Tag Archive: medal

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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New Lumix TZ5 perhaps?

All good things come to an end and it’s time to move on from my Fuji FinePix F30 to something else…

Ricoh R10After seeing my mate Len’s Ricoh compact I was tempted by the new one, the R10.  However, most reviews I read were less than complimentary.

So fishing about I hit on the Panasonic Lumix TZ5 Panasonic Lumix TZ5 via a quick perusal through the Canon and Casio range.

TZ5 EISA award

TZ5 EISA award

The TZ5 certainly seems to do the business as far as my particular needs go – and it’s got a medal!

What I’ve found particulary good, is expressed in this YouTube review by cameralabs.com.

Around the 4m30s mark, Gordon the reviewer fires the thing up for a 1sec startup and then demonstrates the 10x optical zoom available from the Leica lens system.  Just phenomenal especially when stage 1 stabilisation is employed!  Unfortunately, several reviews mention the microphone being on the top of the camera so that it’s easily blocked with a finger   –  This following video is probably the reason for this as you can clearly hear motor noise!

The best zooming example is probably this one:

https://youtu.be/zfh8z_QBchw    …and all from a hand-held compact.

The crucially different thing to my current machine is that it zooms while recording!  Also, the level of zoom should allow me to peep over into some egrets’ near here that I want to catch in the act, so to speak, of breeding, without disturbing them.  Global warming means it not happened before…

Watch this space.  I haven’t decided yet.

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So Far Ahead – Beryl Burton

Strangely post on January 16th, 2009
Posted in Cycling Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beryl Burton at Speed

Beryl Burton at Speed

Following GB cycling’s successes at the recent 2008 olympics and world championships, I was reminded about the accomplishments of Beryl Burton who died early over 10 years ago.
It seems that in any sphere of human endeavour there is always one person who is head and shoulders better than anyone else.  We had the domination in tennis, say, of Navratilova, Sampras, Federer;  in motorsport of Fangio, Senna, Schumacher.

This year and for the past few, GB has had Chris Hoy, who has changed sport several times, and become champion at all of them.

But for longevity, and as an amateur, Beryl Burton’s exploits bring tears to my eyes for sheer determination.  In the big tours, like the Tour de France, the time-trial is called “the race of truth”, because everyone can watch you, all the way.  There’s no hiding, no competitor.  You ride against the clock and against all the negativity produced by your body.

In this Beryl Burton excelled.  For two years, at one distance (the 12hr), she was faster than any man in the world.  Indeed, when she broke the record she passed a man (Mike McNamara) who was in the process of setting the Men’s record! As she passed him, she is reputed to have given him a Liquorice Allsort – which he ate!

Beryl Burton didn’t start to ride until late – 18.  But then for 25 years she won medals and set records in nearly every single year.  Maybe she burnt out? (She died of heart failure on a training ride aged 59).  Who knows – but what a legacy?

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Nazi Ron Dies

Ron Asheton Dies at Home

Fun House

Fun House

Tempis fugit and all that.  Ironically, the day after I saw Iggy Pop doing an advert on telly for car insurance, Ron dies at home with no suspicious circumstances.  Amazing.

The first time I heard “Down on the Street” knocked me over.  I was just stunned.

Iggy Painting by Alistair

Iggy Painting by Alistair

I heard “Search and Destroy”.  Stunned.  It inspired Alistair to paint this picture for me.

Today Ron was found dead.  I’m not stunned, but I’m a bit sad that he’s been dead on his sofa for several days and no-one noticed.


Over the last few years, the concerts the reformed Stooges have been doing had provided them all with some dosh for their old age.  Ironic, huh?  In the early years of the Stooges, Ron had a penchant for Nazi regalia.  Latterly he’d taken to wearing a little shiny medal on a ribbon. Someone called him quirky, not bad, and he believed good was in everyone even if they didn’t show it. Some recent biopics on telly (Melvyn Bragg etc) about the Stooges confirm that one’s perception of a person via the skewed media of their art and publicity can be somewhat at variance with the reality.


For Ron, that’s about right. He was 60.  Here are some news links from today:

Links:

Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead – NME

Stooges guitarist Asheton found dead in Ann Arbor – Reuters

Ron Asheton, guitarist for The Stooges, dies at age 60 – CBC

Ron Asheton put the menace in the Stooges – Guardian

Stooges guitarist found dead – CNN

The Stooges guitarist found dead – BBC

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Blair gets US Medal of Fawning Intransigence

tony_blair_24_350x470_1_.jpgTony Blair to get US Medal of Freedom

..is one of today’s news items.

This is given personally by the US President and is supposed to be the highest civilian award in that country.  One would expect it to be for people that work towards freedom as it’s a kind-of in the name sort-of-a-thing…

So I’ve checked the list of past recipients, and you can too by going here:

http://www.medaloffreedom.com/Chronological.htm

US Medal of FreedomDepending on your age and knowledge, you may recognise some of the names.  There are hundreds.  And after a while, it dawns on you that they are not about freedom.

Paralleling the UK system of knighthoods and peerages, the list is mainly former (male) politicians, (Vance, Bush, Reagan etc), bankers and businessmen like the boss of Citicorp (one of the collapsing companies that we all have to rescue..) with the odd pope, nun and occasional honourable person of courage chucked in.

It’s honours for the old boys network.

Now if you think I’m being disrespectful to any of these people, please take a close look at the Medal of Freedom dedicated website.  It’s a monkey of a site.  It loads with some pious gibberish from the stumbling George W Bush.  But worse, much worse, is that the site is loaded with adverts from Google!

Surely, as a mark of the most deepest respect, a website could be funded by the US Government or the Oval Office without recourse to obtrusive targeted adverts selling medals?

All this shows to me is the deep cynical contempt with which the honour is really held by Americans.  Which is sad, as it debases the very word,

FREEDOM

Freedom does not mean the freedom to advertise willy-nilly and the freedom to corrupt the highest office in the land.  That is free-will, not freedom, something that Bush has trouble understanding or if he understands, he chooses to ignore.

Thieves and robbers have free-will.  They choose to steal. But one doesn’t need freedom to steal.

So if Blair had true courage, he would have said he was catholic straight off because, yes, he was right, we would have thought him a nutter or something.

If Blair had true courage he would have argued courageously against the erosion of all our rights and freedoms under the disguise of Bush’s “war on terror”.

But he didn’t.  He fawned to the aggressive negative tendencies inherent in all beings, making a virtue from an intransigent stand against “terror”, whatever that means.

He got nice pats on the back from everyone (in the visible West that is, dissent being suppressed), for a while.  But now, in his capacity of “Special Envoy” he has notably said and done nothing about the rising tide of death and injury in the Middle East , because he was on holiday.

If he had any honour he’d hand in his notice and pay back his salary to his employer (us) as obviously, he did nothing.  In the end, he has a job and he’s failed.  He should be sacked not honoured.

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