Conflicting Narratives

We live in a times where conflicting narratives abound. It can sometimes be difficult to know who or what to believe. There is a desire for truth but exactly whose truth are we referring to when we say I want the truth. Is there a THE truth, the one and only unequivocal truth or should we speak of A truth. People imagine themselves to be in possession of the facts. If you think even a little about it, “facts” have a measure of interpretation to them. We could measure event flow, but beyond that there is some interpretation.

What can I say about my circumstances that is factual?

In the context of physical plane manifestation, I am living in a house in rural Brittany, I receive a small pension and use some of my time to type on this thing which I call a keyboard. I do gardening and do it yourself works in the house. I cook dinner most evenings. How I find myself here is open to any number of conflicting narratives. An outside observer may not know about the pension but if they were looking at me through binoculars what I have just written would be consistent with their observations. This is the Realm of Like This.

If they were snooping on me via my blog or some other means they could try to figure out “where I am I at” or “where I am coming from”. Their interpretation of that is unlikely to be 100% objective. They could construct some narrative or other. This narrative would be divergent from the one that I might construct.

It is extremely unlikely that they will have read everything that I have, that they understand what I do. I’ll wager that there is not a single being on this planet who comes close to having studied all the things that I have. Some people will have studied a lot more than me. I am pretty specialised in my knowledge set. Some of that set will of course overlap with the knowledge sets of others; the natural sciences part in particular. I doubt many of my erstwhile colleagues have read Aleister Crowley nor checked his various tabulated correspondences.

I have had a dream which suggests that I am an incarnation or a manifestation of this chap, Bakula. He was a close disciple of Buddha and is said to have been one of the sixteen arhats.

Immediately two conflicting narratives spring to mind. 1) It was just a dream and 2) It is true. There are of course many others, which might proffer levels of complexity and over interpretation. The first narrative has very little implication and is therefore readily acceptable. The second narrative has much wider implication especially if you put the thinking cap on. It is less acceptable because arhats are not meant to re-incarnate, they are supposed to achieve nirvana in perhaps the land of the pure abodes. Yet there are, other teachings that suggest free beings do indeed on occasion incarnate. Indeed, the Tibetans have recognised incarnations of Bakula.

“Ven. Bakula Rinpoche died while in India on November 4, 2003.

He lived one of the more interesting lives of a Buddhist lama. Born into a royal family of Ladakh, India, he was later recognized by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Bakula Arhat – one of the Sixteen Arhats (direct disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha who had tremendous spiritual realizations).

Bakula Rinpoche had a keen interest in Mongolia and Russia from a young age, and while other Tibetan teachers were going to the West, Bakula Rinpoche said, “Everyone is going to the west – it’s easy to go to the west.”

After Rinpoche worked as a minister of the Indian government under Indira Gandhi, he began to travel to Mongolia and the USSR, where he helped re-open ancient monasteries and organize Buddhist peace conferences. In 1990, was appointed as the Indian ambassador to Mongolia for a period of two years. When he arrived, Mongolia was still communist, but during his stay – which lasted more than 10 years – it became a free country, so Bakula Rinpoche could travel freely and work to revive pure Buddhism.

After the fall of Communism in Mongolia, Bakula Rinpoche established monasteries and nunneries, hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama, invited Lama Zopa Rinpoche several times, and granted ordination to many Mongolians. He retired from his position as ambassador in 2000.

Interestingly enough, according to Mongolian folklore, there was a long-held belief that Bakula Arhat would one day come from India to revive Buddhism in Mongolia. Perhaps it wasn’t folklore.

On the 26th February 2008, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has confirmed Thupten Ngawang, a child born in Nubra, Ladakh as the reincarnation of Bakula Rinpoche. The child is a bright little boy born on 24th November 2005 and has been chosen from among several children.”

If narrative 2 is correct, then a part of my shared essence was found in Ladakh. Tibetan Buddhism entertains that different parts of a master’s essence can manifest, mind, spirit etc..

Because of the myriad of implications of narrative 2 it would be unacceptable to the minds of many. Could you imagine those people with whom I have gone out on the lash with imagining me as the reincarnation of a Buddhist “saint”. These guys don’t drink ten pints of Stella Artois in one sitting, smoke Marlboro Lights or skin up spliffs. If you have been mean to me, it would be even harder to accept that you have been mean to a reincarnating arhat.

You may have noticed the dropping penny. If the penny does drop what happens then?

