Friday, 27 February 2015

Kundalini Thinking

Some believe that there is an unconscious and instinctive, indeed libidinal, force that can be felt as a physical phenomenon. Others deny its existence. Those who say it exists win the argument for the simple reason that, if they feel it, then it is there as a reality for themselves. If it is a reality in the context of their own perception, then, unless they are outright liars, even if it cannot be measured scientifically, it exists - end of story.

A mental state does not require general social approval to exist. It merely has to be experienced as real. A delusion is a real mental state but it is a delusion in the context of social and not individual reality and so not a delusion about its own state of delusion-ness. We may go on to apply all sorts of metaphor to such a felt libidinal force. We may develop vitalist theories or call it a serpent power or a goddess or use lots of sanskrit gobbledygook. We may try to make it more than it is by giving it value and romance - but at the end of the day, it is simply what it is: a sense of experienced reality that is real to the person experiencing it and different from mundane 'normal' existence in the world.

This force may, of course, not be experienced identically in every person who experiences it (as we write there is a furore on the internet over whether a dress is blue and black or white and gold which is really a furore over human perception in the face of the variable outputs of our electronic world) but there are some common denominators in the descriptions of such forces (once we get past the spiritual guff) that suggest that people who have this sense, whether intrinsic to their nature or intermittently experienced, are all experiencing the same phenomenon.

There is no issue with saying that the experience might be bio-chemical nor that the experience has such meaning to a person that this meaning might force a person to engage in some sort of struggle with others, indeed with society, to be permitted to engage with his or her own experience as good and worthwhile. It might be this that forces us to have to face the 'reality' of Islamist gnosis. Experience of, and existence with, this force is a defining issue in human freedom because the spiritual guff may well be nothing more than a pragmatic attempt to 'justify' (when no justification should be necessary) something that is difficult to communicate and is not a universal phenomenon in a social context. The issue is not the normalisation of people but the harm done to others by abnormalised experience - which would brings us back to statue-smashing Islamists.

For historical and cultural reasons related to the pragmatic exercise of power and the discomfort and anxiety of the those who cannot comprehend this force, or perhaps to relieve the anxiety of those who experience this force but are not given a language for it that is positive, the force’s own existence and value may be denied but only as once it might have been denied that the earth could be round. It may be that the person who feels this force is faced with such resentment and incomprehension from those who do not feel it that they are obliged to create a mythology and religious or cultic context rather than be able simply to say what should be said - 'this is what I am and you just have to live with it'.

Perhaps organized religion was and is the revenge of those who feel this force on the uncomprehending only, in one of many paradoxes that will we see in this Note, to see this revenge appropriated by pragmatists who thereby exerted their revenge on the revengers in turn! The lack of a language of assertion in the modern world for those who feel this energy means that the force-full are always placed on the defensive. This defensiveness extends to their very natures, in the round, as people different to the pragmatic mainstream. They constantly have to justify their difference!

A barrier is equally set up for 'intermittent' experiencers who learn to experience their difference in shame or silence instead of discussing their moments of difference openly or being permitted to create some personal meaning out of it, while those who live in a permanent state of relationship with this force are obliged to become not merely silent but secretive - or cloak themselves in that cultic nonsense we have already noted.

Perhaps much of the essentialist nonsense surrounding spirit that seems to have led to the absurd institutions of organised religion come down to little more than this - that non-sense has been a necessary defensive weapon for those who feel this libidinous force in an uncomprehending society. They are obliged to re-cast that which is not permitted in order to be open and then turn it into something false but socially acceptable. Of two main strategies for coping, our culture may have chosen the wrong one in the past because of resource constraints and the need to maintain social order but our social order may now no longer require communitarian falsehoods.

There is the opportunity to replace a strategy of silences and displacements with a new strategy of assertiveness and for the stripping away of all those accretions that force those who have a sense of their internal biochemical power to give absurd meanings to a surprisingly simple phenomenon. Social authoritarians remain rather frightened of this force because it is creative and innovative but it is also centred on a gnostic relationship to itself as not only desire is but as all other forms of high emotion and constructed meaning are so centred. High emotion and intense meaning are frightening to many people. The co-existence of non-reason with reason causes anxiety.

