A Guide to the GoodLife (HubPages)

Read my latest article on Hubpages; inspired by a piece on the 13 virtues of Benjamin Franklin.

If we aren’t given any sort of manual or instructions to life when we arrive here, would it be a good idea to think of some once you’ve got the hang of this little game we’re here playing?

Aimlessly wondering through life is great when you’re eighteen but, for me, at the ripe old age of thirty I’m slowly starting to realise that virtue and patience, diligence and moral fibre ‘aren’t just ideas; they are perspectives’.

 

 

 

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It Really is a Brave New World 

It Really is a Brave New World
Remember playing outside in summer until nine or even ten o’clock at night because it was still light outside? Did you ever have your very own tree? Not any old tree, this was your home from home. The same tree you’d climbed for years now. So long had you climbed this tree that a human child shaped groove had etched itself in to its ancient trunk which you now called your own. 

Did you ever make a ‘mixtape’ from the songs on the radio? Clicking ‘Play’ and ‘Record’ on your Dads HiFi throughout the song to record it on to a cassette tape, and then pausing it when the DJ spoke in between tracks? Girls how many pretend cups of tea did you drink? How many ‘Macarena’ type dance routines did you and your friends choreograph? Boys how many imaginary enemy soldiers did you shoot with your sticks? How many famous football players did you transform in to?  

Did you, like most children before the digital age, create worlds in your mind and then fill them with your imaginations like an infant version of ‘Inception’? 

Well, unfortunately, it seems those days are gone folks…

Children nowadays play ‘Mine Craft’ and create digital worlds on their ‘XBox One’ filling them with in-house purchases of pixelated farm animals, buildings and building materials and tools. Most children haven’t ever climbed a tree, let alone spent a whole Saturday lazing in one, missing lunch and being late for dinner. And any child outside after nine o’clock at night, whether it’s summer or not, “shouldn’t be out at this time, it’s not safe!” 

Now our children ‘Snapchat’ each other or ‘like for a rate’ on Facebook. They obsess over viral video fads on YouTube of the latest saying, phrase or nomination challenge. Our children now want a ‘selfie’ taken with their parents, enquiring later on about how many likes or retweets it received. Where once young people of all ages explored their minds and their creativity, they now associate their thoughts with URL links and the opening sentence from a Wikipedia post. 

What happened to us? Why have our children lost touch with their own sense of imagination and creativity and since when did it become too unsafe for children to play outside no matter what time of year it was? Have we really stood by and watched as children, in our western ‘developed’ culture, have had their imaginations replaced by simulations? Have we seriously, somehow, side stepped in to a parallel universe where children are as image conscious as adults, seeking attention online with pictures of themselves? And if so, what could that mean for our future?  

I believe, and I want to stress that it’s merely a belief, that the future of our society rests in the hands of adults who, from an early age, learned to be captivated less by creation and more by consumerism and self idolisation. A generation of doctors and police men and women with triggers and associations based not on ye old moral fibre and good noble virtue, but instead on social media, interactive game consoles and cultural media and propaganda.  

Some say, in the odd article here and there that I have read, that it was the baby boomers that created a millennial monster by passing down trillions in debt. Others, mainly the baby boomers, suggest that this is merely the symptoms of some sort of new age liberal laziness.  

Both of those justifications sound absurd to me. There are only so many genuine fads, phases and phenomena that could possibly occur in reality on a weekly basis but somehow our current ‘free’ press and it’s mainstream media seem to be able to conjure up these ‘happenings’, creating more and more distractions every week, and somehow, we lap it up. Especially kids.  

Schools in the UK now teach lessons on Islamic Extremists blowing up the twin towers in 2001 despite the fact that no evidence has ever been taken to court to substantiate the claim and not a single Islamic ‘terrorist’ has ever been convicted of any crime linked to the bombings in New York on September the 11th. In fact nearly all the original detainees that were arrested in connection with terrorist attacks in the early part of the millennium, that were then hauled off to Guantanamo Bay in orange suits for years, have been released.  

Now I’m not proposing that these people where innocent or that this knowledge shouldn’t be shared with children. But do we really need to create a world filled with evil men and women who hate us ‘westerners’ when we, adults, aren’t even really sure of the facts ourselves? And if that is the case and we don’t have all the facts then why would we put these topics on a curriculum for children to learn? 

