Posts about the craft of writing

Double Plus Good/Bad

Is it me or has anyone else noticed the pattern in Trump’s speeches?

The excessive use of very, as in : “Very, very bad.” And you just read that in his voice, didn’t you?

It took me awhile, seven months into his presidency, to find the link to this language usage. Thank the deity of your choice for Eric Blair, writing under the pen name of George Orwell.

Trump’s speech patterns reminds me of an evolutionary first step towards Newspeak.

I see the juvenile use of words like: “good” and “bad” combined with the double use of “very” as a step towards the “double plus good.” and “double plus bad.” of Newspeak.

The problem then, is the continuing infantilising of debate, of language. This then destroys words through lack of use. So instead of “excellent”, we hear “very, very good.” Perhaps more importantly “very, very bad.” instead of “atrocious”. Atrocious seems an appropriate word for many things at present.

So it starts of with infantile language by choice and becomes 1984‘s Newspeak where words are obliterated from publication, where the thoughts associated with those words no longer arise for they cannot be named.

Newspeak was insufficient of itself to change everyone’s thinking. Humans being such a troublesome species. To back that up in 1984 were the Thought Police and the Ministry of Love.

Now imagine a situation where a current leader managed to not only infantilise discussion but also had access to, I don’t know, say, the NSA and its ability to record everything. It seems to me a short step from a Republic to pseudo-Republic.

As Augustus made elections irrelevant for Romans, he upgraded the wooden voting stalls to marble and allowed shopping to carry on in that precinct. The practice of voting still carried on with no meaning, in reality, and you could shop in a “very, very, lovely” space.

Who knows what version of this awaits the twenty first century?

The language is the clue, there is more afoot than I can discern but I will discuss with you as the connections come to mind.



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Found sound, mash ups 1950s advertising and conspiracies: MK ultra!

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Then there arose in the land of the free a new idea, well an old idea resuscitated. An idea that should have been drowned like a misformed kitten. Yet was not.

And out of the soft, out of the complacent, in memory no more, as clock clowns tinker with just how close we are to annihilation, two to twelve, one and a half? Existential accountants seeking annual publicity.

And as we no longer suck in a breath when yet another school shooting pops up on the news feed, so The memory of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Nevada, Bikini and even mu aroa slides off a cliff as those who lived them take the blast wave, the flash, the radiation and above all, the fallout with them to hades.

Hades and the burning, Dresden, Tokyo, does anyone remember? Does anyone care? Flesh rendered asunder, the screams, the quiet, the blind eye turned. “They started it.”, Poland and Pearl harbour. Of course, the grandmother roasted alive with her pet cat clinging to her, never ordered anyone to bomb anywhere but has paid for those orders, no tip required.

And in the forgetting comes the concept,

comes the conscious self delusion. Maybe, with the right set of circumstances we could, like, maybe, you know, start, win and survive a nuclear war, no! Call it a conflict, a nuclear conflict! Almost cuddly.

A shudder runs through grandmothers and their cats everywhere.

So stand proud people of the world, from Munich all those Olympiads ago to the gassings of Syria, all these will pale before the all conquering atom.

Will the surviving mineshaft dwellers watch “Dr. Stranglove” with a sense of irony? Will they watch it with the knowledge of its prophetic powers? 2001 a misprint of 2100. All hail the mighty Kubrick!

And still there are people, strategic planners, arguing for a first strike on North Korea. “Why, Hell Mr President, while we’re at it, why don’t we fix those damned Iranians?” 

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Connection as the Core Spiritual Philosophy in the Druid Tradition

It seems that religions or spiritual paths have a set of core orientations or philosophies that form the underlying foundation upon which the religion and practice rests. This core philosophy is like the seed from which the entire “tree” of the religion grows–the tree might branch in different directions, but all of those branches eventually […]

via Connection as the Core Spiritual Philosophy in the Druid Tradition — The Druid’s Garden

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I was listening to a doco by an autistic savant the other day. He described how he had recited the number pi to 25,400 places. Interesting enough in it’s own right but a comment he made struck something deep. “Pi contains your phone number, it contains your date of birth, it even contains your date of death.”

A powerful number this one.

Imagine any number you want, your tax file number, the Prime Minister’s Tax File Number,and it is there within the irrational ramblings of Pi. Decode this number and imagine the power.

The PM’s TFN, imagine that. The problem, of course, is Pi itself. We don’t know where in Pi this number lies, we just know it’s there.

Assuming numerical launch codes for the world’s nuclear arsenals, they too are contained within Pi. Financial secrets, death dealing numbers and the date of birth of your one true love, all are within its gift.

How then do we access this irrational number’s secrets? How? How? How?

We foolishly sent our limited understanding of this number on the voyager spacecraft. We told the watching minds of more greatly developed species just how backward we are. Maybe they have unravelled the secrets, maybe they can see from our narrow understanding, an understanding that simply links the radius of a circle to its circumference, from this they can see we know the number but not its deeper meaning.

