Why The Pope Resigned

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

[Picture of Pope John Paul II]POPE JOHN PAUL II was charismatic, well-loved, and out-going. His almost 27 year-long papacy was outward looking, and that was a major problem for the Roman catholic church; it was falling apart both organisationally and doctrinally.

It’s difficult to put the view that John Paul II  was bad for the church because he was so universally liked. I am arguing that here that Pope Benedict was needed because John Paul was bad for the church, and because of what happened with John Paul in terms of infirmity and decline, Benedict had no option but to resign this week.

Pope John Paul promoted a lot of the ‘wrong people’ into powerful positions, and one of his favourites was the Rev. Marcial Maciel of ‘The Legion of Christ’ — who grew utterly corrupt, and extremely powerful and wealthy under John Paul during his last years with Parkinson’s Disease.

The church’s finances were questionable, and behind the scenes was an ever-growing corruption of many types. Nothing had been done about increasing number of the sexual abuse allegations reported about in the papers, and no-one feared the Pope in his many long years of declining health and ability.

Under Karol Józef Wojtyła as John Paul II , the Roman Catholic church had shrunk considerably, it was falling apart, and it seemed to be never out of the press for all the wrong reasons.

If only John Paul II has resigned before things had got so bad.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had taken a job that no-one else wanted, Read the rest of this entry »

How Design Really Changes Lives

Monday, 28 February 2011

IT IS often said that no-one notices good design, but everyone notices when cupboard doors collide, window latches cannot be reached, or games consoles break.  Everyone knows bad design.

It is true that we all put up with badly designed road traffic systems, and we know that cars could be designed better. There are many products, buildings, and organisational structures that could be improved upon with a little consideration and care.

Design — good or bad — is far more important than it gets credit for.  Design affects us all very deeply indeed.  It you think again about the phrase used to open this article —  if no-one notices good design, then it must be the case that it operates on an unconscious level.  So design is affecting us all the time, whether we know it or not.

Design can give us repetitive strain injury, design can help save lives. It is a wonderful thing, and I hope to show here how recent changes in design have changed us into 21st century people, and that it has affected our culture and lifestyles, and that it may continue to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Be A Boss

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

[Penguin leadership picture]A LOT of people say they want to be a boss without realising what it means for them.  You always have to give up something to get something else, and the trade off here is something that comes as a shock to many.

Ask any good boss — they will tell you that they found out early on that this means no friends in the workplace, and you have to accept that as the deal, but this causes problems for a lot of folk starting out.  In any workplace, it is easy to spot the serious, ambitious ones.  They shun small talk and fun in favour of climbing the corporate ladder. They do not need friends — that is the message.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why You Have to Be Nice

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

[Picture of a fanned out wad of dollar bills]EVERYONE ultimately has to be nice for survival.  This may appear counter-intuitive in a dog-eat-dog, cut-throat ambitious, capitalist and competitive world, but I shall prove it here as it is based on solid scientific evidence.

Psychologists Neils van de Ven, Marcel Zeelenberg and Rik Pieters of Tilburg University have shown that envy can be benign or malicious.  Benign envy can be “a good thing” in that the person being envied suffers no ill, and the person doing the envying gets motivated to at least try to become like their hero.  Malicious envy is more interesting (and surprising). Read the rest of this entry »

Why Lie to Children?

Monday, 1 November 2010

[Picture of archetypal Halloween thing -- the pumpkin lantern]HALLOWEEN is completely made-up; there’s no truth in it whatsoever. Every year it grows bigger and bigger, yet it is all lies.  Why? Why do we do this — why is this happening?

There are no werewolves.  There are no Vampires, mummies and no zombies.  Frankenstein’s monster is fiction. There are no witches, no warlocks, and no wizards. Magic is fiction; there is no black magic, no white magic and no spells.  Voodoo is hoodoo. I know this may come as a shock because they are so commonplace and acceptable to everyone from about the age of two upwards.

[Picture of Boris Karloff as a monster] [Picture of Lon Chaney as an Egyptian mummy in movies] Read the rest of this entry »

How Good Are You?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

[Picture of Simon Cowell on Red X Factor sign]MY ESSAYS on this site are about correcting so much that I encounter that is misunderstood, misinterpreted or wrong. I mix the anecdotal and personal with the scientific and philosophical — and even the religious. My aim is always to guide my reader to use his or her brains, to reconnect their experience to the truth, and not to correspond to the media’s revisionist version.

I like to think that I am not stating that I am 100 per cent right and everyone else is completely wrong, I just go on my own hunches, memories and knowledge base, and I ask my reader to consider the evidence and make up his or her mind.

Thank goodness too; the truth is that we are all very poor at estimating how clever we are, how skilled we are or even how stupid we are!

Round about the year 2000, came out the published experiments of David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University.  They came up with what-is-now-known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect has something of a wow-factor, and so I felt that I just had to share it here as it might prove useful to be aware of its existence. Read the rest of this entry »

Why People Stay Fat

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

[Picture of A FATTY]OBESITY seems to be a problem.  There is a solution, but vested interests means that the solution is hidden or confused by misinformation.

Before I tell you the solution, I suppose I have to qualify the above statement, and I have to eliminate all the counter arguments to clear the way for the solution to surface. Read the rest of this entry »

When To Stop

Friday, 21 May 2010

[Picture of trophy wave]WE are led to believe that we can finish things.  Indeed we are brought up with the clear understanding that things can only be “done” when they are “finished”.  It might therefore come as something of a shock to discover that this is a silly notion; almost everything we do — and therefore everything that has been “done”, is actually unfinished if you stop and think about it for a moment. Read the rest of this entry »

What Do We Know?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

[Picture of St Jerome in his Study 1480]IT is a misconception that as one ages one becomes more wise; for it seems to me that as I get older many things I have held as truths are actually false.

I’m not merely talking about Santa Claus, Mohammed or Jesus — I am talking about so much more.  And I am not alone; it seems that there is enough misinformation out there to make a as many as seven series of Stephen Fry’s television programme, “QI” — which deals exclusively in misconceptions. Read the rest of this entry »

Who To Vote For

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

ELECTIONS for a new UK government are to be announced within the next few weeks.

My subscribers and lurking readers will know that I am not convinced that we have the best form of government, regardless of what party wins (See What is The Best Form of Government); I am not a democrat.

I know that this can be quite a stunning remark, but I try to explain that democracy is impossible to define, and a myth at the end of the day in “What is Democracy Anyway?

However, we are where we are, and we Read the rest of this entry »