It’s bad enough that we as a global population are subjected to a continuous onslaught of ‘terror’ based news reports let alone feeding it to our children when they go to school. And again, I’m not disputing that these events are real I just don’t see the point in obsessively oppressing us with stories on TV and in the news as a reminder of how terrifying the world is. Especially when it’s then influencing a whole generation from an extremely impressionable age.  

This is why we have a completely disengaged, disenfranchised and uninterested population of young people; because they’ve had the worst beginnings imaginable in to this life in terms of building trust and developing a sense of love for your fellow human being. Things that used to seem so normal, like talking to people you don’t know while you wait for a bus, seem so alien and detached from reality to a sixteen year old these days. Especially one whose Mother was worried sick about Osama Bin Sadam or Jihadi Krishna or whoever it was when she was breast feeding. How can we trust if we are taught that trust is conditional?  

In the infinite wisdom of John Lennon ‘the love you take is worth the love you make’ so don’t blame the millennial kids when we have a future leading class who seem a tad distrusting in twenty years, scared of the world, anticipating the next global terror threat because they weren’t shown a loving world. And don’t blame the baby boomers who followed suit the same as the rest of us always did and do, ‘asking how high?’ when the media machine says ‘jump!’ The simple fact is there is an inherent flaw in our system that creates these and a myriad of other catastrophic issues. It’s just such a shame that our children are now consciously aware of it on some level.  

I know I wasn’t when I was sat up in that tree…

What Would You Do if You Won the Lottery? 

How much is the lottery these days? Fifty million? One hundred million? I’m sure that the Euro millions was once over one hundred million!  In any case, winning the lottery would obviously be any regular working to middle class person’s wildest dream come true. You could literally have anything you wanted for the rest of your life with that kind of money. Voice activated ten litre diamond encrusted sports cars with gold plated alloy wheels. A yacht? Does that float your boat? How about an island in the middle of no where like Richard Branson? Apparently he got his at a very reasonable price.

If like me, however, you want to change the environment around you in some way, big or small, in the hope of achieving both physical and spiritual advancements for both yourself and the whole planet (and if you’re not then what’s all that about?); then winning the lottery could mean something else entirely:

Here’s an idea; The Charity Lotto. One pound a ticket. The same rules would apply as the regular old lottery, only this time the winnings would go to the charity, cause or humanitarian or environmental events or projects the winner chooses. Each week the draw would be televised in the same way and the winner would instantly call to claim the winnings for their chosen charity or cause.  

No? Okay what about this; a free farm. Let’s say I did win the lottery. This is one of the things that I would definitely like to do. I would buy as much land as I could, fill it with as many homeless people as I could, build small dry lodges with modest sized beds in, and then teach them to grow all kinds of vegetables, herbs and berries. We have chickens and cows and produce a real life free working farm. It could be housed and maintained by as many homeless people the space will allow and it would then develop in to an open and free community. Of course there are planning permission issues and socio-political fopaux’s I’m sure to be making here with my fantastical and idealistic claims. But this is more than possible. In fact, it already exists. We have communes through out the world that operate this way but wouldn’t it be marvellous, wouldn’t it be real confirmation that we are on the way to an age of comprehension and love, if more and more people who did win the lottery, or even earned amounts they couldn’t spend in ten life times in what ever way, thought of creating areas like this in which free food can be grown and used to feed the starving, or any one for that matter, in the local area. Providing both food and shelter for the homeless and disadvantaged in society while also saving the local economy money AND preserving more and more of the environment. Doesn’t sound too impossible really does it? 

Again, just a thought. But that’s what I’d do if I won the lottery… 

The Power of Words 

Why magic spells are real 
Imagine that there are ten people lined up in a row. They are identical in dress. They each share a similar age, they are mixed sexes, similar heights and weights. Yet half of them are from extremely wealthy beginnings and the other half from extremely poor beginnings. The wealthy half are comprised of doctors, lawyers and businessmen while the other half are bin men, cleaners or unemployed.  
What method would you use to discover who is who and what is what? Would you smell them? Would you touch them? There is only one way you would be able to differentiate between the two groups; their use of language.

By the use of words, vernacular, colloquialisms and accents we differentiate between ‘class’ and this has been going on for hundreds of years.

