The Art of Language

The study of language has always been lumped together with the arts as an academic discipline. However it is only today that I have really connected how language, specifically learning a second language is really what art is all about.

We don’t learn a second language in order to communicate or to get by in another language; though sometimes this is why people learn a language as adults. We learn a second language to discover new ways of communicating. We learn how to express thoughts and ideas in a different way and when we receive thoughts and ideas through another language those ideas are quite different.

Essentially these new avenues of expression are the function of art, to express things in ways that are outside of our everyday language, so we can see and hear things in new interesting and enjoyable ways.

Probably the closest art form to language learning is poetry. Most languages have rich poetic traditions, because everyday words are combined in new ways to express different thoughts. This is exactly what we do when using a second language. It’s like we have instant access to art by trying to express the same thought in a second language, we instantly have a subtly different version of the initial thought that can be in itself thought provoking by making us view that thought in a different way.

Everything is somehow a different world in a second language and there is of course new realms of art of writing and music to explore in that language as a speaker of that language. Strangely this art argument for learning new languages seems to be seldom used to promote language learning. It is reason enough to learn  as a bonus to being able to understand more people in their native tongue.

The differences between language learning and the other arts is that use of the second language is not usually done with the intent of producing or appreciating art. There are no great works of language learning, the process is too messy to ever be considered great art. However for the individual learner this process is very much like the mental processes involved in absorbing ideas from great pieces of art.

The Language of Brexit

This blog is perhaps a vehicle for my tirade against the world that almost everything exists as spectra, the world is not binary. Perhaps language itself is partly responsible for this and Brexit seems a good example of this.

Language is rarely precise, this is why we have poetry to be able to express ideas and that there is always more than one way of expressing the same thing. We use language as a kind of shorthand. We reduce long lengthy explanations to just a few words and expect that we will be understood. Indeed we often ask if our shorthand has been understood by adding an ‘isn’t it’ or something similar to the end of our sentences. We refer to things such as national characteristics, that we hope our audience may share an understanding of to enable higher level discussions. Complex discussions are only possible when the basic concepts are understood. Through this very process of creating shorthand, we often reduce complex nuances thoughts to a few words, thus creating binaries, it is or it isn’t to spectral ideas. The first words we lean are often Yes, no and not. Later we learn the much more complex vocabulary of quite, very and slightly. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the binaries created in language are not real binaries.

The Brexit referendum was itself making the complex position of the UK in the EU into a simple for or against, to which many people wished to answer: ‘yes But…’ or ‘no But…’ often with very big buts. The issue of immigration is perhaps the biggest theme of the debate. Indeed, the meaning of the very word ‘immigration’ has subtly changed through the various debates. Whilst we know what immigration is, the movement of people into an area, the word has come to mean lots of different things to different people. In a sense this one word has lost it’s practical meaning in being a shorthand for a concept.

Even as a binary opionion, people are not for or against immigration, this is almost absurd. Most people are of the opinion that there should be less immigration into the UK. However how much less, what specific types of people are to be restricted is a huge complicated spectra. Yet, arguably Brexit won the vote when Nigel Farage said ‘the only way the UK can regulate immigration is by leaving the EU’, however exactly how this is to be achieved has not really been made clear, that;s the complicated bit and i would argue we don’t have the democratic structure to enable this to be implemented well. Lots of other things have to be sorted out for benefits to come about.

Yet, the issue of immigration in the UK is not even a simple ‘how much less?’ question as there is a whole spectra of arguments for why immigration should be reduced.

At one end of the spectra is the the cultural argument, that some  people simply don’t like ‘too many’ people from different cultures living amongst the native population, for all sorts of reasons. This position is very close to racism, but not in itself racist. However racists will have this opinion. Indeed UKIP have used this argument to appeal to people with racist views, but cleverly hidden behind statements that are not in themselves racist. If you get the cultural argument and agree with it, it is simple to agree with this argument.