Over the years many people have dismissed what I have told them, gotten angry with my suggestions and offended at my words. In most cases I have been wearing black Levi’s. If I had said the same things wearing the robes of a Buddhist monk, would their reaction have differed? Probably. If I was called Rinpoche, would they have been so pissed off? Maybe. Many people have tried to beat me and get one over on me. Would narrative two have implications for their recapitulation?

We base our interpretation of the world on our narratives which may be far from accurate. But people genuinely believe that they know more than they do in very many cases. You may have noticed that I take the piss out of self-diagnosed omniscience from time to time.

How good is the basis set of narratives upon which you interpret your experience of living?

Do you have any conflicting narratives?

What Lies Ahead?

This from Les Echos

« Covid : le contrat de l’UE avec AstraZeneca a des clauses contraignantes, pour von der Leyen

L’Union européenne et le laboratoire anglo-britannique sont à couteaux tirés depuis que celui-ci a annoncé un retard dans ses livraisons de vaccins à l’Union. La présidente de la Commission européenne demande à ce que le laboratoire donne une explication plausible. »

I expect that there will be more squabbling about vaccine supply.

It looks almost inevitable that we will be going back into confinement. The 6-6 curfew has helped but the daily infection number is creeping up again. It is nice to drive through the village and watch the children playing in the yard of the primary school. The staff masked the children not.

That confinement will be at least a month, maybe more.

At last, we are not hearing about Mr Trump only a daily basis…

Humanity has never before been so inundated with graphs and numbers on a daily basis.  When there is day to day variation, if Friday’s number is lower than Thursday’s it does not mean that there is a drop.

Some of the language is bizarre. People saying that the virus is cunning, is clever. It is just being natural.

In the English press they keep harping on about there being light and the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope that it is not a TGV!! It is repetitious and boring.

People say we are going to fight back against the virus. WTF? The virus is not fighting…

All the public (expensive private) school jolly hockey sticks type metaphors and phrases are haemorrhaging out of the tory politicians. Most people did not go to schools like that, never had a matron and did not do prep after supper.

We will kill the virus…the virus is not technically living.

How come we have got vaccination and immunisation described as a jab?

“Better go down to the quack old boy and get one of those new-fangled jabs…”

Is Enid Blyton writing the script? FFS.

It is all rather strange.

There are two decisions pending.

  • Do I pay the fee to get my patent application examined?

 

  • Do we go for a petrol or battery driven chain saw.? Stihl make a nice range of tools with interchangeable batteries, but they are a tad expensive.

Here the birdsong is starting to ramp up as we are getting more visitors. In a month or so it will be sufficiently loud to wake us in the mornings.  The ducks are back, which means the moorhen will make an appearance soon. The wagtails are back strutting as is their want. More birdsong is arriving.

The bulbs have started poking their head above the duvets. Fingers crossed the blue belles will flourish and we shall have quite a display.

I am due another colonoscopy June / July.

Maybe get the pin removed from my femoral neck?

And I suspect in the fullness of time, because of my underlying health condition, to be offered a vaccine.

Soon the grass will need cutting, things here are starting to bud ready for that surge. After the pralaya, growth…

Hmn..

Psychometric Loony Quiz

The Loony Quiz

To find out if you are a loony or not tick one box in either column A or column B, for each question.

 

 

A

B

Do I get impatient often?

yes

no

Do I lose my rag in traffic jams?

yes

no

Do I feel offended quite often?

yes

no

Do I think “life is not fair?”

often

rarely

Am I prone to over reaction?

yes

no

If I don’t get my way do I sulk?

often

rarely

Do I bear grudges?

yes

no

Do I seek to get even?

yes

no

If someone does better than me, do I get upset?

yes

no

Do I try to pull others down to feel better about myself?

yes

no

Have I ever had a bout of cranio-rectal disease?

often

rarely

Am I special?

yes

no

Does nobody appreciate me?

yes

no

Must I always be busy?

yes

no

Does silence scare me?

yes

no

Must I always be the winner?

yes

no

Do I always know best?

yes

no

Am I always right?

yes

no

Do I enjoy opining upon things I don’t really know?

yes

no

Do I enjoy gossip and trust it?

yes

no

Am I impressed by the unproven opinions of others?

yes

no

Am I genuinely opened minded?

no

yes

Are people who don’t believe the same things as me?

crazy

sane

Is my belief system the only correct one?

yes

no

Is advancement better than happiness?

yes

no

Is kudos the be all and end all?

yes

no

If I win prizes / competitions does that make me feel better than?

yes

no

Am I a grand person or one of the little people?

grand

little

Do rules apply to me?

no

yes

Is material plane status important to me?

yes

no

Am I a bit of a tense motherfucker?

yes

no

Am I happy and at peace with the universe?

no

yes

 

Now count up the number of As and Bs.

