Monday, 16 December 2013

December 2013

Yikes! Where did the year go?

It seems impossible that we are now middle of December heading for Christmas Day.

Talking of Christmas many views are put forward that we should not celebrate Christmas because (a) we do not know when Jesus was born, (b) Christ-Mass is related to Mass, death, so we seem to be celebrating Christ's death, as in Merry Death and (c) it is a pagan festival of Yule Tide that Christianity adopted in order to convert and subvert. I veer towards celebrating the notion of Jesus' birth and the seriousness of why he was born. I also like festivals and celebrations so celebrating Seasons and giving "alms" to those less well of or lucky or suppressed by the powerful elites and the spreading of cheerful messages is good by me. 

The commercialism of Christmas makes me baulk. So many families go into debt just to buy expensive presents for their children. The word presents should be present. And children learn values from understanding need and want and not being able to afford the latest and greatest. I want it all and I want it now has been the destruction of servility of the family, community and society.

I understand parents want to do well by their children but sensible attitude and boundaries have to be maintained and even explained. One good present or several smaller and cheaper presents should be good enough for any child. Loads and loads is not good. Not even for the rich to indulge in! As they create spoilt little boys and girls like the Cameron's and the Osborne's (George Gideon not Sharon and Ozzy).

So my wish for this Christmas is less commercial and more spiritual or social giving. Less people getting into unnecessary debt and more people relaxing with a nice simple but tasty meal with the family.

Merry Christmas & Happy Yule Tide.


Monday, 26 August 2013

Welfare

What is the best form of welfare provision? Private or Universal?
Many free market thinkers immediately put up their hands to private. All well and good if you have the means and the insurances have no very small printed clauses. But universal has its own problems. Abuse and misuse and free-riders if there are no clauses relating to pay-in-get-out. Also it leaves those with less wealth less well off and those with less wealth or none in the same boat. So what's to be done?

Firstly one has to decide which of three things one is in favour of:

  1. Universal paid by tax.
  2. Private paid into insurance and or saving schemes.
  3. Means tested.
Of course there is no reason, and one I adhere to, that a mixture of all three can be utilised.


  1. [a] Minimum universal payment
        [b] Opt-out clause from universal payment
       
   2. [a] Complete private funded and provision of services
       [b] An opt-in clause to [3]

   3. [a] Every benefit is means tested to account for wages and savings
       [b] Every benefit is means tested to account just for wages
       [c] Every benefit is means tested to account just for savings
       [d] An opt-out clause to go into private funded and provision of service

At the moment in the UK there is only one real choice and that is universal payment, with private insurance an option as well if one can afford to do so.

My choice would be since I live in a welfare provided for State 3[c] & 3[d].
That way people have some choice. Private providers would need to provide according to the market and not remuneration from the state. Its an idea at least.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Belief

DM: To believe is just what we think are the facts now. To think is to revise. So all belief is ephemeral even though the content may be similar to what we thought was the case a moment ago.

ME: If what we thought/believed is similar [that is nothing of any substance has changed] each and every time over a period of ages then that belief can not be said to be ephemeral can it?

DM:  Yes, it can as the belief is not the content but the current feeling that it is true.

It always involves revision. So past content is not relevant but current feeling is. The content need not change when I see a meme as false. The feeling it is true does have to change.

ME: What if both the content and the feeling remain the same?

DM: Like the air we breathe in, I would still say it was a fresh belief.

ME: How can it be a fresh belief?

DM: The same way that we can take in fresh air.

Do you want to say that air we breathe in is not fresh, as the content is the same?

My thesis is that we spend belief about as fast as we use up the oxygen from the air we breathe in, so we need to breathe and make fresh assumptions automatically. To think is to assume freshly, even though it retains content about as much as a movie/film frame does from one belief to the next.

ME: Ah, fresh not new. A fresh look might not involve a new look at something. The difference between a quick thought and a detailed thought about the content of an issue. To take a fresh look at things. I do that often. Then more often than not I believe as I did about the content. Thus the truth and fact of it as I understand and comprehend the content I still believe in remains the same. I might of course form a new belief from the old, or dispel with the old belief I once held; as one can of course change ones mind about what one thinks. I have done that in my comprehension of Christian thought; and indeed political thought. A fresh look at a belief [or anything else for that matter] does not assume that anything different will come from that fresh look.

Some will ask how can one not see or understand differently after taking a fresh look at the content of an issue or proposition. They are expectant of a change of view or belief but are disappointed or confused when a change does not occur in the other persons viewpoint.

DM: It soon occurred to me that the five senses renew and revise beliefs about as often as we breathe in air. This is roughly the idea I retain today.

If I go out to fetch the paper, I recreate beliefs with my five senses, even though I have made the journey many times. I do not recall beliefs but look to make fresh ones. 

