Friday, 29 August 2008


Mutley: “Well you know a lot about politics but unless you are suggesting a
cataclysmic nuclear exchange then in a military sense the Russians lose every
time. ...If we are going to talk about like weapons and war and stuff then I
will win by the way - you have wandered into my territory.”

Nor is all this this about military conflicts, Mutley. It’s just all about adding fuel
to the fire. Besides, theories of Nato’s state-of-the-art weaponry are a weak
basis for discounting the power of endurance and will. And here the Russian
Army excels.

Let’s face it, in 1941 it was expected the Red Army would collapse in a
matter of weeks against the overwhelming power of the Wehrmacht divisions.
Barely two years later they were driving the Panzers back, having contained over
250 German divisions, while the combined Allied armies up to the invasion of
Sicily, had only faced the few vastly undersupplied divisions of Rommel's Afrika

Of course, there was Hamburg in late July of 1943, when the
RAF annihilated more people in one stroke than would perish in Britain during
the entire war.

You may well think, then, that the tide turned at El Alamein. Or that
Britain’s principal ally, the US, supplied the major military
muscle for putting paid to the Nazi armoury. But the Russians - with no concern
for Allied pretensions - are absolutely adamant that the actual rout came in the
Soviet Union, the real turning-point of the war. On 19 November 1942,
simultaneously with the arrival of winter, the Soviet counteroffensive had
began. It resulted in the encirclement of the German Sixth Army, parts of the
Fourth Army, and a number of Romanian auxiliary brigades - a total of 250,000
soldiers. The greatest defeat the Wehrmacht had yet sustained. With that, the
high tide of German military victories had come and gone. Hitler’s vast
mechanized war-machine in the East had not only been bled dry in the horrendous
winter battles but was about to be turned back. By the end of January 1943 the
Russians had substantially defeated the invading host. The collapse of the Axis
alliance followed as a matter of course. For their own part the Americans are
deservedly conscious of the competing burden of the Pacific theatre of war,
while D-Day, like a culminating fireworks display, has been built up as the
decisive moment.

Again, I add but one word: Bollocks!

What is never acknowledged is that without the Red Army grinding into
dust 150 crack Nazi divisions, the Allies would never have landed in Normandy.

Mutley: “If Russia attacks NATO it signs its own death warrant.“

Are you quite sure we are here talking about the same multi-national
Nato force, Mutley, that is struggling to keep the hapless mule-skinners of
Afghanistan from kicking their arse. Or are you thinking of England, a nation
where children are outnumbered by pensioners clamouring for their heating money
- while Russia turns off fuel supplies? Germany? - there is military history, it
is true, but little heart, and the French lost theirs at Dien Bien Phu. Italy -
to them at least goes the honour of the last successful cavalry charge in
military history. Out into the fields they went, on 24 August 1942 , on the
banks of the River Don, with no objective in mind save for a famous victory and
personal oblivion...

I, for one, feel perfectly capable of judging events on their own merit regardless of being accused of supporting the Evil Empire. Then, of course, I could muse about the cold war actually being a battle between hostile conglomerates. But I guess what I really mean is, that I can’t stand
political nancy-boys claiming the moral high ground while talking rhetorical

Over to you Mutley...

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


"Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned that his country may respond
to a US missile shield in Europe through military means. Mr Medvedev said the
deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders "will, of course,
create additional tensions. We will have to react somehow, to react, of course,
in a military way..."

Harsh words indeed - and worse is to follow...

Kennedy made just this point when he warned the Soviets about Cuba in 1962. A period
which has been condemned for recklessness and glamorised for its demonstration
of ultimate diplomacy. Though my own guess is that he built up the hype so high
that nothing less could meet the profligate expectations he had raised. It was
either fish or cut bait. So he broke a rule of diplomacy: “Get out or get

The result, of course, was The Cold War.

History has been stood on its head. There is something outrageously
hypocritical about the contrast between Cuba and Poland. And nothing proves
quite as inflammatory as US-led efforts to integrate post-Soviet territories
into the North-Atlantic Pact. But how come that we all accept this as evidence
of our own good will, when in fact it looks to me like the very opposite of it.
One is reminded of the proverb about people in glass houses. Such things rankle,
and worse is to come: so far as incorporating the Ukraine into Nato is
concerned, the Crimea has a Russian majority population just waiting to be

And who the heck is going to oppose it?

Sarkosy? The pint-sized little busybody with a chip on his shoulder
whose penchant for bling so well complements Carla’s rather more broad-minded
approach to ambassadorial activity...Or Miliband? The boy scout whose Clark
Kent-style transformation from geek to superman has yet to be ratified. For
until that happens, permit me to doubt!

George Brown? I am afraid that his limitations of expression (and my
own impatience) - have inevitably meant that his opinions are valued only on
matters of Olympic ceremony, low-energy lightbulbs and greenhouse gardensheds.
Or bring back Blair, perhaps, who gets as high as a kite on blueprints
describing weapons of mass destruction. Come home, sweet Bambie, all is

So what about Berlusconi, idling his way through wealth and corruption,
he is, even by Italian standards, unusually thick-skinned. But then, Mafia and
Medvedev are not synonymous. And Frau Angela Merkel? I am aware that my bias is
Anglo-Saxon; but a German woman turned war horse? God help us all - that may
well backfire...

All is not lost, however. For no one who knows about horses could ever
confuse Frau Merkel with Herr Paxman. A British institution that is steeped in
nothing but a distinguished voice, exceedingly high-brow manners and the tone of
an offended mandarin duck. Still, it is hard to argue with Paxos raised brow -
probably the best weapon we ever had...