At the other end of this spectra is the economic argument: That a high net level of immigration is bad for the economy. The UK is economically unbalanced between the North and the South. The UK population doesn’t produce workers with the right skills, geographically where organisations require them. The UK economy found a work around to this in importing workers through immigration. The UK called out to the people of the British Empire to come and help rebuild Britain after the Second World war, so the UK now has significant populations from India and the Caribbean. These immigrants did suffer a lot of racism that we have made progress in moving on from that, these populations are now reasonably integrated into British society. However the more recent influxes from central Europe were to take jobs the resident population were unable to fill, rather than unwilling to fulfill. The argument is that it would simply be better if the UK arranged it’s economy so that it did produce the workers it required. We are now in the position where we have to import Doctors and Nurses as we don’t produce these skilled workers natively. We have a shortage of medical doctors in Mid-Wales which  seems absurd as GPs are quite well paid. We don’t produce these workers naively because of the housing crisis, declining education standards and  a declining healthcare system where doctors are over-worked. We are asking young people to go into a six figure debt to fund their own training, to do a job where they have to do a ten year induction before they achieve salaries that can re-pay their student debt, without mentioning, that during this 15 year period, we expect them to subsidise those who own property, save money for their own housing which is more expensive every year and somehow find the money to bring up their own children before they are too old. Is it any surprise that people do something else and leave these skilled jobs for immigrants who study somewhere where the cost of living is much less. There is the  argument I heard during the Brexit campaign from people in areas with negligible immigration, people were concerned about immigration, because it meant jobs went elsewhere and didn’t come to their area (South Wales). This even applies to high earners, who refuse to accept offers of work from London as they can’t afford the housing costs there. London is harder to move to for a British person than it is to move abroad. The other part of this argument is that the failure of successive governments to provide housing , education and healthcare befitting a 1st world economy, has finally come to popular light and simply immigration, whilst papering over some systemic problems with the UK economy, puts additional pressure on housing, education and hospital places, which are still not being sorted out,., I would argue because of deficient democracy. This economic argument for reduced immigration is a lot more complex and nuanced than can be summed up in a single word ‘immigration’, so left an centre politicians struggle to communicate it effectively.

Essentially, it seems the population of the UK at large has woken up to the failures of the political consensus, or the establishment of the centre-right orthodoxy that has somehow held sway for the last thirty years. There is a widely felt understanding that the consensus was indeed wrong and has failed; as it was predicted thirty years ago that it would. However, there is no clear answer to the UK’s problems. There are two main forces seeking to implement their solutions, the liberal centre and the populist right. both of these groups with very different visions of what to do with Brexit, both groups share the frustration of never having been in political office to implement their visions. Largely because of the UKs binary democracy, that prevents non consensus ideas being implemented, and that the consensus view is itself a minority. Somehow the centre-right orhodoxy is still in power and not popularly opposed. The establishment is cleverly playing the two sides against each other to retain it’s own grip on power.

A serious Brexit government would be out there consulting widely, forging agreements and finding ways to make Brexit work for the UK economy. Instead they are arguing amongst themselves behind closed doors. Perhaps the idea is that all the division and dithering over Brexit will eventually mean that popular calls for Brexit are eventually dropped and the centre-right can continue as normal. This is frustrating the Brexiteers, who fear Brexit may never happen, but turning their ire against the centre-liberal ‘remoaners’, who never wanted this mess in the first place, it’s a distraction for us from the real work of making the UK economy stronger and a better place to live and work..

Which is all largely as I predicted. I was against Brexit, not out of love for the EU, but simply that the chances of making Brexit work well were tiny.What the UK needs more than anything is electoral reform, but this is challenging to argue for when there are so many other things going on. However , we need a system that enables the right decisions to be made and the current system proves again and again, that it is incapable of implementing the right solutions, or even basing it’s decisions on evidence based data.

If there is to be an alternative, the odds are stacked towards the populist right. Indeed as they were in the 1930s when the fascists were able to capture the popular imagination more than the communists, in Western Europe at least. Favoured, simply because the populist right can use the word ‘immigration’ as shorthand for their dislike of different people, whereas the liberal left have the much more complex, nuanced economic argument that will get lost in the clamour of what passes for debate in the main stream media these days.  Essentially, it is a battle for whose meaning of a word becomes the consensus and it is much easier to do this with a simpler message, one that can be repeated often until people accept it. After all hate is simple, hope is more complex.