Zorg and Zog discuss the arrival of this spacecraft in their sector of the universe. They calculate its origin and then they speculate.

Zorg: They know nothing, we can take their puny planet whenever we want.

Zog: Are they double bluffing? You know, pretending to be stupid.

Zorg: Ahhh. Like the Crestasteans at the Battle of the Stolen Quarks?

Zog: Exactly.

They send Voyager on, they have no need to be a part of any disturbance at this time. And Pi sits blindly engraved on its golden disc hurtling across the universe with nothing but the Ode to Joy humming in its mind. The sounds of earth, the thoughts of Ann Druyan embedded in a golden record. You know the kind of thing they used to give you if your record album sold a million copies.

I can see Zorg and Zog scratching their heads of that.

Zorg: Vinyl technology? Really? I would have expected an mp3 at the very least and in stereo.

Zog: You see what I meant with the double bluff.

Zorg: We were right to send it on.

And on it drifts.

We who remain bound to this planet, we who remain to use a rough approximation of Pi, 22 over 7, in our arithmetic, we have, maybe in the mind of just one of us, sensed Pi’s deeper meaning.

How many layers are there to this number? This irrational number. Irrational, standing in obvious counterpoint to the  now out of favour term Economic Rationalism. The bizarre effect of this notion was more closely related to the irrational than it at first seemed.

Indeed much of what we as a species consider rational is not. Could it be that the rational is simply that which we have concocted to satisfy our own minds? A fraction which reduces to one decimal place has a purity to it. Even one that creates a recurring decimal is a little frightening. It goes on forever, continuously repeating itself as in two thirds becoming 0.666 recurring and that’s before we start working the 666 of the Apocalypse into our thinking. It just goes on and on constantly repeating its nonsensical rambling.

An irrational number never, ever repeats any of the sections of its numbers, ever. There is no pattern, there is no rationality, there is only madness in these decimals. And yet they are everywhere. The square root of minus one is even more bizarre that Pi. It is not even physically possible in the real world, whatever that is.

No, we must stick to the real world. The square root of minus one is a number for another tale. And in this real world are irrational numbers. So much so that Homo economus, the rational human being at the base assumptions of all economic theory does not exist. We are designed to be irrational, to make leaps of faith, we proceed without full knowledge of our circumstances, we fall in love for god’s sake. I was once told by a man half a generation older than me that if I ever found myself falling in love, I should immediately buy that person a house and go out and get blind drunk saving myself all the heartache.

So it is not surprising we find ourselves both repulsed and attracted by irrational numbers. We are but, perhaps, the physical manifestation of these numbers. With Pi containing our dates of birth and death does it not deliver a more complete understanding of us and our place in the world?

Maybe it is a misspelling. Apple pie should in fact be expressed as Apple Pi, Apple 22 over 7? After all it was the Apple itself who taught we humans about gravity and attraction. Was it not according to the views of ancient goatherds an irrational eating of an Apple which led us to sex and attraction?  Have we not already established the irrationality of attraction between two humans? Have we not seen in coffee shops floating on tables below hipster beards the unworldly glow of the Apple from the back of a laptop?

Is there not irony in the fact that these words will be heard because that same Apple Inc decided to support a form of net based broadcasting back in 2004? A year whose existence is confirmed by its occurrence within the number Pi. The continual re-looping of our world back to the irrational number describing the relationship between the circumference of a circle and that circle’s radius is in itself enough to induce psychological if not full blown psychiatric reactions.

What if the ramblings of the saints, the mystics, the insane are nothing but a key to unlock the deeper stories held within the never ending number sequence that is Pi? What if? How stupid are we all going to feel?

Or what if Pi is just what it is? A ratio between radius and circumference and the number sequences held within Pi, nothing more than the imagined healing elements in a glass of homeopathic water. They have no more meaning than that which we choose to impart upon them. Water is water but placebos still heal. If we can find these numbers, we ascribe to them whatever meaning we desire. In the doing so we reveal our humanity. A humanity based upon the finding of patterns, patterns to which we ascribe meaning. A phone number in Pi is nothing more nor less than the assumed patterns of change in the Dow Jones. Pi if anything has at least some use in the real world. And it is only the real world, the non insane, yet not fully sane reality that can create a number like Pi.
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The Further Adventures of Captain Sputo Hall.


One of the Captain’s first lives affected western civilisation deeply. Born a twin, he learned a pattern of self sacrifice which was to plague him for many incarnations. He and his brother were prophesied to rule a great city. The boys’ uncle had them given to servants at birth to be exposed. Their mother, a temple virgin claimed to have been impregnated by Mars in the form of a sacred flame. So, a good start to his first visit to planet Earth.


