Solsbury Hill and Synchronicity

Whenever I approach an apparent transition in my life, ‘Solsbury Hill’ by Peter Gabriel becomes an earworm that is impossible to remove.

On my very last day in the US Navy, on US Naval Station Norfolk, after the personnel guy said ‘Have a good life’, I put my Walkman headphones on and pressed play. ‘Solsbury Hill’ happened to make it onto my cassette tape. With my seabag on my back I made my way out of the Personnel building…

My uncle, who was stationed at Norfolk at the same time I was, picked me up near the front gate.

I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
“Son,” he said, “Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.”

My uncle was taking me to the airport to take me to the next stage in my life, in London, to be with a girl I had met at a previous duty station.

On our way, he decided to treat me to one last piece of Americana: Hooters.

Proudly, he told the Hooters Girl who was assigned to our table that I was going to live in London. Rather than being impressed, she asked ‘Why would anyone want to live there?’

Being 21 years older now, I can appreciate the sentiment. She was a somewhere and I was an anywhere, at the time. I had no roots.

My uncle and I gave each other a knowing look and decided to drop the subject.

But that was a pivotal day. And I think I have come home. It didn’t work out with the girl I wanted to be with, but I eventually met my wife. ‘Solsbury Hill’ played a prominent role in that day.

Today was my last day as a contractor. I’ve been a contractor for 13 years. It has had its ups and downs. I once went 7 months without work. Next week I begin life again as a company man. I will have half the takehome pay, but I will have shaved about two hours off of my daily commute. Which means more time for the things that really count: My family.

‘Solsbury Hill’ has been playing over and over in my mind today. Another transition. Funny that it happens in Autumn.

Now, to the synchronicity part. There is a bloke I occasionally encounter on the train on the way home. I ran into him today. He usually has some interesting audio kit and we usually chat about it. Tonight he had a pair of eyeglasses with speakers installed in them. He showed them off by offering them to me to check them out. And who should be playing on his eyeglasses cum earphones?

Peter Gabriel.

And apparently Gabriel wrote ‘Solsbury Hill’ about his decision to leave Genesis. A major turning point in his life. I had no idea up until my train friend told me about it.

So tonight, I make a toast to Mr. Gabriel. His song is very much a part of the soundtrack of my life, and I hope the promise it holds now is as profitable as the promise it held then.

Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey,” I said, “You can keep my things, they’ve come to take me home.”

 

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On the edge of my seat…

This parliamentary stuff is intense. I have been on the edge of my seat all day and am currently nursing a whisky or two.

On the one hand, I think Boris is playing with fire. But on the other hand…

I don’t think he and Dominic Cummings would have displayed this brinksmanship unless they knew the polling numbers were behind them. I mean the real data points, not the crap that the media uses to shape public opinion, but real polling which gauges public opinion.

I chatted with a black cab driver today. He tells me almost everyone he has spoken to today wants Brexit to be over and done with, including him. He also said he voted Lib Dem at the last election, but if Boris pulls this off, he is voting Tory.

I have many good reasons for not voting Tory ever again, but if Johnson can purge the parliamentary party of the wets, and get us out of the EU without a deal on 31 October, I could be tempted to come out for my local MP, who is in a safe-ish seat which is slightly threatened by London and Brightonion incomers voting Labour.

[Why is it they all want to move to where we are because of ‘the quality of the schools’ and then want to make their new homes just like the shitholes they abandoned?]

I have no real insight into the current situation other than that it is good to see a PM displaying leadership, finally, instead of being a caretaker for the Decline. The next few days will be interesting.

One thing is for sure: British politics will never be the same again.

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On Prorogation

I have viewed Boris Johnson’s premiership with a healthy dose of scepticism. On the one hand, he was originally a Remainer, but on the other hand, he is always out for himself.

I have often said he is one of the most dangerous politicians in Britain. Mainly because he disarms people with his buffoonish demeanour whilst being very effective at achieving results. Case in point: the cycle lanes and the ‘Boris Bikes’ have forever changed the landscape of London for better or worse.