And yet, help is at hand - it seems, in the veteran and near-incumbent shape of John McCain whose rugged,plain-speaking record is seen as a welcome boost to sagging Cold-War morale.
Besides, Barrack Obama has to be rendered ineffectual. You may talk a good game,
McCain, but don’t start messing with the Ruskies. They do not associate war
with pleasure! Bombing hapless mountain tribes in Afghanistan is one thing, but
to take on the might of the Mongols, already bruised by the loss of their
empire, is quite another. If you don’t think you’re Custer riding into Little
Big Horn, then let me warn you, nor are these Sioux and Cheyenne braves. These
are the boys that tore the heart out of Operation Barbarossa and put paid to the
Axis Powers; they’ll have your balls for breakfast...

My condolences to you all! Be prepared for some disappointment. Death
is not selective...


Monday, 25 August 2008


“I’m looking for a good reason not to close this blog....I’ve lost my sense of fun.”

Evidently in a state of mental exhaustion, here’s a man who believes that
he has lost his call. A man who is looking for a reason not to close his blog. A
common complaint among authors, together with imagining they’re suffering from
writers’ block, and can’t, for the life of them, think how to escape it.

And yet, this is a valuable moment, Richard. A moment of catharsis.

We all crave attention, status and approbation. Indeed, approbation is
fine thing, but what about scepticism, spite, jealousy and ridicule? The fact of
the matter is, that I’ve often been in precisely that position and, invariably,
I have found that, by persisting, I left something inferior behind and advanced
to new and higher levels.

Only way to go!

Such are the necessities of war! And so far as your blog is concerned,
apart from momentary lapses, I have seen some absolutely cracking posts, crafted
to an exacting standard. In fact, rather depending on those standards, The Richard Madeley Appreciation Society is arguably the leading weblog of its kind. Equally witty,
equally mercurial, but more in the Wodehouse mode, perhaps, than Elberry’s
somewhat surrealistic or Mutley’s sardonic dogs-day humour - Richard’s is a
compromise between genius and farce...

My own blog, too, I see as having a strongly farcical and ingenious
flavour. But what matters, as in every literary hyperbole, are the effects
created, and Richard’s effects are striking. Their derivation, indeed, is
ambiguous, caught between Channel 4 celebrity and Manchester anonymity, they owe
a credible touch to both. If he is a writer of rare eloquence, his talent is
something more than just loquaciousness. It may well turn out to be valuable,
certainly in the sense that some observers have already commented on his blog
being an ill-disguised form of self-disclosure. If so, Richard may even be the
first celebrity to be found guilty of impersonating himself. But since the sheer
length of some posts makes his droll and almost compulsively ironic manner
somewhat heavier to absorb, my first suggestion would be, leave some of your
volume behind.

Also, for the record, you’re the recipient of some of the blogosphere’s most sincere declarations of love and loyalty. All six-foot-one of you, have a flair for rapid captivation of the opposite sex. And female fans in particular - especially myself - are prone to write to you, pleading that you
are an essentially misunderstood, even quite tragic, figure whose intense moral
revulsions for the job in Manchester are all the more wounding for being so true
to life.

One senses genuine outrage! And here's the rub:

You might say that Madeley is a man of curiously mixed motivation, and
that it is sometimes difficult to discern a logical purpose in his meanderings.
But it is the contradiction between his semantic eloquence and his ready
acceptance of temptation and a willingness to compromise that makes his blog so
complex and intriguing. Richard is a compulsive player of power games. A master
of dissimulation. A raging egocentric possibly, totally wrapped up in the
frivolities of his own existence. But that's the real point of being a blogger.
Whatever our literary preferences, blogging is all about the subtle
reverberations of scale, about the critical relations between things that the
majority of us spend the greatest part of our days steering clear of. And since
bogus literary pretensions are invariably the most tedious aspect of any
biography, what is clear from Richard’s confessional is, that he gets those
of us who care too little about others into caring about life in the first
place. Which is why, if it is any consolation to you, Richard, nobody but a
blogger worthy of salvation can be troubled to go to those lengths for the mere sake of
a lousy post....


PS.: (God help me if the blogosphere finds out that I am Richard Madeley)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

TO BE AND NOT TO BE...( Selena Reflects On The Nature Of Being While Doing Aerobics And Wearing A Leotard)

“Reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere
else. You are deluding yourself believing that the nature of reality is
self-evident. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we
often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that
the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you
suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be
near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians
are unequal to that?”

Thus O’Brian, the Party Indoctrinator in George Orwell’s 1984.

To him there is but one crime: the Truth. He believes that one can
prove almost anything from an astute deployment of scientific principles. He
states his case with the dispassionate simplicity of the true professional,
arguing with perfect accuracy that ‘Reality is not external.’ Of course, if one
took the simple view of things, and interpreted observations in terms of basic
principles, then the sum of the three angles of a triangle is always 180
degrees. No single fact is more clearly established. If, however, we pass from
Euclidean geometry into either Riemannian or hyperbolic space, we find that the
angles, by a kind of conceptual unreason, will each amount to more - or less -
than 180 degrees. By a somewhat similar ‘anomaly’, the geometry of the
three-dimensional universe, taken literally, may be flat and Euclidean, or in
terms of Einstein’s four-dimensional geometrical arrangement, be either bounded
or unbounded. But because we have no experience directly relevant to a
four-dimensional continuum, the conventional distinction between time and space cannot be literally taken out of one frame of reference and translated into another, without a formal breach of three-dimensional obligations to structure, motion and balance.

A sufficient condition for the reality of a physical quantity, it has been said, is the possibility of predicting it with certainty, without disturbing it. Without, in a word, creating events that are properly speaking contingent only. We see not the thing itself, but merely associations. Indeed, for the sake of an easy generalization it has become possible to say that describing the electron is but a description of our knowledge. Expressed in still more rarefied language, the predominant quality implied by quantum theory is that of non-locality. Due to the curious mechanism whereby the application of knowledge alters the state of matter, the wave function only indicates the relative probability of finding a particle at some particular point in space. It would seem uneconomic, therefore, not to take advantage of this and merely state that when matter is abstracted from our psychological experience, the world as perceived by the eye and the ear is a figment of the imagination.

