Tag Archive: economy

Curious Suicide

The Coroner and The Law

I’m often struck when reading the papers or news, to see the coroner’s verdict on someone’s death as:

Ending his own life “while the balance of his mind was disturbed”

Dennis and Flora Milner said they wanted to decide when to die

Dennis and Flora Milner said they wanted to decide when to die

Well they have to say something, it’s their job, but the phrase is very peculiar.  It is also very common, over 110k webpages!

Take this couple, the Milners, who were found dead in their home on the 1st November, 2009.  They look quite jolly, don’t they.  Would you say that the balance of their mind is disturbed?

Current UK law says that it’s OK to end your own life, but illegal to help anyone do it.  I’ve emphasised the word “current”, because not that long ago, when the spoken language of the people of Britain would be comprehensible to us here today, it was actually a capital offence to commit suicide!  In other words, if you failed to kill yourself, the State would that ensure you got your wish, by hanging you.  This all came from the Catholic and then later Protestant religions’ view of life and the hereafter.

This shows that the view of suicide is highly flexible!

New Economy

Angst

A common view, is as I stated at the top; that someone has a mental problem.  This is a tautology, of course. (Statement: ‘All people who attempt suicide are mentally ill.’ Question: ‘How do you know they are mentally ill?’ Answer: ‘Because only mentally ill persons would try to commit suicide.’) But more to the point, what is the mind?

Mind

People have struggled since the dawn of self-comprehension about “the mind”.  Descartes said “I think therefore I am” which is as good as anything.

Nichiren, the Buddhist monk has said many things, usually by quoting other previous Buddhist scholars and the like, and with an alarming number of references to the concept of “mind“, “self” and “existence“.  For instance, quoting Dengyo he states,

“The two phases of life and death are the wonderful workings of one mind. The two ways of existence and non-existence are the true functions of an inherently enlightened mind.” – Nichiren, The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life

Which is all fine and dandy if you’re not depressed, isn’t it?  If you are feeling down, it’s as dust to the wind, isn’t it?

But the truth of what Nichiren is saying is that it encapsulates one’s concept of “self”, regardless of whether you are up or down with your life.

And surely, by knowing oneself, even if you are suicidal, then your mind is never disturbed because at that point you have a very clear idea of “self”?

Suicide Types

Disappearance/Appearance

Value

There are various forms of suicide, neatly classified on this Wikipedia entry.  What is clear to me, is that there are, in essence, only two types of suicide, and they both to varying degrees are to do with a lack of value to life, not a disrespect of it.

  • Respect is a concept based in honour and subservience.
  • Value is a concept that is transferable across many human activities and we all have a good idea of it’s meaning that is far removed from any concept of society, duty, kinship and a host of other things based around law and natural justice.

The first is when one perceives no value in one’s own life.

Here, I’m separating life and existence into two different things, much as all the world’s major religions do.  (Most religions, in one way or another, have at their core the premise that when you die, in the physical sense, that you “go” somewhere else afterwards).  In such a case, a person may be fed up with their lot and end it all for one of the reasons that Wikipedia lists.  For example, men with families like myself, when getting their pension statement will jokingly say amongst themselves that “I’m worth more dead than alive!”.  The truth is that this is a truly valid reason that many suicides will use and is a far closer statement of the reality of many in the Western World’s lives than they care to admit.

The second is when a person sees no value in other’s lives.

Such examples could be:

  • A soldier in Afghanistan
  • A soldier in WW1 or WW2
  • A suicide bomber in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • A kamikaze pilot in WW2

 

Grieving Woman

We must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war . . .
I hate war . . .
Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.
© Gettty Images https://tinyurl.com/looceef

In each of these cases, the potential for that person’s own death is there precisely because they set aside for an undefined period, any value of the person’s life they are going to kill, even though there’s a good chance they too will die.

By doing this they wrap up my first reason within the second.  It’s impossible not to!

Of course, they justify their reasons under the flags of patriotism or peace and the promise or expectation of a “better life” either elsewhere for themselves or their families or country.

Country-Person, Person-Country?

