Personal growth not man hating feminism

In the beginning, humans were hunter gatherers. Women were the centre of a tribe of 30-60 people, we believe from archaeological evidence. They would gather the fruits of the forest with the children and the men would hunt for game. The men would return periodically with meat and they would all have a feast. This was only 10,000 years ago and it is unlikely that humanity has evolved psychologically since then.

It is thought the game died out in northern Europe and people had to adopt agriculture. This was much harder work, people were divided into families to work the land and women had to produce a lot of babies. Despite this the population remained relatively stable. The system dictated that men were in charge as they spent time outside the home and it made for a unitary system of organisation.

Although this appears unfair, there was no issue of rights then, only struggle for survival. If the man was good, he would care for the woman. If the women were smart, she they knew how to influence him. The agrarian revolution led to a surplus of crops allowing the industrial revolution. About 150 years ago in England, conditions for the working people had improved. 100 years later the patriarchal society was starting to break down as women found emancipation in the social revolution. The oral contraception in 1965 allowed women to make their own choices in work and lifestyle.

It seems in the West, the social revolution has stalled and may even be going backwards. Money and self-interest have replaced peace and love. Women’s rights have developed into women’s wants as there is nothing to halt their desire for more. Feminism as a combat strategy seems effective enough, but as a way of life it is not balanced. If society is run only by feelings, assumptions and manipulation, truth and reality have gone out of the window. Feelings are not truth. They have to be challenged and harnessed. They are not consistent, an offence must have caused definite harm, not perceived harm based on imagination.  The effect is to suppress, control and exploit men. If women are to be in control, why does it have to be an emotional tyranny? Why do all aspects of our masculinity have to be removed?

Men don’t change we can only lie and women don’t like that either. If women are in control, and I don’t remember having the choice, there appears to be little care for men. There can be no discussion, criticism or explanation. If this remains unchecked it will ultimately be the death of the human race, certainly the death of England.

These statements will no doubt be offensive to some women and I accept that. Well most men I know are offended by feminism. But talking about it is futile, women have concluded that they have been hard done by historically and it is their time to get what they want. If you look at the great emancipators, Gandhi, King and Mandela, they did not demonise their oppressor’s, they showed love and united their communities. They saw no sense in replacing one tyranny with another. In the 1970’s, men and women, boys and girls were all equal but different. Feminism rather than a political movement to right the wrongs of the past, appears to have started to believe its own propaganda and does not know when to stop. It appears to create a climate of sexual repression by self-denial and then throw all sorts of accusations at men in general.

After many years of thought I have concluded that feminism is wrong. I see going on a date and trying to seduce a woman as a totally pointless exercise with far more risk than reward. This has been the case with men I know for a long time, but women have not noticed and still believe their own statements. Perhaps if we build a wall along the equator and men had the north and women the south we could have separate development. But seriously there is no future in a gender war, for our survival it can only end one way.

Back in the hunter-gatherer’s era, if you met large scary animal, adrenaline kicked in. You could run or you could fight. The only purpose in running is to regroup to get stronger and go back and defeat the animal and eat it of course. Women were always as capable as hunters, but their biology made them mothers. Now it appears women surround themselves with things that make them happy and make anything that annoys them illegal. There is no toleration of anything male, and no patience in trying to get the best out of men. If you don’t face up to your challenges you will not be able to deal with anything more difficult. It is no surprise to me that mental illness among children, especially girls is on the rise, as young people do not get much encouragement to face stressful situations and learn to deal with them.

If you are continually fighting men, blaming men, hating men, not rising to the challenge of dealing with men and controlling men by manipulation, you breed shallow, weak, selfish, unattractive and uninteresting people. There are always ways to make yourself stronger. The answer is within you. Do not shrink from the challenge that life gives you. Go out and meet that challenge and become a better and more likeable person. It takes work, it takes pain and it takes time. But only you can do it. Why choose the painkiller, the temporary fix when you can take a course of anti-biotics and solve the problem. Why do cocaine when depressed! Insane. Instead listen to some reflective music, that makes you think, maybe drink a glass of cheap wine and face your problems yourself and you could find a solution. That is the purpose of feeling blue, use it.

Joni Mitchell knew about that, she was an independent woman. She had polio as a kid and could not form guitar chords with her hand. So instead of giving up she retuned her guitar and created a new technique and a unique and beautiful sound. She did not know surrender and she was a beautiful feminine person. She also had blue times. She rejected her partner to carry on her career, did not like fame and fortune and went to live in the Canadian woods. She read many psychology books and threw them all against the wall in disgust. Eventually she decided that her mood was an experience that encouraged her creativity. Her life was the most fascinating, her music has the most depth, meaning and pathos. It truly is about the condition of life.

