Category Archives: Observations

Social Stagnation

Social Stagnation

‘If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.’ John F. Kennedy.

It seems that Britain’s rich never really took heed of this warning. A recent study has found that less-academic wealthy children are 35% more likely to find success then their more-academic poorer peers (‘Glass Floor’ Study). It’s hardly surprising that people want to maintain their wealth – human greed is an inevitability of life – nor is it astonishing that people are zealously doing whatever is at their disposal to ensure the success of their offspring. These are justifiable motives, which anyone could be guilty of and one cannot condemn people for.

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The Arrogance of Experience

The Arrogance of Experience

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

I have always found this to be one of the most accurate comments that Shakespeare has ever produced. I find that as soon as one accepts their own intelligence or wisdom then they are doomed to a life of ignorance. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and care little about from where that knowledge can be gained or achieved. I find that knowledge is something that we all possess elements of but to achieve the intact ‘Grail’, as it were, is little more than a fallacy.

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Austerity, Fear and Britain’s Politics of Destruction

putin-cameron_3107790b

I’ve not posted any entries for a few weeks as I’ve been struggling to acclimatise to British society once again. I’m spending a couple of months teaching in a school outside London. It seems that no matter how often I spend time in the UK, I still need to adapt to the culture here. I’ve chosen to write my first post on the morning of – Cameron’s government’s latest assault on the people of England – the London tube strike.

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Paperwork: A Life’s Work in Futility

Paperwork

I spent yesterday filling rubbish bags with paperwork and novels that have occupied this earth longer than I have myself. I’ve found exams, which were sat the year I was born and meticulously gathered, and adapted folders of notes, which are completely obsolete. I couldn’t help but allow my mind to drift towards the philosophical as I discarded it all with minimal prejudice.

It really made me think: do we spend our lives accumulating a bank of resources that only reaches completion when it is being thrown in a recycling heap?

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Writing – A Healthy Psychosis?

Brain-imageI’ve written before about the need to write and the significance of this desire to my life and writing. However, the more I think about it – when I’m not writing – the more I believe that it is almost like a psychosis or (more correctly) the cure for one.

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The G7 and Political ineptitude

global Warming

Image From: http://thecoloradoobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/global.jpg

‘The G7 leading industrial nations have agreed on tough measures to cut greenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century’[1].

Is this really something that we, as a society, should be celebrating? We are talking about a political promise that will not even come into effect in the lifetimes of those who pledged it! Doesn’t this seem deeply flawed at its very heart? How many political pledges from the early 20th century can you remember? The time that lapsed saw two world wars, countless social and technological revolutions and the entrance into a whole new age of humanity.

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Social Skills and Schools

School weighting

As a society we put so little emphasis on emotion health and well being in children that it is surprising how many functional adults we produce. This may seem like a bold statement and a misguided one if one considers the number of people in prisons and institutions across the world. However, the majority of us make it through out teenage years with – surprisingly – few lasting problems and some idea of how to function in society.

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Gay marriage is legalised in Ireland – Finally!

Gay Marriage

Ireland – the home of my formative years – has become the first country to legalise gay marriage through referendum. This has been a great step forward for a country that only officially legalised homosexuality twenty-five years ago. It’s a victory for Ireland and a further loosening of the grip that the Catholic Church holds on the throats of Ireland’s people. However, it must be analysed what a vote against gay marriage actually advocates.

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Is Life an Exam?

The exam of life

It’s that time of the year again when I’ve got to prep students on how to do their external exams. I say prep them for the exams because technique takes precedence over knowledge and skill. It’s a sad fact of teaching that creativity must ultimately be stifled in order to facilitate the answering of a question ‘correctly’. This doesn’t necessarily encompass teaching young adults the conventions of literary criticism and the importance of this knowledge in further study nor the enjoyment of literature and an appreciation of its process. Instead there are certain conventions – varied across different exam boards – which students must follow. If the students fail to follow these then their grade will invariably decrease. This brings me to the central question of this article: Is life an exam?

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The Forgotten Price of Haggling in the Medinas of Marrakesh

Market 2

The souks of Marrakesh’s Medina certainly seem like a throwback to the Medieval and the forgotten. If it wasn’t for the marketers touting the usual tourist tack, the ubiquitous bottles of Coca-Cola and the mesmerised tourists it would seem like a forgotten time. The chaos, the smells and the products have, sadly, long been cleansed from the streets of Europe. With them the art of haggling has long since been eliminated from common practice. The art of haggling has more or less collapsed in Europe about 150 years ago. And with it, it has taken our ability to partake successfully in the practice.

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