He is also the only Tory to (or who will ever) get re-elected as Mayor of London.

Boris has always struck me as someone who has sought greatness for himself. He emulates Churchill as a personal hero. And I believe he has seen the shifting political landscape and hitched himself, somewhat, to the Brexit bandwagon.

Today’s proroguing of Parliament has made me less ambivalent about him.  But I am still cautious. This is a great step forward on the Brexit question, and this definitely signals to the EU that No Deal is still very much on the table.

Up until this moment, the EU thought it was all bluff.

Now, for my misgivings…

He said, in so many words, that he would accept May’s [or Merkel’s – check out the German syntax of the wording] Withrawal Agreement if the EU removes the Irish backstop. That is the poison pill – the Withdrawal Agreement is vassalage to the EU rather than independence.

I am really hoping he doesn’t hang his pursuit of greatness on this awful mediocrity of an agreement.

So, I am cautiously optimistic.

Judging from the saltiness of the Remainer tears that are flavouring my G&T, he is doing something right.

And:

God save the Queen.

 

PS: I haven’t been this positive about leaving the EU since the day after the Referendum.

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On Autistic Teenage Girls

I have been watching the whole Greta Thunberg / Climate Change thing with mild horror.

The Globalists have found in her an apparently unassailable spokesman for their agenda. Like a prophet in the wilderness, she spouts to the world all of the Globalists’ fear-mongering anti-facts designed to put us further under their thumbs. And the glory of it is, that by her being autistic, anyone who disagrees with what she has to say can be painted as someone who picks on ‘disabled’ people.

My oldest daughter has recently been diagnosed with what used to be called Asperger’s*. She is extremely intelligent as well. Over the course of the last two or three years we have come to learn a lot about how this condition manifests itself in teenage girls.

Due to the social pressures girls have, many are able to hide their ‘symptoms’ pretty well up until their hormones kick in. Then it is like all hell breaking loose in their lives. Sometimes it manifests as anorexia, sometimes it leads to their declaring they are trans and wanting to become boys. We didn’t have anything like that happen, but what did manifest caused a traumatic couple of years for our family.

If they are diagnosed early, as I suppose Greta Thunberg was, their parents are spared the feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness when the symptoms do manifest.

Whilst researching Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a possible source of my daughter’s behaviour, I encountered the interesting and informative Asperger’s Test Site. I took the test myself, and scored well within the range of being on the autistic spectrum.

My potentially having Asperger’s goes a long way to explain many key episodes in my life. When I looked up ways of coping with it, though, I had discovered I’d already learned quite a few of the recommended coping mechanisms the hard way. I now often joke, for instance, that US Navy boot camp beat the ‘sperg out of me (which isn’t 100% true, as I still suffer from spergishness, I just learn to recognise it and try not to act on it).

I’m not bothered to get a formal diagnosis; I deal with it and I have learned to cope with how the symptoms of Asperger’s manifest in my life (mostly).

Whenever my daughter demonstrated what would be telltale symptoms throughout her childhood my wife would point it out as abnormal. I would then assuage my wife’s anxiety by saying my daughter was just like me and she would eventually grow out of it. See, I’m doing all right, aren’t I?

Ha! A lot of good that did.

It has only been recently that I realised that my high IQ contributed well to offsetting my symptoms and giving me the relative success that I have had to date. As well, being a man, my ‘sperg-like symptoms are more often tolerated by others. I am also convinced, like Ice Cube’s character in Three Kings, that I am surrounded by a ring of Jesus fire that has protected me throughout my life from the more severe potentialities of my character.

It has certainly been a blessed and charmed life for me so far, though not without its setbacks.

And my daughter, thanks to the obsessive traits of this condition combined with her innate intelligence and creativity, is managing to find some success very early in her current chosen career.

I mentioned at the top my mild horror at the Greta Thunberg situation. I’m also angry about it and some of the subsequent debates that have arisen.

