Stupid, stupid

Funnily, when I am really focussed on a monotonous task, my mind frequently wanders far and wide, until I find myself rebuking myself for something I said or did 25 years ago. “Stupid, stupid,” is my common refrain, followed by a shudder. It’s the closest we have to time travel. If only I could go back to say sorry.

Our quarrelling sages

The public bickering of our self-proclaimed scholars is embarrassing to witness. Their self-assured conceit; their arrogance in defending their position — whether they are right or wrong — reveals only that they have spent far too long buried in books, and no time at all honing social skills that would allow them to interact with others in a mature and convivial manner. Were it not for their title of scholar, many of these men would have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.

These quarrelling men lack all comprehension of the effect of their behaviour on those who take from them. Perhaps some are impressed by their obsessive compulsive attention to detail, or their zealotry in defending their position — but most people are surely repulsed, seeing past their vast expertise in their field and seeing instead only their extreme ignorance of all other facets of life.

Outside the peculiar milieu they inhabit, I wonder how their scholarship is viewed: would they survive in academia, where their ideas, concepts and beliefs would be tested more rigorously? Would they survive the challenges of the real world, beyond their slavish, devoted followings and the deficient opponents they duel?

Surely it is time for these full time scholars and teachers to enter the world of employment, to earn an honest living, to interact with different kinds of people and to spend some quality time outside their pious environs: and then maybe they will grow conscious of the exacerbating spectacle of their public sparring with their equally risible opponents in the name of their inheritance. Perhaps then reality might dawn on them. Perhaps then they might wake up.

Untouchable

Good news, O wise one: in this world, in the eyes of the masses that follow you, you are untouchable. Whatever accusation may befall you, your devoted admirers see only a malicious campaign of slander; the fruit of the very conspiracies you perpetually warn them about, and nothing more. So relax, O wise one: travel the world once more, speaking to the vast audiences that adore you: scribble your signature on the cover page of a thousand books, pose for a hundred selfies, carry on as if nothing ever happened. For you the presumption of innocence is a guarantee, a license to tarry forth. Good news, O wise one: in this world you are untouchable. Ah, but be warned: in the next world it is another story entirely.

Red lines

Personally it doesn’t bother me if a Muslim government wants to buy sophisticated weapons systems from Israel or sign energy deals to benefit from their Eastern Mediterranean gas fields.

But if you’re going to condemn me for eating ice cream manufactured by a global multinational which has a subsidiary that once traded in Israel, I should at least be allowed to wince at the gross hypocrisy when you constantly celebrate the President’s popularist platitudes regarding Israel.

While you were busy checking the barcodes on jam to make sure it wasn’t made in Israel, the government of the self-appointed saviour of the Muslims has been busy courting billions of dollars worth of bilateral trade with the very nation it condemns in public.

You must forgive my bitter cynicism, but I see all of these bold proclamations simply as part of the perpetual electioneering strategies of those desperate to cling hold to power at whatever cost.

Red lines may appeal to the masses, but as they say: actions speak louder that words.

Even angels ask

Most of us start with a position and then collect all of the available information to support it. In life, we are like undergraduate students who decide on a conclusion for their essay, and then set about gathering the data to prove their contention. Anything that does not conform to or support our position, we jettison and throw away. Anything that does support our position, no matter how spurious or contentious, we champion as incontrovertible evidence that must not be questioned. Continue reading “Even angels ask”

Divine retribution

Who is the disbeliever denying God’s signs who will be recompensed with torment in the hereafter? Is it really just anybody, or a certain type of person? Is it just the average man on the street minding his own business, or those who knew they were doing something wrong, whilst harming others in the process? Continue reading “Divine retribution”

Laws of the universe

There are many laws of the universe I don’t like very much, but my liking or disliking them has no impact on them. We can choose where we stand, but our choice does not change the law.

I don’t very much like the incredible violence and energy that led to the creation of our sun and solar system billions of years ago, or the brutal tectonic forces which nevertheless maintain the integrity of our planet, or weather systems capable of both nurturing life and smashing it to pieces. If you smoke, there is a high probability that you will develop lung cancer; naturally we dislike such laws, but they are a reality.

Ultimately, my opinion of the laws of the universe have no bearing on their continuing existence. Perhaps that is why I have difficulty answering the questions of one who comes to me demanding to know what I think: because what I think is immaterial to its reality.