Indeed, revision does not mean amendment or change but it is a test of sorts.

I do not think it matters very much what we believe but it does matter if we do immoral things.

ME: Does not our moral action arise from what we believe?

DM: Saint Augustine is right that what we do is a matter of will rather than of mere belief. The Stoics saw that too.  Augustine used this against his master, the ancient Plato [some 800 years earlier] on sin, that it could be wilful thus we can sin even if we know it is wrong. That was mistaken in my view. Realising a thing is immoral is to not to want to do it, as Plato held,  despite having the physical ability to do it.

ME: Does doing what we will also relate, at times at least, to what we believe?

DM: Belief is just what we think the facts are.

What we will is what we want. Beliefs are usually just a means there thus David Hume says reason is and ought to be only the slave of the passions.

ME: So what we believe does indeed also relate to what we will. Though not always it seems as the two can be separate entities.

DM: Yes, but it cannot utterly replace it, our will is what we want rather than what we think is the case but if we think an apple is rotten we will not want it. I might want to beat my girlfriend up but if I believe she has just puled a gun to defend herself I may lie that I did not mean what I said when I told her I would punch her nose.  Facts can change the will, for we never attempt anything that we see as futile but no set of facts logically implies a certain action. Thus science will forever remain value free but no scientist is ever value free as a person.

ME: Yes I agree. Our belief will never replace our will. Facts can alter how we think about an issue or person and of course a fact can affect our belief. Indeed there can never a value free person – could artificial intelligence be a value free intelligence?

We all bring our values to the table of life. Thus I am saddened when normally peaceful minded men promote warfare. I understand self-defence but to wage war. Sad.

With thanks to David McDonagh.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Climate milestone is a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk | THINKING: Middle of the road Libertarian? Maybe...

Climate milestone is a moment of symbolic significance on road of idiocy | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk | THINKING: Middle of the road Libertarian? Maybe...:

Among those who seek and obtain high office are people characterised by a complete absence of empathy or scruples, who will take money or instructions from any corporation or billionaire who offers them, and then defend those interests against the current and future prospects of humanity.
This has always been so. The fact that it has come to be an accepted norm nowadays is all the more worrying.  Cronyism has become the acceptable way to do business and run companies as well as social utilities and commodities. It does not have to be this way. Time for decent and honest men and women to step up to the plate - soon!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Thinking…Again

I really must stop this thinking malarkey! It might get me in trouble one day. Best just obey and agree with those who think they know what’s best for me and the country.

Now you know I’m kidding! But that seems to be what our Government leaders want us to all do. Bow, doff cap and humbly be ripped off.

It’s Sunday so I’ll be polite. Most Government ministers are so uneducated – not the same as being unschooled – that it is cringe worthy watching or listening to them.

The ignorance and obtuseness [is there such a word as obtuseness?] flows out of their mouths like hot syrup being poured onto porridge. It never ceases just keeps flowing. I feel like putting the ignoble peeps into a freezer – to stop the flow. Anything to stop the clap trap and balderdash coming out of their mouths.

Time for grown up men and woman to rule. Men and women of wisdom that is. Wisdom is lacking in Parliament, never mind the ignoramuses of government.

Any takers?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Church Weddings.

Church weddings, increased fees and “extras” | Law & Religion UK: the cost of weddings has increased from £296 to £415, and that for funerals from £102 to £160, and although the new fees now include the costs of lighting and administration, they do not include other charges referred to as “extras”.
I have often thought "church" weddings and funerals were costly. But of course in truth it is all the "extras" that take up the cost. Heating [if applicable],  the services of a verger, music (e.g. organist, choir), bells, and flowers, which are fixed by the Parochial Church Council The Archbishops’ Council. But even these extras are nothing compared to the clothes and reception that some couples plan - into thousands sometimes.

Seriously, the commercialism and the staggering costs of clothes never to be worn again astounds me. Be simple. Do it for love, and faith if you are religious. Why start your married life in debt? 

Two questions I'd like to ask. Who do the non-believers want to get married in a church? Why do churches allow non-believers to get married in a church using the Bible and God as the modus operandi when the couple do not believe in God or Christ? Just wondered.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

THINKING

Why bother with church? | Blog | Barton Evangelical Church

Indeed we need each other! Like all families we will get on each others nerves and fall out with each other over the small things. It is making sure you do not hold a grudge against that person that matters. Forgive them and get on with living the Way of Christ.

I hope 2013 will be a good year for all people and that instead of raging over differences, and being dogmatically stubborn, we can grasp the nettle and sit down in fellowship, at the very least, with each other.

May God Bless You and Keep You Safe. Shalom. Peace. Salaam.