It may well be a source of wonder, therefore, that this figment
represents a whole knowable universe, its moving parts beautifully conceived and
designed, endowed with meaning and capable, therefore, of providing purpose and
inspiration of every possible kind. This is a development such as the Classics
would have understood. Spinoza’s was an agnostic universe, of course, but men
were united with one another, and with God, by the measure of their common
experience. A sort of double indemnity between God and Nature, in which one was
a variation of the other. If the matrix itself was neutral, it was also endowed
with divine characteristics, both accommodating and detached. Hence, it is with
absolute fidelity to the same inspiration that man’s sense of his modern
identity compensates for this detachment and imposes structure on chaos and
disorder, while it is a valuable corrective to orthodox uses of the word God,
that the properties required to pass the test of divinity are not one’s own
experience and perception but, on the contrary, their requisite omission.


Thursday, 21 August 2008


“The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and
John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign
power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose
what is happening in Cuba today. ..That is why we worked in the Organization of
American States and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That
is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to

Thus John F. Kennedy in 1962. The Invasion of Grenada followed in 1983.
Codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, it was an unspoken, if perfectly illegal
invocation of the same doctrine. The United States, and members of the
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States landed troops on Grenada, defeated Cuban resistance and overthrew the military government.

Throughout the history of Empires, superpowers have always adopted local client regimes, each of which rivalled its opposite in viciousness and provocation. History will come to realise, as many contemporary Americans did not, that John F. Kennedy, too, was a dangerous imperialist, whose egomania almost precipitated a catastrophe. In the event it was but an interlude of maritime confrontation and, one supposes, of mutual discomfort. For the history of the next thirty years
turned on the attempts to solve this discomfort. Finally, in 1991 came the total
abrogation of the Soviet Union. Its collapse was so complete, that even America
was uncertain of how to proceed...

Today, history has been stood upon its head for the victim is Russia.

As if to underline the change of status, Americans have been invading her traditional spheres of influence, entering into dangerous political alliances which blatantly contradicted the very principles for which, in their own case, the Monroe Doctrine stood. Recriminations haven
taken the place of facts. And finally to top it all, a US-educated lawyer, aged
40, and President of Bush’s client state of Georgia, has became a swaggering
agitator in Cuban heels.

Two fingers to the Russians!

To court Mikhail Saakashvili - a man of wildly inventive statements - without at least
neutralizing his belligerent fervour, would, in my view, be a terrible calamity.
The move to arm Baltic subs with nuclear warheads is just one of Russia’s
responses to American plans for a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.
Another is the threat of nuclear retaliation, directed at Poland, for agreeing
to host US rockets on its soil. An act which nothing can justify, and which
simply increases Russia's efforts to prevent Soviet successor regimes from
joining the Western Alliance. Indeed, the consensus on the part of Nato for the
inclusion of Georgia into the Western defence system is nothing but farce. As an
unproductive, not to say insane idea - and let’s cut to the chase on this, shall
we? - it is rather like suggesting Alabama should have become part of the Warsaw
Pact, some twenty years ago.

And I‘m being conservative here!

In truth, the man who presides over all this has already been dismissed as a moron, a
cowboy, a bigot, and hailed as a dedicated advocate for the war on terror. A
statesman of no vision, of little wit and a buffoon, little more than first
cousin to a mule. A post-modern man in his ignorance and freedom from
imagination. A madman in an age dominated by political extremists. Whereas
Vladimir Putin has been justly described as “the most effective leader in the
world today”. Determined, decisive, and direct, he has made his point.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


It is hard not to agree with Bertrand Russell, who once said that no one would proclaim with fervour that 5 + 5 equals 10. Except, of course,
Richard Dawkins. Nothing restrains him in the passion of his crusade. Or as Basil Fawlty might have suggested - why not go on Mastermind:

Special Subject: The Bleedin’ Obvious...

Many fruitful attempts have been made to reason against the unreasonable. But last night wasn’t one of them. In truth, watching the third and last instalment on Channel 4, I was mortified to find that Dawkins the advocate of The Genius of Charles Darwin found himself constantly and embarrassingly on the defensive. His
blue eyes were charming, even though I did not see the persuasive power they were meant to possess. A trace of breathlessness in his voice, perhaps. Occasionally it occurred to me that the worthy man was completely outfoxed.
Still, one has to admire him for his combination of courage and foolhardiness.
Outscored by a couple of creationists who allege to believe in a God
that created the earth and all its creatures in six days some 5,000 years ago,
he had some considerable trouble legitimising himself.

I add but one word: bollocks!

To be Dawkins is to be very dull indeed. It is hard to see him as
anything other than an intellectual adolescent. Quite obviously, the Oxford
professor of the public understanding of science, and author of The Selfish
neither understands the role of science nor that of Creationism.
Albeit that something of its true nature shines through all the myth-making to
which this religion is subjected. Action begets reaction. And creationists may
well have calculated on that. They made little effort to be agreeable. Surely The God Delusion has to be the greatest recruitment drive for Creationism since Noah peopled his Arc with monkeys. It’s Grandmother Moses’s idea of God, but there is no doubting the scale of the lady’s objective. The bigger the lie, the more self-righteous she is in defending it. And the kids, in
fact, are thrilled. Facts and fossils mean little to school-children who love to
be enshrined in the glow of myth. Meanwhile, the state looks on approvingly: The
world has been corrupted by philosophies of revolutionary enlightenment for
centuries. And this new-fangled religion of reason and scientific elucidation
may well be considered its primary evil.