I have learned from my own life and my daughter’s that people with ASD can be easily exploited by unscrupulous people. We tend to engage with the rest of the world with a presupposition that everyone else is behaving with as much good faith as we do. We tend to think the best of most people, and can fall victim to wolves, especially those in sheep’s clothing.**

Greta Thunberg is being exploited by some of the meanest nastiest people sitting at the top of the world’s hierarchy. They didn’t get where they are by holding hands and singing Kumbaya. Our so-called leaders are psychopaths who would sooner eat you than look at you.

And in St. Greta, they have found an appropriate shield for their nefarious aims. ‘Who would dare criticise a retarded kid, eh?’

The various responses to critiques of Greta have borne this out:

The subsequent responses in this tweet really prove my point. There is so much white knighting going on with people trying to ‘protect’ Greta from anyone who dares sees anything untoward in this situation.

There tends to be two camps for this white knighting.

The first camp are the virtue signallers who show their solidarity with ‘disabled’ people with their ‘How dare you’ attitude. These are the people who, like sheep, will go along with the crowd on anything until the shepherd points them in another – perhaps even opposite –  direction. And this is exactly what Greta’s exploiters had in mind by anointing her spokesman.

I suspect, by their sheep-like behaviour, these white knights participate in the everyday bullying of people with Asperger’s in the workplace or in school, either as active participants or as silent bystanders. It may sound cynical of me, but that is just what most people do; they keep their head down when real injustice takes place. And Aspies make good targets for bullies. But give an Aspie a megaphone and a cause that the sheep have been programmed to embrace, they’re all for neurodiversity and come straight to the rescue.

Nothing winds me up like the inherent hypocrisy these people display.

The second camp of white knights is a bit more sympathetic, but nonetheless wrong. These are the parents of children with ASD.

I imagine they see the relative success of Greta as being reflective of what their own children may be able to achieve. And they see any critique of the situation as criticising their own children, or perhaps even their parenting skills.

They declare Asperger’s a superpower. If it is a superpower, it is closer to Deadpool than it is to Superman. What I or my daughter wouldn’t give to have a level of social nous that most normie people take for granted, to be able to mix in well with the general population without having to practice at it.

Most normal people are aware of their own awkwardness and have their own insecurities, but I don’t think they can fathom the level of self-training and constant self-awareness one has to have to become even moderately sociable for people with both Asperger’s and high IQs.

Had I not demonstrated symptoms of Asperger’s throughout my life, I have no doubt that I would have been much more successful on all fronts than I am now. (I’m not complaining, just stating a fact to which I am reconciled.)

Hell, in some of my darker moments I would have been happy to shave 30 points off of my IQ just to be able to fit in better.***

But we are given what we are given, and as I have said before, I am relatively blessed. And God never gives us more than we can handle although sometimes it can be overwhelming.

 

But back to Greta…

Like many people ‘on the spectrum’, she has become obsessed with something and thinks she knows everything about it. And now she has been elevated to make that obsession key to her personality. I imagine she has been exposed to only one aspect of the issue at hand and believes what many ‘experts’ say she should believe about it.

This obsession has fuelled her fears and her anxiety, and is contributing to related fears and anxiety in others.

One thing that high-functioning autists can’t handle well is inconsistency and lying. Everything needs to make sense and they have a child-like adherence to the truth. If she ever gets a whiff of the fact that she is being exploited, and that maybe those things she asserts with such certainty may not be 100% accurate, like, say, the world doesn’t end in 12 years, she is going to face a crisis.

She is either going to have to completely repudiate her very public persona or she’s going to have to tamp that down and let it eat at her.

I think this whole situation is probably going to end very badly for her – even ‘normal’ children don’t handle fame too well. And because people are holding her up as this saint in the Climate Change movement, the impact on her life may be more than simply getting arrested for doing coke and driving 110 mph in a residential area.

UPDATED (30 Aug 19): Now that Greta has arrived in the US, have a look at her reactions here. This is not going to end well. A pox on the manipulators’ house.

