When I got home from work last Friday (moved from the office/bedroom to the dining room – I do love my commute these days), I saw an excited wife, surrounded by neoprene goodies.
Not wanting to do things in half measures, she had bought a wet-suit, wet-shoes, wet-gloves and soon-to-be wet-robe.
Either she was leaving me for a life on Bondi Beach with a surfer, or she was contemplating something closer to home.
I was perplexed, given the fact that December was just around the corner and her sensitivity to cold is extreme when compared to most.
Intrigued, I asked her what was all the gear for, to which she explained that she had just joined a club. The local club, which has 1,500 members is called The Chilly Dippers, so first thing on Sunday we took the short five minute drive to the beach at high tide to see what it was.
We were totally shocked at the amount of people there, there are usually plenty of car spaces when we take our pooch for a walk at similar times (albeit when the tide is out). There were lots of people in the water already, kayakers, paddle-boarders, swimmers and “dippers”.
It was the dippers that caught my eye (in a non-pervy way), some just wearing swimming costumes and coming out of the sea red raw. So these were The Chilly Dippers. My wife is a good swimmer and I wrongly assumed that her new club was a sea-swimming club. Not so. The premise is to go into the sea for no longer than ten minutes, until the body reacts to the cold water and your internal temperature starts to rise, all for health (mind and body) benefits.
Still scratching my head as to why one would do this, I coincidentally saw my yoga tutor on the beach and asked her what she thought.
It turns out that the practice is an ancient one called ishnaan, which the Sikh use as hydrotherapy.
It is used like a kriya in kundalini yoga and “L” does it every day, not in the sea of course, but by showering at home.
The practice and benefits are as follows:
1, Start the freezing cold shower with the extremities, feet first then rising up to the leg, rubbing, massaging using opposite foot and legs, avoiding the thighs.
2. Avoid the reproductive organs as they don’t need to be exposed directly to the cold water stream, they will get it indirectly from the torso.
3. Next it’s hands, arms and shoulders, again rubbing and massaging.
4. From there, move the cold water stream to the navel, abdomen, chest and back.
5. Lastly, up to the face, with eyes, nose, mouth, ears, cheeks, but not the forehead or your hair, as this could send one back into the sleep zone.
6. Cycle is repeated until it has the desired effect or your body has chilled enough for you to stay in the stream constantly, to a maximum of ten minutes as the body would eventually go into shock / hypothermic state.
7. Dry yourself with a warm towel and place several coins in the swear jar!
1. Keeps the skin radiant.
2. Opens the capillaries.
3. Detoxifies organs.
4. Keeps blood composition healthy.
5. Activates the glandular system.
6. Strengthens the entire nervous system.
7. Reduces CO2e by not using a gas-powered heating system.
So this morning I took my first ishnaan (which I intend to do each day now as part of my routine) and truly felt a difference. Of course the water was freezing cold and the noises coming out of the bathroom sounded like Norman Bates was giving it large with mommy’s kitchen knife, but overall it was an invigorating experience.
My body was red (not too dissimilar from the brave costume-wearing Chilly Dippers), and I did have a mild mystical experience. Towards the end of the shower, I felt light headed and my mind appeared in a slightly different time and space from the rest of my body; a reiki type warmth coursing around my neural pathways.
I guess the science behind it is lower blood pressure to the brain giving me that light-headed feeling, as most of the available blood was rushing to the assistance of the top four layers of skins which were being blasted awake by cold water.
From neoprene suits to ancient Sikh daily rituals in a short space of time, life is full of surprises…
Over the past twelve months, we have all to some extent become fledgling virologists. Every news bulletin is presented in front of a large screen emblazoned with various Covid-19 info-graphics depicting how the virus attaches itself to the human cell, opens up a way in and infects the cell until the point where it is either extinguished by antibodies that the cell produces or it takes hold and kills its host, propagating and replicating.
Over the same time period, I have had some very interesting dinner table discussions with the family, and especially my nineteen year old son who is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at University.
He loves engaging in thought-provoking dialogue and I’m more than happy to deliberate and cogitate his musings and arguments and wade in with my opinions, so after re-watching Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, my thoughts turned back to Covid-19 and the info-graphic depicted above on how the microscopic world of an individual cell and things attacking it could be viewed on a much larger scale and how humanity is self-creating real and credible threats to our very existence on Planet Earth, and how cause and effect is impacting our ecosystem.
My opening statement was that humanity (not unlike Agent Smith from The Matrix), is a virus that is attacking the very ecosystem it needs to survive. A virus is defined as “an agent that infects living organisms, often causing disease and death, which in itself is unable to replicate without a host”. Whilst I concede that Earth is may not be conscious (in the way that our brains are) and it does not have a sense or morality, when viewed as a single organism, it is living and can generate effects from the various causes imposed on it to protect itself from extinction.
