A Word …

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Why bother ???

Two weeks ago, I was called a thief,
and thrown out of a shop for not agreeing.
Now, I am labelled ‘angry’ and ‘bitter’
and subjected to impertinent reprimand for not agreeing to that.

It is a heart-breaking thing indeed, to either –
have to accept by admission,
the defamatory assertions that are made about oneself
(no matter how genuinely someone may believe them to be true),

or refuse to accept them,
and be ‘thrown out’ like rubbish.

I am – and have been since a little boy,
a quiet, introverted, and peaceable human being.

I will not, therefore, at the age of 55,
acquiesce to any man, woman, or child,
who is determined to have me admit
that I am ‘ bitter’ … ‘angry’ …
and express myself by ‘shouting in anger’.

For me to NOT agree to character traits that,
to me, are disgraceful in any person,
does not mean that I am “angry”.

It means that I am resolute
that I will not be falsely misrepresented
by anyone.

I find it hard to believe that that is unreasonable.

I am a very patient man,
not prone to ‘raving’ or ‘raging’.

I state facts made from quiet observation.

I present evidence that may be observed
by all who read the words on this site.

I give a solution to the problem.
And even anticipate likely ‘ah buts’ and ‘what if’s’.

To do this articulately requires Calmness of Mind.

This, I had thought, would be self-evident.

In the video concerning “Fierce Evangelicals”,
I was deeply upset at the conduct of a woman who was
a frequent visitor to this site; a woman from Ireland
(No, I would not have the audacity to make that up)
of all places);

a woman who ran for political office,
and would ‘jail’ certain groups of modern humanity
who did not (shall we say) “follow” biblical standards of life
in their private lives.

That particular video was made for, and directed to
all who share her sentiments.

I would ask any visitor of this site to VIEW it, and
see for themselves, if my demeanour and speech
reveals an “angry”, “bitter” man … shouting,
raging, or anything similar.

The world is not mine to change:
BUT My Life is mine to use as best I can
to make a moral change in those who fall
within the sound of my voice
(or sight of my written compositions).

When Malignant creatures on YouTube,
curse, and degrade, and tell the American mother
of a disabled child that she should have “Put your retard down”,

by no stretch of the imagination do I speak out because I am
“full of resentment at how the world seems to be treating [me]”;

I do so because I despise bullies, and have a moral centre
which seeks to defend those who are timid, quiet, or weak.

I did not remain long in the military because I had no commonality
with those whose days were filled with macho posturing
and spewing obscenities at every personal inconvenience;
whose ‘social’ antics revolved around liquor and copulation.
While many came to me seeking advice with personal
and family problems, I was never part of the ‘social scene’.
Such a world is no place for me.

The problem is that the military under Mrs Thatcher
was (at least, what I saw of it) a refined ‘finishing school’
compared to the filth that can be seen on teen social sites,
or heard coming from the mouths of teenage boys … and girls
(to say nothing of adults who set the ‘example’) today.

There is, throughout this Internet site,
a great deal of ‘what to do’, and ‘what not to do’
… as well as the consistently repetitious
‘how to do it’ advocated in words such as “selflessness”,
“humility”, modesty”, and “empathy”.

If someone does not know what these basic terms mean,
I expect them to make the effort to find an Oxford English Dictionary,
and ‘look them up’. Those who are sincere will make the effort.
Those who are not may go elsewhere for their entertainment.

Critiques are good … as noted in this site – provided
that the person is morally qualified to do so.
Where I will not be … “critiqued” is to have my character defamed
by making me out to be an ‘angry’, ‘bitter’ man.

That is not a “critique” – that is slander.

Refusing to accept such degradation
does not mean that I am ‘angry’,
it means that I am honourable and honest –
and will not accept a lie about my character,
or the character of anyone with whom I am familiar.

An illustration:

A man is named ‘Andrew’.
He meets a man on the street:
a man whom he has ‘seen around’,
but does not know personally.

“Hello, my name is Andrew”, he says.
The man replies: “Hey, Andy! How are you?”
“Andrew”, he replies, “… I am fine.”
“Great, Andy! What are you doing now?”
“Please, I prefer to be called ‘Andrew’ … I am going home.”
“Okay, Andy, well, I am heading this way. ‘Bye Andy.”

They meet a second time. Again the conversation starts:
“Hey, Andy, how are you today?”
“Please, I hate ‘Andy’ – call me ‘Andrew’.”
“Okay, Andy – you know, whatever!”
Well, And’, I got to be off.”

And a third time:
“Andy, how’s it going?” … and so on.

Now … IS Andrew going to continue to ignore the disrespect
of being addressed, not by his proper name,
but by a vulgar contraction of it,
which he has specifically asked not be used ?

I suspect that he will tire of correcting this fellow
who will not be corrected.

I suspect that he will not be on intimate, personal terms
with a man who insists upon calling him
something … that he is not.

So, in like manner, surely, one should not persist
in degrading my nature, and somehow imagine
that I will acquiesce and accept it.

I am a writer by trade: proficient in the presentation of words;
I am good at what I do.

I can describe growing up amidst explosions
and bloodshed in Northern Ireland-
without being afraid;

I can present the effects of tyrannical injustice,
without being angry.

I have been a school-teacher of 14 and 15 year olds;
which requires Patience … not anger.

I am utterly indifferent whether anyone visits this site or not.
It does not worry me in the slightest.

I am here, out of conscience.

I pay, from my own pocket, the equivalent of
130 American dollars each year
so that anyone who does arrive here,
does not have to have adverts shoved in their face.

I provide thoughtful observations,
encourage people to see for themselves,
if what I suggest is true in society at large;

And I give the solution, by telling people … ‘How’ –
what they can do to reverse the trend of filth
and selfish malignancy within their own sphere of daily life

viz.

practice “You first”, rather than “Me First” ;
be content with few possessions and a simple lifestyle;
throw the TV where it belongs;
look at the way people treat their animals, and discern accordingly;

let a man talk or write,
and you will soon see his character revealed;
have no companionship with those who are loud,
arrogant, and cock-sure of themselves …
… and so on and so forth,
throughout the entirety of this site.

