Leave of Absence 1692

I was invited to be on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News this morning – which I always find a great deal more intelligent than the Andrew Marr alternative on the BBC. I declined because I did not want to get up and get a 7.30am train from Ramsgate on a Sunday morning. I had a meeting until 11.30pm last night planning a conference on human rights in Balochistan [I still tend to say Baluchistan], and I have a newly crowned tooth that seems not to want to settle down. But I am still worried by my own lack of energy, which is uncharacteristic. Is this old age?

I also have some serious work to do on my Burnes book, and next week I shall be staying in London to be in the British Library reading room for every second of its opening hours. So there may be a bit of a posting hiatus. I have in mind a short post on an important subject on which I suspect that 99% of my readership – including the regular dissident commenters – will strongly disagree with me.

This is a peculiarly introspective post, perhaps because my tooth is hurting, but I seem to have this curmudgeonly spirit which wishes to react to the huge popularity of this blog by posting something genuinely held but unpopular; a genuine view but one I don’t normally trumpet. The base thought seems to be “You wouldn’t like me if you really knew me”.

Similarly when I wrote Murder in Samarkand I was being hailed as a hero by quite a lot of people for my refusal to go along with the whole neo-con disaster of illegal wars, extraordinary rendition and severe attacks on civil liberties, sacrificing my fast track diplomatic career as a result. My reaction to putative hero worship was to publish in Murder in Samarkand not just the political facts, but an exposure of my own worst and most unpleasant behaviour in my private life.

I am in a very poor position to judge, but I believe the result rather by accident turned out artistically compelling, if you don’t want to read the book you can get a good idea of that by clicking on David Tennant in the top right of this blog and listening to him playing me in David Hare’s radio adaptation.

Anyway, that’s enough musing. You won’t like my next post, whenever it comes. Promise.

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1,692 thoughts on “Leave of Absence

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  • glenn

    Here – maybe I ought to adopt Zoologist’s favourite method of debate – just drop semi-relavent sites into the discussion, and pretend it proves my point.


    US firm to remove Biblical references on gunsights

    A US military contractor has said it will stop engraving Biblical references on rifles used by the US army.
    The markings, in the form of coded references, have been appearing on products made by the US firm Trijicon, based in Michigan, for decades.

    But on Thursday, US military chief Gen David Petraeus, said the practice of scripture references was “disturbing” and “a serious concern”.

    The firm also sells the gunsights to Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
    The inscriptions – which include “2COR4:6” and “JN8:12”, relating to verses in the books of II Corinthians and John – appear in raised lettering at the end of the stock number.

    I have to suppose that not one single genuine Christian came across this, not any single one “for decades”, and found it outrageous that their religion was being used in a blasphemous manner.

  • Scouse Billy

    Are you not conscious, Clark?

    Course it’s fucking primary – how do any of us “perceive” anything without it.
    It’s just not amenable to quantification or qualification, therefore, (mainstream) science can’t handle it and prefers to ignore it.

    Sheldrake’s The Science Delusion might help you see the inherent assumptions in your “scientific position”.

    Perhaps, you should try Tom Campbell’s Munroe Institute lecture skipping the first 30 mins of course 😉

  • Clark

    Billy, personally, I think that some aspect of consciousness is primary and fundamental, rather than the conventional meme. However, I also think that other aspects of it are emergent properties. After all, the physical brain does seem to be involved.

    What I wrote was that QM and relativity can’t be derived from that assumption. It is up to you to show that they can be.

  • Clark

    Billy, I’m not keen on your assumption that there are ‘inherent assumptions in [my] “scientific position”‘. You haven’t even explored that with me yet.

    “It’s just not amenable to quantification or qualification, therefore, (mainstream) science can’t handle it and prefers to ignore it.”

    I don’t think that’s true. I think you’ll find that consciousness research is a very active part of science.

    Billy, part of a scientific approach is to be open minded. I’d be disappointed to find that there is no universal consciousness, but I’d be prepared to accept it if good enough evidence was offered. How about you? What if consciousness proves to be purely one of the “high level” brain functions?

