Be(a)ware of Headlines Bearing Misinformation

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily  distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” ( Hello Rupert!)

from ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, Daniel Kahneman.

We Like What We’re Used To, and what is familiar seems to be true. Even when it isn’t. If you need to write a message you want people to believe, make it easy to read – clear and  bold and large will do it, and use simple language -witness newspaper banner headlines. Especially in the lead-up to an election.Notebooks 2

An easily read and understood message, pleasingly presented, can give a strong illusion of truth – an illusion that can be overcome by strong motivation. But we like what we’re used to. and what is easy…

“…repetition induces cognitive ease and a comforting feeling of familiarity”.(ibid)

The more we are exposed to an image or idea, the more we like it – and this “mere exposure effect” doesn’t depend on us being conscious of the familiarity; the effect is stronger for stimuli that the “observer” never consciously sees…colonade

Kurt Cobain said something along the lines that the masses only liked “Smells Like Teen Spirit” so much (reacting far more strongly to it than any other song at concerts) because it had been “ground into their brains” by constant repetition on radio and MTV.

Apparently he was right about that.

Aberdeen lane (print)


As the election looms (and any time, come to that) be(a)ware of headlines bearing misinformation. Just because someone wants to grind it into your brain doesn’t make it true. (I am not in any way equating “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with anything written in any Murdoch “News”paper!) I’ll hop down off my soap box now. Peace and Love!

My Opinion: Gender War

Brunswick lanewayWhere women once had to justify their existence by bearing and rearing children, nowadays it’s “get a job” (and bear and raise children in your spare time).

Most women these days are in the paid workforce, but they tend to be paid less than men for the same work; therefore, employing women saves money on the payroll.

Most women these days are in paid work, but it tends to be part-time, casual, menial, underpaid and undervalued work; which not only saves money on the payroll, but keeps women away from positions of power.Monkey in a cage

Most women these days are in paid work, but they still tend to do the bulk of the household work and childcare, which means they tend to be permanently tired and worn down, which in turn makes them unlikely to question the status quo.

Most women these days are in paid work, which is regarded as independence and liberation. But without equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities and training, and an equal share of domestic duties, women remain in a state of weary drudgery, all wrapped up in pretty pink bows.

That’s why it suits Patriarchy/ Dominator Culture to have most women enter the work force – part-time, casual, unimportant, underpaid…

Bend the rules

Overworked and underpaid is no better than the old “bare-foot and pregnant”.

And a woman in charge is a threat to the old order  – bend the rules, gender is not destiny!

Dominator – Co-operator

crystal heartDominator – Co-operator

Masculine – Feminine

Extrovert – Introvert

Rigid – Soft

Confining – Expansive

Straightener – Crooked, curvaceous, louche


How does Co-operator Culture successfully Kounter Dominator Culture? Game theory suggests that in the long run, Co-operator culture will succeed over Dominator. Yet when Co-operator is the dominant ethos,  any Dominator culture that arises will quickly succeed and overcome Co-operators, because  Co-operators are too ‘nice’ to oppose Dominators. Or perhaps they do not understand the behaviour sufficiently well to deal with it.

However, direct opposition, tit-for-tat, is not good strategy either, as it can continue for centuries on end (witness Albanian culture).basket building

Some kind of smothering effect would seem to be better and more effective, annihilating the culture and the action, but not the individual perpetrator. Enclose with a wall, a soft, impenetrable wall, a pink fog motivated by loving kindness and not revenge. Calming, accepting, and yet not appeasing.

Opposition, stamping out, attack – none of these work, although the failure of these approaches only leads to more of the same.”If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Time, surely, for something new.dancers

Our preference as a culture for ‘leaders’ who proclaim their own fitness for leadership by being loud, forceful, certain, is a recipe for disaster, as these sure and certain people can be sure and certain about things that are obviously and demonstrably wrong. Yet their forthrightness encourages their faithful followers to follow them right over a cliff, if that’s where their certainty leads them.graff

A person who has examined the facts (that’s a cliff there!) and drawn conclusions (falling, or jumping, off will lead to injury or death) may well sound a note of caution and warning. But who wants to listen to a dull egg-head when the bright and glorious leader is trumpeting his absolute certainty that he is right and you better believe it.queen of heaven

Introspection, forethought, consideration, facts – these things are not of value. Stand up, stand firm, shout – so long as you sound as though you know what you are doing, folks will follow you anywhere you lead them.

This is not to say that everyone who is certain is always wrong – only that it pays to pay attention to the message as well as the messenger.A third to a half of the population are introverts, even in ultra-extrovert America, where the leaders of the future are trained in brassy extrovert certainty as the quality of leadership.  Constantly networking and being ebulliently assertive are taught as desirable qualities of leadership, despite all evidence to the contrary.

