Valerie Yules Letters

April 11, 2015

Waste of exercise – do housework instead!

Climate change and Housework Exercise

Recently a radio station ran a campaign for more exercise. People rang in about how they exercised with gyms, bikes and so on. None of it was useful, apart from transport.

In the past until about 1950. and in many countries still, exercise by almost everybody was useful. Only the wealthy took on useless exercise – or huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, which had something at the end of it, or in ancient Greece, they went to the Gymnasium.

Most of the people rested as their recreation; Their work was their exercise – outside, growing their food, or inside, cooking, cleaning and making their clothes.

Today in our cities almost everybody uses electricity instead of exercise in the home.

Yet we can reduce carbon emissions by reducing unnecessary use of electricity and exercising instead.

People could save electricity by bending their knees, stretching their arms, strengthening their arm muscles, tuning up their wrists, and reducing their waistline. Thus with minimum electricity and carbon emissions, they would  sweep and garden, clean the floor, polish, and sweep cobwebs off the ceiling.

It would improve their circulation, tone up pelvic-floor muscles, keep the heart fit, strengthen the legs and prevent osteoporosis, by doing housework like it was done up to 1950, without unnecessary electricity.

Carbon-emissions are saved by not driving.

Walking to go shopping used to require for light shopping, a basket, soft-handled string-bag, dilly-bag or backpack, and for heavy shopping, a shopping jeep or pram. This is exercise especially good when the back was kept straight and elegant and pulling or pushing with your arms so that the back was not bent.  Shopping was not weighed down with wasteful packaging

A good hand-mower for level or ‘drought’ lawns.  Push from the waist, not hunched, for figure-improving exercise for the stomach.  Save $$$ and £££.  A hand-mower saves carbon emissions and does not annoy neigbours.  There is at least one excellent mower on the market so light it almost flies.

Do repetitive jobs with rhythm for more speed, pleasure and exercise   – eg dishwash by hand, hang up washing, make beds, use a carpet-sweeper for quick jobs rather than vacuum.  Move your feet rather than stand still at kitchen jobs, or use a high stool or chair when convenient, to avoid varicose veins.  Carbon-emissions saved by not using electricity.

Exercise while you wait.  Walk and turn while waiting for a bus or train or person, turn and stretch when sitting at a phone. These are times to exercise the neck, feet, leg and arm raising, pelvic-floor contracting, posture correction, correct breathing.

Sing or hum around the house or in the bathroom for morale and good breathing.  Children love to hear you singing, until they are old enough to discriminate.  Dont disturb adults though.

Dance down the passage sometimes.

Creative hobbies for healthy exercise – play music, paint, carpentry, home renovating.

Play with children. Even catching children for bedtime or washing them can be good exercise.

Sleeplessness.   A good time for breathing exercises . . . .  by the time you have breathed deeply to a hundred or so . . .

Don’t use electrical goods that do the job no better than you could get exercise.  Buy the goods you really need to make life easier with the money you save.

Exercise inventions. Here’s an opening for the local bicycle industry. An exercise bike could generate TV power for your home – pedal as you watch, or run a mulch-maker, or . .

One Englishman powers his television with an exercise bike – the children can watch as long as they keep pedalling.

Human energy could generate power for many household tasks, and charge batteries.  Treadmills and all those machines to make you strong or powerful or fast, could all do something useful – turning a compost-cutter, helping to make waste-paper into recycled paper, grinding up stuff, charging batteries.

Loneliness is a major reason why people do not like doing housework.  Have a child or adult friend around, or listen to interesting talks on the radio to ,or even sometimes enjoy the quiet, to think and daydream.

Do men and women need the same sort of exercise?

For hundreds of thousands of years, men have been the exercise freaks, out hunting and fighting and digging and building, muscling their way around, puffing and panting and sprinting away.  Today if modern man does not have regular vigorous exercise, his health deteriorates.

For hundreds of thousands of years, women have worked very hard but at a more regular pace.  They have not needed large-muscle speed and power.  And if they survived child-bearing and resulting disorders, they lived longer.  Today perhaps modern women are still evolved to need that sort of exercise, which most women have had in housework and in the fields.   Perhaps puffing and panting exercises are for male physiology, and  may wear women out sooner.  As, conceivably, the men’s harder, faster life, may actually wear out the healthy male for a shorter life than the conservationist female.   Like that famous jogger, they  may ‘die healthy’.