    I don’t think this will happen, mind. It would end up leaving big problems in QM and relativity, I suspect.

  • glenn

    Why are we playing these stupid games with “new-agers”, where they can refer to more videos/sites than one can shake a stick at, and demand a refutation of them all?

    Scouse Billy is one of the worst for this. Refute this. Refute that. No, I’m not going to respond to any of it – here are a bunch more for you. And more. And more. Just keep chasing these sticks.

    Here’s a stick for you – learn some science, show some understanding of it, then we’ll be in a position to discuss things in real terms. Until then, this is just a playground-style exchange of fantasies.

    We can even discuss what science is, if you like. But a lifetime could be spent viewing (let alone refuting) every snake-oil salesman, new age “guru” who’s stuck up a video. And what’s the point, when your response to the most comprehensive refutation is to simply to refer to another?

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy, I regard Glenn’s complaint valid, though somewhat intemperately expressed. That said, I can understand Glenn’s frustration; you have acted as described, as have all the contributors on your side of the argument. Unless you reject rational analysis, you should support your propositions against specific criticisms of it. That’s how we proceed in science, politics (if it’s any good), courts of law (ditto), etc.

    What’s the alternative? “I say this so you have to accept it”?

    And if you’re a New Ager or whatever, what happened to “we’re all a part of the Great Spirit” and all that?

  • glenn

    Absolutely, SB! The point is that you’re not serving anyone’s benefit, not even your own, unless you consider deluding yourself further, and continuing to flatter your destructive ego, to be some sort of benefit!

  • Komodo

    Re. Tom Campbell: Excellent first degree, maths and physics. Must have taken a lot of work. Kudos. Did not complete PhD on nucleus of sodium-21 atom. Got job with NASA as systems analyst, general annoyer of technical staff (I’m guessing), not as physicist or nuclear physicist, as he is sometimes described. Nice-cut and paste, Sunflower, but the details are missing.

    Many academic types go mad* in later life, and embrace the current version of pantheism. (See William Crookes, Arthur Eddington etc). So I am not too bothered by the argument that ” a scientist believes in Madame Blavatsky, therefore Madam Blavatsky is genuine”

    And I completed my PhD. It taught me something about science and scientists. In particular, someone who starts his video with half-an-hour of autobiography is either a narcissist or trying to prejudice the audience in favour of his ideas.

    Got PhD, Sunflower? If not, by your very own reasoning, you are unqualified to criticise my posts. But I won’t pull rank.

    I’m still looking for peer-reviewed papers on this topic by Campbell. Relevant references to learned journal articles are mandatory when providing new scientific theories. There isn’t one on his website.

    Campbell and Monroe (rule #2 of selling bogus ideas; found an Institute – see American Enterprise Institute, Marshall Institute, etc)) are making it up as they go along, and selling it to punters who would like to think there is a Big Theory of Everything. Well, that takes creativity and honest salesmanship, and I have no objection to that. But it ain’t science, any of it. It’s pantheism.

    *It could be argued that the majority are mad in the first place.

  • Komodo

    Sheldrake: A little trickier, because as far as learned journals go, and on morphic resonance, such authoritative sources as The Journal of Psychic Research and a conference paper for The International Transpersonal Association, whatever that is, in Bombay are not ashamed to host his ideas. Nothing that does “orthodox” or, if you prefer, “NWO/Masonic/Rothschild” science. So he must be right, eh?

    He’s written a lot of books, though. I’d be interested to see the citations, if any, in those, but they cost too much and they’re not in the library. So, Wikipedia it has to be.


    There is some doubt about whether morphic resonance works, apparently. As well as the serious science community, some pretty off-the-wall revolutionary self-promoters in Sheldrake’s own mould realise that the experimental procedures that he claim prove his theory are pretty damn flawed. Including Stephen Rose, whos academic credentials are at least equal to Sheldrake’s.

    Sheldrake will lose his case of 2005 port, I’m thinking. The bet was made when apparently unused DNA on the genome was still called “junk DNA” because no-one knew what it did. Along with H-box genes, timing growth periods in various parts of the organism, and hence directly morphogenetic, Sheldrake may yet be in blissful ignorance of this.

