Showing posts from 2020

Politics and Voting Systems

  I believe in democracy and I believe in Democratic Socialism. I believe in Communalism. It's like Socialism but you don't wait for the government to do it for you. I disavow all anti-democratic ideologies, like Communism.  Socialism Politics Politics is a religion with really shitty gods, but at least you know those gods probably exist.  There's nothing about politics that is an honest for truth and I'm inclined to say the same about Christianity. They both make virtues of confirmation bias and believing what you're supposed to believe instead of actually wanting the truth. Any faith in those mythological caricatures of humans painted by the world media circus, the flotsam and jetsam of our political systems, would be utterly misplaced. I'm outraged, livid and incandescent, that the way we do politics in the UK (and a lot of the world but our first past the post system creates a two party system which creates a system where the main goal is to attack the enemy

In Praise of Kurzgesagt: String Theory

Quantum mechanics, as I'm sure you know, is the deepest and lowest level exploration of reality that science has any understanding of. It leaves beautiful space for the spiritual. Things exist and don't exist (wave particle duality and uncertainty) and can teleport (quantum teleportation), information can travel faster than the speed of light (quantum entanglement), and everything exists as probability waves (also wave particle duality and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle), and all of empty space is a seething morass of virtual particles that fleet in and out of existence in a dance choreographed by pure chaos (Kasimir effect and Hawking radiation). It seems that none of it exists at all without an observer. Reality is weird and beautiful and improbable and science explores and affirms this. Understanding scientific theories as different abstract models of reality is helpful, especially if you know the classic model of physics (Newton) and the relativistic model (Einstein).

Wage Theft and Defund the Police

The British Are Coming In the UK wage theft cost workers and the economy about £2.7 billion a year [1]. Wage theft is where employers steal money from their employees by not paying them for all hours worked or not giving holiday required by law. Those who suffer most are typically amongst the poorest and this is money that would have gone directly back into the economy, as well as feeding hungry children and reducing the burden on benefits. Those affected, if they even know, have recourse to an employment tribunal but it's not something the police are interested in. Meanwhile, shoplifting in the UK (2016-2017 figures) costs British retailers about £500 million a year [2]. Shoplifting is substantially done by drug addicts which is totally unnecessary and caused by the inhumane and immoral way we treat drug users, who are also substantially comprised of the traumatised and the socially marginalised and disadvantaged. So wage theft, in terms of disruption to the UK economy, is a massi

George William Curry and Pathfinder Squadron 627

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind A 627 Squadron Mosquito I went to visit my Dad today and spent about an hour talking to him before he got too tired. He's dying of cancer but as always he was in a cheerful mood. He told me a bit more of the story about his Dad who he never knew. His Mum hardly ever talked about him so what he knows comes from some of Granny's papers and my Dad's investigation after she died. He found a whole new branch of his family including Aunts and cousins and a Great Aunt Olive. Before joining the RAF George William Curry worked for an insurance company called UKAPIAN. The only remnant of UKAPIAN now is one page on the website of Axa who ended up buying them, but they started life as a motor insurance company run by a temperance society. Teetotalers are good customers for a motor insurance company but there wasn't enough of them and UKAPIAN had to branch out. At any rate my Dad has George's b

Deriving the Scientific Method and a Nice Life Philosophy from Descartes' Second Meditation

I'm particularly fond of Decartes' second meditation on certainty. From this we can derive both the scientific method and a lovely life philosophy. Descartes' second meditation was on what you could possibly know with absolute certainty. That wasn't a dream or illusion or misunderstanding. His conclusion was famously "cogito ergo sum". Usually rendered "I think therefore I Am", but perhaps more true to his meaning is "there is thought, therefore there is a thinker". Nothing else can you know with absolute certainty. I quite like my Buddhist rendering "in thought there is an experience of self, in the thought of the world there is an experience of other". Best of all I like my Judeo-Christian rendering, based on the meaning of YHVH, Yahweh, the holiest name of G-d given to Moses in the burning bush, the fire that burns but does not consume when he asked G-d their name and they replied יהוה. Read right to left the Hebrew letters yod

Stuck in the Living Room Dreaming of a New TV

Imagine if normal was a real thing. The OLED 4K TVs I like, either the LG OLED55C9PLA 55" or the Panasonic TX-55GZ950B 55", have come down in price to around £1300. That's still more than I'd like to spend on a TV but they're gorgeous and we haven't yet made the jump to 4K. The Panasonic has the edge supporting the newer HDR10+ standard for High Dynamic Resolution and better display of blacks in the details. I'll keep the old TV because no-one is really making passive 3D displays any more and I adore Avatar in 3D. We've been getting by using a PS3 and a 2nd gen Apple TV as media centres. Since we moved the living room around we no longer have an aerial or wired internet to the TV, so no live TV channels and no iPlayer. Disney+ arrived and is fantastic. We're enjoying the Mandalorian, we've started The Simpsons from the start and there's a good selection of movies. Unfortunately the app didn't stream well from an iPhone to the A