Formal exercise is unnatural.  That is, understood as formal exercise not contaminated by being useful in any way. I never do any formal exercises. (I’m heading for eighty-six, and last tested bone density was better than my age.)    Instead, I do gardening, walk to the shops with a shopping jeep, do housework – including twin-tub washing machine and outdoor drying, and carpet-sweep the floors

Formal exercise can be a waste of fossil fuels as well as waste of time when people substitute it for doing things for themselves.

Snobbery and exercise

Throughout history, slaves and peasants did the hard work. Useful work was thought undignified.  Indeed, most of it was dreadful toil. The upper classes got their exercises at sports, hunting and gymnasiums.

Chinese mandarins even grew their fingernails about a foot long to prove they did no manual work.

Today machines can do the dreadful toil. Thank goodness.  But should we still be snobs about useful work that is healthy exercise for us?  As well as saving emissions, electricity, oil and money.

Loneliness

Children like to choose whether they will be alone. In hospitals I saw them forced to be alone and forced to be with others.

In the 1930s the Royal Children’s Hospital kept children in long wards, preferably on open-air balconies. My cousin John had a terrific time with all his pals in hospital, and kept up with some of them for a long time afterwards. We visited him and saw the fun he had.

My grandson Patrick was in a Scottish ward of about fourteen children, and while he was really sick, took no notice of them, but when he was convalescing he had such fun with them he did not want to go home. It was a noisy ward because parents were welcome to visit for long periods. (Named the Royal Children’s Hospital but called The Sick Kids.)

When I was at the Royal Children’s Hospital in the 1970s children were usually in wards of about six children, well spaced, with curtains to draw when needed. They had less to do with each other, it seemed, than in earlier years.

Now in hospitals there is the bugbear of infections and sometimes children are in single rooms. This may not matter when hospital stays are so much shorter, but I wonder at the loneliness and desperation some children may feel when alone in their rooms – more visiting and lots of TV may not make up for it.

It must cost a lot more in cleaning – sometimes a crucial matter.

When I was in hospital as a mother or because of accidents, 1943-1981, I always liked best a ward of 4 beds. You could always choose whether to talk or to keep to yourself, and the chatter helped you to think of happy things.

When I read today of mental health wards in which women are menaced by men in the same ward, that seems to me a retrograde step from the old system of single-gender wards. Apparently it is because of cost – no bed is allowed to be vacant.

But the cost in extra distress to the women means more time in hospital.

In other hospitals, there may be single-bed rooms that are accompanied by their own bathrooms. I would not like that

March 27, 2015

The cost of art – a waste of money?

Filed under: alternatives, art, taxpayers — Tags: , , — valerieyulesletters @ 4:05 am

Art and money

Public art galleries pay millions of dollars for pieces of art. Why?

We can now make copies of almost anything exactly like the original. Why can’t the taxpayer be charged just a little and the gallery get one of these copies? Is there anything that cannot be replicated exactly? The Mona Lisa’s smile?

The sale of art is a profitable source of income for the dealers. When the price of a piece of art goes up and up, they make a pretty penny – or a pretty million.

People who detect forgeries have a very scientific occupation. I don’t know that it is worthwhile. Sometimes the forgeries deceive everyone for a while. So you have people who have jobs in detecting forgeries – often a tedious job.

After the world wars, cities that were obliterated like Warsaw and Dresden were rebuilt like they were before. The residents and the tourists liked the new buildings that were almost exactly like the old, except for having modern conveniences.

ISIS, the fanatic Muslim war party,  is now blasting whatever it can of our archaeological treasures that record our earliest history. Some but not all we have as copies – we can have all these treasures as copies today.

Most art of very high prices is not as profitable for the artist. It is the middlemen who make the profit.

If the public galleries did not pay millions of dollars for pieces of art, which sometimes are later shown to be forgeries, then the price of these pieces would be far less then they are.

We could have lots of copies of many masterpieces in our public galleries, instead of just one original masterpiece in one gallery – which may not be original after all.

