Queen Elizabeth II is part of a royal dynasty that traces it origins back to the Norman Duke William the Conqueror who claimed the English throne from the Anglo-Saxon kings through brute force and murder at the Battle Of Normandy yet many people don’t seem to notice that fact and its implications. Surely you would be ashamed if you found out that one or many of your ancestors became rich and powerful because they murdered/ stole their way to the top of the social hierarchy? In the case of many European royal dynasties, especially the British royal family, they don’t seem to be bothered at all. In fact, they like to be presented as dignified, proper and morally upright using the Media to help them create this spotless image of themselves which the masses seem to actually buy into and believe in; so many people are buzzing with energy whenever a Royal baby is born, a member of the Royal family goes somewhere, a Royal family member dying etc. Personally, I don’t care. When you look past that veneer of dignity, you really see what the Royal Family and other authority figures are really made of; the first of which I mentioned is that they would resort to anything to get into Power, including killing opposition as shown by William the Conqueror. It has come to my attention that Queen Elizabeth does more than give speeches and appear on camera smiling, her other function is to override the authority of Parliament and the High Court when it comes to Britain’s national interests, especially in the case of banning the natives of the Chagos islands (a former British Crown Colony) from ever returning to their island because the good old United States needed those islands to insert troops and bombers as a platform to help launch their invasions into other nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. Think about it, Queen Elizabeth II issued an order-in-council to override the Justice system which is the executive part of the UK Government, a government that has been democratically elected. Queen Elizabeth II has undermined Democracy all because she is part of the Royal family and her ancestor murdered his way to the top, an that is similar to how dictators and tyrants behave from developing countries where they do as they please regardless of what the people say or the Law dictates. In effect, Queen Elizabeth II is acting like she is above the Law.
Another example of how the British Royal family seem to behave as dictators is in the case of Prince Charles being given the RIGHT to alter ANY law he sees fit to change to suit his needs and advantages before Parliament passes the said law and enacts it which shows that someone with royal blood is able to manipulate the Law without consulting the Public on the matter. UK democracy is a sham! How are we able to have a properly functioning democracy if the Royals and multi-national companies control the UK government for their own interests?
Why is it that the Royals have the right to take a portion of our taxes doing nothing while us, the Commoners, work hard for the rest of our lives? The people in the French speaking parts of Canada were right to label Prince William and Kate parasites while the Royal couple toured in Canada a few months ago. They are parasites. They take our money and invest into land and properties to grow even richer yet even with their wealth, they still take our money. You could say they act like Mafia bosses and warlords of old who exact tributes and tolls to their unfortunate victims. In fact, there is no difference between a Mafia boss, a Royal member, a Prime Minister/ President, certain Religious leaders etc because they need us to survive, they take our money, sanction mass murders or “wars”, dictate to the Media how they should be presented as and not how they really are, own armies etc. People like Genghis Khan fall under this category where they start out as a peasant, lead a gang of criminals to wipe out and conquer opposition, grow in strength to take over a nation and spread their empire. Genghis Khan then proclaims himself Emperor despite the murder he has caused. There was a saying in Wikipedia I came across which underscores this point, this quote being:
In the City of God, St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great, who asked him “how dare he molest the sea”. “How dare you molest the whole world” the pirate replied. “Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor”.
Let’s also mention the recent sexual scandals in the Roman Catholic Church and how Pope Benedict XVI is somehow involved in that, the 2011 sex scandals in Pennsylvania State University where the school officials were involved etc and how people still follow these authority figures and organisations despite the bad reputation they have generated. This is another feature of authority figures where they are able to still influence their remaining followers despite the controversy surrounding them.
