Catastrophising

Is “catastrophising” a common phenomenon? Do lots of people do it?

If you have a wild horse secure in a stable and you open the door what happens to the horse? It bolts off down the paddock and then it is very difficult to get a calmed down wild horse back into the stable. There is no point shutting the stable door it is too late for that. One would have to spend a lot of time and effort to coral the horse and get it safely back into the stable. One might have to use ruses and tricks to re-capture the horse.

This is a metaphor for the catastrophising mind, once you have started to catastrophise mind pisses off down the paddock quicker than Usain Bolt and all calmness is lost. One lurches from terrifying conclusion to the next getting ever more fear full and anxious.  Mind jumps from A past Z until it is halfway down the add symbol menu and well into the Cyrillic section.

I’ll wager that over the last year or so many more have catastrophised that they will die of Covid-19 hooked up to a ventilator than have actually done so. Someone coughing across the aisle in the supermarket is obviously the direct precursor to instant infection and prolonged painful death.

The trick with catastrophising mind is not to open the door, so to speak. The moment you open the door more than a smidgeon the wild horse will bolt. By all means takes a quick peak at the future but don’t fully open the door. Do not conclude that your worst fears will manifest immediately.

Some people, I guess, actually enjoy catastrophising because it gives them an excuse not to do anything.

Once catastrophising has set in scaling is very difficult to bring about. This is where the simple just like this can be very helpful.

One can use bizarre questions to help scale:

Are you likely to experience full on gang rape as a part of organised ethnic cleansing in the next 24 hours?

no

Is a 400-year-old European vampire going to drain you of 80% of your blood tonight?

probably not

Is that freckle on your thumb actually stage four skin cancer?

Nah, I don’t really think so..

Is it possible Donald Trump might get re-elected?

Yeah, it is possible.

If you are wrong and lose the argument, will a vortex open up in space-time and suck the entire galaxy through it into another dimension?

Seems a tad unlikely.

If someone disagrees with you does that mean that they hate you and will do so until the end of the Kalpa?

No, I guess not.

Are you overreacting?

Possibly

Maybe you might be a bit more proportionate?

Yes, I guess but what if the werewolf comes to eat my gizzards?

That is unlikely. Where do live?

On the seventh floor in a secure flat in central London.

What is the data concerning werewolf density in your neighbourhood?

There isn’t any…

Why do you suppose that is?

Because they can’t afford to live in Chelsea.

You do know that your nail will grow back, don’t you?

I suppose so….

Quantum Energy Fields – Man

We watched the Guru Rinpoche programme last night. It raised in me a profound question, what percentage of people making “documentaries” of this kind are either stoners or reformed stoners? It is a question to which I have no answer.

The programme highlighted how terms from the natural sciences bleed across into the common view in a manner which is far from exact or correct. People seek to get scientific buy-in to make what they are saying sound credible, exciting and “scientific” but in fact they, to one skilled in the art, do the exact opposite.

After ten or more spliffs one might be able to feel the quantum energy fields – man.

It is a shame that people do this. I don’t know if they are trying to get clickbait or if they genuinely believe that there are such things as quantum energy fields.

This highlights what has for me been a problem. I am too whacky for the science community and to hard, mean, nit-picking and exact for the fluffy-bunny new-agers.

People say things like “laser focussed” WTF? A laser is generally a collimated beam of light. It is not focussed.

You can buy quantum dishwasher tablets, in what way could something that macroscopic be quantised?

People have said things like consciousness is mutating. What? Is it getting cancer then?

Consciousness is mapped in our DNA; this does not apply.

It is all a bit silly, to say stuff you don’t understand to try to look knowledgeable, cool and trendy.