Clear instructions, observations, and suggestions –
‘How to do what is right’ – are regularly and copiously provided
for anyone who does not want to be the same
as what they see and hear around them.

If such thoughts are of use to no one;
and no one visits this site,
it does not concern me in the slightest.

All I ask is that, if people ARE finding value in this site,
they let me know.

If no one does, it would be foolish of me (wouldn’t it, now ?)
to continue handing out annual fees for a site on the Internet
where no one visits with genuine interest.

Many visitors return here regularly.
If they will not comment, I presume that they are here
to laugh or plagiarise, which I have seen.
If no one finds any value in this site,
I will not waste time in composing and editing,
or in spending money upon it.

I have renewed each year,
because people have asked me not to leave.

But where my nature as a quiet and peaceful man
( I was originally deemed a “pacifist”
in the exchange that prompted this ‘post’ ),
is trodden upon, and I am made out to be an angry, bitter creature
who shouts at a computer screen … No, I will not have that.

If someone persists, to the point of obnoxiously presuming
to … “picture right now how angry [ I am ]” …
because they are bound and determined
to depict me as an ‘angry’ man,

that person is clearly beyond the reach of any reasoning
that I might attempt.

Even the artistic use of dark background to better display
the colours of photographs on this site,
was drawn in to represent the ‘bitter’ nature within me.

When even this prodigious fantasy was swept away by simple reality,
no word of apology was forthcoming.

Nothing I do will escape the persistence of such a person.
And anything I say, will, I fear, only be used
to build some further sand-castle of false accusation.

Oliver Cromwell’s chaplain put such thoughts in order
when he said (referring to the Day of Judgment):

“Good men shall then be manifested;
their principles, their practices …

They who are now accused of hypocrisy
and obstinacy, and pride and peevishness,
because they could not swim with the stream,
nor run with others to the same excess of riot,

will then be manifested
to be men of integrity and humility,
and to have declined the profane course of others,
not out of foolish preciseness …

but out of conscience …” [ Owen ]

A simple (genuine) word of regret and change of heart
will always find a hand of friendship extended here.

But I will not have my character degraded.

Nor will I stand idly by to have the character
of any good and honourable man or woman degraded –
whether by evangelical thugs, atheistic bullies,
or anyone in between.

VIDEO – “A Plea to Fierce Evangelicals”

Now on my fourth day with the pain of blocked Eustachian Tubes
and an infected throat, I am off to get my Netti Pot,
flush my sinus cavities with warm water and purified salt,
and will be taking some time away from this site,
and from the absurdity of what I have had to contend with of late.

If anyone has additional slanderous rhapsodies
that they wish to dedicate to me,
I shall reserve the discovery of such melodious calumnies
until such times as I do not have tears coming out of my eyes
due to pain, and feel better able to attend unto them.
Thank you for your understanding. [ – PL, 29th September ]

“Worldly men cannot endure to be outshone;
and because they have no mind to be
as good as others, they would fain make others
to be as bad and vile as themselves:
therefore, they are full of hard thoughts
and hard speeches
against good men.” [ Thomas Manton ]

ひとりたび … hitoritabi – A Solitary Journey

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Compassion: the capacity to feel tenderness
for the anguish of someone, or some animal,
that is suffering;

the willingness to extend kindness
– a word of encouragement or consolation,
where it is needed.

I have it. And I have a need to use it.
Which is why this Internet site even exists.

Looking back over the years of my life,
there has continually been one principle after another
( which I believed to be true at the time )
that nevertheless turned out, in reality,
to be utter fantasy on my part.

Be Virtuous, Considerate, and Kind,
and people will want to be your friend –
that was certainly what I believed,
when I was a little boy.

By the time I was 30 though,
I could explain to anyone who asked,
why precisely the opposite is true.

Which is why I still find myself in the company of
the animals who come down off the mountain
to spend time on our property.

“Self Esteem” – the mantra that has been trumpeted
since the early ‘90’s. Something ordinarily reasonable,
but which has been perverted to suit the obscene self-deification
of the modern world.

Now … Self Esteem …

To the extent that I am not required
to willfully submit to the abuse of bullies, thugs,
and despotic tyrants in all levels of society ?

Absolutely.

“Self Esteem” to the extent that my pride
and entertainment
has priority over people, animals, moral decency,
and the natural world around me … ???

No.

THAT used to be known as Selfishness. Greed. Vanity.

For those who resolutely insist upon seeing
nothing but ‘anger’, ‘complaining’, ‘moaning’
or any other adjective suited to the immature spewings
that saturate YouTube and public opinion comments,

I have quite exhausted my willingness to present –
thoughtfully-worded exposition, with
evidence readily-observable in the modern world;
offering solutions to the moral problems raised,
as well as anticipating and addressing popular
‘arguments’ / excuses.

It is not the length of a life,
but how that life has been used;

and since childhood, I have always despised
malignant creatures
who find their “sport” in terrorising and killing animals;

or who make a past-time of cruelty by
inflicting embarrassment, anguish,
domination, and degradation upon people.

Humility. Empathy. Modesty.
They have been the ambition of my life.

The example that was set to me …

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Friend, mentor, grandpa: John Hall, at work in the Botanic Gardens, Belfast, c.1960.
A quiet and gentle man, I never once saw him leave the house without his watch in his waistcoat, and New Testament in the inside pocket of his jacket. A kind and immensely considerate man.

… which I have endeavoured to set for others.

While you may not like the efforts made here
to return moral decency
to the minds and consciences of people,
please do not imagine to reduce the considered
and detailed observations made here
to ‘anger’ or ‘moaning’; ‘complaining’ or a ‘rant’.