Maybe, the nature of language is at the heart of why political debates can be won with flawed arguments, through clever rhetoric. A symbol, a word, can be more powerful than a concept or a sentence. Such symbols have the power to change the world.

Seeking Relationships or Not

Beginning heterosexual relationships is a weird, complicated, fraught, scary process. There is perhaps only one reason for this, that there is the possibility of a romantic or sexual attachment.

I’ve always been somewhat jealous of the ease with which my gay friends establish friendships with women. I think that the reason is purely and simply that the possibility of romantic attachment isn’t there. I have many female friends, with whom there is an ease with each other, this has occurred as at some point the possibility of a romantic attachment was settled and moved on from, this settling usually happens sub-consciously, it is perhaps a product of time and getting to know the person. some women who I meet sometimes start acting dismissively as if I am seeking a relationship with them. What has disturbed me is sometimes men, even heterosexual men, start acting strangely towards me as if I am seeking a romantic relationship with them.

The thing that has troubled me about this is that it seems that everyone deals with this issue differently, and sometimes distressing situations can occur whereby individual systems clash. In Western society this is a particular problem, the society is so socially liberal that etiquette has been largely rejected, anything goes. Etiquette is a essentially a set of social rules to make social interactions easier. So, why has Western society adopted a position of making social interactions harder?

This has been an issue for me as I suffered from anxiety for so long that it has perhaps warped my own interaction system. Basically in my system I don’t seek relationships. I enjoy communicating with people, sometimes things click and there is a kind of understanding of who the other person is, sometimes there is a liking of that person,there are then three possibilities: 1/ Nothing, 2/ a friendship begins to form, 3/ a romantic relationship begins to form. For me, these things just happen.

It seems as though everyone has, perhaps it’s another personality spectrum, a degree to which interactions are monitored for the seeking of relationships, perhaps people always invest some effort in interacting in seeking a relationship. If this is the case, then perhaps I am at an extreme end of this spectrum.

What I have struggled with is that I am sensitive to people thinking that I am seeking a relationship, because it annoys me, as conversation dries up, the question you are asking is is no longer about the question but responded to as if by asking you are seeking a relationship. I feel like crying out ‘I’m not seeking a relationship, I’m just talking to you”. It seems that people once they get the idea in their head that you are seeking a relationship, normal relations are no longer possible, that can be very awkward, particularly in environments where you spend time together, such as a working environment. I find it quite ridiculous as both parties then go out of their way to avoid each other.

It is quite understandable how this situation arises. I do speak to women just because I am attracted to them. Fairly quickly one realises that they are not interested in a romantic liaison, I immediately take that on board and move on (Well I might find a corner to cry in at some juncture). However, some men, continue to seek relationships after this point, this continuing strategy does work, sometimes, as it is possible to change your mind after getting to know someone better. Such a strategy is generally acceptable, however if it continues it becomes harassment, how much to employ such a strategy varies as people are different, it is a grey area. Once members of a population use a strategy, there then arises a counter-strategy, the women develop strategies for dealing with unwanted attention, to monitor people for seeking relationships to trigger the defensive response. Really, the whole ‘game’ of finding a sexual partner is complicated and some people actively play this game.

This is perhaps why it becomes problematic for people such as myself, who are very low level relationship seekers. This group don’t seek relationships, so such people don’t really know what is going on when people are analysing a situation for relationship seeking. It is possible to think that this group are victims of being in a game they don’t know the rules of. It is tempting to join in and simply ‘play the game’, however fighting against your own personality is dangerous.

Of course, this non-relationship seeking is a strategy in itself, it is simply not purposefully used as a strategy. I have many male and female friends whom I’ve formed relationships with precisely because I wasn’t seeking a relationship. I like having relationships, I just hate all the faff involved in getting to a point of mutual trust and respect. The thing that perhaps bothers me is that social groups form due to social type, one only socialises with people like yourself. There are positives to only socialising with like minded souls, but it is also limiting, the perception is missing out on understanding other types of people.

