Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Starting 2009

I've had a request for 'Okraalom' possibly from overseas,
so who knows? Again, if anyone gets connected to this
blog because of their interest in that book,
please e-mail me at
and I will respond, copies are still available.

This year starts out on a somber note, with the so-called
global meltdown. Signs of it are around.
A flourishing garage combined mini-supermarket near
my place has closed down. There's more empty shelves
in the big supermarkets. There are big cars parked
around, up for sale. My plans for the future as I
envisage them at this stage, is to finish my second
book which will probably be my last.
It is kind of autobiographical but also a background
to Syai and a development of one aspect of Okraalom.
In it is a chapter on how
we have the global financial system that we do have
and which is in process of collapsing.
If anyone is interested in that by itself,
I may supply that chapter as a separate part of the book.
I had decided that this book would never be published
like Okraalom was, but I may change my mind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

How I'm seeing the world


(Interested in 'Okraalom'?'Get
in touch through e-mail:

I may have spent too much of my life
already in the not very profitable
enterprise of tackling forces way
beyond the possibilities of my
having any influence on them. At
this stage of my life and looking
at the world as it is now, it's hard to
understand why I don't just retreat -
as many people do, into personal
satisfactions and leave the rest
to fate.

This is how the world appears to
me now:
1. The media practically rules this
country and most so-called
advanced countries. If not it ‘rules’
it certainly acts as a biased
referee. Behind the media are
(a) the advertisers on behalf mainly
of huge ‘profit-maximising’ trans-
national companies which have
‘licence’ to operate largely as super-
-rich individuals. (b) The super-
-rich individuals themselves (like
the Murdocks) that own the media.
(b) the ‘climate-of-opinion’ setters,
mainly professional middle
class people, some religious
leaders and some politicians.

Against these ‘powers and
principalities ‘ are a few
recalcitrant individuals who use
the security of their money and
celebrity status to mount a
challenge on behalf of a minority
of mainly middle-class better
educated critical thinkers. But
they swim against a very strong
tide. If a politician stands up for
measures that may hurt the
creation and transfer of wealth
to the predominant power-elite,
the media is set the task of
destroying him. (This is happen-
ing at the present time in NZ.)

The media also faithfully serves
the often hidden agendas of
governmental establishments
(backed by rightist ‘think-tanks’)
in the so-called advanced
countries the U.S in particular.
The media is their propaganda
arm. The underlying hypocrisy
is not questioned. The complicity
of the Sudanese govt. in genocide
is pushed into the background
in favour of more minor ‘scandals’,
sports events and other trivia.
Russia is blamed for dismemb-
-ering Georgia while the desire
and plotting of the West to
dismember Yugoslavia is kept
out of the picture. We are all
supposed to be ‘pro-separatists’
when it comes to Kosovo, but
‘anti’ when it comes to the
pro-Russian provinces of

As for global problems like
‘global warming’, the power-
holding establishment in
so-called advanced countries
has a penchant for complicated-
-ness over simplicity.
Complicatedness allows them
a comfortable level of
corruption or at least of shady
dealings without totally defeating
the stated aims to mitigate
global warming. A simple
‘user-pays’ policy of taxing
carbon emissions by gvt., and
transferring the money thus
made available to assisting
renewable and conservation
enterprises, is scrapped in
favour of the so-called C.E.T.
(carbon emissions trading
scheme.) This is a hopelessly
complicated arrangement
protective of transnational
corporate interests that will end up
thrusting the costs of the scheme
down onto the lower-middle and
working class majority. The story
is that ‘user pays’ is only fine so
long as it takes second place to
maximisation of corporate profit.

