20 November 2008

Prince Charles Quote

[I agree with a farmer in Cumbria who told me] "if we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked upon".
Part of a leaked letter sent to Tony Blair in 2002, in which the prince (Charles Windsor) blamed the government for "destroying the countryside"
For all of you who revere the group of people in the UK known as the Royal Family - here is a quote from the 'Man Who Would be King'. An excellent example of why this undemocratic system of people succeeding to the highest position in the land based solely on who their parents are should be dismantled forthwith.

Would you want this unelected man, with these opinions, ruling over you?

08 November 2008

The Negro Mother

I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave—
Children sold away from me, husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was I due.
Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.
Now, through my children, young and free,
I realize the blessings denied to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me—
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast—the Negro mother.
I had only hope then, but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow—
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my past a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life—
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs—
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro mother.

by Langston Hughes

[Dedicated to Ralph Dumain: Thank you for being a great human being! Zee Harrison]

04 November 2008

What is Intelligence, Anyway?

As a child I was almost a permanent fixture in the local library. I remember walking along between the narrow shelves, finger aloft and deciding to venture into a section I wouldn't normally read - science fiction. I would come across this name often: Isaac Asimov. I would pull out his books and they always seemed heavy in tone and dark of cover. The illustrations always seemed to suggest something scary inside. I would gingerly open his books and sometimes take a couple home to read but could never get past a few pages. Disappointed. Although I vowed to try and read science fiction I never really did.

Many years later I chanced upon Isaac Asimov again and he seemed different, somehow. This 'new' Asimov was a prolific writer who was addicted to learning and writing about what he had learnt and what interested him. He wrote about the planets and artificial intelligence and human frailties and evolution.

I am now a firm fan of his wonderful writing although still not a fan of science fiction. (Strange, as I am surrounded by people who could be considered 'Trekkies' and science fiction fans to varying degrees.)

I want to share an example of Mr Asimov and his thoughts with an excerpt from his autobiography. I believe this illustrates his writing and thinking skills.

What Is Intelligence, Anyway? By Isaac Asimov

When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big fuss over me.

(It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with KP - kitchen police - as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other people to think so too.

Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of answers by people who make up the intelligence tests - people with intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was.

Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it, watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an intelligence test.

Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron, and I'd be a moron, too.

In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my hands, I would do poorly.

My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again. Read the rest of the excerpt HERE.

Let me know what you think.

Related Sites:Move Over, Asimov - bentsocietyblog.blogspot.com

02 November 2008

Visitors and Comments

I would like to say sincere 'thank you' to those people who have visited this site and especially those who have left comments - sharing your views with me. Your comments enable me to be a better blogger, to understand and clarify issues and also pull me up when you feel I am mistaken in my views - all good!

I also want to highlight members of the Entrecard system who have visited my site the most over the last month. I have noted the top 10 sites who have visited me (in order of highest number of visits):

People You Need To Know

WTF Do You Blog About!?


WindMill on the Hill

Lofty Matters

My Autism Insights

Meltwater. Torrents. Meanderings.


Athletic Alley

Knoxville Tennessee Area Local Expert

These sites are diverse and highlight interests, ideas and activities such as: whitewater rafting, autism, professional people in Atlanta, atheism and politics - amongst many others.

Please pay them a visit.

Thank you all so much.