Black Caps vs. Australia, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

Trent Boult demolished the Australian lower order the last time these two sides met in an ODI, taking 6-33. The Black Caps will need something similar to concede less than 350 against this strong Australian side

The Black Caps had mixed fortunes in the Champions Trophy warm-up matches, but that will all be forgotten when their first pool match starts, against World Cup final opponents Australia, this Friday at 9:30p.m. (NZT).

Australia is a solid favourite on BetFair to win this encounter in Birmingham. They are only paying $1.53 compared to $2.84 for the Black Caps.

The main reason for this is their superb bowling. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are both ranked in the top 5 of ODI bowlers at the moment, and they will have both Pat Cummins and James Pattinson backing them up.

Because Starc is capable of batting 8, Australia might be tempted to go with all four of them in the same side – which would make for an exceptionally fearsome ODI pace battery, one of the strongest ever. There would be no respite.

The Black Caps may have three of their best ever ODI batsmen in the top 4 – Martin Guptill, captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, but question marks remain over Guptill’s opening partner and the middle order.

A number of players were tried in these positions in the warm-up matches and in the preceding tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh. The difficulty is that there were no performances that will have forced the hand of the selectors.

Guptill will open with either Luke Ronchi or Tom Latham. The desire from the brains trust might be to favour the big-hitting Ronchi, because English surfaces in recent years have tended towards very big scores.

A variety of players have been recently tried in the Black Caps middle order. Neil Broom, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Colin de Grandhomme are all possibilities for the middle order and allrounder slots.

The Black Caps bowling unit, however, is easy to select. The tried and true combination of Trent Boult (ranked 6th in the world for ODIs) and Tim Southee will no doubt share the new ball, and it’s likely that Mitchell McClenaghan will be in as third seamer.

McClenaghan’s T20 experience will help to lend him skills that are useful in death bowling, and he has been talked about in that role in particular. This should see him take the spot ahead of Adam Milne, who is improving rapidly but still lacks the knockout punch of the more established seamers.

The three seamers will be complimented by Mitchell Santner, whose relentless accuracy and subtle variations have seen him rise into the top 10 of ODI bowlers for the first time.

The Black Caps bowling strategy will be to take two or three poles early with the moving ball, and then to at least restrict the scoring in the middle overs with Santner and the variations of either McClenaghan or Milne.

This will lessen the potential impact of the Australians’ big middle order hitters like Chris Lynn, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.

The Australian batting lineup appears to be following the general ODI zeitgeist at the moment by being packed with hitters. Any of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Lynn, Head, Maxwell or Stoinis is capable of striking at well over 100 for as long as they can stay in.

Their strategy will probably be to use Steve Smith at 3 as the fulcrum around which the other batsmen can hit. If Smith can stay in long enough then the others around him can throw the bat and Australia will post a colossal score.

Considering that 300 has been a par score in England recently even for average sides, this match between the two World Cup finalists has the potential to see 700+ runs scored.

The winner of it will have the box seat in qualifying from this group, as they will probably then only have to beat Bangladesh in order to advance to the semifinals.

Toxic Femininity

Feminazis and cucks are always screaming about toxic masculinity. The concept, according to Wikipedia, “describes standards of behavior among men in contemporary American and European society that encourage domination and control of others while being opposed to intellectualism and emotional sensitivity.”

It’s apparent to any reasonable person who reads this that the concept is fundamentally dishonest, because nothing about the behaviours described above are exclusive to either men or to Westerners.

The concept is fundamentally dishonest because it is not intended to describe any part of reality in a scientific sense. The intent of the concept is to advance the political goals of the person advocating it, not to contribute to the sum total of human knowledge through intellectual inquiry.

However, as above, so below: the concept of toxic masculinity, valid or otherwise, has a mirror image in toxic femininity.

The nature of the masculine is to go outwards and into the material world. Naturally this manifests as a desire to put the material world to order. This is not the same thing as trying to control the outside world, although the two do overlap.

The characteristic emotion of masculinity, then, is anger, and this manifests as physical violence, which basically everyone recognises as bad.

