Laying the seeds of our own demise.

We do not seem to be able to use our intelligence either for the good of ourselves, the species or the rest of life on this planet. Right from the beginning we’ve been a complete disaster.

According to scientists the first sign of humans moving into an area is the extinction of all the megafauna – same on all continents – from giant sloths, giant beavers, giant kangaroos to mastodon, mammoths and a host of others. It was madness. We didn’t just hunt for meat we killed for pleasure. We drove whole herds of mammoth off cliffs where just one or two would have satisfied our needs.
We are a flawed species.

With common sense we would be countering the many dangers that could eradicate us – from virus mutation, asteroid strike, climate change and biodiversity. But no. We prefer to deny away, have wars, huge military expenditure and run everything for profit and power.

When the virus comes, the asteroid hits or we die from our own destruction of nature we might wake up to the realisation that we could have done it differently.

Nature will heal. Maybe some other intelligent species will emerge in the next few million years of evolution? And perhaps that intelligent species will not be so driven by a lust for power, greed, selfishness or the defect of gaining pleasure from inflicting pain, agony and death on others?

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What does the UK do better than the USA?

I’m on this US site and this American ‘friend’ called Michael put up this on one of my posts. I liked it and thought it was worth putting up.

I thought Michael chose a good set of three.

There, of course, has to be a follow-up – What does the USA do better than the UK?

This question was asked about the UK
Can you name 3 things the U.K. does better than the U.S.?
An English guy answered with the following list:
“I get only three, so I have to choose from the list below”
1. Healthcare for all.
2. Beer.
3. Manners.
4. Education.
5. Punch above our weight in science.
6. Cross a road without the fear of being prosecuted.
7. Democracy
8. Approachable police officers.
9. War.
10. History.
11. Construction.
12. Spelling.
13. Music.
14. No need for guns.
15. Travelling the World.
16. We don’t worship our flag.
17. Religious freedom.
18. Freedom.
19. Diversity.
20. Climate change awareness.
21. Working conditions.
22. Social security.
23. Humility.
24. Diplomacy.
25. Cheap Internet.
26. Satellite and cable tv.
27. Sport.
28. No hero worship of the very rich.
29. Look after our poor.
30. Less crime.
31. We are not so insecure that we have to have a huge military.
32. The Queen.
33. We do not wear “make MUKGA hats” as it already is.
34. Navy destroyers.
35. Longer life expectancy.
36. Less obesity.
37. Smaller portions of food in restaurants.
38. Pubs.
39. Our military is more professional and better trained.
40. An atheist is allowed to become Prime minister.
41. Better LGBT rights.
42. Less racism.
43. We don’t hate people who have a different political point of view.
44. The 4th of July is a normal date on the calendar.
45. We don’t go over the top with general elections.
46. James Bond can beat up Jason Bourne.
47. Our leader isn’t an egomaniac that wants to build a wall as a legacy to himself.
48. We don’t have so many trolls on Quora.
49. Fair play.
50. Tea.

Ok this is going to be hard choice, so I pick 1, 10, 14.

As for me – I like them all apart from 32, 34 and 46. I am no lover of the Queen, don’t know what Navy Destroyers have to do with anything and am not mad about James Bond.

Warm Fuzzies

A Passion for Education – Warm Fuzzies

This is a short extract from Chapter 6. I think it has resonance for all walks of life.:

The best training we had was a great exercise that really summed up the way we human beings interact with each other.

It concerned a magical land far far away. A wizard came into the land with a big bag. When he met anyone he put his hand in his bag and gave them a little furry creature. As soon as they held it and stroked the animal it sent a great feeling of pleasure and happiness flooding through them. The wizard had an endless supply and soon everyone was carrying a bag around full of ‘warm fuzzies’ and passing them around to everyone they met. The kingdom became a beautiful place full of happy people.

The wizard left and another wizard appeared. He too had a bag but inside his bag were cold spiky little creatures. Everyone he met he gave one of these creatures to. The ‘icy pricklies’ ate ‘warm fuzzies’ and sent a feeling of fear and hatred through the person. Soon the kingdom was transformed into gloom and misery.

So what do we all pass on to others that we meet?

I wanted a school that ran on ‘warm fuzzies’. ‘icy pricklies’ were banned. Whatever bad stuff had happened to you outside you left it at the school gates. I accentuated the positive. I tried to get everyone to recognise all the good qualities in each other. I wanted the kingdom inside to be warm and nurturing.

I think I achieved that.

