Monday, 24 September 2012

How do we solve the ‘Power’ problem?

There is a saying, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Actually the saying by Baron Acton is, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Although he is not the first to question power he is the closest to the saying everyone knows.  Yet still to this day power and all its trimmings have such a massive devastating effect on humanity and the planet in general.

If ever there was a psychological human disorder to solve this must be a top priority.  We have many scientists trying to solve a plethora other human defects; I wonder how many look at solving this one.  Power is a necessary evil; we have to have someone or some group in charge, in power, it is necessary to stop anarchy and the destruction of society and civilisation.  Still it is a dangerous beast to control, and the way we control it at present does not work and has not worked for many years.

I used to think it was not worth saving, that we should be destroyed, that humanity needed to be taught a lesson.  But I now realise how foolish I was, for even if we did bring the evil power hungry, greedy bastards down, society was destroyed and anarchy reigned; we would not have solved the problem at hand.  We would still fall into the same power psychology traps as always; just it would take longer before they reached a critical mass again.  And in all likelihood they would be worse.

Like so many issues it needs to be addressed very soon for humanity to survive, the delusion created by massive amounts of power and control is worse than any drug addiction.  This being the case the loss of that power is something far more devastating, and this is the problem we have as humans because it is known that we do not take loss very well. 

This is something casinos have known for years, loss is how they make so much money.  We don’t get a massive buzz from winning, but we take a massive hit when we lose.  We fall into a self-inflicted delusion of the mind that we can somehow sustain the loss, we can hide its fallout, and we can somehow turn it around.  Yet as we see throughout history it rarely happens, once the snowball has started to roll, the avalanche tends to follow.

The financial meltdown of recent years is an example of how misuse of power can result in a catastrophe yet will we learn from it, I doubt it.  We didn’t learn from the two world wars, which have to be the most devastating events in the history of humanity, why should something as mundane as a financial meltdown stop the power hungry lunatics.

As we grow ever more gifted, (I use the word to show our ability to improve and to have more control over our lives) we lend ourselves ever more to the horror of power elitism, and its overwhelming effect on the lives of humanity.  Whenever we try to control the beast, we allow it to grow and to inveigle us or at least some of us into thinking the beast has been tamed.  And then they let the beast free, and what does it do, it devours everything until it is brought to heal once more.  The problem with this continuous release and then restrict policy is that the beast which is all powerful continues to grow, until it is uncontrollable.

And when the beast becomes uncontrollable, god help us then.


As a footnote here is something to ponder...

Imagine you are in Austria and you are Adolf Hitler's careers adviser, and you ask him what do you want to be when you grow up? 

Do you think he answers; well I'd like to be known as the most evil man in history, responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people, some in callous and despicable ways.  I want to be the destroyer of the country I love, Germany, and cause more devastation than any other human to have lived.

I somehow doubt it, I would imagine he just wanted to be a painter.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Finally we have a Grand Slam Champion

Try to imagine what it must be like to be told roughly since 11 that you are the one, you are the saviour, and you are going to be our tennis hero.  Andy Murray has been told this constantly most of his life, and like many hero characters from fiction he has been told he is the one to change history.

Yet to begin with it didn’t happen, the great British hope didn’t live up to expectations, like all great stories from literature, it wasn’t easy to live with the hopes of a nation, it took time.  Until Monday 10th September 2012, 76 years since Fred Perry’s last win.  Finally Andy Murray did what all of Britain has wanted for so long and won a Major championship.

In what was an incredibly tense match to watch, especially if you are British; Andy faced up to his demons and beat them back.  He faced up to his nemesis - history itself, and finally defeated and changed it.

It has been a fantastic summer for British sport, one that will go down in history as one of our greatest ever. Let’s hope it is the springboard for more achievement, more success and more Grand Slams for Andy Murray.
Well done Andy Murray you deserve it.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Stranger in a Strange Land

Just finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land which if I’m honest I found to be quite strange book.   Then again if you put it in context and remember when it was written it would seem like a prelude to the free love of the sixties. 
The story is about the journey an orphan human boy from Mars takes as he learns to be human and then how to change humanity for the better using what he learned on Mars.

As well as being a strange book it is also in places quite exceptional and fascinating.  It is a shame in a strange way that we have not moved on from the ideas that might have developed from the book published in 1961 about free love, peace, end of war, removal of hatred and anger.  Instead we have moved backwards towards a greedier, selfish, insular world full of fundamentalist, extremist attitudes; which is highlighted at the beginning of the book.