For social authoritarians, an inner force that cannot be reasoned into ‘normality’ must be repressed and contained. In the worst case, it becomes redrafted as 'sin' or even into particular 'sins' such as Lust which may then be rationally contained in a numbering system (the '7 Deadly Sins', for example). Nor is this force to be assumed to be simply sexual (the sexual may have a higher or lower place in its expression in particular individuals). The force is a general force that is not easily explained in conventional language. It may also have very different expressions in different people - the 'desire' that exists within it is also a form of yearning or love that need not at all be focused on, say, orgasm at all.

The force may equally well be focused simply on a state of being, one that has had accreted to it terms like 'spiritual' but whose terms are far too limited by such language, language designed merely (as I suggested above) to contain, channel and socialise something infinitely more complex that, in itself, needs no myth of universal consciousness or divinity. The ancient Indians would have seen this force as sleeping, dormant, a potential in the human condition. I am not so sure. Their analysis is based on a determination to see human beings as operating within some universal type or essence of human nature.

It is far more likely that it is present or not present to different degrees of intensity, possibly even circumstantial in its form to environmental conditions, in different persons, often at different times of their lives. This lack of essence to the force is why it presents such a difficulty to men and women who demand fixed essences instead of accepting existence as Heraclitean flux. It is why it is not merely contentious but a subject of anxiety, horror, social control and re-invention.

Whatever this thing is, it presents two immediate problems – how do I describe it to myself in order to manage it and how do I explain it to the world? Both exercises require that it be expressed linguistically or in terms of some ritual which, in itself, starts to remove a person from the actual experience. The degree to which this ‘force’ is shared is the degree to which it becomes exponentially attenuated so that the intense connection between individual persons (‘love’ included) becomes revised into a weak spirituality that ultimately leads to the psychic onanism of universalism and the covering of the experience with cultural layers and language that bend the experience into tribal or, again, cultic paths.

To some extent, it might be useful to create a theory of the force – in the Indian tradition, there are introspective models that lead to concepts of energy channels (nadis), subtle energy (prana) and essential elements (bindu) within a subtle body. Something similar takes place in the Chinese Taoist and Western alchemical traditions. But it is important to see these descriptions as allegorical and not as necessary truths. They exist to manage, control and communicate but not to ‘live’. The practitioner who believes in these forms has taken a step away from the truth.

Hindu, Chinese and Western language of the force should really be seen not as truths in themselves but as different technologies of 'spiritual' exploitation to which many other technologies of the past and the future might be added – including, possibly, a monist materialist scientific one as the science of mind and body progresses. The descriptions of the schools all taken together are mistakenly read as referring to some ‘perennial philosophy’ where the underlying reality is assumed to be of some universal quality where consciousness is to be set against matter. This is absurd because it mistakes the effect for the cause.

Instead, we have to think of the sensation of 'spirit' as an intrinsic quality of some forms of matter, arising naturally under certain conditions of evolution, where ‘spiritual technologies’ merely represent pre-scientific methods of dealing (through experience) with something that scence should theoretically (though possibly never actually) resolve through its methods of investigating the material plane, the only plane that ‘matters’ for descriptive purposes. This presents us with another paradox because the language that best describes what is going on is a phenomenological language, a description of experience in which cultural and personal metaphor, even poetry or visual symbolism in the form of art, best describes what is to be scientifically explained.

A scientific explanation may thus lie not in the description of things in mathematical terms but in the refinement of shared artistic representations that accumulate to become a paradoxically 'scientific' description of the phenomenon, one that has to be ‘felt’ as true because the artistic description in its right context (looked at with apollonian detachment) becomes the intellectual ‘last man standing’ - based on ‘praxis’, the doing of things that elicit or make use of the force. There is an existent Hindu technology (not the only technology) of systematically raising, containing, directing and using the force that is sensed as a physical sensation of movement from base through spine and upwards. This is Kundalini yoga.

The point today, though, is that such techniques should be looked at afresh primarily as technologies and not permit obfuscation with strange Sanskrit words and unscientific explanations that require the experience to represent more reality than it can take. We have covered this at length in our Tantra series but both these technologies and drugs should be able to recreate high-level experiences of a delusory nature that have effects on persons that are highly fulfilling and life-changing without demanding belief in God, gods or universal consciousness.

A further paradox must be that the delusion of universality becomes an apparent reality, not the ostensible reality of the vision (the absurdities of universal consciousness or reincarnation), but the felt reality of dramatic changes in personality, mind and the relationship between mind and body and then between mind, body and social reality. Some Indian sages will be usefully clear that the energy of which we speak is just the natural energy of the self but they then go on to make the unproven and unprovable assertion that this self is somehow dissipated as universal and is to be found in every being at the same time. This may help us to love rocks, spiders and frogs but it is a distraction.