Socrates once said, “know thyself.” Aristotle further expanded on this quote by developing a system of Morality called Virtue ethics, which as the title suggests, is to aim to develop virtues for each and everyone of us in order to achieve a much happier and successful life. Virtues and their vices are really just labels applied to a set pattern of mental, emotional and physical reactions we have towards certain situations like dealing with people, in a stressful environment etc. Virtue ethics is basically applied Psychology. For instance, focus on the feeling/ idea of anger; too much anger and we become irascible, make people scared to interact with us and lose all sense of reason. This is very important with regards to Business because a business can’t afford to lose customers if its employees and/ or CEO are rude and irritable to its customers or if the company is unable to stay calm towards an unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, quickness to anger shows you are not in control of the situation you are weak. Too little expression of anger and we become passive/ passive aggressive and people will take advantage of us in our everyday life, making us become bitter of the past which drains us of our mental resources rather than focusing on the present which is what matters. Being passive/ passive-aggressive and being very irritable are examples of Vices with respect to the application and expression of anger which we feel in certain situations. The “Golden Mean”/ the Virtue/ the True Path of expressing anger is to neither be too angry or too passive but to be patient, to bear the anger, acknowledge it and express your feelings towards the person/ situation in a controlled and calm way. The feeling of anger and how we respond to it, whether being irascible, passive/ passive-aggressive or patient is also important in Politics because Diplomats know they must treat their counterparts and foreign Government officials with respect to not provoke them into wars and to get cooperation.
Similarly, for the feeling/ concept of self-worth, too much overconfidence in oneself and its physical expression borders/ becomes arrogance which leads to the path of destruction as we become blind to our egos, we become like Narcissus which makes us weak, powerless and easily manipulated. There are numerous times when an army that seemed far superior technologically was brought to its knees because the General of that army was too arrogant to think that the opposing army was ever match to his army. Just look at the examples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and the American Revolution where the British, American, Russian and Greek Empires suffered horrific casualties at the hands of a smaller, poorer army. An abnormally small amount of confidence leads to shyness which could lead to arrogance because the very shy person tries to compensate for their lack of social interaction by excelling in Academic studies, thereby feeling superior than everyone else. If that is not case, then the person will likely not get very far in life because you need to form connections with people, market yourself etc. Image and reputation counts and it is the key to power. Thus the Virtue of the concept/ feeling of self-worth is confidence where you feel you are strong enough to deal with a person/ situation while making the required preparations and not underestimating the opponent/ challenge.
However, although what Aristotle says is true and wise, there are times when despite achieving/ trying to achieve Virtues in our lifetimes, situations and life do not go according to how we want them which makes the whole attempt to achieve Virtues pointless.
There was a time when you knew who your enemies were whether it was a king, queen, prime minister, count, duke etc. In doing so, you could attack them directly. Now, the enemies are not so clear and they hide in shadows and smokescreens by using the Media to distract the masses on what is actually going on in the world. It’s funny how people like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and Chris Hedges paint a very different picture of the world from the one that the Media in the UK portrays where it is all rosy and nice, so much Media coverage on events like the Royal wedding, the Royal baby, Celebrity gossip etc. People like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and Chris Hedges are the Champions of Truth. Yet despite their efforts to inform the masses (which some of us do pay attention to), the vast majority seem content under their government to not take action and revolt. Instead they would prefer to watch soap operas and tv shows like X-factor/ Britain’s got talent because they don’t want to face Reality, the Reality being that all Major and Super powers are “Great” because of the dirty wars they execute. Caesar, Ramesses II and Alexander are “great” because of the atrocities they committed to achieve their goals.
I always thought the Media is like a power in its own right, a faction that has a significant affect on our day-to-day lives and Politics. It’s a kind “soft” power because it manipulates people into doing things that it wants through persuasion, it’s not a “hard” power like the UK or the USA which uses force to compel any country or person to do what it wants them to do as in the case of Libya, Iraq, British India, Hong Kong etc. The Media is generally politically skewed and would bend the Truth to advance its own needs and interests. This raises a point that is the Media is not trustworthy and would only look out for itself, then how is a Democracy supposed to function properly if people are not properly informed about world events? Surely people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden etc should be the voice of the Media as they tell the world events as it is, no bullshit and not some asshole like Rupert Murdoch who spied on UK officials to obtain advantages for his TV companies in the form of information. Such espionage is tantamount to treason. Hence Western Democracy becomes a sham, a travesty, a tool to keep the masses in control and made to believe they are free to choose how their Government conducts itself.
Macbeth may have hallucinated whether there was an actual dagger before him prior to him killing King Duncan, but those self-aware know and feel the sword of Damocles placed above their heads. Don’t you feel the weight and keenly shaped tip of the sword of Damocles above your head?