Nationalism and native land

Nationalism and native land

But what is the point of committing suicide for a country or a belief system like a religion?  These are temporary constructs of our human minds.  As Nichiren said;

There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 1, page 4

and here;

It is like the case of a person who in a dream sees himself performing various good and evil actions. After he wakes up and considers the matter, he realizes that it was all a dream produced by his own mind. This mind of his corresponds to the single principle of the essential nature of phenomena, the true aspect of reality, while the good and evil that appeared in the dream correspond to enlightenment and delusion. – The Entity of the Mystic Law – WND1, page 418

So what we have is our own mind.

  • Who is to say whether it’s mad or bad?
  • Who is to say that life itself is a true reality, because every single thing we see with our eyes and perceive with our other senses, is actually processed information by, and a product of, our own mind!

This last is pure physics and logic.  We live, and see things just like TV.  A TV picture is just dots on a screen.  Our mind converts them into news, trees, people, porn.  But there’s nothing there, only dots.

Similarly with Great Art.  It’s just paint splodges.  It’s our mind that makes the Mona Lisa enigmatic – not even Leonardo’s – it’s our own mind that does it!!!. Just like the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Life and Love

Soldier Love

Love

So who can put any suicide under any form of disdain?  Who can dare compare the suicide of a soldier (usually dressed up as medals and bravery, and they are brave, make no mistake) dying for his or her concept of patriotism with the suicide of a spurned lover, dying for their own concept of life and duty?

It takes just as much bravery for a young girl to walk into a market place and blow herself up as it does for a soldier to run across open ground through a field of enfilading machine gun fire.

And it takes the same bravery for a spurned or deceived lover to end their life when they’ve been through all the options in their own mind, using all the logic at their disposal and deduced that a new, different life for themselves in the next existence is a better option than the current life, especially if, as I said earlier, they consider the value of their life to be greater when they are dead!

To go through all these acts of certain death takes the same amount of courage from everybody, in that I see no distinction.

In this story, a very good Agatha Christie type of mystery, transported into the modern era in a multi-cultural ghetto that explores the social conflicts and mores from many angles, not least the personal, the social, the political, the economic and the cultural clash angles, one of the characters, Hassan, says,

‘Fucking love, ain’t it, messing with you, makes you unable to think clear.’

And that’s about the sum of it.

Let there be light

Let there be light

For the love of a woman, a man, your children, a country, a religion, a promise of a better future;  these are all good and valid reasons for a suicide.

Question?

Now can anyone tell me a valid reason to oppose someone’s suicide?

Answers must be logically consistent.  When you’ve got them, then either reply here or write them on a piece of paper and shove them up your arse.

I really don’t care.  It’s my blog space and I’ll say what I want.

 

Somewhat Related:

You may pile up dung and call it sandalwood, but when you burn it, it will give off only the odour of dung. You may pile up a lot of great lies and call them the teachings of the Buddha, but they will never be anything but a gateway to the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering.

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Three Good Environment Plans

This week, I’ve become aware of three excellent initiatives that are focussing people’s energies, creativity, and cash(!) into positive solutions to the global energy crisis.  It just shows what can be done – and these projects are not difficult or hard to creative creatures like ourselves.

Big Mirrors in the Desert

A sustainable energy initiative that will start with a huge solar project in the Sahara desert has been announced by a consortium of 12 European businesses.

A sustainable energy initiative that will start with a huge solar project in the Sahara desert has been announced by a consortium of 12 European businesses.

This is a $400billion plan (yes, 400 billion!), that will plaster the top left corner of Africa with mirrors to harness solar energy.

These will boil water, make steam, turn conventional turbines to make electricity which will be sent across the Straits of Gibraltar, to Europe.

No doubt, the various peoples in the areas will benefit from all this in numerous ways.  That’s for politics.

The thing is, major European govenrments and industries are all signed up now, which in the scheme of things, takes some doing.

The first step is always the hardest.

Green Oil

Algal Ponds biodiesel

Algal Ponds biodiesel

In a similar way in the USA, large tracts of semi-desert are being used as test beds for algal production and it’s distillation into a usable biodiesel.

