A few thoughts which are not conclusions, but feel more like a speculation.
Whatever our language there tends to be flaws that lend themselves to manipulation and, if we seek to be as reasonable as we can while seeking to improve our reasonable approach – especially in communication, we may well tend to expect other people to also be reasonable. Or, for both of us to be reasonably reasonable; adding alliteration.
Someone who has an inherent love of truth within themselves will tend to foster that love; and its manifestation of accuracy; into a more accurate and meaningful state.
However, we can be setting ourselves up for trouble if we expect all people to be as reasonable, or as truth loving, as they can. Even if they do truly love the truth they may have encountered (and experienced) that paraphrase of, “the truth shall make us free” Namely, “the truth shall make us free, but first it will make us angry” Angry at having pre-conceived notions upset or, more to the point, having to sort out which are pre-conceived notions which need correcting, which are pre-conceived notions that are ok except for maybe a little tweaking and … what are things that have withstood (or will withstand) the scrutiny of “measure twice – cut once” which is so popular in construction.
I have heard this concept attacked as an example of low self esteem that’s based on uncertainty but, this attack helped me to see how some; who claim to love truth; will pretend to be reasonable until they get a chance to put a metaphorical knife in the back, such as attacking this means of scrutinizing to insure that the process (of discovery) wasn’t rushed in a way that could lead to flaws.
Unreasonable behaviour can also be condescending, especially when accompanied with a falsely sympathetic smile and an assurance that the perpetrator wants to “help”
I once called this sort of thing “subtle brutality”, on a facebook page, and somebody responded that brutality is not subtle. Self felt like responding that this negates the pain (possibly suppressed to where it will further the injury) of one who has been inflicted with the “smile in the face and the knife in the back” However it was on someone else’s timeline so I resisted the urge to so respond.
I’ve found that my opponents have been some of my best teachers in finding truth, once I realized that not everyone is going to be reasonable about such things as a true definition (not just knowledge of) good and evil.

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Conspiracy Theory

I see two types of functional conspiracies; the better known one where plotters meet, likely in secret, and devise a plan whereby they intend to subtly bring their agenda about without anyone noticing (at first) and without anyone knowing, or being able to prove (later) who’s enacting the conspiracy.
The other type would be what I choose to call a “grass roots” conspiracy. In this case a few individuals would start working to push an agenda on society, as a whole culture or, on a somewhat autonomous part of the overall culture. Although the individuals may not know each other or, if they do not know each other, each does know that the others are working on the same (or similar) agenda. As things progress; gradually in order to fulfill a desire to keep the affected culture from realizing that a conspiracy is being enacted; the different participants notice the “effect” part of cause and effect and; make one of three decisions. They could track the effect back to whoever is the “cause” part of the support and band together – thus moving from “grass roots” as they unify into the, aforementioned, underground group.
The second choice could be to become jealous and work to exclude each others work in some subtle way. This disharmony would disrupt would tend to disrupt whatever it is they’re trying to achieve, somewhat like random waves colliding on a surface or a pond as they criss cross each other thereby changing progress of the agenda into a minor tumoil. This would not fall into a functional category and, therefore, is not one of the two I mention however, it could remain relatively dormant and ready to be enacted if society becomes severly stressed and looks about for a desperate solution to the source of the stress.
Then there’s the third part, where the individuals of the “grass roots” type manage to effectively conform, to minor differences of approach where it doesn’t matter, and keep the main agenda securely progressing. This may be slow, anarchistic and would take patience but, there’s a chance for a greater security than in the secret cell structure of some organized conspiracies where no one (at least in the operative, or field, level) can betray more than a few others – if they rebel or if they are apprehended by the established authourity if that established authourity perceives the conspiracy as a threat.
* * *
I admit that this is basically speculative but, I have based it on a lot of research including, but not limited to, thought experiment. However, while a thought experiment has limitations, mainly lacking validation (or not) from experiential testing that could help it evolve, I see some interesting masses of data which are most significant due to what appears to be a large quantity of that data.
For instance, virtually everytime I bring up the so-called “conspiracy theory” some one responds with ridicule. Now, ridicule is quite a powerful and destructive means of attack, even though it isn’t usually portrayed as such. So, how come no matter how many angles I come at the subject of conspiracy theories I approach from and, no matter how much I circle around looking for a possible opening I seem to encounter counter attack from what appears to a well organized army of defenders whose positions interlock into a very solid barrier. Kind of like a skilled cavalry screen around a pre firearm army.
Even if there is no army of ridiculers there may well be those who act on their own to ricicule (or not) the conspiracy theory. By (or not) I mean that while they may not ridicule the conspiracy theory but they do ridicule other things as a means of destruction. I’ve found that they can easily be dealt with by stating that the object of their ridicule isn’t ridiculous (or stupid or whatever they call it) just because it’s beyond their ability to understand. Beware; it’s good to be prepared for the guilt trip or other emotional attack which they may respond with. A counter response could be, “Truth hurts” “does truth hurt?” or some such.
The main problem with ridicule, or derision – as it is sometimes called, is that it does not not use much in the way of facts, data or any similar support. This makes it appear, to me, to be a form of subtle violence. Perhaps I should say “hidden” violence because detractors tend to use derision when I say subtle violence. I see this as a sort of effort to negate the pain of a victim who gets the metaphorical “smile in the face and knife in the back” and feels frighteningly closer to pure evil than I am comfortable with. I stress that I said that it feels that frightening and is not a proof but my feeling of fear is real. Never the less, fear is better when inspiring caution rather than submission.
Another factor about ridicule/derision is when it is used to portray something as less than it truly is, or less than it would obviously be seen as, by scorning (in a hidden, joking sort of way) like seeing a child developing their initiative as the child considers many possibilities (inductive logic) and trimming the ones which do not fit so as to examine the last one left (deductive logic) An adult who finds truth painful, or unpleasant, may condescendingly say that the child has “a rich fantasy life” and lure other adults into looking only at the child level of the early struggle as compared to adult role examples. This would be like looking at a toddlers ponderous steps and negating them because they’re nowhere near the quality of an adult gymnast or ballet virtuoso.
Also; since the child is a beginner at speculation that child will tend to range further into highs and lows which are above and below the practical possibilities which he/she will find later in life. These “fantastic” items of speculation may tend to validate any claims that all speculation is pure, and meaningless, fantasy.
I evolved the counter about truth hurting from a quote by Herbert Spencer; “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” which is in the appendix of the Alcoholics Anonymous Basic Text.