Pass the Rizlas please…

Armitage Shanks™

Dressed in his resplendent uniform
and his white silken gloves
each with three buttons
he shines porcelain daily

He places ancient scrolls of parchment
in the sacred reading cubicles
he wets the terracotta dreams and waxes
filling all the phials with ointment

He tinctures the air with incense
and places floral offerings in the vase
he cleans each shining altar with love
adding Naptha where it is needed

Cleanliness is his obsession
and soon they will visit his shrine
the one he cares for day after day
spick and span, spick and span

He knows his place.

Soon the Temple doors will open
and they will flock for confession
for some welcome release on their journey
just passing through, passing through

He knows that they cannot see him
untouchable the Brahmin in his Soul
does what he must always do
he shines porcelain daily

He buffs the vanity mirrors
and fills all the machines with fayre
adding blue pills and plastic
which perhaps, they might later wear.

He knows his place.

And when his shift is done
he reads Nietzsche in the night
and Lao Tze at dawn
he worries at the fading of his sight

As the eight bells toll at five
once more he becomes alive
he shuffles off the duvet warm
and reveilles at his alarm

Dressed in his resplendent uniform
and his white silken gloves
each with three buttons
he shines porcelain daily

He knows his place.

self-diagnosed omniscience

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of people with very high opinions of the extent of their own knowledge and intellect.  This is an ode to them.


the persistent insistence

on being right

with self-diagnosed omniscience

so very entitled

 

me, my, mine

only me, only I

know all the answers why

 

the blindfolded ears

refuse to hear

anything or anyone else

 

my cosmic intellect

encompasses all knowledge

all wisdom

there is or can ever be

 

it says so on my door

the font eternal

whence all clever things

issue

 

I know best

better than you

oh, yes, I do!

2022 – SARS-CoV-3a and SARS-CoV-3b

Some satirical speculation on the new normal:

It was February 2022 and President Harris had just signed an executive order finally banning all interstate travel. Prime Minister Starmer was on the TV announcing the ninth national lockdown, this time with a 6pm to 6am curfew enforced by the army. The United Kingdom was to all intents and purposes in quarantine from the rest of the world. Trade with Europe was affected by lorry drivers parking trailers on ferries and then driving off. When the ferry docked continental drivers unloaded the trailers. Nobody would accept any people from the UK because it was there that the virus had mutated so much that it had been given new designations; SARS-CoV-3a and SARS-CoV-3b. The disease was now COVID 21.

The fleets of airplanes lay idle and rusting. Only the fighter jets flew patrolling the skies. Oil and gas were getting scarce. People shivered in their homes. Because of the travel ban most UK universities were in dire financial trouble. The shift to massively online learning did not go well. With no foreign students the finances began to dry up, students refused to pay the fees. No children had been at school for a year. Private tuition online became the norm for those with enough money.

The black-market supply in oxygen was thriving on the dark web. New oxygen separation facilities were springing up everywhere adding an increased strain to the national grid. AI sex robots a la Blade Runner were literally worth their weight in gold. The border conflict between China and India continued to escalate but had remained conventional so far.

In the United States the share price of Gilead had outstripped Apple. New ventures making hermetically sealed body bags were doing well on the Dow Jones. Big pharma was struggling to keep pace with the mutations. Volunteers for clinical trials fell away as it was becoming widely understood that many on a trial got only a placebo.  

The Sons of Alba were getting increasingly deadly. They had shifted from simply burning houses to planting car bombs notably in London and the South East. Meibion Glyndwr was also once again active, like Mebyon Kernow they had started destroying second homes to keep the infectious city dwellers out.

The Schengen area had evaporated once again the borders were up. Each country eyeing the data of others to confirm which has the most virulent rate of infection. Some countries had stop publishing their infection rates. Online trade in strong steroid medication outstripped the sales of cannabis for the very first time. Private labs which used to make MDMA were switching to steroid synthesis as it was becoming more profitable. The market was flooded with sub-standard medication and laboratory glassware was in very short supply.