    And, in the best traditions of “I don’t know how it works” scientists throughout history, Sheldrake invokes a field.
    This can be a very successful method (electromagnetism) moderately useful (gravity) or total pants (orgones). What suggests the latter is that Sheldrake makes up a lot of unmeasurable entities to support it.

    (I crave your indulgence in quoting Wiki in full on this):

    “Morphic field” is a term introduced by Sheldrake. He proposes that there is a field within and around a “morphic unit” which organizes its characteristic structure and pattern of activity.[19] According to Sheldrake, the “morphic field” underlies the formation and behaviour of “holons” and “morphic units”, and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts. The hypothesis is that a particular form belonging to a certain group, which has already established its (collective) “morphic field”, will tune into that “morphic field”. The particular form will read the collective information through the process of “morphic resonance”, using it to guide its own development. This development of the particular form will then provide, again through “morphic resonance”, a feedback to the “morphic field” of that group, thus strengthening it with its own experience, resulting in new information being added (i.e. stored in the database). Sheldrake regards the “morphic fields” as a universal database for both organic (genetic) and abstract (mental) forms.

    That a mode of transmission of shared informational patterns and archetypes might exist did gain some tacit acceptance when it was proposed as the theory of the collective unconscious by renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung. According to Sheldrake, the theory of “morphic fields” might provide an explanation for Jung’s concept as well. Also, he agrees that the concept of akashic records, term from Vedas representing the “library” of all the experiences and memories of human minds (souls) through their physical lifetime, can be related to “morphic fields”,[20] since one’s past (an akashic record) is a mental form, consisting of thoughts as simpler mental forms (all processed by the same brain), and a group of similar or related mental forms also have their associated (collective) “morphic field”. (Sheldrake’s view on memory-traces is that they are non-local, and not located in the brain.)[21]

    Oh, it’s pantheism, then. Only believe.

  • Scouse Billy

    Komodo, regarding junk DNA – Lipton would be the first to agree with you that it was absurdly thrown away but you might want to see what he has to say these days from his standpoint of epigenetics.

    Sounds like you have some catching up to do.

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy, you have some catching up to do. You haven’t posted the link I requested, you haven’t responded to my questions about your attitude to evidence and pre-conceived ideas, and you haven’t helped to resolve our apparent misunderstanding about whether QM and relativity can be deduced from the assumption that consciousness is primary.

    Or are you opposed to settling issues as they arise? If you want a big nebulous mess in which nothing can be established, OK, that’s your choice, but don’t go pretending it’s anything like science.

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy, 19 Oct, 12:52 pm;

    “…you might want to see what he [Lipton] has to say these days from his standpoint of epigenetics.”

    Link please? Or do you wish to waste the time of your opponents in order to cripple their effectiveness in this debate?

    And can you make it a link to something to read, please, rather than another hour-long video? You may find the stuff you post entertaining. I find such videos a waste of time, as there is little or no scientific content to scrutinise.

  • Scouse Billy

    No, Clark, I have my MO which is to post information for which some here, e.g., Tony Roma, sunflower etc. are grateful.

    You seem to have problems with open questions and categorisation.

    I surmise from your need to pigeon hole/stereotype people or positions within your (subjective) terms of reference as an inability to deal with uncertainty – that is you are a categorical or binary thinker.

    Further and I think consequentially you seem to see exchanges here in competitive terms – right v wrong, winner v loser, friend v foe. This ego protection appears frequently in categorical and dogmatic thinking personalities.

    You also appear to demonstrate an emotional attachment/investment to your views and cannot comprehend that I don’t – my “ego” does not come into it, yours presumably does.

    As sunflower already alluded to, I am not here to spoon feed you or anyone else my precis of the talks, presentations, ideologies or paradigms of those I link to. I post them so that others who are interested can acquaint themselves, interpret and accomodate.

    It is unwise and futile engaging with someone who will not or can not take in the information sufficiently to enable discourse on the same level, particularly when their past behaviour suggests a psychopathological subtext.