I have since discovered (thanks to Raili) the original Warm Fuzzy tale. It is a little bit different to the one I was told and is a delight! Thank you Claude Steiner!!

http://democracy.mkolar.org/warmfuzzytale/warmfuzzy14.html

If you would like to purchase any of my books:

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1479815710&sr=1-2-ent

If you would like to read my story – with no holds barred:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/passion-Education-story-Headteacher-ebook/dp/B00NRC66E2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The Creation of Gods.

Early man looked at the heavens, seasons and nature and was awestruck by the majesty of what they saw. I am too.

They set about trying to explain these wonders with their limited minds and imagination and invented gods and religions – all religions and gods were created in line with their cultural origins and are laden with that cultural baggage (whether that be the worship of Diana, Allah, God, Odin, Inti, Amun-Ra or Rama …….).

They had no concept of evolution, planets, suns, or the extent of nature and the universe. They could not understand what created the seasons or weather changes.

Through basic psychology they created solutions and explanations in the form of creation myths, afterlives, paradises and all the rest.

Nature and the universe are amazing. Science has only scratched the surface. There is much to be understood and it is quite probable that with our limited minds we will never fully understand the creation of life or the universe. Why would we pretend such arrogance as to understand? We are little more than bacterial scum on the surface of a minor planet, stuck out on the spiral arm of a lesser galaxy amid trillions of such galaxies.

For me to explain the unknown with the invention of an even bigger unknown is just another fairy tale.

I see lots of wonder in nature, consciousness and the universe. I’ve spent my life in euphoric discovery and awe. Every tree, sunset, mountain and lake fills me with awe.

I do not see any intelligent hand at work. If there is it’s a perverse one. If the human body was designed the designer is either incompetent or vindictive. A child could do better.

We are not in the position of our ignorant forebears. We know a lot more. We know the sun is not a god and that the rituals do not make the sun rise or change the seasons. We know that weather is the result of meteorological phenomena – not rain dances.

The world and universe is full of wonder. I’ve no need to create a magical being to explain it.

I believe religion has had its day. Soon we will leave it behind. I believe it only exists because we brainwash our kids.

I do not have any issue with anyone who chooses to believe in whatever they like as long as they don’t foist it on others. I just do not believe any of it.

Morality is a human attribute – not a religious one.

My parents weren’t religious and I was brought up with a very good moral compass, a good set of values and a sense of compassion, empathy, tolerance and respect.

I am an antitheist. I believe all religions are manmade and do more harm than good. I am also an atheist. I find the whole concept of a god facile.

I live in the UK which is a post-religious country. I contend that its moral compass is at least as good as any religious country – from the USA to Saudi Arabia.

Religion is not the arbiter of morality.

I brought up my children in a atheistic home but they are instilled with more morality and kindness than most. They’ve grown up to be good, honest, well-adjusted people who do not need religion as a crutch.

Religion certainly is not the seat of morality. Morality stems from human nature. We know what is right and wrong.

I think many have it the wrong way round. Morality comes out of human nature and became entrenched in religion. It did not come out of religion and become entrenched in humanity.

No Man is an island – we need progressive taxation.

No man is an island. We are all part of a society comprising hundreds of millions of people. In order for that many people to coexist there has to be structure and compromise. That means taxes.

There is a balance between complete freedom and existing as part of this society.

I’m in the UK. I reckon we’ve got it about right. I have freedom to say what I like, believe what I like, vote for who I like, go where I like. I have fair laws and a good standard of living. I might rail against many things that I don’t like – the inequality for example – but it is still pretty good.

No man can be completely free when he lives in among other people.

Without laws there is chaos and everyone suffers.

Without taxes we do not have the things society requires in order to prosper.

Without compassion we have selfishness and greed.

More Bertrand Russell Wisdom.

Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.

To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.

The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.

The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.

Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh quote

Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Gross Inequality and the Health of Society.

I believe that extreme capitalism has resulted in wealth being stolen from the middle and lower classes through excessive pay and obscene bonuses.

They have used the system to legally steal. The result is that, while the country’s wealth increases, the wealth is siphoned off to the top 10%. 90% of the population are being exploited.

Extreme inequality means that the uber-rich are receiving far too large a section of the pie. The rest are struggling.

This is not only unfair; it is morally corrupt. The system, set up by the wealthy, is nothing short of blatant robbery.

I believe the best way to address this unethical inequality is to put a stop to the tax loopholes and to bring in a graduated tax so that the uber-rich contribute more for the good of society.

At present we have a society that is based on corruption, exploitation and gross inequality. I do not believe that is fair, just or healthy. I would prefer to live in a society that was more compassionate and fair.

Some great Bertrand Russell quotes

Bertrand Russell was a wonderful British philosopher who was quite a character.  So many of his views are so pertinent for these times. Here’s a few of his great quotes:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.
War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.
I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.
The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.