Friday, July 06, 2007

A Word In Your Ear

I will spend a little more time back here in the blog, soon. I have decided to allocate the time I have spent in online study (for the last three years) in compiling my book. The website, of course, forms a kind of autobiography without much detail or inner thought, and my opinions get scattered throughout blogs, articles, emails, etc - but I like the idea of generating some sort of hard copy, probably using Lulu or some such 'on-demand' publishing scheme.

As usual, I may have an overspill of material, and may well use this space to ‘flex the writing muscles’ and warm up.

I don’t think I ever explained why I use the title I do, for this blog. If you know Burroughs’ work you may not need an explanation, but for me it relates to the fact that we use language to program our psyche-soma, and those hypnotic patterns literally confuse, bemuse or amuse us… The Neuro-Linguistic Programming guys analysed this years ago - although they have since developed a slightly cult feeling around NLP. The original linguistic analysis still holds true however, even if the magical claims - fast therapy, accelerated learning, etc - aspect may give you pause.

From today’s papers: “...for those who deny climate change: believe us, it’s a reality”.

You could spend the day dismantling that worthy thought. The implicit idea that climate has never changed before, the idea that you can either deny or ‘believe’ in such processes, rather than measure them. The sloppy use of the word ‘reality’, etc.

We as humans don’t intend to ‘save the planet’ (I don’t think cockroaches, rats, pigeons and micro-organisms will much care what we do to it, and feel sure Gaia doesn't mind) but we do want to save the planet as an inhabitable environment for humans. Not the same thing.
Kit Pedler
And if we really wanted to, or accepted that we have some responsibility for the way things have changed we wouldn’t just switch to washing our clothes at 30 degrees! Kit Pedler spelled all this stuff out years ago in The Quest for Gaia (1979) (and yes folks, the hippie generation saw it coming, too – remember Doomwatch in 1970?) – as well as washing at low temperature, you should quit ironing those clothes, quit shaving, quit driving, quit flying, quit eating meat, quit using deodorants, etc, etc. Of course, when Kit turned up at the Houses of Parliament, bearded, homemade woolly jumper, on his bike, no-one took him seriously. Hey ho. So it goes.

Rather similar language gets used for our bodily health as individuals. Giving up smoking doesn’t ‘save lives every year’. It may extend them, or decrease the discomfort of old age. It may also leave you lingering healthily and unhappily (and expensively for your children) when you could have gone out with a bang. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the point intended, I just wish the language would accurately reflect what they want, rather than try to manipulate me with emotion and half-truth.

And finally, in spite of Terrorism creating a certain amount of havoc, this ‘climate change’ seems to cause far more damage and expense, and if humans do take the blame then I guess compensation also seems reasonable. Until recently these kind of events counted as ‘Acts of God’ in insurance terms. Who causes more damage, fear, disruption and expense:- Terrorists or God? All together now….

Of course, if the concept of God drives you to distraction (language illusions again – and Dawkins specifically thinks of God as a word virus) you might enjoy Billy Connolly’s movie ‘The Man Who Sued God’ which plays with the idea of insurance firms (and churches) getting away with that.

Try Disaster maps on World Mapper

And if we do decide to hold humans responsible, after all, then we might look at figures like 984,000 people killed by cars (worldwide) in 2001.

That same year (and don’t forget that includes 9/11) the figures for terrorism

Total Persons Killed: 6318

You can see why I seem so wary of car-drivers, compared to Terrorists. They seem 200 times more likely to kill me!

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