Coming soon to a world near you…

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Sam Gates of the Red Berets

It was five thirty in the morning when the alarm went off and Sam reached wearily over the ashtray to turn it off.  Christ he felt like crap this morning. Coughing he reached for his Marlboros and lit one. The acrid smoke hit the back of his throat and he coughed some more. Slowly he made his way through the first of the day, pausing to spit into a tissue. He didn’t remember going to bed last night and hoped he hadn’t done anything too stupid. In the front room he saw the empty crisp packets and cans of Stella. So that was where all his dole money had gone. It had been years since he left the paratroop regiment, the shrapnel in his knee still spoke to him of the weather. Here in his tiny little flat there was not much glory anymore.

When the kettle boiled, he made man coffee. It was as strong as an ox and as dark as the night. He sat on his step outside to smell the sea air and smoke some more. A pint or so later he was ready to face the world. There was a job going at Sainsbury’s for security and today he had an interview. Showered, shaved, suited and booted he now set off, wondering what sort of weak chinned school leaver was waiting to condescend him. Monitors are only dangerous to sanity he thought, no IEDs in Cardiff, well not yet at least. He wondered if he could cope with the inevitable bleep as the barcodes scanned the sheep through the tills, how long could he stay before he lost it? Strange, how it had all come to this. If only he had kept quiet.  Para Gates had gone beyond and when he came back he was changed.

Here in this plain part of the universe, he was an unemployed ex-soldier scrimping to make ends meet. When he had the money he slept with Stella and with Becks, otherwise it was Special Brew. These kept his world intact and helped him cope with the Double in him, his other self.  As he pulled into the car park, it was already busy, all buggies, died hair and fake tan. Round the back he found the entrance and reported in.

“You are a little early Mr Gates, please take a seat.   Please can we see your passport so that we can satisfy the UK Border agency requirements…..”

He handed his passport over and wondered about garrotting that boy, thinking to himself as the lad turned; “Pull up your trousers and get a haircut!!”

He looked at the date on his watch, today is a full moon and that meant much to him. He would go later to Nash Point to soak in the sea and the sound of the Atlantic, and the Irish Sea. At this time of year and at midweek it will be empty.

As he sat there listening to that clock click its fingers of eternity, the smell of the place filled his nostrils. Not one ounce of hope here, no excitement only day after day. The carpet was a little tatty and frayed at the edges. The youth had disappeared behind some screen and he could hear the strident early morning gossip from the office beyond. He didn’t care who had been on the X Factor or who had been un-friend-ed on Facebook™.  Soon he knew he had been forgotten and he started to drift.

First he felt that hint of incense on the air and then clear clean mountain air. Next, sinking into himself he began;

“gate, gate, para gate, para samgate… gate, gate, para gate, para samgate, Bodhi svaha”

A little off the main causeway to the stars in the land of Buddhi he saw the Temple steps cut into the mountain side. They were waiting for him. Now dressed in his robes and with his vajra and bell he began the procession up the hillside. They gathered in their hundreds. In file they climbed the stairway and poured into the Temple courtyard. Chanting purification he led them on. In the courtyard he paused until they all were there. Together they looked south to the snow capped Himalaya resplendent in the dazzling morning sun. When they were ready the doors to the outer chamber opened and they filed in. Some sat on mats where they belonged, few stood still. And then he moved to the white febrile door carved intricate and ivory. He opened the door and there on the dais sat Kumara and the three Buddhas. 

He brought his palms together and inclined his head in a bow. He touched his thumbs to his ajna, his mouth and his heart, Bodhi, mind and Spirit. He moved into that august place, others following him. Some took their places in the seats on the right and the left. He went forward to stand before. There in his white, white robes, he showered in the pillar of light. 

“Sit now where you belong, oh blessed one…”

The service continued all around him and when the time was right he began again, as was his custom.

