The Wind & the Sun

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  This is a story my father used to tell me as a young child.

  Way back then I had no idea that this story was his version of an Aesop’s fable.

  I loved listening to him regale it over and again; although I had heard this story many times, it was not until I was about seven that I began to understand how the moral of the tale, or at least the basic message it carried, related to life.

   My father has now been dead for over thirty five years, yet I still recall his voice when I think of the Wind & the Sun.

   Moreover I am still learning the true extent of how the simple and basic message this story carries can affect every part of our lives, in work, play, socially, and in our domestic and love life relationships.

   I will try my best to recount this tale as closely to my father’s recitation as I can recall, because I still prefer his version to that of Aesop!

   Maybe you would too, if you could hear his voice as clearly I still do.


One day the Wind and the Sun were looking down upon the earth when they saw a man walking along a footpath.

‘Look at that man’ said the Wind, ‘I bet I can get his jacket off him quicker than you ’.

‘You think you can?’ answered the Sun.

‘Of course’ the Wind replied ‘because I am strong and powerful’.

‘Go on then’ said the Sun ‘let me see what you can do’.

So the Wind began to blow. As the Wind blew the man’s jacket flapped in the breeze. The Wind blew harder, whipping up clouds of dust and blowing the leaves from the trees.

The man buttoned his jacket, turned up his collar, lowered his head and continued walking.

Displeased with his efforts so far the Wind let a howling gale bellow over the ground. It was so forceful that the man had to fold his arms across his chest to stop his jacket from being blown off.

The Wind saw what the man was doing took a huge puff and let loose a tempest.

The man clutched his jacket tighter to himself, holding it firm with both hands.

Again and again the Wind blew and blew. The harder the Wind blew the tighter the man clung to his Jacket.

Eventually the Wind had puffed so hard for so long that he blew himself out.

The sun laughed and said to the Wind ‘Now it is my turn to try and get this man’s jacket off’.

So the Sun smiled and shone his gentle rays of warm sunlight upon the earth and upon the man.

The man took his hands from his jacket.

The Sun continued to smile and spread his warmth.

The man unbuttoned his jacket and loosened his tie.

After a while the man, bathed in the glorious heat from the sun, removed his jacket, slung it over his shoulder and began to whistle as he walked.

‘You see, Wind’ said the Sun, ‘you can accomplish far more by being gentle and giving than you can with brute force alone’.

.

I hope you enjoyed my father’s version of this story.


You can read more by visiting https://alittlemorefiction.wordpress.com/

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It’s been a long walk home.

Many of you will be aware that I am (almost) at the publishing stage for a book I have been working on for a little over three years. The book is titled ‘Life in the Warzone’ it is about the effects that living in an area of conflict has on people, be they combatants or innocent civilians, even children.

During my research and interviews (from Sarajevo, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, and the Ukraine) I often come across essays, poems and other forms of accounts which expresses personal trauma.

Here is one such piece I would like to share with you.

This is not my work. I take no credit for these words.

 


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It’s been a long walk home.

(Author unknown)

.

It’s been a long walk home, I’m almost there,

I see that flash, I hear that scream,

I’m right back there again,

lost in that same damn firefight,

It’s been forty years,

When will it end?

Every night it’s that same damn firefight,

We lost Sam and Bill,

Tag’em and bag’em,

we were told,

we’d never seen em again.

But every night, it’s their faces that I see,

and I ask myself why wasn’t it me,

my name should be etched in that cold black wall of stone,

It’s been a long walk home,

I’m almost there.

.

But I hear that chopper so near,

Raining tracers down,

Can’t they see us here?

Marine down, corpsman up,

But silence is all I hear.

Why am I the only one left,

Screaming GOD get me outta here?

It’s been forty years,

I still see that day,

We were almost there.

.

The edge of the jungle,

I see that flash, I hear that scream,

Tag’em n bag’em the list goes on,

To many to remember,

It was their last firefight.

I’m the only one left,

Lost and running looking for my way out.

It’s been a long walk home.

.