The main trend-setters in social
and political thinking in the West
also keep fair control and guiding
hand on the direction taken by
culture – mainly toward flashy
entertainment and info-tainment
with the emphasis on the
commercial opportunities to
harness people’s interest in
sex. In art, literature and music,
there is something of a push
toward superficial competitive-
-ness and novelty. I have learnt
from a self-publishing experience,
also from examining dozens of
stipulations from agents seeking
to handle ‘promising’ writers and
their books, that there are hardly
more than three requirements
none of which have much to do
with the intrinsic quality of the
work on offer. These require-
-ments are (a) celebrity status
in some field (b) being already
known for successfully published
and marketed books (c) Youth –
‘superficial novelty’.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why 'Relativism' doesn't work

(For enquiries about the book 'Okraalom', please get in
touch with my via the internet
or by writing to 137 Milton St. Christchurch
(NZ) 8024)

Is relativism anything more philosophically robust than just
a lazy thinker's attempt at self-justification?
(Perhaps, better put, justification for his own childhood

I don't think it is, but I must admit it is a popular attitude
and seems to act as an intellectual basis of argument for
'putting down' ideologies and idealisms, assuming
the 'virtue' of tolerance, protecting one's belief-system
comfort zone and avoiding confrontations.

However, if it is to be thought of as a respectable stand
from which to criticize opinions other than your own -
opinions that assume some element of universality -
then I think there's a basic flaw in it.
(Perhaps a mathematician can help me here,
as this seems to have something logical to do with the
weakness in 'closed' mathematical systems.)

Relativism says that the adoption of world-views
(if they don't do violence to 'everyday' proven and
obviousfacts) is a matter of choice. 'I' feel that
my world-view is right,'you' feel that yours is,
though it clashes with mine.
(I may appeal to the many millions of - say
- Catholics who agree with mine as against the far
fewer Buddhists that agree with yours,
but that's not relevant.)

Any world-view, sincerely held, is right for the
holders, and, for them, world-views that don't
fit in with it are wrong.

The problem is, the relativist has sunk the
platform on which he stands against the
non-relativist in offering any argument at all
against the non-relativist's opposition to him.
The relativist's relativism is his basis of
criticism of the universalist's viewpoint.
But how can he sensibly be criticizing a view-
point that according to his own viewpont,
is just as right as his own?

Well, he can argue (and many relativists do)
that there *is* no right or wrong - not even
better, more plausible or a worse, less
plausible, kinds of world-views.
But in saying that he is holding a world-view
of his own (and one not without implications
for how people might behave and form their
'values'). He is still no better off in
assuming to be ableto oppose more
'universalistic' world-views, because there
is nothing in the viewpoint he has in
opposition to these than could be said to be
any 'better' or 'worse' than his own.

Relativism breaks down into intellectual
'narcissism' or solipsism.
There has to be some element of a universal
truth - not simple factualities
- for formulating a world-view that is
rational, pragmatic, and of any value
to the ongoing 'global/cultural' debate.
With the collapse of relativism,
the question that has to be tackled
is why some - even dearly-held -
beliefs are wrong and leading us toward
disaster, and some are not.
That is the question that the New Atheists
tried to tackle.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Statement on radio to be read out

Hullo! Just after my last post below the phone went, and I was able to read out my satement on 'status'. It will come over NZ national radio around 10 to 11a.m. on Chris Laidlaw's program next Sunday. My first contribution to this debate was to send an email saying: "I - B.P.Lilburn - was not being given the status I deserved and while many who had status were less deserving. Of course many listeners would put my outburst down to 'sour grapes', but the truth remains that some people gain high status for doing verly little of any worth." I sent this in a a joke, but thought better of it and replaced it with the statement in the blog entry below.

