I’ve reached that time of life when making myself a cup of tea involves being attacked by cats demanding a feed, and forgetting to bring the drink back with me to the computer first time. The odd hour I spend blogging is a by-product of writing blocks that have two sides – escaping the pain of diabetes and looking for ideas for my books. I’m hoping to organise myself somewhat better over the next few months, do more walking and put myself more into the public fray, largely to make some money so I can retire properly with my partner. Blogging has been something of an extension of news and current affairs watching and reading and a considerable escape from the kind of turgid stuff I had to read and write as an academic. My 40 years or so of work and travel have not been a ball of fun and I’ve been left feeling little respect for what goes on in the world. I wanted to produce some kind of telling theory of what is going on that might change things a lot, and, if honest, I still cling to that with a cynic’s disposition and fear of English teachers on whether cynic needs that apostrophe.
I can write like a postmodern text engine and this dubious skill got me to loads of equally dubious academic, economic and other conferences around the world, all useless as far as I could see. A bit like ‘achievements’ in video games. I’ve bid for and got a lot of research and project money in my time. Most of that game isn’t ‘real’ in producing solutions to problems, or ideas that can change much. I’ve taught enough to know I’ve helped some people and that education needs dismantling, like much of our public services and the way we organise. If I have an academic discipline, it’s organisational theory, though don’t rush to undergraduate textbooks to find out what this might be. They are dreadful. There are ‘great theories’ from Plato to Marx and none of them ‘work’, other than in helping you pass university modules.
The idea should be about being able to research yourself, much easier with modern IT, do your own thinking and grow confident in the Enlightenment spirit. MrG says something like this on Banksidebabble. One benefit in blogging is in finding some good stuff that gives hope others want to find something sensible, can still have a laugh at our plight, and read between the lines like JuliaM on Ambush Predator. Julia keeps me away from newspapers, a good thing. In thought, you can imagine ‘Robot Heaven’, a time when robots like Data do all the ‘work’. The point here is not to drone on on technology, but open up thinking on such matters as ‘work ethic’. We currently have embedded notions about work being a moral requirement, though somehow exclude the rich from this and allow their money to do work for them. in ‘Robot Heaven’ the Calvinist work ethic (and presumably others) is just dated dross. Presumably, we won’t programme the robots to treat as like the ‘evil poor’?
Of course, one has to realise few people live in Robot Heaven today, and that their ‘robots’ are workers. This was much the plot in Plato’s dire political work, very much for a gold and silver elite and not the bronze, working people – ‘work’ scared the soul. I could argue that the Athenian Democracy was a microcosm of the problems of the rich democracies today. Robert Heller of Catch 22 does this in Picture This, a great book that seems to be about Rembrandt. Essentially, Athens was a dire place that shit on the rest of the world around it, waiting, at the end, for retribution that never quite came. The quite awful Spartans let them off. We may not be so lucky, but of course cannot see ourselves as the villains of the piece or just how much Western Democratic Capitalism, honed initially by the Dutch, resembles Enlightened Athens, even down to the importance of the navy. One can think, hopefully with humour, that a modern police inspector, lumbered with Bronze Command, might wonder about the scaring of her soul and Gold and Silver types worrying about the quality of chocolate-dipped strawberries and champagne on their open table!
I wish we had more sense of real history in our present and that education was less about propaganda (I would dismantle it to get more of it). This is currently as unlikely, perhaps more so, than a real Robot Heaven. Thinking for practice is constrained. Somewhere in Descartes’ letters, I remember him talking about his reasons for not publishing his work of physics (Le Monde, as I remember) on the grounds of what had been done to Galileo – and Galileo was an Italian, imagine what the Church would do to him, a Frenchman! Didn’t we hang a chimp or monkey as a French spy in Hartlepool? Today, we are constrained by having to make sense in economics. Every cop, civil servant or business person today knows they are making ‘resource decisions’ as cogs in a greater wheel made of invisible hands. We have little clue, frankly, whether these invisible hands are any more real than the blue rabbits of religion, or whether we could establish an economics as real as relativity or evolution. The idea of unshackling thought from the ‘terror’ of Western Capitalisms is to try to do something like this. Not much use to a cop on a cold night, wrestling one half of a violent domestic to the ground, though something that might, if we could find new understandings and practices, work in long-term prevention of the need. There is something of the Kantian Sublime in this. Thought can fly everywhere, but we are otherwise constrained by our biology and the speed of light.