I took up my pen (converted to a jpeg for clarity) and drew a crude Covid-19 virus molecule and replaced each S-Protein nodule with each anthropogenic risk we are currently facing (adding a non-anthropogenic risk for good measure) and discussed each one at length:
Nano Technology: Also known as grey goo, the current train of thought is that as humanity advances technology and things get smaller and smaller, there is (however small, nano even) a risk that molecular nanotechnology becomes out-of-control and self-replicating machines consume all of the biomass on Earth while building more of themselves, which in theory could consume the entire planet down the core with nothing Mother Earth could do to prevent it. The stuff of science fiction horror movies perhaps, but still a potential risk but we agreed that we would likely not see this one materialising any time soon
War: What is it good for, absolutely nothing (except for the economy of course, as described rather simply and expertly in Zeitgeist: The Movie – one of the best documentaries I’ve seen). The most clear and present danger that humanity currently faces is the ability to destroy itself by conflict, by war. History tells us that a global foot war would never wipe us out as there would lways likely be a winning side. A nuclear war and associated nuclear winter could of course do two things, wipe out humanity plus many plants and animals but the Earth could recover in time (much in the same way it did during the dinosaur era), or toxify the atmosphere and boils the seas so much that all carbon-based systems cease to exist and Mars 2.0 happens
Pollution: It is abundantly clear climate change is here and having a huge impact our ecosystem. Through heavy industry, toxic/plastic waste, deforestation, desertification, natural resource extraction and consumption, the effects are stark and plain for asll to see (whilst not including certain deniers and Paris Accord withdrawers). If those are the main causes, then the effects are equally as numerous, with Earth (in a non-conscious way) producing storms, fires, floods, famines, viruses, earthquakes and even plagues of locusts, all very biblical and ominous. In theory, Earth could in fact continue to react in this way until humanity is wiped out and the order is reset and recovery takes place. Whilst war seems to be the primary risk to life on Earth, if left unchecked climate change is a close second.
Artificial Intelligence: We all love a good dystopian novel/movie, with seminal classics like The Matrix, Terminator and latterly Westworld spinning a shared narrative that self-realising machines become super-intelligent and wage war against humanity until it’s near ultimate demise. Whilst there many benefits to automation (I myself am heavily involved in developing intelligent monitoring systems – not in a state surveillance way I might add), there is a danger, however limited that self-awareness and autonomously acting systems could in theory wreak havoc and Stephen Hawking himself theorizing that AI could indeed see the end of the human race. A quick look at the Boston Dynamics production line (Atlas and Spot which are now available via mail order) would and should give some insights to the potentiality and realisation that a new order could be created if the light-bulb ever gets flicked on, however small the risk appears today
Bio Technology: A biological war could in theory make the human race extinct if a virus reached 100% of the population and had a 100% mortality rate, but Mother Earth (which can do nothing to prevent a man-made biological war) would continue and positively recover from everything man has thrown at it. We may never get to find out how Covid-19 was released on to the human race (by accident or by design), but the wonderful thing about a virus is its ability to mutate to survive, so if you believe that it was released by design by some sort of illuminati / NWO, then lets hope they keep full control on the SAR-COVID-2 strand and don’t let the mortality rate increase to 100%, else that could be end of days territory.
Resource Consumption / Overpopulation: Clearly we have problem, arguably the biggest problem and most realistic threat to our way of life. David Attenborough has said that overpopulation is the biggest existential threat to life on Earth, if we don’t do something about it, nature will do it for us. We have seen unprecendented natural disasters over the last few years and as the planet gets warmer and wilder, and as we consume more than we can produce – using mass-production techniques which release more CO2e into the atmosphere, then our ability to cultivate the land diminishes, desertifcation increases and as such the increasing population goes hungry, until at some point we have burned all the trees, destroyed all of the soils, raised all salty sea levels leaving our ecosystem infertile. Some say that Covid-19 is naturally occurring and it is a curse that Mother Earth has put on us to wake us up to the root cause of our problems, over population.
Genetic Modification: A few Hollywood films have placed such a concept onto the silver-screen. We play God by mapping out our DNA strand and modifying it to iron out the kinks, remove all defects to create post-modern-man, with catastrophic consequences. There is also the notion of cybernetics, where man replaces carbon-based appendages with technology, resulting in a fight between it and IT. The stuff of B-Movies however is unlikely to come to fruition.
Scientific Exploration: So what exactly is going on at CERN? OK they allegedly found the Higgs-Boson God particle, but what they intend to do with it is not entirely clear, neither is the roadmap of experiments. There are clear and present dangers in scientific experiments of this scale, with the potentiality to rip time and space apart, creating a black hole that we all fall into never to return. As Socrates Johnson once said, all we know is that we know nothing, and if Dan Brown’s Angel & Demons anti-matter theme has anything to go by, messing around with the laws of physics we know very little about may see us disappearing up our own arseholes.
Non Anthropogenic: Extinction Level Events. Meteors, aliens and demons (in that order) have the ability to bring the seven point eight billion population count down to zero in a matter of seconds. Deep Impact, Armageddon, Star Wars, Independence Day and Constantine all depict such events in glorious CGI, let’s just hope Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Mark Hamill, Will Smith and Keanu Reeves don’t retire any time soon.
The response to all of this from my “son-beyond-his years” was abrupt and to the point:
Son: “Dad?” Dad: “Yes, son?” Son: “Two things. Firstly, you think too much. Secondly, you’re an idiot…”
The universe of late, it seems, has been listening to my silent screams of frustration, a frustration that most citizens of these lands are also going through true, but my inner torment may have called out louder than any voice.
Two weeks ago, I was knee-deep in my drive towards activism, consuming hitherto hidden truths relating to the pandemic, circumventing that bipartisan and collective narrative spun by ministers and selected scientists across all constituencies and component parts of the “united” kingdom, in search for answers.
Truth seekers, also known as conspiracy theorists to anyone not following the BBC and Sky News, sniff out alternative narratives, forcing like-minded individuals to go to ground, gathering in clandestine fora, coming together to gain both numbers and momentum.
