Sunday, 13 December 2015

Fear The Stateless World!

Hello Reader,

While fighting with my unruly mind to see whether I would get to sleep tonight or not it suddenly threw me a curve ball. Apparently inspired by a conversation with a relative tonight who holds some opposing views I got onto a line of thought that got too interesting to stay lying there with my face against the pillow for another two hours.

Now the catalyst, the earlier conversation, is atypical of any conversation you might hear between someone with libertarian inclinations and someone without. She suggested that the services of government were a necessity and as her supporting evidence brought up a scenario in which someone is raped. With government that person can be tried and convicted and jailed, a possible solution to this issue. Without government the victim has no recourse. My rebuttal was the standard "well without government the victim can pursue their own recourse, getting the assistance of friends/family/anyone willing to help to find the person who has committed this heinous act and punish them accordingly. She countered that that isn't what victims wanted and that jail is far more appropriate. I queried where the funding for this jail was and pointed out that stealing (taxing) money from everyone else around you to put this offender in a room they aren't allowed to leave and support them for the rest of their lives is not a real solution to this problem. I'm sure many of you have been in similar situations and like all instances of two opposing views being discussed today neither of us conceded a thing and we eventually had to change the subject to avoid a more serious debate.

But why do people think they need the government to look after them so much? Why do people feel the need for government to protect them? After all we have had government for a very long time now. Laws have been around for ages and so have prisons but people are still getting raped. We don't really have any extensive data on the occurrence of rape in societies without government (as much as I want to cite the Kalahari bushmen here the population, culture and research issues obviously make it a questionable support). So if these terrible things occur despite all those laws and jails why do people still refuse to even consider a society without them? I suspect it goes a lot deeper than it may seem.

My hypothesis: the average person does not believe they are able to provide for themselves. People work 40 hours a week, every week. Most of them know they have no real chance of ever getting to a point where they can live comfortably and not need to worry about how much they work. Deep down inside don't we all feel that futility, occasionally clawing it's way to the front of our minds, desperately screaming for us to acknowledge it so we can do something about it. But then we shove it back down and pretend it's not there because we don't want to consider that our lives aren't really our own and we were all born in a set place and haven't the strength to leave that place. These walls were built for us decades before our parents were born. In such a situation how can a person truly believe they can support themselves without an organisation like our wonderful and glorious government (picture a soviet sickle and hammer as I say this) to take care of us?

But, while we don't have useful data on rape in stateless societies, we do have data on how people survived with little to no government involvement. Picture a smaller village or hamlet anywhere in Europe in the 1400s. Sure the tax collector might come around once in a while but the government never really provided them with anything. Governments didn't build roads to places like that in those days, didn't educate the children, didn't provide medical care or affordable housing or bailout failing businesses. The townsfolk provided for themselves. They each took up trades and professions. Someone was the town smith. Someone was the carpenter. Some tended livestock or fields. They lived acceptable lives. And most importantly they hadn't a fraction of the means we do. Today a person wanting to create furniture can do so with many times the efficiency of a carpenter of the 1400s thanks to the technology at our disposal. We have better tools made from stronger materials that cost a fraction of the price. We have machines that will hew the wood for you to perfection. If you tend fields we have great machines that will turn the soil, plant the seeds and fertilise them. One person can do the work of 10 with the help of our real friend, science. And these people did it despite their governments taxing them and providing no real services aside from a fat baron or duke and maybe a local militia?

So to finish this roundabout and get back to my point. How is it that a person can have many times the productive potential of a person from 600 years ago and be less able to provide for themselves? The answer is they can't. We are all completely capable of providing for ourselves. Without government people will still develop a skill, sell that skill and have everything they need to support themselves. Further to just supporting themselves there will be an abundance.

