Friday, April 28, 2006

Changing ones ideas

My 11-year old grandson is certainly changing his ideas about what he is capable of. He recently left the 'free-play' school and is mentally and physically growing fast, flourishing in the more stimulating structured atmosphere of the (gvt.) intermediate school. For his parents to take the risk of sending him there required quite a shift in their thinking. We don't condemn the philosophy behind the previous school's way of dealing with child development - only the slackness of turning the philosophy into teaching practice (Teaching? There didn't seem to be much of that going on at all.)

I have changed my ideas - or at least adjusted them - many times on the subjects of religion and politics. On politics I have more of a mix now of 'left' and 'right', not just 'left' - to put it in very oversimplified terms. On religion I have very definite view on 'bulk followings', and on the 'fellow-travellers' or 'running-dogs' who want to be very 'post-modern' but cling to the labels and (vaguely) defend some of the values-ideas of 'bulk-followings'. Some of these re-affirmed old religious values are not wrong - it is just the way the 'bulk-followings' exploit them and treat them as if they have a monopoly over them. The way they are presented and taught needs to be more subject to critique.

My 'ex' left an interesting article on my e-mail about an athiest who changed her ideas - remaining an athiest but becoming very soft-spoken and sympathetic to those who cling to the idea that there is a 'Lord-God Creator of the ('intelligently-designed') Universe', an Allah or a Jehovah or Whatever. Her main reason (which struck me as rather patronizing) seems to be, because poor people need this idea so badly.

I can't go into all my criticisms here, but I guess that bright self-assured liberally-brought-up Swedish lady has never intimately known anything of the oppressive side of religion - how easily it can blight ones childhood and cause ructions later when one is trying to struggle out to its miasma. Facing reality without comforting illusion later in life can cause one to easily 'overbalance' intellectually and ethically. Maybe it's better for the 'One-God' believing religious not to even try to 'individualize' (in the Jungian sense), though I have long regarded it as being the main psychological task of the individual if he or she is ever to become a 'real' mature individual.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Setting priorities

In my personal life I find a lot of diffuculty in setting priorities. All the things one would like to do - all the things that have to be done - and each new day seems shorter than the last (probably partly due to getting old).

Enterprises that I began with enthusiasm become like rivers running into sandy desert and disappearing. That seems to be the case at present with my putting up and improving my web pages on the internet, and even with my interest in general in the potentials of my computer. This will probably change with time. I usually, eventually, come back to things that I've started.

Being on the internet and with broadband will certainly become more important in terms of playing a newly (and somewhat accidently) bought computer game. While I will need to help and monitor what goes on, the game activity itself will probably be more undertaken by my grandson than by me. Anyway, I'm not at all sure that this is the right kind of prioritizing for me to have let myself in for.

Actions with consequences that one might later regret - carrying on with them may not seem a high priority, but they are there nevertheless, demanding a share of time and attention. For the present I am absorbed in - and enjoying! - rewriting a novel I wrote in the late 1970. It was a quite well-researched attempt, but pretty badly constructed and ran into far too many pages so that it was left unfinished.

The question of priorities, and the values associated with setting priorities, is also a crucial one in the life of the collective - the town, the region, the nation, the whole of the modern planetary 'civilization' of mankind. As might be gathered from my web site, I have a lot I would like to say and have debated on this! But ... (with a shrug) "Whatever". As far as fundamental change is concerned, history weighs heavily on the human subconscious. In a country like New Zealand, many quite informative and reasonable debates and presentations of ideas happen over 'adjustables', but most people and the media are extremely reluctant to tackle the 'nitty-gritty' and put forward radical ideas and debates on 'fundamentals'. Like the problems now being debated on water quality - a problem which has to be tackled at the source, this is true also of so many even more fundamental problems - pollution, overuse of resources, enshrinement of 'greed', rich extravagance verses poor need, overpopulation ...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Who am I Blogging for?

Well, myself for a start, like 'markup '. I started a diary at New Year as usual, but that as usual that didn't last long. Get in the habit of doing these blogs fairly regularly, and at least my friends and close relatives will be able to look me up, so I won't need to write so many e-mails.

Nothing very personal here, because I'll always be looking at the possiblilities of writing stuff that will be of general interest, or of interest to particular groups with interests in common with me. I should always keep a door open to having 'strangers' see my blogs and comment.

As appears on my right hand guff, I have a web page. I have just completed a course - a pretty brief one - on web sites. The mystery seems to be solved as regards how Google (and others?) rank ones web site along with others that deal with the same subject. It isn't at all just how many 'clicks'. It reminds me of valuating properties in N.Z. towns. How do you work out your property's value? Not by the property itself and its merits or demerits so much as who sells and buys and shows that they want to live in your area by buying in a property in your area. It's apparently similar with how ones web site is ranked subject-wise. It depends on how many connections are made to your web site as shown on other people's (or organization's) web sites. That said, I don't give myself much hope for the 'Syai' web site at the present time, with millions of sites containing the key words that are pertinent to getting to know mine as a stranger.

Sometimes on this blog I'll be going back to mention the 'Syai' world as it was seventeen centuries ago, on the planet then called Okraalom. I am writing a novel about it. But, like the web site, I'm not too hopeful. On Saturday March 18 a very well writtin article was published in the Christchurch Press. It was by Anna Claridge. 'Only a few win with words'. To anybody hoping one day to publish a first novel, it's pretty discouraging. Your novel may be good, better than some published, but all sorts of factors come into it, much of it to do with 'connections' and sheer luck too. In writing in this blog about 'Okraalom' I'll probably refer again to this article.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Today I was summoned to explain why I thought I didn't need to do a course on 'file management' at Senior Net. Well, I didn't think I needed to do it because I knew it all already. I was wanting to get into a course on web site design, to re-inforce the quick one I've done at the Riccarton school evening studies program. But the wheels of Senior Net grind very slowly, and their rule is that you must do the course on 'file management' before one is fit to go on to do exciting things like web pages.

Anyway, I thought they might make and exception. I have to travel across town to get to their courses. Well, I answered the summons and was there at the appointed time and I had to sit a test! And I failed dismally. I really do need to first do a course on file management. To be sure, one isn't as confident working on an unfamiliar computer, but the truth is my knowledge of computers is very narrowly focused. Go outside the familiar pathways and I'm stumped. So it looks like I'll have to resign myself to a year of learning.