March 26, 2015

An economic paradox of jobs and population

Filed under: Aged, economic, future problems, jobs, political — Tags: , , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 4:11 am

An economic paradox of jobs and population

 

We need more young people so that there will be enough to fill all the jobs to keep our aged population surviving. So it is said. We have a problem with more aged people all the time, needing more younger people to support them. So it is said.

We need more jobs, so that there will be enough to give employment to all our unemployed young people. So it is said.

When both are said at the same time, more people needed to fill all the jobs,, and more jobs needed for all the unemployed, they must surely contradict each other. Is it just that the unemployed are not fit to fill all the empty jobs? What can be done?

Cam we look at the jobs that are at present held – are all of them necessary, or is their function just to be jobs, whether useful or not? Where does the money come from, to pay for all the useless jobs?

Can we look at the jobs which are needed – how many of them are not filled, because there is not the money to pay for them?

November 19, 2014

Think about spelling

Filed under: Education, humor, social innovations, social problems, spelling — Tags: , , — valerieyulesletters @ 6:33 am

Think about spelling

1 Which are the most common words?
36 irregularly-spelled words make up 12% of almost every text. Which appear here?

Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

Answer: 27 very common words are here: 14 common words are difficult to spell.
Once a the of a more to put her through when it is said in you your because she I most that could make in two too.

2. Which letters are not needed in words?
Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

These words have letters that they do not need:
beautiful daughter more pearls treasures through centre when answer you might your heart’s laughed because doubted instead business colour perceive certainly wholly white thought could buy two lovely

3. Which letters are misleading in words?

Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

These words have misleading letters:-
Once beautiful daughter of great wanted more pearls to put among treasures. “Look through centre of when is blue,” said mother answer to you might your heart’s desire laughed, because doubted these words. Instead used moved into business took of colour I perceive certainly is wholly white thought could enough money I eight months to buy two lovely new.

4. Which letters are missing from words?
Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find  your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

These words have missing letters:
put might find used imagination moved most almost also huge

5. How would you spell this story?
Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

6. Is this spelling esier to read?  Cud u mak it esier?

Ons upon a  time,  th   butiful   dautr  of  a grat   magician  wonted   mor perls tu puut   amung   her tresurs. “Luuk thru the centr of the moon wen it is blu,” sed her mothr in ansr to her questn. “u   mit   find yur hert’s dezir. Th prinsess lafd, becos she   douted thez werds. Insted, she usd her imajinatn, and muvd into th fotografy biznes, and tuuk picturs of th moon in culr.”I percev most sertnly that it is almost holy wite,” she thaut. She also found that she cud mak enuf muny in ait munths tu by herself 2 luvly huj nu juwels too.

October 12, 2014

Climate change and exercise

Climate change and Housework Exercise

Recently a radio station ran a campaign for more exercise. People rang in about how they exercised with gyms, bikes and so on. None of it was useful, apart from transport.
In the past until about 1950. and in many countries still, exercise by almost everybody was useful. Only the wealthy took on useless exercise – or huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, which had something at the end of it, or in ancient Greece, they went to the Gymnasium.

Most of the people rested as their recreation; Their work was their exercise – outside, growing their food, or inside, cooking, cleaning and making their clothes.
Today in our cities almost everybody uses electricity instead of exercise in the home.
Yet we can reduce carbon emissions by reducing unnecessary use of electricity and exercising instead.

People could save electricity by bending their knees, stretching their arms, strengthening their arm muscles, tuning up their wrists, and reducing their waistline. Thus with minimum electricity and carbon emissions, they would sweep and garden, clean the floor, polish, and sweep cobwebs off the ceiling.
It would improve their circulation, tone up pelvic-floor muscles, keep the heart fit, strengthen the legs and prevent osteoporosis, by doing housework like it was done up to 1950, without unnecessary electricity.

