Saturday, September 17, 2005

Belfast may have stopped and the streets may be gridlocked with protestors but I still write on!

It is amazing that 4 days of protest and life is substantially restricted. Can't go out at night, bank machines are out of order, shops have limited stocks, businesses are apparently struggling because everyone wants to get home.

Needless to say I haven't really been able to read that much. My courses have started again and I have a text book in accountancy and one in e-business to read. I am trying to start Newman's 'Loss and Gain'.

Everything in Belfast is back to crazy normality!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

“You could never make her believe that the Titanic hit an iceberg. Whoever heard of such a thing! It was simply a flimsy prevarication devised to cover up the real cause. The real cause she could not, or would not, make plain, but somewhere in its black core was a monstrous secret of treachery and corrupt goings-on - men were like that. She came later on to doubt the courage of the brave gentlemen on the sinking ship who at the last waved goodbye smilingly and smoked cigarettes. It was her growing conviction that most of them had to be shot by the ship’s officers in order to prevent them from crowding into the lifeboats ahead of the older and less attractive women passengers. Eminence and wealth in men Aunt Ida persistently attributed to deceit, trickery and impiety. I think the only famous person she ever trusted in her time was President McKinley.”

From James Thurber’s ‘A portrait of Aunt Ida’. I thought the Titanic reference was quite fun considering that I come from Belfast. Thurber obviously admired his Aunt who lived to the age of 91 and maintained and hatred and bitterness for rich famous men, doctors, and was fascinated by birth, death and mysteries. It is interesting to note that I was reading a report in the New Economist about the lack of women CEO’s. One of the reasons given was that women were less likely to ‘join the club’ or become part of the old boys network. It would imply that women were less likely to be involved in the deceit, trickery and impiety that is required to be a male CEO. This would seem to support the cynicism and paranoia of Aunt Ida.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

England lose to Northern Ireland team ranked 116 in the world

hehe couldn't resist this!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Last night I finished reading John Steinbeck's 'The Pearl' and I started to read some of his letters. 'The Pearl' is a profound and quite horrifying story. It almost verges into fantasy territory with the number of spirits and 'the family song', these elements crammed in beside the struggle for survival of a Mexican peasant family. I still feel deeply affected by the story and I am still thinking about it. It is different to 'East of Eden' in that one of the main themes has been taken, distilled, and strengthened.

Then I was reading in one of his letters how Steinbeck had this revelation about the nature of society and how there seems to be something that is active outside the individual, something he didn't really understand:

"Note - in Mendocino county a whole community turned against one man and destroyed him although they had taken no harm from him. This will sound meaningless to you unless you could see the hundreds of notes that make them meaningful to me. It is quite easy for the group, acting under stimuli to viciousness, to eliminate the kindly nature of its units. When acting as a group, men do not partake of their ordinary natures at all. The group can change its nature. It can alter the birth rate, diminish the number of its units, control states of mind, alter appearance, physically and spiritually. All of the notations I have made begin to point to an end - That the group is an individual as boundaried, as diagnosable, as dependent on its units and as independent of its units' individual natures, as the human unit, or man, is dependent on his cells and yet is independent of them." June 21 1933

It may take a while to understand this Steinbeck wrote as his thoughts came and left punctuation to other people frequently. I think he is trying to say something about synergy.