Early in the Second World War, a young man in a small Hungarian town, along with a number of other Jews, started to prepare against a German invasion. It eventually happened on 19 March 1944. They survived, because they faced the challenge by loosening ties to their jobs, possessions and a normal life; moving in anonymity from city to city. The man was unable to persuade other members of his family to go with him. At some risk to himself, he returned at least three times to plead with his relatives, pointing out to them the growing persecution of the Jews, and later, transportation to the concentration camps had already begun. He could not convince these Jews to take action.
In this second article, on the same general theme as Belief and Disbelief , material is based largely upon G R Elton’s The Practice of History, and Huston Smith’s Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition. Brief biographical information is at the conclusion.
“The study of History amounts to the search for the truth”
Today it is almost taken for granted that man cannot be certain what is truth. Continue reading Belief and Disbelief, (Part 2)
Rating: Fantastic Mr Fox [DVD] 
In the beginning the dashing, non-conformist Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) raid a squab (pidgeon) farm. After they get ensnared by a trap, Felicity makes her husband promise he’ll give up thievery if they make it out alive. After this alarming wake-up call, he takes up a steady job as a newspaper columnist, but he can’t suppress his wild leanings for long. Against the advice of his lawyer friend Badger (“You’re borrowing at nine-and-half per-cent, no fixed rate, and it’s in a neighbourhood totally unsuited to your species”), he moves the family into a large tree on a hill with a view overlooking Boggis, Bunce, and Bean’s farms, and soon sets about stealing and antagonizing them. This sets off a full-scale war that drives Mr. Fox, his family, and all the other neighbourhood animals deep underground.
Interviewing Ricardo Semler of Semco Partners, for TED.com. Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a clearinghouse of knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers.
Ricardo Semler advocates revolutionary stuff that only a handful of companies worldwide practise. He dismisses as corporate window dressing ‘mission statements’ and ‘employee consultation’ and points out how far we claim to defend democracy, but practice Eastern bloc centralisation in our workplace.
He encourages people to start where they are and affect the few people under them, instead of moaning that it’s impossible. He notes how many business schools and consultants preach empowerment, but run autocratic, tightly controlled organisations themselves.
He writes about how he works constantly to pull back from being placed in the role of a guru with the Midas touch, how he wants the business to be sustainable through the efforts of all employees, not only the one with a reputation.
At most companies in the United States, vacation starts in the most un-relaxing way possible: filling in a permission form. Accruing enough time to go on vacation then having to go and ask for permission felt more like a school field trip than a grown-up getaway. Worse, many companies insist employees take vacation time before a year-end deadline or lose out. Is there a better way to care for every companies greatest resource – their employees?
At HubSpot , they designed a progressive policy that allows employees to build their work around their life, not the other way around. They are part of a growing trend, now around 3 percent of US companies.
The Prisoner – The Complete Series DVD Rating:
“I will not make any deals with you… I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own…”
The Prisoner was one of the most original dramas ever aired on television. Brainchild of producer and star Patrick McGoohan (1928- 2009) the series portrays a high-ranking but un-named secret agent in the Government who resigns from his position and while leaving for a holiday, is immediately abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic resort, but is really a sinister prison known only as “The Village.” No one has a name. Everyone has a number, all are watched continually by unseen eyes, both in and out of the homes that are given to them. Escape is regarded as impossible by those who have come to accept their captivity. The residents generally appear very ordinary, but there is no knowing who are friends and who are enemies; who are fellow Prisoners and who are spies.
“I am not a number. I am a person”.
Number 6 ( the new “identity” given to him by his captors) soon learns that no one can be trusted, not even one of his oldest and closest friends whom he finds is there, and certainly not the girls who come into his new life, right from the start.
Gary infuriated his fiancé Ellen, because even though he was an intelligent, thoughtful, and a successful surgeon, Gary was emotionally flat, unresponsive to any and all shows of feeling. While Gary could speak brilliantly of science and art, when it came to his feelings- even for Ellen- he fell silent. He lacked emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and responding appropriately by using emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. Emotions are, in essence, impulses to act, clearly seen in child and animal behaviour, often suppressed in adults, sometimes rightly, often not.
The term became widely known with the publication, twenty years ago, of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ (1995). It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity. Goleman has followed up with several further popular publications of a similar theme that reinforce use of the term. To date though, tests measuring EI have not replaced IQ tests as a standard metric of intelligence…
Autobiographical notes appear here: William Whiston 1667- 1752
The years 1680 and 1682 were years of unusually bright comets. Many pamphlets were printed, especially in Germany, on the imminent end of the world; at the very least, great catastrophes were expected. This was nothing new. In earlier centuries and also earlier in the seventeenth century, comets were regarded with awe and every possible evil effect was ascribed to them.
Madeleine Bunting (2005) Rating:
“Some people take, and some people get took. Only they know they’re getting took and (they think) there’s nothing they can do about it..” Fran (Shirley Maclaine) to CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon) in Billy Wilder’s ‘The Apartment’ (1960).
“In the ancient world individuals were often enslaved without choice, but some sold themselves as slaves in order to eat…and so in society.” C S Lewis (1958)
This is a contemporary account of the attack on the loss of liberty suffered by ordinary working people. Since the 18th Century, demands imposed by landowners, the industrial revolution and employers, in both the public and private sectors, have grown in intensity.
While you may not directly feel the impact of refuse while going about your day to day life, it’s quite literally choking the life out of our ecosystem, and the situation is getting worse with each passing day. Eventually, we will all suffer the very real consequences as the world dies around us. As stated in the documentary, Inside the Garbage of the World ,”we’re going to create an environmental catastrophe that we may not be able to recover from.”
Many take for granted that their refuse “magically disappears” once it’s picked up by the disposal truck, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most refuse does not disappear. It’s simply relocated to a landfill or a recycling centre. Trash also makes its way down storm drains and into nearby waterways.