The BBC had a piece yesterday that explored the forces and conflicts at work, between the big oil businesses, the environment, people worried about jobs, etc.  Read it here: America’s energy policy dilemma

The Venus Project

Quoting the website here:

The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. There are many people today who are concerned with the serious problems that face our modern society: unemployment, violent crime, replacement of humans by technology, over-population and a decline in the Earth’s ecosystems.

Don’t let the pictures put you off!  To my mind they remind me of Gerry Anderson’s world of Stingray & Thunderbirds, but maybe that’s what’ll happen?

The important thing is the degree of coherent thought being made, for the benefit of everyone, not just a few individuals or states.  This ties in closely with what I said here; http://strangelyperfect.tv/3821/top-banker-states-the-bleeding-obvious/

This is good, because at present, if these big technologies come to fruition, all the hot sunny places in the world, most of which are extremely poor in money and natural resources, will suddenly become everyone’s best friend, and it’s in the planning for this part of the equation that I think The Venus Project will show it’s greatest value.

Browse the website, there’s pots to see and think about!

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UK’s Sensible Energy Chief tells it Like it Is – Like Me!!!

Subway sentinel

Blow my own trumpet

The statements this week, by the UK government’s chief energy scientist, are right up my street.  See Britons creating ‘more emissions’ on the BBC.

It’s obvious really.

  • Over the last few decades our (meaning the UK and all western nations’) manufacturing industries have collapsed.
  • Yet we can still buy stuff, more and more stuff actually.
  • By making stuff, we, as humans invariably use energy and create pollution as either a by-product of energy consumption and/or the manufacturing process itself.
  • Where is the pollution if we don’t make it here?
  • Overseas obviously, where the factories are….
  • Where are the factories?
  • In China, mainly.

This much we all know, but we choose to forget it.  We want a DVD, we buy it.  We don’t care where it was made or how it got here.  All we want is it to be cheaper than yesterday.

Beautiful or not - you decide!!

Industry!

And the same goes for everything.  Even plastic bags….

Trumpet

And so to my trumpet-blowing.

Back in May 2008 I posted exactly the same as Prof MacKay has so eloquently said.  He said that all our supposed anti-pollution efforts ……….

are an illusion.

And he’s also recognised the duplicitous facts of our behaviour in making China et al the arch-culprits of pollution —  because they are not.

They behave that way because they are copying us and our actions since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

Back in May 2008 I said,

China is the great factory for the world. While the rest of the world struggled, China just got on and made stuff and did stuff. The result is lots of pollution. Basically, it’s exported pollution from all the global companies that moved their production to China over the last few decades. In other words – it’s our pollution, but in China!

Industrial Revolution

Ironbridge: 1779. Dawn of the Industrial Revolution?

Now finally, someone at the top is saying the same and we might finally get some positive action to reverse our spiralling energy consumption and physical debt to the planet that we live on and from which there is no escape.

Hooray!

The Professor said this,

“Back in 1910 we were burning per capita the same amount as Americans do today so that’s an argument for saying we really have an ethical duty to take a lead and show the way and show that it is possible for a developed country to seriously de-carbonise its economy.

“By historical emissions per capita the top three are America, Germany and Britain so we are right up there on the winners podium for carbon dioxide emissions per person over the last 125 years. “

….which is a firm statement, putting the guilt and the ownership of affirmative action soundly onto our shoulders, specifically the UK, Germany and the USA.  He’s saying ‘we’re the ones wot done it – we should fix it’!!

Cause and effect?

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Nice Car -such a Shame.

New Jaguar XJ

New Jaguar XJ

New Jaguar XJ

In common with most cars like this, it’s a lovely looking machine – a style marvel; sleek and vapid, mercurial.

It’s also a waste of space and a waste of effort.

It’s two tonnes of mass for a 400kg payload is pants.  An ecological disaster zone.

Money for Old Rope

New York Congestion

New York Congestion

Not only that, with the firm reputably losing £1m per day, it’s cost of >£50k to a tad under £90k means that 10-20 will need to be sold each day just to cover that loss, without any pretence at covering their own manufacturing costs.

