Luck

The use of the concept of luck to make us feel good is prevalent. For example: the bullet grazed my ear I was lucky to be alive , just a few seconds later and I would have been killed outright: my luck was in I won a thousand pounds.

This is the usual way we humans look at events; we ask what effect they have had on us and if it is good we speak of luck. In the event of a possible catastrophe we simply consider how lucky we were to have escaped. Should a serious setback occur we immediately speak of how much worse it could have been. In spite of frost bite I was lucky to lose only two fingers.

The opposite of luck is also made personal: but for an unlucky spin I would have won the jackpot. In this subtle way we protect ourselves from the rough and tumble of day to day events. 

The statistician has a completely different viewpoint, luck means nothing to him , his only concern is with probability. He views from the outside looking in objectively. So many men between forty and fifty will die of heart disease. He is untouched by the human tragedy.

The gambler takes luck very seriously indeed , inspite of the fact his belief often ruins him. He sincerely believes that he is lucky; it’s  not the laws of chance which govern the outcome but his choice. Or he has the other warped view that the laws of chance conform to his choice.

The advertiser uses human weakness to get us to gamble. He shows a picture of a real but ordinary person who has won a large sum and we make the link.

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Burdock

It was an old piece of wasteland at the back of a church. A place where we were not allowed to go, but to us it was paradise. The ground was rough and overgrown with weeds and contained many dips and hollows large enough to crouch down and hide in.  This was our world and when we played in it time had no meaning  ; we were totally absorbed in the game until we were dragged away or light faded from the sky.

Here grew burdocks in wild profusion which made fine ammunition to startle the enemy. They stuck on most types of  clothing and we had pitch battles with them. So my memory retained a soft spot for the burdock plant which played such an important part in the innocence of boyhood.

Decimation of Character

I have noticed a tendency for this reprehensible technique to be used in argument as follows:

Instead of examining a man’s opinion on any subject we examine the man himself , asking questions such as: is he wealthy? Does he break the law? What does he say about others? Is he a member of any groups? The intention is to invalidate anything he may have to say.

Along with this unpleasant practice we imply that in order to have an opinion on anything we must experience it directly. Only an expert footballer can criticise football; only a doctor the use of medicine; an artist only is competent to criticise a painting.

Just think if these media tricks were taken seriously very few would dare open their mouths. The media would close down and parliament would shut it’s doors.

The Love of Speed

When Simon Weeks roared into his close on his Harley , everyone heard and saw that shinning brute of a motor bike. It gleamed and seemed to beckon attention , and Simon , tall and proud in his leathers swung his leg deftly over pulling that monster onto its stand. 

It was his pride and joy , he lived for that bike, nothing else mattered, it was his ego in shining chrome. When he was on the road he felt like a king in command of a wonderful faultless stallion that could carry him anywhere and was beyond compare. Other traffic he viewed with contempt and he rode with a reckless madness as if he was some indestructible God.

Small wonder that the accident happened. It was fatal: Simon and his dream were completely obliterated. I thought he got what he deserved , although I would not have wished it upon him, but did his poor grieving mother deserve this?

I would like to have resurrected that young fool so he could see her tears of despair.

Kindred Spirits

Bert clicked on the porch light, stepped out , and quietly closed the door. The rain fell persistently as he looked about and drew on his freshly lighted cigarette. The anxious hunger died slowly and pleasure invaded his lungs.

The door across the road opened and out came Fred for the same purpose. These middle aged men were banished from their homes by wives and families. Bert walked over the road and joined his fellow smoker . There they stood looking at the rain : kindred spirits.

Conscience

Nearly all adult humans have a conscience; which varies according to our upbringing and the society we occupy.The greatest allowable freedom is that enjoyed by western secular democracies. They have been shaped by Christianity and now they shape Christianity and seek to make life for everyone more tolerant.

Oppression and control comes from the fixed rules of  ideology or religion. Once an individual allows his free conscience to be controlled they lose their humanity and can do anything. This is the radical mind-set trap that it is possible for anybody to fall into.