The question of status

If anyone reaches this blog interested in procuring the book 'Okraalom', please get in touch through the address B.L. 137 Milton St. Christchurch 8024 NZ, or `phone 64 3 9812969, or email

Yesterday I was rung up from Radio NZ (national, not commercial, radio) and asked if I would record an e-mail by `phone that I had sent to the station. They had put on a program on 'status', and were going to refer to it again this coming Sunday. Today they were supposed to ring me again for me to make the statement, but I'm not particularly surprised or 'put out' that they haven't rung, though it's a bit of a nuisance to be told to expect something next day that does not happen. This sort of thing happens because the compiling of an interview and views program probably involves planning a dozen or more 'leads' or ideas when only a small number of them are eventually followed up and used. Anyway, I thought it worthwhile to present the statement here on my blog:

"Good on the factory-cleaning man you interviewed last Sunday - not only him and his like but on people who look after small children and the needy elderly. Where's the time such people would have to think about status? In my view, achieving status in many cases comes more from current fashions, the media and cultural 'status makers' than from the deservedness of the status achiever."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Changes in me and in the world

I deleted the last post as it had some strange interference and was very irritating to read, not fitting line by line onto the posting format. Anyone who comes onto this blog out of interest in procuring the book 'Okraalom' is welcome to get in touch with me by means of my e-mail, or by ringing Christchurch (NZ) 9812969, or mailing to 137 Milton Street Chch. 8024.

Looking up my diaries which I haven't done for years gives a strange impression of how much one changes over the years between youth and comparative old age. There was a stability then that is missing now, and people did not have such high expectations of material reward, nor did they base so much of their status and sense of well-being on monetary wealth, awe-struck regard for celebrities, and social dominance. I think a lot of our thoughts in the fifties were on how to shape a better world after the horrors of the Second World War. We even thought that religion and changes in philosophies of life towards educated democracies with a touch of 'socialist' idealism (not the excesses of Russian-style Communism) might do the trick. I wonder as I return to trying to get a grip on the Spanish language, whether 'High Rise' Spain is full of people now who are a lot happier than they were when I was there during the last years of Franco's reign with its repressive and oppressive stability. I would like to hope so, but I wonder, and maybe the answer would lie in going back for a visit of reasonable length - which I hope to do before getting too old.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

As a writer on w.o.p. (Info.on purchase of book)

The book 'Okraalom' is in the fantasy section of 'Worthy of Publishing' which site for registered readers and writers is available . There's a possibility that a reader - having read one or more chapters - will click on the 'buy my book' button at the end of chapters, to find out details of how to buy the book. For that reason, I'm using this blog to enable such a reader to get in touch with me. The book is available for 14.50 in New Zealand dollars, plus postage. The prospective buyer can contact me by e-mail , or by telephone Christchurch New Zealand 64 3 9812969. Send the money to this address: 137 Milton Street Christchurch 8024, and the book will be dispatched to you.

I am working on another novel of a rather different kind, but there is a link. I know this novel will be of particular interest to my family, but I'm not yet decided on how to present it - whether to submit it anywhere or print it myself of just make a number of copies for family and friends.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Life on computer

Testing to see if blogging is working OK. There's usually something cropping up on the computer where what you expect to work doesn't work or stops working for no apparent reason. I will try again to put a comment on my grandson's blog - had no luck last time I tried. Also, quite arbitrarily, my password has stopped working on the 'Firstwriter' site, and it didn't work when I tried to gain membership of 'Wickipedia'. I wanted to ask some questions concerning the energy alternative entries for the next novel I'm writing after 'Okraalom'. Having been so discouraged by the apparently hopeless efforts I've put into that book, I've decided not to publish the next, but just make a few ring-bound copies. As a would-be author, given my age and my too old-fashioned style of writing, it's time I faded out.

I don't suppose the 'Sea of Faith' computer network reaches many people, but it is certainly a rare forum of intelligent 'computer' debate on important issues. There's been a good and prolonged discussion on Voluntary Euthanasia recently, and almost unanimous agreement by the participants (many of whom are connected to Christian churches) that V.E. has got to come. The public want it, but it seems that because the Catholic Church here in New Zealand is so powerful, has such ability and deliberate policy to 'inject' its educated people into all the major politically and culturally important positions in this country, we are to be forever frustrated. I can't understand why in countries like Sweden, with a very small number of Catholics, V.E. hasn't long ago been legally instituted.