To be honest Joni found herself by force of circumstance, just as many women do when they give birth and become mothers. It is in adversity you find yourself. Why not see mishaps in life as opportunities to grow. As Alanis says,

You live you learn

You love you learn

You cry you learn

You love you learn

You bleed you learn

You scream you learn

You grieve you learn

You choke you learn

You laugh you laugh

You chose you learn

You pray you learn

You ask you learn

You live you learn

Take responsibility for your life. Improve on your good points and minimise and manage your bad points. Forgive everyone, especially yourself, find confidence and assertiveness. It is a long, slow, hard, lonely walk, but it is what life is about and it is the only way it happens. It is what true emotional healing is. Do not take the short cuts, they never work in things of great magnitude like your life. You can be beautiful, gorgeous, talented, useful and interesting. Or you could manipulate men into buying you bags and shoes you never use that make feel better for half an hour.

You know that is now illegal to call women birds. I don’t know why they have beautiful plumage, they sing, they fly, they build nests, they are streamlined, they are resourceful and some do a lot of overseas travelling. Ok, Ok, but seriously, some men want to protect you and look after you while others of us want to see you fly. If you come back to us, we will only too pleased to see you again.

Men cannot help you in your personal development, partly because we have no idea what goes on inside your heads anyway. I believe that 90% of us mature ones are there for you and you don’t have to compete with us. See the Italian men and the way the Italian women are so cool at handling their overt sexuality. Why shrink back and be defensive and short term in your personal life. Take the decision, become who you were really meant to be. Because on this planet the only unconditional love you can possibly find is for yourself. Godspeed.

I wonder if true happiness can be found in feminism. It may free women from male oppression, real or imaginary, but does it empower them personally and does it create better relationships. It cannot create equality since it is so one sided, but I think it has gone way beyond that. We may not have achieved equality, but we never really do. I believe in relationships people should be treated equally even if they are not equal. By dividing up the areas where two people’s lives intersect and agreeing on who is responsible for each area, couples can have productive and equal lives without fighting each other as much.

This has to happen at all costs. If men and women come together in personal growth, equality, love, truth and peace then the social revolution can start again on a better and more secure footing. Choose positive growth, don’t do it at someone else’s expense.

There may be many dangers ahead and we need to be strong enough to face them together. People on their own are just animals, so be an organised community and work together in balance, sacrificial love and truth.

Conway-Laird (2016)

 

Is love all you need?

The 1960’s prophets proclaimed a new era of peace and love, and good luck to them. Unfortunately that revolution went too hard and too fast and was ruined by drug use. Another revolution in the 1980’s encouraged greed and self, and the dreams of the 1960’s were regarded as laughable.

But to find peace and love, you need to know where to look and what it means. Love in English has many different connotations, some regard love as a pill, some as sex and for some it’s an obsession.

Jesus Christ’s principles for relationships, in my opinion, are balance, agape and truth. Agape is an ancient Greek word meaning giving or sacrificial love. It could be an unasked kindness to a friend, loved one or even homeless person. Ultimately it can be to give your life for someone.

The Bible is a useful historical source and is a window into how the cultures dealt with the Patriarchal society. This society was designed to facilitate agriculture. huntable game was disappearing and humans needed to work the land to survive. To do this required tribes to split into families. Men would work the land, and women would have babies to provide labour for the farm work. Despite this the population did not grow much. The wife would end up pregnant, breast feeding and child rearing to provide a workforce and manage the home. The husband would do the work of farming, often on unfavourable land. The wife was tied to the home and the husband was out and about.

In the Bible there is a couple of times when Paul instructs his readers; “Wives obey your husband, husband care for your wives.” In an age of equality this sounds absurd, but in asking for the wife’s obedience Paul is maintaining the status quo, but instructing the husband to care for the wife as an act of Christian agape love that balances the relationship. So, the man would have more power, but more responsibility in a time when life was a hand to mouth existence.

In England today there appears to be many belief structures that border on fundamentalism whether they are religious or not. Whether it’s standing up for rights, or getting more for themselves, there is a distinct lack of toleration of others views. If you consider that it is impossible to be 100% correct in your belief structure, does that not mean that there may be some truth in others. Would life be better if the common ground, between people, was used to improve each other’s lives? We are after all social beings and need company to survive. People with different beliefs will have different skills. There is an advantage to collaboration in living in groups, getting the most out of their abilities and therefore life.

That to me is the most important thing in life. To find and develop your skills, whether they are appreciated or not and to accept and diminish your faults. Then to encourage relationships to grow and flourish under the guiding principles of balance, agape and truth.

In my opinion the best thing to happen to the UK, since the birth of the NHS, is the Power Sharing agreement in Northern Ireland. Not only does it point the province in the right direction for peace, and hopefully end the 499 year old conflict between protestant and catholic. But it demonstrates how people that disagree, and even those who agree can work together. These types of compromises can give a win-win result. Perhaps relationships could be based on balance, agape and truth as a guide and mutual benefit to sustain them.