It is a very difficult process, as not only are the authorities against them, but so is more than fifty percent of the population, and as such, fatigue can set in with the spectre of negativity and despair shrouding their every move.
Two weeks ago I felt tired, beleaguered from the fight, longing to get away from it all, longing to fast-forward six years to the time that I clock-off for the last time and head for the hills, literally, setting up a retreat in the rurals to live out my days off the land, self-sufficient and abdicating from the urban nation.
In a strange and timely twist of fate, I got a phone call the next day from my yoga instructor, asking me to design, develop and project manage the building of an “eco-retreat” in North Wales on a piece of land her family had inherited a couple of years back.
I had mentioned my retirement intentions to her just briefly in a passing conversation a few months earlier, not going into any detail at all, yet here we were, discussing the intent for her commune as if I’d written a best selling book on the subject and had implemented installs several times over.
Needless to say the three hour conversation we had flew by and by the end of it, my head still spinning, I agreed to start work on it the very next day.
The very next day was a work day, and with it yet another dollop of kismet came my way. I was given an action in work to develop a “sustainability cook-book” which looked to call out all of the things we buy, do and consume and what the impact of each has on the environment, in an effort to drive down the carbon footprint of the organisations 140,000 staff.
Clearly the oil and gas industry has a lot to do to convince folks in the outside world that it cares. They of course acknowledge that it has been part of the problem (for a long time) but that it is also primed to be part of the solution; that is to produce sustainable and clean energy for the planets inhabitants and ongoing industrial processes.
That starts with the staff. We can all choose to sign up to individual plans to reduce our own carbon footprints, we can choose to develop sustainable and clean solutions by considering the environmental impacts before any functional or non-functional requirement. We can all help to drive the shift away from fossil fuels to renewables and sustainable fuels, leaving the nasty stuff in the ground.
Clearly some individuals who work in the industry want to play their part in putting a stop to the managed decline of the planet, but only time will tell whether the bottom line of profit outweighs the need to be eco-friendly, but do something we must and if I can influence that and change the mindset of my colleagues, then that is what I intend to do on my last rotation before I leave the company.
We must not pay lip service to climate change. We have been accused recently of green-washing by Greta Thunberg and many others which may well be true to a certain extent, so we need to partner with such individuals and groups to deliver real change and sustainable energy for many generations to come.
So within forty eight hours, I had put together the basic plans to build an eco-retreat and a how-to guide to change the hearts and minds of a massive workforce.
Oxygen. Nuts. Sepultura. Arguably three of Brazil’s greatest exports.
Without oxygen produced from the Amazon, we’d be fucked. Without nuts, modern day hunter/gatherers (us paleo types) would be short on protein and energy, and be fucked. Without Sepultura, the NWOTM (New Wave of Thrash Metal) potentially would never have taken off, and be fucked.
I’ve long been a fan of the brothers Cavalera, the raw power of those early Sepultura albums, the side projects of Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly, all banging out brutal chords and guitar solos at breakneck speed, all to a thumping beat and considered lyrics.
I’ve always taken a particular interest in their lyrics (key note speeches if you will), with the general theme of anti-establishment coursing through most songs.
Chaos AD is a particular favourite, an album I have been listening to quite a lot of late, with the opening track “Refuse/Resist” striking a real chord with me as the Covid chaos continues to sprawl across these green and pleasant lands at breakneck speed (not too dissimilar to their speed metal classics).
As reported in the last post, the army were drafted in to enhance and set up seventeen test centres in Liverpool, which was quickly followed by an extension to test secondary schools. If the children of this fair city were not scared enough, imagine eleven year old faces when they were confronted by the armed forces in the playground, behind masks and armed with test kits in hand this morning.
As predicted, the scope was further extended today to our side of the river, with similar demands based on Wirraliens (pronounced we’re aliens – which most folks not from these parts would concur), even though the infection rate (according to the available data) has gone down and continues to do so, with no discernible rise in mortality rates.
Then the news broke yesterday that so many have been waiting for, the vaccine is nigh! This is a vaccine that uses brand new technology that has never been tested on humans before, but whilst most rejoiced with a sigh of relief an a hope that things would return to pre-Covid norms some time soon, I sat there head in hands, with the firm belief that my last somber post is becoming even more of a possibility as each day passes.
Tonight I found out that the advent of the Digital ID / Medical Passport may also be upon us. My brother in law works in the event management business and his establishments will now demand that all patrons who enter his arenas will have to have a digital health passport to watch live events. Then within minutes, I hear on Sky Sports that the Premier League plan introduce the exact same measures. Soon all of the fun things to do (concerts, sporting events, theatre, cinema, international travel etc) may likely follow suit.
And finally, the breaking news that all university students (my son included), must take a Covid test before being “allowed” to travel back home for Christmas.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is what value do we put on freedom, what value do we put on free will, do we want to live in a fully inclusive society or are we happy to live in separation and seclusion.
I am all for pro-choice and if folks are happy to be tested for Covid, be vaccinated against Covid, to allow for their DNA strand to be inventoried, to sign up to be tracked and traced, and to have (potentially) biometric chips injected into them to monitor all of the above, then who am I or who is anyone to say otherwise. That is freedom of choice, free will.
If all of this does come in however, then those who do not sign up may find themselves excluded from society. They may find themselves as outsiders, marginalised because of the choices they have made.