 

 

*They’ve recently stopped calling it Asperger’s Syndrome because Herr Doktor Asperger did most of his key work under Mean Mr. Moustache’s eugenics programme.

**My reaction as an adult is to try to be as much as a sheep dog as I can, but I fall incredibly short of the ideal.

***No longer the case. I found this book helpful on that front. I now just appreciate the difference and accept that in some ways there aren’t going to be many people I relate to or who relate to me.

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The Power of Prayer

This post by Vox Day, and the subsequent comment thread, reminded me of an incident from my deep dark past.

When I was 17 I had jaw surgery to fix a massive overbite. It was the cumulative outcome of about 8 years of orthodontics and would be the thing that would finally fix my teeth and fix me (so I thought – but that’s another story).

During the surgery, something happened, so that when I woke up, with my jaws wired shut, I was unable to make a sound. The doctors thought I was messing about, but I literally could not make a sound from my throat.

After a nasal probe that had been helped along by a couple of shots of pharmaceutical grade cocaine (and damn, it was good!), the doctors were able to determine that one of my vocal cords had been dislocated, probably from some sort of tubes being pulled out.

The only solution to my problem was to wait until my jaws were unwired – in at least 8 weeks – and for the surgeons to go in and do another job to fix it. Apparently, even then, they weren’t sure it would get fixed. I could possibly be without my voice for the rest of my life.

I had to walk around with a pen and pad to communicate with other people. Although it did make for some comic moments, I was miserable throughout. I ended up keeping to myself more often than not because the energy of trying to communicate through constant writing was harrowing.

I did develop a penchant for writing bad self-indulgent poetry inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but there wasn’t much more I could’ve taken away from the experience, other than the process of going through it.

I was depressed…Almost wrist-slittingly depressed. My friends did rally around me and tried to cheer me up, but it was no use, until one fateful Sunday evening about 5 or 6 weeks into the ordeal.

A friend of mine, K., rang my house and told my parents that he wanted me to come over to his house to keep me company and cheer me up. I reluctantly agreed – by this point I had pretty much declared myself a shut-in.

It turns out K. had been meditating on my not being able to drink alcohol (I could only use a straw, which would lead to rapid intoxication and some concomitant expectorations which wouldn’t be prudent with jaws wired shut) or to properly form my lips around a joint or a bong to ingest the demon weed. He declared that he had found a solution to my problem of not being able to get inebriated to take the edge off of my current predicament.

He had a solution: He had converted a little French’s mustard bottle into a contraption which would take the smoke from a joint and blow it straight into my mouth by squeezing it. This, in turn got me incredibly high. And K. and I sat there in my silence and listened to music stoned. I had achieved escape.

I ended up making my way back home later that night and went to bed. I was woken up by my mother, who was about to have a go at me for coming home so late; she asked me how I was feeling, and I was able to make a sound. I was able to speak with jaws wired shut, just as it should have been from the beginning. Instead of laying into me, she was amazed and overjoyed that the gift of speech had been restored.

It was an amazing feeling. It appears that cannabis did the trick for bringing my voice back.

But I’m not writing this post about cannabis…It is about prayer.

 

Y’see, I had another friend, R.

I had a massive crush on her, but I had been friendzoned and still hung out with her regardless. Her parents, divorced, but living in the same apartment complex as each other, both liked me, and I would frequently run into them and chat with them whilst I was out and about.

They were poor and they were a bit on the redneck side: R.’s father and brother wore trucker caps without a hint of hipster irony about them. And they attended the sorts of churches people here in Blighty only ever see on something like Louis Theroux or Borat. Not my cup of tea for worship services, either.

I called R. to tell her my good fortune at having my voice back. R. was taken massively aback. She told me, unironically and with genuine surprise, that it was a miracle from God. She was clearly blown away for some reason.

It turns out that both her parents attended two different churches each and had decided to work together to get the congregations at all four churches to pray for the return of my voice on that Sunday.

