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Tuesday
Jan222019

setting

A man can only be as wise as his setting. This is why the great teachers put so much effort into set and setting. They know that we are only channels for the wisdom that is actually out there not in here. By controlling setting they channel more. The ignorant heap praise upon them and even worship them. But they have simply been doing an exemplary job of channelling what is available to them. Instead of focussing on 'getting more knowledge', think about the kind of setting that would require you to be more wise, and act more wisely.

Monday
Jan142019

another ancestor who strangely also ran a writing school...

TWIGGER, Robert

1713 - 1800

Robert Twigger, was born in 1713/14. In 1741, when of Hadleigh, Suffolk, was a beneficiary under his uncle Robert Twigger's will (AW3 71 Essex Wills Beneficiaries Index). He married at Elmsett, Hadleigh, Suffolk on 7 April 1743, Mary Steames. On 15 December 1744, Twigger was licenced to teach at a Free School at East Bergholt, Suffolk and in 1749/50 was running a Writing School at East Bergholt (Ipswich Journal 10 February 1749). By 1758 he had returned to Hadleigh and was exercising other skills 'Draws Sun-Dials, paints Alter-Pieces in Churches, writes the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and Commandments, in the neatest Manner; draws Scriptures Sentences upon the Walls, with beautiful Margins round the same. He has lately beautified Hadleigh and Hitcham Churches. Any Gentlemen, Church Wardens &c. who will be pleased to employ him, shall meet with entire Satisfaction, and the Favour gratefully acknowledged by their humble servant' (Ipswich Journal 11 February 1758). His wife died in 1766 and he married secondly at Hadleigh on 21 February 1767, widow Sarah Carew (died 1796). He was buried at Hadleigh St Mary Church on 20 January 1800, aged 86.

Sunday
Jan062019

Some notes on the poet Edward Thomas

In an account of his life the year 1900 merits this entry: "Gains a second-class History degree; starts a precarious and lifelong career as a writer."

A hard grafter on grubb street, in one amazingly productive week he reviewed 15 books. He wrote several books each year.

What is astonishing is that he didn't start to write poetry until he was 36. His last poem was written when he was 38. He enlisted even though he could have avoided frontline duty owing to his age. Killed by a bullet through the chest in 1917 at 39.

Friday
Dec282018

new years resolutions

1. Tidy the office

2. More walking

3. Build a skin boat

4. Take analogue photos and colour them with watercolours

5. Write a journal instead of using social media

Monday
Dec102018

justice, fairness, rights

You cannot reduce high level activity (meaning only adult humans with considerable competency can carry them out) to lower level activity without missing out the crucial ingredient. So it is when people parrot that 'justice is fairness'. If it was, then there wouldn't be any justice. Justice is fairness+foresight. Foresight, of course, being the factor X that no simplistic moral rule book can deal with. It is just happens to be somethig humans can do.

Which leads us to rights. How can we talk about rights unless there is a structure in place to enforce those rights? That means a non-corrupt judiciary and an executive police force to make sure rules are adhered to. That's quite a tall order. So before any talk of rights we need to look at what makes for non-corrupt civic behaviour. This probably requires family and tribal bonds to be weakened. if they are not, talk of rights is premature. You need to relocate justice within a different tribal or familial framework.

Likewise, within a family, there can be no talk of rights unless family bonds are reduced to almost nothing. The concept of justice within the famlly requires fairness and foresight; both of which taking a second place to love, which in this context means attention to others and doing things for others in a non-transactional way.

Wednesday
Oct172018

the thief

In many mystical and traditional systems the figure of the thief comes up in teaching stories. You see it refracted in popular culture in the beguiling character Bilbo Baggins who must become a burglar to defeat Smaug and get the gold. A thief is cunning, maybe, but more than that he or she has to think on their feet, think for themselves, assess the actual situation and know when to strike- have some sense of timing.

In traditional martial arts the teacher does not 'teach'. Quite often he aims to obscure his real skills, where the real information lies. The students are enjoined 'to steal his technique'. They hang around after hours, watch him very very closely and sometimes get it. (But in the modern world they are then tempted to go public, franchise the product and retire on the proceeds...)

One reason for 'not teaching' is the very good one that the teacher may not know himself how he does something. And by trying to communicate it verbally may hinder your efforts to learn. You need to see for yourself and frame it in your own terms. Though of course this is fraught with further difficulties if you have tendency to project onto what you see.

The key, or one, lies in looking carefuly. This means looking with a 'transparent head' on. A mind that is all eyes and no running dialogue. Never mind the whirling arms, the shouts, what is really going on?

The thief plans a heist. He scopes out the joint, he sees what is just part of the furniture and what is valuable. he sees which window is vulnerable and which is alarmed. Now take that metaphor and see how you approach those who have something you admire, some truth seeking ability and truth dealing ability and disregard what they say, or take it as just one more ingredient. Really look at what they do. Pay especial attention to the moves made to distract you, then look elsewhere. Usually it is closer to home, and on the surface quite mundane, even old fashioned...

Saturday
Oct132018

ego puncturing

How many times have you read or heard your ego is your worst enemy, that you block your own light, that your self is getting in your own way?

But how to do something about it?

There are a number of traditional solutions: practising gratitude is one.

Then there is pushing your own sense of tolerance. Note the things you just won't or can't tolerate. Then experiment for a while tolerating them.

These are shortcuts. If you don't use them, over time- maybe years- life will deal you an ego blow. It is of course, up to you how you react to it, but it'll come.