Non-relationship seeking does tend to be the preserve of introverts. Because introverts are really happy to be alone, there is no need for social interaction to be fulfilled. Introverts simply like social interaction, but are equally happy doing things by ourselves. Then there is this low self-monitoring issue, whereby low self-monitors don’t change their behaviour to suit others.


Online Sexism?

Recently, I have set my foot into the world of online dating. It is an interesting and bizarre world. I may post more about this in future. The issue for today is how perhaps, online social activities influence real world interactions.

Anyone who has ever dabbled in internet forums, message boards, chat rooms or comments sections of articles, has probably gathered that there are many idiots out there, these people are referred to as trolls. Trolls, rather than engaging in a discussion, seem to delight in taking an extreme view and abusing anyone who responds to them. In the real world this wouldn’t happen in the same way. I grew up to respect others positions, in a pub discussion if you behaved disrespectfully, you would general getting punched for it. This really is the problem of trolling, is that it is relatively anonymous and there is no social consequence for behaving like an idiot.

In the arena of online dating, there should perhaps be less trolling as people are there to meet new people and form relationships rather than seek getting a rise out of people. Though it is online, so some trolling will occur.

Having set up a profile and sent messages to ladies who seemed interesting to me, I have yet to have any response at all. This seems odd, I have written to about 40 ladies, it seems rude to have no response to having taken the time to write something.  I thought that this was how it worked, the rules of the forum, that instead of communicating a lack of interest, no response was the accepted unspoken rule that such communities had developed.

Last night, having a look through some ladies profiles I discovered explanations of why some ladies don’t respond. Basically, it seems that when ladies have responded an stated a lack if interest, that there are men who don’t take no for an answer and persist in contacting these ladies. This makes sense if this is as prevalent as it seems, however isn’t there something sexist about treating everyone as if they were a harasser. This is creating an assumption or a prejudice that all men are going to act a certain way. As a bloke, I have developed behaviours to identify and reduce and prejudice I may have, for example I don’t judge a lady by what she is wearing. In the real world it is much easier to detect whether someone is interested in talking to you or not.

Having said that I also discovered that there are men who are very sexually provocative, sending pictures of their genitalia and suchlike, this is appalling behaviour. There also appear to be instances of people lying about who they are. What is the point of lying, as if a relationship forms, such things will be exposed. Then again , it’s like CVs, you write them to present yourself in a good light, this gets you a better job and once in it’s often easier keep someone in. However, i would argue relationships are different to job applications.

As it is acceptable behaviour in online forums to not respond to messages, this leaks into the real world. It becomes more acceptable to be rude and ignore people in real life. With a generation of people who spend more and more time in online activities, such leaking of social etiquette in to the real world, has consequences. Being of a generation that generally, worked to remove prejudice of all kinds, it seems that the generation behind is introducing prejudice back into society.

I wrote in an earlier post about how I have struggled with people, most often women, who assume that i am seeking a closer relationship with them, when this is something I only do in an explicit way. So, i have entered a forum ,where I am only seeking a relationship, so simply saying no should be really simple, but it seems for many people this is not the case? I am baffled!

Interpreting Science & Religion

I am a Scientist. I do sometimes feel sad about how often these things are misinterpreted, especially when such statements as ‘Scientists say…’ and the perception is created that it is that all scientists agree or that science itself has concluded something. I feel sad because this simply isn’t true. It’s an interpretation, conclusion forming and communication problem.

For example: ‘Scientists say “GMOs [Genetically Modified Organisms] are a good thing and implementation of GM technology must be supported”‘:

Science has an understanding of and discovered ways to manipulate the DNA of organisms. Scientists have used techniques developed in various applications, This is value free fact.

It is possible to interpret some individual applications of GM technology as beneficial. Scientists may interpret this potential of GM to do net good. Part of the role of the scientist is to discover things about how the world works and communicate these findings and potential uses. At this point science ends.