My family, don’t understand

When I say that this can’t be real

Just let me wake up one time and this not be,

But it’s that same damn firefight every night,

I wake up shaking like a leaf in the wind,

Tell’n my wife that it was just a chill,

Not that rage to kill,

But she sees it in my eyes,

That same damn firefight,

It’s been a long walk home, I’m almost there.

.

I was telling her good-bye,

When she realized I didn’t fear death anymore,

It was my life I was about to take,

She cried out for me to come out of that jungle, out into the daylight,

Think of the kids and what this would do,

She took me by the hand helping me make that first step,

Coming out of that jungle into the daylight,

It’s been a long walk home.

.

Forty years and I’m almost there,

I see that flash, I hear that scream,

but this time it’s a younger brother yelling out,

trying to find his way out into the daylight,

Out of that smoky fog of that same damn firefight,

It’s been forty years for me,

I see that flash, I hear that scream,

It’s their pain that I feel,

Knowing that this damn firefight is not real,

I’m here to help lead my younger brothers out,

Not to walk forty years as I,

Lost in that same damn firefight of PTSD!


If you would like to know more about my forthcoming book ‘Life in the Warzone’ please visit my website and look on the ‘works in progress’ page. http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white

Thank you, Paul.

The ‘Dirtiest’ word of them all.

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It may come as a bit of a surprise, (to those of you who know that I have written the most explicit adult erotic book ever, ‘Red Satin’), that I think the dirtiest word is one which has absolutely nothing to do with sex, sexuality, licentiousness, or swearing.

For those who are more familiar with my mainstream Novels the shock will not be quite so great, I am sure.

That said I am certain that I shall have to explain why I have chosen the word ‘Conventional‘ as the worst word in the English language.

I will start by saying that we all, or at least a great many of us, like to think that we are unique individuals, a bit off beat, a little crazy, even wacky at times, but the truth the majority of people, and that most probably includes you, are not.

I agree that we all have moments where we do things that we, or our friends, may consider stupid, out of character, or down right idiotic.

Sometimes we embarrass ourselves in public, sometimes we regret certain acts that we perform, but this is not unique, crazy or out of the ordinary. Far from it in fact, it is ‘normal‘ behaviour, behaviour that is accepted as pretty much standard in our modern society and therefor it is conventional.

Some of you, I am sure, are already rebelling at my last statement, how dare I call you, of even begin to describe your last act of stupidity, as conventional?

I am glad you are thinking like that, because this is one of the reasons I dislike this word, just as you are now beginning to do now.

That said, I have just scratched the surface of my reasons, so I shall continue with my explanation while you muse over the quandary of being, or not, a conventional conformist.

conventional

kənˈvɛnʃ(ə)n(ə)l/ Submit adjective

  1. based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed.

“a conventional morality had dictated behaviour” synonyms: normal, standard, regular, ordinary, usual, traditional, typical.

The next point I will examine is why, if you are so bloody special, do you then conform to societies conventional practices?

   When you had your last job interview how wild and wacky were you then?

I bet you presented yourself as a very straight laced conventional human being in that instance, am I right?

When did you last go to eat in a restaurant wearing only underwear belonging to the opposite sex?article-0-039D8C95000005DC-403_468x586

My bet is never………………my point, well my point is that to have done either of those things is considered, by current convention, wrong.

You would not have got the position you wanted if the interviewers did not consider your mental state within conventionally accepted boundaries.

Chances are you would not have been allowed entry into the restaurant, maybe even been arrested for indecent exposure in a public place!

My point has two distinct facets, one is that of financial gain/loss.

Having control over our personal income is one way we are conditioned to accept convention. The government, banking and financial institutions use fiscal policy to keep the general public, including you, under control and help to ensure that we work within the conventional framework they have engineered.

That is why you acted so meekly at that interview.

The second facet is peer pressure.

As those about us, including family, friends, colleagues and associates have been conditioned by the state, and the media, to accept what they wish us to believe is ‘normal‘ or ‘regular‘ behaviour, the threat of losing our status among our peers is often greater than the loss itself.

image  This social pressure is also present in the second of the scenarios outlined. Loosing friends, or their respect, just because you wanted to eat sushi while dancing naked in the civic fountain may be appealing for your inner wish to be free, but under the domination of conventional social interactivity it is a no no!

