December 13, 2016

Mr Claver – Trbute to a kind man

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:18 am by aleksan

A little boy of 7 has been removed from his family and sent to a Boarding School, standing in its own magnificent grounds, last of the great English Stately Homes, and resplendent in chalk and white marble.  He missed his family back by the fireside on the farm, and was feeling very sad.  The first night at supper in the great oak panelled dining hall he cried quietly – “Don’t blubber boy, you will upset the others.”

On the first whole day he stood outside the school watching boys running by into the woods wearing football boots.  The little boy was wearing clean football boots with leather studs.  He was feeling lonely and homesick, and started to cry again.  Mr Claver appeared.  He had black curly hair, dark eyes and a large hooked nose.  He wore a light checked sports jacket and was smoking a pipe – my dad also smoked  pipe at home – all the Masters smoked pipes apart from one, who will receive no tribute from me.

“You are homesick”  he said ” it is very strange isn’t it? – it’s my first day here too”  He smiled.  And then he said “Cut along through the woods, boy, and you will find the playing fields”  We never talked gain except when he asked me difficult questions in Maths lessons, and I don’t think he taught at the school long.  But his kindness to me has never been forgotten, and even after 65 years I remember him with affection and great respect – often.  I never did very well at school, but eventually became a Child Psychiatrist, perhaps partly because of Mr Claver’s kindness, but also maybe because of the unkindness I received from a Latin Master who did not smoke a pipe.  The Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Stoic Philosopher suggests that if you want to praise someone, always mention their name, but if you wish to condemn, never mention their name.

Whatever else he has done in life, if there is a Heaven, Mr Claver has passed the entrance exam, and he will be up there with the best of them.

December 10, 2016

Creating meaning in a world which does not progress….

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:38 am by aleksan

There is no such thing as Progress. I remember being stunned when I read those words many years ago. But I have come to find that they are meaningful. Looking at what is going on in the US, the U.K.and the world today it is easy to see similarities historically with ancient civilisations like Rome or Egypt in terms of war, propaganda, leadership struggles and how Society works. Indeed the current situation has also been compared with more recent patterns in the 1930s. There has been no progress and nor can there be while individuals themselves don’t learn from each other or the past. This is because each of us can really only believe, and learn from, our own personal experience. We only understand when we are ready to understand. We actually don’t get it till we are mature enough to get it. I have noticed this in my own life – maturing and understanding has been a long process, difficult at times, and still continues. Over my life I have seen things be rediscovered time and time again, when they were always there to see in history and literature – when people were ready to understand, but not before. So, for me there is no progress in Society, but there can be in me, and in other individuals, if we stay awake, open, minded, evidence based and prepared to challenge lies and illusion. I am not saying anything new, it has all been shared before by the Philosophers -like the ancient Greeks and Buddha in India. Maybe it helps to realise that we can not change others, only ourselves, and that this is a journey worth travelling along in this School called Life. Perhaps the most useful thing I have learned so far in this School is that instead of asking impossible questions about what is the meaning of life I must answer the question myself, and create meaning in my life together with the other people, animals and systems I find myself with here and now.

December 9, 2016

Our Christmas News and Photos 2016

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:51 pm by aleksan

xmas-2016-final-03

December 3, 2016

A small contribution to peace and understanding in the world today

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:34 am by aleksan

It is trite to say the world has changed because it is always changing, but more correct to to say that change is faster now than ever before. Politics has reflected this change and the result is a shift generally to the right throughout the planet. My take on this is that firstly, people crave authority and security when they are scared and insecure, and secondly that social media allows us to express our views instantly, emotionally and impulsively. Politics is increasingly influenced genuinely by the public, rather than considered carefully and rationally by elders or representatives as in past times.The consequence of this is that the old certainties, values and protocols have gone, and can never return. It is important now that, together, we all try to be less impulsive and emotional and instead develop a more rational and considered way of expressing ourselves, and try to re establish an evidence based reality in what has been described as a “post factual world” where truth, if there is such a thing, has been thrown out of the bath with the dirty bath water like the proverbial baby. We are now all in our own little bubbles thanks to Google etc who make sure we only see the news and posts we most want to see, according to algorithms dictated by skewed data received. These divisions must be healed or the world will become more and more a collection of extreme factions, all of whom know that they, and they alone are right. Two maxims which have helped me are “Believe everything and believe nothing at the same time” and “If someone tells you they have the answer and can save you, run away fast!”