Carbon-emissions are saved by not driving.
Walking to go shopping used to require for light shopping, a basket, soft-handled string-bag, dilly-bag or backpack, and for heavy shopping, a shopping jeep or pram. This is exercise especially good when the back was kept straight and elegant and pulling or pushing with your arms so that the back was not bent. Shopping was not weighed down with wasteful packaging

A good hand-mower for level or ‘drought’ lawns. Push from the waist, not hunched, for figure-improving exercise for the stomach. Save $$$ and £££. A hand-mower saves carbon emissions and does not annoy neigbours. There is at least one excellent mower on the market so light it almost flies.
Do repetitive jobs with rhythm for more speed, pleasure and exercise – eg dishwash by hand, hang up washing, make beds, use a carpet-sweeper for quick jobs rather than vacuum. Move your feet rather than stand still at kitchen jobs, or use a high stool or chair when convenient, to avoid varicose veins. Carbon-emissions saved by not using electricity.
Exercise while you wait. Walk and turn while waiting for a bus or train or person, turn and stretch when sitting at a phone. These are times to exercise the neck, feet, leg and arm raising, pelvic-floor contracting, posture correction, correct breathing.
Sing or hum around the house or in the bathroom for morale and good breathing. Children love to hear you singing, until they are old enough to discriminate. Dont disturb adults though.
Dance down the passage sometimes.
Creative hobbies for healthy exercise – play music, paint, carpentry, home renovating.
Play with children. Even catching children for bedtime or washing them can be good exercise.
Sleeplessness. A good time for breathing exercises . . . . by the time you have breathed deeply to a hundred or so . . .
Don’t use electrical goods that do the job no better than you could get exercise. Buy the goods you really need to make life easier with the money you save.
Exercise inventions. Here’s an opening for the local bicycle industry. An exercise bike could generate TV power for your home – pedal as you watch, or run a mulch-maker, or . .
One Englishman powers his television with an exercise bike – the children can watch as long as they keep pedalling.
Human energy could generate power for many household tasks, and charge batteries. Treadmills and all those machines to make you strong or powerful or fast, could all do something useful – turning a compost-cutter, helping to make waste-paper into recycled paper, grinding up stuff, charging batteries.

Loneliness is a major reason why people do not like doing housework. Have a child or adult friend around, or listen to interesting talks on the radio to ,or even sometimes enjoy the quiet, to think and daydream.
Do men and women need the same sort of exercise?
For hundreds of thousands of years, men have been the exercise freaks, out hunting and fighting and digging and building, muscling their way around, puffing and panting and sprinting away. Today if modern man does not have regular vigorous exercise, his health deteriorates.
For hundreds of thousands of years, women have worked very hard but at a more regular pace. They have not needed large-muscle speed and power. And if they survived child-bearing and resulting disorders, they lived longer. Today perhaps modern women are still evolved to need that sort of exercise, which most women have had in housework and in the fields. Perhaps puffing and panting exercises are for male physiology, and may wear women out sooner. As, conceivably, the men’s harder, faster life, may actually wear out the healthy male for a shorter life than the conservationist female. Like that famous jogger, they may ‘die healthy’.

Formal exercise is unnatural. That is, understood as formal exercise not contaminated by being useful in any way. I never do any formal exercises. (I’m heading for eighty-six, and last tested bone density was better than my age.) Instead, I do gardening, walk to the shops with a shopping jeep, do housework – including twin-tub washing machine and outdoor drying, and carpet-sweep the floors
Formal exercise can be a waste of fossil fuels as well as waste of time when people substitute it for doing things for themselves.
Snobbery and exercise
Throughout history, slaves and peasants did the hard work. Useful work was thought undignified. Indeed, most of it was dreadful toil. The upper classes got their exercises at sports, hunting and gymnasiums.
Chinese mandarins even grew their fingernails about a foot long to prove they did no manual work.
Today machines can do the dreadful toil. Thank goodness. But should we still be snobs about useful work that is healthy exercise for us? As well as saving emissions, electricity, oil and money.

Do men die younger because they do the wrong sort of exercise – the repetitive fast Olympic sports type (lots of RSS)and not regularly, and women did regular housework exercise? Doing housework exercise at the times that you don’t really need the electric appliances also saves carbon emissions and money, and you can listen to the wireless at the same time. Or just think.