GM as being universally good? We are now entering into value judgements and forming conclusions. Really it is up to individuals and society in general whether something is potentially good. The conclusion that ‘all GM is good’ is absurd, each application has to be judged on it’s merits and some applications will be bad too. However it is difficult for policy makers and legislative bodies to create rules for. So, hopefully this makes clear the problem of lumping the process of truth, interpretation and rule making conclusion, into one misleading ‘Scientists say…’ statement.

I am a Christian and the exact same problem occurs in faith. For example “Christians say that justice is a good thing and must always be supported”:

Christianity is a religion, that assists people in connection with their spirituality/  the divine. This  enables people to enter a state of understanding and connection with the idea of universal love ,truth and goodness. That is what Christianity is, it’s not unique to Christianity, or even unique to religion. This connection with God through the Holy Ghost enables individuals to understand and connect with the concept of justice and know that it is good.

The secular person can equally understand the concept of justice. Perhaps rather than through spirituality, it is achieved by considering examples of justice and injustice until the concept is understood in the mind.

Any individual issue of justice has to be assessed on it’s merits as to whether it is a case of justice. Considering whether an act is a just act is an interpretation. Furthermore attempts may be made, that come to be understood empirically, to reach conclusions and create rules. Rules are not Christianity, they are an individuals interpretation, for example: ‘Christianity must be defended when attacked’ is an interpretation, subject to the frailties of human reason. So, it is equally wrong to make statements such as ‘Christians say justice should be defended’, isn’t a part of Christianity, it is an interpretation by some people who are identify as Christians.

Spirituality isn’t an easy concept to understand, even those of faith sometimes lose their ability to connect with their spirituality. I used to be Agnostic myself, so found it easy to criticise Christianity, because I didn’t understand what it was. It is the interpretation of Christianity, indeed conclusions by Christians that can cause problems.

Really because the brain state of spirituality is something discovered, rather than reached through logic, it is an emotional state, it is not easy to achieve. Much of Christianity, as a religion,  concerns biblical stories and rituals that assist adherents achieve spirituality. This is all symbolic and not literally true:

As a Christian, I believe in God, the father almighty. What is God? God is the brain state of achieving spirituality. God only exists in human minds, there is no corporeal existence in this universe. I believe God is eternal, because spirituality exists in the universe, any being with human-like mind can access this concept and the concept is eternal. Becoming a Christian is simply gaining access to God.

I believe in immortality. I have connected with my spirituality, which I call God, my physical body will perish, but I have connected with an eternal concept, that other humans will achieve after me, that is my immortality. I do not believe that my soul will endure in some spiritual realm, fraternising with angels and other souls, although this is a wonderful concept, it is not true, but does contain a sense of being on a path to achieving spirituality.

I believe that God created the universe, not as some supernatural creative force of matter and energy, but as the possibility that in an otherwise dead neutral universe of matter and energy, human beings are capable of love, of experiencing decision making with an awareness that there are good positive ways of acting and otherwise (the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Genesis creation story) and giving value to life and the universe. I don’t think humans will ever know how God was involved with the creation of this universe, to me this is not an important part of the faith, simply the belief is.

The words Christians use are more symbolic than literal. When I take communion, I do not believe that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ. I do believe that I have symbolically connected with Christ and that helps me achieve the state of spirituality and connection with the Holy Trinity.

What makes Christianity special, is it’s clothes. The stories that surround the faith itself and the tradition it is a part of. All religions are about achieving spirituality, it’s just that the clothes, the stories and rituals are different. The ‘rules’ are interpretations by specific sects of any religion, it is a shame that they are not always recognised as such. Everyone makes rules and creates fictions, to get through life more efficiently and keep ourselves happy, to achieve spirituality quicker, it is important to remember that they are all fictions and not absolute truths. I create and subscribe to fictions as a Scientist and as a Christian to achieve happiness, whilst retaining an understanding of what are universal truths and what are fictions/interpretations.