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Short Cut

In the free dictionary, which can be found online at, a shortcut is described as a more direct route than the customary one and/or a means of saving time and effort.
What if the first part of the definition is true, but not the second; at least not in all cases?
Could some external agent, such as an individual or group, have managed to intrude into a project without being justified to do so or; without having the justification to intrude to the level which they do intrude? Perhaps the intruder is a mentor of sorts who has a right, or even a responsibility to enter and to participate in a task but not to manage the task. If the agent has the right to only suggest changes, but does not have the right to insist on the suggested changes, do they then go to manipulative means of exerting control? They could use such distractions as derision, “I don’t understand some aspect of the approach to the task therefore it’s flawed, or even meaningless as an application” thereby communicating to the one who is doing the task, as one communicates to a victim – or a sort of victim. A victim by way of being distracted into justifying what they have no need to justify to the derider yet is tricked into being distraced from the task at hand.
Shouldn’t the derider first be looking at their alleged lack of understanding and saying something more like, “I don’t understand so, I need more information.”? Would the best way to get more information be to withdraw; as long as the task is proceeding safely; and assess the outcome? Has self respect too often brought too low for this option to be seriously considered? Is an induced flaw; in the self respect of the one who is interfering with such manipulative means as derision; caused the derider to become a victim of sorts? Are they reluctant to admit to this, because of attached experiences of emotional pain, and (as a result) treat someone else as a victim – thereby seeking vicarious revenge by passing on the past injury to some one lower in the pecking order and spreading a metaphorical sort of spiritual infection? Does this illustrate the saying that “hurt people hurt people”?
However, this leads me to ask if “pecking order” is natural for us, the human race. One may see it in nature on a regular basis but, this is in animal groups that have a common social theme built on motivations which are similar, but not the same as, our motivations. Their sexuality, for the most part, depends on mating season and the female coming into heat. We exhibit something similar in the ups and downs of our sexuality, yet vestigial, as our sexuality is constantly available to us. Is pecking order something that we learned from the animals while interacting with them as hunter/gatherers and, later, as farmers? A vestigial remnant of a thing that, later, became artificially, and inappriopriately, active within the context of our ability to make more reasoned thinking than the animal groups?
And, what about the “and/or” in the definition which is used in the definition that’s used earlier in this page? Is it a short cut that expresses meaning in a way that does save more time and effort without sacrificing meaning? I have read that the use of this is being discouraged because it’s no longer employed much and, is dying out so that, perhaps, can be dispensed with so that communication can flow more smoothly. That which is being communicated via the “and/or” can be said by other means when (rarely) necessary.
Means which are at least a little more ponderous and may not be used enough for the best communication. Is this sort of trimming of such things making the language more efficient with a slight sacrifice in meaning? Is language currently evolving into smooth flowing and highly efficient, but meaningless, noise?
More questions than answers here but, I’m becoming more active here again and will seek to offer suggested answers.