Consider the substance of what is said,
rather than attempt to degrade the character, motives,
or mental state of the person saying it.

Kindly direct your thoughts to considering the message;
rather than degrading the messenger.

Apathy gives approval to every depravity under the sun.
I could never live with the weight of my own conscience,
if I did not use the life I have
to stand up for moral decency and integrity
wherever I happen to be.

Those who are, like me, tender-hearted and compassionate
will know PRECISELY why I am presenting
the thoughts and observations
that appear on this Internet site.

John Owen, Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell observed:

“None do so feelingly bewail the sins of the times
as those who have a tender, holy heart;
affected with … compassion over the souls of men.

Nothing can evidence a love to man more
than a sorrowful reflection upon that wickedness
which is the disturbance of human society,
and the ruin of the soul.”

Yesterday, I received a letter from the nation-wide retail company
from one of whose stores,
an obnoxious manager had forced me to leave.

In that letter, I was informed that each outlet is responsible
for its own ‘security’, but that the over-riding goal
was to provide “a positive shopping experience”
and that the head office had logged my complaint and
forwarded it to the regional office for their “review”.

That, I thought, was very decent of them.

Does that mean that the policy
of presuming men to be thieves will stop ? Probably not.
This is the 21st century, the age of laziness and Greed.

But my letter reminded one callous corporation
that morally principled people still exist in the world.

The casual complacency of the masses
may accept every new depravity that is presented to them,
but that does not mean
that I must follow a multitude to do evil.

My conscience is far too active
to play with toys and do nothing with my life,
but seek to be entertained.

I simply need to recall the times in my life,
when I chose to put myself first …

I had the undeserved pleasure to have had, in my life,
the responsibility for an affectionate and gentle dog –
a lovable Rottweiler named ‘Thunder’.

He loved company; loved to have a cuddle;
and simply craved companionship.

But whilst I had the pleasure to return the affection
that he dispensed to me so freely,
I recall, with disgust and utter self-loathing,
the time when he came to me with his ball …

I was still a photojournalist, and was
busy sorting Kodachrome slides at the table;

So absorbed in my own ambition,
‘the best’ I could for him at that moment
was to glance down at him looking up at me –
and push him away with the exasperated tone:
“Go away, Thunder! Not now!”

I will never forget – a few seconds later,
after he walked away,
the sound of his body settling onto the carpet,
followed by a tremendously loud … sigh.

I never so much as turned my head.
I had “more important” things to do.

Whilst times such as that were few
amidst our ‘talks’, and hugs, and sharing meals,
I am disgusted by that moment when I
was the only thing that mattered to me.

In the short time that I was able to endure at the SPCA,
a daily sight for me, was the misery of “rescued” (?) dogs,
confined in concrete kennels:
no windows, no toys, and for most of them – no beds.

Give them beds, I was told, and they will shred them.

OF COURSE they will ! The animals are going, or have gone,
insane – through forced isolation and complete lack of mental stimulation;
to say nothing of an absence of company or affection.

“Rescued” dogs thrown into solitary confinement
in a cement dungeon.

I SHOULD have spent my time visiting, talking to,
extending kindness to each and every desperately lonely dog.
I had the time to do that. But no –
I was more interested in being a ‘saviour’ to dogs and animals
by patrolling in the van, and answering complaints that came over the radio.

More “glamorous” you see,
than spending time in concrete cells
with dogs confined to endless misery.

It disgusts me – It utterly breaks my heart, to recall
that I was even capable of not seeing – (of not wanting to see!)
the misery that was right in front of me the whole time.

[ The “Farce of Animal Rescue” articles, this site ]

And I – Me – I was responsible for giving our two beautiful birds –
a Cockatoo and a Macaw – into the care of a self-styled ‘expert’
who broadcast the fact that she had a ‘free flight’ facility
which would allow ‘cage birds’ to fly free,
and experience life ‘in a flock’.

Despite deep, deep reservations and doubt about
leaving our animals in the ‘care’ of someone
with such care-free self certainty,
I brushed aside my nagging doubt
and took our birds to her (at that time) promising enterprise.

The form I signed to ‘say that you know your birds are here’,
turned out to be a “Surrender Form” –
she had taken our birds by virtue of ‘the fine print’ …
… that I did not bother to read.

Despite visits four times a year to ensure their well-being,
Our Macaw vanished in 2012.
Our Cockatoo died n 2014.
And the knowledge that I left them there,
haunts and torments me – every day of my life.

I despise selfishness.
And the pain and misery that it brings.
And am haunted by the times when I gave in to it,
at certain times in my life.

I was born with a compassionate and tender-heart –
as a boy, crying whenever I saw a horse, or a donkey,
sheep, or cows standing without shelter,
in the rain or hot sun.

What I did notice was that that ability to cry
never seemed to be shared by folk I met.

Of all the articles that I have written,
“A Blind Man, A Dog, and Modern “Humanity”
relates the most disgusting display that I have ever seen,

A blind man left to crawl around on the pavement
to clean up after the uncharacteristic accident of his dejected dog.
It was disgusting to see the ease with which people
elevate themselves at the expense of others.

I realise that what I espouse is contrary
to the very substance of the Internet.

People of crude character enjoy seeing
displays of crude character.
Which is why the Internet is rife with vulgarity
and obscenity.

The lowest common denominator
receives the highest ‘likes’ and ‘followers’,

those who know least,
broadcast their triviality the loudest,

and bullies and thugs
inflict degradation as often as they can.

People follow personalities, rather than
considering the worth of what their hero is saying;

and petty squabbles over trivial matters
are used as “justification” by to humiliate others.

For me, the haughty, gloating thug … who is “right”
is no better than the ignorant man who is “wrong” –
neither one of them will be regarded as a ‘teacher’
by any discerning man or woman.

The Internet is the grand theatre for the performance
of arrogance, malice, and cruelty.

