Category Archives: May 2015

TWITS, Caveman Conformity and The Toothfull Beastie (Sunday 17th May 2015)

This blog post is being written thanks to my friends who are noticeably “different” in some way. I love and admire them for being the interesting and unusual people they are. Sadly, sometimes other people take against them for it. I wonder why some people treat others who stand out in some way with prejudice or indifference. So here are my thoughts on the matter……

I reckon that cliques and conformity are a form of a Caveman mentality we required thousands of years ago to survive. Separated from the herd, that animal was less likely to live. And once they were separated from the group, perhaps they wouldn’t let you back in- instead becoming a sacrifice to whatever Toothfull Beastie was after the flock at the time. The Toothfull Beastie is more likely to gobble up strays and outsiders instead of attacking the main unit of the herd, the sacrifice of the stragglers allowing the rest of the herd to live another day. Leaving members of the flock behind was probably justified by blaming them for their own predicament, such as being too slow or weak or not really one of them anyway.  Blame is a Hot Potato.

Those of the flock with a conscience may have been thankful that at least it wasn’t them, believing that “It’s them or us”. I tend to think that wherever there’s a Them and an Us, there’s a Problem.  Unfortunately, long after the Caveman days, there is still plenty of that mentality around.   

 

If conformity is fear-driven, that leads to the question: In the case of modern society, what is the Toothfull Beastie?

 

Most predators which once roamed the earth are now either extinct or excluded from most urban areas. Although nowadays there is a lack of animal predators attacking humanity, we retain this mentality out of habit and lack of change.  Perhaps the modern Toothfull Beastie is the fear of exclusion itself.  In a way that makes us our own predators, which is even more destructive.

Before therapies from MLC Scotland (which gave me physical and emotional balance) and Johansen IAS  (which strengthened the sound processing connections in my brain, allowing me to hear speech clearly and consistently) I used to feel different from other people. Difference is great, it’s what makes us individuals, but I felt different in a negative way.

This is partly because I took on some of the views of myself from some people who were herd members in the extreme. Their uniform was generally Ugg boots, short skirts, carefully prepared hair, shellac talons and that healthy orange glow. Instead of emulating their fashion sense and clothes labels and admiring the beatific solarium radiance of their skin, I remained a minority against their numbers. I was a pretty scruffy herd member, with long unkempt fur and almost zero interest in fashion trends.  Because of the serious Auditory Processing Disorder I had when I was at school, I couldn’t hear speech clearly. This made me an easy target for TWITS (Trophy-Wives-In-Training) who identified me as a weaker animal with social skills even less developed than my grooming regime.

Some of them pitied me for not wanting to be the same as them, pointing a bejewelled acrylic claw in my direction and saying “That’s a shame” enough times for my scrambled hearing to pick it up.

Others messed with me out of curiosity as if they were thinking “(OMG!) It’s not the same as us. What does it do?”

And a few of them were just plain mean, the kind of people who intercept the Hot Potato of Blame in midair, just so they can pass it on to someone they dislike.

 

Feeling like easy prey, I took on some of their Caveman mentality. I felt like there was a Them and a Me. I almost believed that being different was something to be ashamed of, because it made me feel lonely and in fear of packs of TWITS every time I entered the school gates.  TWITS are terrified of people who are different, which is why they made sure to remove me as far as possible from them, like doing a biopsy of a cancer. I could have been contagious.

I know many people, who like me, because their differences were seen as negative, badly want to be Normal.  Back at school I wanted to feel Normal, whatever that was, unless it was a TWIT.

Now I know that because “normal” is an average created by measuring how everyone is different, there is no such thing. Normal is a myth, a fiction as non-existent as the Toothfull Beastie.

Safety in Similarity has a nasty sting in its tail: Conformists may show contempt for those who do not emulate them, but if there were no people who were “different”, Conformists would have no direction for their prejudice and fear except to look inwards on themselves. And I think they would find that truly unsettling.

One of the amazing things about evolution is that we adapt to survive. We will eventually realise that The Toothfull Beastie is no more, and that we can come out of our Caveman Cliques and benefit and learn from each other’s differences. Where there is no Them and Us, just one huge united group, by helping each other we will also help ourselves. But sometimes I think Guys, can we maybe evolve just a little bit faster please?

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Monday 11th May 2015 – Faith, Religion and The Hot Potato of Blame

 

Faith, Religion, and The Hot Potato of Blame

 

Today I was talking to a friend at college about religion. I don’t chat about about religion much, but it really got me thinking. I felt compelled to write down everything I think I know about religion here.

First of all, I reckon that I’m fortunate enough to have a good spiritual stability because I have faith in something that is not person-based.

Most ideas of God are very human-like. When God was a topic at school, ten-year-old Jenny’s mental image was of a middle-aged man with a really big beard.

The form of God which I believe in doesn’t have a beard. Or a gender. Or any rules. However I do believe that this spiritual anarchy is policed by Karma. And Karma has sharp teeth.

Some people believe in “being good” throughout their lifetime purely for the sake of an improved next life. They save up good Karma the way that my dad saves grocery coupons to put towards holiday packages. I feel that they are slightly missing the point.

“Being good” means different things to different people. And some people spend parts of their lives miserable because they are trying to live up to impossible ideals, worried about angelic bouncers at the Pearly Gates. If we worked together to make this lifetime a better place for everyone instead of separately gathering points for a ticket to Heaven, we would be living the dream.

That isn’t to say I don’t believe in something after death. I do. But I think that like death, what happens next is inevitable, and the same destination for anything which was once living. Segregation between a Heaven or Hell doesn’t really compute for me.