Utah Congestion

Utah Congestion

Tata, it’s Indian owner paid $2.3bn for the company.  Now the UK and Europe are being asked to bail it out for £300m to keep the 15k workers in jobs and preserve the veneer of a static environmental world, bathed in an everlasting sea of fossil fuel.  Ravi Kant sees profits in two years…

Worldwide, Jaguar sold ~65k cars in 2008.  Most luxury makers are seeing sales drops of  at least 20% for each of the last two years.  Many barely made money even in the good times!! This figure covers some fuzz though.  Because these 65k cars cost from ~£20k to ~£80k, a simple like-for-like calculation cannot be made.  The intention is to drop some models next year in favour of the more expensive car.  So 65k cars again?

I don’t think so.  Call it 50k cars.

Melbourne, Australia congestion

Melbourne, Australia congestion

The irony isn’t just in the financial gloss applied to make it appear that Shangri-La is returning very soon;  a bizarre hope exists of a ‘business as usual’ scenario, when we can repeat the whole cycle again.

The irony is in the design of the vehicle, it’s presentation to the public, and the public’s perception of the machine as a desirable status symbol, swooping over life’s problems like fuel shortages, the congestion of our urban sprawls and speed limits.

The Jaguar website provides full technical specifications for the vehicle, which show it to have good acceleration and economy.  They fail to point out that the standard laws of physics mean these aren’t at the same time…

Jaguar cub

Bored young Jaguar

The slow-motion pictures at the beginning of the launch video aren’t slow at all.  This is real-time speed in a traffic queue, the place where the vehicle will spend most of it’s travelling life.

And whenever the Jaguar owner feels like opening it up to it’s 155mph limited maximum, hopefully they’ll be reassured that it’s lightweight, rivetted aluminium structure is stronger than that of the similarly shiny, magnesium and aluminium Mercedes which was in this crash below, at only 125mph.

The point is that rapid transport itself is a luxury.  Although we in the West have become accustomed to ever cheaper travel of all types, this has been at the expense of the future.  Like the credit crunch, we are “leveraging” today’s resources against tomorrows expectations of a miracle.  The pot of black gold isn’t bottomless, but the continuing production of anachronisms like this beautiful car, seeks only to deceive us that it is.

The only miracle will be if people see the truth that they’ve been living in a dream world for the past century.   In the 35,000 years of human existence, these last hundred are but a plip in a pond.

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Top Banker States the Bleeding Obvious

From the Department of the Bleeding Obvious

World Bank warns of social unrest

In this little snippet we find that bad things are going to happen because of the financial crisis!

20070529_zoellick_robert71126729_18_1_

Robert Zoellick

I we consider that the top bank in the world is “The World Bank” (i.e. it’s in the name), and the top bank has a boss (it does – he’s Robert Zoellick), then his admission that “If we do no take measures, there is a risk of a serious human and social crisis with very serious political implications” is really a waste of hot air.  You don’t need to be an ‘expert’, like the discredited bankers to know that!

So, serious social upheaval here we come.

Unless, and only unless, people at all levels take personal responsibility for their actions.  It’s short-term greed that has brought about this situation.

The poor blame the rich, the rich blame the gambling financial whizz-kids, the whizz-kids blame the lack of regulation, the regulators blame the governments and their leaders who then blame everyone as they live in their dubious rules-compliant expense account cocoon.

In fact, everyone who has thought that money was there to grab because ‘everyone does it’, like comfy middle England financed on a continuously appreciating housing market, has been living in a dream-world, a Cloud Cuckoo Land of steadily rising graphs where nothing bad happens.

In a limited world of limited resources, this obviously could not and cannot last.  We need fundamental change, to break from the economic cycle based on consumption.  The current plans to ‘stimulate’ the car industry are a case in point.  We need a better system than making cars just to keep an economy going by using up the Earth‘s resources.  In a nutshell;

It’s Not Sustainable

And if we want to continue as individuals and as a species, to continue means to sustain.

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