31 December 2009

Signs of the times (1)

Recession drives adult children back live with parents

Newspapers continue to be filled with news of the development of the oppressive state and the downfall of civilisation, while the relevant departments of my suppressed and unrecognised university continue to be prevented from contributing their comments to the intellectual life of this time.

Front-page news today: Year of recession forces half a million adults aged 35 to 44 to return to live with parents.

But, in spite of the pressures on those living independently, and in spite of publicising our position as best we can on the internet, none of these people come to live nearby to become associates with our cooperative consortium for working towards a large and adequately financed institutional environment supported by a business empire, until such time as it can get recognition and support from the sources available to the ersatz universities of the oppressive society.

Parents, of course, may provide their offspring with advantages, such as ironing their shirts, without the offspring contributing any useful work or money to alleviate the position of the parents in return, and this – i.e. benefits without contributions – is something we could not do. But the prospects for long-term progressive improvement of our position, and hence of any new associates, would in most circumstances be better, although dependent on their actually coming. With no one willing to work for us we have, of course, found it almost impossible to improve our position from Ground Zero, although we might have been able to develop much faster with more people.

Signs of the times (2)

'Tough love'

There are often articles in the press about the increasing problems of both pensioners (poverty-struck and surrounded by feral neighbours) and "graduates" of "universities" finding themselves without prospects in life in modern oppressive society.

Now the government (specifically the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) has issued an appalling "guide" on how parents "should" "help" graduate children. Obviously violating the basic moral principle of not imposing on people an official interpretation of how they should evaluate the existential possibilities of their situation, this guide viciously suggests that parents should throw their children out of house and home, to make them earn a living or else claim disability allowance. Oh yes, it actually advocates sending them to enter into an abusive interaction with a qualified sadist (“doctor”) if they show signs of depression!

And allow them to "relax" after qualification but not for too long, says the guide. Don't let the weeks turn into months, and cut their allowance so they will be forced to seek a "job" - or, of course, a disability allowance.

All of these ideas were applied to me, only then it was "don't let the days turn into weeks" and hide my Post Office Savings Book, so I would feel that I had no capital in the world except the coins I saved whenever I was given a bus fare and walked instead.

I never blamed my parents for this; I knew they were under pressure from people like the Principal of Somerville. Dame Janet Vaughan would have had no scruples about slandering me to a local educational authority and telling them to place pressure on my parents and hence on me.

Hence my plan was aborted to get my parents to move to Oxford so that I could live at home while writing my unofficial physics thesis. Thus at the end of the ruined "education", during which I had been prevented from acquiring qualifications, society moved in for the kill and completely ruined the lives of three people, not just the one who had been in its clutches.

16 December 2009

King George VI’s Christmas speech, 1939

When war had been declared on Germany and hence the British Empire faced another world war, King George VI made a Christmas broadcast which became famous. I have always suspected that it was his wife, later the Queen Mother, who put him up to this, and this is confirmed by something found via Google, which claims that his wife drew his attention to this poem*, which he quoted. It places the whole thing in an open-ended context which is clearly very un-modern.

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,

'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied,

'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,

The tradition of a royal Christmas Day broadcast began in 1932 with King George V, who spoke from a studio at the royal residence Sandringham. The message reached about 20 million people by radio.

The message began: 'I speak now from my home and from my heart to you all; to men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them.'

The war was certainly the Queen Mother's great project in life, although she was very angry with the Duke of Windsor for abdicating and causing her husband's early death by forcing him to become king. The war over, her husband dead and her daughter safely installed as Queen, she found herself with no purpose in life and it is scarcely surprising that she took to gin and horse-racing.

* by Minnie Louise Haskins; the complete poem can be read here

’We appeal for £1m as initial funding for a social science department in our unrecognised and unsupported independent university. This would enable it to publish analyses of the unexamined assumptions underlying current discussion of cultural and psychological issues. Such analyses could include an examination of what leads to the anachronistic tone of the quotation discussed above.’ Charles McCreery, DPhil

09 December 2009

Some comments on coronation

One supposes that it was the purpose of the old-fashioned coronation ceremony to impress upon the recipient his importance in a certain context, and of his acting henceforward on impersonal motivation in the best interests of the territory of which he now became the representative and agent, without being led astray by the merely personal. This was made as impressive as possible so that he would not forget about it in the future.

And it is not irrelevant that the whole thing was supposed to place the royal person and his territory in relation to something outside of society, which was supposed to be run in accordance with a divine purpose. Cf. Land of Hope and Glory, performed on occasion at coronations, "God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet".

Fifty years ago I knew someone who read history at Oxford, and at her interview to determine whether she would get a first or a second, she was asked to discuss "the divine right of kings". I am sure that even then one was expected to make this idea sound ridiculous, and perhaps she failed to do so, as she was an old-fashioned Christian.

Nevertheless, I am sure that this reference to an outside context conferred some psychological advantages on the anointed ones.

The present Queen certainly seems to have a sense of divine mission and, not long after her coronation, made a speech to the nation in which she promised to consecrate her life to the service of the Empire. She has always fulfilled her role, as she saw it, impeccably, although this has not preserved her from criticism as cold and unemotional.