2013, November 4
It is that time of year again: the week of Remembrance Sunday. This is when the denizens of the UK turn out on to the streets to commemorate the British soldiers who have died in war. Those familiar with my blog will be unsurprised to discover that I find the commemoration of only British dead; or only deceased soldiers; or even only deceased British soldiers, to be- if done in isolation and without equal consideration of the civilian dead or even the dead of our official enemies- to be manifestly ridiculous and in fact immoral.
I’ll therefore be wearing a White Poppy aka. the “Peace Poppy” this week, instead of a red one. The White Poppy was first produced en masse in the 1930s, when the manufacturers of the red poppy refused to put a message of peace on their flowers.
Here’s some reasons why I’ll be wearing one, and why you should too: Read the rest of this entry »
2013, October 29
This is the spectre… of EGO!
My first post on this topic examined how one’s ego can drive one into potentially violent situations for no good reason. Hopefully anyone who reads these posts will have the strength of character to recognise their own ego in some of the examples given, and strive to bring it further under the control of their better nature. Because we are all controlled by our ego at times, and our best defence (as is the case across the board) is an awareness that this is happening.
However, the ego has many faces, and bleeds into one’s life with great subtlety and wearing many insidious disguises. In this post I shall examine some of the less obvious ways that one’s ego can interfere with one’s pursuit of safety and security, and look at the consequences of leaving it to run unchecked.
How can one be fully aware of one’s own ego, when the ego’s raison-d’etre is to conceal itself? Read the rest of this entry »
2013, July 19
Here’s a delicate subject. Perhaps the most delicate, misunderstood, loaded subject one can deal with when discussing self defence. The subject of sexual assaults and rapes. Frankly I doubt my own ability to cleanly delineate the issues involved; they are so many and varied and subtle that no self defence commentator has walked the fine line carefully enough to avoid accusations of victim-blaming on the one hand, or to avoid watering down the self defence advice too much on the other.
I for one know all too well that one can be accused of victim-blaming when discussing less emotive topics like wilderness survival or street-attack avoidance… So it’s very likely I’ll be accused of victim-blaming in this case regardless of how cautiously I proceed. With that in mind, let’s begin.
The issue (in brief)
A primer for those new to the subject: Rape’s a crime that is predominantly but not exclusively committed against women. Children are victims a great deal of the time, and lastly and least commonly, men are also rape victims. Rape therefore tends to be regarded as a “women’s issue”, though some very smart commentators take issue with this classification for various reasons. Suffice it to say, the issue of rape has been of very great concern to women, women’s activist groups and women’s self-defence instructors and commentators for some considerable time. Read the rest of this entry »
2013, May 12
Cover illustration for A Brave New World, used without permission
As perhaps the greatest exponent of intellectual self-defence in the world for the past fifty years, Noam Chomsky holds a special place in the hearts and minds of those who truly wish to escape the modern version of the net of psychological manipulation that has been cast over the minds of mankind by the wealthy and powerful since the dawn of civilisation.
Like any great martial artist, (albeit an intellectual martial artist in his case) Chomsky has a laundry list of victories over foes that apparently overmatch him. Periodically I will explore some of Chomsky’s greatest battles, and analyse his keys to victory.
Unlike the physical techniques of an Anderson Silva however, Chomsky’s techniques cannot be used both for good and for evil; they can only be used for good: They are only useful for uncovering the truth and promoting peace between others. This is worth bearing in mind.
Chomsky vs… the “Brave New World” of the Behaviourists
There were several very influential dystopian novels written in the twentieth century. Most people will have heard of “Nineteen Eighty-Four“ by George Orwell, which- thematically- dealt primarily with how a right-wing society might attempt to exert thought-control on a population by changing the way they use language, maintaining the fiction of continuous war, and promoting the belief in an authoritarian panopticon… “Big brother is watching you”, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing. Read the rest of this entry »
2013, April 9
Image by unknown author, used without permission.
Good readers, step right up! Listen if you will to the tumult of supine, servile, utterly vomitive tributes to the recently deceased Maggie in the mainstream media today.
Marvel at the astonishingly convenient forgetfulness of myriad toffee-nosed hacks as they trample riotously over the graves of the British manufacturing base, public services and- literally- working people in their rush to praise this dear departed demoness; wonder at the sheer gall of the crypto-fascist swine that form orderly, oinking queues to take turns stepping into the spotlight and raising a glass to their moral and political idol… Thrill to the sight of roving gangs of neo-conservatives slapping down any dissent or deviation from the party line!
In the news today, Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (from 1979 to 1990) has passed away. Bereft of life, she rests in peace. This, is, an ex-premiere. Read the rest of this entry »
2012, December 25
This cat would be safer if it saw a mouse staring back at it from the mirror
There’s an old saying in Ireland: “Many a man’s tongue broke his nose.”
A typically dry witticism, and also quite true; saying the wrong thing can get you seriously hurt.
Many people have stampeded towards an avoidable violent confrontation for no better reasons than: to have the last word; to let another person know how annoyed they are; to belittle another person or simply to posture and present a “front” based on bravado.
But this post is not just about keeping your mouth shut. It’s about the larger problem; it’s not just what one says that can get one hurt, it’s everything one does. Excessive eye contact can make other people aggressive; Rushing to catch your train and barging into another pedestrian could result in anything from a few harsh words up to a brawl; Read the rest of this entry »
2012, November 13
Most of the public are familiar with the word “steroids”. This word automatically conjures up images of ridiculously inflated body-builder types, blind rages and shrunken genitalia. But very few people are familiar with the realities of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports, and still fewer are au fait with the real ethical and philosophical issues surrounding PEDs.
In fighting sports, as in other professional sports, anabolic steroid use is rife, as is the use of other performance enhancing substances. It’s impossible to put numbers on the table, as it is a clandestine phenomenon and subculture, but some professional fighters and industry experts have estimated that up to fifty percent of pro fighters are on performance enhancing substances of some kind.
Read the rest of this entry »