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Need Before Greed

posted 21 Nov 2010, 14:09 by Andy McEwan   [ updated 21 Nov 2010, 14:38 ]

It appears that the BBC closed down their Action Network a couple of years ago.

I just remembered that I wrote a couple of short articles on there so, for posterity, I'm putting them here.

Let me know what you think.

The first one also seems to have provoked a response The way to Andy McEwan's "New Community."

[By the power of Google, if you want proof that they are really "out there", you can still find them both and also the response]


posted 6 Jun 2009, 13:41 by Andy McEwan

I think I have found a label for myself.

I am a freethinker.

"Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs
should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and
should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any other dogma.

The cognitive application of freethought is known as freethinking, 
and practitioners of freethought are known as freethinkers."

The Everlasting Gobstopper Theory

posted 22 Jan 2009, 07:23 by Andy McEwan   [ updated 22 Jan 2009, 07:27 ]

So I was thinking about the inefficiencies of society - The Everlasting Gobstopper Theory.

Sweet companies will never develop an everlasting gobstopper because people would only ever buy one and the sweet company would go out of business.

This is regardless of whether there is demand for the product, as there clearly would be.

Built-in obsolesence is another example - there is no consumer demand for it, it is purely at the behest of the companies that create our goods and provide our services.

It is in their interest that products and services are provided, not ours.

They do the bare minimum to keep us as customers, knowing that their competitors are doing the same.

Consumers do not want poor service, or overbooked flights, or controlled release of technology that is behind the curve (why don't all phones have cheap 6M pixel cameras?!), or packaging that is bad for the environment, or any of a myriad of other situations that are for the benefit of the companies.

This is inefficient.

We are not living to the optimum of our technology and our knowledge.

And Capitalism is to blame.

Society is run for the benefit of the shareholders of companies, basically.

The masses are merely given the bare minimum to keep us enslaved as consumers and employees.

Bare minimum - that is the efficiency that companies want because that leads to the greatest profit.

Society will reverse this trend one day.

We will use technology and knowledge to provide us all with what we want, not just the shareholders.

Or maybe we will all become the shareholders of every company? Nationalisation?

Which leads to further inefficiencies and corruption...

Whenever someone can benefit from doing something unjust then corruption will exist.

That is human nature. Isn't it?

To varying degrees...

One life

posted 22 Jan 2009, 07:18 by Andy McEwan

One life. This is all we get. Don't waste it.

But why not waste it? Or rather, why worry about whether your life is fulfilling or not. It really doesn't matter in the end. Life only matters to those who believe in an afterlife, right?

Well maybe not. Life here takes a lot of time and that time does have a point - to not be filled with suffering, at least. But it can be more than that. Just because we're all going to die one day doesn't make life not worth living. Just because there is no Aristotelian Final Cause doesn't mean that living is pointless _at_the_time_. In the end it is pointless, by definition of having no point, ie there is no goal, but so what? And even if we think about the time after our lives end then the world goes on, and our ripples will be felt for a long time after we're gone.

Run... and become...

posted 26 Nov 2008, 06:21 by Andy McEwan   [ updated 26 Nov 2008, 10:07 ]

...a runner?

Something, anyway. I think it's something philosophical. Or so they say at Run and Become.
I went there last night to get some new trainers - oops, sorry, running shoes - and ended up coming away with over 300 quid's worth of stuff.
Suitably kitted out for daily runs at the office now (and I must say, I do look hot!) I stupidly had something to eat so couldn't.

Never mind, as soon as I was back on the boat I went for a run anyway. With my old kit. At 11pm. In November. In shorts.

I've never run late at night before. It was cold, of course, and the only other people I saw out were waiting at bus stops or standing smoking outside pubs.
It's amazing how someone can contort themselves to huddle around a cigarette hanging from their mouth when they require the warmth that badly.

Anyway, there is definitely something philosophical about running. Just you, your breathing, the ground, and the rhythm of your pace.
Actually, I guess it's more meditative than philosophical, but it definitely puts one in a philosophical mood.