Applying these principles in our societies could lead to a new social revolution. One for all ages, that brings a new social structure and affects all areas of life. Perhaps politics, maybe business, for goodness sake sex and relationships and definitely in arts and culture.

Is it wrong to dream? I don’t think so. What is wrong is not to give a dream a chance.

Conway-Laird (2016)

 

Man Management

How do you manage a man? We are dirty, drunk, lazy, obsessive, selfish and violent. We need to change to be perfect little robots, like girls! No only kidding. I get it, blokes do present behavioural problems to women. There appears to be an expectation in England that men should be controlled, changed and put under the thumb so women can get the most out of them. But, suppressed, repressed and depressed, we just don’t appear to be reaching our potential and have failed to respond to female management techniques.

Try again ladies, it’s not working. In England there appears to be a tendency to believe that things don’t change, people need to change to be accepted in society. Plans are made, and people are expected to fit in with them. They become part of the machine and strive for……whatever! It seems to me that whether men or women are in control, we are expected to change ourselves and become something that we are not.

I believe in self actualisation and getting the best out of ourselves through personal development. That development is exactly that, personal, nobody else’s business. When reaching these goals, people become free to help others. There is a famous quote wrongly attributed to Mandela that I am going to share with you.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Who are you not to be? You are a child of God, you’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened in shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Life is about the health, wealth and the pursuit of happiness. Personal development is a vital part of that. But in England it is something that gets subsumed into the unchanging machine.

So, if you have a man that is causing you bother. Maybe allow him to be himself and develop in his own way and see if he can improve. It is worth considering the effect people have on other people. If someone is angry, is that wholly their fault, or is it partly the fault of those who pushed their buttons? Should they be judged by the unchanging nature of the mob in England, or is that an individual issue. Men have a tendency to drink, they can often do that when they are on their own. Maybe it is because there are few ways of dealing with their emotions in that situation. If you perceive that a man drinks too much, rather than demand abstinence, be smart. Find out why and maybe replace the drink with an alternative healthier option.

Thirty years ago, I would pay £7, to stand at my football club and hurl abuse at West Ham or whoever. Now there is no outlet for that natural aggression in a man. Football is far too expensive, and you are not allowed to say anything nasty as football is uniting the world. Bollacks!

If you have a man, he is not your property Girls, he is a human being. We have our uses and maybe you should consider better management techniques. Now all I see are lies, manipulation and emotional tyranny. Rather than drive a man like a car, consider sailing him like a yacht, driven by wind and tide and see where it takes you. Let us all help each other reach our potential, then we can experience life in all its fullness in a community, based on the principles of balance, agape and truth.

Now I am the first to admit that English alpha males can be ignorant and arrogant and have a skewed version of their history. But then there are many countries where the people can be like that. To be in a society, community or country, it requires that person to be absorbed into the group and accept group principles. It is important, as groups need to be united if they are to achieve their common goals. Rather than start Wars, natural male aggression has traditionally been exorcised at sporting events. Then we can have beer afterwards and make up.

We are social beings and we need to be in community to better ourselves. Sometimes alpha males can be a bit shouty and I suppose that can be a bit intimidating. But it could be a result of not being heard, which is also a vital part of everyone’s existence. Accepting that other people have their own opinions is vital in society. We cannot function in relationships if we do not see life from other people’s point of view. Life is merely a view taken from one person’s perspective, we all have different realities. Any memorable event will be appreciated by different people in entirely different ways. Our view of the truth will always vary, as we all vary. Different genes, gender, culture, desires, issues, language, viewpoint and relationship all affect the truth. And why not, that gives us a rich tapestry of life. That is the nature of reality, it is different for all of us. That is why communication is so essential, so we can unite and share our realities. Then we can agree on common goals and live to mutual advantage. By agreeing a contract or deal. There is no-one that is perfect and we all lie sometimes to protect ourselves, from punishment and misunderstanding.

This website promotes balance, agape and truth. It is not meant to be an absolute iron rule, but a principle that is worth aiming for. To live in unity, equality and freedom, we need to realise that we will never achieve it. But together we can walk on the path of life to that goal together. We will always fail to meet the demands we set ourselves. Never mind, learn the lesson, shake the dust off and get stuck in and do it better.

Life is about failing and learning, we never learn much from success, mostly from failure. We can also learn from others, there is a vast library of wisdom that is saved for our development. It is called books, old and new. None of it is exactly what we need, but there are different parts that may be helpful. It is better to have two slightly conflicting philosophies in tension, perhaps something like science and religion. Then we will be able to view both sides. With the two conflicting ideas we will be able to apply our skills of wisdom, judgement and timing, and then reach an individual plan for our lives and maybe the lives of others.

The point of this website is to seek a better life for ourselves and the lives of those around us. Because we are all individuals and we much better people when we seek to improve ourselves and help those around us. Education to think for ourselves, a moral code and wisdom to know how and when to apply it.

