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The Red Book

One sunny day when Jung was twelve, he was traversing the Munsterplaz in Basel, admiring the sun shining on the newly restored glazed roof tiles of the cathedral. He then felt the approach of a terrible, sinful thought which he pushed away.

He was in a state of anguish for several days. Finally, after convincing himself that was God who wanted him to think this thought, just as it had been God who had wanted Adam and Eve to sin, he let himself contemplate it and saw God on his throne unleashing an almighty turd on the cathedral, shattering its new roof and smashing the cathedral. With this Jung felt a sense of bliss and relief such as he had never experienced before”

- From “The Red Book” by C.J Jung

I’ve been laughing so hard and for so long over this it’s ridiculous.

The Red Book

 

The Washing Machine

Yesterday I had the pleasure of explaining an “automatic washing machine” to a 90 year old lady. She was genuinely amazed to learn about a machine that has different settings, reaches different temperatures and washes everything thoroughly before draining all the water out and with just the touch of a button.

This is just one of the many reasons I love old people.

Antique Washing Machine

 

Chief NHS Penis

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As if his words might not do the trick, Mr Stevens (Penis of the Highest Order) opted to appear as though rolling with laughter at having his blood pressure checked.

 

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Springer Spaniel Selfie

Piss wet through but stops dead to strike a pose.

 

SPAN AND CASS

 

Religion. Atheism. Dunno-ism and Close Encounter-ism.

This post is on the back of a conversation elsewhere regarding all things religious, atheist and that murky bit in-between.   I don’t want to come across as though I’m posting this as form of putting the boot in (I’m not) but it’s about something that’s often misunderstood and I figured relevant to respond to and cover as a post.

Linking with permission because it’s fairer to post it in its entirety.

http://itssupereric.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/the-misrepresentation-of-atheism/

OK.  When I say I’m “neither here nor there”, that’s exactly what I mean. I’m on neither side of the fence or even sitting cowardly on top of it.  I’m effing miles away wandering in a meadow full of buttercups.

I was raised by a God-fearing Irish Catholic mother who’d been raised and taught by mean nuns. Really mean nuns. You can imagine the fallout from that.

As a result I attended Catholic schools, was taught by God-fearing teachers and damned to burn in hell for all eternity because I dared to question what didn’t make sense to me even as a seven year old. My parents separated when I was about three so when I told the priests I was from a single parent family and didn’t go to Church on Sundays because Mum was too busy working her arse off to feed us, they damned her to a fiery eternity too. I didn’t get why God would damn her to hell for doing what she had to do or why he’d send babies to purgatory because their parents didn’t manage to get them christened before they died or why he was so mean to what we were led to believe were his own children. (That got me another damnation because it’s blasphemous and insolent to question a priest)

Anyway, that was my introduction to religion. It made no sense and I didn’t particularly like the idea that God would just throw a strop and burn everyone at the drop of a hat.  He sounded a bit of a bastard actually.

So with the end of school, religion and I didn’t remain friends and off I went. The next encounter I had with religion was when I was training to be a nurse and spent time working with the elderly and terminally ill. An awful lot of people buy into religion right when they’re at their lowest and/or at the last minute out of fear or hope or some comfort / reassurance. Some say it’s a cop out – like a last minute lottery ticket they hope will cancel out their life up until then and bag them a place in Heaven. It’s a very common thing with elderly and dying people to find God.

However, regardless of the time and place they find God, it goes an incredible way to giving them find comfort, reassurance and a peacefulness that helps them deal with what’s coming and not fear it. I’ve cared for people of different religions in the final months, weeks and minutes of their live but no matter which religious box they fall into, they all seem to draw such enormous strength from feeling sure they’re soon going to be in Heaven or wherever.

Some will say they know for sure they’re going to Heaven which I always think is nice. It must be nice to have such a strong and genuine belief that you’re going somewhere else that’s a whole lot nicer and weather much brighter.

Some hope but aren’t entirely sure so ask me to sit with them and pray quietly but most ask me outright where I think they’re going once their body gives up.

Although I don’t share their actual belief and know full well none of us can say with absolute certainty what’s going to happen, I’ll say “I don’t know where we go but I tell you what – I do hope you’re right and that you and the Mrs will be catching up soon enough” and then sit and hold their hand whilst they pray but never in a million years would I say anything along the lines of “I don’t believe in God so don’t see the point and don’t really want to pray with you” because that’s cruel beyond belief.

It would take away the one thing they have left and make me an absolute wanker of the highest order.

What fascinates me even more is where people without any religious belief draw strength from and the experiences they have during the final days and hours of life. Some hallucinate (very common due to meds and the whole process of everything shutting down) and many have almost identical but very specific types of hallucination and behavioural traits – even when the person may have suffered from some sort of dementia or other illness and injury that otherwise means they have lived for years with damage to certain parts of the brain.