Instead of seeing our experience of the universal as an attribute of an integral self to be mastered and understood, the Hindu sage somewhat foolishly takes the attribute for the whole and then dissipates the self into all sorts of creative invention. The ultimate absurdity becomes planet-worship, where rock displaces mind. This is not merely the general-universal but universals that then become re-personalised as God or turned into a nothingness (Nirvana) that is supposed to be higher than Man and still have meaning as a No-Thing in which he is to be merged in the future rather than contended with as 'Le Neant' in the present.

Humanity is unlikely to be free of its own delusions until it can face the awful fact (to many of its number) that its experiences are entirely contingent on the material structures of the brain in the body. This is not cause for gloom but for joy because it states that the person, though destined (at this point in history) for death, is his own invention and is not merely the fluff on the back-side of eternity.

Above all, this is an opportunity to recapture the various mythologies about the inner force and make them work as technologies rather than as eternal belief systems. By yet another paradox, this may 'save' the religious impulse by permitting many systems to co-exist as technologies without going through knots trying to find some perennial common denominator at the philosophical level.

To believe for the purpose of transformation in, say, Freyja or Shakti, is a wholly legitimate method of personal transformation, so long as the practitioner fully understands that, existentially, he is engaged in a technology in which the goddess both exists (as means) and does not exist (as ultimate reality) at the same time. The end of the technology is very similar to that of the ancient sages – a ‘gnosis’ or self-realisation that has been falsely connected to the idea of God or to an external wisdom. To think that some 'divine' external force transforms us is to diminish the power of one's own intrinsic resources.

Wisdom is connected to a self-knowledge that need have no connection with the universal except that it is an illusory experience shared biologically with some others of one’s own species, without any necessary specific connection to what it appears to be. The genius of self-knowledge lies not in knowing the other (impossible) or knowing the universal (illusion) but in knowing that the knowing of the other or of the universal is an illusion but one that is embraced as transforming.

Again we are into a paradox because the transformation into a state of understanding that all universalisms and all other-knowing is illusory – which may cause a passage through the ‘dark night of the soul’ – is ultimately so liberating that this knowledge of our lack of knowledge permits a much healthier relationship with others and with society. It is this state that the sages will refer to as an ‘awakening of inner knowledge’ or ‘pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love’ but is here taken to the next stage existentially, one where one observes objectively the illusion of this knowledge so that it can become the 'highest' form of knowledge – the knowledge that the illusion lies not in the Self but in the projection of Self into the universal.

From this perspective, a key figure in our understanding (though the existentialist perspective in this paper is different) is Jung who linked the process of Kundalini yoga with individuation. Another such figure is Wilhelm Reich who identified the ‘drives’ involved with more perspicacity than he has been given credit for – a failure created by his many other errors of judgement. Jung put it succinctly (in relation to the Eastern exploration of these issues): “… the concept of Kundalini has for us, only one use, that is, to describe our own experiences with the unconscious”. We only differ from Jung in our view of that unconscious as being possibly far more materially based than perhaps he considered likely.

The issue raised here is thus only whether individuation must be illusion-full (essentialist) or illusion-less (existentialist). We are discomfited in the West by the value placed on being ‘without illusions’ in spiritual matters but a position that is filled with illusion (whether generated by meditation or Ayahuasca) is not, in value terms, any better or worse than one that is without illusions (existential) or perhaps is one of having the illusion that one is without illusions.

There is a point where we cannot know anything but merely are forced to make choices (even if less than conscious choices) of the level of illusion we find acceptable. It is merely the contention of this Posting that full individuation probably requires that we go beyond the comfort zone of the illusion of having gone beyond material illusion into high essentialism (the construction of pragmatic but false meaning) and re-engage with our materialism as 'no-meaning' other than the meaning we create out of our material being (existentialism).

There is, however, no obligation on us to do so and no moral superiority in moving beyond the ‘spiritual’ back into the material. It is simply a choice for full individuation – an individuation that might well be in danger of detaching oneself entirely from the social (as pre-eminent value system) and into a state that might almost be considered intellectually post-human. This would simply be, then, a matter of choice ... the embracing of Existence, including the felt forces of Existence, without illusions because Life is in itself sufficient to justify the ways of Man to Man.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Kropotkin's Message to the Young

“ If you reason instead of repeating what is taught you; if you analyze the law and strip off those cloudy fictions with which it has been draped in order to conceal its real origin, which is the right of the stronger, and its substance, which has ever been the consecration of all the tyrannies handed down to mankind through its long and bloody history; when you have comprehended this, your contempt for the law will be profound indeed.