April 25, 2014

cheap worm farms reduce landfill from rubbish

Filed under: conservation, economic, garden, social innovations, social problems, Waste, waste — Tags: , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 6:24 am

THIS simple design for a homemade worm farm is rat-proof and fits a small shady space. It suits a family of four, as the worms eat the kitchen scraps so fast!
All you need are two empty plaster or paint cans, often thrown out from building sites, and two cheap plastic garden sieves. Builders and plasterers at a building site will usually be happy to give you the used cans rather than throw them in a rubbish skip.
Place one can in a depression in a shady space on damp ground. Put a sieve on top. Cut the bottom from the second can. Place the can on the sieve. Top it with the second sieve (if there are very clever rats around, weight this sieve with half a brick, so vermin can’t lift it).
The sieves stop rats, mice and blowflies getting in, but allow worms perfect freedom to come and go. A few fruit flies do not matter.
Start off the worm farm with some damp earth with a few worms in it. They will multiply quickly, so there is no need to buy worms.
Then all you do is add your kitchen scraps (except bones) to the top can. Worms don’t like citrus, eggshells or tea leaves much, so put those in your compost bin instead. After a few weeks, you’ll have made rich fertiliser for the garden. Just lift the top can off and take out the fertiliser (full of worms) from the bottom of it. You can also take rich worm tea (from the worm poo) from the bottom can.
Shift the worm farm around the garden if you like, but keep it in a well-shaded spot—a cooked worm farm is a sad and smelly thing.
Apart from the fantastic fertiliser, having a worm farm reduces your waste: only bones and packaging need go out in your rubbish or recycling bins. Your compost bin (or heap) will
a All you need is a couple of old buckets and two garden sieves.
also have less food scraps in it and so will be less likely to attract rats. As an added bonus, the worm farm also stops the used plaster cans from going to landfill; these plastic cans are useful as gardening buckets, too, and for making liquid manure.
It’s amazing how quickly the worms reduce the scraps to earth, so the worm farm is hardly ever full. And with a well-run worm farm there’s no smell.
Friendly neighbours in flats could share a worm farm or you could even keep this farm on a balcony in a flat.
Perhaps councils could promote or sell these very cheap worm farm kits, as well as the more expensive commercial worm farms that many sell already. Everyone could afford one! S

January 11, 2014

Truth, Lies and Pretends

Filed under: children, Education, Fantasy, social problems — Tags: , , , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 6:46 am

It is almost always possible to tell the truth to children – and to others.
And it is necessary for the sake of our society.

The general agreement on a recemt Life Matters program that lies were inevitable to children is a change from the past, when theology not psychology would have provided the standard – however much people might have in practice fallen away from that standard.

When the children ask, tell them Santa and the Tooth Fairy are Pretends. Do you want to join in this Pretend? (Oh YES)

“There’s a bear under my bed.” “Mummy can shut that sort of bear in the cupboard.” (She leans under the bed and then shuts the cupboard door, and for as long as necessary at bedtime she shuts the ‘Imaginary Bears’ in the cupboard.) If a scent is used, it can be called a This-Can-Work,-We’ll-Try -This, without specific details or promises.
Promises. “We might be able to go to the beach tomorrow but I can’t promise.”

(Do I look nice in this? ) I like the blue dress better. (It is not fair to someone to let them think they look good in something that makes them look dreadful.)
(How are you?) All the better for seeing you, or Better than yesterday, or Battling on.
A dreadful dinner party. Choose the least worst thing to praise. “I particularly liked the – “

I believe that . . . but I may be wrong.

Dreadful questions – “Where is your father?” demand the baddies. “I don’t know where he is just now” or whatever can be told truthfully. Let’s hope we never are asked that sort of question. It’s not the sort that we usually are tempted to lie about.

If individuals have a reputation for truthfulness, we then know we can trust them. Nobody – neither me nor you – has never told a lie, but we can do our best.
A country with a reputation for dealing in truth has a great commercial advantage in the world as long as bad apples can be prevented from taking advantage of that reputation. We must keep our land incorrupt.
Victorian England and Scotland had a great advantage in an incorrupt civil service. The Quakers became wealthy because people knew they could trust them in business.

There are ‘pretends’, stories and fiction that can be shared around, as well as lies intended to deceive, not to amuse.

Suppose Truth became an ideal stronger than power or wealth or sensual pleasure. All of these goals are finally inaccessible in any ultimate form – but all of them direct our lives. What could happen with a goal for Truth?