The thing about a moral code is that it does require some flexibility at times. In times of stress or danger it is important to realise that different principles may apply. At these times we may find that our personality has made an adjustment. It may be necessary to adjust our lifestyle and the way we deal with people. There are times when we may be friendly to someone and other times that a strong word is required. It is not always what we do, but the way that we do it. But these things should be allied with reason, logic and wisdom. And always there needs to be a moment when we need to apologise. Rightly or wrongly.

So, us men are not all the same. If you think we are all then we are not going to develop. Why not see what happens if we develop ourselves. Some may prefer to remain to develop as part of a group and that is fine. But others are individuals, and think separately and uniquely.

To assume we are all the same for convenience sake may be denying the truth and the individuals personal freedom. Do not assume, as this often leads to disaster. Do not have a view about someone and seek to justify that view through every incident. That is called cognitive dissonance. When people fall out, don’t protect yourself with lies and don’t condemn with resentment, that is how bad relationships continue.

In relationships, open and honest communication is the best way. Face to face talking is the bedrock of any relationship. People speak with their facial expressions, body language and voice intonation, often unconsciously. That is the best way and the first way to deal with a relationship. Any other way is imperfect, even on the telephone you cannot be sure you are talking to the right person. Don’t even get me started with social media!

One of the most important emotional requirements for any person, is to be heard. Not just listened to, but good reflective and empathic listening. Then the person concerned knows that they are not alone and are communicating.

Carl Rogers was a great psychologist who started person centred counselling. It is a simple philosophy that is summed up in three principles. Empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. He listened honestly and accepted the person as they were. It is not really counselling, it is just delivering a simple human need. We all need it in society.

We don’t need to over-complicate our relationships. If we accept ourselves first and then others, we will understand our strengths and weaknesses. Then we can work together in a team to take on all-comers. We might not win every time, but we can enjoy ourselves better in acceptance and truth, whatever that means for the individual and the group.

Life is for the living. Accept yourself in strength and weakness, accept yourself in normality and at times of stress. It can only improve your life and you may even be free. But do not threaten others freedom. If there is someone who you need to make up with, do it before it’s too late. Forgiveness is very important, and it comes from two sides. Whatever he said, she said does not really matter, accepting each other is important. You don’t have to like the person, you don’t have make friends with that person, but you might. But you do need to resolve your differences, this will help both of you find freedom.

The world is dying and without unity we cannot fight to save it. That is the human condition to struggle to stay alive. It is not a hand to mouth existence any more, but we need to wake up from our selfishness and protect human life together.

There is no absolute truth in this world, only a view that we must take. We must realise that we can be wrong sometimes. But when it comes to people describing their thoughts, beliefs, desires and anything about their lives, do not tell them that they are wrong. It is their life and they can describe it any way they like, because it is theirs to discover and develop not yours. Their path is personal, and you cannot tell them how to live their lives unless you have permission. If you want something from them, try asking, they may be able to find a better plan than yours. After all they are the only person that really knows themselves and what they are capable of. Forcing someone into a plan that they do not accept is not a relationship it is coercion.

If you have an issue with a person’s behaviour, consider what would happen if you take that away. There may aspects of that person that are beneficial that you will also lose. Consider getting stronger yourself, to handle the bad aspects, you may find you appreciate the good aspects better.

So, if you want something from someone, try asking. Tell them what you want and if they can and want to help, agree on a plan and a price. Shake hands on the deal and get it done. It’s not rocket science is it! Its life, and the way things get done properly.

Conway-Laird (2017)

Winning conflict

Hobbes the English philosopher said that life is a constant state of war. He had probably seen too much of it. But you could say that there is always conflict in life. Within yourself, with addiction, trauma or personality traits. Within relationships between individuals. Within your environment, whether dealing with the challenges of nature or within the man-made environment. And when organisations compete with each other. Ultimately this could be between two nations and is called War.

War is hell. It is deadly, destructive, traumatic and extremely costly. It needs to be avoided at all costs. It is usually caused by a failure of politics, but there are occasions where there are those who bent on destruction. A sociopathic disregard for human life, a belief in the superiority of one group over the other that ultimately leads to a wish to subjugate or destroy the other group.

There are three points to conflict. Avoid at all costs with great strategy. Win it all costs, in a timely, decisive and with minimal casualties to your side, with great strategy. Repair, rebuild and heal what is left, with magnanimity, forgiveness, wise judgement and unity, with great strategy. Sun Tzu wrote an ancient text called “The Art of War”, 2,500 years ago. In truth it is really about how to avoid war. He said “Winning one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the sign of supreme excellence. That is subduing your enemy without violence.” He also knew that to avoid War you have to be strong to prevent people attacking you, “If you want peace prepare for War.”