Just think about that for a second. We (most of us, not all of us) have worked so hard in the UK to be the most inclusive and progressive generation this island has even seen.
We have progressed across barriers such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and many others to become a nation where the attitudes of our forefathers have become all but a vague and hazy embarrassing memory of bygone times, teaching our children that they have the freedom and the choice to be what they want to be in a society that is wholly inclusive and does not discriminate.
As things stand, we all still have the choice. A choice to sign up for those things listed above, or a choice not to.
Today we stand on the precipice, a tipping point where society may diverge into one that that looks to exclude parts of its population due to the choices they make. That is not a country that I want to live in. That is not a world that I want to live in.
As a species, we have been here before remember, do we not learn from past transgressions?
The definition of society is thus:
1. A large group of people who live together in an organized way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing the work that needs to be done.
2. The state of being together with other people.
3. An organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.
Way back in 1965, Peter Watkins wrote, directed and produced a “mock-umentary” called The War Game, a documentary film that depicted nuclear war in the UK and its aftermath, which caused dismay within the BBC and the government at the time, and as such it was subsequently withdrawn from the TV schedule before the provisional screening date of October 1965.
The BBC claimed that the effect of the film was judged to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting.
The film eventually premiered at the National Film Theatre in London in April 1966 to critical acclaim, taking the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1967, but it still didn’t hit the UK TV screens until 1985, the week before the fortieth anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, and the day before a repeat screening of Threads, a TV film which gave another dramatic account of nuclear war and its affects on the UK city of Sheffield, the plot centring on two families as the confrontation between the US and USSR erupted. The film depicted the medical, economic, social and environmental consequences of nuclear war.
I don’t recall either of these pieces (but I did watch The War Game today – incredibly bleak with some potential fallout of what we could go through in a post-Covid worst case scenario) but do fondly remember going to see War Games with Matthew Broderick which was released in 1984 in UK cinemas.
It was Christmas 1984 that I got my first computer (ZX Spectrum 48k) and much to my disappointment it never worked (due to it being bought from a bloke in the pub, later finding out that orange juice, with perhaps a double measure of gin had eaten away at its primordial motherboard).
War Games itself was exciting, a nerd proficient in something a bit more advanced than a “specky”took part in a computer simulation called Global Thermal Nuclear War, a game which quickly escalated into a very real and very dangerous exercise when it becomes apparent that the simulator is in fact hooked up to the live nuclear weapons system of the US.
Bizarrely and coincidentally, the very first city that was targeted in the film was my home town of Liverpool. Of all the towns and cities in the UK (and world for that matter), they had to use my town as a test case.
And here we are, thirty six years later and once again, my home town is being used as a test case for an invisible war. Three weeks ago it was the first town in the country to go into Tier 3 lockdown, an experiment to see if tighter restrictions worked (in terms of bringing down the R rate) and to see how the hardened population would react to it (how compliant we are).
Yesterday, it was determined (once again) that Liverpool would be another test case for mass coronavirus testing, with the army turning up in droves to stake out positions across the city to test up to half a million people (a pre-cursor for the so-called Operation Moonshot, mass and frequent testing across the length and breadth of the country costing a projected £100bn).
As it turns out, despite scenes of long queues from tight camera angles, the turnout on Day 1 was relatively poor, and the intense testing schedule is due to carry on for a further nine days, post-which the authorities will see what the R rate is like and how complaint the people have been. The test centre set up in Toxteth remained desolate all day (“Lest We Forget”).
With all of that said, I went for a walk with my good pal “M” this morning, deliberating, cogitating and ruminating on what was going on over the River Mersey and discussing our own views when the testing inevitably makes its way over to us on the world famous ferry, sharing that everything seemed to be playing out like a Hollywood movie and my admiration for the movie War Games which he had never seen.
On the way home, I decided to pen the below, a work of fiction. The piece is not a conspiracy theory that I believe in (fully), it posits how things may be and how they may turn out.
Those that believe in the multiverse and Everts Many World Interpretation will concede that in one of the infinite amount of universes, the content below plays out exactly, and that probability and chance dictates that the odds of this playing out in this one is a value over 0.0%.
Act One : Inception
A group of wealthy elites convene a meeting to discuss the future of Planet Earth.
It is clear that the projected population explosion, fragile geopolitical landscape and degrading biosphere will put at serous risk everything they have achieved (and hope to achieve).
The group decide that a plan of action is required at set out a series of activities that will not only restore the balance to the biosphere, but will put them in a position of power and control for generations to come.
The first action is to create a highly contagious but low-mortality rate virus (<1%) to fit the needed plan. The manufactured virus is a novel coronavirus used as the “primary strain” and is developed from existing pathogens (SARS-COVID-1). The second action is to create a “secondary strain”, which acts as a weaponized version of the primary strain with a much higher infection/mortality rate (>30%) as a backup plan, ready to be released but only if needed.
Create and fund a vaccination programme and roll out plan so it’s capable of being rolled out on a global scale and seen as the only solution to combat the virus. Once the plan has been initiated, be prepared to downplay and shut down any potential treatments (like hydroxychloroquine) and continue to echo that the only cure that is viable to fight this virus is the vaccine. Make it mandatory that the population have vaccinations to attend workplaces, cultural events, travel between regions and countries and introduce biomedical passports.
