Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category
Straying from my Environmental remit for a moment, two things I think worthy of comment:
1. Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC’s One Show last night
The BBC has received thousands of complaints about what Jeremy Clarkson said on live television last night about (a) public sector workers going on strike and (b) people who commit suicide by jumping in front of trains. Clearly, as ever, Clarkson was being deliberately controversial. However, in my opinion, it will be an utter travesty if he loses his job as a result for either remark:
(a) Public sector workers in the UK complaining about their pensions show a woeful lack of perspective. What about a better deal for a lost generation of unemployed, a better economic system, or even a better planet? How can people demand justice for themselves whilst ignoring all the injustices we are inflicting on those least able to help themselves; and/or that we are bequeathing to our descendants by failing to address climate change? – See also Jeremy Clarkson should be sacked.
(b) I have had the misfortune to be on a train when this happens and the sound of unidentified objects passing underneath and/or hitting the side of the train was deeply unpleasant (as the train brakes were then suddenly applied – everyone on board knew instantly what had happened). Furthermore, although I can genuinely empathise with anyone considering suicide, to end it all in this way is deeply inconsiderate (can suicide ever be anything else – unless you have no living relatives that will survive you?)… If people want to end their lives they should find (and/or be legally allowed to find) some way to do it that does not require other people to be inconvenienced and/or clean up the mess they leave behind. See also – BBC apologises for Jeremy Clarkson comments.
2. Sanctions imposed on Iran following invasion of the UK Embassy in Tehran
As for Syria, so it should be with Iran. If we cannot agree to prevent Iran selling its oil (the only thing that would really hurt the despotic regime), we clearly need their oil too much. See also – Why are we still waiting for the EU to act?.
UPDATE (1840 hrs on 2 Dec 2011): Twenty thousand complaints and counting! What the hell is the matter with these people? If you believe in free-speech, sanity, and sarcasm, please send a message to the BBC now and tell them that they must not capitulate to pressure to sack Clarkson… It is a bit tortuous – you have to specify quite a lot of detail (programme name, date, etc) – but eventually you are given a box into which I would recommend typing this (or something like it):
I do not want any disciplinary action taken against Jeremy Clarkson. His comments regarding striking public sector workers were clearly flagged as satire by the invitation to provide balanced positives and negatives. For UNISON to claim his comments were an incitement to hatred and/or public disorder (endangering future strikers) are patently ridiculous.
With regard to suicide, although his comments clearly upset many people, those who jump in front of trains show a lamentable disregard for those that witness their publicity stunt and/or have to clean up the mess.
I am therefore hopeful that the BBC will not bow to pressure to adopt nanny state political correctness; and that no disciplinary action will be taken against Jeremy Clarkson.
I think this is really important. Ask for a reply and (from the Complaints Home Page) register to be sent a copy of the ultimate BBC response to all complaints.
On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this may be a question a lot of people are asking themselves because, just as near-death experiences often lead to a renewed appreciation for every day that dawns, it is common for those who unexpectedly lose loved-ones to want to find some way of making their loss serve some wider purpose; and for those fortunate enough to be untouched by such tragedy to wonder whether they are making the most of the time they have.
I once saw a documentary programme on self-motivation in which the participants were taken around a graveyard and invited to contemplate how fortunate they were to be alive. I must confess that this would not have worked on me, as I have always been very uncomfortable in such places. However, even though the last 10 years has been an absolute disaster personally-speaking, contemplating what happened 10 years ago – the loss of life and the unending grief of those left behind – helps me to retain some reasonable perspective regarding my personal situation.
If and when you know what you want to do with your life (i.e. what your purpose is), it is important to set yourself achievable, incremental, goals. However, it is also important to live in the present; as if each day might be your last (hence the “graveyard therapy” I guess). Are these two things reconcilable? I don’t know. In any case, it has taken me a very long time to find my vocation and, regrettably, it took the breakdown of my marriage for me to have the courage (and freedom) to realise I had not been doing what I really wanted to do for a very long time…
Therefore, I say:
– To those of you who have been personally affected by the events of 10 years ago – you have my heartfelt sympathy;
– To those of you who struggle with feelings of restlessness, aimlessness, and/or depression – I know how you feel;
– To those of you who think you have worked it out now – be strong and courageous in pursuing your new goal(s); and
– To those of you who have known all along – what do you want; a medal?
One of the most thoughtful moments in the film Gladiator (even if inadvertently so) may be the one in which the late Oliver Reed (in his last role) says “Ultimately, we are all dead men”. John Maynard Keynes originally put it slightly better, I think, when he cautioned about taking the long view by saying: “In the long run, we are all dead” (see this excellent piece by Mark Cancellieri). Then of course there is Dead Poets’ Society and its memorable injunction to us all to “Carpe diem” – seize the day!
Finally, on a slightly lighter note, I was very privileged to be able to trek to Everest Base Camp in November 2008 (it was however a shame I had to get divorced first); and very impressed when the Trek-leader made us pause and reflect with the words: “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift; that is why we call it ‘the present’”. I was later amused to find out that he had first heard this quote (albeit from Jung) when watching Kung Fu Panda!