In your best judgement are you a loony or not, what do you think?

Death by Committee (repost)

Memorandum

 

The Committee for Due and Careful Consideration

has concluded that, after much,

due and careful consideration

there is a need for some more committee work

in order to reach consensus and include all stakeholder views

 

Henceforth, the Committee for Tentative Bold Decisions

will be disbanded and replaced by the following:

 

The Committee for Developing the Procrastinory Arts

which will be under the umbrella of

the Division of Continuous Development

and manged by sub tier Obfuscation and Delay

special focus group Application of Classical Hellenic Drama in Committee Work

 

The Committee for Exploration of Justificatory Practice

(as applied to the abeyance of decision making).

It will be chaired by Sir John Certainty

formerly of Ladbrokes and now

Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department of Prevarication

 

The Committee for Extensive Self Congratulation

(a sub committee of the Remunerations and Rewards Division)

This will be chaired by Dame Patricia O’ Bac

formerly of the European Union Centre for Administrative Acceleration

and part time adviser to Greenpeace on Sustainable Bureaucracy (paper)

 

The Committee for Dogmatic Adherence to Due Process

(a sub committee of Regulatory Affairs)

This will be chaired by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo fame

his portfolio will focus on the inclusion of the work

of the above committees into the institutional Dogma Manual / User Guide

 

The Committee for Considering the Risk of Risk Mitigation Strategies

(a sub committee of Corporate Contingency Planning and Risk Contingency)

This will be chaired by the entire Committee for Strategic Oversight

and include representatives from all member states

with each having a veto to ensure complete inclusion

 

The Committee for Employee Well Being and Vacations

(a cross functional committee between Human Resources and Remuneration)

Sir Thomas Cook and Sir Richard Branson will co-chair.

The Committee for Dogmatic Adherence to Due Process

has already received their disclosures with respect to conflict of interest

 

The Committee for Generating New Committees

(This is envisaged as a “blue skies” think tank)

The Director General European Commissary Affairs will chair.

He will be the new committee generating Tzar

Price Waterhouse Coopers will audit expenditure

 

The Committee for Due and Careful Consideration

would like to thank The Committee for Tentative Bold Decisions

for all their hard work over the decades.

It hopes they enjoy the private box at The Royal Opera House

and wishes them well for all their Christmases in Barbados. 

 

 

 Memorandum Ends

Choice Quotes

In the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy as a prisoner’s chains.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power.

John Adams

 

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

John Dewey

 

We choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice.

John C. Maxwell

 

I think it’s your own choice if you turn from an angry young man to a bitter, old bastard.

Billie Joe Armstrong

 

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

 

The criterion for free choice can never be an absolute one, but neither is it entirely relative.

Herbert Marcuse

 

Faced with the choice of enduring a bad toothache or going to the dentist, we generally tried to ride out the bad tooth.

Joseph Barbera

 

Although we love the idea of choice – our culture almost worships it – we seek refuge in the familiar and the comfortable.

Hugh Mackay

 

Confronted with the choice, the American people would choose the policeman’s truncheon over the anarchist’s bomb.

Spiro T. Agnew

 

I believe in not over thinking things too much. When the right thing comes along, you really don’t have a choice.

Jason Schwartzman

 

Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado.

Menander

 

It is safe to make a choice of your thoughts, scarcely ever safe to express them all.

Isaac Barrow

 

Fervor is the weapon of choice of the impotent.

Frantz Fanon

 

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Neil Peart

 

One of the most important things that I have learned in my 57 years is that life is all about choices. On every journey you take, you face choices. At every fork in the road, you make a choice. And it is those decisions that shape our lives.

Mike DeWine

 

I demolish my bridges behind me – then there is no choice but forward.

Fridtjof Nansen

 

Every mind must make its choice between truth and repose. It cannot have both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Every person has free choice. Free to obey or disobey the Natural Laws. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.

Alfred A. Montapert

 

The reason people blame things on previous generations is that there’s only one other choice.

Doug Larson

 

Given a choice between their worldview and the facts, it’s always interesting how many people toss the facts.

Rebecca Solnit

The Loony Quiz

To find out if you are a loony or not tick one box in either column A or column B, for each question.