I’m not rally writing about hating the police, hating the evil poor or the general hating, jealousy and so on that constrain our public argument through ignorance and fear. I’ve spent a lot of time in pubs, talking with victims, cops, robbers, street bureaucrats, academics and loads of people I have time for, even if I have little sympathy with their views or often with the ones I evince to seem to have some place in the conversations (often multiple monologues). Mostly, I come away with mixed feelings of respect, distaste, beliefs I’ve understood, could never understand and often little desire to know more of the ‘data’ and some despair I’m bothered to try to make sense of it. The despair comes in part from a feeling I should leave it all alone and make some money in order to be away from it. I’ve done this in a number of countries and settings from squalid bars to the private suites of oil rich sheiks and boardrooms. Time over again, I might have qualified in medicine and worked as a useful missionary. Instead, I was a missionary of management who went east. Neither is any solution in the eternal return of squalor.
So which of us hate the ‘evil poor’, hate ‘the police’, hate ‘Pakis’ and why? I find evidence of something like this almost everywhere and in almost everyone. Questions like this are important in trying to understand society at the level of our ‘theories in action’ as opposed to ‘espoused theories’. Plato ceases to be much interest to me when I realise he would have me working as a slave. Religions and their texts fade in interest as I know more about their real history and content. Believing there are straight ways of talking about what goes on in our society pale when some clown seems to believe I am a ‘police hater’, am ‘stalking Gadget’, and have other hatreds I know I do not. It’s concerning to find out that the Dutch picked up on ASBOs as the best means to cope with their antisocial behaviour almost at the point we had discovered they were complete claptrap. It would be even more worrying in some ways to discover they have made them work! Key issues in squalid behaviour, groupthink, stereotyping and ignorance need to be understood to enable new forms of public dialogue that won’t drown ideas in clown ignorance and closing of ranks.
Some of the behaviour I have found amongst the ‘evil poor’ makes even the excellent Nightjack look pale. Yet there is something more squalid even than the worst child-abuse for drugs tales I can tell. It’s the use of this sump behaviour by others to excuse our failings, and the replication of its ‘mechanisms’ in our wider, more ‘mannered’ society. The hating goes on behind ostensibly polite faces and has produced vicious, bullying bureaucracies and such behaviour in them. We have academic, psychological ways of describing and trying to improve much of this. Many of us regard organisational actions more or less as ‘projections flying about’ (Freudian origins) – of people projecting the worst of themselves onto others and so on. There is no sign this has mainstreamed into earlier education and our social consciousness, rather the opposite.
Much of the hating that is going on is a form of self-hatred that pours out in defensive behaviour and prevents much realistic feedback being heard. This is compounded by the lying use of statistics and a lack of focus into critical incidents in an open manner. It is a long time since Karl Popper wrote The Open Society and its Enemies, but we still work with much festering secrecy and pretence that we have independent investigations.
One academic review (Dutch 2008) of expansions in administrative law I found ended with:
Melvin following Gadget’s shadow with an ice pick? 🙂
Assuming that we shared contempt for the long established police tradition of discrediting critics, then falling victim to it by your own hand, was an irony that had me chuckling into my tea, ACO.
Gadget will approve and for his next Jungian review, suggest I have resurrected a deceased parent’s persona with female voice and by dressing in her clothes complete with curly wig.
The perversity of Melvin following Gadget in the shadows with a dildo rather than an ice pick, is infinitely preferable, don’t you think?
Well, I was testing to a certain extent Melvin – you “pass”. The sense of humour and irony factors are important and lacking in so many Gadget contributors. This hardly matters on a blog, but seems to now be in practice across our institutions almost like a Puritan plague – odd given the alleged postmodern times.
Some people hate without reason…
Look at the troll on my blog at the moment-accusing me of everything from being: gay, pedophile, bad at my job, inadequate sexually and life in general…
Even MTG didnt go that far… and I have given him a fair reason for him to have a go…
Icepick? Dildo? VERY important not to get them mixed up!