In Science as well, we make rules and form theories. These help Scientists make efficient progress. Good scientists are always aware that the general conceptualisation of a theory may not be quite right. Good scientists are always keen to consider that they have discovered something that reveals the bigger picture more clearly. Equally adherents of faith should always question teachings and interpretations of their faith,

It baffles me that people wish to ever lump Science and Religion together, to me this is absurd. Science is a way of gathering information about how the universe of matter and energy works. Religion is about fragility of the human mind and the force of seeking an ease with itself and the universe. They are almost entirely separate. I don’t believe you can have the universe with human like minds in it without God.

All too often, we go from simple concepts, along paths of reasoning, making a generalisation here, strongly identify with a particular case and reach interpretations and conclusions that have little to do with the initial concept.

Supporting Data

All too often relationships falter at the alter of misunderstanding. People become upset by perceptions of malice. By allowing the feelings of anger and sorrow to linger, people allow themselves opinions to become bias. This is partly the problem of nature of ‘supporting data’.

When people misunderstand  one another, a misinterpretation of intention is experienced. There is often a sense of unwillingness to be open and clear up the misunderstanding, partly because this is time consuming, requires careful thought and exposes any individual to a lot of individual personality history and quirks. Until, if ever, this occurs there is a period of upset.

So, as individuals we learn to deal with this period of upset. A simple solution is sass, to disassociate the self from the incident and not allow it to affect yourself. Otherwise as the individual doesn’t have access to all the data, or the other side of the story, they may suffer from the mortification that they have done something terribly immoral and begin to overly question themselves.

The support of friends is often sought, if affected. This requires a re-telling of the story. The friend will hear an account of how their friend has been mistreated by someone. It is not the whole story as the only data available is one side of the story. Nonetheless, the story, sounds like their friend has been mistreated. In any case, the other data is unavailable, what is important is to help their friend, to support them and reassure them that there isn’t anything wrong that they have done. Often, by implication, the other party is to blame. What often happens is that people are blamed without access to all the information.

This can be a problem as it can quickly occur that peoples labels outside the group can empirically seem to belong to a ‘bad lot’. Young men and women will often blame the other gender for social problems for example.

My concern is that this process is increasingly occurring in the media and indeed social media. Every day I become more exposed to bias data and less authoritative balanced accounts. It requires effort to ensure that you keep exposing yourself to a wide range of sources of opinions, to protect yourself from adopting the biases of groups to which you belong. Social media is particularly bad for this, for example on twitter, you tend to follow people who share your interests and general opinions, reinforcing your own bias.

My uncle, took a right wing newspaper (In the UK most mass media is right wing), he did this because he wanted to know ‘what the enemy was thinking’. As a younger man, I assumed that this was why most people read the newspapers they did, rather than one which reflected more closely their own position. Perhaps because, we are all insecure, we seek reassurance that what we think is all-right by reading/hearing similar opinions reflected back to us.

This is very dangerous. For example, the great lesson of the rise of Nazism in the twentieth century. A small minority of any population, tries to buck the system and commits crimes. The criminals will come from every religious, racial or social group. However if the dominant media only report , for example, the crimes of Jews and neglect to report those of other people, then the impression created is that Jews commit most of the crimes, when this has no statistical basis. This view became pervasive in Nazi Germany and was one of the causes of the terrible rise of Naziism. So it worries me now, that Muslims are now placed in a similar position in contemporary Western Society.

It is easier for people to feel that someone else is to blame and that it isn’t their fault, really because there isn’t enough data readily available to assess whether as an individual you are part of the problem or not. not readily available as it harder to locate data sources outside of your culture/ social group. Whilst difficult and non-commercial (the data sources will not be marketed at you), it is important that everyone does this, to spend a little time thinking outside of the generalisations we require to get by and stay positive.