I need to run more.
I'm starting to realise that I badly need to exercise more.
Not only for fitness and vanity, but in order to get some energy back - it seems that whenever you use energy your body gives you more back. Is that obvious to most people?! You effectively damage your muscles in order for them to grow back stronger, so is it like that?

Anyway, If I'm feeling tired, as I tend to be a lot of the time these days, the best thing I can do seems to be to go out for a run.
That's the last thing I want to do when I'm lying in bed, of course, but it's all about will power. Something I seem to need to build on - the power within myself to do stuff that I know is good but I am, for some reason, resistant to do. (Neil has pointed out that my behaviour of late reflects a lack of the exact opposite - "won't power" - as well, but that's a different story...)

I guess if any of us are going to DO something, we need to have the energy to do it. I think it's fairly obvious that we need to sleep and eat well in order to get the right energy levels but I was surprised to realise that we need to expend energy to get it.

Let's see what the next few weeks throw up - can I keep that causal link at the forefront of my mind?

(added later: forgot to mention that I also had a bath after my run - first time on the boat... strange to think I was sitting under the water line...)


posted 15 Nov 2008, 15:38 by Andy McEwan

So. It appears I must be getting some headspace. The old ideas are coming back to haunt me, which means I must not be worrying about other stuff as much as I have been. Which is good. I guess.

OR. I've realised that I don't need to get hung up on relationships so much as being the cornerstone of a worthwhile life. There is a lot more to be done. Relationships will survive or not but I have to be true to myself regardless. And I mean relationships of all kinds... no labels, no boxes, no discrimination.

So what ideas? Tough to know where to start, just in case anyone actually reads this some day. Or rather, in case I ever publish this blog. It's not really like a diary, although it could be. I did once toy with ideas about public openness - just how badly could you get hurt? Anyway... another entry another time for that one.

Right now I want to talk about change. Changing my life for the better. There are too many things wrong with my life to blame it all on me. It has to be someone else's fault. And I think I shall put the blame on something nebulous: society. It sucks. We've really screwed up so far... so many things wrong with society, so many things that we do that are wrong, to each other, the environment, "nature", our descendants, whatever you like. I know we can do so much better and I'd like to figure out what we can do. I think we're pretty wise now to the problems of the world and it's pretty shocking that we don't seem to be sorting them out.

So what can I do? Short of running for president of the world?

Actually, that's a good place to start - modern politics. I don't believe that top-down change will cut it. The systems all round the world are so entrenched in their ways that they are now primarily set up to maintain the status quo of those who rule, and anyone who gets in under the same system will not change very much at all. So what else has been tried before? Revolution? Not likely. It never sticks. Unless the revolt is to get the old status quo back that was forcibly taken away in the first place, either by another revolution or by an invasion (physical or ideological, but nevertheless, literal.)

What's left? Change from the bottom up.

I want to slowly change my life, and convince others to do the same, so that we all live our lives in a better, more sustainable way. If more and more people join "the cause" then there may be enough weight to effect top-down change in societies where majority opinion can actually have the power to change governance, but I think that will take a long time, and may never happen if those in power change the rules to protect their positions.

I want to write statements of belief - nothing too liturgical, just fundamental statements on how we should live and what rights we should give everyone (I want to write something to right the rights that others have taken away!) - that I think that all modern "right thinking" people would agree to anyway. Of course I mean "right" as in "correct" there... there is very little about me which is politically "to the right" of the spectrum, although, as usual apparently, that shifts with age and - dare I say it? - wisdom.

Anyway, that's enough for now. :)

Is this some kind of a blog?

posted 29 Sep 2008, 10:05 by Andy McEwan   [ updated 29 Sep 2008, 10:15 ]

Looks like it is. So, I'd better say something of interest.


Failing that, something self-indulgent.

I'm off work today with earache. Trying to do work email but have spent most of the day yelping in bed instead.
It's become something of an affliction - a few in the last 3 years, pretty much none before that - so much so that my doctor now tells me I'm going to have to pour olive oil in my ear every two weeks for the next 25 years.
No idea what will happen in 25 years. Maybe he knows that the NHS plan to issue everyone 60 and over with new ears? That'd be useful. And new teeth too, I'm sure.

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