make waves.

Ripples

I believe a person’s life is like a stone thrown into a pond. It generates ripples.

Those ripples can be a force for good

Or they can be a force for evil.

We swim in the ripples we all create.

Some people’s lives barely brush the surface

While others generate huge tidal waves that sweep history along

If there are enough of us our waves build together in harmony.

I aim to make as many ripples as I can with my short life

My waves may be small but they lap out against everyone and spark other ripples

They can become as big as tsunamis and carry all before them

Our ripples build the zeitgeist in which we all are formed

All of us are moulded

Some help form the mould

Together we can change the world for the better

Here – I throw another pebble in

See the ripples spread.

Here – share my pebbles.

Poetry – Death – a poem of fulfilment wrested from each precious second.

Poetry – Death – a poem of fulfilment wrested from each precious second.

Life is measured in seconds. I have no belief is anything after. I opened my eyes into a wondrous universe. My purpose is to make each second as full and purposeful as I possibly can. I want to wrest as much out of it, enjoy, create and experience, to squeeze the sponge of life until each drop is savoured.

Each second is precious for our life after is as our life before. That’s OK.

Death

If you live with me

You’ll never live

Far from death

Liquid torrents in my veins

The skies

The rock

The water

Stalking my dreams

My death will be unique

Fantastic and terrible

Complete

Without hope

That must drive your life

Death that is oblivion

Each second stolen

From the void

Each thought

A universe

Each day

A life

When you live with me

You live with life

That burns.

Opher 10.9.99

Poetry – Believers – A poem about religious fanaticism.

Poetry – Believers – A poem about religious fanaticism.

 

Believers

Madmen pose with

Hardware exposed

To elevate their egos

To eternity.

Foolish fools

Believing silly rules,

Eschewing girls from schools

Inflamed with

Dreams of glory.

Endorphins rage

Through synapses

Of the brave.

Adherents ecstatic

With grave zeal

and brotherhood

Of unity;

All built on a book

Of lunacy.

Opher 4.7.2015

Everywhere I look around the world and through the depths of history I see excited young men clutching weapons in one hand and sacred books or political treaties in the other all wild-eyed and crazed; all joined by a cause; all eager to impose their vision on the world.

They butcher and torture until they themselves are numb, callous and cold and their Messianic fire has corrupted into sadistic futility.

All are assured of one thing – their cause is inevitably short-lived. We have seen the crusades, Jihads, Pol Pot, Hitler, Rwanda, and a thousand other massacres, genocides and causes as religions and regimes rise and rapidly fall.

It does not stop the fanaticism. Fascism and the adrenaline of brotherhood of war is a powerful aphrodisiac. It fires the belly and confounds the senses. The crazed believers are prepared to lay down their lives for their pointless cause.  They are easy to recruit and indoctrinate – point and they will go,

It all harks back to those tribal days of young men on hunting parties whose lives depended on their skills, bravery and willingness to support each other in a common aim – whether that be fighting off a ferocious wild cat or bringing down a dangerous buffalo.

Young men, befuddled by hormones, eager for status and glory, easily drawn to a cause, are always gullible.

Young women, equally befuddled, seeking father’s for the eggs they store, are attracted to the strongest. They support the craziness – always gullible.

We are so primitive. We are transparent. Our intelligence, helplessness and stupidity are our constant downfall.

Perhaps one day women will be attracted to men for their neuronal skills and compassion rather than their muscle and brute force. The world would be a different place.

Tower of London Poppies – The 1st World War 1914-1918

Tower of London Poppies – The 1st World War 1914-1918

The sea of red poppies at the Tower of London were a powerful reminder of the senseless industrial slaughter of human beings.

10 million military personnel were butchered by high explosive.

7 million civilians were also killed in violently.

The poppy was adopted to remind us of the gruesome stupidity of war where weaponry has now reached a sophistication where a missile can be targeted from thousands of miles away and kill thousands of people, where a nuclear device can kill millions. There is nothing heroic about it
The poppy is a reminder that there are better ways. Violence is primitive behaviour.

It is also salutary to consider that the flu epidemic that followed the first World War killed between 20 and 40 million – more than were killed in both World Wars.

Perhaps we should be putting our efforts into solving the population explosion before the next virus disposes of us!

Build a better zeitgeist!