Create and fund a global crypto-currency to replace the current economic / banking model and introduce a Universal Basic Income with the plan to migrate all low paid workers to it. At the same time, develop a biometric chip which will be administered via the vaccination programme, whereby population movement and biometric / physical data will be monitored constantly, with the population earning credits which are uploaded to their biometric chip, credits which can be exchanged for goods and services.
Act Two: Initiation
The primary strain of the virus is released, with the primary narrative being natural in its evolution, its origin / epicentre being a market where the contamination of the food chain takes places via an unfortunate jump from animal species to humans.
As a back up, the secondary narrative is that the virus escaped from a laboratory by accident, the outcome being the same, a localised infection.
As the virus takes a grip on the local community, downplay human-to-human transmission for as long as possible to allow the primary strain to spread on a country then region then global scale, before any country can lock down respond to avoid initial infection.
Once a country has seen infection in situ, lock down incoming and outgoing travel to keep the transmission within the country, spreading for as long as possible.
Once enough people in a country are infected, enable strict national lockdown restrictions to emphasise the severity of the situation to test initial compliance and resistance.
Overhype the mortality rate by tying the primary strain to deaths that have little to nothing to do with the actual virus to keep fear and compliance at maximum levels. If anyone dies for any reason and is found to have the virus, consider it a virus death. If anyone is thought to have had symptoms of the virus, assume they have it, and mark it as a virus death on death certificates and national statistics.
Keep the public in lockdown for as long as possible to break the countries economic model, create civil unrest, break down the supply chain, and cause the start of mass food shortages. Lockdown will weaken the immune system of the population due to a lack of interaction with human and environmental bacteria.
Continue to drag out the lockdown over and over again causing fear and unrest which will eventually lead to compliance from further parts of the population, with others standing up to resist. Bring in more powers of enforcement by threatening fines and imprisonment for non-compliance. Increase the amount of, and visibility of, the police and armed forces to further increase the fear amongst protesters, weakening resistance.
Set up detention centres for those that do not comply, introduce enhanced arrest and detainment powers and relocate protesters until they agree to comply and take the vaccine / biometric chip.
Act Three: Escalation
Should the initiation phase fail (due to non-conformity or lack of / delayed progress), move to the primary escalation phase.
Increase the amount of testing in all regions and report a significant increase in the R rate whilst launching a proactive media campaign against anti-establishment / non-conformists and put the sole blame for the current situation on them, turning the population against each other, effectively doing the governments work for them.
Enforce lockdowns at a much more extreme level (6 to 12 months of total lockdown) increasing the penalties for defiance. Deem all travel as non-essential. Increase checkpoints, including military assistance. Take full control of food, energy supplies, and create large scale shortages so that people can only get access to essential products or services if they conform.
If the majority of population go against the inception phase and the primary escalation phase, then initiate the secondary escalation phase by releasing the “secondary strain” (30% mortality rate) on the population as a final measure to punish the minority to conform.
Act Four: End Game
Once full control is in place, initiate The Great Reset by moving the population into smart cities (whilst reallocating assets to the elites), reskill workers, reclaim rural areas, create wilderness zones, restore soil health, reduce global population through control measures and biometric monitoring.
Whilst the planet recovers, society is completely divided into the haves and the have nots.
End state is realised.
Clearly works of fiction make for good books, films, and TV, and whilst the above is more than likely not going to be realised, it is interesting to see how much (if any) of the above comes true.
Let’s hope the only realisation is a global recovery programme which is fully inclusive, a society which achieves the following:
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Let’s hope the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as outlined above happens and we all live in peace, with the freedom to live our own lives without the strong arm of the law calling the shots…
They say that there is nothing like the taste of your own produce, and if the biltong produced recently had anything to go by, then those first lettuce and basil leaves would be equally as sweet.
I have been very impressed so far with the output from the Smart Garden. Incredibly easy (although expensive) to set up with zero maintenance, just plant the pods, fill the reservoir, turn it on, click back and whittle some whilst watching stuff grow.
Of the three plants planted, the lettuce was by far the fastest to sprout and bloom into edibles, closely followed by the basil. The tomato plant however has taken longer to get off the ground but the guide advised this in advance so not quite ready for my first BLT.
So today I took the lettuce and basil with some mozzarella cheese and salsa, and I must say it was great. Clearly the amount of produce that the smart garden generates isn’t going to allow one to go off-grid, but what it has done is given me an appetite (in more ways than one!) to install my vertical garden on the patio and come spring, start growing my own vegetables, herbs and plants.
Clearly pre-prepped soil pockets, water, light, heat and a total lack of bugs has allowed Crop 1.0 to flourish, I’m sure outside gardening will be a whole different ball-game but looking forward to the challenge.
Utopia. We all dream of it but it’s very definition (albeit in wiki and not OED) is “an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens”.
Imagined. A work of metaphysical fiction. A hope. A dream state.
I was a huge fan of Utopia when it first came out back in 2013. Utopia in the form of a Channel 4 series here in the UK (not the rehash on Amazon Prime which has never seen the light of day on my TV) which follows five protagonists who uncover the truth behind a sinister plot by an unknown syndicate who’s aim is to reduce the worlds population via a mass-sterilisation programme, hidden in an RNADNA changing vaccine administered under the guise of a global pandemic. Sound familiar?
The opening line of neo-prog prodigy Steven Wilson’s To The Bone album sums up quite well what truth is.
“Once we’ve made sense of our world we wanna go fuck up everybody else’s, because his or her truth doesn’t match mine. But this is the problem, truth is individual calculation, which means because we all have different perspectives, there isn’t one singular truth, is there?”