Vipassana Meditation

Interdisciplinary approaches yield insights Vipassana Buddhism teaches us that the default state of mind is "monkey mind", jumping from one thing to the next. Vipassana means "insight" or "clear thinking" and is the path of wisdom. In mindfulness we let go of distraction to return to the breath. After a little while we may enter "access concentration" where we are less distracted. We may push distractions away so  far they do not return and all there is is breath. Time has stopped and keeping the focus in the breath has become effortless, flow state. This is Dyana or Jhana. The place where you step back into the garden of the mind and the work of tending the garden is the same as the work of enjoying the garden. Mindfulness is the practise of relaxed focus, alert but rested awareness. Mind calm like a still lake, reflecting what it sees. The aim of the practise of mindfulness is the cultivation of the habit of conscious awareness. H

A Few Books that Have Shaped Me

A rigid mind that is unable to change will eventually break. From when I was a child there were Billy Bunter, Just William, Jennings, Roald Dahl, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Swallows and Amazons, The Hardy Brothers, Narnia, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Hobbit, The Stainless Steel Rat, and pretty much all of Robert Heinlein. Those were the days. Wouldn't go back for all the money in the world. Fast forward a few years and I think my favourite book of all is On the Road, the beat generation classic, the great American novel, a travel book. For a handful of years I would read it every year and I still want to go to Denver. On the Road has my heart but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has my spirit. Then there's Lord of the Rings, Catch-22, anything by Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett (I have a copy of Good Omens signed by both and I've read all the Discworld novels and do I get to count the Sandman series as a book?), 100 Years of Solitude, anything by William Gib

Conversations with the Holy Guardian Angel (or How I Ended Up in Prison)

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind There's a degree to which fear is a choice. To that degree, choose wisely. It transpires I've never told the story of how I ended up in prison. Like most stories it's hard to know where it begins, but maybe we can pickup the thread in my darkest hour in Verulamium. There, like the Romans before me, I faced a savage and wild horde of natives before whom I genuinely feared for my life. That is at the Verulam School for Boys in St Albans, the new school I had started at having moved from the northern industrial town of Macclesfield where what childhood idyll I knew remained behind to the commuter town of Harpenden. Full of estate agents and Italian restaurants and a higher class of savage natives than we'd known before. I had been taught not to fight back, and although I'd been in a few fights I'd always brought them to an end fairly quickly and refused to fight, so I hadn&

Speaking Up for Anger and Other Short Meditations

AFAB, AMAB, ACAB, AHAB Speaking Up for Anger Anger wants to be heard. If anger feels not listened to it gets louder. Telling anger you can't hear, won't listen, because it's too loud doesn't work. The volume might go down but the anger is still there. If your'e afraid of anger you can probably still feel it. Anger that's not dealt with, not expressed and not heard, festers. Try not to be afraid of anger. And being angry at anger just because it's loud might be a mistake. Something deeply heartfelt is really upset that nobody ever seems to listen to it. And you're telling it to shut up again. To be quiet and go away, nobody wants to see that. Let people be angry and listen to anger. It might take a bit of untangling, strong emotions always do. People do use strong emotions, of all kinds, to manipulate and intimidate, but it's so easy to mistake strongly felt anger for aggression. Anger, like sexuality, can be so hard to control and so eas

My Father and the Pathfinders

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind Neither belief nor disbelief are to be preferred. They are both delusions. Updated version of this story My father is very British. My grandmother disowned me as a teenager due to my waywardness, my grandfather was very loyal to me but was not my biological grandfather. My grandmother was a stern and hard woman, well regarded in the community, a magistrate. My Father was sent to boys boarding school from a fairly young age, Stowe. That makes him a Stoic by tradition. He enjoyed it, despite breaking his back whilst he was there. He was disowned by his family for marrying a poor Jewish girl, daughter of an academic and well below his station. They were reconciled. My real Grandfather died when my father was young. He was called Mr Curry and my Father knew very little about him until after his mother died and he found some old family papers through which he tracked down many cousins and other re

Tales From the Past: Pungent Effulgent, The Serbian and Nightmare on Watling Street

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind Pungent Effulgent We've just passed the thirty year anniversary of the release of Pungent Effulgent by Ozric Tentacles. It's epic. I've seen Ozric Tentacles live twice, several years apart and both times on their "last ever" tour. Once in Cambridge and once in Northampton. On the Northampton occasion I sneaked out of the commune, against strict orders and with no money to go and see them. My "shepherd", the one to whom I was accountable, demanded I didn't go with a command "as if from the Lord". I told him I didn't see it like that and cadged a lift with one of the brightly coloured minibuses taking volunteers from the farm to the various town commune houses. A lovely woman who liked me bought me the ticket. After the show I told her I wouldn't go out with her (I had already told her that!) and had to find a different lift back h