Ah! A man who doesn’t confuse pain and pleasure Shij – clearly hope for you then. And you haven’t tried to sell me a wrist-band!
I remember, somewhere in Last of the Summer Wine, Clegg wondering if the world might be better with more small, inadequate men – so there may be hope for you then mate!
The language of many of the adolescent inadequates round here is entirely of the attacks on you of this nature – and remains so in their failure to find any adult life. Vicious SNERTS into their 50s it seems. Yet look at research into police culture – often described as mean-spirited and sadistic and as a reason for so many women leaving within 5 years. I know in the middle of it we think it flows like water off a duck’s back and that we can dish it out with the ‘best of them’. In research jargon (of one kind) it’s about the prevalence of the ‘paranoid-schizoid’ position, rather than the saner ‘depressive position’. Melvin just uses a bit of quite clever wit – makes me smile even if ‘aimed’ at me – brings out much nastier general reactions. Oscar Wilde said something like, ‘to tell the truth is merely to ensure an act of revenge in the future’.
My dear Shijuro
Ascribing different definitions to ‘trolling’ was certain to end in confusion for everyone. We have the manifold Oxford Dictionary meanings; the internet import and finally the simplistic Inspector Gadget version. A troll by Gadget definition is someone critical of him or policing in general – regardless of the relevance, politeness or good intentions of the submission.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never conducted myself inappropriately on line. Thus to be regarded as ‘an infamous troll’ by Gadget or even a troll of lesser standing by yourself, is quite comical.
Permit me to suggest that prior to starting your own blog, many of your off-topic posts defined you to be a troll of the internet variety. That your posts were often accompanied by gratuitous obscenities, left no doubt as to their purpose as roughly hewn (and ineffective) insults.
A little polish is now manifest in your writing and in consequence you resent the inevitable visits of trolls to your own blog. You have merited the attentions of a technically smart troll and I must resist offering a sympathy which is not truly sincere, Shij.
Spam filtering is so gauche and the first resort of the unsophisticated. I suggest that you drop this approach in favour of the old school bully deterrent. Rapidly dispensed razor wit delivered in the politest terms is far more effective than stooping to a crude opponent’s method and language.
I don’t read them anymore melv…
I just let him flap about on his own…
Who cares what he thinks eh…?
A little ‘polish’ in your writing eh Shijuro – you been sniffing the Brasso again? Ribbing and the ‘gadfly’ have been part of debate forever – but the kind of pathetico you mention is about adolescent helplessness – sadly sometimes even leading to murder, as in the case about a mile round the corner. Safe to ignore usually, like most threats – but we are bad at recognising the real ones.
I like to debate… even with Melv 😉
Debate is one thing, suggesting I am ‘noncing’ my kids is another…
With such an obvious troll I firmly beleive the
only way to deal with him is to blank him and
keep him in the spam wilderness…
Wow… Refered to twice in one post by an ‘academic’, does this mean I have finally arrived in the world of social competence? I must however guard against getting out of my depth!
It is so easy for people to fall into the ‘hate everyone your peers dislike’ brigade (something I usually try to avoid), the skill is to rise above that grouping. It is usually easier dependant upon your personal level of craving for acceptance.
I’m particularly impressed by your ‘business section’ MrG.
Excuse three bites at the same cherry on the same day to make the distinction which first prompted an intention to post here. It is simply that hate and dislike are not synonymous.
You can afford to dislike many things but the price of hating is often underestimated. It is natural to dislike your enemies but to hate any one of them is to willingly contract a progressive disease.
The first lesions appear when it is impossible to enter dialogue with those you hate and there is no profit in it. A total absence of sympathy when the hated befall serious misfortune is the result of opening the drain plug on our humanity. The net result is only as ACO suggests – ‘Hating More and More’.
My guess, Melvin, is that petty hatreds are driving many minds at the moment.
Total agreement Shijuro – though when you have kids throwing stones at your windows and cops doing nothing about such lies pout round by violent, abusing criminals actually plotting to fire-bomb a family, trying to bring in a Moss Side drug dealership and so on, it’s all somewhat worse that a spammer.