It may have been the cannabis that loosened up that vocal cord. But I think the prayer might have had a lot more to do with it: the Lord moves in mysterious ways and chooses very strange vessels to do His will*.

 

*K. is currently doing time for burglary. I learned this from another old friend who just got out of prison for bank robbery. R.’s older brother OD’d on heroin a while back, too. I am truly blessed with the way my life has turned out, given the company I kept.

 

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I hope I am wrong…

But I get the feeling some event is going to be manufactured either today or in the next week or so to make it look as if a Brexit supporter or Brexit supporters are violent, perhaps murderous, and the Narrative will say it is because of the ‘divisiveness’ of their beliefs.

And I imagine we will see a lot of pre-written news stories, perhaps hundreds of thousands of words which could not have possibly been written in the space between the event and the publishing time.

I hope I’m wrong. But I wouldn’t put it past TPTB to manufacture it.

 

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Lost in the Cosmos

One of the coolest books I have ever read is Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy.

Contrary to its title, it is a parody of a self-help book. It does, however, challenge one to go deeper than mere self-help. There are a lot of scenarios, multiple choice questions, deep thoughts and explanations of what it means to be a self. If one were looking for answers from the book, then one would actually come away with more questions.

It’s been a while since I read it, but it was a comfort(?) for me at a certain point in my life where I knew that I could never go back to where I came from because I had come so far. And that where I came from was no longer the place that it was.

It’s a philosophically dense book, written in a light literary style, with many laugh out loud moments. Some of the subject matter is very much of its time and place – the US literary scene of the early 80s – so it is somewhat dated, and perhaps full of now obscure references which many modern readers might miss. Well worth reading, nonetheless.

Walker Percy was a rather remarkable person, being a Catholic writer from the American South, and his work is steeped in Stoicism and Existentialism. He was a master of the craft of writing. I admit that I’ve only read two more of his books, but I enjoyed seeing a prose master at work.

The reason I’ve been thinking about Lost in the Cosmos is that the anti-Brexit march of yesterday had me thinking about the different types of people in the world.

I see those who are anti-Brexit as very much driven by fear, and view their own imprisonment as freedom – in fact, they seem to be oblivious to the cages that have been built around them. They are afraid of what they don’t know, and cannot see the world being any other way than what it is right now. They fear liberty and, I suspect, accountability.

They believe any Brexit scare story, no matter how ridiculous, fed to them by The Powers That Be because they are under the mistaken impression that The Powers That Be really care about them.

I view those who are pro-Brexit as perhaps less afraid and more willing to face whatever consequences there are, seeing advantages over the status quo, and potential opportunity and freedom. (And the opportunity to give Johnny Foreigner what-for.)

(Sort of the r/K selection theory applied to humans, I guess. With Remainers being r-selected, and Leavers being K-selected.)

Lost in the Cosmos takes one through several scenarios followed by multiple choice questions, culminating in the two final scenarios. (As I recall them.)

Scenario 1 illustrates the opportunity to take part in a space colonisation project where the goal is to ensure perpetual peace and understanding amongst the participants in order to create a new culture for humans. All needs will be taken care of, but the participants must subject themselves to discipline and must essentially do everything with the good of the community in mind. World Peace is guaranteed. As long as they follow the rules to a T then they shall be taken care of. It’s basically Star Trek.

Scenario 2 illustrates the people who will be left behind on earth. It is a hard-scrabble subsistence life. Anarchic. But people tend to be free to do what they want to do, with the attendant consequences such a life entails – death, lost limbs, etc.. A hillbilly-like existence circa 1900, where people work all day and party in the evening making music or telling stories.

Percy asks the reader to choose which world they would rather live in.

I suspect anti-Brexiters would choose the first one and be horrified by the second one. (In fact, one ‘friend’ that I presented these scenarios to opted for Scenario 1. You can read about him here.)

For me, I would choose Scenario 2. It sounds like Heaven on earth to me.

How about you?

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