Wake up Dawkins!

This is not about God. In fact, no one has even half an inkling about
the nature of this debate. This is about religious partisanship and cultural
divisiveness. Fundamentalism in general plays an important, community-forming
role in social ecology, and this Biblical farce amounts to a hectoring
triumphalism of the most potently political and divisive kind. For the fact of
the matter is, that nothing with the word religion in its name can ever be truly

God is a metaphor. A synonym for the imagination. People are forever
fashioning God in forms He never takes! To some, indeed, the idea of a personal
God is to win the lottery. Others pray for a miracle. Some even bargain with
Him. Elsewhere penitential and pietistic cults flourish. America is becoming a
collection of weird cults and sects. And yet, relics and fossils of the
Darwinian evolution remain visible for millennia to come...

But can he disprove the existence of God?

Certainly, he can disprove the existence of something created by the
human imagination. But clearly, there is nothing obscure about the nature of
God, or what Spinoza called the “effecting cause of the existence of things.”
For if God and man are self-evidently the cause and effect of one another, then
why make a crusade, let alone a fantasy, out of a plain, physical fact?


Sunday, 17 August 2008

PROMETHEAN MAN - A Post In Which Superwoman Explains How The Gods Are Robbed Of Their Fire...

"Men have always tried to be better and grander than they are. Their Promethean endeavours to become supermen, ...or to 'be God', ... though laudable in their intentions regarding the desire ...(even to escape mortality), fail, I think, because of a lack of balance and self-awareness of humanity's place in the universe..."

That, my dear Jonathan, is an involved and intricate way of expressing a simple point.

The practical fact is that today we have a turning point in scientific
evolution. A revolution of man’s view of himself and of his function in the universe which is perpetual self-overcoming. Raised to the highest possible level one might elevate this function by using mythic ideas and images, even by stimulating the gloomy optimism of the Son of Man which, as one of the few unbroken threads in the tissue of Christian philosophical thinking over the past two thousand years has borne and shed its finest fruits, to yield fresh fruit with a new dispensation of Man: The Promethean Man in which scientific and ontological understanding are combined to deliver the world from the world.

There is no mysticism in this!

Nor is this to say that science should proceed as much by faith as by
reason, or that it should reject reason for intuition, but from the point of
view of our present state of knowledge it is no longer possible to deny that,
within certain well-understood limits, science itself is subject to the same
uncertainty relations as is its peculiar power to render life into logic and yet
retain its mystery.

At such moments we are apt to solve the riddle of creation.

Then, of course, there is the question of scale. For such evidence as
there is in quantum electrodynamics by no means disposes of the necessity to
believe that - according to Freddy Hoyle -
“astronomers will eventually
discover that much of what they currently believe concerning the behaviour and
formation of galaxies, has to be modified to take account of intelligent

But, that apart, the important thing to remember is that the future
belongs to the scientist and his all-powerful need for knowledge. Science alone
can lead the world out of its difficulty. No other institution can. Science
holds the key to the greatest age of faith in the history of the world, even if
we cannot define it. For the problem is basically a psychological one and
involves a spiritual recrudescence and enhancement of human values.

This consideration lies at the heart of everything.

Indeed, the Promethean assault upon the Riddle of Creation, both
absolutely and relativistically, is not simply a technological feat, but a
psychological revolution. It is an attempt, is it not, to rediscover something
profound and deep-rooted in the human psyche; an expression, I believe, of both
a penetrating utopian recognition and a desperate search for a new identity on
the part of the men and women who are plainly in need of a more transcending and
persuasive experience than the outdated religious mysticism to which they can no
longer relate. For the chief importance of a new psychological dimension lies
precisely in the fact that ultimately it gives redemptive power to that
irrepressible desire for intellectual scope and spiritual activity which has
always been, as it remains today, a fundamental part of human evolution.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

TOWARDS INFINITY...(A Post In Which Dreamy Baby Can Be Seen To Make A Long-Distance Phone Call)

Evolutions have surprisingly simple origins.

Nor is it difficult to trace the stages whereby the universe and its cosmic processes evolved from the mechanistic view of the eighteenth into the
electromagnetic perspectives of the late nineteenth century. At that time, the atom, doubtless, looked rather innocuous. Indeed, the consensus of scientists in 1930 still was that matter was made up of two elementary particles: electrons and protons. In the blink of an eye , however, that consensus was called into question. What happened was that Paul Dirac published his relativistic wave equations for the electron. It confounded all attempts to quantify the atom. The next important step came with the positron discovery of 2 August 1932. It was a
moment of high drama. Once the validation of Dirac’s theory had appeared, the composite result was the total abolition of the hypothesis of simple protons and negative electrons. “Physics as we know it,” Max Born is reported to have said, “will be over in six months.”

And yet, it was one of the contradictions of the search for a single
unified field theory that, in an atmosphere thus charged, progress would be
inflationary, pointing towards ever increasing complexity. For the next seventy
years scientists set about ransacking space, time and circumstances, forcing
back the conceptual horizons of cosmological thought and achieving multiplicity
and particle variegation rather than the unification of forces which, after all,
had been the principal concern of modern theoretical physicists ever since.

One may of course insist that the relevant sciences have yet to be
born, that methods have not matured, that the inaugural utopian purpose of
solving the riddle of creation is probably as far removed from fulfilment as
ever. And yet, it may not be fanciful to say that the very science of modern
physics has been evolved out of this utopian speculation. Indeed, one could
already make a tolerable case for physic’s ongoing attempt to ground the
universe in mathematics or, beyond the limit of acceptable physical enquiry, to
propose “something that is neither subject nor object“.