There is a way to be “right”.
There is a way to combat error or expose evil.
There is a time to keep quiet, and consider.

It is called humility.

Explain the error, and present the truth.
Without obscenities, vulgarity, or
character-degrading ridicule.

Humility … Empathy … Modesty in world of
Arrogance … Apathy … and Greed.

For those who have missed it,
– that – has been the point of this Internet site.

I will never stoop as low as hell,
in order to be ‘popular’, or ‘liked’, or win “friends”
amongst those who feel at ease in the 21st century.

This Internet site has proven to be little more
than a well-intentioned diversion
that allowed me to meet a few appreciative folk.

Ultimately, though, it has simply led back
to where I was before:
a solitary journey along an Old Path.

I have been alone all my life, and
walking away now may mean that
nothing has changed.

But at least …

I made the effort.

P Livingstone
28th September, 2012

Moon 2c 25th

Contentment, for Me, this Week …

Life here …

A view up the orchard towards the road –

16-orchard

the last of the Asian Pears were picked,

16-asian-pears

and ‘duck weed’ removed from the Frog Pond …

16-frog-pond

A new pond was added two weeks ago, and planting was begun …

16-new-pond

… while lunch at the fish pond
meant a break for two friends who stopped by –

16-fish-pond

Clouds and Rain are always welcome …

Cloud-2

and before it arrives, everyone here has last-minute things to do …

xthe-bat

As the rain began to fall, and wind swept in from the mountain,
I remembered to add sunflower hearts to the bird table:

which gave those who were waiting, a little time to play …

 

Lesson Learned …

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I find it incomprehensible to realise that when
– ( in, for example, “Thoughts to a Young Woman” ) –

I plead with a reader to NOT associate herself
with the type of crude, contemptuous creature
who regards her as a “Bitch” or a “Whore”

a reader of this Internet site
is likely to regard such sentiment
as the … “moaning”
of a “bitter man”.

There was once a time when older, observant,
sober-minded, empathetic men and women

were recognised for possessing an ability
to practically apply knowledge
that had been gained from life experience:

It used to be known as … Wisdom.

Now, it is called “Opinion” …

“Narrow-Mindedness”

… or “Moaning”.

This Internet Site has consistently called for people
to exercise Courtesy, Consideration, and Conscience;
Humility, Empathy, and Modesty;

and has proposed the virtue of living contentedly
with few possessions,

in a world that is typified by
Vanity, Viciousness,
Greed, and Vulgarity.

To espouse moral decency and self restraint
no more indicates that I am … “bitter”,

… than teaching teens in a classroom how to
read, write, and speak properly,
indicates that I am … “angry”.

As it is, apparently, not self-evident,
allow me to observe that teaching
to correct grievous error

is the work of a Kind man –

not an Embittered one.

It would seem that, in the 21st century,
anyone who advocates moral improvement,
self restraint, empathy and contentment

… is suffering from some mental or emotional defect.

I have come to realise that
the dwindling remnant in this world
who possess any skill of sophistication;
or display integrity in daily conduct and conversation

… WILL be despised.

The plainly observable state of modern-minded humanity
in 21st century society, is easily summed up:
It is this –

“Give me six lines
written by the most honourable of men,
and I will find excuse in them
to hang him.”

Anyone who does not visibly bear the mark
of 21st century humanity

(either openly, on the countenance of the face
or cursing of the mouth;
or secretly, in the duplicitous deeds of the hand)

will be obliged to realise that

“… he who departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.”

Suggest that people live with empathy, modesty,
and humility … and you WILL
be despised, mocked,
or dismissed as a sad fanatic.

I guarantee it.

P2015 alt

Two things happened this week
that have shocked and dismayed me.

But both – have opened my eyes,
and allowed me to see that
which I could not have imagined before.

On Monday, the 5th of September,
I was effectively called a thief
and thrown out of a nationwide, hardware-type chain-store.

Four days later, I read a comment left by a considerate man,
whose words … let me view this Internet site
from the eyes of modern men and women
– a view which initially offended me;
but (just as quickly) relieved me of the perplexity
which has bewildered me for the past few years.

predawn

We arrived in this part of the world in 2009;
and bought a little 1920 farm house on 3 acres of land
at the foot of a mountain,

where I have, using shovel and wheelbarrow,
built up a verdant, visitor’s garden and plant nursery
from wispy grass and decades of neglect
– without income;

only to find that interest in such a place,
from Canadians … has been non-existent.

To say that I wish we had never left
our Scottish country home on the banks of the River Tweed is
extreme understatement.

This has proven NOT to be a place in which
a quiet, gentle countryman of moral integrity
may find himself able to live in peace.

Needing a tin of marine ‘spar’ varnish,
I stopped outside a large, nation-wide, Canadian ‘hardware store’.

Thirty seconds from the front door, I bid “Good Morning”
to an older woman wearing a staff-logo on her shirt.
Not two steps past her,
I turned at the sound of her “Ummm …” and listened
as she uttered her response to my morning greeting:

“Can I get you to leave your bag at the front?”
It was more command than question.

Looking deeply into her eyes, I replied:

“No.”

“Then you have to leave the store.” She bristled.

Now … I am a gentle man.
At my worst, I have more manners than the bulk
of modern mankind. That said, I was incensed:

“You’re calling me a thief ?”
“I never said it.” She retorted.

I clarified: “You want me to leave my bag,
because you think I am going to steal something !”

“I have managed 55 years without stealing anything in my life !
And you have the arrogance to call me a thief ?”

“I would like to speak to a manager”, I said.
“I AM the manager!” was her triumphant retort.

She continued: “I’ll give you my business card.”
There, along with the company logo and this woman’s name
were the words in large letters: “We Care” .

I spluttered at the absurdity of the claim
when the officious tones sounded once again:

“All large bags and backpacks are to be left at the front.”

“Store. Policy.”

Store Policy.

Well, it was the “store policy” of Hitler
to gas people whom he didn’t like.

