Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Politically conservative

Notice the small 'c'.

I am not adverse to change, but rather I do not support it as a policy. Development of current strategies might be needed, and indeed alterations to institutional beliefs are likely, but on a whole I think change undermines where we have managed to come from.

Posed with this question less than a week ago, my response was to politicise the origin of mankind; we were not evolved from democracy, nor were we brought about by a CHANGE in policy, but rather a physiological adaptation to our environment hundreds of thousands, potentially millions (if you believe the descention from certain proxies) of years previous to our own.

Essentially, and this is only opinion based on my personal studies, albeit limited, into the evolution of hominids, we acclimatised to our environment the same as animals and plants do now, and the same as physical elements adapt to alterations in the 'mean' inputs. I believe that where we've come from coincides with where we're going to, and in the long run human occupation is just an intellectual means to justify where we are now and where we're going in the future.

I believe that we can do little to alter what we've already done, and what we've already done has little impact on what would naturally have occured. As a Geographer, it is my right to define what might happen in the short-medium term based on what has happened previously, hence my OPINION that there will be little significant change determining the future of the planet.

As long as life exists, I will not scoff. We were coincidence as much as fortune; dumb luck of Darwinism. To demand more than what we've been granted is another example of the selfishness of humanity in the face of biological adversity. We may not have been directly responsible for the extinction of many flora or fauna, but living without guilt is a dangerous road to follow. You become Budhist without really anticipating the alterations in one's outlook on existence.

So here I am, plodding along as another entity of what we've come to accept as 'real life'. While merely a blip in the history of this wondrous and exciting planet, we have carved our paths out of faith and acceptance, determining the fate of mankind by the actions we have now, in the past and in the future. But while we are concerned about ourselves, we should be more determined to encourage life outside of our megafaunal habitation; few will agree, but the key to life is held with the algae and plankton rather than the elephants and whales.

We will never be able to protect everything that's required, but referring back to the original title of this entry, we must at least attempt to preserve things as they are and fight 'change'; it only seeks to undermine what we've managed in this heartbeat of humanity compared to the history of our space-rock.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Flat out and sprawled

I'm not working hard. I'm not playing hard. I'm getting lucky, but I've earned the right to in some respects, and I'm getting berated still, but then karma is a wonderful thing.

Having offered to step up and fill the goalkeeper's boots at University, I produced a display worthy of my self-appointed man-of-the-match award. It wasn't as busy an evening I've had in net before, nor was it as flambouyant, but I didn't concede despite a number of attempts from the opposition, some more impressive than others, and regardless of the fact we only scored one, we still won the game this afternoon.

But the argument has long been beyond mere mortal factors such as the performances we have turned in or the results we have gotten out of it; rather, it's why we bother in the first place.

For me, competition has never been 'competition'. I can thank my parents for bringing me up to believe in the taking part rather than the winning, and although I do like to win, it's still a philosophy I attempt to conform to even now. For example, I have stood in campaigns and campaigned for candidates, I have wanted for something to happen and, regardless of whether it won or lost, took place or was overlooked, it is the fact I cared enough to be a part of it that holds dear to me.

I have tried and failed so many times that counting successes to failures makes no difference. Instead, despite the best efforts of influences from within my upbrining and Society around me, I care little for the relatively minor outcomes that affect my life. People will always think in collective terms, and regardless of whether they feel they're bettered by some factors, the guilt, or relative guilt in terms of a social conscience, will always force them to think the same as the people in their lives they value the most. Usually this means family or friends, but every so often it involves people beyond their social circles.

Every so often, however, they think 'controversially'; OPINION outweighs facts, or at least OPINION outweighs 'greater judgement'.

This entry, and indeed this blog, is not exempt from political, or Political, influences, but for best interests it tries to remain as unbiased as possible. Indeed, much of the 'politics' discussed tends to resolve around the one institution I care the most about, in Queen Mary University's Students' Union administration.

I have made comments in the past, unjustified, to suggest certain elements aren't pulling their weight, and it is perhaps me that needs to question the amount of effort I'm putting in compared to the amount I expect to take out. If the ratio ever exceeds 1:1 (with me being the second entity), then of course I am right to complain, but at best what I am seeing is 1:7, so subsequently my thoughts hold no validity.