*Let me stop before anyone they start with an explanation of what happens when the body and brain are shutting up shop and causing all sorts of havoc and confusion upstairs. I’m well aware of what happens*

The first person I ever sat with was a chap we suspected wasn’t long for this world. For the best part of a twelve hour night shift, he kept seeing “Bob” moving barrels of beer around the place they used to work at.  He knew his workmate was dead and so strictly speaking, knew he shouldn’t be able to see him working in the place they did 50 years ago but at the same time, he didn’t worry or panic that it might mean he was seeing a ghost, losing his marbles or going to die at any moment.

Often when people hallucinate, they get upset or anxious if you say you can’t see what they can but for whatever reason, this seemed an entirely different type and combined the full range of hallucinations. He picked at the air delicately with his finger and thumb as though trying to grab what I call a “sugar stealer” (others have different names for but is the remainder of a dandelion and looks like this)

ImageHe could smell the grease and oil, hear the clanking of barrels being put down and told me if their old gaffer could see what he could, he’d “play pop” and then giggled at the thought.  He saw his sister and some other people I assume were relatives or friends but their appearance meant he seemed to know his time was up and with that came the loveliest smile and an immense and profound calmness that said “I’m ready for this. Bring it”

If you’ve ever taken LSD, try to imagine a “nice” trip where you know what you’re seeing isn’t there but aren’t scared but just feel sad you can’t engage and share with everyone else what ace stuff you’re experiencing.

This video is perhaps the best example I can give of what it was like with this chap or at least how I related to him emotionally. He was as calm, peaceful and for want of a better word as “Happy” with what was going on as this woman is.

1950s Housewife in LSD Experiment

He acknowledged it probably meant he was on his way but wasn’t agitated, confused or disorientated as to time or place so in-between talking to his mate and sniffing the air to smell the hops he’d not smelled for years, he would turn back and talk to me without once wondering what was going on or feeling scared. He didn’t try to convince me Bob was there, get mad because I couldn’t see him or wonder what the hell was going on.   It was just like he was tripping balls and totally immersed in every moment of it until he drifted off to sleep and then it all stopped.

As years went on and I’ve become familiar with the whole business of dying and death, this sort of thing has featured quite heavily. I don’t know whether it was just part of the dying process, the drugs or whatever but there is often a certain “clarity” if you will that’s difficult to explain.  (The “picking” at the air for something really small is very common but when I ask, the person is almost always so engrossed in whatever it is they’re doing that they never respond so I’ve yet to suss that one out)

The only thing I almost envy in a sense is the way that people with religious beliefs have such a strong faith, they don’t have the same type and level of anxiety as others and more often than not, haven’t any at all.

My atheist husband is an engineer whose entire adult life has been maths, physics and chemistry so to him, unless and until there’s evidence to suggest otherwise, we’re just fine dining worms or good burning material after death. Even still, he takes issue as do I with people aggressively trying to disprove or discredit God and is equally frustrated with the “Pick one or get out” stance.

I’m not going to stand outside churches with a placard that says “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE BUT IF YOU DO – YOU’RE AN ARSEHOLE!!!” and I won’t scoff at or argue with anyone with a firm belief one way or the other.  There’s no need.

Whether it sounds like a cop-out or just downright flaky isn’t something I care about either but I’m not entirely sold on the idea that we just die and that’s it. Don’t ask me why because there’s no actual reasoning at all. It’s essentially nonsensical and makes me sound like a total stoner but what I think isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) anyone else’s concern.

It’s just a personal thing that would make no sense to anyone else in the world but it doesn’t need to. It’s just for me.

So that’s what I mean by I’m good with any / all religion provided it’s followers understand not everyone else will agree or want to sign up and more importantly, that they respect this and do nothing else.

Belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true even without proof.

Some people believe that being born on a particular date means you’ll have set personality traits. Some believe that your life is set depending on what day you were born and what your given name is. Others believe there is an all-seeing, all-knowing God we don’t want to meet the wrong side of because he can be a right bastard.

I’m not convinced that Big foot is out there terrorising fishermen and campers that for some reason always posses dodgy cameras and I must admit to wondering why aliens can manage to defy the laws of physics and crack travelling through time and space only to get here and need enormous, brightly coloured flashing lights but some people are entirely convinced that this is the case.  I’m hopeful that if they are real and pay us the odd visit, they blast the horn like this.

Red-neck aliens.  Magic.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t and don’t ridicule someone for having different beliefs.  I might find them odd and depending on how odd I find it, usually ask about it in a bit more detail but more because I’m genuinely curious.

You can’t disprove something that offers no proof or evidence to begin with so the dialogue between two people of opposing belief is a non-starter.  Why feel the need anyway?

