Category: world view

Noise and Think

Noise and Think

I spent quite a lot of time in the 60’s in what was, at the time, referred to as “Coffee Bars.” They were quite social places. Routinely we would go there straight from school, and then, if we were going to some event or other, we would be out and about for the evening, returning afterwards to our second home, which was – you guessed it – the Coffee Bar.  I am not sure how they made a profit as usually we could only afford one frothy coffee per night from their new-fangled machine.

The “wealthy” ones amongst us, and they were few, would put money in the jukebox, or occasionally play the pin ball machine.   Am I speaking a foreign language?

I moved on to some of the meeting places youth that were even more noisy, which, in Birmingham in the 1960’s were packed out with “standing room only.” Usually, I ended up jammed next to very large speakers which made hearing anything other than what came through the speaker impossible.  Hence conversation was difficult, if not, near impossible, unless you did what I see being done even in night clubs today, that is, one puts one’s lips as close to the person’s ear as possible and complies with the need to shout. The usual response was a primal retort of, “What?”

On the rare occasions when conversation could reasonably and rationally take place, which in those days usually meant a record was being changed somewhere in the depths of the building, I, being sort of odd would ask people who were pressed in on me, “What was the meaning of life?” or “Why are you here – not just here in this place, but here on earth?”

Usually I got funny looks. Many of the clientele of the night clubs were taking the latest drugs of the day too – that did not always encourage intelligent conversation. I saw many of the not so nice results of that kind of behaviour. However I did often get responses, of the same ilk of non-coherent talk.  I often heard things like, “I come here for the noise, so I don’t have to think.” Or, “I take drugs because that helps me not to have to think.”

For me, I wanted to think. I wanted answers. On top of that, I reckoned I had answers, and still know them, years later, to be good answers.  I had found that life is not purposeless, nor is it unreasonable. I do not think life is an accident. I don’t prescribe to what Professor Richard Peters said.

 Peters was Professor of the Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education. He said Our basic predicament in life is to learn to live with its ultimate pointlessness.  We are monotonously reminded that education must be for life, so obviously the most important dimension of education is that in which we learn to come to terms with the pointlessness of life.”  (Richard Peters (1919-2011).

I don’t think life is pointless. There is a purpose and there is a point.  I do, however, understand why one would want to put noise into one’s brain if one’s education had taught them that what Professor Peters said was correct.

 I understand why a person would put things in their ears to block out thought. I understand why one might take drugs to escape the pressures, responsibilities and the hassles of life. I even understand why one might just want to jump off a cliff to stop the pointlessness of the “pointless accident” of life.

As I used to say to my friends amid the deafening noise of the places I went to in Birmingham in the 60’s.

“Stop the noise for a moment, and think!

Ask some good questions! Like: “Why am I here?” “What’s it all about?” “Is there a purpose?” “Is there a God?” And, “Is there a point?”

Thinking for just a short while and asking some real questions will ultimately push out the nonsense and white noise of the “Life is pointless” thought.


Edited by K. L

W 689

The Death Of Free Speech

The Death of Free Speech
There are lots of times when we do not like what other people say, particularly if they say stuff about us,  our good friends, religion, work, politics, or what we believe about God.

I know  it’s a bit later than George Orwell’s gloomy prediction, and 1984 has come and long gone, but are we moving to the point where, not only have we got to act right, but we must also speak right. I am referring to being right according to what is PC. But more than that, we have to think right too! So, it may be late by thirty plus years, but has the Orwellian “Big Brother” world finally arrived?

There is a growing trend that says if I don’t agree with some issue, or if my different opinion is not PC, or even if I just don’t like it, then I must not be allowed to say it.  Our universities are stopping people speaking because they don’t like the view point of some of their students or staff.  I probably agree that a lot of what is being said is horrible, and distasteful; but doesn’t that suggest that the next stage is to demand that not only is one not allowed to say what one thinks, but that one must not even think differently, and then, if things escalate to stage three, the echelons of power in universities would probably have to kill the Thinking person who indulged in the atrocity of disagreeing with them.

There are many countries where one is  not allowed to speak about the current politicians if it is detrimental, the reigning monarchs of the state defiantly, and definitely not the religion or religious personalities or leaders – that would be  “blasphemy” and one would end up in prison or dead.

