Month: October 2017


Effortlessly Through Fluffy Clouds

This is something that happened to me in the days when I went climbing. A friend and I were climbing in France, and I decided not to attempt a particular climb without being roped in from the top.

The reason was that the very first foothold was a tiny nubbin of rock, smaller than the tip of my little finger.

If my foot slipped off that I would crash onto the small boulders that were littered all ever the ground.

That nubbin of rock was only a metre or two off the ground, so if I slipped off that I could just see me falling on the edge of a boulder and twisting my ankle.

So I decided to climb an easier bolted route to the side of this particular hard route. The idea was that I would clip in at the top of the harder route and let myself down and then climb that route roped in.

When I got to the top, I made a mistake and I unclipped in the wrong direction. I should have first reversed and down-climbed and then unclipped starting at the bottom until I had worked my way up. But I didn’t.

I started unclipping from the top and that meant that when I was at the last clip I was on the end of a thirty-foot length of rope. When I unclipped that I would swing like pendulum. And I did.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but the swing was huge and fast. I was swinging, high on adrenalin.

After that I don’t recall anything of the harder route except that very first foothold on the nubbin of rock. It was so easy and I just climbed so fast and so easily.

I remember that the walk back through the trees and down to the campsite was breezy and easy. I was laughing and smiling and just happy and interested in everything.

Back at the campsite I showered and dived off the edge of the pool and started swimming. The adrenalin was still pumping and my arms and legs felt no resistance in the water. I could see fluffy clouds reflected in the water and I was swimming through and on them.

It was truly like swimming absolutely effortlessly through fluffy clouds.


Hitler’s motivation

A man is mad, to a lesser or greater degree, when he doesn’t know what his own motivations are.

I don’t know what Hitler said about his motivations – whether he talked about it secretly with a few people who were in the know.

But I think Hitler’s motivation is pretty clear. Yet strangely, it seems it is not widely understood.

Historians talk about how Hitler targeted the Jews because he believed they were parasites. He read about eugenics and he communicated with people who specialised in racial profiling.

He talked about the need to conquer one’s own conscience so that one would be able to carry out the unpalatable but necessary job of getting rid of the Jews.

In fact the truth about his motivation is that he didn’t see conscience as something to be overcome. He revelled doing away with his conscience.

Getting rid of his conscience was an easy trick for him and it allowed him free rein to do what he wanted to do, which was to bring down unspeakable horror on people.

That is it, pure and simple, the beginning and the end. To me it is clear as the old adage, ‘follow the money’.

He chose the Jews because they kept going on about conscience and humility. They were a good candidate, but if not the Jews then some others – gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals.

As to whether Hitler was a little shit from his childhood, a little shit in the playground – or whether he was sent mad by war, I do not know. But by the time he was a developed adult he was a monster.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for a guard in one of the camps during World War II, caught in that horror? Unlike the prisoners, whose consciences were clear, the guards had to weave fantastical stories to enable themselves to live with the burden of guilt.

Of course, there were some sadists among the guards – perhaps more than a few. But other guards – what a trick Hitler played on them.


The Hidden Cost Of Labour-Saving Devices

We are not fooled. When we think of labour-saving devices, we think not only of the benefits alone but also of the cost of the benefits. We think of the extra hours we have to work to pay for the labour-saving device. We know the hidden cost of labour-saving devices.

We think of the cost of upkeep, because most devices require some upkeep. And we think of the cost of replacing the device, because all devices have a limited life.

And we think of the stress and the pain and the tedium associated with getting the money to pay for the device. And we think of the precious time we have lost in getting to the point of being able to hand over the money to pay for the device.

And then we do it anyway.

But this calculation, this weighing in the balance,is not equal across the board. A rich man can buy a labour-saving device and not give a thought to the cost of it or of the upkeep. For him, labour-saving devices are what they seem. The only real cost to him is the sleepless nights wondering whether the poor are going to come knocking at his door to make him pay for being rich.


Resistance Is Futile

Some of the trains that run from London Kings Cross to Cambridge divide at Cambridge. Part of the train goes on to Kings Lynn and the rest stops at Cambridge and does the run back to London. Perhaps it picks up other carriages coming from somewhere else, I don’t know but it seems likely.

When you get on the train and before it sets off, there’s a public announcement announcing how the train divides. It explains that the train is composed of eight carriages and that passengers wanting to travel beyond Cambridge should ensure that they are in the front four carriages.

The rear four carriages are of course nearest the barrier, so we choose to sit in one of those carriages if for no other reason than that we don’t have to walk so far to find a seat.

So there we are and the voice comes over with the announcement. And then there is a pause and then a voice tells you what carriage you are in. So we hear ‘Six of Eight’ or ‘Seven of Eight’ – and every time I hear it I think of Star Trek, ‘Three of Nine’, the Borg, and You will be assimilated: Resistance is futile.

The question is, are the people who recorded the announcement Star Trek fans and did they script the announcement that way on purpose to puzzle passengers?