No truer words spoken. We have 7.8 billion truths right now, so in the immortal words of James Dean Bradfield from Manic Street Preachers, this is my truth tell me yours.
I have absolutely no doubt that COVID-19 exists, empirical evidence and narratives directly from the front line via trusted friends and clients in the medical profession (doctors, nurses and paramedics) makes it utterly impossible to refute. The horror stories are there, the chaos at hospitals all too real.
So we know that we have a problem, what we don’t know (and will likely never know) is where it came from and how it entered the system. The two main hypotheses are a naturally occurring disease or mutation from a previous iteration or a jump from the animal species into our food chain, either way accidental, or man made and deployed for a reason.
Either way, it has crossed the planet like wildfire and taken its toll on the population the world over.
According to the global statistics, to date 43 million people have tested positive, with 1.2 million loosing their lives.
I have never looked too closely at the infection rates, instead looking at the mortality rates (here in the UK) as a barometer to gauge the severity of the situation. What we currently have when looking at the overall mortality rates is a graph that spiked in March and April, and has flattened out ever since, so much so that the last few months mortality rates have been under (well under in some cases) the 5 year average.
What we have also seen is a country under lockdown which had little to no impact during the months of March, April and May and once again now, which when looking at seasonal variations, looks quite normal too for respiratory mortality rates this time of year.
Our story is not unique here in the UK, with other countries seeing similar patterns. What the governments are doing the world over is the pretty much the same (perhaps with the exception of Sweden), by deploying lockdown tactics to varying degrees, national in the case of Wales and regional in the case of England and Scotland over the last few weeks.
Whilst the R rate goes up, the mortality rate stays relatively flat. It’s clear that the help to eat out scheme, primary and secondary schools as well as universities returning to site have played their part in increasing the rates of infection amongst the younger age brackets, so it’s logical to conclude that governments look to cut off locations and services where the younger generations hang out (soft play areas, pubs etc) to get the rate down, and that is exactly what’s happened here.
It is odd that the Tory government have imposed the strictest restrictions on opposition strongholds and where unemployment and low wages are prevalent, but I’ll leave that emotional outburst aside as it detracts from the main point I’m trying to make.
The Earth is so fragile and is having a real existential crisis right now. I have discussed candidly with sustainability consultants in my work and they have shared reams of data and info graphics over the last 6 months.
The biggest problem we have (and this is my truth) is not climate change, it is not plastic and toxic waste, it is not the diverse geopolitical spectrum, it is not the broken fiscal system, it is over population.
Simply put, our planet cannot sustain the amount of people on it. A study conducted back in the 1970’s (which is still relevant today) stated that to live in harmony with the Earth, no more than 3-4 billion people should reside here.
Our current population stands at 7.8 billion, and if projections are realised, that number will be 10 billion by 2050, 3 times the amount allocated for optimised living.
Climate change, waste products, poor sanitation, poverty and dwindling natural resources are bi-products of a species that has gone overboard in the bedroom.
On the face of it, our planet is on the road to self-destruction, so the logical question is what can be done about it and who stands to lose the most?
In the immortal words of Eric Idle in the Monty Python song Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life “You came from nothing, you gained nothing, so what have you lost, nothing!”
Those at the very bottom of the ziggurath do not have much to lose, except their miserable existence and ultimately their lives. The expendables.
In stark contrast, those at the very top of the ziggurath have the most to lose. According to Forbes 2020, there are 2095 billionaires and an estimated 47 million millionaires. It is these people that stand to lose the most.
If the planet was to self-destruct (non-explosively) over the coming century then some drastic measures would need to be taken to depopulate the amount of Homo Sapiens that dwell here to protect what the haves have right now, wealth, power and control.
How could that be done? I guess there are several ways to do that. War is one, too impactful. Proactive programmes is another, to limit the amount of children one has on a global scale, culturally and logistically difficult to achieve.
What about a covert operation? A plan so cunning that no one will suspect what is going on. The projection of a global campaign of fear, funded by 2095 billionaires and 47 million millionaires so that the vast majority of society placed under dystopian rules and regulations, with the very things that makes us human (consciousness, connectivity and community) consigned to the back of our minds as distant memories.
Separate us and we cannot reproduce. Alter our RNA/DNA and we cannot reproduce. Break our spirits and give us no hope for the future and we won’t want to reproduce.
So if this scenario was to play out over the coming years, then the population will decrease significantly and as a result, the planets ecosystem will regenerate, there will be enough natural resources to feed, clothe, water and energise the remaining populace and balance will be restored.
Left on a pre-COVID trajectory and the planet would truly be heading for oblivion and real soon.
There is a poignant and pivotal moment in Utopia where the character Wilson Wilson (not a typo, that’s his name honest), realises the master plan, and fights with his emotions as he knows that logically the syndicates objectives are to save humanity in the long run, but what does he believe in and how will he react?
Does he fight back and fight for the fundamental rights we all have as citizens of Planet Earth, or does he turn a blind eye and let the vast majority of the world be injected with a sterilisation vaccine, knowing that inaction now could lead to the end of the human race as we know it where everybody dies…
Kundalini yoga is very different to other more traditional forms of yoga, it concentrates on actions not postures, with breath and energy flow more important than ones elasticity.
I think it is for this reason that it aligns more to the metaphysical rather than the material form, and as a result it is more of a workout for the mind than the body.