Evidently, if it is “official policy”, then it MUST be correct:
No moral discernment needed.
No further thought, conscience, or discretion required.

It made me recall the popular mantra
of the last decade or so: ‘Just doing my job’

– the anthem of those having neither
the capacity to think, reason, or discern;
or the conscience to say:
“I will not have any part of that”.

“Just following orders.”
I believe that a few Nazis
escaped justice with that one.

Unable to fully take in that this scene was really happening,
I addressed the woman’s obnoxious ‘store policy’ :

“Well mine is neither large, nor a backpack.”

( I was livid. Polite – but livid.)

“And why is it that women are allowed
to wander all over your ‘store’ without having
their integrity demeaned; and their character slandered?”

“Women (she snapped) are allowed to carry purses!”

“Store. Policy!”

With that, she made it clear that she was leading me
to the front door. I was being removed.

I looked at her with disgust:
“You have not the slightest bit of conscience about this, do you?”

“No.” was the reply.

Fifty-five years of living as a considerate and courteous human being:
and it ends with some retail corporate lackey – (yes, I am angry),
calling me a thief … and escorting me off the premises

because I would not submit to the insult;

while all around us, glaze-faced, vacuous-looking customers
– many of them men – stood looking on,
with the comparable mental acuity of cattle chewing their cud.

(My apologies to the bovine population of fields near and far:
I mean no disrespect by the comparison.)

I was incredulous that not one of the other customers
– Not One – said ANYTHING.

THIS is deemed to be so perfectly acceptable
to people in the 21st century,
that a retail business can – by its ‘store policy’ –
declare a man to be a thief …

… And people actually continue to shop there
and give money to that business ?

I had NO IDEA that THIS
was the state of things in “The Real World”.

Are modern men and women SO bereft of moral decency
that they will consent to any atrocity
(save for mass-whining in pursuit of some
self-interest, ‘equal’-rights-agenda –

“Equal Rights for Immigrant Ambidextrous,
Curly-haired Irishmen Who Speak Japanese ! ” )

– but remain utterly silent
when people are degraded in front of them ?

A thief thinks that everyone else steals:
those with a mind motivated by greed,
believe everyone else to be a robber.

The vicious glorify their cruelty
by presuming that all others
are either just as vicious as themselves;
or so “weak” that they deserve to be dominated.

While the rest stand there … and watch.

Suffocating in a mixture of outrage and
utter resignation, I got into our car
and drove away from this new revelation
of the perverseness of modern humanity.

Disgusted with the arrogance of the whole degrading experience,
I wrote a formal letter of complaint to the company’s head office;
and had nothing to do with this Internet site
until the end of that week.

WG36 Field Pond

Which is when I discovered a thoughtful comment,
which promptly revealed to me that … well,
that my espousal of moral integrity in the world,
is considered to be … “moaning”.

I am very grateful that that one visitor thought enough of me
to leave a proper, lengthy comment about this site
along with – I might add,
a few presumptions about me which, if inaccurate,
I do appreciate seeing.

[ Several times in the letter, the writer stressed that he was
a private individual, not given to writing to anyone on the Internet:
indeed, he mentioned that he did not know what led him to write to me
in the first place. Out of consideration for that man’s privacy,
I have kept his comment from public view. – PL ]

That man’s assessment made it abundantly clear to me
that people could actually read the carefully-worded observations
of a caring and articulate man, pleading with people
to stop playing with toys and living to gratify Self
and instead, use their life for a higher moral purpose

… and

dismiss the whole thing as the … “moaning”
of a … “bitter” … man.

[ I had only recently written the article,
“Silencing the Lone Voice”
which also, I suppose, features a “bitter”,
‘moaning’ man … ]

‘Struck on one side of the head’ on Monday,
I had not turned it to face forward again,
when I was hit another resounding blow
by this revelation on Friday.

My head is fairly ‘ringing’.

Like being called a thief four days earlier –
I now had to mentally ‘talk to myself’ – convince myself
by running words through my brain –
that the absurdity that I was now being asked to accept
was actually happening.

Moaning.

‘Excuse me, Sir,
there is a suppurating wound on your back,
bacteria from which, will almost certainly
infect your household
and kill your children.
I can tell you how to save them.”

“Oh … for pity’s sake, stop your moaning.”

It would NEVER have occurred to me
that ANY ONE could possibly
look at this site, read it – even superficially,
and see … a ‘bitter’ man
… ‘moaning’ and complaining.

I am from another planet.

I have to be.

p2016b-sq

My skill is in the proficient use of words –
for which, people actually used to pay me money,
when professionalism still existed in the world.

cursive-1

I see a demonstration of Skill –
whether with woodworking … baking … painting …
ANY demonstration of experienced proficiency
gained over time, with diligence and dedication –

and I am moved to think that that person
is worth considering  …  ESPECIALLY
if the product of their skill
could have relevance to my life,
or the lives of those I love.

The work of an old Austrian cabinet-maker
is not ‘the same’ as the college boy
who assembles some glue-and-sawdust shelf from IKEA.

So, when that cabinet-maker says something about
the disgraceful quality of workmanship in the world today
… I listen.  And consider what he has to say.

My uncle was a master carpenter.
And I remember the pain in his face
as orders for hand-crafted woodwork stopped
over the course of the 1980’s.

People wanted ‘fast and cheap’.
They no longer have any interest (much less appreciation)
for anything that exudes … quality … precision … character.

Or requires patience … discernment … or sophistication.

A pig – who can but grunt,
thinks a man – who can speak,
to be … “long winded”.

I now understand my uncle’s pain.

Malignant people today, can look a man in the eyes
and tear apart his character – call him a thief –
without the slightest shred of conscience or moral guilt:
and no one says a thing.