Again, this is an attempt to enlighten the population by quantifying suggestions.

So here I am, pouring my thoughts and OPINIONS out to those who'll listen. I cannot sometimes justify my beliefs in any more than a simple sound, a gargled, 'bleugh' or a forced, 'meh'. But I have at least realised that is not my place to question, nor is it my place to blindly follow. As with most things in life, there is a happy medium from which we can begin to understand the forcings happening beyond our control, and from there we can either seek to justify, question for betterment of the masses or accept in order to avoid confrontation.

With my dissertation due in soon, plus other coursework and numerous personal objectives reaching their climax, I am in no position to formulate a strategy to do anything other than the last of those options, so I hope that, despite the limited readership of this particular blog, others in and around my current walks of life will accept something similar.

That is not to say that anytime soon I won't throw in the towel in a heat of passion and rise up against the authorities I voted in, rather for the meantime a peaceful transition towards the next stage of SU evolution, and indeed fiscal, social and perhaps even biological enhancements, would be the best chance to change what is 'wrong' with our lives.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Big words: why the mystery?

Once again, I can only apologise for leaving it so long between posts, but out of nowhere this year I've actually decided to do some work.

Anyway, without meaning to return back to the issue of 'truth' constantly, I think a lot of people really need to get with the programme. Yes, sometimes it isn't what you want to hear, and sometimes the truth hurts, but unfortunately the truth is the one thing that's indisputable in this world. Ironically, of course, the real truth is the only thing that has been completely manufactured by mankind; 'scientific truths' are subject to investigation and cannot be controlled, while the varying levels of truth offered through documentation, archives and evidence, the very things that we ourselves have created in order to control our own lives, is crystal clear.

Even if sometimes there's a lot of jargon associated with it in order to disrupt our ability to find the facts and instead allow for degrees of uncertainty, or what I like to call 'interpretation'. Interpretation relies on a personal, ontological perspective on how something should work, be it a policy designed to enforce a law or rule or be it a philosophical basis for belief in, or against, a religion or popular thought.

While these are, of course, the truth, it is often unclear how the rules should be enforced, what level of enforcement is required and, at times, what is breaking the rules. Take the many translations of religious texts, for example. Because it is impossible to truly understand the intentions without having a) been there when they were being written, and b) knowing fully the language they were originally written in and the various likely mistranslations that could occur, it is no wonder that there is so much confusion, even within those groups that essentially worship the same idols.

If my idols (or ideology) is to enforce the rules of a certain organisation then my interpretation has to be as limited as possible; I want the facts and the figures rather than knowing the wrangling room within which I can operate. I would like a strict set of guidelines to follow and procedures to put in place. This is why I think I would probably operate well in administration - I've been too quick to use big, unnecessary words that sometimes lose the weight of the meaning in their useage in an attempt to avoid appearing either dumb or patronising.

However, it has quickly come to my attention that while people are clever, the population is stupid (to paraphrase Tommy Lee Jones in 'Men In Black'). It is easier to keep everything clear and open by using the small, concise words that allow for no, or limited, interpretation. This is not a scathing attack on the misplaced romanticism of this language I love so much, but rather a call to those who abuse its vaguities in order to remain enigmatic or ambiguous, so as not to have to enforce a policy. I am not calling for Newspeak, but I reckon there's a place for something similar to avoid catastrophes of varying magnitudes in the short-term.

Words such as 'significant' or 'substantial' need to be put in context. We have mathematicians capable of producing insanely complex formulae to work out taxes or inflation, so why can't we put some of their genius to define, numerically and quantitatively, these phrases? For example, 'significant' could be, 'less than 50% but more than 25% of a budget, plus 25% of its previous year's budget', while 'substantial' could be, 'anything higher than 40% of its previous year's budget plus 40% of its current expenditure' or something. While these are only suggestions, which themselves are limited, it immediately begins to reduce the risk of interpretation, or misinterpretation, depending on how you choose to view this particular topic.

I hope this has cleared up my position on big words and their over-use and unnecessary appearances in many documents that define how we live our lives.

(Yes, many of you will probably think that THIS entry is either packed with a few misleading or unnecessary words, or indeed that it was a waste of resources to write it, but no great things were ever done by sitting around thinking. Policies need action, and action defines the man.)