Thursday, 11 March 2010

Hello Darlings...

This week I was wondering about ideological ambivalence. The cultural phenomenon whereby a culture is no longer inclined to make a full commitment to a set of beliefs, whether political, religious or even scientific. It is the culture of 'non-believing' but not of not thinking. In fact we think and know too much now not to doubt everything. We are taught to doubt and think critically in schools. We are wearily cynical of statesman, celebs and even the egg head men in white coats who used to be our culture's priesthood. Maybe it something to do with the gentle osmosis of ideas from Quantum Physics into wider culture, but I think nowadays we are only likely to asign a degree of probability to any truth claim. An example is the difficulty the scientists are having convincing us of global warming despite the hardest of hard sells. We are very ready to seize on some new doubt that has surfaced (or is that just about wanting to preserve our wasteful lifestyles?) However I think most of us are very suspicious of those who insist they are certain. Certainty is not a big cultural goal these days, in fact we think it is not benign at all. Having certainty means we are a lot less inclined to listen, to learn and perhaps, to tolerate.

This is particularly important to me because I believe some religous truth claims are possibly true. I think it is possible there is a God. Though at this moment in time, I think it more probable that there is no God, or at least no God of the Judeao-Christian kind. But I can't help doubting my doubts. Of course this way of thinking one might say, already has a label - 'agnosticism'. But agnosticism has the reputation of 'fence sitting' as if it is 'even stevens' whether God exists or not. In fact most people I know who are agnostics tend against belief - they lean very much one way on the fence. And agnosticism seems to become just another way of being basically irreligious without the certainty required by atheism.
However there are periods (since my fall from grace) when I have been inclined toward believing. Where I think God is probable. Say 70%, though the percentage is arbitrary of course. Thats not irreligious....thats wanting to believe but falling short. Such a form of ambivalence is welcomed neither by those who don't believe nor by believers. You have to understand that I think a believer, by definition, is pretty much certain. I can never be a believer if I am even 5% doubting God's existence. I can't sign up to a faith, say a creed..there is no place for the religiously ambivalent in most churches. And I wonder if one could even have a church or political movement that allowed ambivalence - it would be like a fighting army that wasn't sure of its cause. Pretty much useless - one might think - because for many ambivalence seems to undermine effort and direction. And double minded ness is condemned in Scripture too. Very harshly.

Yet we function just fine for most of our lives with plenty of ambivalence., lubricated by hope and trust. We have ambivalent feelings even about our nearest and dearest. Even love can survive days when we are not sure we want to be loving or are loved. Lets say then three cheers for ambivalence. Ambivalence is a profound thing, natural and good though appropriately enough, I don't quite know why.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Hello. This is my first attempt at a Blog. I thought I would create a blog to express my oh so interesting musings and flashes of creativity. Also my notes on what is going on in the world, as a soap box for my opinions and profound (naturally) reflections upon my spirituality (or the lack of thereof). They say never start a discussion at a dinner party about politics or religion... leave that to a blog. I know that it is very unlikely anyone will read my blog, less likely still they will care. But do you know how much private therapy costs these days? So its therapy for me...(sticks tongue out)

Anyway...some limited personal info. I am 39 years old. Straight but also equal opportunities. Married to a lovely lady with two bonnie daughters age 3.5 and 13 weeks. I work for a well known insurance company. (no, I won't is rumoured that there is a whole team in my company who's job it is to find defamatory comments about the company on the internet, then discipline and sack offenders.) I am quite recently qualified as a solicitor. Which professional status takes many years and lots of exams i.e much deliberate and sustained effort plus some luck. It is all the stranger then that I did not want to be a solicitor...not really, indeed I still don't. And (like most people in most jobs I'm sure) I would in fact like to be doing something else. What though?. Thats the problem. I don't know. Actually its not that I don't know what I want, only that what I want is next to impossible to obtain in 2010. You see, I can't imagine that anyone is going to pay me to be a full time Keen Observer of Life, or a philosopher-mystic, able to spend my days flatulating on the meaning of life (or lack of it) like some toga wearing member of the Ancient Greek Academy. Nor is there (as yet) popular clamour for me to become Galactic Emperor or even El Duce UK. And as for business leader, well unfortunately I'm not entrepreneurial. Merely organising a picnic fills me with enough anxiety. A booze up in a brewery would be well beyond my gift unless there was a book of rules and precedents I could refer to. Actually thats not entirely true as I do my job well enough (just in case you were concerned!)

In fact due to my high anxiety, high pessimism, high expectation, low patience character, I am currently having a mental breakdown at work. I suffer these mini breakdowns quite frequently. But I keep working. How about that for the 'stiff upper lip' approach? I should of course go off work with 'stress' . As do a fair proportion of the modern nation or at least the ones I deal with en route to their 'constructive dismissal' claim in the Employment Tribunal. No really I should throw a sickie. But its such a career damaging admission, that one is 'stress prone' and 'burnt out'. Instead i just manifest my breakdown by acting strangely. My time targets slip, I arrive late and stay late. I don't talk as much or talk too much. I get annoyed quickly. I forget to shave or do up my shoe laces or wear odd socks. Fortunately I don't have to see clients, I only listen to my customers on the telephone. [ Despite these querks I do ultimately remember  to do my job properly - i am a not so young recently qualified professional after all] and its just the rest of my life that goes to pot (not literally, at least not since I qualified and that incident in  Amsterdam).

There are various factors contributing to my current breakdown situation, mostly job related but i'm also having a bit of a 'spiritual crisis'. At the moment I must work through the issues though, includng my job. Until I find something else. Or until this cheap as chips Blog-therapy works. signing off for now.