Some of the Police will tell you that most criminals are alright people, and that they have taken a wrong turn in life. The vast majority can be turned around. But there are some that are just plain evil and cannot be dealt with properly. The real end-game of a conflict is not to beat the enemy, but the philosophy that drives them. There are many philosophies in life, but none are perfect as none of us are perfect. If one philosophy tries to take control, then we become at the mercy of the faults that are not recognised.

There are two examples of history that come from the greatest conflicts of all time, so far. Napoleon led the French army, exporting the new politics of the Enlightenment. He sought to protect the French Revolution from the forces of the Ancient Regime and liberate the people of Europe struggling under their yoke. It was a worthy cause and popular one, although not in Britain. In 1806 he marched towards Vienna and in December he fought the Austrians and the Russians at Austerlitz. It was a stunning victory, delivered through superb strategy. He then marched to Prussia and repeated the victory at Jena-Auerstadt. Napoleon’s greatest legacy was that he was a brilliant law-maker. The Napoleonic code is still in place. He clearly was a brilliant strategist on the Battlefield, but his ego was his undoing. Perhaps he rose to the top too early. His Generals were sometimes excellent, but his politicians were yes men. When it came to wining the peace, he did not negotiate properly with the Austrian’s, Russians and Prussians. Instead of getting a treaty that would prevent them from attacking, he was too greedy and proud and continued to laud it over them. They needed magnanimity, a treaty that was more attractive to them would have kept them in place and away from attacking him. A beneficial treaty would have made his enemies realise the benefits of his system. Instead he did not forgive and they came back at him. He ended up marching on Moscow, which was a disaster and he lost 400,000 men. The Russians were prepared to sacrifice everything, retreating into the freezing hinterland and even abandoning Moscow, the scorched earth policy left the French army dying in the Russian winter.

Not only is it vital to forgive your enemy after the conflict, it is more important to forgive them before. To fight you need to hate, and political correctness has no place in conflict. But fight with cold hatred, pure and patient. That is what drives you to find the best strategy. If you fight with uncontrolled rage, anger and resentment, that is when disaster strikes and the innocent die. A good example of this is Michael Collins strategies for the Irish Revolution 1919-1921. Carefully considered, calculated plans, aimed surgically at specific targets. Revenge was not an option, but careful assessment of the results was necessary. The British responded with the murderous anarchy of the Black and Tans. In my view, this difference of method was what won the war for the Irish. Lloyd George could see they had lost the moral argument and sued for peace.

In the 20th Century, German supremacism was the main threat. In 1913 Churchill’s prescient knowledge foretold the future, when he saw the strutting German war machine parading in Berlin. The First World War was a bad war of attrition with virtually no advantage gained by anyone. The cost was massive, particularly in lives lost. But also the affect it had on the people that witnessed the effects. The received wisdom was that the Great Powers had all been spoiling for a fight and slid into the conflict by accident. But in 1964, a German historian Fritz Fischer, discovered the existence of the Schlieffen Plan. This plan was for the Germans to engineer a War and invade Belgium and Northern France to take over their ports, industry and colonies. The leadership of Germany knew of this, and it is difficult to believe that this was not their intention. Germany had only been formed in 1871, out of a large number of small states. Coming late to the Empire building party, they wanted markets to sell their industrial products.

One of the ironies of the War, was that the only daring plan was Gallipoli. Churchill was responsible for it. The Navy was supposed to shoot through the Dardanelles and bombard Constantinople and take the Ottoman Empire out of the War. Churchill did not get the armies required to support from the peninsular, the navy were not bold enough and the Turks were severely underestimated. The exercise was disastrous and Churchill had to fall on his sword. It was not really his fault. The War dragged on until in 1918, the Germans reinforced in the West due to the Russians pulling out in the East. The final German push in the West was held. Americans were drafted in to protect the quiet areas of the front and the Germans were pushed back. By November they had their own revolution as food became scarce. There was no will to continue the fight into Germany and the war stopped at the original border, more or less. The German troops were told to lay down their weapons and march home. The War was not won, it had just stopped. No one knew who was at fault. The French and the British imposed punishing reparations on the Germans, but without knowing they were wrong, it made things worse and they came back.

The two sides were affected in different ways. The British and the French became keen on pacifism and appeasement. The Germans became worse. Hitler and the Nazi’s, were angrier, totalitarian, genocidal and driven by a demonic hatred. Churchill having recognised the danger and believing it was his destiny to save London, England and the Empire dug in and fought. He mobilised the country and the world to take a moral stand. He stopped the German’s at the Channel and Hitler turned on the Russians who motivated by their hatred and the survival instinct fought back and defeated the fascists.

The Western Allies could only hold onto the UK, fight elsewhere and support the Russians. When the Red Army swept into Eastern Europe they created another tyranny and thus began the Cold War. The ally’s invasion in the West meant that at least that part of Europe would remain free. The Allies bombed Germany and pushed into its heartland seeking unconditional surrender. The bombing campaign was vital as by 1944 it was effective in reducing tank and plane production by 30% and the Luftwaffe had to be recalled to the Fatherland. Airpower was the key to victory in the West and very helpful in the East.