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Short Cuts

I don’t feel as much of an impact with this one however, it feels necessary to add it as a stepping stone to others (of greater impact) that I feel are still coming to the fore.

Short cuts are variously described and, the one which seems to best fit what is being communicated here, comes from and refers to a short cut as a more direct one than the usual one or a means of saving time and effort. Scholastic books by Oxford and Miriam Webster have good technical stuff but, here, I try to cut to the chase with a simple wording.

For instance, what if the first; about the shorter aspect; is true but not the second? If a short cut can be illustrated by a line that’s closer to straight than the one we’re used to could it have remained unused due to metaphorical thickets of brambles and ups and downs? The short cut may be geographically shorter but, involves a longer running use of time and effort. Could this be why the term appears to sometimes be used derisively?

Also, if the trip through the traditional, and geographically longer, way is a journey, of learning or revelation, then the traveller may be deprived by a lesser benefit if some necessary subjective/experiential input gets replaced by experiencing non productive hardship. The hardship may teach about something else but, only by distracting attention to other issues that lesson the overall focus.

On the other hand, a short cut could be an overall improvement; usually, but not limited to, an increase in efficiency and a further grasp in the principles that contributed to the increase in efficiency. Perhaps this route was known, but never used, due to a stereotyping of all short cuts as a loss through rejecting the process of a complete task that leads to a well derived conclusion. Couldn’t this stereotyping also be related to the metaphorical term of “elbow joggling” which seeks to disqualify a worker’s skill or product through means which do not involve truths but, rather, a hidden emotional violence which is presented as valid data?

After all, the best carpenter (of our modern era) couldn’t drive a nail in properly if another person stood behind him/her and joggled their elbow.

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Other People’s Stuff

In many places I’ve encountered someone (icluding some one organization) where; all but one contribution (including the one’s which support the main one) has been stifled, or disqualified, by a put down that has no facts, or other good reason, for the put down. An observer may say that the one who does the “put downs” is more of an able contributor due to their success but; breaking other peoples’ stuff is easier than it is for the owner to defend it. Like a jealous person with a sledgehammer overwhelming the victim. No brain sweat required for the wielder of the sledgehammer.Also, the one whose contribution is swept aside may have a guilt trip-derived feeling that it could be somehow “rude” to defend and, thereby, bring overt conflict into the discussion, even though covert conflict may already have been imposed by the one who takes the easier, softer way of destroying, rather than reasonably disputing.

At the end, the destroyer; whose idea was the only one which was fully, or effectively, presented; can truthfully claim that their’s was the best – since it’s the only one fully and effectively presented.

What comes to mind is an anology of children building sandcastles on a beach. While I admit that probably no analogy is perfect in application; I feel that there is a fair comparison if one of the children kicks everyone else’s sandcastles apart and proclaims, rightly so, that their sancastle is the best. I mean, if it’s the only one (which survived) it is the best on the beach at the time. Low self esteem and a giving in to fear of comparison may well enter here.

But then, if their’s is the best because it’s the only one – wouldn’t it also be the worst for the same reason?

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When is a gift not a gift?

A gift comes without a price tag, right? Well, there’s an exception in an old superstition that a gift with a cutting edge; such as a pocket knife or certain tools; should have a charge of the smallest denomination of money which is available – usually a copper penny, which is in the process of being discontinued in Canada by the way. Perhaps a five cent piece will be used soon by those Canadians who follow the tradition. Seems like a token charge anyway.

At any rate, this is the only time (which I know of) when money is charged for a gift but, could there be other ways of charging? Recently I saw a cartoon where a man was wearing a hat that was so oversized that he looked ridiculous, but his wife insisted that he wear it during his mother in law’s visit (she was on the way to their home) for the duration of the visit, since it was a gift from the man’s mother in law.

Then, an aquaintance of mine told me of how outraged he was when he bought a vase for a mutual friend who was very well off financially, but not wealthy. It seems the outrage was about the recipient not returning the favour with a gift back. Possibly a more valuable “gift” so that their contribution was relative in how much they gave in regard to their resources. Then again, perhaps not but … there was still an expectation of something.

These, and so many other examples, lead me to wonder if many an alleged gift is really no such thing, but rather the tip of a metaphorical lever to exert undue power and control on the recipient.

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When someone says to trust them I ask, how much and in what way(s) For instance, if someone is an exceptional surgeon, can I trust them to rebuild a car engine for me? I don’t see how any person can be trusted in all ways; even if (especially if) they use a guilt trip.

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