" You will understand that to remain the servant of the written law is to place yourself every day in opposition to the law of conscience, and to make a bargain on the wrong side; and, since this struggle cannot go on forever, you will either silence your conscience and become a scoundrel, or you will break with tradition, and you will work with us for the utter destruction of all this injustice, economic, social and political.”

Peter Kropotkin, An Appeal to the Young (1880)

Monday, 16 February 2015


We might want to use a Chinese term to describe what is not normally accepted as 'real' in Western culture only because it cannot be quantified. But we do not have to accept all aspects of the Chinese term as it would be expressed in Chinese culture. It is just that this alien word (to Westerners) may be the best that we have to hand. I use Ch'i rather than Qi deliberately. Qi is the genuine Chinese article whereas I have appropriated the word Ch'i for Western use precisely because it has been rejected in China. 

This is not the same thing as, say, the Way of Wyrd. Wyrd is more implicitly directed by the Fates or Norns or Odin or some active force in Nature (as you would expect amongst Westerners) whereas the Dao, of which Qi is a manifestation, is a flow without direction, just a constant balancing of opposites. My Ch'i (as opposed to Wyrd or Qi) is not dissimilar from Orgone, another more modern variant on the theme, and is a monist materialist concept. In the end, you either sense it in yourself or you don't and, if you don't, so be it.

This is not to assume a Western vitalism. There is no reason to suppose that Ch'i does not have a material base albeit one that might change our perception of matter. Nor does it necessarily arise outside of ourselves or be connected to the world as a force that is greater than ourselves. It is probable (we think certain) that there are many individuals with Ch'i rather than a great Ch'i in which all individuals participate. The Ch'i gives out an illusory image of the universal (a theme of our Tantra series) because, since Ch'i exists here and there, evolved materially within us as individuals as our life force, then that Ch'i and this Ch'i (it is believed) must be connected so that evolution itself and the world possess Ch'i. There is no necessity in this 'leap of faith'.

This fallacy is an attractive alternative to God but it is not just that it cannot be evidenced (neither can God) but, as we say, it is not necessary. All the Ch'i we need is obtainable within us and in the relationship of ourselves to our environment and those closest to us. High emotion is Ch'i. Detachment is Ch'i. Desire is Ch'i. Withdrawal is Ch'i. The myth of universalism may be socially useful and comforting but not only is it not necessarily true but it threatens to overwhem the life force within us, our own Ch'i, by immersing it in nature or in the 'divine' or in the social as a form of loss of self that is little more than death before its time. To kill the integrated mind-body 'ego' is to kill the person without benefit other than a lifting of current and often creative anxieties.

Ch'i is an individual's vital energy, necessary for action, managed by a well-integrated will. The Ch'i of an individual can be degraded by negative external forces (including the death instinct) - by poor environment and the actions of others above all but also through a failure of will. Thus we do not have to become essentialist or animist in presuming some universal Ch'i at all. We can see Ch'i developing in us and our predecessors throughout the evolutionary process - on a path where we, humans, may be the terminus or mere staging post to something trans-human with even more energy than we have. We may want to assume that part of our individual mission is to enhance the Ch'i of others.

The cultivation of one's own Ch'i is a life's work. There is wisdom in seeing it as malleable to one's state in time, an elderly and mature Ch'i is different in quality, though not more valued, than a young and vibrant Ch'i. The old seek the vibrancy of the young but the young trade this for the experience of the mature. Ch'i also spreads out from the individual or it can be drawn in. Its influence is its glamour or its charisma. Its expressions are imagination and desire as well as brute power. It is moral not because it is required to be moral by the universal or the social but because it becomes absurd to be cruel and greedy. Bankers, bureaucrats and lawyers rarely have good Ch'i but it is not impossible that they might.

The body has a Ch'i that is both mental and physical. Good health represents the balance and flow between the mental and the physical. If you are ill and it is not absolutely organic, something is blocking your Ch'i or you are out of balance and have insufficient Ch'i or your Ch'i is being exhausted by external forces. Only you can know what you require - including outside help. Medicine here is the search for that which externally can restore Ch'i and internally restore balance. In this sense, we have much to learn from radical Western and from Eastern cultures evemn if we would be fools to abandon modern science when it comes to organic crises and failures. Ch'i may be physical or mental in its aspects but in its totality it cannot be divorced from the body or be operative without a mind.

