Noticing the Not Ordinary or Normal

Some would say that this is a key trait for those working in the security services, if something is a bit “off” there is probably a reason. One could say that noticing these unusual things is like noticing a Glitch in The Matrix. They can of course be simply strange and weird occurrence, or they can be indicators of something afoot.

I mentioned the other day that I was a little precocious as a Ph.D. student and early days post-doctoral fellow. I wrote the large bulk of several research grant applications for my then supervisor and with his name on the applications a couple of them got funded. I concluded from this that there was, in the fullness of time, actually a chance of having an academic research career. I had already “gained” several hundred thousands of pounds in funding.

But then it happened.

Before I had finished my Ph.D. I had to speak at a conference immediately after a famous, powerful and well-known Oxford professor who was a competitor of my supervisor. In front of a room full of his chums and colleagues I offered clear evidence for a different explanation of the phenomenon he was describing. I put it as nicely as I could, but he did not like it. Some came up to me afterwards and said that I had a big pair for doing this.

Time passed and I was soon writing my own research proposals to the research councils. I had just done a stint in a world leading spectroscopy group and was aiming to set up my own group in competition with the aforementioned Prof. who happened to sit on a number of research council committees. No matter how hard I tried my research grant applications came back unfunded. They even had a senior colleague look at my proposals and he said that they were crystal clear and well argued, he too was a little perplexed.

Then by chance I had sight of a research proposal which was uncannily similar to the ones I had been submitting. I’ll leave you to join the dots.

So, by being precocious and in way excelling I had possibly pissed off a senior establishment dude. I could not prove anything but the wording in the proposal I saw by chance had a phrasing reminiscent of mine. It was pretty obvious to me that the door to this area of endeavour was now firmly closed to me.

Strangely when I changed the subject area of my applications, I got some funding…

Odd that…

This could all be coincidence, or it could be a little “polite” English skulduggery.

Much water has flown under the bridge since then and it does not really matter now.

It is with retrospect that I know that the utter frustration of doing my impeccable best and then getting stymied, played a part in my subsequent breakdown in the mid-nineties. If I had been writing shit grant proposals I would have known, and it would not have had such an impact.

Anyway, it seems that the dreaming is starting to hot up a little. So, we shall see how things go from here.

There is another extrapolation to the above subject which I need to figure out how to verbalize, in due course.

Today we have cleared out the shed in which the sit on mower sits. The previous owner has left some 207cm by 87cm doors in the workshop. They must be nearly solid wood. Just think of the hinges I thought as I tried to manhandle one, they were not far short of 50 highly unwieldy kilos. One of them is now a part of the floor in the shed.

Grilled Harissa Chicken, Tabouleh and Tzatziki are now beckoning.

After the effort today I should sleep better tonight…

What dreams may come?

Spiritual Development – A Complete Reorientation

In the West having ambition and making career progression is seen by some as important, all-consuming even. To acquire money, kudos, social position and goods is to be counted as a success.  To win at sports or in the argument is important for some. To climb the league table is a goal or an aim. To meet targets and achieve goals means you are a go-getter. Having timed targets or objectives causes one not only to strive but to stress. This acquisitional mentality pervades. There is a whole lot of measurement out there in the workplace. Comparison mind dominates and people are forever comparing themselves to others. I am not convinced that this generates happiness and wellbeing. People do this kind of stuff with bodies and many have themselves sliced and stitched in order to look “better”. People want to know who is cleverer, who gets the best results.

It is my tenet that if you want to develop “spiritually” a complete reorientation towards life is needed. A tiny change helps yet it remains that, tiny.

If one lets go of this notion of winning and beating others, one can focus on what it is you are doing.

If one aims for enough and no more, then one aids in the effort of not bleeding the planet dry of resource. Acquisitional vampirism harms the planet.

If one drops goal orientation vast tracts of time suddenly open up because one is not stressing about goals.

If one simply does one’s impeccable best, there is absolutely no need to compare with anyone else simply because it is not possible to do any better.

If one attains impermanence ones sees that kudos and social position are transient “things” which exist only in the minds of humanity. They are quite literally made up in the head.

What makes sense to those who live the opening paragraph is madness to those who do not. It is my guess that there is a vice versa here too.

There was a time when I bought partially in to the first paragraph, not any longer. Retrospect suggests that I may have feigned ambition because that was what I was supposed to do. Who knows?

I’ll make a hypothesis.

Whilst one is fully subscribed to the way of life briefly outlined in the first paragraph one does not evolve much towards liberation and because of competition one generates karma. In order to be free one has to let this way of being go, almost completely.