Beliefs are not harmful – people are harmful. There are and will always be people that think you “catch” homosexuality or think black people are to be avoided not allowed to cook or serve food. I work with the elderly and trust me – they really can be the most discriminatory set of people you can find.

I don’t take issue about what I know are racist tendencies with an older person (many are) provided they don’t let their views spew over and cause hassle and upset for those concerned. You can’t stop them from thinking what they think and at the grand age of 90yrs or whatever, it’s a bit late to start trying but I will not tolerate anyone of any age that can’t or won’t keep a lid on things and becomes disrespectful.

Sometimes people will have general false beliefs about day to day things and again, provided this isn’t causing harm or putting anyone else at risk – that’s their shout.

I spent several years working with a safeguarding team for social services and often had to sit and look at a set of what to me were strange circumstances and lifestyle choices before working out whether it was causing them or anyone else serious risk or harm.

One or two had the strangest beliefs such as a woman that thought she could see my “aura” whenever I visited and the gent who honestly believed there was no so such place as Spain.

No idea what that was about but he wouldn’t have it and said “Spain” was a myth and there was no reason for us to convince him otherwise so we went with it.   So yeah… There you go.  There’s no such place as Spain.

Regardless of the belief, nobody should ever be given special rights, privileges or immunity from prosecution or otherwise get away with breaking the law or worm out of something by means of a “Religious Card”.   Ever.   You can’t go round murdering young girls because they’ve given a bit of lip and disobeyed their father and you can’t stone people, cut off limbs or stand outside churches, clinics and hospitals for the purpose of intimidating, harassing and abusing people that don’t share your beliefs either.

It makes my piss boil to hear that medical professionals are refusing to treat certain people because “it’s against my religion” and don’t think they should be entertained for even a second. If you don’t like or want to do what the job involves – always has and always will – then you’re in the wrong job.

The priority is and always will be protecting and caring for the vulnerable. If your religion or personal beliefs mean you can’t care for anyone and everyone that should need it – you’ll be at home selling cars for Arnold Clark and harassing their customers on a daily basis but do not hold up the card of your choice because you can’t be arsed / don’t like / don’t agree or just don’t understand.

You don’t have to understand or agree.  You just have to be respectful and professional.

One girl at our place is a devout Muslim but never mentions it and never refuses a request to sit with someone whilst they pray etc. Once when a lady died on our shift, she quietly asked if I thought her daughter would mind if she said a few words traditionally given after death which was s a fond farewell / blessing if you will.

To this day I have no idea what she said but I and the lady’s daughter agreed it was really quite touching and a lovely thing to see and hear.   She was mindful of the fact that it might not be considered appropriate and respectful to have asked and made sure.

Another time, I nearly wiped the floor with a nurse I overheard trying to sign someone up for God even though they’d already made clear that they didn’t believe in Heaven, Hell or any of that other stuff she was on about.   Her sales pitch was based on their status of “dying and really needing that one last straw”.   That’s inappropriate to the point of abusive and guaranteed to rile me just as much as hearing someone tell another that “God doesn’t exist”

I have no problem at all with people thinking religious or spiritual people have a bit of loose wiring somewhere up top and similarly, have no problem with people thinking God has a big white beard and wears a robe.

So with that in mind, I like to think that there should be no problem with me not being entirely sure but having mixed views based on a nice combo of science, logic, reasoning, irrational thoughts and numerous personal and professional experiences.

They’ve made me that bit more reluctant to tick myself into any box but I’m not closed to the idea of anything or anyone being right, wrong or a half-arsed fence sitter.  If anything I think not choosing and / or sticking rigidly and aggressively to one thing or the other makes me the  least blinkered.

So whilst someone somewhere gets ready to launch an epic assault in response to this, I’m pissing off back to the little meadow full of buttercups and butterflies with just Thomas Newman and my thoughts for company.

Life is too short, too precious and our earth far too beautiful to waste it arguing the toss.

YouTube Comments

I was supposed to be in bed about two hours ago but as so often happens, YouTube distracted me.

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I just met the most pissed person in the entire world

His name is Dave.   He was making a good effort to leave the pub and go home when I spotted him and stopped the car because on my life, he was doing the “Smooth Criminal” move right there.

Even more impressive is that despite copious amounts of alcohol steaming round his system, he was bustin’ the moves on a pub car park whilst holding a tray of chips and not one was left behind.  The whole platoon was saved.

You know the video of that poor guy trying to get round the store for more beer and finding out his legs have fallen out with the rest of his body? That’s the level of pissed this chap was only he managed the moves and didn’t drop a single chip which means Dave wins.

Anyway, the good and decent people out there will be pleased to know I personally made sure he got home safely and was told by his neighbour this is a regular thing.

Sad really but I cannot get my head around how anyone can get that pissed.

I’d spew up my own pelvis bone and toes before I’d reach this point.

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