But we can distinguish only by observation and, as Plato blandly but
accurately remarked, an object of perception contains both substance and form.
On the other hand, no physicist of the last fifty years is likely to be too
dogmatic about this. At very high energies all forces are predicted to
assimilate: the strong interactions are unified with the weak and composite
atomic nuclei would cease to exist. At 1016 degrees, it is
worth noting, the weak nuclear force would exhibit the same enduring
characteristics as the electromagnetic force. There is no point in adding to the
effusion of expert commentary on the supposed implications of the Big Bang. No
prediction yet made has revealed any reason for suspecting that the subjective
concepts of time and extension would not also come to an end. Indeed, the
absence of any concept at all is especially noticeable. Nor is it to be supposed
that any unified theory we might evolve was related to our own sense of identity
or to our perception of empirical measurement.

The finite cannot grasp the infinite. In the struggle towards
wholeness, towards the Original Unity, it must first dissolve and eliminate
itself. To suppose, therefore, that the universe is some nameless, unilateral
entity which can be grasped or comprehended in dissociation from the manifold
forms in which life and intelligence reveal themselves, is to express a meaning
unknown to life and to intelligence itself.


Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Ever feel like you’ve been landed on the wrong planet? God knows I was!

I’ve never found soap-operas particularly good viewing, not when involving chaps on horseback in tweed, nor desperate and insufferably dull housewives. But the sordidness confronting me on watching EastEnders surpassed even my worst expectations - and that was some ten years ago. Or rather, it took me all of ten years to recover and get over its post-traumatic wretchedness. Less inspirational a setting or more narrow a space for imagination cannot be imagined. Certainly, one place in dire need of ethnic cleansing is Albert Square, the administrative headquarters of this particular Soap.

Pardon my hubris, but so far as the male cast are concerned, all I
remember is a couple of shavepate potato-headed gets who posed as the local
domestic heartthrobs - something, and here I mean absolutely no offence,
resembling a pair of anthropoid apes. Nor do you have to change a Chimpanzee's
brain pattern at all for it to discern that EastEnders portrays the worst of all
possible worlds on this here planet of the apes. And why, for the life of me,
anybody would want to wallow, on a daily basis, it in all its grimy
manifestations and indescribable piggery, is entirely beyond me.

But who am I to be picky?

I always thought soaps were all about escapism, not intellectual
bondage. The moral side of it does not bother me particularly, but this curious
borderline oppression inevitably has its effects on the public’s mind, which
then becomes further impregnated with the bigoted, limited outlook of the East
End community with their pro-alcoholic and anti-social aberrations. Wittingly or
unwittingly, the human being is here revealed in his ultimate dissipation.

So, why the hell should I be sympathetic?

Bondage, as you may not know, is a matter of neural synapses and
altered psychological states - not too difficult to either implement or inflict
by a director with the requisite gift of loathsomeness and the basic touch of
hidden dereliction. In its most effective form, it is an ideology that perverts
reality. In fact, studies have revealed that unconscious cultural assumptions
and prejudices emerge from such sordid social serializations. And this addictive
pattern is superimposed electronically on the matrix of your frontal lobes,
while at the same time you are drawn more and more deeply into the virtual life
- with the result that your horizon narrows until it seems to fill the whole of
your daily existence. Which particular condition, incidentally, was well
described by the excellent Gordon McCabe when - in a different
- he concluded that...

“...The internal system begins to decay and fail. The reproductive
drive shrivels. The layers of linguistic understanding erode, and eventually
even the kernel of self-awareness becomes brittle. Thought evaporates, and only
feeling and experience remain. At the end, you are without knowing that you are.
Beyond, there is nothing.”

And so EastEnders grinds on for another indistinctive, unmemorable


Monday, 11 August 2008

VIRTUAL REALITY - (A Post In Which Miss Dreamy says not to worry - she doesn’t know what any of it means either...)

The language of physics is pre-eminently mathematical - the necessary foundation of all other enquiries. Speculation takes a new direction. Propositions become self-evident. Necessity precedes analysis. If therefore necessity anticipates and conditions thought, it is not perhaps surprising to find that when logic by its force or use of necessity precedes and conditions reality, reality should be seen to assimilate.

And that, precisely, is what I myself mean by virtual reality: the dynamic embodiment of a conclusive idea. The raw material of creative thought one might almost say, rather than a mere interpretative model of the universe. By the simplest possible definition, a particle, such as a photon, can suddenly come into existence out of nothing. Or, in terms of the simplest possible definitive case, the virtual particle
excludes all but the most pertinent aspects of objective reality and material fact. Though it would be rash to assume that such transitory particles - and not just photons, but electrons, protons and all the other ephemera of the
sub-nuclear domain - exist only in relation to the function they perform, we can
hardly doubt that the ‘participatory’ effect of intelligence plays its own
transforming part in the process.

It is true, most educated persons
already know, that owing to quantum indeterminacy, virtual particles can
materialize out of “empty” space as a matter of course. But it should also be
common knowledge by now that the mere mention of quantum indeterminacy implies a
recognition of the interdependence of matter and the pattern of scientific
knowledge thus envisaged. To their credit, scores of physicists treat
intelligence as the ultimate kinetic catalyst. Less imaginative, an “older”
tradition of constituent physics runs the risk of essentially treating
intelligence as the contingent consequence of material facts.

On this distinction, indeed, rests a substantial part of my case.

For the
traditionalist, in denying any participatory quality to quantum-mechanical
theories, and in proving them to be rooted in facts, does not fail to resurrect
a determinism which maintains that intelligence, being nothing more than the
rationalization of a predetermined design, is pure derivation and powerless to
alter the sequence of events. That is as it may be. But the utopia of modern
elementary particle physics has no difficulty in perceiving that virtual
propositions are contingent, perhaps, but not illusory; that they belong to the
conceptual, not the interpretative mode. That, even considered as virtual, it is
nevertheless perfectly proper to say they are ad hoc concept, connected to a
world of reality in a manner in which it becomes essential to the proper
appreciation of authenticity to realize that the inherent dynamism is not in the
thing but in the thought. For the truth is that even though human consciousness
is by no means fully engaged in the intangible details of the action, the
processes of thought are powerfully at work.