There is no shame in categorising Ch'i medicine as 'placebo' or as complementary to more obviously materialist organic and psychotherapeutic methods. Ch'i is a third pre-emptive base line of health alongside those lines requiring organic and psychotherapeutic expertise. Ch'i is also a benign environmental solipsism. The world's aesthetic beauty and calm becomes an extension of oneself and returns to heal the inner self, adding force to Ch'i. Good Ch'i affects desire for the world, moderating it to what is most central to the person and enables a measured acquisition of goods - not only health but wealth, energy and luck.

A person aware of their own Ch'i constructs a safe and secure environment for itself without body armour against others or indulging its own fears and anxieties by choosing the death-options of religion, addiction or intellectualism. A Feng Shui mentality is not magic but an alignment of the perceiving mind with environmental reality. A Feng Shui of society does the same task by placing all persons in alignment with their Ch'i. There is no English word for this thing, this being-in-relation-to-the-world which cannot be reduced to matter in our understanding yet is ultimately part of the material base of an integrated mind-body. It is beyond science but also greater than spirit or mind. It is the existing of ourselves.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

A 'Sick' Society - What It Really Means ...

Managing the self as both body and mind, where both have an influence on each other, where both have significant unconscious aspects and where both are dependent on external inputs (such as nutritional on the one side or perceptual on the other) is an art and not a science. It takes place in real time with multiple changes in many components. If, as physicians have suggested, severe stress results in atrophy of the hippocampus and this reduces the memory resources available to allow the body to react appropriately to future stress, this has consequences.

It means that we must engineer our environment (which includes society) to avoid severe stress and we must seek means to engineer our bodies to recover from past severe stress so that they can deal with current and future stress. A degree of social engineering and a degree of corrective personal engineering may be necessary to enable us to live the good life and to make informed decisions about preserving it, but the choice of what constitutes the good life always remains an individual and not a social one.

Social or bodily engineering that creates stress or is non-consensual or is imposed from without (except under the most extreme of diseased or psychotic conditions) is counter-productive. There is a point of balance at which most people most of the time will have to accept their 'difference' from the normal as ‘just who they are’. Take the range of mental issues created by dysfunctionality of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis [HPA axis]: anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, deep depression, burnout, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel and addiction.

The decision on where these issues are dysfunctional is too often a social one and not an individual one. The social often imposes the very demands on the body that result in the mental problem and then the social, instead of changing its own practices, seeks its own solution to a problem that it created. As a result, and this applies across social policy to issues of social exploitation and abuse, instead of a serious problem of painful dysfunction being dealt with under conditions of personal care for a relatively few, large numbers of people divert skilled time into patching up so that people can go back into battle.

Much of modern psychological medicine has degenerated into a form of ‘normalisation’ and into a castigation by implication of 'difference'. This has happened, as in social policy, because a large class of persons can only get a living and meaning from acting as definers of others. We all see the absurdity of a doctor working through the night to save the life of a man who is to be executed next morning. At least the patching up of warriors and workers has the cynical social purpose of defending the system or keeping its economic wheels turning but, today, we are in a different condition again.

Mass health and social services provision has created a half-baked world where a vast class of persons exists to maintain people whose trauma and miseries are real enough but are as likely to be created by social circumstances, poor nutrition and crowded conditions as they are by something organic. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, our economic structures now depend on an industry of helpers and a vast mass of persons who must be helped. They do not rely on strong, willful, self-reliant individuals in a position to intevene directly to support the weakest members of the community - we drive the vulnerable into a 'system'.

The sheer scale of the resources required to maintain this system means that the socially isolated and the psycho-somatically ill are increasingly taking resources from the minority who badly need short term sustained intensive help. These last just fall into the mass - the helped - to add more customers for the growing class of helpers. The height of absurdity is reached when our entire culture becomes geared to helping those who appear to need to help by hiring them as helpers ('full employment'), a worthwhile palliative up to a point but one which, in effect, simply accepts that the way we conduct our social affairs should be 'normalised' as a shared 'lesser misery'.