    Lipton’s work is readily accessible via youtube etc. I have found the time to research precisely because I refuse to engage in dull fruitless argument with those that are unwilling or unable to do the same.

  • Scouse Billy

    Clark at 1.41pm:

    “…do you wish to waste the time of your opponents..”

    “…I find such videos a waste of time, as there is little or no scientific content to scrutinise.”

    You introduce the term “opponents”.

    The messenger (me) has somehow attracted opponents 🙂

    You find my links a “waste of time” with “little or no scientific content”.

    So why not ignore them instead of engaging?

    I rest my case.

  • Clark

    “I surmise from your need to pigeon hole/stereotype people or positions within your (subjective) terms of reference as an inability to deal with uncertainty – that is you are a categorical or binary thinker.”

    I may be a “binary” thinker, but the fact that you have categorised me as such suggests that you are, too. Please explain my error in this judgement.

    “This ego protection appears frequently in categorical and dogmatic thinking personalities.”

    You’re calling me “dogmatic”, which means that I can’t change my thoughts or learn. You will find many places just on this blog where I have changed my mind. For instance, Angrysoba’s arguments led me to changing my mind about various things, including my attitude to nuclear power generation.

    “my “ego” does not come into it, yours presumably does.”

    Really? How can you tell? The ego is the self-image. If it projects the illusion of its own self-disinterest, you could only discover that through careful contemplation and self-observation. How much meditation have you put into verifying your claim?

    “It is unwise and futile engaging with someone who will not or can not take in the information sufficiently to enable discourse on the same level, particularly when their past behaviour suggests a psychopathological subtext.

    Lipton’s work is readily accessible via youtube etc. I have found the time to research precisely because I refuse to engage in dull fruitless argument with those that are unwilling or unable to do the same.”

    “Same level”. Do you believe the level you discuss at to be superior?


    (1) I perceived some “advice” you gave as disrespectful in the extreme, as you recommended a fraud whose treatment could prove fatal to a friend of mine. I became aware of feelings of anger within myself. I was aware of this, as demonstrated by the fact that I communicated it to you. This demonstrates my self-awareness.

    Despite your recent claim of having time for copious research, you continued to present entirely unbalanced “advice”. My anger increased to feelings of violence. This was not disproportionate, as your advice, I repeat, could have proven lethal. Note, however, that my feeling of violence were directed at myself. Psychology has shown this to be a common response to abuse in powerless individuals.

    You now describe my reactions as entirely a matter within my personality, omitting any possibility of responsibility of your own. Is this compatible with universal consciousness?

    (2) You have again categorised me, but you claim that is something that I suffer from, implying that you don’t.

    “someone who will not or can not take in the information”
    “those that are unwilling or unable to do the same”:

    You again categorise me as inferior to yourself. This contradicts both (1) your claim that only I suffer from “binary or categorical thinking” and (2) your own claim to being free from the influence of ego.

    Scouse Billy, I find the attitude you display in the comment above infuriating, arrogant, and uncooperative.

  • Clark

    “So why not ignore them instead of engaging?”

    Short answer: due to my respect for honesty and the truth.

    This blog was started by Craig Murray in order to publicise the truth about torture and other human rights abuses, because the corporate media would barely report it.

    Over the years, this blog has developed to cover much more than that, exposing certain truths about, among other subjects, Alisher Usmanov, Adam Werritty, US pressure upon the FCO, etc. etc. etc.

    Then you arrive, and start using what appears to me to be pseudo-science to reduce the legitimacy of, among other things, climate science, and, it seems, science in general.

    Part of what I do here is to expose the agents of disinformation. I make little distinction whether they are paid “shills”, or merely misguided, because I’m unlikely to determine that one way or the other. I am presently arguing with you in order to form my opinions.

    In short, Scouse Billy, I engage because I care. You do not seem to, but you are welcome to try to convince me otherwise.

  • Clark

    Scouse Billy at 19 Oct, 2:59 pm:

    ‘You introduce the term “opponents”.’

    Yes, the arena of scientific argument is adversarial; that is one of its great strengths. Similar examples include democracy and courts of law.

