Bullying at School, Bullying at Work, What can be done?

WHAT causes a person to begin bullying others? If you have ever been victimized by a bully, you probably would say, “There’s no excuse for that kind of behaviour.” But there is a big difference between a reason and an excuse. The reason why a person becomes a bully does not excuse the wrong behaviour, but might help us understand it. And that can have real value.

Anger at the bully’s conduct can blind us, filling us with frustration, but we need see more clearly how we can find solutions. So let’s look at some factors that give rise to this unacceptable behaviour.

Social or financial background can be little to do with it. Often a bully’s childhood is marred by poor parental example or by outright neglect. Many bullies come from homes where the parents are cold or uninvolved or have, in effect, taught their children to use violence, outright or suppressed, to handle problems. Children raised in such an environment may not see their own verbal attacks and physical aggression as bullying; they may even think that their behaviour is normal and acceptable. Sometimes bullying begins with younger siblings, or cruelty to animals..

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The Socinians in Poland

The Socinians

Faustus Socinus (or Fausto Sozzini), an Italian influenced by Servetus’ writings, was moved by his brutal execution at the hands of Calvin, to examine the Trinity doctrine. He concluded that it had no basis in the Bible. Faustus decided to leave his comfortable life as a courtier and share the truths he had learned from the Bible. (Reason and Religion in the English Revolution: The Challenge of Socinianism)

Hounded by the Catholic Inquisition, Socinus travelled to Poland, where, by 1574, he found a small group of Anabaptists who called themselves “The brethren.. who have rejected the Trinity.” To Socinus, this religion was clearly the closest to the truth of the Bible. So he settled in Kraków and began to write in defense of their cause.

These Socinians, as they later came to be called, wanted most of all to restore the pure Christianity taught in the Bible. They felt that the Protestant Reformation had merely skimmed off some of the corruption of the Catholic Church while leaving its unbiblical teachings intact.

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The Power of Words

The making of a good Dictionary
is a contribution of the highest order to the welfare of a language.
It clarifies and stabilises the pronunciation, orthography and meaning of its words;
garners and stores the varied wealth of its vocabulary.
To the farmer, his barn; to the manufacturer, his warehouse;
to all who use and value their native tongue, a dictionary.

— David Lloyd George

Without arguing with David Lloyd George, who after all, was trying to make a valid case for dictionaries everywhere, things change over the course of a hundred years. Not in itself a problem, as it provides a reason to keep selling new dictionaries.

‘We all know words don’t mean what they meant sixty, or six hundred years ago.  And yet..words do contain within themselves echoes of their previous lives.  We hear in them not only the way we use them now, but also the way our parents used them, and their parents before them.  Words are like living things, as they move around, they grow, they change.  A word is nothing but information.  English spelling and pronunciation, simply tell us where the word came from, how it relates to other words, and what it likely meant…    (Frantic Semantics: Snapshots of Our Changing Language).

We learn a word’s connotations, the associations it carries beyond the current dictionary meaning, by hearing it in context, from childhood, or when we first heard the word. This may explain why we don’t like certain words. In the ‘caring professions’ at present (a term I also personally dislike), we have ‘Service user’. No one likes it because of the tendency to abbreviate everything, and who wants to be a ‘user’? On the other hand, one of the terms it replaced, along with ‘patient’, or ‘inmate’, was ‘client’. Such is the dilemma. What about ‘customer’? Why is it also unpopular? Apparently, in the time of Shakespeare, it too, was linked to the brothel. This is a much wider problem than it first appears, many otherwise respectable words end up with sexual overtones. As if you needed more examples, here are some.

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Conspiracy Theory (Part One)

Part One: Media and Conspiracy Psychology

Conspiracy theories are as old as the human psyche. But fears of an all-embracing political plan to take over the world appear to go back only as far as the French Revolution. In that same country, in the nineteenth century, the Dreyfus affair divided public opinion. Conspiracy theories continued to grow in importance up until the mid-twentieth century, when two arch-conspiracy theorists, Hitler and Stalin, warred against one another (despite a non-aggression pact), causing the worst blood-letting in human history. The world war sobered the Americans, who in subsequent decades dismissed conspiracy theories, and the mainly fringe groups or individuals who promoted such ideas, in their valid quest for some meaning or motive behind the seemingly meaningless, wanton destruction of war and commercial exploitation.

Sometimes those holding such ideas were denigrated for political, commercial, cultural or racial reasons, or for reasons of academic jealousy.   Some raise issues current in our culture:  these include those who question the assassination of Kennedy, or the death of Princess Diana, “Ufologists,” and perhaps those, such as David Icke, who claims  a reptilian race runs the earth and/or alien installations exist under the earth’s surface. Such themes enjoy a certain popularity, but owe little to common sense or carry little real influence. The politically disaffected,the political far right, and other alienated minorities have all been labelled ‘conspiracists’. Their theories imply a political agenda, but lack any significant credibility, or even influential publicity. To run for office with similar ideas in the manifesto would be to experience electoral disaster.

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Is the Fish a Christian symbol?

The outstanding unity of early Christian thought began to fade after the death of the apostles. From the second century, Greek philosophy and other pagan practices were mixing  into accepted doctrine.  From the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, Emperor Constantine’s fusion of the pagan religion of Rome with apostate Christianity moved ahead at a rapid pace.