Created purposefully and
unmistakably by an idea, it does give the virtual universe a measure of
suggestion that tends to match up to the expectations, the imagery and the
vocabulary of the mind. For even dimensions so remote and inanimate - and that
does not mean illusory - that one is bound to reflect whether they have any
existence at all, do carry in their insignificance the seeds of further
innumerable universes...


Friday, 8 August 2008

THE LUMBER ROOM CALAMITY - Or Oracular Notes On The Benefits and Disasters Which Have Sprung From Elberry’s Misfortunes...

“This I write so that, in comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are, in truth, nought, or at the most of small account, and so you shall come to bear them more easily.”

Peter Abelard (from the Foreword to History Calamitatum)

Here is a complex man!

Recent comments made it clear that the
Witchfinders - at the office or in your personal life - either don’t recognize
how important certain pursuits are to you, or simply don’t approve of them. And
having no wish to appear a failure in your own eyes, your feel bound to tackle
the problem.

You’re sharp, quick-witted, with an satirist's eye, subtle and
self-mocking with an acute and almost constant sense of life's irrationality.
Less reassuring will be the realisation that many who’ve already admired your
dedication to quality, your dignity, and your sense of self, have also known
Elberry the eccentric, the riddler and dissimulator who has all the irony of a
condemned person walking to the gallows. Irony gives colour to thoughts and
things in a way that not everyone understands. Indeed, you have a way with
words, a somewhat reckless appreciation of the sardonic and the grotesque. Your
writing rather transcends that of a scurrilous and witty misanthrope. You can
hold forth with some authority on topics as diverse as Manchester’s Thai
lady-boys and the Italian renaissance. You’re superbly simple, understated, yet
quite unaffected by pettiness, jealousy, and other humdrum concerns. But you
also seem to be created with a special legacy.

To wit, your condition forecasts the agony to come.

What is second nature to most of us, is misery for you. Though there
are plenty of arid personalities and characters starved by stress of
circumstances, few have that same sense of introversion, or of sealed persona
contained within itself. Indeed, your own growing isolation, objective as well
as subjective, makes you feel that you are sustained and animated by the virtual world - rather than life - and it is that which seems to have
detached you from reality. Your concerns seem distanced and uninvolved,
everything happens by proxy. The misanthrope, in truth, rarely wants to be
cured. In fact, owing largely to autosuggestive forces you seem to see your
situation as comical rather than tragic. But the literary levity used for the
darkest subjects has a very serious purpose: to rob trepidation of its terror.
For the fact of the matter is nevertheless, you’re terrified!

Nor am I sure I want to go there.

But I‘ll say this: I've never once met a gifted man who is not haunted
by his talents. Your position is difficult, your future a matter of far-reaching
complexity. The lone rider is a familiar figure in American mythology. It is his
aura, the fact that he lives on his own terms, trusting nobody but only a select
few - rather than a lot of gratuitous gunplay - which suggests inner reserves of
power as well as detachment and intense seclusion. Archetypes are a mirror of
the psyche - sometimes benign, often afflicted, occasionally genuinely
inspirational. But nothing is more suggestive of the mythological use of the
archetype than the way we respond emotionally. They are a sort of purgatory
within, or a heightened form of self-consciousness, often revealing a disturbing
depth of knowledge of an individual's dilemmas and predicaments. Little may you
know, but these are forces of extraordinary power.

So its time to carve:

Most of your intimate interests set you apart from other humans; if not
an intellectual exactly, you are certainly endowed with considerable
intellectual athleticism and substantial powers of communication. You yourself
clearly believe in the legend of your life. In your sense of mission. Two
centuries ago you might have been accused of magical incantations, witchcraft
and sorcery. Today you are frequently seen as netherworldly; and though patently
sensual, are at the same time almost asexual, savouring everything, yearning for
sensual comforts, but, as it were, vicariously, and as if fixed in unending

Let there be no mistake, Elberry is not a troll released from Mordor.
He is a strong, intelligent, not unfriendly elf who wrought colossal good. And
to string him from a lamp post, soak him with diesel and set fire to his butt
would be complete and utter recklessness...

Indeed, if you can make
friends with your inner self, come to terms with your own darkness, then there
will be no trouble from without. Which may also be a reminder that fortuitous
connections are often the key to advancement. And so, finally , I’ll come to
your many attempts at presenting an acceptable curriculum vitae. Nearly
as many potential employers as have been acquainted with it, refused to honour
the curriculum you’ve set forth in the past, so that it will have to be
supplemented in some fashion. And my recommendation is for you to offer this
reading with your next CV. I doubt it will advance you prospects in any way
whatsoever, but, should you succeed on the basis of this, I’ll promise you, the
rewards will be intense...

Meanwhile, in the face of the Witchfinders General - and your
considerable and varied talents - the only thing is to keep your head down and
do what the Schatzgräber did in the scenario below:

Die Schatzgräber

Ein Winzer, der am Tode lag
rief seine Kinder her und sprach :
In unsrem Weinberg liegt ein Schatz ,
grabt nur danach ! " --
Auf welchem Platz ? "
schrie alles laut den Vater an .
" Grabt nur " -- O weh, da starb der Mann !

Kaum war der Alte beigeschafft ,
so grub man nach mit Leibeskraft
Mit Hacke, Karst und Spaten,
den Weinberg um und um gescharrt .
Da war kein Kloß, der ruhig blieb ,
man warf die Erde gar durch`s Sieb .
Und zog die Harken kreuz und quer
nach jedem Steinchen hin und her ;
.Alleine, da ward kein Schatz verspürt ,
und jeder hielt sich angeführt .