A country with a reputation for dealing in truth would have a great commercial advantage in the world as long as bad apples could be prevented from taking advantage of that reputation. Currently the shift in business theory is to be quite open about deceit as a legitimate business manoeuvre, with best-seller adaptations of Chinese treatises on the art of war, such as Chu Chin Chang’s ‘Thick Face Black Heart’ so admired by the chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, which through a merger became the biggest banker in USA.
A great deal of time and money would be saved in politics with open government and even in diplomacy. ‘I am sorry we cannot support East Timor in this as we want the oil from the Timor Straits’. ‘We are backing X because we fear future invasion from Y.’ ‘We can’t ban landmines because we would need them if we were invaded ourselves.’ Such naivety would be so incredible that other countries would be stymied and incredulous.

No incoming government could be surprised by the financial situation it met – it would be open knowledge. No voters could be surprised by what a newly elected government would do – it would have told them. ‘We will do this, unless that happens, when we will do such and such.’ We could even have voting for major policies as well as persons on the ballot ticket – plus regular electronic voting.
Statistics would always be presented to the public with figures, not just percentages. For example, it could be made quite clear in an opinion poll on satisfaction with education that only 100 parents of primary children had been asked their opinion, so that the comment in a newspaper editorial two days later would read ‘as shown by the opinions of 68 of the 100 parents of primary children polled recently, the great majority of Victorian parents are very satisfied with primary education today’.
If a mistake was accidentally made in any reporting in the media, the correction would be given as much prominence as the mistake. When letters were published containing information that a newspaper knew was incorrect, the correct information would appear in an editorial note below.
A regular feature in all media, electronic and print would be features for viewers, listeners and readers, ‘We want to know’ – not just about pets, gardens, health, finance and kitchen renovations, but about what was going on. What special rebates are being given to which group where? Why can’t this be done? Why was this done?
Budgets and government accounts would be given mass media circulation in comprehensible detail, including spending on publicity and consultants. Calls for tenders would have open details. Government contracts, once made, would have no shield of ‘commercial confidentiality’. After all, a Victorian newspaper in the 1880s printed the whole of of the Westminster Confession of Faith during some local theological controversy.
Advertising – now that is tricky. At present advertisers are the real modern equivalent of Renaissance patrons for art – and they are the patrons of the art that the public really likes. And to a large extent, when consumers buy products advertised on television, it is really the cleverness of the advertising agency not the value of the product that has attracted them. I think my vision would be of ‘sponsored commercials’, rather like the present sponsorship of whole programmes – the advertiser produces a segment of pure entertainment, followed by a clear and accurate statement of the advantages of the advertised product. The policy of public benefactions and sponsorships would also continue to create goodwill for businesses. However, the disadvantage for small and new businesses in lacking capital for expensive advertising would be overcome by special chances for them too to advertise in print and in all the electronic and broadcast media. Truth in business and advertising would apply to prevent individuals simply changing business names to abandon responsibilities and to resurrect to despoil others yet again.

Mr Gradgrind of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times was suspicious of anything that was not a fact – and he backed teachers who would not allow that horses could be depicted on home furnishings because real horses could not prance up walls like that. Sometimes I sympathise with Gradgrind when I am fed up with too many whimsical picture-story books for preschoolers like ‘The elephant that wanted to be a geranium’ or ‘The best nest’ that get their laughs from depicting stupid and twee behaviour. Why shouldn’t reality be fascinating? Why shouldn’t a cabinet of crystals be delightful?
What would happen to schooling if truth was a priority?
In the first place, English and media courses could be radically different because they need not spend so much time and effort trying to warn the young against being duped by all the misinformation and misleading advertising they would face in the real world. They need not spend so much time teaching the young how to produce advertising copy that preached any side that was asked of them.
Historical novels such as The Hand that Signed the Papers would of course have disclaimers that fact and fiction were mixed; most would indicate the historical characters, and have a note about significant changes in interpretations and events – as many novelists already do.

History would contain many more connections and more context – it can never avoid interpretation, but readers would be given a note about interpretation. At present young students often study snippets of time without any overview, on the grounds that overviews are impossible – but they are necessary. The old memorising of dates was indefensible – but knowing about a time-line did give a setting for the present. Students need to know about how the past attempted to cope with its problems, and the results, and how it differed from the present, in order to stop repeating mistakes, and to have examples of ideals and heroes, with all their tragic flaws, and not just be fed models of the mean and mingy.