Religion can be a wonderful thing, a real force for good. Problems in any (and every) religion always come from a handful of the people in it, not the deity associated with them. Some people in religion, for whom I would agree with the general idea associated with the label of “bad people” use fear to control others.

What are people generally most afraid of?

DEATH. It’s an inevitable fate from which no one has lived to tell the tale.

And this is where the angelic bouncers come in. Handing out haloes to “good people” who have obeyed the rules and earned their ticket to the version of the Pearly Gates that they subscribed to.

The problem here isn’t that “good people” are people who have obeyed the rules. The problem is if “bad people” have set the rules.

In any chain of delegation, corruption or misinterpretation or instructions is extremely likely (and especially if any cherubs with Auditory Processing Disorder were involved). As well as being an enormous force for good, religion can be used as an excuse for terrible Things.

Religion can also be used for Nothings. When something awful happens, people often need someone to blame. Blame is a Hot Potato, and divine fingers tend not to get burned. Holy instructions delegated through “bad people” can turn terrible Things such as Public Stonings into something socially acceptable. In the process, terrible Nothings can also be committed, consciences cleared as quickly as the burning-hot spud of morality is flung away with a yelp.

I came across this saying in the front pages of a book a while ago.

“All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

Nothings can be wrong things which “haven’t” been done. Like all the people at a stoning who gather there for entertainment, encouraging the gruesome public event. Although they don’t cast the stones, they are also part of the victim’s cruel death.

I think I read something about casting stones somewhere………

Nothings can also be right things which haven’t been done. For example:

If you saw someone drowning, would you do something, or pray for your deity to send an angel to their aid?

Is the Lifeguard who dives in to rescue them a result of divine intervention? Or would it have been better to throw them a float and pray after they are safely on dry ground?

I don’t know if I believe in angels. Maybe they’re there, maybe they’re not. But I am certain that whether divine intervention exists or not, we have to help each other out. Maybe in a way angels do exist in forms including Shelter volunteers, Paramedics, The Salvation Army, Lifeguards, Firemen and those friends who make you feel better when you’re sad.

If we are each other’s angels does that mean we’re also responsible for the outcome of each other’s lives?

We could be, in a butterfly-effect kind of way.

Every choice we make effects a lot of people in tiny ways. Just a tiny thing like giving a smile to someone who doesn’t have one, passes out just a little positivity to them, and in some way to everyone they encounter too. And then everyone who those people encounter, and it goes on like that, hopefully spreading the echoes of a smile all the way around the whole world. Or something delightfully cheesetastic like that.

If events in our lives are determined by the random acts of billions of other people, does that mean there is no such thing as Fate?

Not necessarily.

I believe that if you ask the universe for something, you can get what you wish for. But you have to meet it halfway. If you work hard to follow the direction of your dreams, the universe will help you gain momentum and maybe help you out in the form of what seems like sheer amazing luck. What I want most at the moment is to be a professional drummer. For me that means doing paradiddles on trains and buses, listening hard to drumbeats in songs, and practicing as much as possible. In my free time, which there is currently not a lot of, I work hard to improve my skills. And sometimes, although I am very definitely not religious, I think “Stars, please let me be a drummer!”

the hot potato of blame

Sunday 3rd May 2015- Music and other languages

 

My day started with a grocery shop. Sadly, my usual fish fingers are no longer in stock. A shiny new budget-friendly box is filling my freezer drawer with anticipation. Something I’m really looking forward to is a visit from the awesome French branch of my family tree. So today I watched an episode of Chuck in French with French subtitles.

Despite the fact that listening is a weak area for me because of my Auditory Processing difficulties, I enjoy learning different languages. My favourite language is music. Music is a universal language because whoever’s listening- no matter what their spoken language is- can enjoy and empathise with the mood the music sets. Kind of like that TV show, The Clangers. Many people from different cultures claimed that the Clangers were actually speaking their language (or so I have heard). The Clangers speak Clanger. But like music, Clanger has a similarity to human speech. The adorable moon-dwelling mouse-creatures don’t use identifiable words, but somehow their language of squeaks and whistles still makes a lot of sense to their human watchers.

Although for my first 16 years or so, I couldn’t hear speech as clearly as most people because of serious Auditory Processing Disorder, I have always loved music. It’s a language which I understand. Although my social skills lagged behind since spoken nuances and hints were lost in a sea of gibberish and background noise, I could pick up a tune by ear really quickly. On my flute I learned to play music with an emotional maturity which socially I completely lacked. The way I played and the way I spoke completely didn’t match up. Then after Johansen IAS therapy my hearing cleared up enough to hear song lyrics, and I discovered an amazing combination of languages- music with words! After that my life was changed forever.

I’ve read somewhere that children who listen to music or learn an instrument can improve learning skills and strengthen listening ability. My parents played lots of music in our house when I was young whether it was Gypsy Kings (my mum) or Nirvana (my dad). Listening to music from an early age even just in the background probably gave me an edge against my Auditory Processing Disorder which I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

I think that a lot of kids who struggle in some way with communication, in whatever form and for whatever reason, would really benefit from learning to play an instrument. It’s a way to express your feelings without using conventional spoken language. Like a fingerprint, music is unique to the individual it comes from. Personalities shine through, and listeners who make strong first impressions of people on face value ( *The Fish Finger Conundrum again!* ) may be surprised by what they hear.

*The Fish Finger Conundrum- Monday 20th October 2014*

https://gibberishdictionary.com/?s=fish+fingers+and+social+identity

Due to unfortunate exam-related circumstances and the fact that any vaguely maths-related homework is not my friend, blog entries have recently been few and far between. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have the time to post a backlog of stuff. I hope you enjoyed this post.  =)

clanger