Thoughts On Power and Position

There’s a perennial question about power and equality and opportunity. In the 14th century during the Peasant’s Revolt in England, the priest John Ball asked:

When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?

He was asking this rhetorically, of course. He meant – ‘who made you the boss?’ But of course, in the real world anyone who wants to grab the crown is free to do it.

Overall I believe that social and economic justice are preferable to an unbridled power grab and that we would all be better for it, even those who say they want to be boss.

If you want more, here is what I wrote under the title ‘When All We Have Is Each Other’.


Treading an unseen line between Dao and Dow.

Favourite Line

From Shooting Star by Bob Dylan:

Did I ever miss the mark or overstep the line that only you could see?

Visions Of The Future

It will be a Tuesday, around 11am. He (or ‘she’) will get up from his desk and walk out because he isn’t going to do this any more. He will walk out onto the street. He will be struck by how strongly he feels that he is going to do this.

He is going to stop the merry-go-round of the office and this way of doing things. He sees the whole structure and he isn’t going to be part of it. There has to be a better way.

He feels slightly dazed, but his heart pounds when he reaches the street and finds that many, many people are there like he is.

Favourite Quote

My favourite quote is a long one – so if you are looking for something short and catchy, you might want to skip this.

The quote is from Isaiah Berlin’s 1957 Herbert Samuel lecture on Chaim Weizman, in which Berlin said:

Weizman had all his life believed that when great public issues are joined one must above all take sides; whatever one did, one must not remain neutral or uncommitted, one must always – as an absolute duty – identify oneself with some living force in the world, and take part in the world’s affairs with all the risk of blame and misrepresentation and misunderstanding of one’s motives and character which this almost invariably entails.

Consequently .. he (Weizman) called for no compromise, and denounced those who did. He regarded with contempt the withdrawal from life on the part of those to whom their personal integrity, or peace of mind, or purity of ideal, mattered more than the work upon which they are engaged and to which they were engaged and to which they were committed, the artistic, or scientific, or social, or political, or purely personal enterprises in which all men are willy-nilly involved.

He did not condone the abandonment of ultimate principles before the claims of expediency or of anything else; but political monasticism – a search for some private cave of Adullam to avoid being disappointed or tarnished, the taking up of consciously utopian or politically impossible positions, in order to remain true to some inner voice, or some unbreakable principle too pure for the wicked public world – that seemed to him a mixture of weakness and self-conceit, foolish and despicable.

Bragging rights

I have had a small collection of screen grabs of decibel readings for hand dryers in public restrooms. The Xlerator is the noisiest hand dryer I have come across. Of course, the size of the room, the resonance capabilities of the walls, floors, and ceilings all affect the noise, but that hand dryer means business.

On the question of noise generally, I was struck by the noise on, from memory, the Northern Line of the London Underground. I measured it at 106dB at one point. For more about this, google for noise levels in the London Underground and Transport For London.