I do think it somewhat strange that a god has to be defended by humans?  I am very sure that God is quite able to look after Himself. He does not need me, or anybody else to defend Him. And of course, He said, when being crucified, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” Of course, He was saying things that should not be said, at least to the leaders of religion, and/or religious views.

My question is: If my arguments are so good in any particular area, does that mean that the only way my view cannot be presented is that I must be silenced – or even killed if necessary. That is not a nice world to live in. I am speaking from a position where people have written to me, telling me that if they had any power they would make sure my view was silenced .

I guess therefore my argument must be correct and the opposition so weak that the only way to win the argument or discussion is to silence any opposite view.

Adrian Hawkes

Edited by Keith Lannon


Standing Up Inside

Sitting down inside

Funny to see recently on Face Book the fact that Richard Dawkins is wondering if we need Christianity as it is not blowing people up, or saying that those that do not believe should be killed.  Maybe he needs to take an even deeper look.

What really puzzles me Is why people think that a forced acceptance of something, means that I or anyone else has really accepted that premise, belief, thought.  What a silly idea.

It also puzzles me that people think that if you are not allowed to speak something different to their point of view, their perspective then that is fine, they must be right, again what nonsense.

Yet this is our world, people have views that I don’t agree with, lifestyles that I think are wrong, attitudes that I think that if followed by lots of people will lead to their destruction and sometime the destruction of lots of others too, however I am not allowed to say opposite to what is the P.C. position, my view must not be heard? Now does that mean that the argument, position, life style of the others is so wrong that they cannot bear to hear anything opposite to what they have chosen right or wrong?

I joined a political party once, just to go along to the meetings and understand how they thought and how it worked.  I tried to sit at the back and keep quite.  One day they announced that they had made a terrible mistake, they had invited someone to speak to the meeting, and discovered he was a member of another party. They said obviously they could not listen to him.  I being very naïve asked a question, this was my question, “Why are you afraid to listen to another point of view or perspective, is our own position, argument, perspective, so weak that we cannot possible listen to someone we might disagree with and disagreeing with him come to understand our position, thoughts are after all are better? He is not from our party was the answer! “yes but does that mean we cannot hear what he has to say”?  The answer again, “you don’t understand, he is not a member of our party and so he will say what we don’t agree with so we can’t hear that”?  I gave up!

So we live in a world where people are being killed because they disagree, don’t believe what you believe cannot possible hear even a view that is different from the party line.  So this year in Brunei, Somalia, Tajikistan all banned Christmas celebrations as it might damage the thinking of the rest of the population apparently it was because of fear that people would be led astray. I wonder how weak the thinking of those people is? 

I remember one of those stories, apparently a little boy was would not sit down at the meal table, he was only small and insisted on standing to eat, I think his opinion was that the food went down better that way.  His Father got really upset and kept trying to make him sit down remonstrating with him with many words.  The little boy refused, in the end the Father got fed up with discussion and arguments, and putting his hand on the little boys head pushed the little boy down until he was sitting.  The little boy looked at his Father and recognised that he definitely  was stronger than him, but then he said, “Dad, I know that you have got me sitting down at this table, but I want you to know I am actually standing up inside!

There is a lot of us around that are actually standing up inside!

W. 642


Edited By Karen Allen

When Funny is Not Funny…

When Funny Is Not Funny…

Some years ago I was with a white friend who was marrying a black African girl, it was great fun. They had an English / African wedding which was full of dancing and laughter.

Later in conversation with the young man he asked, “Would you like to see what the African Elders have given me as a wedding present?” 

Of course I was interested; he showed me an ornate stick. 

“What is it?”  I asked. I could see it was a stick, but I didn’t know what you were supposed to do with it.  

He laughed and said, “It’s presented to all young men who get married. It is a stick to beat your wife with to keep her in order.” Then he laughed. I did not! 

He then said, “I of course would not use it, I just think it’s funny.”  

I replied, “Well, personally I don’t think it’s funny at all. I cannot laugh at such a gift, such an action.”

You in your small corner and I in Mine

You in your small corner and I in Mine

When I was around 5 years old, I went to Sunday school.  I liked the people, I liked the other kids, but what I remember most is one song that they always sang. I guess I sang it too as I can still remember all the words; maybe you know it too. It starts off with, “Jesus Bids Us Shine” and ends with the line, “you in your small corner and I in Mine.”  I hated that line; I still don’t like it now.  I don’t think I liked corners and particularly not small ones; I certainly did not want to be in one.