“gate, gate, para gate, para samgate… gate, gate, para gate, para samgate, Bodhi svaha”

Soon the white room, his in that ineffable place, set aside from the main Temple complex, began to take shape. It was in a quiet part just to the side of the main rose garden. Soon he was in his foyer next to the marble wash basin. He washed his hands and walked past his little armoury into his room. It was just as he had remembered it, his piano, the flowers and his sleeping quarters. The windows at the end letting the light warm the tiled floor. He must dress now. His tunic white fitted snug over his mail and the blood red cross brilliant on his chest. From the cabinet he took his sword and scabbard, belting them on; he picked up his spear and held it left. Now he was ready.

He made his way into the complex. In the corridors he met Cederic his aide and batman. They embraced and hugged. Cederic’s face still bore the marks of many a campaign and so many times had they stood back to back. Cederic too wore the rosy cross and sword. Today they would meet again, the council of nine.

At that table seven were already sat with Noh at the head, our very own Gandalf the White. No one knows His name but His magnificence speaks enough, whiter than white with eyes that sparkle like nebulae. Now all seated the meeting begins.

When they were done and roles assigned it began. Down the chiselled stone corridors he and Cederic went to the antechamber door, carved of darkest wood with the crossed sword and spear emboldened out of it. The door opens and ahead is the simple altar clothed in white and crossed in red.  Before it he and Cederic halted again clasping palms together, thence to touch Bodhi, mind and Spirit. Genuflecting each drew out his sword and lay them on the floor before the altar, there to prostrate. Replacing swords in scabbards they move forward into the first hall. Together they draw and raise swords skywards. The blue flame of the One Power is virulent in the partial darkness shimmering along the length of the blades and dancing like serpents.

“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”

He calls into the darkness and slowly robed and hooded in grey, figures emerge out of the darkness, called to fulfil an aeonial oath.

 “Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”

The figures now congregate and as he stabs the air a host of swords join theirs to create a spark fantastic which illuminates the cavern. They come from all the bands, scattered across the universe. They come to the call of Fey-da-yin.

Collected now behind him they file into the next chamber, huge and vaulted with stall seats all around its circle circumference. Each of the grey joins his fellows and soon this room too is filled. Their numbers now are much, much larger and the place is filled with murmur and greetings.  Cederic is now seated.

He lays down the spear, touches hands together as before and prostrates. He stands holding the spear in his left hand and he cries out again:

“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”

The spear head now diamond bright with utter radiance illuminates the many. All around blades are drawn and raised and voices join;

“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”

Now we are ready.

In procession they march into the vast, vast Temple proper. At the front are the seven sitting behind the altar. He and Cederic take stage in front of the altar and before the crowd. On that marble slab lies only a single yellow rose still fresh with the morning dew.

Noh stands and approaches the altar, he turns and hands the spear to Noh’s open palms. He bows and turns on his heels to join Cederic. Together they stand side by side. As one they draw and raise The Swords of Power they show them to the crowd and call out into the cavernous expanse;

 “Atl’aman, Atl’aman, Atl’aman!!”

They parade The Swords a while and then re-sheath them. Cederic takes his seat on the side of the stage. He turns to the altar and bowing receives the Spear from Noh. He turns and raises The Spear of Destiny aloft, a point of brilliance, blue-white diamonds sparkle from it and he again calls;

“Atl’aman, Atl’aman, Atl’aman!!”

walking around the stage as he does so.

When the time is right Cederic joins him and alone the two of them file out that place the way they had come. The hush envelopes them and only their steps can be heard resounding. Now they are in the corridor and alone together.

“Mr Gates, Mr Sam Gates?” he hears a voice calling. He opens his eyes.

“Mr Gates?”

“Yes, that is me..”

“I am sorry but Mr Jones, the manager, has told me that the interviews today are cancelled. We are not taking on any more staff. It’s the recession you see. Here is your passport and thank you for coming…”

He steps outside that chamber and into the fresh morning air. He lights a Marlboro and inhales. Oh well, at least he can go to Nash Point this afternoon and after that, buy some Special Brew to help him sleep and numb him for the evening’s telly.