The scrap yard welder who can solder a piece of metal,
imagines himself just a step away
from the 80-year old Katana (Japanese sword) maker ;

a girl in art school slops paint on a canvas,
and sees herself as ‘a fellow artist’ with the
meticulous print-maker of fusuma screens in Kyoto;

and an articulate series espousing a return
to maturity and empathy the world,
is regarded as insignificant complaining.

There is no longer even the acknowledgment
of wisdom, skill, or experience. And any display of it,
is utterly wasted on the masses.

To the minds of today, ‘we’ are … “all the same”.
Right ?

Present a Reason that should make people
pause … and consider –
and there once was a time
when people said “Thank You”.

Now – they say “F**k You”.

THAT is the world of the 21st century.

This week has shown me that
I have been saying – (like television in the 1970’s)

“It’s ten o’clock:
Do you know where your children are?”

To a world that could not care less WHERE
their children are.

People WANT to live in a moral sewer where

“Do what thou wilt,
shall be the whole of the law.”

And anyone who might reason them away
from that self-serving existence
is dismissed as a sad fanatic
who has nothing of value to offer
beyond … ‘complaining’.

I am glad that this Internet site has helped,
edified, or reassured a few folk over the years,
and thank those who wrote to tell me.
It makes all the effort worthwhile.

I had hoped – when opening this Internet site –
that my life’s journey would no longer be a solitary one.
I realise now, that that is precisely how it will continue.

In holding a candle up
to those who love darkness, I am – clearly,
wasting my time.

I actually thought that people were coming here
because they were being edified or encouraged:

At least, I finally woke up
thanks to one man who did have the decency to write.

I have learned a valuable lesson this past week.
And been forced to admit something
that, for me, is very hard to accept.

WG86

Please, Help Me to Understand …

 

When I was a little boy, my one treasured possession
was my collection of Ladybird books.

LB Autumn

Selling for ‘two-and-sixpence’,
and featuring one volume on (it seemed) every topic under the sun,

these wonderful 5×8” little books consisted of 56 pages – a full colour illustration on one page, a page of text on the facing page – all bound within a hard cover.

They offered boys and girls in the 1960’s
a wonderful insight into everything from folk tales, to science, professions, the night sky, and (my favourites) animals and nature.

They were, after all, in the publisher’s description, specifically designed for the edification of children.

[ Gallingly, by the 1980’s, Ladybird books changed:
evidently, providing edifying books for children,
had given way to making profit
from the mental sewage of television and ‘popular’ culture.

Today, they even have disgusting ‘adult’ parodies
presented in a precisely-imitated copy of the classic
children’s books —
but featuring perverse, vulgar topics
for the perverse, vulgar, new version of humanity. ]

In the 1960’s Ladybird books were unrivalled
in presenting quality volumes of facts
(and popular fantasy, such as Vikings with horned helmets)
which would actually stimulate a child’s mind,
and make them interested in wanting to learn more.

I remember the care with which I treated each one,
lying a ruler across the front of the book stems
to make sure that they formed a perfect line
exactly one ruler-width from the end of the bookshelf.

“The Farm”, “Horses”, “Garden Flowers”,
“What to Look for in Spring”,
I appreciated every single volume,
and exercised care accordingly.

(The only volume that I did not “like”, I suppose,
was “Ned, the Lonely Donkey” …
and that was because Ned was lonely –
and not out of any disappointment with the book itself.)

A few years ago, having just opened this Internet site,
I was in the process of making my sickening discovery
about the state of modern humanity,

when I decided to try a search for “books collecting” –
just to see what came up.
It was a search that led me to a place called ‘flickr’
– a site dedicated to the display of peoples’ photographs.

Glancing over the various ‘thumbnail’ images of all the people
having photographs related to ‘books’ and ‘collecting’,
I saw a photo of a shelf filled with instantly recognisable
Ladybird books.

One ‘click’ later, I was gazing with deep affection
at the photographs presented by a woman in England:
there they were: many of the volumes that I owned
as a little boy in the 1960’s.

I must have spent a good hour, at least … just staring.

I was there, again: lying on my bed, reading
“Stamp Collecting” or “The Night Sky” –
taking in the facts of the world around me,
that each book had to impart.

There I was, in 2012, staring at a computer screen:
but, for me, it WAS 1966
… as I looked at those photographs.

I opened a ‘flickr’ account – I was obliged; I HAD to –
just so that I could send a few sentences to this lady,
to say ‘Thank you’ for taking me back to my bedroom,
and returning wonderful memories of times
and people, that I had associated with those books.

I received a somewhat cursory reply from the woman;
but, for me, what mattered was that I had expressed my thanks
and gratitude for her making those photographs available.

Effort on her part,

from which I had benefitted.

I closed the account, feeling very grateful
that I had discovered that woman’s ‘page’
on the internet.

Having this Internet site, however,
I soon began to realise
that showing appreciation for people’s efforts,
was something … I … did;

and not something that extended to the bulk
of modern humanity in the 21st century.

This Internet site was started as a way to
(I had ignorantly imagined) “meet” like-minded people
who were deeply saddened,
and overwhelmingly out-of-place,
amidst the superficial, contemporary nothingness
of the 21st century.

It was intended to be a place where folk could find
consolation and a sense that they ‘are not alone’
in a world characterised by selfishness, greed,
and obscene hedonism;
that spews filthy obscenities and contempt
for anything, or anyone, that hints of moral decency.

For me, the realisation that camaraderie
– the desire to encourage someone –
no longer exists,
has meant that I have given up even the prospect
of trying any longer.

All the work involved –
the time required to outline thoughts and type the words;
the meticulousness in proof-reading,

with the intent that people can come here,
be edified, and – it may be,
challenged or encouraged in their own lives;

And yet, returning visitors,
as well as those who read in-depth,
(saying nothing of those who have plagiarised the thoughts
and concepts, and presented them as their own),

cannot say ‘Hello’ –
much less ‘Thank You’.