Additional Notes:
Many people do not realise just how much is taken from them. Sure you might only pay 37% of your own income in tax. But then consider as well that businesses pay 30% corporate tax which is applied directly to the cost of their products. Then there is 10% General Services Tax added to your purchases. Then there are a plethora of sales taxes, duties, tariffs and surcharges. A couple weeks ago I was looking to purchase a board game and couldn't find it for less than $80 while it cost only $30 in the USA. Baffled at this difference I checked the tariffs and duties on board games entering Australia to find it was 15% + $48.35 surcharge. So for the $80 board game I purchased I was in fact giving ~$60 to the government in surcharges and taxes. Plus the company selling it must pay 30% of the remainder in corporate tax. Plus I had already paid my ~37% income tax on this money. So pre-tax I started with ~$110 and purchased a game made from cardboard and plastic and the government received ~$90. If only ~$20 of my $110 went to the provider of this product it is not difficult to imagine how much better off I would be if I had 5.5x the purchasing power for my labour that I currently do. Of course this is just for board games, most products will have different taxes and restrictions on them but I invite anyone who is interested to look up the duties and surcharges on a product you have purchased recently. Crunch the numbers and see how much money you would have had left over if no one were involved in your purchases but you and the seller.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Opinions! Why we love them so damned much!

Good morning Reader,

Enjoying your Saturday morning? I must say I find Saturday to be a rather rubbish day, don't get what all the fuss is about.

Speaking of opinions I was being a wall-flower the other day and listening to a conversation that I don't think I was really a part of but hey, better than standing by myself while another group of people all enjoy each other's company right? The upside is that it gave me the opportunity to really analyse how these people were acting and wonder why.

The situation was that one person was telling the others about a holiday they had taken recently, specifically about a building they had been very impressed by. Another participant of this conversation happened to have been to the same building within the last year but they had found it quite underwhelming. At first it seemed to be just a casual exchange:
"I went to this great building. All the stonework and painting was so intricate, I'd never seen anything like it. It was incredible!"
"Oh really? I found it kind of dull. I mean it wasn't that great".
Now this doesn't seem a likely catalyst for conflict but surprisingly it was. A building they both saw at different times and, in all likelihood, neither will ever see again.

However things snowballed from there. They both appeared to take affront to the other's comments and started trying to explain why theirs was the valid opinion and why the other's was invalid, wrong or just dumb. I'm sure we are all well aware though that changing a person's opinion like this is about as easy as pole vaulting the moon with a toothpick. Both of them ended up frustrated and emotional and even angry with each other.

So I had to ask myself why? Why do we invest ourselves so heavily in caring about other people's opinions? They are just opinions. They aren't facts, they don't mean that we are wrong or that our opinions are worth less (although if we are being honest with our selves the value of an opinion is about the same as that toothpick you tried to jump over the moon with. What were you thinking?).

I started to think perhaps it's a bit of a mirror effect. People these days seem to have an extremely over-inflated idea of what their opinions are worth. Imagining every random thought that pops into their head as some kind of a pearl of wisdom (by the way I am aware of the irony of saying this in my blog where I post all the random crap I come up with when I have too much time on my hands). Maybe if we all took a couple steps back down toward Earth and realised our opinions are not worth anything until you take them further and turn them into a real statement with supporting evidence and clearly stated objectives and conditions we would realise that other's opinions are also not really worth anything. This doesn't mean don't express your opinion or don't listen when other people express theirs, just realise that it doesn't have to have any real bearing on you or anything else in the world.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Rationalising and Justification of Actions

Hello Reader,

It's been a while since my last post, I guess those juices just haven't been flowing lately. But this morning I suddenly started on what I found to be an interesting chain of thought while considering Russia and Turkey's actions around the Turkey/Syria border while I was showering (strange thing to be thinking of in the shower I know).

So I recall reading several times throughout my life this idea that no one actually believes or thinks of themselves as "bad" or "evil" and that the human mind will always find a justification for what they do so that they can still consider themselves "good" in the long run. This never quite rang true to me as I've always thought I know when I'm doing the wrong thing (and convince myself this is okay by telling myself we all do the wrong thing some times which ultimately supports what currently speaking against).