This is, to put it mildly, a dangerous quality in the world’s ‘greatest’ power. Where are all the introverts? Either in hiding, or pretending to be extroverts, both as acts of self-preservation in a forcefully extrovert society.a mandala

Some of the ideas in this post came from my reading of

Introvert Power – Laurie Helgoe

and Quiet: The Power of Introverts – By Susan Cain

and Martin Nowak’s   “Super Cooperators – Evolution, altruism and human behaviour”

Photos 3 to 6 in this post were taken on my phone – it’s still phoneography month, after all.


Empathy, Empathy! Empathy is what makes us human – humans being –  being in relationship to others, and if we are not in relationship to others, what are we? Empathy allows us inside each others heads and hearts. Babies die without empathy, and with not enough, they grow up to be psychopaths – incapable of feeling, of feeling how anyone else is feeling.

Many of the people in charge these days are psychopaths, which is a cause for worry. If everybody knew this, would they care? The empathic ride against the men of action, oh, see the men of action falling back! I wish. ( Apologies to Leonard Cohen).

Depression, a suicide note, Empathy, it’s all linked. Depression, no empathy, suicide- that’s where you end up. Caring, responsive – not controlling. That’s suicide prevention, but it needs to start at birth; by 27, it’s too late. Maybe at 15 a rescue might be staged, but “Cheer up”s and Smiley faces will never work. Think of the money society would save if parents were taught to love and respect their children ( instead of trying to teach children to love and respect their parents). What if the Commandment was not made by a patriarch, and instead of Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother, it was honour thy children, love them and respect and attend to their needs as much as possible, and then a little more. If you do, they will not only honour, love and respect you, but themselves and everyone else they meet as well! If you don’t, there will be no punishment, but of course, there will be consequences, because your children will not turn out so well. If you ignore their needs, manipulate them or try to control them, they may suffer various mental illnesses and personality disorders, and will prove to be unrewarding and unhelpful as they grow older. Or they may become victims of totalitarian regimes, cults or other organisations which require the mindless obedience and blind faith which you have instilled in them. If they are lucky, however, they will realise what you have done to them, wake up and shake off your toxic conditioning, and if you are lucky, they may even forgive you. But they should not forget, because, if they did, they might poison their own children in the same way.

This is a little verbose, perhaps, but I think it’s a fair summary of what I’ve read of Alice Miller (‘Thou Shalt Not Be Aware’; ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ et al), Oliver James ( ‘They F*** You Up’), Robin Grille (‘ Parenting For A Peaceful World’). There is a pattern that emerges from all my reading, and this is some of it; like the Mandelbrot set, however big it is, whichever bit you look at, still the same pattern is there. I wish I could’ve read these books before I had my children, instead of learning as I went along. Growing up in a family that believed in Original Sin ( babies are born bad, and have to learn to be ‘good’, which is a load of tosh), I had quite a lot to unlearn, and I’m still working on it.

Let Love be my Reason

My framework

My result

Not little love

That seeks to own another

But love that sheds itself

Freely and indiscriminately

Like petals of blossom

From a spring flowered tree

That shower themselves

Into the wind

And onto the grass

Drifting far away

Not caring where, or why

Let me love

As carelessly and hopeless as that.

Ave Porca!

I’m aware that flying pigs can have a negative connotation (as in the expression “if pigs could fly, we’d all carry umbrellas”), but to me, the winged porcine is a symbol of infinite possibilities, and thus, of hope for better things. Such as peace on earth, all the time, not just at Christmas, love for all of our neighbours, even the ones we don’t like, and empathy and compassion for all beings, not just the cute ones. This little poem, therefore, featured in my Christmas card one year.

Slightly controversial Christmas card image!

Ave Porca!

I saw this night

a flight of pigs,

That flew across the moon.

I knew right then

That better times

Must be coming soon.

Through my rosy spectacles

The moon looked somewhat purple,

And shooting stars

Abundant fell;

And fairy dust

I found as well,

And by these omens I can tell

that better times

Are coming!

I’m still waiting; dominator culture still dominates around much of the world, and yet, every day, very quietly, love enters the world in unlikely ways, and there is still hope for better times all round. Did you know that economic inequality is bad for the health of the haves as well as the have-nots?  Who could have guessed. But there are scientists who care enough to make the studies and publish the results. Western countries spend enough on their military sectors to feed and educate the world’s children. Who cares enough to change that one? I now await the winged pigs, and the necessary changes. Ave porca!