The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC – 399 BC)
Upon reading the Science Fiction novel “A Thousand Sons” from the Warhammer 40,000universe, written by Graham McNeill, I came across a quote made by one of the main protagonists in the novel, Ahzek Ahriman, in the first few pages, the quote being “the only good is knowledge andthe only evil is ignorance”. It made me consider the quote and what I observed in life or in the news.
The ancient Roman Empire and the Greek Empire attacked other countries and built huge armada to control the land and sea, by doing that they acquired gold, silver, trade, fishing etc. Napolean attacked Venice by taunting it to attack France’s ships thereby it gave Napolean the pretext to attack Venice and take many of its treasures, one being a thick gold plated altar dedicated to Jesus Christ. Likewise, the British Empire fought in the Boer War to subdue the Afrikaners and control the gold mines, attack India to control the spice and opium trade etc. In summary, you can see that much of the conflict in the past and even now was/ is driven by the desires and wants to subdue nations while giving the excuse that it was all done to spread Christianity, bring civilisation to non-Western cultures, war was executed in response to an attack etc. The soldiers of these Empires who carry out the dirty work of their Governments do so because they need and/ or want the job of being a soldier to provide a standard of living as well supply the needs of their families and the soldiers themselves. Other reasons because they are indifferent to what is actually going on in the war which is where the “only evil is ignorance” comes into play because by being indifferent, they are CHOOSING to ignore what is really going on and unwittingly have limited knowledge to know what is actually good. Others fight in wars because they like killing people so it fulfils their need and wants.Other soldiers say “they would dies for their country” and all this patriotic nonsense when in fact what they mean, as pointed out by a fellow philosopher who I can’t remember the name of yet,that they would gladly kill for their country. Again, a need and desire is being fulfilled here, overriding their sense of reason and the ability to be fully aware of what the ACTUAL situation here is which is the taking of one Nation’s resources to be given to another,thus maintaining the old hierarchy of First World, Second World and Third World countries.
Serial killers kill because they are driven by the NEED and DESIRE to become famous and be recognised for their killings even though they know all too well the Law and what it prohibits regardless of culture or nation.
People spend thousands of ££££/ $$$$$ (or other currency) on clothes,televisions, music etc because it sates their needs and desires to feel good, to stroke their ego etc. This may sometimes lead to them overspending beyond their means which could lead them to debt, to crime etc. Despite knowing they are not affluent to have these items,they still do it because their needs and desires override their reasoning. When like another Fashion season arrives, the same people will again spends LOTS of money on a new set of clothing, when a new gaming console arrives, people will gladly pay to acquire it despite the initial price of the console being very expensive etc. Thus the whole cycle of Consumerism starts again. So Socrates quote about goodness consisting of being knowledgeable falls short here because he ASSUMES people would be more of the mind and would be rational to make their decisions when in fact, most people are not e.g. look at protest rallies, the fluctuations of the stock market which are reflection of people’s emotions to changing prices in oil, gold,company value etc. Socrates places too much EMPHASIS on the mind and its capabilities, ignoring the non-mental and physical side of human beings which are generally the dominant.
Surely you must have had the experience of thinking you were friends with people in your class or work, chatting to them casually etc but when it came to when you really needed them or you wanted to speak to them after so many years, they would appear to ignore you after making so many repeated requests or they would ask something off of you and then totally discard you like a piece of rubbish by being very explicit about it aurally. They were never really your “friends” in the first place and had already acquired what they wanted/ needed from you which in their minds is perfectly justifiable. Again, needs and wants dictate right or wrong.
The same with prostitutes or people with dubious preoccupations in South American or Third World countries where there seems to be a prevalent Catholic religion being followed. Their religion dictates what they do to be wrong yet these drug dealers, soldiers, prostitutes etc do it because of the level or poverty which forces them to do the most unpleasant of things.