Doch kaum erschien das nächste Jahr ,
so nahm man mit Erstaunen wahr
das jede Rebe dreifach trug .
Da wurden erst die Söhne klug
Sie gruben nun jahrein , jahraus
Des Schatzes immer mehr heraus.

Gottfried August Bürger (1747 - 1794)

Thursday, 7 August 2008

IN MEMORY OF AUGUST 7th - The Day When My Father Died....

When I found out that my mother had returned from hospital and was dying of
cancer I determined she would not end her days in a nursing institution. Nothing
is more demeaning. Except, of course, that things got worse. My old man suffered
a massive stroke. But I will spare you the details. Let me just say that I
nursed my mother for over a year, spending the last six weeks of her life on the
floorboards beside her bed.

I never got much sleep.

There is no way for me to describe the pain my mother endured, nor for that
matter, my own when she died. I didn't know what to do with myself. I would just
sit on the floor rocking. Backwards and forwards. It’s all I did. Then to the
biggest dilemma. Someone had to tell the old man. He worshipped her.

Well, I permitted myself a single brandy - then I went in.

He looked at me solemnly, and it was as if I perceived, deep down in his
eyes, all their years together as they ebbed away, unalterably, like an inner
ocean of darkness. Prostrate though he was, I saw him bodily rear up in such
total, utter, and black despair, that I had to physically throw myself on top
just to keep him down. I tried to make him understand that my mother’s departure
was only temporary. That finally, inevitably, she would return. But words was
all I had. I felt alone and helpless. And then it was one afternoon, August 7th
a year later. I sent the nurse away. I knew his time had come. Sitting beside
him, I held his hand. Though, I’m sure, he knew nothing of that.

I could never have sustained these grave times, if I had not been involved
in the book that became the measure of my life. I’d been working at it for some
ten years. Of course, it took me all of five years merely to establish the
topics that would constitute my lifelong monomaniacal attachment to the ideas
involved. But by then I had crossed the invisible, inaudible road to knowledge
and escaped into the fifth dimension. Knowledge - which had to be paid for! I
was living in a completely different time frame, totally absorbed. Indeed, it
took me a long time to recognize the sheer scale of my own ambition. I wasn’t
realizing it at first. The press, in the run-up to publication, was all agog. Or
lets say that part of the media which had been targeted. The marketing
department proclaimed it a triumph of the will. I had half a dozen reviews
coming up. One of the most unlikely from the Jewish Chronicle.

Then I initiated my self-destruction.

In fact, I had no idea what forces I set in motion when I informed my
publisher of potential legal repercussions. I did this spuriously, but it is a
fact and I acknowledge it. England’s strict libel laws usually result in a
play-safe policy. And even though the charge could in no way have been
substantiated in court, it troubled my publishers so much that they withdrew the

And that was the last of that.

Thus did my epiphany finally begin: “If you can make a heap of all your
winnings, And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again
at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss.....“
etc. you know the drill.....

Meanwhile, I spend my days punching keys and entertaining Memoranda, or what you may aptly call “zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz“, and am slightly concerned to discover how continuously and implacably courageous you have to be to ward of an immense feeling of pointlessness. Saying this, though, it is hard not to remember that - out of some sombre precognition - I instructed
my publishers to add an extra page at the end of my book and to inscribe it with
the legend: "O Will, my essential, my necessity, dispeller of need! Spare me
for one great victory!"

My passion is the future, not the past.

Selena Dreamy

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

THE ANTHROPIC UNIVERSE...(in which post the leggy, five-foot- seven Selena is attempting to squash a false mythology).

“Oh and a thought about the human mind shaping the universe ... don't you think it is kind of arrogant that 'things' don't exist without us observing them?” Bob

“Why oh why are you so anthropocentric, Selena? Why do you think we matter so much, and have such powers...?” Jonathan

Pray, what powers?

‘Ever fewer climb with me up ever higher
mountains,' Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spake Zarathustra, but you, my dear gentlemen, are actually putting the cart before the horse.

I am - for I am an absolute idea...? Nonsense!

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a relativistic concept,
at best. Forget man’s self-made image as the universe’s supreme conceptual authority. Or that the validity of epistemological conceptions are dependent solely on the species for whose personal comfort they have been created. Nor can homo sapiens arbitrarily dictate the course of events in what is, de facto, a conceptual vacuum.

Heaven forbid!

Man is the most feeble, perhaps, of cosmic animals. Indeed, the first
image that comes to mind - gnashing, primordial apemen pondering the concept of
fire and howling at the moon. Faced with a plethora of dimensions, the only
thing we can do is try to form a reasonable view of the realities attached to
them. Nor have we solved the ancient problem of getting past the appearance of
things. Indeed, there is no proof for the empirical constitution of scientific
concepts such as Black Holes, strings and super-strings or the curved phenomena
that Newtonian dynamics first attributed to the force of gravity. And since it
denies existence to objects having both spatial locations and well-defined paths
of motion simultaneously, not even the atom will stand up to scrutiny. These are
elegant constructs, drawn up by mathematicians and propagated by theoretical
physicists. Indeed, physics has a tendency to deprive reality of all its
homocentric attributes, leaving it no other import but that of economy and
function. Equations are no measure of reality, they are merely terms that allow
us to describe a certain limited number of interactions between the mind and the
world. And our experience of the world reflects only how we represent it to
ourselves, and that has nothing to do with the thing itself.

What anthropocentrism categorically does not mean is that man
intrinsically causes all things to exist (even though he may well have invested
them with the essential attributes by which they are to be distinguished). What
it does mean is that we have established a universal system of measuring reality
which fits the expectations of the human mind, with the added proviso, perhaps,
that all combinations and attributes are theoretically possible - in an infinity
of universes that are at best contingent: the fabled multiverse!