But in the extraordinarily complicated situation involving ISIS, the Western coalition against ISIS, Russia and every other player on the board, which I would rather not try to dissect, I have to say I think Russia is doing the most right. Not entirely right but more than the coalition is doing and I'm sure I don't need to explain more than ISIS. But particularly the actions of the USA have been questionable to me, they seem to have made no real progress in stopping ISIS from doing whatever they feel like, terrorising people all over the world, destroying sites of immense historical and cultural value and committing any number of atrocities upon those caught in their areas of operations.

Anyway to get to my now belaboured point; there appears to some people who don't actually want to see such terrible acts come to an end and instead enjoy the profits that they are in position to receive when the world is in such a terrible state (for example certain media outlets who enjoy increased sales when people are in a more emotional state). So how do these people justify what amount to (if indirect) an endorsement of terrorism, murder, destruction of mankind's cultural history and much more? Before I'd have just thought they are aware what they are doing is wrong and accept that. But perhaps there is merit in the idea that no one believes their wrong by operating on a level I did not consider. That their national or organisational ties might serve as the justification. That some of these people are able to think "my actions don't matter, I'm doing this as part of America which is a force for good, so I'm doing good" or "the news is about giving people the truth even if it's ugly, so im doing good even if it drums up people's fear and mistrust and hate".

I don't think any solid conclusions could be made without lengthy examination of people's thought processes before, during and after such actions but I still found it interesting to consider.

Friday, 16 October 2015

My Insomnia

Remember that frustration you have felt when you know you should have gotten something that you missed out on? How that frustrating builds to a strange, helpless rage as your goal or prize continues to else you? 

The you start to get angry at yourself and doubt yourself, wondering if you are doing something wrong or if there is something wrong with you. You know you are unpleasant to be around like this so you can't seek help or comfort from friends or family. 

It might have been understanding something in school, being unable to break through a barrier in a physical activity and see the results you want like weight loss. It might even be as simple as a video game, trying to play the same part over and over again and following all the instructions and guides and still failing. 

For me it's sleep. I lie here awake hour after hour, night after night, year after year for over a decade now. And then when I do get to sleep if I wake at any point I suddenly find myself locked out, unable to return to that wonderful world of dreams. Most nights I'm resigned to my fate, the constant exhaustion is just a backdrop to my days. Other nights while I lie here pointedly awake or on the cusp of sleep, not quite actually there, I start to think about myself. Wondering what I'm doing wrong so that I can't perform this simple task that all humans and indeed every animal on the planet has evolved to do.
Anyone else had the same or similar experiences? It might be getting to me just a little.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Making Of Love

Good Evening Reader.

A late Sunday night post for me today but after a riveting discussion with a friend I felt I should post some of the ideas and thoughts that were thrown around. Specifically we were talking about people's ideals and values so naturally that subject "love" came up.

Now I've always been one of those cynics who says there is no such thing as "true love" or "love at first sight" or all that mumbo jumbo. I'm a man of logic and reason and such trivialities have no place in my ice-clad heart. But I must concede that love is clearly a very important part of humanity and it's here to stay. However there is a certain level of irritation whenever I hear things like "I want to find my one true love" and similar phrases. It may come across as condescending or arrogant of me to comment on such things when I haven't got much interest in relationships myself but to me love is not something you find. It's something you make through learning about and understanding another person in an intimate way and valuing and respecting them.

The next time I find myself in a relationship I'll give it a try and let you all know how it goes.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Bit Of Humor

Slightly different post to usual here. On an impulse I came up with a joke and turned it into what the kids call a bitstrip. Enjoy:


Good Afternoon Reader,

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about positivist and happiness today. Yesterday I found myself in exceptionally high spirits and it's the weekend now and things are looking up.