The poverty of aspiration is staggering. The height of our aspiration is now that everyone has a 'job', a functioning role in a dysfunctional system. Nobody appears to be able to consider how the system might be made more functional - perhaps everyone just accepts that it cannot in a form of conservative pessimism that has merely been re-labeled ‘progressive’. Worse, this conservative pessimism on the 'official' Left (which is now the ruling order regardless of party) must bring everyone under the same health and welfare model. No matter that placebos, shamans and herbal medicines might actually reduce demand on the system. These must always be avoided in favour of more expensive interventions (although we re-assert here the absolute primacy of scientific medecine).

Herbal medicines almost certainly regulate the HPA system and, under experienced guidance, can be made to accord with individual body chemistries. The placebo effect may offend rationalists but works - and if it works, why not embrace it pragmatically? Our concern should only be that people do not use alternative self-medication in preference to scientific medication but only to supplement and self-treat in the grey area between serious dysfunction and apparent health. The truth is that a purely scientific approach to the body-mind continuum is not truly scientific when dealing with most needs most of the time - as opposed to serious need some of the time. It is an ideology of rational intervention that has reached its lowest point with the recent bureaucratic interference by the EU to ban the use of herbal substances as ‘untested’. If the fear is that people will believe the local witch can cure cancer, then the fear is justified but if the fear is that people will choose minor irrationalities that offend the sensibilities of rationalists, then the fear is neurotic - and, oddly, irrational.

This ideology of excessive mass scientific interventionism, as opposed to precautionary advice on nutrition, exercise and mental health based on treating people not as children but as autonomous adults, is the last gasp of an over-simplified scientific materialism and it deserves underground resistance at every level. The real reason why this ideology is dominant is because we are talking here about economics and power and not about any real concern for the self development and empowerment of those autonomous individuals.

Welfare systems arose out of real need - the sort of need that still exists in much of the emerging world. Unfortunately, like roads, the solution creates more demand. Because basic care and emergency intervention required taxation, the class interest of the public sector and the need to keep the taxpaying majority supportive came to meant that 'universalism' spread services widely instead of where they were needed most. Hence the anomaly of a massive, expensive and unnecessary child benefits system in place while over a 1,000 kids in a rotten English borough faced appalling sexual abuse because the resources of time and money were not there to protect them.

As demand and expense has increased, the subsequent and necessary 'cutting' process has meant that the same services are just more thinly spread. There is a failure to invest in the wider social infrastructure that caused the stress-related illnesses in the first place and neglect of those who most need expensive but decisive intervention. We now have a grossly inflated public sector whose politics are a deadweight on the economy and on our culture, enforced 'cuts' which harm those in most dire need for political reasons and a grossly dysfunctional social structure that drives psychological and psychosomatic illness.

And what is at the heart of this degraded system in which the 'official' Left is fully complicit? Scientists have found evidence to suggest that social subordination leads to chronic stress - the subordinated are less aggressive, less in control of themselves and constantly anxious about dominant others in our own species. Does this not sound familiar? We have a culture that is ostensibly free but one in which there is no connection between the mass and political decision-making, in which the economy is volatile and dependent on 'global factors' and where most wealth and power trickles down from a tiny group at the top of our tree. We may as well be apes.

And the consequences of this widespread social subordination is chronic stress, expressed as psychosomatic illness and neurosis but also as a lack of engagement in the local community or in enterprise, as addictive behaviour and impulsiveness (especially with bank credit before 2008) and as cynicism. Our politicians are obsessed with grandstanding overseas (apparently we are diminished in the eyes of some Parliamentarians because our Prime Minister is not grandstanding in Kiev instead of worrying about Rotherham), process and keeping the busted system ticking over but none of them understands the central problem of our time - how to return a sense of power and meaning to the people they clearly despise in their hearts or see just as fodder for their own drive to have the power to 'do good' at them or for them instead of with them.

Given our conditions, our problem is not that we are too aggressive as a population but that we are not aggressive enough. Every now and then, some extreme case of violence (such as Raoul Moat, the Ipswich serial killer or gun-killings in South London) creates a surge of anxiety about the psychopaths in our midst but these are tiny events in a country of over 60 million people. What is far more worrying is that the vast bulk of our huge population simply takes the unutterable amount of ordure heaped on them by incompetent governors and experts without protest - and then goes home, gets sick and thanks the system for treating them for the disease the system brought on them in the first place. We are back to the world of Milgram. The few who can capture the machine, the alpha apes, can command millions ... and that should really worry and depress us.