Believe me, gentlemen, we know nothing until we know everything!


Monday, 4 August 2008


The fact that Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, described gays as “lower
than dogs”, tells me nothing about gays, but everything about His Grace the
Archbishop. Nor can one doubt that the Archbishop of Kenia meant every word when
he proclaimed that - a propos the gay US bishop Gene Robinson - “the devil has
clearly entered the church”. If Africa is a Third World country pretending to be
a First World one, moral values are derivative and invariably relativistic.

In Africa, the homosexual has automatic low-life associations because sexual
taboos largely determine the social morality and behaviour of the tribe. While
in Spartan Greece, by contradistinction, ideologically charged homosexual
eroticism and sexuality were cornerstones of its elitist male-bonding culture.

Here, then, is the heart of the matter:

The taboo was not only a normative form of law but also, like a fervently held religious belief, the
guiding code for modes of behaviour that were its biological counterpart. Some
societies are more evolved of course, than others and, in any case, few taboos
still exert their original spell. But no community is favourably disposed
towards the apostate who is seeming to compromise the communality of the group,
and if it cannot bend him to its purpose it obviously become preferable to
ostracise him in what is essentially a manifestation of the communal faculty for
self-regulation - properly speaking, the jurisdiction of the man in the street -
which is fundamental to all anthropological thinking. Conformity to the tribal
habit expresses communal integrity. Transgression is tantamount to apostasy. The
logic is subtle, but also compellingly simple. In a word, to throw in one’s lot
- in the mythology of anthropology - with the proscribed forces of the universe,
is simply to perish with them.

But I was saying...

Fatuity being one of the worst symptoms of our present state of confusion (rather than of decline), or at any rate a power unique for its blinding opacity, the authenticity of the civil union, celebrated in Gene Robinson’s own church just six weeks ago - as distinguished from the passion of its participants - seems to be proof enough these days that not only men’s reasoning and intellectual capacities, but their instincts and emotions, too, are subject to two mutually antagonistic conceptions of love. For when two standards of judgment, of moral convention, of
human perfection no less, are fending for the right to forge the social and anthropological conditions of our future heritage, without question something very enormous indeed appears to be happening.

It is not, of course, impossible to imagine that posterity may have a different opinion. We must wait and see. What matters for the time being, however, is the degree to which the
ethical content of the multicultural world itself is being subjected to change;
that it is not even clear anymore which standards, whether moral, psychological
anthropological or otherwise, can be agreed upon for good or ill by all rational
human beings. And this, whether we like it or not, is the crux of the whole
perplexing business.


Saturday, 2 August 2008


Is the Universe intelligent?

Intelligence is a form of free energy, inseparable from it. It is the
constant of integration in all conceivable equations. And yet, the mathematical
equation has superseded the mental experience. One of the greatest difficulties
in the whole problem, therefore, is to arrive at some kind of objective measure
of intelligence as a means of conceptual communication. As noted in my
previous post
, we measure quantity by ratio and length by comparison.
Suppose, therefore, we make a start with a relation hypothetical enough in its
application but also very concrete - the relation between matter and antimatter.

The antithesis of matter and antimatter is an essential foundation of
human thought, determining opposite attitudes towards every epistemological
problem. It has none of the polarities of black and white, or positive and
negative. The anti-particle of the electron, for example, is known as the
positron, both of which we must regard as mathematical equivalent to one
another. But when isolating two permanent and opposed kinds of conceptual
intelligence in their purest and most fundamental expression, we need hardly
point out that they are incapable of synthesis.

Antimatter is the most complete antithesis to matter. Which is
equivalent to saying that when the two substances meet, they mutually destroy
each other, leaving nothing but a great deal of energy. It is fair to say,
however, that this is true only in a certain limited sense since the physical
evidence for the existence of contra-terrene material in the universe is not a
matter of fact, but, essentially, of inference of results based upon logical necessity. The necessity of sameness as a basis for
discrimination may seem paradoxical, but anti-matter is the mirror of the
universal structure we know.

In reflecting it, it reverses it - unchanged.

The problem thus resolves itself into one of intellectual distinction. For such is the nature and
constitution of all anti-material atomic nuclei that they consist of negatively
charged protons, as opposed to the positively charged protons of ordinary
matter, and are surrounded by shells of positrons, as opposed to electrons. The
conflict between these two is the clash of identity not of contrariety - the
result of a fundamental contention between two forms of opposites which are
mutually exclusive. Or, to put the matter categorically, they set up an intellectual reaction determined by the difficulty of distinguishing between two synonymous and interchangeable sets of relations.

In fact, if it is not imputing too much imagination to the new and as
yet unaccepted criterion of intellectual necessity, there would
be no logical alternative to the mutual exclusion of opposites entirely lacking
in any specific statement as to their separate identity, so that the one differs
from the other solely in the properties of the mirror image itself.

Matter and antimatter are paradoxes to be resolved. The former is
essentially substantial, dynamic, literal, and owes its existence to the
principle of contrast, as in the physicist's reference to positive and negative,
whereas the latter is essentially virtual or hypothetical. It is the mirror
image of thought itself. The two can never stand side by side, for they exist
respectively as element and expression of mutually exclusive dimensions. They
cancel each other out.

They are in truth indistinguishable.

To solve the problem is to resolve the conflict created by a contradiction
of terms: identical opposites. And since the human mind cannot
grasp multi-dimensional space-time directly, this ubiquity of the paradoxical is
resolved ultimately by leaving the continuum for virtual reality. In fact, the
degree and scope of this synthesis is inconceivable without the very principle
that the language of speculative enquiry ought to be distinguished from the
language of the mind...

...gosh - and to think I might have
joined the Marines!