Bad behaviour is endemic in our society.


I have been saying for a long time now that the language we use and the images we watch adversely affect the human brain. Our brains are structured by the world around us, the words, the images, the overt emotions people display when happy, sad, disturbed, angry and disenchanted. Critics dismiss the evidence because we live in a self-perpetuating and competitive system, which for reasons of capital growth, is unlikely to change. We copy others because it seems to be in vogue. No one wants to be different. We need to change. We can change individually. We can be mindful of our speech and our behaviour. If we are to create a better non-violent world then we must look at those behaviours we dismiss as normal, because acceptable they may be in this modern age, harmless they are not.

Modern Jewish Exodus.


                                                      The Exodus. Wikipedia.


On the Jewish calendar communities across the world are reading the  Book of Exodus and the story of their ancestors pathway out of Egypt and slavery.  It prompted the following thoughts.

Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jewish displaced persons set their sights on aliyah, (immigration to Israel) but the British government who had been in control of Palestine since 1917 were keen to maintain friendly relations with the Arab world and their valuable material resources, namely oil.   To this end, the Jews were refused to admittance to Palestine. The Jews were not unaccustomed to being stateless, they already had a long history of wandering and exclusion, but as the violence in Palestine between Jews, Arabs, and the British grew,  Britain decided to hand the problem of Jewish settlement over to the United Nations.[1]

At the end of World War II, the conflict over Palestine gained particular momentum. Jewish resistance increased dramatically and in order to keep the peace, Britain had more than 100,000 troops in the vicinity, but their efforts were in vain.  In 1942, the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv) appealed to the United States for support of the Jewish state in Palestine. Despite the atrocities of the Holocaust, Britain still refused to change its policy of not allowing Jewish immigration into the region.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of Jews languished in displaced camps with little hope of any real future. The British interned more than 51,500 Jews who were desperately seeking a return to their homeland.

The British went to great lengths to keep Jews out of Palestine and forced them back onto prison ships and into camps.   There was constant outrage and violence against the British rule and as a consequence in 1947 the British lost even more support when they intercepted the Exodus, a ship loaded with 5,200 Jewish refugees sailing toward Palestine from Marseilles.  The British then launched two refugee ships back to Hamburg, Germany, where they forced the Jews into displaced persons facilities. The intervention scandal shook the British government, which is when they handed the problem to the United Nations hoping that they would recommend that the British retain control of the area, but the United Nations did not concede to British demands. Instead, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended an Arab state and a Jewish state be brought into effect. (The recommendation was known as the Partition Plan).  The land was divided between Arabs and Jews and Jerusalem became an international city.

On November 29, 1947, by 133-13 majority, the United Nations voted that, beginning on May 15, 1948, if the Jews agreed, there would be two independent states in Palestine, and the British mandate would end. In 1948, (the year of my birth) the State of Israel was born.

[1] Retrieved 10th  January, 2019.

Russian Art.

  Aleksandr Nikolayevich Benois was born May 4 [April 21, old style], 1870, St. Petersburg and Russia died on Feb. 9, 1960. He was a Russian theatre art director, painter, and ballet librettist who with Léon Bakst and Sergey Diaghilev cofounded the influential magazine Mir iskusstva (“World of Art”), from which sprang the Diaghilev Ballets Russes.

Romantic Art.

‘The Soul of the Rose’ is a painting by John William Waterhouse

Created in 1908 The soul of the Rose is by Waterhouse who was one of the lesser known artists of the British Romantic Movement. The painting is based on a poem called ‘Come into the Garden, Maud’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Sir John Everett Millais’ painting of Ophelia
(1851–2) is very well known and one of the most popular works reproduced. The scene depicted is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act IV, Scene vii, in which Ophelia, driven out of her mind when her father is murdered by her lover Hamlet, falls into a stream and drowns. It was originally derived from Greek word ophelos meaning “help”. This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem ‘Arcadia’.