In 378 A.D, Emperor Gratian granted Damasus, bishop of Rome, the right to bear the old religious title ‘Pontifex Maximus’. During his rule, much was done to embellish the catacombs beneath the city, the tombs of the martyrs. The former healthy Christian respect for the example of faith set by those who were martyred was now contaminated with the corrupt hero worship of Rome and turned into the saint worship of the following century..

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In Britain, following the recent General Election, fundamental questions are being raised about the nature of Democracy. In an era seemingly desperate for strong government, is a system that created a ‘hung parliament’, with no party having an overall majority, “the best of all possible worlds?” Without straying into the party political arena, can any dispassionate observer see as more or less ‘Democratic’ a system that functions by the consent of the party coming third in the polls? Does history shed any light on how this happened?

“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution.” These opening words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution indicate the founding fathers intended the United States to be a Democracy. Of Greek origin, “Democracy” means “rule of the people,” or as Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, famously defined it at Gettysburg: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

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Altered Body Image- Anorexia and Bulimia

Today’s teenagers face demands and expectations, as well as opportunities and risks, that are more numerous and complex than only a generation ago. High divorce rates, ambiguous moral guidance, and complex media images all contribute to a lack of stability. Nonetheless, contrary to powerful stereotypes of teenagers as highly stressed, over-assertive, or incompetent, the majority attain adulthood with a positive self-conception and good relationships with both peers and older persons.

However, some teenagers do not have the circumstances, support or opportunities to gain competence and control over their own futures. Before looking at the psychological factors of weight gain or loss, it is essential to consider any physical health factors. To give just two, and there are many, weight gain is an unwelcome side-effect of many types of drugs, and weight loss is often an early sign of malignant disease.

It is now known that more than half the female population of the UK between the ages of 15 and 50 suffer from some form of eating problem, which gives an idea of the scale of the problem, and also, the many individual reasons there are for women to feel dissatisfied with their bodies. It should be noted moreover, that Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are not solely female-oriented problems; there is an increasing incidence of both in males. There are many causative factors, but without doubt one is what doctors have called ‘the cult of slimness’, the malign side of the fashion industry. Fashion extremes are designed to influence people..

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Newspapers, media, care and prejudice

“Foolish is the man who never reads a newspaper; even more foolish is the man who believes what he reads just because it is in the newspaper.”(August von Schlözer, German historian and journalist of the late 18th century)

There is  justification for scepticism, especially when what is said involves vested interests. What happens then?  Truth is sacrificed.  As Arthur Ponsonby, English statesman, once noted: “When war is declared, Truth is the first casualty.” Yes, it is wise to examine the news with healthy scepticism.

The BBC Panorama programme  ‘Undercover Nurse’  aired in July 2005, filmed conditions on an acute care ward at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. While acknowledging the deficiencies in care uncovered, legitimate questions may be asked of this style of investigation. Is this the best way to improve care services? Is this really in the public interest?

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The Huia and the Honeyguide

What similarity is there between two species of birds, very different in many ways? They both cause major difficulties for evolutionists, and in their behaviour, exhibit forms of symbiosis that confound Darwinian natural selection. No explanation they offer has convinced me, look at the facts for yourself.

The Huia The Huia belonged to a family found only in New Zealand, a family so ancient that no relation is found elsewhere. Only the Moa and the Kiwi are likely to be older.  Before the arrival of Europeans it was already a rare bird, confined to the mountain ranges in the south east of the North Island.

The Huia was a bird of deep metallic, bluish-black plumage with a greenish iridescence on the upper surface, especially about the head. The tail feathers were striking in having a broad white band across tips.

At the base of the bill, on either side of the mouth hung the fleshy wattles characteristic of the family Callaeidae, which were bright orange in the Huia. In both sexes the bill colour was ivory white and the legs were bluish grey. In size the Huia were slightly larger than the introduced Australian magpie.

But the most remarkable feature of the species was the marked difference in size and shape of the bill and this difference was so extreme to cause early ornithologists, such as the renowned John Gould, to think that the male and female belonged to different species.

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How to unlock your creativity

How important is curiosity? When considered, it is a vital part of what makes us human. With age, we often lose the sense of wonder confronting us in our world, so how can we cultivate our interest in our own surroundings, however mundane?

Prepare to be amazed by something every day. Be open to the possibilities around you. Break the routine of your activities. Cycle or walk to work. Take a bus for a change. Stop to chat to people.  Ask something you might not feel confident about normally. Try something different on the café menu.

Buy a notepad you can write down your ideas as they occur to you, or simply use it to doodle on while you wait. Most creative people keep a record of their thoughts, experience should tell us all how much we lose by not doing so. After a day or two, read over your ideas and reflect on them. You may find a pattern emerging that indicates your creative response to your environment. Try the suggestions in : The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Learn to use the Internet effectively. For most, if not all, casual users, it can appear daunting; how do you decide from half a million search responses which is the one you want? What if you miss a better one? Creative people cut through those worries, and learn the effective ways to use what they find, they can organise information so they can find it again, and they don’t overload their own memories whilst using a machine designed to do the same task more efficiently. Flow diagrams are good; in similar fashion we display a family tree, with the possibility of adding information in ‘layers’, using spread-sheet software, for example.

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