The Law, be it enforced by local authorities, state or county police, is just another control over our freedoms and liberties that give the majority of us no option but to follow the demands of this infectious and deliberating virus termed convention.

Are you beginning now to see why I think this word is bad, or to be honest, why this words definition is dirty?

   So what of those / us who defy convention?

Hobo’s, dropouts, weirdo’s, perverts, hippies, off their rockers, crazies, are all names I have heard people, and that means you too, call those that have raised two fingers to convention. You know, the people who acted the way you wished you had the courage to act.

OK, so sometimes one of these names may be correctly applied to a certain individual, but then that individual is not one of the ones I am referring to here.

Here I am speaking about intelligent civilised human beings who by conscious effort, situation or downright fortune, (good or bad), have elected to disassociate themselves as much from conventional life as is possible. I say possible because even those who withdraw far away from society are still, inevitably, affected by the modern world in some degree, at some point.

However the majority of those /us who choose alternative lifestyles are not looking to turn our backs on everyday life, and not looking to hide away from social contact.

While we seek to live our lives in association with others with the same, or similar mind-set. We will blend in with the ordinary ‘vanilla’ folks on the street, we act and intermingle with you, and yet hold a key to a world where riches and dreams are the freedoms and expressions of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.

It is a world which when found, few wish to leave. This is true uniqueness, true individuality of character, (and not just occasionally singing out of key during a drunken stumble home on a wet and rainy night).

Conventional means living under the will of those that control society, this is why I think that conventional is a dirty and disgusting word.

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Thank you for reading.

To find out more about me visit my website 🙂

http://fluffybunnypj.wix.com/paul-white

Dumbing down

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     The term dumbing down describes a ‘deliberate diminution of the intellectual level of education, literature, cinema, news, and culture’.


The term dumbing down originated in 1933 as slang used by motion picture screenplay writers to mean:  ‘revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence’.

I have also heard the phrase that information should be designed for ‘the lowest common denominator’ of intelligence.

The nature of dumbing down varies according to the subject matter and the reason for the dumbing down, but it usually involves the over-simplification of critical thought to the degree of undermining the intellectual standards of language and of learning; thus tending to trivialise cultural, artistic, and academic standards, as in the case of popular culture.

Here is simple example, television advertising no longer use the word ‘Twice’ as in ‘Twice as many’ or ‘Twice as fast’, preferring to use the term ‘two times faster’!

Researchers at the Institute for Studies have warned that it will soon be impossible to dumb down news and entertainment media any further.

Professor Henry Brubaker said: “Most television is about cooking, the paranormal or poor people having arguments. The news is just opinions and conjecture punctuated with pictures of ‘extreme weather’.

‘The only books being published are ghost-written celebrity biographies or thrillers about serial killers called things like ‘The Face Collector’. Apart from that people just read lists of ’10 facts about muscle growth’ off websites.

‘The problem is that if the mass media continue to further dumb down information human intelligence will continue on its downward trajectory. (thedailymash.co.uk)

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In the latest instance, a research team from universities in Sweden, Holland and Ireland found “a pronounced decline in IQ since the Victorian era, three times bigger than previous theoretical estimates would have us believe.”

Yes, those repressed prudes – notoriously obsessed with keeping table legs covered up in case they gave men sexy thoughts about finely-turned ankles – were actually substantially smarter than the free-wheeling techno-nerds of today. The scientists compared reaction times – regarded as a key indicator of general intelligence, productivity and creativity – from the late-19th century to the present and discovered that our brains are definitely slowing down. The Victorians were positively whizzy: the average man in 1889 had a reaction time of 183 milliseconds, while the present-day Mr Dopey can only manage a sluggish 253 milliseconds.

I’m not surprised. We don’t need studies and statistics to tell us this stuff, the evidence is staring us in the face every day.