Precisely what is the “logic” of modern people
who cannot find it in themselves
to be civil, decent, or friendly?
Because, I certainly cannot understand
the ease with which people consistently ‘take’,
yet refuse to leave even a trace of decency.

If someone will explain this to me,
I shall – in all honesty,
be grateful to you.

If you are one of those who returns here,
reads … and leaves without a word,
how about return the favour and – just this once,
make an effort to
‘give something back’ in return?

Help me to understand modern-minded ‘thinking’.

Please.

WG85 Venus Jupiter

Venus and Jupiter display above the mountain behind our house

ABOUT This Internet Site …

P2015 alt

Hello … こんにちわ …

Thank you for stopping by today …

It had been my hope when opening this site four years ago,
that presenting heartfelt observations,
with quality photographs, on an ad-free Internet site,
might present an opportunity to ‘meet’
and exchange ‘conversation’ with folk
who, like me, find themselves singularly
“out of place” in the 21st century.

Now, it may be that I am the only person left on earth
who is utterly uncomfortable (and evidently unwelcome)
in the 21st century, but I have come to realize that
(with the exception of 5 folk in four years)
people today … do not want to be friendly.

Nevertheless, I hope that the following
will serve as an overview of this Internet site;
its lament,
and the lone voice behind the words …

P2016e

PLAIN Lifestyle, FEW Possessions, GREAT Contentment –
Living Humbly in a World of Self-Deification, Hedonism, and Greed

THOUGHTS and OBSERVATIONS from a SOLITARY LIFE.

An attempt to convince modern-minded humanity to
Pause … Consider … and THINK – like men and women;
rather than React – like children … or savages.

House 1c

Criticism is good: it keeps a wise man or woman ‘sharp’ –
PROVIDED, of course, that the one doing the criticizing
is QUALIFIED by Maturity, Wisdom, and Life EXPERIENCE.

About This Internet Site …

When I began this Internet site in March of 2012,
it was intended to be a place for those who can remember

when the terms “Lady” and “Gentleman”
actually had relevance;

when young women were not ashamed to be ladies,
nor sought to imitate the pathetic macho posturing
of vicious and vulgar men …

… and being a mother at home
was the most honourable job in the world;

when men had enough maturity and respect for other people,
to tuck in their shirt, and exercise self discipline
in conduct and conversation;

when courtesy, consideration, and conscience
still distinguished men and women … from savages;
and children were taught enough respect for adults
as to address them as ‘Mr’ ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’.

It is heart-breaking to realise that
the things that I value in life –

conscience, courtesy, consideration for neighbours;
the ability to read, write, and carry on a conversation;
making an effort to be congenial,

– have not only vanished,
but are now regarded with suspicion,
derided as “weakness”,
and viewed with contempt;

that anything that advocates moral discernment,
self control, or moderation
is now reviled as “Hate Speech” ;

and that this is now a world
where those who cry for “Equal Rights”
– once they get what they want –
are the very LAST to give equal rights
to those who are different from themselves.

WG09 House b

Until we became familiar with the Internet
and ‘had a look around it’,
I had never imagined ‘ordinary’ people to be
as vulgar and alliterate;

or as vicious, callous, and apathetic towards anything
that did not immediately gratify their lusts, ease, or vanity.

Good people ‘post’ a nature video; a film-clip of their dog,
or even a portion of a documentary film,
and the comments that appear below
seethe with filth, vulgarity, and contempt.

I shall never forget the film on a mother with her autistic child,
and the comment from America
that the woman should have … “put your retard down”.

Or the assertion below the piece on the Amish farmer and his wife,
noting that “they are all pedophiles [sic], brainwashed, and stupid”.
“What a f–king useless, boring life” declared another. [my edit]

The depravity of modern mankind – especially young people –
is beyond my capacity to fully take in.

It took me less than a week to realise
that I cannot ‘surf’ the Internet.

To attempt YouTube is to wade through a cesspool of filth:
find a video of bluebells growing in a woodland clearing and,
it seems, there will be some vile creature
spewing profanity and invective at that.

My brief look around the Internet taught me about the 21st century
– actually, it explained a great deal.

Why it was, for instance, that whenever I held the door open
for a young woman at the supermarket,
she tells me that she can ‘get it’ herself.

Why people stand in the checkout queue shouting into ‘cell phones’
for all around them to hear.

Or why one cannot walk thirty feet in any public place
without hearing “f**k“ after each use of the word “the”.

They even have a slogan now – “WTF”.

The filthy obscenities of forty years ago
… are now a fashion statement.

There just is no lower depth of depravity than that.

WG01 The Walk

It has been distressing to see –
not only the progressive infantilising of the human race,
but – the willingness with which multitudes of so-called “adults”
have facilitated it –

men dressing like slobs:
without even the decency to tuck in their shirt
(a thing for which we, as little boys in the 1960’s,
were routinely scolded by every woman who passed us) –
spewing vulgarity and obscenities
as so-called ‘conversation’ –

and women doing everything they can
to imitate men.

The 21st century is an age that is CHARACTERISED by
laziness, greed, and malicious vanity –
in which the humility to learn has utterly vanished.

Skill and wisdom gleaned from life experience
are now relegated to … “Well, that’s your opinion”
by people who, generally, can no longer spell,
write cursively, or even read anything
requiring an attention span.

Attempt to help by correcting a person’s grammar
and they will call you a “grammar Nazi”.

It is not merely that people are ignorant:
but they dogmatically insist upon being that way.

Human beings no longer have the ability to blush.
And shame is a thing of the past –
as ten minutes spent in any public place
will quickly reveal.

We have come to understand the ease
with which modern “friendship” evaporates
in an instant …

… in an age when pride and resentment
have replaced the desire to be taught;

and where “friends” will cut all ties with anyone
who offers wisdom or experience that conflicts
with their ‘ego’, personal ‘agenda’, or profit-making enterprise.

Simply being ethical, and quiet

is enough to earn the hatred of multitudes
in whose seared consciences, the very existence of morality
is a ‘thorn’.