People make much of the bombing of Dresden. But at that stage it was important to keep the foot on the neck of the dying enemy. Dresden was a cultural centre, and German culture had in part encouraged supremacism. To target Dresden was to target that part of the supremacist culture and defeat the philosophy. In the main the Germans did learn. They were shown around the death camps and built a fairer, liberal and democratic society. With help from the West and the Marshall plan Europe was rebuilt.

In defeating Fascism, the British recognised the need to free their colonial subjects and within 20 years the Empire was free to be a Commonwealth. A feat never achieved before in history. Under the new young Queen a new age was dawning. The NHS was the jewel in her crown and we strove to undo the class system that was temporarily shelved during the war.

But there were still wars to fight. Growing up we lived under the threat of nuclear destruction from the cold war. Apartheid in South Africa was a cancer and the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland nagged at our conscience. These threats were displayed on television every night. During the war, radio had been a vital medium for information and quite frankly propaganda. Churchill knew the importance of morale and he knew that we could not handle the truth. Now we have television and the images of war are sent around the world in nanoseconds. The Americans experienced this phenomena with the trauma of Vietnam being beamed into their homes every night. We experienced the Cold War, Apartheid and Northern Ireland through television. The heightened awareness led to action and miraculously all those three conflicts ended mostly peacefully.

But the media must be used positively to end the conflicts, rather than be dilettantes preying on the money making images. War is Hell and quite frankly if you are not in it, you don’t really need to know too much. TV images get manipulated and do not tell about the real horror. That remains in the minds and souls of those who experienced it. After the Second World War, the servicemen of the UK returned to a victorious, but shattered country. We rebuilt for a new age, but they never talked. They all had post-traumatic stress, but there was no relief from the War that still raged within them. People not involved watch the War films and celebrate the glory. It was not like that. Those involved are not proud of what they did as they were not necessarily heroic, brave or humane.

Now there is conflict everywhere. Whether between Genders, Political Groups, Religious or non-religious groups or any other philosophy. The current conflicts rarely give way to violence, but is in the spiritual, emotional and even sexual fields of battle. Recognising these conflicts is difficult, especially when there is so much lies and manipulation. But be warned they are equally as dangerous. These wars are in the home, at work, on the internet and use anything at people’s disposal to fight with. The struggles seem to be over money, power and sex. But these things are responsibilities and should be shared by all.

To fight these means honour, loyalty and sticking to your principles. The victory conditions are having a world where different philosophies find a simple code that allows them to coexist. For those that cannot do that there needs to be a solution that allows them to exist separately.

We must pull together in unity, respect and clarity. If the world continues down the road of selfishness, money grabbing, military posturing, self-interest and especially the imposing of superiority over each other we are finished. If we look up from what is in front of our noses we may discover that the world is dying. The environmental destruction of the planet is fast approaching. If we do not work together to find solutions then there will be nothing.

Humanity has triumphed before and can do it again. Churchill said “Victory at all costs, victory despite all terror, victory however long and hard the road maybe, because without victory there is no survival.” Because there is never, ever, ever, ever any reason to give up fighting for what is right as there is nothing else. But to win not only takes hard work, it takes self-sacrifice.

What are you prepared to sacrifice to win this fight for humanity and for all of us?

Conway-Laird (2017)

Practical Christianity

A simple code for Christian living would be based on firstly learning the basics. Then applying them in one’s own life through reading the Bible and praying. This is best done in private with no distractions, preferably on a regular basis.

To read the Bible, pick an individual book and learn its context. Find out who the writer was, what type of book is it, who he was writing it to, why is was written, what the culture was and the issues current at the time. Read the book from the beginning to end, a chapter at a time and reflect on its meaning. If you put the message into context and find out what the writer was saying to the reader, you can then reapply those underlying principles to yourself and your culture.

If you read the whole Bible you can get a view of the relationship between God and the human race through different individuals and cultures.

You can pray out loud, or in the privacy of your own thoughts. When you pray simply say what is on your mind, there is no need to over complicate things. Pray for forgiveness for yourselves and forgive others. Praise and thank God. Pray to be filled with Holy Spirit that teaches, heals and empowers us on a daily basis. Pray for the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Pray for wisdom and faith and if you are in a struggle, pray for the armour of God as described in Ephesians 6.

Pray for others, pray for personal, relationship, local and world issues. You only need to mention them, there is no need to offer God a solution. After all as a Christian, he is the boss and you do as he requires. Have to say though he has an excellent management technique, he has been doing it a long time I guess, and has seen it all before.