One thing that has been a consistent source of good moods for my throughout my life is the weather. I remember as a young lad of 11 or so playing soccer at school one day when it was particularly cold. I remember it well because during half time I stopped and thought to myself "this is great, I'm running around but because it's so cold and there's a strong wind I don't feel hot at all". This was the first time in my life that I realised that I love cold weather and I just can't stand heat. When it's cold I feel like a better person, I am less stressed, I can exercise more and I can focus more intently. I understand other people have similar reactions to heat and sometimes I wonder why people can have such a specific reaction to something so mundane as the weather changing.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend as much as I am. Stay frosty.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Blame And Where It Belongs

Good Afternoon Reader,

Alrighty so I've been hearing a lot of talk about the cause of problems. People blame belief systems, ideologies, religions, political views, economic forces, the Sith and just about everything else they can think of. I would like to note that today I'm specifically talking about broader and general matters, not individual personal matters which are a completely different thing (it's fine to blame the Sith if you have a terrible illness or your house blew down and fell on your cat).

However all too often I read and hear things such as "big evil corporations have ruined the nation and we are all paying for it while they get richer" or "socialist commies are destroying the fabric of society because they thing they are entitled to my hard earned money". Many of these arguments do contain useful information and make valid points. What I never hear though is about the reality of our lives. You can organise people in any way you like be it through socialism or capitalism, libertarianism or authoritarianism but these changes do organisation are not changes to the people. Whether your society is divided into companies or governments the same people with the same skills and the same beliefs are still the ones making the society function. If all governments were disbanded tomorrow all those horrible corrupt politicians would seek jobs in companies that befit their skills and given they clearly know how to get to the top chances are they would just end up in similar positions still looking after their own interests regardless of the outcome for everyone else. Likewise if we gather our torches and pitchforks and tear down Big Industry and turn the world into a socialist paradise all those executives and CEOs with their fancy degrees and millionaire's clubs would find positions in the new system that enable them to pursue their own interests.

To drill down to the point of my thoughts today; we need to cut this ridiculous belief that the wrong system is ruining mankind and the right system would immediately give us some grand paradise where everyone is happy and start recognising that we are our issue. If people would really like to see changes for the better that starts with rational people saying "There is no arbitrary system or idea making my life bad. Like those people who seem to have more than me if I just work hard and take opportunities to better myself my life will be better."

Like the rest of you my motivation towards such ideals waxes and wanes but it's my opinion that there is a cycle of blame that needs to be broken and that starts with forgetting who has done what and just doing what you can.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Strength of Character

Hello Again Reader,

Busy day for me today. In addition to my thoughts on the nature of capitalism I've also been wanting to write something about an are that I've often been drawn to for many years now. I first started pondering this after hearing a great quote:
"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out",
Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay, British MP.
Ever since hearing this revelatory quote as a teenager it's often been at the forefront of my mind. Influencing the way I have conducted myself (Of course like any human I have strayed from this path from time to time).

But as a young person it's difficult to understand the reason to act in a respectable manner when no one else is around. Having only recently been through the agonies of adolescence myself I recall many times wonder what the purpose of social protocol was and enjoying the sweet taste of breaking such protocols when I was alone. This quote helped me to gain an understanding that I'm never truly alone. Even when there is no one else around to scrutinise and judge me I am still there to scrutinise and judge myself. No matter what I do I will always evaluate and judge my own actions (like most people to a level that would be considered obsession in any other way) and I have to live with those judgements and assessments of who I really am.

These days you can hardly open a newspaper or check a news site without hearing about some public figure, politician or celebrity, committing some terrible indiscretion or having a "lapse of judgement". Hearing this constant flow of evidence that famous and powerful people can make a person wonder what the point of doing the right thing is when so many at the top clearly aren't concerned. For me though I'll always remember that I don't have to live with anyone at all except for myself.

Capitalism: The End Of The Race

Good Morning Reader,

Capitalism was a genius idea. At it's core you harness people's nature to compete and excel and by allowing them to compete you ensure a high level of productivity. It encourages high levels of economic growth, satisfaction for people who work hard and reward for people who innovate.

To allow capitalism to flourish requires a free market. Unfettered by government or irrational intervention. The problem with these kinds of intervention is that they restrict capitalism and run the risk of destroying the reward of capitalism; if you innovate and work hard you might still get nothing and then people lose faith in capitalism and the whole system breaks down.