One of the ways we can understand our existence better through the practice of kundalini yoga is by what is known as the ten bodies.
We are made up of one physical body, three mental bodies and six energy bodies. The ten body system makes us aware that we are so much more than only our physical shell, so much more than the sum of our parts.
“If you understand that you are Ten Bodies, and you are aware of those Ten Bodies, and you keep them in balance, the whole universe will be in balance with you.”
Last nights kriya on the ten bodies was one of the best sessions of kundalini yoga I’ve had so far. Buoyed off the back of the best year end performance review I’ve ever had from my new and wonderfully supportive line manager, I welcomed “L” with open arms (no social distancing/conditioning here) and took to my usual position at the back of the class and went through this kriya with a “permasmile” (albeit with a little pain from my recently diagnosed laboral muscle tear on my right hip. I nearly fell off my chair when I thought I’d heard the consultant tell me I had torn my labia, my operation isn’t scheduled until next year!).
So what are the ten bodies:
1. Soul Body
Our first body is the soul body, which is quite literal our soul or essence. It represents our connection to the infinite and the divine. It is our deepest core, our truest self, giving us the ability to live truthfully and from our heart. In an imbalanced state, we act from our head instead from our heart, prioritizing our intellect over our intuition. Within kundalini, the soul body responds to postures, breathing exercises and mantras that resonate with our heart chakra. To balance the first body, we have to open our hearts to the divine.
2. Negative Mind
This is our second body. Whereas many people do not want to accept that they have this body, it is within all of us and also part of human nature. It has its place, as it is constantly working to assess our environment and situations for danger or negative potential. In this way, the negative mind keeps us safe and alive. Moreover, if there wouldn’t be a negative mind, how could we then possibly know what a positive mind is? Everything in the universe works in dualities. It is however important to balance our negative mind by becoming aware of it and with the practice of discipline and purification.
3. Positive Mind
Just as we have a negative mind, we also obviously possess a positive mind. The positive mind gives us our strength, willpower, playfulness and a positive outlook on circumstances. It helps us identify opportunity and resources with its characteristics of enthusiasm, hopefulness and trust. In relation to our physical body, everything we do in order to strengthen our core and the area around our navel (our solar plexus chakra) resonates with this body and is beneficial for it. Strengthening the positive mind through kundalini will enhance self-esteem and self-worth.
4. Neutral Mind
Not only do we have a positive and negative mind, we also have a neutral mind, which makes up our fourth body. The neutral mind absorbs and evaluates the thoughts of the negative and positive mind. Contrary to the second and third bodies, the fourth body makes decisions out of non-emotional intuition and looks behind the assessments of the positive and negative mind. It therefore delivers guidance and stimulates decision-making based on clarity, calmness, balance and wisdom. Meditation is a wonderful tool to strengthening your neutral mind.
5. Physical Body
This is our tangible body, the one we can perceive with our eyes and other human senses. It is the temple in which houses all the other bodies in some form. Through the physical body, we have the ability to balance ourselves and our lives. An imbalance in the physical body can manifest in the form of anger, jealousy, greed, fatigue and a lack of gratitude, but also in an obsession with physical appearance and a clinging to the material world. To balance our physical body we must develop a practice that keep our bodies strong, flexible and resilient, like yoga or a form of martial arts.
The arcline can be visualized as our halo, expanding from one ear to the other, encompassing the hairline and the brow. It is our avenue of intuition and regulates the nervous system. It is also associated with our pituitary gland, our third eye. Women have a second arcline across the chest, reaching from one breast to the other.
The arcline serves as a balance and gateway between the physical and the cosmic realm and between word and deed. If out of balance, our values might not be in line with our actions and we will have difficulty focusing. In order to balance the sixth body, awaken the pituitary gland (our sixth chakra) through meditation, pranayama and drishti (gazing) to our third eye.
The aura is our electromagnetic energy field surrounding our physical body. It cannot be perceived by the naked human eye, but it can still be felt. Even though that might sound very spiritual, it is scientifically measurable that this energetic resonance exists between three to nine feet away from our bodies! The aura contains and protects our life force – our prana – and interacts with it. If mastered, it projects positivity and repels negativity from our body, working as a shield. An imbalanced aura will be felt in paranoia and a lack of self-trust. Negativity can enter your body and psyche much easier. To balance the aura body, meditation, pranayama, martial arts as well as wearing natural fibers and following a wholesome, organic diet are beneficial.
8. Pranic Body
The pranic body is our eighth body in the kundalini tradition. ‚Prana‘ means life-force in Sanskrit. Through our breath, we are continuously working with our pranic body for life force to enter our body. If mastered, we will experience fearlessness, purity, energy as well as the balance of polarities. Hence, the male and female energies present within us are fully integrated within ourselves. In am imbalanced state, we might experience anxiety, fatigue and defensiveness. To balance our pranic body – yes you guessed it right – every pranayama will have a positive impact.
9. Subtle Body
This body is characterized by our ability to sense and perceive the infinite and universal reality with the material and physical realm. The subtle body is deeply woven within our soul body. When our physical bodies die, the subtle body carries our soul. The qualities of the subtle body are calmness, insight, intuition and mastery. A weak subtle body manifest in naivety, restlessness, frustration and the feeling of being misunderstood. In order to master the ninth body, keep up any meditation or kundalini kriya for 1,000 consecutive days
10. Radiant Body
This body gives – of course – radiance, as well as courage, creativity and nobility. Magnetic and charismatic people are a great example of a balanced radiant body. A weak radiant body will express itself in shyness, problems to overcome fear and the avoidance of conflict. The best thing we can do for our radiant bodies is to have commitment, no matter what obstacle or challenge we might face.