Conway-Laird (2017)

The Enlightenment and Christianity

Christianity grew out and spread from the Holy Land 2,000 years ago. It was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples. Inspired by him they wrote the Bible which is still with us today, translated into virtually all known languages. There are many copies going back to the fourth Century and the reliability and consistency of the text is remarkable.

The new faith spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean which was part of the Roman Empire. Although there was occasional persecution, 10% of the Empire professed themselves to be Christian after 300 years. After the Battle of Milvian Bridge, Constantine declared the Empire Christian and the Roman Catholic Church was born. It may be that the church was designed in a style that reflected the pagan majority as the Christians wished to be welcoming to their new brothers and sisters.

By 1500 in Europe, the Catholic Church was the major political force and was corrupted by the likes of the Borgia’s who managed to inveigle their way to becoming the Pontiff. Martin Luther reacted with his 95 theses in 1517 and declared that everybody should have the Bible in their own language, as well as Latin, and should be free to interpret it for themselves and live by a personal faith. There followed a glorious anarchy in Holland and Northern Germany where all manner of new ideas developed. Some were not healthy and by mid-century the Catholic authorities were stamping down on what they saw as a heresy. As the Catholic Church was political, so the Protestants were as well. Wars raged in the 16th and 17th Century as people and the countryside was devastated as armies fought for principles that they clearly betrayed. Many emigrated to the New American World to seek religious freedom.

In England by 1715, the people led by the new more powerful Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, sort trade, commerce and colonisation instead. The new religion was the Enlightenment philosophies. European and American philosophes had established the objective principles of science and were taking a look at the Universe to understand how it worked. They used reason, evidence and belief that if something worked in a particular way then it probably always would. They freed themselves from religious tutelage and superstition and sought objective truth for themselves and those that studied their work.

One of their main interests was whether they could prove that God exists. Some would announce that they had by some deduction only for the method used to be undermined by someone else. The more they looked the less they knew. One of the founders of science, Isaac Newton regarded himself as a boy playing on the seashore of a great ocean. That was his relationship to the truth. They all started with a belief in God and through much study, generally they could neither prove nor disprove his existence. Some were deists, others reasoned on atheism and some accepted spirituality. But the essential message was there was no conclusive evidence either for or against the existence of God. It was a matter for the individual, it was a matter of faith.

Many could accept the basic principles of the Bible as good. Love, wisdom, truth, forgiveness, charity, community, equality, healing, personal development and human development as they are difficult to argue with. But it appeared that the teaching was monopolised by a church that had inherited political power. Church leaders have been trained in their chosen strand of faith and are useful for instructing those who choose to adhere to it. They can also help people to choose a moral code for the individual, a relationship, an organisation, a sub-culture or a country. But their power should be restricted to that which they are trained in. Although it is understandably tempting to try to control the moral agenda, a Priest or Minister is in charge of a church. There is nothing wrong with teaching, influencing, advising and supporting others who have to make moral codes in their lives, but they should not control any other organisation than the church itself. It should be a supportive organisation not one of power. By the church advising rather than controlling, the individual is empowered. This is one of the central points of Luther’s teaching.

There are those that lead and those that follow. When we are born we are taught a code by our families. We may choose to continue to follow that code when older, choose another or go our own way as an individual. This is the choice that is inherent in the human condition, freewill. What we choose to believe and the code we live by is always our decision. We may be in a family or organisation that promotes a different one and we can either bend to it or react, but essentially our spiritual choices our always our own.

The would-be Americans who crossed the Atlantic to start a new life of religious freedom started colonies based on their differing Christian strands of faith. Massachusetts was Puritan, Rhode Island Free, Pennsylvania Quaker, Maryland Catholic and Virginia Anglican. While they were all basically Christian, they learnt from the religious wars that they had fled from and established a Constitution based on the Enlightenment teachings that were prevalent of the time. Religion was to be separate from both Government and later education.

I do not believe in one fighting the other, but I do believe that there should be a proper order of things. A hierarchy of control and influence, while not seeking to exclude different belief structures. Those that can coexist can, those that can’t should seek separate living space. The Enlightenment teaching has become the basis for most Western civilisations and I believe that is correct. It caters for almost all members of society and promotes equality and free choice. And it guarantees religious freedom to all in America within the law of the land. People still have the right to choose their belief structure and worship how they please in freedom.

My old Vicar used to say “If you find a perfect church, leave it as you will only spoil it.” Evangelicalism has a well-meaning desire to seek the truth, but for the individual that truth will be different to others. There is no one true church, no one true faith, no one true code, there is no one true lifestyle, it is the condition of life that we should work that out for ourselves. Either within a supportive spiritual environment or on our own.

Luther set us free to be ourselves. But too much freedom impinges on the freedom of others. Too few leaders leads to anarchy. One true faith leads to tyranny. We need to find a balance where those that lead and those that follow can be acknowledged and work together in coexistence.