However for some time I have considered capitalism to have a flaw that it seems to me that not many people have identified. When people are competing eventually someone wins. That winner then receives the prizes and rewards which give them an edge in the next race. To use an analogy capitalism is like putting everyone in a running race. The runners do their thing and at the end the top 3 get medals and recognition. But that's not all they get, other people see their talent and want to invest in them. They get support including expert training, better equipment and as a result a better chance at winning in the next race. In the market it's exactly the same thing. The purpose of capitalism is to get everyone to work as hard as they can and innovate as much as possible and when one group or business does so they make more money and gain more resources. They get better applicants wanting to work with them, can buy better equipment and offer better services meaning they continue to pull further ahead of the rest of the competition. It's then only natural for them to absorb some of their competitors where they can and suddenly you have less of a free market and more of an oligopoly where only a few of the best remain.

So how do you get everyone to compete in a competition where nobody wins but people still try their hardest? Any parent with a child at one of these new fangled weekend football events where they don't keep score can tell you that people don't try their hardest. Balanced situations (as we have in most Western nations today) where you try to keep markets relatively free but with government controls to protect the spirit of the competition also have frequent problems. For now there is no solution. The only one I can see would require people to genuinely start believing in doing what they can for the good of our species.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Who Enjoys Counting?

Ahoy Reader,

Those of you who know me know that I love mathematics. I love learning mathematics, using mathematics and I love how everything in the entire universe can be simplified to mathematical equations and formulae (sort of).

But it was while enjoying a riveting tale of Sherlock Holmes that it struck me that maybe we're all using numbers wrong. Today if you would like to say or write a number we go from biggest to smallest. For example you would say "five hundred and twenty three"; we start with the biggest denomination, hundreds, then descend to tens then singles. However there was a time when it was not unusual to express smaller denominations first and I would imagine in many other languages/numeric systems this is the norm. For example in Sherlock Holmes' tale of The Red-Headed League the tradesman, Mr. Wilson, states that he was paid "two and thirty" pounds.

This got me thinking about whether stating the larger denominations first is actually more efficient and whether it would be easier to start with smaller denominations. On paper and verbally it is the same amount of work to write or say. You are still stating the same total quantity of numbers and stating the denominations in the same way, hundreds, thousands, etc. However there is a benefit to starting with the smallest that is not compensated for by starting with the largest and that is if you start with the smallest number you don't need to know what the biggest is going to be. To help explain I will use an example; if you needed to read out the number 21427871005 most people would need to count the numbers first to check where they are starting (in this case with twenty-one billion, four hundred and twenty-seven thousand, eight hundred and seventy-one thousand, ). If this were a number starting from smallest and ending with largest however there is no preliminary work required. You can start talking straight away. The exact organisation of saying it would be a little confusing at first and it's probably far too impractical to actually change how to arrange numbers but I found it amusing to consider.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Political Parties in Australia

Good Morning Reader,

It's been a little while since my last post, things have been a little crazy with work and uni since I'm doing an additional unit this term (in robotics for those interested). But I've had a little time to consider one of my favourite topics, elections in Australia. This time specifically about the parties and the requirements of a party to run for office in the magical land of Oz.

Currently, and for a very long time, one of the main requirements for any party to run for a seat in parliament is that they have 500 registered, paying members of their party. Parties who do not meet this requirement can not run and if it is found out post-election that they did not have the necessary members it may result in a High Court enquiry and a Bi-election, an expensive outcome for taxpayers especially given the cause. Elections are costly and re-running an election because of an under-supported party with less than 500 members is a particularly undesirable event in my eyes.

But when you consider the requirement itself it may be that we aren't doing it right. 500 people out of the (approximately) 23 million current population of Australia is not very much. 0.00217% of our population in fact. Does having 0.002% of the population really merit a genuine run for office where you are suppose to be representing an electorate of roughly 15,000 people. It seems to me that it would be far more appropriate for us to set the minimum membership requirement as a percentage of our population, ensuring continued fairness of this requirement and preventing the need to review it as our population grows. My personal opinion is that parties should be required to enjoy the support of at least 0.05% of the population (although I think this is still rather low considering what they are running for). Perhaps that would be a good transitional level to set it at with the goal of building to a minimum of 0.5% of the population eventually.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Saving Lives, Responsibility and Euthanasia