The Senior Apostolic Leader of the Cult

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind Save the planet, bump off a billionaire. I'm with the Joker. I'm a cult survivor. I joined the Jesus Army in 1996 when homeless. I lived in the "all things in common" communes until 2006. There are more stories and information on the Jesus Army Survivors blog . See also: Crimes of the Cult I remember what in retrospect is an even odder occasion than what already seemed like an odd thing at the time. I no longer lived with the cult but had retained my association with them, and some sincerely held faith, whilst being a programmer on the side. Whilst living with them, seven years single and three years as a married man, I had reached the lowest echelons of male leadership as a Leading Serving Brother. An LSB. Mr Stanton was fond of acronyms. And he was in charge of everything. This story is from some time after Mr Stanton was dead. Someone else was in charge. We had, what

Crimes of the Cult

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind Content warnings: mentions of child abuse I'm a cult survivor. I joined the Jesus Army in 1996 when homeless. I lived in the "all things in common" communes until 2006. There are more stories and information on the  Jesus Army Survivors blog . See also: The Senior Apostolic Leader of the Cult There was a man in the cult who it later turned out was a paedophile who abused some of the children brought up in the cult. We watched his personality crumble until he became a kind of shambling tramp. And then he was arrested for the abuse, which kind of explained the change. I knew him from my early days in the cult. When I first arrived, homeless and broken, I was set to work in the chicken huts collecting eggs from the thousands of free range chickens at the farm. All the "guests" were put to labour on the farm or the cult businesses. I went on to work for nearly ten years at a

Dealing with it

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind No hell but what they make The only time that I've been involved in drug dealing it was with the Director of Communications for the Church of Scotland. Let's call him John to protect the guilty. We were both at Corpus Christi college, Cambridge university. I was doing a law degree and going mad, he was doing a sociology degree (widely considered to be a drinking degree) and getting laid a lot. We both smoked a lot of weed. He was into out of body experiences and history. I was fairly convinced that whatever career path he wandered down "diabolical genius" was the job title he would end up with. I wasn't too far wrong as it turned out. One of his acquaintances had come into "quite a lot of weed" and we were both aspiring entrepreneurs and fed up of paying retail price for weed. The standard unit for buying "not small" quantities of weed was still a nine

Love is a Superpower

For most people, adults and children alike, something extraordinary happens when we feel very loved. The defences drop, the eyes go clear and bright, a light turns on. And beauty shines. That's the best sight in the world. The most remarkable feat of nature. Natural goodness. Do you know how to tell how to love people? You listen to them. Do you know when most people will feel loved? When you listen to them. Listening to people to work out what makes them feel loved, and proving you've listened and seeing if you're right, and watching people open up and grow. That's the most fulfilling thing I know to do. Given the choice that's how I'd spend my days. For myself, and others I know like most cats, my love language is respect. I observe in myself that when I'm treated with respect I feel loved and that makes me grateful. So I try to do the same for others My favourite reason that love is a superpower. When you love people it's hard for them not

A Travel Tip for Visiting New Cities

Here's one of my travel tips for visiting new cities. Mostly an excuse to tell a story really. Part of my ongoing auto-hagiography. When I was twenty I was homeless for about a year. I slept in squats, cars, hostels, night shelters, shop doorways, car parks and a whole bunch of other places. The concrete multi-storey car park, woken up at 6am by a security guard every morning and with cardboard for a mattress if we were lucky, was the worst. The cold of the concrete seeped right into my bones and I swear some still resides there in a numb part of my leg. I was involved with a charity working with the homeless for about eight or nine years, six of them employed part time doing service development and community liaison. The cult I was part of had a particular "ministry" of serving the homeless and vulnerable. During the ten years I'd lived in the cult commune at "The Farm" we'd had homeless people, ex homeless people, and about to be homeless people w

Paradise Mill

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind I remember not long having started secondary school, Tytherington High School, but before we moved from Macclesfield to Harpenden for my Dad's new job when I was 14. I was probably about ten or eleven. We lived on Tytherington Park Road, a leafy suburb of the northern industrial town Macclesfield. Once the termination of the international silk trade. Silk caravans ended in Macclesfield. Last I knew there was still one working silk mill in Macclesfield; Paradise Mill. Nearby were saltmines, once worked by the Romans about a couple of millenia ago. Lion Salt Works still operated then, with huge evaporation pans for the rock salt dug up there. I knew a girl. A lovely young lady, she was as shy as I but very pretty and went to the same church as we did. I think we may have played together on occasion. Her mother died and her father remarried, almost "suspiciously quickly" was the gene

Accidental Millionaire

You can read more of my story in: My Autohagiography: Fragments of a Once Broken Mind An acquaintance of mine once won a million pounds on the lottery. He was sitting on the toilet doing the scratchcard when he discovered. It was January. He was a nice chap, I'd met him in the cult. Him and his mrs and kid. He spent quite a lot on trainers and watches, and a great deal more than that on mdma and cocaine. He was paying full whack, retail, on the mandy and charlie too. By the end of the year the money was gone but he still owned his house, and he'd had a great year. He hired a limo for us all to go to a rave in Manchester or Liverpool or somewhere. He had infinite mandy. I'd done more than a gram by the end of the night and wasn't really functioning. His brother and his girlfriend both kissed other people and had a furious fight on the way back. She said her love bite was from a girl so it didn't count. Turned out it wasn't from a girl anyway. Scott and I went