There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.  (Shakespeare).


Ophelia 1851-2 Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896 Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894

Social Media.

How do I feel about social media?

Daily I open my account on Facebook and ask myself, why am I doing this?  Out of almost 5,000 friends how many are truly friends?  Most of these people are hardly known to me and if it were not for Facebook I probably would never refer to them as friends, or even acquaintances.

From another perspective, Facebook brings the news of what is happening in far off places, but how much accuracy does this news contain?  We have to trust our judgement on all accounts.

Facebook is also addictive and this is indicative of a chronic need in society to connect to a power that is greater than ourselves.  In the external world such powers are deemed unsafe and sometimes fraudulent.  Facebook appears to be safe ground because everything happens at a distance, but Facebook is also discursive and it can eat into the emotions if one allows it to penetrate the mind too much.  To this end, I ask myself, why have so many chosen to engage with Facebook.? The answer seems to be that in a time when we have lost touch with community we turn to virtual communities to fulfill those same social and emotional needs.

However, there is another question. Does Facebook truly fulfill those needs for connection?  Can Facebook replace real friends and family, or the beauty of nature.  The answer is no.  Too much time spent on screen can be damaging in a myriad of ways.  I open Face book once and day, but I choose nature for resilience, love and respect.

Riots in Melbourne. January 2019.

Riots in Melbourne. The Guardian 5th January, 2019.

It is concerning to see the rise of Fascism in Australia, but not surprising. Australia’s historical “All White Policy” attracted many European immigrants who wanted to continue living the life of white supremacists, which was being eroded at home.  When the colonies collapsed many postcolonial immigrants chose to settle in Britain and many British wanted to escape the influx of different races with alternative cultures and religions.  The escapees headed to the new frontiers bringing with them their draconian racism and hostile attitudes. Fortunately, not all Australians welcome the hostilities, but Australia’s laws protecting racial equality are weak.  Added to this, there are clear class distinctions between those who are motivated towards racial violence and those who oppose it, and as usual the overseers of the hostile actions are generally people with vested interests, politicians, businesses and the like.

Violence never solves anything, it simple serves to hide the issues behind the dis-enchantments, which run deep in the Australian psyche and which have their roots in a history of rank colonialism and its convict and working class oppression.

Book: The Invention of the Jewish People. Shlomo Sand.

This is a very interesting and controversial book. Written by an Israeli professor and originally published in Hebrew, it poses an alternative view to Israel’s claim that it should be an exclusive Jewish State, “in which non-Jews are culturally and political marginalized”. As a discourse  the work sheds a very different light on Jewish history, which both eases and heightens the many tensions Jews feel about their homeland.

Personally, I found this to be a compelling book, especially since Israel recently passed laws pertaining to who  can be an  Israeli  citizen and who cannot.  There are many Israelis who are not Jewish, should they be denied citizenship?  I think not.  At the same time many Jews wishing to live in Israel have to prove their Jewishness. Indeed, while the meaning of the word “Israel” distinctly refers to the Jewish people, this should not, in my view, be cause for exclusion from belonging to a state and having the same rights as other citizens if one’s ethnicity ( or indeed one’s spirituality  ) belongs there.   Nor should it exclude those Jews who have lived their faith, but who cannot prove their origins.   If someone identifies with a homeland then they should be free to live there and call it their land.

Historically, the Jews were destined to spread the belief in one supreme force in the universe that was greater than ourselves, (one God).  Over time, this idea has been eroded due to the many threats and insecurities Jewish people have experienced.  The desire to create a solely Jewish enclave is understandable, but it is not a solution to grounded fears and hostilities, which are neither spiritually or politically desirable.  I support the author’s view that the mythology of the Promised Land is neither historically accurate nor is it workable in a region that is in desperate need of a peaceful solution for bringing about a secure statehood for all who feel they belong in this wonderful “land of milk and honey“.