  • thatcrab

    I have a particular dislike of JGs contributions. It seems to me anyone can have a blindspot, or a figment or two in their outlook, i have had and surely still do have many. But JGs output seems to consist almost entirely of carefuly composed folly, and he occasionally more than hints at derangement: It is only a week or so since he claimed that the legalisation of homosexuality is part of an orchestrated attack on western culture, and that homosexuality is the root of most sexual abuse… then a week later i read him swapping bare unsummarized youtube links to hell knows what while schmoozing about entropic formulations of love and hate!

    I personally find, eg. Cryptonym to be a great and responsive source of contentious alternative perspectives, and other commenters some present do occasionally reveal and add discernable sparks too. When far field stuff is on topic, it is *Gold* because the mass of interest in the topic sinks it or floats it. But besides some on topic contributions, i have only ever seen to say the least ‘messy’ far field material proffered, or exchanged by a small group, which has to be engaged with each time, or else it stinks out the forum.

    It is not right that off topic asides are used to publicise and associate some of the most contentious material that is possible, with the suberb material and discussion and arguements that are underpinned by solid lights such as Craig and Mark and Mary.

  • Clark

    Thatcrab, are you confusing JimmyGiro with Scouse Billy? It was Sunflower and Scouse Billy swapping “unsummarized youtube links […] about entropic formulations of love and hate”; I’m pretty sure JimmyGiro wasn’t on about that. JimmyGiro’s thing is “Feminazis” and “Manginas”, ie. radical feminists, female and male, respectively. He often comments about Ritalin being over-prescribed, mostly to boys, and yes, it was him ranting on about pedarasty, homosexuality and a Marxist-Feminist plot to undermine, er, the wonderful society we had before the plot was initiated.

    Grief, we get’em all here, eh? Remember the following? Sunflower’s description of Glenn to A Node:

    “It’s arrogance A Node, deeply entrenched arrogance. Coming from a delusional misconception of superiority engraved in the mind since the cradle. It’s a clone of Theodore, devoid of all empathy and hell bent on destroying anything of virtue in society.”

    Lovely, pure Sunflower seems to have some way to go before reaching Scouse Billy’s enlightened state of complete independence from ego. Or something like that.

  • Sunflower

    Scousebilly, any other forum you read and post to? Would be nice to keep in touch 🙂 Btw, I watched The Science Delusion the other day. Devotees of Scienceism as Sheldrake puts it.

    Take care Clark and Komodo, nothing was personal on my behalf. Wish you the best.

    We’re just two lost souls
    Swimming in a fish bowl,
    Year after year,
    Running over the same old ground.
    What have we found?
    The same old fears.

  • Clark

    Hey, Sunflower, some of our chats have been quite pleasant, and you’ve been a useful foil for demolishing the “Assange is a double-agent, Wikileaks is a honeypot” argument. It does take two to tango, and you have danced well at times. If you fancy exploring why I think that QM may provide a possibility of Universal Consciousness, we could pick up that conversation from where we left off. But I’d appreciate some attempt to keep things just a little more focussed.

  • Clark

    “Seek freedom, and become the captive of your own desires.
    Seek discipline, and find your liberty.”

    Frank Herbert, Dune.

  • glenn

    SB smirks, “The messenger (me) has somehow attracted opponents 🙂

    Indeed he might. Someone who knowingly imparts deception will attract opponents of deceit. Nothing too unfathomable about that.

    I daresay you do have your little clutch of followers, SB, and the charge that that gives you is what makes all this worthwhile, clearly. Hell, if you were good at it, you might actually make some good scamming money.

    But my problem with you, SB, is that you know you’re not telling the truth. This deception is deliberate – that’s why you won’t discuss the patent falsehoods, and use the tactic of swiftly moving to another to bore or wear down those that point this out.

    As Clark has mentioned – this website is set up by a brave man who lost everything but his integrity, because the truth mattered to him more than anything else. You’re riding his website with the very opposite of motives. You’re afraid of the truth, which is why you won’t discuss a subject much beyond your initial assertion.

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