Good Morning Reader,

I have always been rather fond of novels featuring castaways or similar scenarios where a person is stranded and must do whatever they can to survive. Recently I re-read Robinson Crusoe (for those who haven't read it I strongly recommend it) and was struck by an occurrence that seems unusual by today's standards and is also mentioned in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Both Dr. Frankenstein and Poor Mr Crusoe find themselves shipwrecked during their misadventures and are rescued by other people who furnish them with clothing, shelter, food and money to ensure their continued survival. This is at odd with what I would call the norm today where saving someone's life would generally mean they are in your debt instead of the other way round.

Having encountered similar themes in a few literary sources now I have been wondering about this change in the way people consider saving another persons life and the implications of doing so. In a situation of life and death most of us would not (or hope they would not) hesitate to save another person if you have the ability to do so. Whether this puts that person in your debt or you in theirs is something I would like to examine more closely.

So let's start at the beginning. Where does the idea of someone owing you if you save their life come from? On the surface it seems very obvious. You have done something for them so they should do something for you. It is in line with a basic understanding of fairness. Many tribal cultures had concepts of "life debts" or similar scenarios where saving someone's life means that they owe you that life and should spend it repaying you.
On the other hand figuring out how people started feeling responsibility for those they save is a bit harder to identify. In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein it is expressed as the kind of thing any "good Christian" would do for another, implying that at some point at least some groups of Christianity were encouraging such a practice and where one religion is doing it I imagine others must have also promoted such behaviour. It is also a hallmark of clearly defined "civility" to me in that it requires the average person to have the means to assist beyond just saving someone's life.

My personal feelings on the matter is that if you do save someone's life you are responsible for ensuring that person has the means to continue supporting their own life. In most circumstances of life-saving actions you do not have the opportunity to confirm that a person wants their life saved prior to saving their life and as such it is unfair to render a service to someone without prior confirmation of the price of that service and then expect them to pay for it. Following that logic if you save someone you should not expect any kind of reward for doing so (other than the warm feelings and gratitude you are likely to receive for doing such a good deed). Furthermore in saving a life you are actually taking something from a person; their free will and right to determine their own fate. If you want to take away someone's right to choose how their life concludes you have to be willing to accept responsibility for that which includes ensuring that person has the means to continue living in a dignified and comfortable manner. Which leads into a related topic which I feel needs to be mentioned due to it's importance; euthanasia.

Based on my previous statements in this article I'm sure most of you can tell that I believe euthanasia is a right everyone has. I am a supporter of free will and a person's right to make their own choices as long as they are not harming other people (although quite confusingly I do not believe free will exists). As such I think if a person is at a point where they no longer wish to continue their life (and have not agreed to support another person or dependant) it is their right to end their life or to have the end of their life assisted by another if they are not capable of doing so themselves. Of course this is a very controversial issue and I expect many people will disagree with me so I look forward to hearing any additional information that might convince me otherwise.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Fears And My Experiences

Greetings Reader,

Today I would like to share a terrifying experience that occurred during my youth which has often returned to the forefront of my mind for well over a decade now. Whenever I am feeling introspective or unsafe it seems that this experience is never far from the surface of my conscious thought, waiting for a moment to jump up and seize me with irrational fright. I have never been able to identify the root of this fear and it is only recently that I have taken the initiative to do some Googling about the object of my fear and learned that it is somewhat of a phenomenon. So without further ado here is a recount of my experience:

It was quite late at night in the home of my parents. I was still a boy of about 14 years and had for some reason managed to stay up late but it was finally time for bed at around midnight or just a little after. I had just reached the cusp of sleep, my eyes had drooped almost to closing before I had even turned out my bedside light. My room was bathed in dim, shaded light. As my eyelids made their rounds of closing and opening, less and less each time as my sleepiness overcame my adolescent desire to never sleep I was suddenly confronted with an unprecedented event. As my eyes came open again I realised with great shock that I was not alone in my room. There was a dark figure standing in front of my bedroom door. He was taller than a person should be, the top of his head being just taller than the frame of my door. He was far skinnier than a person should be, despite his height his torso tapered in toward the waist inhumanly and his arms and legs could only be described as spindly at their thinnest points. His features were indistinguishable, his whole body appearing to be impossibly dark despite the light that should have been illuminating him like the door and posters behind him. I lied there, paralysed with extreme terror at this sudden and unexpected intruder. My mind barely functioning until suddenly he rushed toward me. His arm stretched out as he crossed the room in a fraction of a second, far quicker than any man is capable of until the moment he reached me he disappeared. I sat up, so shocked that I couldn't possibly conceive of sleeping however I was also far too afraid to get up and seek the company and safety of another human.

I am glad to say that I have never had another experience as harrowing as that one, never again has my sleep been disturbed so directly by this figure although he has occasionally appeared in my darkest nightmares. Despite having experienced intermittent visits to the memory of this deep-seated fear I have never until a few months ago sought any further information about the experience. However upon searching for "dark figures" I stumbled upon a world-wide myth known as Slender Man. Drawings and depictions of this Slender Man immediately stuck me as very similar to the figure I have been so fearful of and it appears many people have had varying experiences relating to him.

I consider myself to be a very rational person and have never given any credit to the supernatural. But this has long been perhaps my deepest and darkest fear. I hope to dis-empower my fear by sharing it with others and hearing the rationalities of other people. If anyone else has anything to contribute or perhaps has had their own experience like this please feel free to comment or contact me.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Selling Out

Hello Reader,

Welcome back to my improved blog page. You may notice that I now have advertising because I'm a total sell out. This is very exciting for me as this has the potential to earn me a free scotch once every decade so be sure to visit regularly.

I've got a few new topics in the works now that the Christmas period is over but uni hasn't started, the perfect time for thinking deep thoughts about things that probably don't really matter and nothing can be done about anyway. I look forward to seeing you all back again.


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Right or Wrong

Good afternoon reader,

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. Mine was bittersweet after my uncle, Brian, passed away just before Christmas.

However the holiday period along with the passing meant I got to see many members of my family I haven't seen in a while. People who you get along with regardless of personal attitudes or beliefs just because they are family. I also got to catch up with quite a few friends and after seeing everyone found myself in quite an introspective mood.

My thoughts focused largely on people's need to be right and many of our outright refusal to acknowledge when we are wrong. I have certainly been guilty of this many times in my life and I'm sure those close to me see me as a stubborn know-it-all because of these situations. But why do we have this intense need to always appear to be right and what effects might it be having?

When I read novels and watch films from prior to the last 30-40ish years it doesn't appear to me that people had this particular trait; not like we have today at least. People seem more ready to acknowledge other's superiority over them and in many cases it was the norm to treat people as though they know things you don't until proven otherwise. A stark contrast to today where people often treat others like nothing until they prove their worth.

Following along a few theories I can see a few potential sources of this change in attitude. The first is popular culture. Films and novels like James Bond, Catch Me If You Can and other similar stories have enchanted us with the concept of a person going where they please and getting whatever they want simply by acting like they have the right. It's natural for people to emulate those they idolise and I imagine many people might have consciously or subconsciously tried this behavior out for themselves. I believe many people call this "fake it till you make it".

Another possible cause is a side-effect of our new found love of equality. If no one is below you then no one can be above you. This might subconsciously give one the idea that it doesn't matter how well informed, well researched or logical another person might be about any given matter. They are still your equal and their opinion still can't outweigh your own.

So what are the effects of this society of fakers we have become? I'm not quite sure what the effects are at an individual level. People still seem to be making friends, having meaningful relationships and living happy lives. On a larger scale though I suspect that this might be a contributing factor to the divisive nature of many societies today and is fueling increasingly aggressive conflicts as a result of that. When everyone thinks they know better than those with expertise, knowledge and wisdom it becomes much harder to unify people and implement good ideas. This blog is evidence of one guy presuming he has something meaningful to say about things like this very topic.