Words are spells. We ‘spell’ words and they make things happen. One could call it magic. The utterance of a word transforming energy and making people behave one way or the other. That’s magic. As superstitious or witchy as that sounds; it’s true. The use of our words can shift people’s emotional states, inspire and enlighten. The use of words can destroy beliefs and bring down civilisations. The correct positioning and tone of the language patterns you use can make you the President of the United States of America, a famous comedian or actor, a lawyer. They can get you in to the best positions in the world and set you apart from the uneducated and poor classes of our civilisation. Since the inception of received pronunciation, in the 17th century, our class system has been globally set by the use of words, vernacular and colloquialism. Words can quickly imprison you and they can just as easily set you free. The words others say to us and the words that we then say to ourselves determine the courses of our entire lives. Take a pair of newly born twins, place one in India and one in America and they will have their lives steered by a completely different set of cultures. Said cultures can only be symbolised and, in turn, conceptualised via the use of language. These differing language patterns were once manipulated and inserted in to society at a time when the feudal system in England had decayed and other means of retaining hierarchy were being sought out.

Received Pronunciation is just one method now used to ‘dispel’ the level of education in the poorer classes. We have much more modern methods of dividing the levels of comprehension in language.

George Orwell created the concept of ‘Newspeak’ in his famous book ‘1984’ where the totalitarian Government, known as ‘The Party’, issue a decree stating that language is to be eradicated as a means to create order. Without words we cannot question or object. Every week they would remove another group of words from the dictionary and the masses boast at this distorted marvel unaware that they are having their freedoms and ability to express themselves eroded piece by piece. Sound familiar? Text speak? Look how we marvel at our ’emoji’s’, our acronyms, abbreviations and our IM GIFs. Unaware that this will devolve language and instead replace it with a silent obedience that can not object or disagree.

The Wachowski brothers film ‘V for Vendetta’ shows the protagonist ‘V’ broadcasting a message to the people of Great Britain after he hijacks the fictional television news network the ‘BTN’. While illegally on air ‘V’ orates the following soliloquy truly exemplifying the power of words;

“V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, where upon important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly, there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. They were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words; they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

Since the film was produced it has stirred up a huge reaction from people all over the world and has inspire the emergence of socio-political groups such as ‘hacktivist’s’ Anonymous, for example, who use the same image as ‘V’, the Guy Fawkes mask, as their logo, and have galvanised their campaign using the films ‘ideas are bulletproof’ concept.

However, most if not all of these factions have failed to see the point in both of the examples mentioned here. In both ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ the controlling powers are using words to subdue the masses. They broadcast words to spread their totalitarian message. ‘V’, the revolutionary product of an inside job gone monstrously wrong in the film ‘V for Vendetta’, doesn’t take down the ‘NorseFire’ government’s armed forces or attack their police. He systematically attacks the people that know the words. The people that keep us ‘spell bound’ with the stories they create or truths to events they’ve manipulated.

How many people, when listening to politicians speak on television, really follow what is being said? Would you describe the way that politicians speak as ‘regular’ or ‘normal’? No. You would describe the way those people speak as being very different indeed and it’s safe to say that most people find it difficult to understand any politician’s use of language.

So, words can be used to either bamboozle us, scare us in to a certain direction but mainly they are used by politicians, news presenters and other public figures of authority, to confuse us. Words such as; legislation, reform, austerity, foreign policy. The list of expansive non-committal words used to darken our comprehension is huge.

Take the legal system for instance; words like plaintiff, bailiff, joinder, abatement, injunction, duress, jurisdiction.

None of these words are ever used in general day to day conversation and they are all so expansive in their definitions that they paint a plethora of different pictures and could potentially put you in a host of differing positions.

Was this created by chance? Or has it been orchestrated this way to create a lower working class? A class bamboozled by the use of incomprehensible language to distract you from the real truths in life.

If in fact this is the case and language is being used as a broad sword for an ancient system of control, as insane or totally acceptable as that idea may seem from your perspective, how do we counter act it?

Furthermore, how far down this rabbit hole of words and this ‘ancient system of control’ idea do we go? Could the way that words have ‘evolved’, through their abbreviations or extensions over time, have been manipulated to meet the same ends? Could the conjunction of singularly syllabic sounds, those that join to form the words of every language, have some deeper connections than first thought? Could the harmonic resonance of the words, and how they feel when spoken, have either a positive or negative effect on the listener?