Then there’s the question and apparent contradiction in all of our societies where Murder is something to be seen as clearly wrong but when it comes to War like in Iraq and Afghanistan, we all seem to be perfectly fine with it, just some group of guys and girls in uniform with weapons butchering another bunch of guys and girls, doesn’t seem to be Murder despite being the same thing. Their governments appear to not punish or jail them for killing. Think about the rapings and killings of civilians going on in wars. Contradiction! Again, it comes back to wants and needs i.e.governments don’t want Murder to occur in their countries because itcauses social unrest but when they carry those same types of killings to other countries, it’s perfectly fine.
What I am suggesting in this rant is a slight modification of Socrates’ ancient quote by putting instead, in light of this disordered discussion,something that appears like this: “the only good is knowledge, the only evil is ignorance provided you reason in a way that is fair and doesn’t harm people directly or infringe on their rights without their consent. Otherwise, morality is generally all about wants and needs.”
These three things are deeply interrelated like three strong, granite pillars holding a roof upright. It’s almost symbiotic.
Knowledge doesn’t weigh a thing at all, it’s intangible but then it’s stored in your brain in the form of memory. Understanding a field of interest like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, History etc enables you to apply that abstract knowledge in our daily lives which in turn means you will not be able to apply for jobs that have a large salary. It’s another reason why a few of us spend ridiculous amounts of money to be inducted into tertiary education to acquire a piece of paper at the end of the course that tells the employer that we are best suited for the job etc. It’s funny how a piece of paper with ink represents those 3-4 years of late, sleepless nights and the general stress and hassle experienced. Hence when we acquire knowledge and extend it with new discoveries, inventions, new business ventures etc (which that was what knowledge was intended for in a crude, superficial sense), we are very likely to acquire large sums of money when selling the concept to a prospective individual or company which which want to make use of our new, novel idea to generate more profits for themselves in the future.
It is knowledge that can allow us to defeat any problem that we may encounter whether a person or thing, it gives us that flexibility, that ability to change and adapt (which is what the only constant is). Knowledge acts like a bridge between the past, present and the future; by analysing the past and the relics of that time, we sometimes come to realise that what we think we know as being recent like an idea/ invention was actually known thousands of years ago; the experience humbles us and makes us wonder how advanced we think we really are. I wonder if we are just repeating a cycle of time like that of the relic we studied before undergoing a decline/ catastrophe, restarting the chain of events and the discovery of the same relic to another group of people in the future who similarly thought they were advanced prior to making the discovery of the relic. By gaining more knowledge you can become more than the common crowd because the English language itself is arranged in a way so that people with very little knowledge of complicated vocabulary will not be able to understand books and information worthy to be learnt and instead tend towards more accessible Media like celebrity magazines, reality tv etc.
Look at what the convicted soldier Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden did. Just by imparting knowledge on a few truths and secrets that the US government didn’t want you to hear, you get the North American government overreacting to what they did because they simply told the TRUTH. Since when did telling the truth become a crime??? Knowledge is power. Without knowledge, you are not in a position of strength or power to make the best choices for yourself.
The strange thing about knowledge is that the more I learn and study, the more I begin to realise how very little I know and I am beset with ever increasing uncertainty. As what Socrates said thousands of years ago which was “I know nothing”, that saying still applies to today; look at the ideas and concepts of Physics up to the present moment and you begin to realise that all their theories in trying to find out what reality is made up of becomes increasingly strange. You come to a point in Quantum Mechanics where you have to accept the ideas as beliefs because it doesn’t make sense otherwise. Think about the nature of Time and what it really means to KNOW about it by typing on YouTube and you will find that we are worms on the 4th dimension. When you go beyond the 4th dimension, things get very strange indeed.
Money, that piece of paper which humans have ascribed emotional/ abstract value to it, that which we spend most of our lives acquiring very little of. Our possibilities of flourishing increase as we can make a significant amount of those pieces of paper helps us acquire even more knowledge in the form of books, artifacts, clandestine information (to be used for a market or against a company/ individual etc) and to trans-mutate money in a form so as to influence and buy someone’s favour. Buying someone’s loyalty by giving them money such as to charities, politicians etc puts you in a greater position of power (assuming they feel indebted to you because of your “kind” act). Think about the times corporations bribed politicians to look the other way and not interfere in the corporation’s business. That is true power.