There should be opportunity for those who seek their personal truth. Surely the Church is a place that can help people find that truth in loving acceptance of us all as individuals.

Conway-Laird (2017)

Love, romance and babies

My generation was brought up on three TV channels and watching Top of the Pops on a Thursday. There were many songs about romantic love and many movies about romantic love. The aim in life was to get a job, get married have kids and live happily ever after. It seemed that we needed to identify the right potential partner and go and some-how make it happen. But the information we received from our Hollywood heroes was that the road was full of many pitfalls.

Romantic love can be glorious, there is two of you and no one else. The feeling is that you have found happiness and will never leave you. But when it goes wrong you can end up with the following symptoms. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, jealous, obsessive, can’t concentrate and out of touch with reality. It has the look of what people call mental illness. When we look out on the world and see the evidence of love life, it does seem to go wrong more often than not. Some people stay in love forever, and they appear to have happy lives holding hands in marital bliss. I don’t mean to knock that and if you find that good for you. But I think our society has lost some perspective and may have been sold a Bill of Goods.

People may base their long term sexual relationships on a number of things. Romantic love, children, sex, money, companionship or work. I think all of these factors have a part to play. But the main reason is for mutual advantage. In my Grandparents day, marriage would have been commenced early and be for life. I believe that romantic love is a state that facilitates bonding between couples and can hold them together. It might be that people in their early twenties who have not fully developed personally, who have little or no sexual experience and have not found independence, can find these things together as they grow older. This bonding will also stand them in good stead when they have babies. There is not much romance going on when that happens.

Romantic love is a feeling and it generally does not last. It may not even be based on truth. It can be a bit out of touch with reality, a fantasy and quite frankly addictive. Do not get me wrong, although I am being rather cynical, I do think it has its place, but it is not the sole reason to live or the main basis of a relationship. Living through another human being and being dependent on another human being can only lead to disappointment in 95% of cases I would say.

Self-actualisation, independence, personal development and reaching your potential in life are what is important to me. Seeking after happiness seems to me personally to be rather shallow. Happiness is a light, frivolous and transient emotion, it does not bring lasting fulfilment. Contentment is a better emotion, personal achievement has greater potential for long term well-being. And above all relationships based on mutual support and respect, to promote self-acceptance and improvement.

True personal development, through self-actualisation, usually leads to confidence and assertiveness and in most cases, turns to a desire to help others find the same.

To stay the same and seek short term happiness is an individual’s choice, but for me it is better to move on and improve. Unfortunately, there are those that are demanding, controlling, obsessive and possessive and they can spoil your life. It seems tragic that in England at the moment there is so much pandering to weakness. People get offended by things that are progressively more and more minor. Rules become more and more petty. Standards of acceptable behaviour and emotions are more and more narrowly defined, if defined at all.

Yet there is an ever-growing problem of mental illness in this country, especially for the young. There is a chasm between college and the workplace where young people are ill equipped to deal with the emotional stress and challenge that they have not been prepared for. There is a lack of ambition for personal development and achievement, or to change the world and help it become a better place. There is a lack of compassion for others. Young people have told me that at college they were taught that there are so many problems in the world that you need to make lots of money to protect yourselves from them. Not much good if the world banking system collapses.

It is very sad that this negative and defensive attitude has developed where anything that people don’t like is made to go away. Either by legislation or social control. Political correctness is meant to stop wars, conflict and racism, but it is censorship and does nothing to deal with the root causes. It’s just sad really.

You may choose to give up, protect yourself and push all the bad things away. But do not force me to do the same. Life is a challenge and training yourself emotionally and spiritually is hard, but the more you train the better you get and the more you achieve. Surrender is not a concept that I can grasp, deciding to surrender on my behalf is a betrayal and there is nothing worse than that for me.

Nelson Mandela spent many hard years in prison. He never gave up and his own personal struggle, adherence to his principles and self-sacrifice made him the man he was. On accepting the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa he was alleged to quote Marianne Williamson, unfortunately it was not true, but still a great quote;

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

It is your life and you should live it as you should, but if you want something from me you need to ask. Do not restrict my life because you cannot handle me. Men expect women to stay the same and they change, women expect man to change and they stay the same.

The only person who knows us and how we work is ourselves. If we have tasks to do in life then who else is going to make the plan. If people are forced to be restricted in their lives and their behaviour, then that is a lack of respect and done without consent.

If you wish to moderate someone’s behaviour, consider the effect your actions have on them. Emotions happen when people interact, if you are unaware of the positive and negative affects you have on people, you are not really getting close to proper relationships.

People can change somethings and not others. Generally they improve on what they have. It is their own personal growth. In a relationship a partner could discuss the matter. Not only do we need to accept ourselves as we are, we need to allow everybody else to do the same. Personal change is personal and if you are trying to change someone’s personality not their behaviour that is a very bad thing.

Conway-Laird (2017)