Last year, I made a radio programme about the Belfast writer and poet Helen Waddell, who became one of the biggest literary stars of the 1920s and 1930s.

Her historical novel, Peter Abelard, was a runaway success, praised by everyone from Queen Mary to factory workers and prisoners. It was the must-read novel of 1933, reprinted an incredible nine times in the first year of its publication.

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    But Waddell’s breakthrough novel would never, ever make the bestseller lists today. Why? Because the writing, while beautiful and resonant, is simply far too challenging. Reading it takes a certain effort of concentration, not to mention a passing knowledge of medieval theology. With Fifty Shades of Grey, today’s popular publishing miracle, all you need is some basic literacy and a sick, prurient interest in getting lashed with a whip for pleasure.

In culture, in politics, in everyday life, superficial froth and twaddle regularly triumphs over substantial, thought-through ideas. Attention spans attenuated by the 140 character demands of Twitter, we often behave more like bored toddlers than sentient adults, expecting to be continually indulged and entertained.  (Fionola Meridith)

Sadly, our country has been hijacked by a compulsion to homogenise society, to control individualism and turn us all into one classless soup.

In Bog-Standard Britain, defenders of crisply enunciated English are told they are ‘toffs’. This class neurosis lowers standards. It spreads mediocrity. It permits pre-Victorian levels of coarseness to pollute our streets.

Intervene? No, that would be an act of class prejudice. Opprobrium has been driven from our public life. Shame and propriety and judgments of right and wrong are replaced by whispered orthodoxies about what is ‘appropriate’, codes which can be understood only by sociology graduates.

Manners have disappeared, to be replaced by strict ‘ guidelines’ about sexism and racism. Classy people once knew instinctively how to behave. Now manners have to be taught in rehabilitation classes. They have lost their humanity and become ‘codes of conduct’.

Commissions, working parties, think tanks, steering committees, conferences, charities, consultancies: egalitarianism has become an industry for the self-righteous.

From university admissions to unisex hospital wards, tokenistic equality runs like bindweed, strangling common sense. Officialdom towers over us, wagging its disapproving finger, instructing us to observe equality codes or face the withdrawal of public funds.

Despite all this, equality has not achieved its aims. Social mobility is dropping. The wealth divide broadens.  ‘Equality practitioners’, as they call themselves, have simply become brahmins amid the beggars, sixth-form monitors of thought who draw their salaries from the pockets of the very poor they profess to help.

Clearly, as with most topics that affect mass populations, there are those who believe in conspiracy. The following paragraph is an extract taken from the vigilantcitizen.com

Is a dumber population something that is desired by the elite? Hitler once said “How fortunate for the leaders that men do not think.” An educated population knows its rights, understands the issues and takes action when it does not approve of what is going on. Judging by the incredible amount of data available on the subject, it seems that the elite want the exact opposite: an unhealthy, frightened, confused and sedated population. We will look at the effects of medication, pesticides, fluoride and aspartame on the human body and how those products are being pushed by people from inside the power structure.

To end this post I have included the following, which is supposed to be a rant against Dumbing Down, but actually is an extremely good example of dumb media in action.

This, as you will see, also supports the Goebbels view on propagandaDr__Joseph_Goebbels_by_tree27

‘From the minute you get up its trashy soap and Celebrity and Hollywood gossip and programming aimed at bored housewives. Dumbed down breakfast TVs followed by This Morning which is obsessed with soap and reality TV chit-chat and z list guests, sex change couples and fashion tips like what’s the latest handbag or which nail file should I buy and general couch potato crap aimed at people who read National Enquirer and Heat magazine. Nothing of any actual intellect at all.

Then its Jeremy Kyle interspersed with ads for online bingo and debt management and quick cash adverts. Afternoons are dominated by more gobshatting by Loose Women or other such drivel. Dumbed down quiz shows for thickies, dumbed down news for the less intelligent, and soaps’.

Thank you for reading, your comments and feedback welcome as always.

Please follow this blog, as I have many more Ramblings I should like to share with you,

You may also like to read Further Ramblings http://wp.me/5njAU