The evening ended with relaxation and I could feel the positive energy from my fellow classmates all around, warmly embracing me and sending me into a different realm of consciousness, albeit (too) briefly.
Throughout the session I noticed the amount of times “L” mentioned the word infinity, as if a nod to this blog and to my inner thoughts and scribed outputs here.
It’s times like these that one tries to seek out calmer waters in the maelstrom we all currently find ourselves in, Captain “L” helps her passengers expertly to avoid them reaching for the sick bag, steering her ship away from the rough oceans and onto the sea of tranquility…
The son of my wife’s classmate took on the British government and won this week. He argued that gyms should not be closed on the basis that their very existence is to promote the physical health and mental well being of its members, whilst taking every single precaution and measure the government asked of owners across the land.
Slapped with £1000 per day fines by the local constabulary yet undeterred, he stayed open anyway and took to social media, whipping up a global frenzy (story being run by CNN and the New York Post) by using statistics and logic against the UK government and following the science which the Torys have ceased to do. Only 78 positive Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in an estimated in 22 million gym visits in the UK this year.
Another massive u-turn by the wholly inept establishment, proving once again that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.
Well done Nick, a working class hero is something to be!
So along with the other one point five million good folks of my home county, we found ourselves placed in the highest bracket of England’s new three tier system of lockdown rules this week, a traffic light system as it were.
The system was introduced as a series of measures to reduce infection rates, increase ICU availability and ultimately decrease mortality numbers.
We have been told time and time again to follow the science, and many of us have done just that, albeit not the science that this woeful and truly incompetent government would have us believe.
Those who seek the whole truth and not the truth from “trusted media outlets” like the BBC and Sky, have found gaping holes in the science and much worse, which includes the redirection of public funds to private sector industry, more specifically to organisations that have close affiliation to the incumbent prime minister and his cronies (all without impartial and unbiased tender processes).
What the science tells me is that something is very wrong in this country. When you overlay the areas of infection which have the most draconian measures applied, a few things become very clear all of a sudden.
The first and most obvious observation are that the hotspots are places in the north of England. Second, almost all of these areas are Labour strongholds where little to no Tory candidates wield power. Third, the amount of test centres and testing is disproportionate in those areas of high infection when compared to other “Blue” parts of the political map. And it is in those very same areas where unemployment is higher, so when the government incentivised testing for those out of work (via hard luck or choice) by increasing the amount of benefits folks would receive if they tested positive, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why these areas are spiking. Finally, in our case, we have a brand new hospital sitting empty in the city centre, barren and idle once again due to government contracts, this time it’s abject construction leaving the health centre a health hazard and the eventual collapse of the construction company responsible, Carillion, as well as the potential of the building itself. Not only that, but it is clear to all that the NHS is broken, critically underfunded and simply does not have the correct number (and properly paid) medical support staff nor the capacity to cope with normal situations, never-mind issues such as COVID-19, all of which puts a squeeze on the medical profession and puts the onus on the people to do something and misdirect attention away from the governments catastrophic approach to social care in this country.
All of this put together stinks of something rotten and rather sinister.
Sadly, the local council here have always been as corrupt as their Westminster counterparts. Back in the bleak days of the 1980’s, Margaret Thatcher attempted to put this town into “managed declined” when she decimated the manufacturing industry and eroded employee rights. We fought back then, literally, via the infamous Toxteth riots, only to be saved by an unlikely hero (Conservative MP Michael Hesseltine) who stood up against the government and said no.
Our local council took advantage of the situation back then and via a branch of socialism known as Militant Tendency, proceeded to be, on the face of it, a flagship of equality, whilst behind closed doors pocketed many of the centrally allocated funds proving once again that some people are more equal than others.
So here we are exactly forty years later in another period of “managed decline”, the strong arm of the law policing establishments l and issuing fines and criminal records on people not abiding by the rules as laid out by a totally inept regime (central government and local mayor who appears to have both seemed to have sold us down our famous river) neither of which know their arses from their elbows.
In stark contrast, our old nemesis Manchester have a strong leader who is not taking it lying down. He and his comrades have formed a Manchester united (not the football club) and refuse to be walked over like Liverpool, unless the true science is followed and a just and fair economic package (for all businesses and self-employed people throughout the supply chain, not just those asked directly to close) is delivered for its constituents. Many of us in Liverpool stand besides our northern kin, albeit with head lowered due to our own spineless leaders here.
To further paint a picture of our pathetic prime minister, not only does he not understand his own rules (again getting found out last night), but within two days, his clear three tier system is now four, with Lancashire negotiating their own deal which allows gyms to stay open, whilst they are closed here.
Never in my time have I witnessed such a pathetic and totally out of their depth government, clearly led by a bunch of “bellends” as they say here. Hats off to local entrepreneur Dan Davies for renaming and rebranding one of his closed public houses here this week.
So we sit at home and watch the drama unfold before our eyes. Thankfully, my family are not greatly impacted by the latest measures, but many folks across our county are so this weekend we will stand alongside them at planned and socially distanced demonstrations in the city centre, putting our hands in our pocket for local causes where we can.
My daughter came to me this week and said she was studying something in English she didn’t quite understand.