 

 

A

B

Do I get impatient often?

yes

no

Do I lose my rag in traffic jams?

yes

no

Do I feel offended quite often?

yes

no

Do I think “life is not fair?”

often

rarely

Am I prone to over reaction?

yes

no

If I don’t get my way do I sulk?

often

rarely

Do I bear grudges?

yes

no

Do I seek to get even?

yes

no

If someone does better than me, do I get upset?

yes

no

Do I try to pull others down to feel better about myself?

yes

no

Have I ever had a bout of cranio-rectal disease?

often

rarely

Am I special?

yes

no

Does nobody appreciate me?

yes

no

Must I always be busy?

yes

no

Does silence scare me?

yes

no

Must I always be the winner?

yes

no

Do I always know best?

yes

no

Am I always right?

yes

no

Do I enjoy opining upon things I don’t really know?

yes

no

Do I enjoy gossip and trust it?

yes

no

Am I impressed by the unproven opinions of others?

yes

no

Am I genuinely opened minded?

no

yes

Are people who don’t believe the same things as me?

crazy

sane

Is my belief system the only correct one?

yes

no

Is advancement better than happiness?

yes

no

Is kudos the be all and end all?

yes

no

If I win prizes / competitions does that make me feel better than?

yes

no

Am I a grand person or one of the little people?

grand

little

Do rules apply to me?

no

yes

Is material plane status important to me?

yes

no

Am I a bit of a tense motherfucker?

yes

no

Am I happy and at peace with the universe?

no

yes

 

Now count up the number of As and Bs.

In your best judgement are you a loony or not, what do you think?

Death by Committee

Memorandum

 

The Committee for Due and Careful Consideration

has concluded that, after much,

due and careful consideration

there is a need for some more committee work

in order to reach consensus and include all stakeholder views

 

Henceforth, the Committee for Tentative Bold Decisions

will be disbanded and replaced by the following:

 

The Committee for Developing the Procrastinory Arts

which will be under the umbrella of

the Division of Continuous Development

and manged by sub tier Obfuscation and Delay

special focus group Application of Classical Hellenic Drama in Committee Work

 

The Committee for Exploration of Justificatory Practice

(as applied to the abeyance of decision making).

It will be chaired by Sir John Certainty

formerly of Ladbrokes and now

Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department of Prevarication

 

The Committee for Extensive Self Congratulation

(a sub committee of the Remunerations and Rewards Division)

This will be chaired by Dame Patricia O’ Bac

formerly of the European Union Centre for Administrative Acceleration

and part time adviser to Greenpeace on Sustainable Bureaucracy (paper)

 

The Committee for Dogmatic Adherence to Due Process

(a sub committee of Regulatory Affairs)

This will be chaired by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo fame

his portfolio will focus on the inclusion of the work

of the above committees into the institutional Dogma Manual / User Guide

 

The Committee for Considering the Risk of Risk Mitigation Strategies

(a sub committee of Corporate Contingency Planning and Risk Contingency)

This will be chaired by the entire Committee for Strategic Oversight

and include representatives from all member states

with each having a veto to ensure complete inclusion

 

The Committee for Employee Well Being and Vacations

(a cross functional committee between Human Resources and Remuneration)

Sir Thomas Cook and Sir Richard Branson will co-chair.

The Committee for Dogmatic Adherence to Due Process

has already received their disclosures with respect to conflict of interest

 

The Committee for Generating New Committees

(This is envisaged as a “blue skies” think tank)

The Director General European Commissary Affairs will chair.

He will be the new committee generating Tzar

Price Waterhouse Coopers will audit expenditure

 

The Committee for Due and Careful Consideration

would like to thank The Committee for Tentative Bold Decisions

for all their hard work over the decades.

It hopes they enjoy the private box at The Royal Opera House

and wishes them well for all their Christmases in Barbados. 

 

Memorandum Ends

Decision Making or Making Decisions?

A while back someone suggested that there was a need for courses on Decision Making. Somewhat foolishly I agreed to try to draft one. Needless to say this highlighted every single decision in my daily life!

I gave this course, in its initial version, at Cumberland Lodge to some Ph.D. students at the life science / physical sciences interface.

It is a rather grand venue in a royal park. At the time I had just had a basal cell carcinoma surgically removed from my cheek. So I had half a dozen stitches in my face, as if I had been in a confrontation with “Razor Eddie”.

The course is generally applicable

It can be opened as a pdf slide pack at:

Decision Making