I’m not saying all of the ideas in Strange Land are good, as well as love and peace I bet it had a small hand in the awful cults that formed as well.  The ideas of sex and nudity might shock a few conservative minds.

Obviously the book is a sci-fi classic but it also ideological and philosophical, sometimes over mixing the genres, and other times blending them perfectly. 

The book can now be seen as a little prophetic when the main character is discussing whether most of the human race is ready to live a life without anger, hatred, with control, peace and love.  And he suggests it may never be ready, which clearly we are not.  It is also anti-prophetic if that is a word to describe it because after he is brutally slaughtered and turned into a martyr; the author leaves us with the idea that it is possible, even if it probably isn’t. 

Unfortunately we do not live in a sci-fi, ideological, philosophical world, we do not have wise Martians to teach us about the harm we cause ourselves, and we certainly cannot teleport using our minds, or connect with communal mentality.  Still I loved the book and would love to see how they would make it into a film.  Ironically, the problem is the story is a little too liberal, too full of sex and too full of nudity, for the mainstream US audience of today, and that is where most films about US books are made. 

It would be nice to see someone attempt it one day, it may get more people to read it and to try to understand the message it is getting across.  That is if the message it is trying to get across is the one I discovered from reading it.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The day the big four retire from tennis will be a bad day for tennis

I know this may seem a little left field considering everyone’s opinion of tennis in this day and age, but I am starting to feel that apart from the top four players the rest of the top 100 stars are just not as good as ones from the past.

One thing I got sick of hearing a few years ago was that Roger Federer had it easy; he won so many majors and tournaments because the standard of tennis was poor. What a load of crap (just think so many of the supposed poor players from Roger's era are still playing and beating the younger guys now, even when they are over 30).  The reason Federer was and still is winning is simple; he is just the greatest, streets ahead of the rest of the field.  Then along came another genius in Rafa Nadal and then another in Djokovic and now finally Andy Murray seems ready to join their elite level of winning slams.

Also what is very disparaging about Federer's era, the guys around 30 is the way they talk about Andy Roddick, he was and still is a world class player and he will be sadly missed from the tour.  Roddick was just extremely unfortunate to come across the greatest player ever.  He should have won Wimbledon in 09, and he will always be fondly remembered at SW9.

So now we have the four great players, and let’s be honest they win everything, 29 of the last 30 majors, every Masters 1000 since November 2010. They are generally the guys who get to the semis and no one else apart from once in a while can challenge them. Only one person in 8 years of slams and nearly 2 years in Masters Events; does that not seem strange.  The only one that may add his name to the list would be Juan Martin Del Potro, but he gets injured a lot and he still has to go through the big four to win a slam and he has never won a Masters 1000 event.

The next thing that sprang to mind was Tsonga’s attitude to losing and his comments about how it’s nearly impossible win anything, I think Berdych may have said similar comments.  Tsonga’s comments and his attitude seemed to say to me that he knew to win the US Open this year he would have to beat Murray in the Quarters, Federer in the Semis, and Djokovic in the Final, and it felt like he had given up before he even hit a ball.

On top of this apparent apathy which is clearly starting to affect some of the nearly top players, players who would have won far more competitions in the past in their opinions I expect, we have a resurgence of the 30 something’s, coming back into the game.  Instead of the past precession of top star, 18 – 26, then fading away gracefully, the top stars are not going away.  I think I heard there was a record amount of 30 year olds in Wimbledon and now the US Open. 

So what does this say, it certainly knocks the credibility of the people who say Roger Federer was lucky because many of the people from his era are still playing a high standard of tennis.  And what can we say about the future, as I watched the Murray Raonic match the commentator said Murray was reaching the final of the US Open as Raonic’s age, and Milos is supposed to be one of the next big things in tennis.  Djokovic had won the Aussie Open at Raonic’s age, Rafa won at 18; Del Potro won at 21 also.  Who at that age now is going to beat these guys – no one?

It is sad to say but when finally Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray hang up their tennis rackets and retire the guys ready to take their place, don’t exist.  There is no one in their class at this time, not even close; people can rave on about Raonic or any other lanky big server, but it will be a long time before we see the like of this era of tennis again.

One parting notice on the US Open, the crowds were really poor in the first week it is as if everyone knows tennis is about four players, so why turn up when the prices are so high.  What is the point of having a massive 23,000 seated stadium if it’s only got a few thousand people in it.  Either make the tickets cheaper for supposed lesser matches or allow kids in to watch, do something because if anything will turn off the tennis pro from performing at their best it’s an empty stadium.