Drama is a special case – because here actors are deliberately trying to be other than themselves, in scenes that are not real events. I think that children, at least, are less likely to understand the characters if they act them than if they read about them or even watch great plays about them. This is because they cannot avoid injecting themselves and their own immaturity into what they play. After Socrates has died near the teachers’ desk or Captain Cook sailed on the playground or Antigone been shut in the cupboard or Jesus has had trouble adjusting his bath-towels, the triviality of the permanent impressions can make it unlikely that most members of the class will ever understand any of these above a childish level. Simply reading around the class divorces the present scene from the remembered language. That is what I liked about the way we ‘studied’ Hamlet and Macbeth at school, not the pundits who had written about them.

‘Honesty’ is often given the tag ‘brutal honesty’, in the same way that ‘reality’ is hard to dissociate from ‘harsh reality’. Here we face how much damage is done by people who think that if a cruel thought happens to come into their head, in order to be honest they have to say it and hurt people, often with barbs that never can be torn out. The matter is not as simple as that – the real truth is how to say what needs to be said in ways that will help not harm. If we have to say everything that comes to mind, we would all be the greatest bores, muttering all the time like so many Stephen Blooms.

If people felt bound in their inmost hearts to tell the truth, the law would be revolutionised, probably changing from the British adversarial to the Continental truth-seeking system. Pleading guilty or not guilty would solve most issues. However, I doubt if my vision can really assume a change in how easily human nature can deceive itself and in so many ways, when the personal costs can be so high. On the other hand, at present the law makes it often very difficult for the truth to come out. The only time I was called to be a witness, in a car accident case, it was possible to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, but to tell the whole truth was against all the rules of procedure – and yet the magistrate could not judge the case fairly without knowledge of significant facts that were necessary and relevant for the case. I managed to tell the whole truth but it was hard in the face of the legal procedures,

Religion is an interesting case about Truth. Faith has been defined as ‘belief in what cannot be proved, the experience of things unseen’ and certainly there are more things in heaven and earth than can be proved. Prophets and their followers can be sincerely convinced of their messages. However, today there is a good deal of religion-inventing that is not based on experiences of revelation, deluded or not. People can invent goddesses simply because they don’t want to be patriarchal, not because they genuinely think a goddess exists. Druids dress up imagining horned gods in Sherwood Forest. Superstitions multiply today without any concern for scientific evidence. “Do you think it is true? What are the grounds for you thinking this up?” are simple questions that should get answers. Do Satanists really believe in the Devil and seek to propitiate it? What if they were truly faced with what they conjured up?

A fairly general opinion now is that there is no Truth, not even at the bottom of the proverbial well. Everything is mirrors, illusions, change. This perception is increased by the scams and spams on the Internet, by computer imagery and by psychedelic drugs, which at one stage people like Timothy Leary thought might make truth more accessible to consciousness. Watch a few dozen videoclips or virtual reality, and the real world may only be recognised in the prick of a pin – ‘I dislike what I fancy I feel’.

In personal affairs, the Moral Rearmament people have found that living by absolutes is pretty hard. There is the joke about the competition for liars, which so shocked a parson who claimed he had never told a lie in his life – and so he was awarded the prize. Francis Bacon’s essay on Truth (‘What is Truth?’ said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer) is worth revisiting – Bacon himself had problems in the practicalities.

Truth is a journey that may never have an end. Old-time pilgrims believed they followed a track with maps. The modern tourist usually does not even have a brochure, but it would be the holiday of a lifetime.

November 29, 2013

Australian population

Filed under: conservation, population — Tags: , , , , , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 10:26 pm

We cannot hope to do anything about protecting nature while we expect enormous population increases. Melbourne growing to 8 million people
with the loss of some of the most beautiful country and wildlife in Australia is
No profit to anyone except developers and big retailers.
Great trouble for all other inhabitants with horrid housing, transport, loss of amenities and fertile farmland, more landfill etc.

We must keep our population low while we still can.
Climate change requires a smaller population to survive.
No more baby bonuses after the first two children is easy to do, for example.

October 16, 2013

The Israeli illegal settlements – could this be a solution?

Filed under: Fantasy, political solutions, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — valerieyulesletters @ 4:57 am

One solution to the illegal Israeli settlements’ oppression of the dispossessed would be the solution to oppression of the dispossessed in Exodus – as much of the ten plagues of Egypt as was necessary-
Water like blood (red algae), frogs, gnats, flies, death of cattle, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and if none worked, the death of the first-born.

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