I live in a wilderness, as far as the world today is concerned.
The last time that I had anything in common with contemporary society,
the radio was broadcasting The Original Cast
singing the morality tale, “One Tin Soldier” …

and even television stations broadcast the nightly message:
“It’s ten o’clock: Do you know where your children are?”

Having watched for 50 years
as technology has turned the human brain to mush,
I can only espouse the reading of quality books
as the greatest legacy that a teacher – or parent –
can leave a child.

Strange Last Voyage 2

THIS Internet site is as you see it:

I am just one man who began using a computer in 2001
because I could no longer buy ribbon cartridges for my typewriter.

The thoughts presented here are merely observations
presented as a result of 50 years
of watching human society progressively degenerate
from imitating the mental and moral sewage of Hollywood,

while lamenting the almost-complete elimination
of moral decency: courtesy, consideration, and conscience.

P2016d

From Northern Ireland, having served – since 1980,
as a lecturer, school-teacher of Oxford English,
and writer of bespoke documents in prescribed English,

my wife and I live a plain lifestyle without television, stereo,
newspapers, or cellular telephone,

in a 1920’s farmhouse
avoiding the noise, vulgarity, and ‘party’ mentality
of modern humanity.

A life-long practitioner of Wing Chun Gung Fu,
I can most often be found in the garden,
quietly reading an historical book,
or enjoying the serenity of the Tea Ceremony.

I notice my own thoughts increasingly
being voiced in Japanese – not out of any need
to practice ‘nihongo’ or write Hiragana,

but because I have always found Japan
to be the last place left on this earth
that still practices the type of formal etiquette
with which I was raised.

It simply seems, to me, that – with very little exception,
if a person speaks – what now passes for “English”,
he is invariably spewing vacuity, viciousness, vanity,
or obscenities.

I have lived my entire life as a quiet and peaceful human being
always seeking to help others;

only to reach its latter end in the deep distress of realising
that the world into which I was born,
and the human race amongst whom I was raised,
has degenerated into such a cesspool of crude vulgarity
and selfishness.

This Internet site consists of “Old Paths”
that are now despised in the modern world –

written from the perspective of a man
who remembers … and laments
a world that is now long gone.

Moon 2c 25th

 

P Livingstone
15 March 2016

A Taste for Tea … Instruments for Infusion

Tea Preparation

“The refreshing nature of tea …
is especially fitting for persons of self restraint

… for those who are virtuous in nature
and satisfied with a simple life.”

[ Lu Yu, “A Tea Classic”, written c.775 ]

A Tea Pictorial:

Possessions Tea

Indispensable Instruments for Infusion

a brief over-view of the items that are needed
to infuse quality tea …

Tea Kettle

1. Kettle: Boiling the water – for the ‘British’ method of brewing,
water should come off a rolling boil,
and will be around the 95 degree mark
when it hits the tea leaves;

2. A Quality Tea Pot …

Pot 01 tetsubin

Here, a Tetsubin, cast iron tea pot from Iwate Prefecture,
can be purchased with a cast iron interior (oxide film
coats surface as part of manufacturing process); or,
with an enamelled interior for ‘western’ sensibilities.

Whilst this one has an included infuser,
it is better still to allow the tea
full movement in the pot …
and use a strainer when pouring.

Pot 02 tetsubin

Pouring water from a high point – hand and kettle held high,
allows the tea to move rapidly at the onset,
and continue to move freely and infuse properly.

The reliable British Standard (Brown) …

Tea Pot Br-3

3. Tea Cups
Here are examples from my own two sets …
Ceramic,

Tea Cups-2

and Cast Iron …

Tea Iron Cup-2

4. Tea Caddy

Tea Caddy-2

For storing quality teas,
reserve one tea caddy for one type of tea …

5. Tea Tools
for handling tea …

Tea Tools

And of course, quality loose-leaf tea …

Tea Raspberry

BLACK TEA is the most oxidized tea.

tea-scottish-3

Having the most intense (or, strongest) flavour
of all the teas, it alone goes well with milk.

To prepare Black tea, use one spoonful
of quality loose-leaf tea for each person
and adding another half ‘for the pot’,

Pour in – to about three-quarters’ full –
PROPERLY boiling water – ( that is to say,
on a ‘rolling boil’ …

NOT the appalling North American practice
of placing a mug (one might as well drink tea
from a bucket) below a spigot,
and filling the monstrous receptacle
with hot bilge water
that has been kept stewing in an electric urn. )

With water off a rolling boil in the tea pot,
allow a 3 minute brew time,
add a splash of skim milk,
and savour the perfect cup of tea.

“The refreshing nature of tea …
is especially fitting for persons of self restraint
… for those who are virtuous in nature
and satisfied with a simple life.”

[ The rest of humanity … drinks Coffee !!! ]

MAKE the time for tea.
MAKE the time to pause, and consider … to Think.
If you pause to relax with tea,
I promise that tea will certainly relax you.

The bulk of this world’s people
chase frenetically after ambition, greed,
vanity, and hedonism –
pursuing madness at the neglect of everything
that SHOULD truly matter.

We grew up – in the 1960’s and ’70’s
without the curse of ‘cell phones’ –
You would never know it by the conduct
of the masses today.

I live without nine-tenths of the things
that you think are “important”.

Turn the TV off (or throw it out altogether);
dispense with noise …
… and start to change your life
with an exquisite cup of tea.

I do sincerely hope that this pictorial was of interest:

P2015 alt

Tea appreciation in the tea ceremony,
is a social pursuit …

it is meant to foster appreciation for all things –
the tea, the host to his or her guests,
and the guests to their host, as well as each other.

Mutual benefit.

In this pictorial, I have endeavoured to extend a hand
of congeniality to such folk
as appreciate the experience of tea.

If this has been of interest to you,
please return the consideration, and
do let me know.

[ P Livingstone ]