When I was 11 years old I made my first trip, as the Brits say, “overseas”. I went to France with my school for a week. We travelled third class, as you could in those days, on a ferry across the channel to St Malo. Third class meant that you could not go inside the ferry; you had to stay on deck come rain or shine.  They did give you a blanket and you could snuggle up to the funnel to keep warm.




Many who read this probably do not know what a metanarrative is, that does not matter you will have one.  The word really means ‘the big picture’ but we often use it in terms of a ‘world view’.  “What’s that?” you might ask, well even though we don’t think about it often we all have one. And the thing about ‘world views’ because it’s the way we think, ultimately it will affect the way we live, our actions and all that we seek to do or not as the case might be.

There are lots of world views out there Christianity has its world view, its big picture if you will the start and the end, Communism has a world view, Atheism has a world view, Hinduism has a world view as does Buddhism.

Very often we do not think about our ‘world view’ but we are nevertheless living by them and when a lot of people adopt a particular world view it has an effect on our country, our culture, our laws in fact everything.

There is a great move in the UK and in fact many western countries to push us into a materialistic world view, that world view will ultimately change lots of things if more of us accept that, even subconsciously accept it, even though we may never have sat down and analysed ‘our world view’ even though we have maybe never thought about ‘world views’ until you read what I am saying now.

I had a small discussion on TV with Richard Dawkins he got somewhat upset with me when I said that he was a good evangelist for his religion, i.e. Atheism, he of course does not see it as a religion. I do, and certainly that religious view will, in its tail give us a world view, that if we accept will lead us in certain directions.

Another funny thing happened while we were making the particularly slot in the TV programme, I am not sure why that particular part of that discussion arose but Richard said to me “I am more Moral than you are” I of course asked “and how is that so” to which Richard responded “well I don’t pillage or rape and I don’t need a god to stop me doing so, you on the other hand would argue that its God that gives you a moral base and so stops you from doing those things.”

I responded by saying “bully for you, maybe you should watch the news more” my implication being that there is an awful lot of pillage and raping and other nasty things that people do to each other with their own justification. Maybe I should have asked, what is your morality and how does it work.  However just recently I have been able to see some of the argument more clearly from Richard’s perspective.

I don’t know if you ever saw the TV series of Faulty Towers, where Basil’s car breaks down, first Basil shouts at the car and then beats it with a stick because it won’t start Richard Dawkins uses this skit to explain his ‘moral’ position, and show us how we should act if we hold his world view / metanarrative.  Here is what he says:

Let’s all stop beating Basil’s car

Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software. 

Basil Fawlty, British television’s hotelier from hell created by the immortal John Cleese, was at the end of his tether when his car broke down and wouldn’t start. He gave it fair warning, counted to three, gave it one more chance, and then acted. “Right! I warned you. You’ve had this coming to you!” He got out of the car, seized a tree branch and set about thrashing the car within an inch of its life. Of course we laugh at his irrationality. Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem. Is the carburettor flooded? Are the sparking plugs or distributor points damp? Has it simply run out of gas?

Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist? Why don’t we laugh at a judge who punishes a criminal, just as heartily as we laugh at Basil Fawlty? Or at King Xerxes who, in 480 BC, sentenced the rough sea to 300 lashes for wrecking his bridge of ships? Isn’t the murderer or the rapist just a machine with a defective component? Or a defective upbringing? Defective education? Defective genes? 

Concepts like blame and responsibility are bandied about freely where human wrongdoers are concerned. When a child robs an old lady, should we blame the child himself or his parents? Or his school? Negligent social workers? In a court of law, feeble-mindedness is an accepted defence, as is insanity. Diminished responsibility is argued by the defence lawyer, who may also try to absolve his client of blame by pointing to his unhappy childhood, abuse by his father, or even unpropitious genes (not, so far as I am aware, unpropitious planetary conjunctions, though it wouldn’t surprise me). 

But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment. Don’t judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car? 

Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing?

Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live.

My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it, just as we laugh at Basil Fawlty when he beats his car. But I fear it is unlikely that I shall ever reach that level of enlightenment.’

So now I see the moral perspective that the atheist would have us come from, that is the world view. No responsibility, no blame, a mechanistic world view no less.

Let’s just fix them or replace them (does that mean we just kill them?)  I do think that ‘following Jesus’ gives us a much more enlightened metanarrative world view.  What do you think?

Adrian Hawkes


Edited Gena Areola