As a good and wise friend told me, we are slaves to the money system. We spend our days accumulating the pieces of paper at work, we rent our bodies for it when we sit in front of a cashier, office desk etc as what Noam Chomsky states. As much as we desire to leave work sometimes and be free, we cannot because we need the cash to survive. So we are trapped in a way for the rest of our lives. As what Robert Kiyosaki states in his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, when we receive or monthly/ weekly salary, the moment we get it, most of us succumb to the feeling of greed and that is when we spend most of it mindlessly on stuff we sometimes don’t need. Once our desires have been temporarily sated, we feel the fear of not having much money and losing our jobs so we go back to our jobs and repeat the cycle of greed and fear, greed and fear until there is very little time in us left and we die. This snare we find ourselves is called the “Rat Race” according to Kiyosaki, as like a rat who constantly runs on the wheel, always going, not stopping, always trapped in the same loop and pattern much like most of us. We sometimes kill for money as well. Funny how a piece of paper holds so much influence on us.
Power is an intangible thing that helps you to make someone do something for you without having to force them. Power is everywhere although it cannot be seen, only its effects can be experienced e.g. celebrities and singers hold a lot of power because just by doing what they do, they can attract thousands of followers which in turn means they acquire huge sums of money and fame. What they say or do deeply affects those followers. Celebrities are treated like gods. Celebrities acquire influence and power by creating compelling spectacles, by appealing to people’s needs. Power is all about appearances, this world is all about appearances. Power can be used to deceive people like the media and politicians who KNOW the truth but they deliberately ignore certain facts and give us information only they want us to know. This lack of choice and information makes us the manipulated/ controlled, doing/ reacting the way the way they want us to react and not necessarily in our best interest. We are puppets playing to the their tune, mindless pawns to be kept or discarded depending when it’s to their advantage. If we really knew going into Iraq and Afghanistan was all about stealing oil and Heroin poppies respectively, we wouldn’t be in that mess, would we? But then most of the media hides the amount of lies politicians conjure up so most of the public is suckered in to obeying everything they do like these dirty wars.
In summary, the more I know, the more money I can make. The more money I make, the more powerful and influential I become without having to appear to force someone to do something for me. Knowledge, Money and Power are like the Ouroboros, i.e. the cyclical dragon whose head appears to be biting its tail. It symbolises the end drawing near and a beginning occurring, when there is death there is also life in order for death to be meaningful and defined, the ying and yang, good and evil etc. They are one and the same yet different in aspect, where one is destroyed/ consumed, another appears.
The Matrix never gets old. Each time I watch it, I uncover and learn new things, underlying analogies that can be applied to our world like slicing through layers of an onion.
Neo slowly came to realise how shallow and superficial his current Reality was so he began to look inwards to himself and look for answers to his life’s purpose. That started with confronting his Truths head on by swallowing the Red Pill. In a way, his old-Self died after taking the Red pill and he was reborn anew into a world where machines and AI harvested humans as an energy source while retarding their awareness of their current situation by making them believe that the Matrix was all that there was to their Reality and nothing more. Another religious interpretation could be that Neo was baptised as soon as he woke up from his artificial pod as soon as he took the Red pill, realising in horror that most of Humanity was unaware of its slavery.
You could say the Matrix is an analogy of Mass media as, apart from informing the Public in a limited role, its main function is to encourage division among people with different beliefs/ philosophies and to warp the Realities of its viewers by feeding them with limited, biased information.
You could also say the Machines are like the Elite and their enforcers (police, military etc) whether in the triangular Capitalist or rectangular Communist/ Fascist regimes. The Machines are cold and unfeeling, much like some political/ corporate leaders who are psychopaths and who own the Mass media, controlling the flow of information.
The Oracle, who advised if Neo was The One, was really testing Neo to see if he could live up to his potential after Neo saw the sign “Know thyself”. When she told him the bad news, it destroyed his confidence and made his Conscious and Subconscious Minds fall out of alignment. However, when Neo was confronted with the choice of rescuing Morpheus or not, he chose to save Morpheus regardless of whether he was The One or not and that meant he became something more than himself and that his Conscious and Subconscious Minds harmonised, allowing him to unlock his full potential.