People are distracted by the trivial, the serious is often mentally tiring and disturbing. Art is a great stimulus to the intellect and source of positive feelings. What makes something a rewarding piece of art is interesting, so often people seek the background to the art. As a starting point, one may seek to discover the artists background or biography. Beyond that people may become interested in gossip of the artist as celebrity (here beginning to concern the trivial). The ardent fan may seek personal information beyond, that required to understand the art, to feel a sense of personal connection to the artist. The bulk of popular media responds to this  by generally providing trivial data, at the expense of balance. Again, we become accustomed to this torrent of trivia and instead of vigilently questioning it, begin to accept these trivial opinions as truths, after all they are only trivial truths.

But, it affects democracy too. The idealised British democratic system is based upon politicians taking advice and data from a range of people, generally experts in the field, academics and captains of industry. Ideally, all this data is then rigorously discussed amongst politicians of a range of types, and compromises reached and policy enacted to improve the general situation. Whether the UK ever had this ideal is a matter for debate, however it is clear that this ideal is no longer the case. Today politicians only seem to take data from favoured (and hence bias) sources, there is little scrutiny. As I’ve said before, policy occurs to placate those identified as being important to appeal to for re-election and maintain relationships with favoured sources, rather than best policy.

So, having access to all data, not just from those that support us, is necessary for getting a balanced overview of anything. It is understandable not to do this all the time, as people need to live positively. Rather than question every hiccup, be aware that it is a way of dealing with incomplete data. People should remain aware of the risks of the explosion of data the internet exposes us too and the bias implied.

Giant Leaps

Discovery of something wonderful gives one a sense of newness, feeling fresh and alive. The energy acquired makes one desire to share this discovery with the world. There is also a sadness, that you have changed as a person and will never quite be the same again. however you have grown and are a better person for it.

This desire to share does create problems. Problems because what you have discovered is something that only really has relevance or is new to yourself. It terms of society, it is not new, with very rare exceptions such as scientific discoveries. So it is problematic as it is unnecessary to force this discovery onto other people, particularly when these other people are not aware of what it is that you have discovered about yourself.

it is perhaps once again the outsider issue. I discovered a few years ago, what it is to be happy, to be able to relax and be myself, that feeling disconnected from the world wasn’t a part of me, but a symptom of not knowing exactly what happiness was. I did communicate this to people, who were disturbed by it. I think that the reason they were disturbed was that they had never made the transition of being sad to finding out what happy is, that these people had a sense of always knowing what happiness was, hence find the concept of it’s discovery somewhat baffling.

What I have found interesting is that there are people who have understood my discovery. These people have had similar barriers to being comfortable within themselves, people who have spent a lot of time thinking in deep dark places. Such people can relate to similar experiences more readily than those who haven’t dwelt in negativity.

This phenomena has many examples in a wider context:

Religion: There are the people who discover their faith, their spirituality later in life. Some of whom then wish to convince the rest of the world of this truth they have discovered in themselves. such street corner preachers make a lot of people uncomfortable, particularly those without a faith. Others, of faith, who have grown up in a particular tradition have never perhaps made a great leap, but whose understanding of their faith has unravelled incrementally, a sense of the faith  always having been there, a sense of never having denied it.

New music/art: Probably most people at some point have discovered a new artist, whom they make a connection with, which they find exciting and life affirming. Again there is the desire to tell the world and more particularly, their friends about. There are also people who may have grown up with the artist, or who have known about the artist  earlier in their career, to whom there is less a a great leap of connection.

Sport: A new convert to a particular sport, or a new fan of a particular team, tends to have a more intense fervour of commitment and interest than the long standing fan, at least for a period of time after the discovery. In this case, there is less alienation of the new convert. There is less alienation as here the new person is joining a community that is distinct from the wider world, there is knowing that never will everyone be a convert to this particular cause. The discovery is one that is not based on anything inherent in the self, so there is always a point for everyone at which they discovered this love.

It is sad, that most of the discoveries people make are only of relevance to themselves, so communication of it should be restricted to family and friends, even if others were influential in making the discovery. Though often people are appreciative of someone simply expressing joy, without needing the specific details. There is a disdain for the preacher who only discovered something recently, however a reflective preacher who has deepened their understanding of a discovery, who can express the discovery in a new way is always I believe important.