Regeneration by Pat Barker

This book is set during WW1 in England. It makes use of the factual poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Robert Graves. Fact and fiction are mixed together in this story about the psychological damage done to soldiers during the First World War. The issue of opposing the war is also discussed, since Siegfried Sassoon, one of the most famous of WW1 poets, opposed the war publicly. Those injured soldiers who opposed the merciless killing were equated with cowards and shirkers. The only apparent option for them was to return to the front in France to demonstrate they were not afraid. When Siegfried Sassoon was wounded in France he returned to England. Wilfred Owen felt he should replace Sassoon at the front so he could report independently on what conditions were like. He returned to France and was killed a week before the end of the war. His mother received the dreaded telegram the same day the church bells were ringing out proclaiming the end of the war. In the novel Regeneration, Rivers is a psychiatrist who treats men who were damaged psychologically by their experiences in the war. The men were often injured mentally as well as physically, yet… Continue reading

Never, never, never give up

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP That is a popular slogan these days. I see it everywhere, but it gives me an uneasy feeling, because I just cannot agree with it. I hope others don’t actually believe it, yet I see it presented  as if it were an infallible truth. There are times when it is best to give up because usually there is a price to pay for not giving up. Let’s look at some examples. During the Second World War, Japan gave up. They did not continue the war after the second atomic bomb was exploded on Nagasaki. What if they had followed the rule, and never, never, never gave up? The bombing would have continued. They didn’t know there were no more atomic bombs, but there were plenty of incendiary bombs, and Japan had no air force by that stage of the war. There was a price to pay for not giving up. The price was the war continuing for perhaps another year, perhaps ten million more civilians would die from bombing, starvation, disease. That was the penalty for never giving up. We should ask the question, never give up … what? Never give up trying to achieve… Continue reading

– The Earth is the temple for our bodies –

When I was 15 years old, and before the current generation of Scientific Pantheists were born, I became a Pantheist. Secretly, and sometimes publicly, I declared myself to be a Pantheist. No one knew what I was talking about. Pan means including everything, Theist means God. Everything is God, there is nothing outside of God/ All that is. I am still a Pantheist, yet I find the ground has shifted under my feet. I was, and still am, a “mystical” Pantheist. I do not fit in with the new Scientific branch. Let us not respect something merely because it is old, or because it is established, or because a lot of people believe in it, or because our friends, President, parents, children, believe in it. Let us not respect it because the Church told us it is fact, that it was given to us on gold tablets, by angles, by mediums, written by the hand of God, or passed down from benevolent aliens. Still with me? Good. When I was 15, I started reading a book called: Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy, by Yogi Ramacharaka. That was his pseudonym anyway. I read it on the way to work, and like… Continue reading

– 59 Seconds Think a little, change a lot –

This book takes a look at a number of commonly held beliefs, especially from the self-improvement industry. Professor Wiseman then examines them with the aid of scientific tests to see if they are true or false. He examines things that are important to us: happiness, persuasion, motivation, creativity, attraction. He breaks down each topic into what is commonly believed, and whether tests prove the beliefs to be true or false. In one example, he carried out tests with charity boxes on display in bookstores. All the boxes asked for donations for a charity, but each one carried a different message. Please give generously Every penny helps Every pound helps You can make a difference. Surprisingly Every Penny Helps worked best collecting 62% of all the money. Every pound (100 pennies) came last with 17% of the collection. It is thought that putting a small amount into the Pound box, looked mean, cheap, or insulting; whereas putting a small amount into the Penny Box, was fine. It was also revealed that a red painted box got a lot more donations than other colors. Maybe you are not going to be collecting money, but you will certainly be involved in some of… Continue reading