The boys were placed in a basket and set adrift upon the local waterway. During a time of flood, the basket was drawn away, found by a shepherd and rescued. The shepherd had been forced to drive off a she wolf to save the boys. What was the shepherd doing wandering a flooded river during rain? He was mourning. His wife had just, half an hour earlier, delivered a stillborn son. The gods had taken and the gods had given, twice over.


Being raised by a shepherd has its advantages. The boys learned to lead the flock rather than drive it. How to pick the best from a seemingly amorphous lump of similar individuals and for the Captain, when to sacrifice what was necessary for the good of the whole flock. An idyllic childhood in many ways, the boys learned the flow of the seasons, the time for mating, the time for weaning and the time for culling. Now these ancient sheep were not as productive as modern sheep but they produced enough from what was available to sustain their foster parents and the twins.


Their foster mother was in awe of them. They were a double gift from the gods who chosen to first bring her pain. Of the two she favoured Sputo, even though she never knew him as such. He was the brighter of the two, the stronger and the deeper. His brother though was cunning and good with people. These characters combined in one individual would have been formidable. In two brothers it led to the inevitable conflicts.


At the age of eighteen their foster mother died. Their foster father decided it was time to tell the boys of their origin. He had been making discreet enquiries during their lives as to where they may have originated. Stories from travellers, at markets and two days before he was widowered, in a dream, convinced the shepherd of their noble, semi-divine natures.


The shepherd spoke with his sons. Not only were they the abandoned sons of a temple virgin, their maternal grandfather had been the rightful line of kingship in the up river city of their birth. An uncle had usurped the throne and the rightful heir was living in relative poverty under the power of this usurper. Their mother still served as a temple virgin.


Availed of this information the twins decided to travel up river to right the wrongs of the past. Sputo was concerned for the shepherd, now alone with his flock. The shepherd though had withheld some of his dream from the boys and sent them on their way. Tears trickled from the old man’s eyes as the boys strode forth to rebalance the wrongs of the world with righteousness as only the young can think they are doing.


Entering the city, the boys paid homage to Mars at the temple where their mother laid eyes upon them for the first time in eighteen years. Warned by her inner knowing not to proclaim them as sons yet, she blessed them, received their sacrifice of a young ram lamb and sent them onwards to the palace. In a scene to be repeated throughout human history, blood was spilled. The rightful king installed, their mother revealed herself for whom she was.


Having completed what they set out to do, the boys were now at a loss as to what to do. Having been made joint heirs to the childless king now sitting on the throne, they did not want to fill in their days with admin now they had tasted a little adventure. Together they decided to found their own city downstream.


* * *

The founding of a city may seem a major undertaking these days but it was a relatively simple task in the times the boys lived. The wandered forth, found a vacant area and chose a spot containing seven hills with a river flowing through. Around these seven hills they dug a boundary ditch, sacrificed to the gods and their city was founded. Yes, yes, the mundane business of finding citizens, erecting buildings and so forth were yet to be completed but these things were simply processes.


The twins worked diligently digging their boundary ditch. The question of what to call their city arose. The Captain’s brother suggested they ask for a sign. Who ever received the most auspicious sign would have the city name after them. Given the boys were demigods, this seemed a good idea. As the days went by they looked for signs. One morning the Captain spotted six geese flying towards him. This he declared as the sign from the gods. His brother also spotted the geese and their reflection in the river. By this means he claimed to be twice blessed as compared to the Captain.


Despite what has come to us from history, the Captain agreed and the city was then called Rome after the Captain’s brother Romulus. Once the boundary was established and the city named, it became obvious the Captain or as history knows him in this incarnation, Remus could see only trouble brewing. Having two brothers,one city and one city name, Remus could foresee civil wars between their descendants. It was about this time I wandered into town having heard about this new city and the possibilities this offered.


The boundary being marked out was not sufficient for a new city. It needed walls. I set to work building these with Remus who told me of his worries of future civil strife. The Captain came his first decision to sacrifice himself for the greater good. I was in on the scheme because I am his rememberer. The idea was to give Romulus a chance to set a powerful precedent for the future of the city. Whilst the Captain and I were busy building walls, Romulus was working on gaining citizens. A few of us had already moved in but many more were needed. Despite the enormous tasks ahead of Romulus he would visit the walls each day to see how we were going.


A city’s wall is a sacred thing. To breach it or treat with disrespect by say, jumping over it, would be an act of blasphemy. Playing on this the Captain’s plan was awe inspiring in it’s audacity.


One afternoon Romulus arrived to inspect the wall building. When he was fifty paces off, Remus, the Captain, ran off a little way and charged the walls,leaping into the air as he approached the section I was working on. As he leaped into the air to cross the sacred walls, I swung my spade to stop him. Stop him I did. He was dead before he hit the ground. Romulus ran up, tears flowing for he knew what his brother had done. He stood there, holding my eye, standing over his deceased brother and spoke the following words: “Such is the fate of all who test the walls of Rome!”.


The rest is, quite literally, history.


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