The nature of the feminine is to go inwards and into the mental world. The characteristic emotion of femininity, then, is fear, and this manifests as emotional violence, which very few recognise as bad.

Where a man is more likely to hit someone in order to control them, a woman is more likely to psychologically abuse someone in order to control them.

This emotional abuse takes different forms to physical abuse. The emotional abuser prefers to lay a guilt or shame trip on their victim, coercing them into the desired behaviour by stoking fears of social rejection. The abuser will detail disappointment, shame or embarrassment that they attribute not to their desire to control, but on the actions of their victim.

Another source of emotional violence is dishonesty. After all, to lie to someone is to do them a psychological violence (this is routinely denied by the liars themselves).

The major source of dishonesty in the world is politics, or, more precisely, the desire of certain humans to remake the entire world in their own image (which is all politics is). Because this desire naturally brings egotistical people into direct conflict with others who want to remake the world in their image, a lot of lying about it has sprung up.

For example, the feminazis who shriek about things like toxic masculinity will never admit that they are doing so for political reasons. In particular, they are trying to shift the balance of the culture towards the feminine, for the sake of their own gratification, not that of the wider society.

Claiming that being “opposed to emotional sensitivity” is necessarily “toxic” is a value judgment, not a scientific description of reality. It is a political statement, not a psychological or sociological one.

After all, there are plenty of reasons why emotional sensitivity might be discouraged. It’s not just a simple matter of hardening up for the rigours of a battlefield. Emotional sensitivity is the opposite of emotional stability, and emotional stability is desired by all because it keeps things in good order.

It is not a coincidence that being emotionally sensitive will also leave a person more vulnerable to strategies of emotional coercion and abuse.

This tendency to conflate emotional stability with patriarchal oppressive male domination brings us close to a definition of toxic femininity.

Some have described the pattern of toxic femininity, perhaps without being aware that they had done so, as “feels over reals”. Extrapolating this with what we know about the association between femininity and dishonesty, we can define toxic femininity thusly:

“A specific model of womanhood, geared towards dominance and control. It’s a womanhood that views men and boys as inferior, sees conversation not as an act not of affection but domination, and which valorises emotional violence as the way to set the world to order.”

In other words, females are equally capable of being toxic as males, and for the same reasons. The only difference is that females tend to use indirect methods.

As described above, toxic females are more than happy to use emotional abuse as a method to impose control and to remake the world in their image.

Their conceit is that this emotional abuse is either 1) not really abuse because it is non-physical, or, 2) causes categorically less suffering than the physical abuse preferred by males and is therefore categorically less blameworthy.

As any reasonable person will have concluded by now, this is utter bullshit.

Leaving aside the politics and related bullshit for a second, it’s possible that the concepts of toxic personality types have some use.

The important thing is to first and foremost learn to identify toxic individuals, because toxic individuals are capable of expressing their nature in either masculine or feminine ways, regardless of whether that person is male or female.

An understanding of toxic femininity might make this easier to do, because if only masculine behaviours are considered toxic a person leaves themselves wide open to abuse by feminine methods.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Pacific Islanders

What is already known about Pacific Islander New Zealanders is that they fall inbetween Europeans and Asians in terms of how established they are in the country, and that on many sociodemographic measurements they are like Maoris (who are also Pacific Islanders in a manner of speaking).

Indeed, Pacific Islanders tend to live in the same kind of areas as Maoris, but unlike Maoris they seldom share a neighbourhood with Kiwis of European descent. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being Maori was 0.05, and because these statistics are calculated on the basis of which electorate a person lives in, this tells us that Pacific Islanders and Maoris often share the same neighbourhoods.

There was a very strong negative correlation of -0.80 between being a Pacific Islander and being a Kiwi of European descent, which is reflective of how seldom the two ethnicities share a neighbourhood. For one thing, the South Island has a large number of Kiwis of European descent and very few Pacific Islanders, and for another, many Pacific Islanders move to Auckland specifically.

Indeed, the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and living on the South Island was -0.29, which was significantly negative, but probably not as much so as most have expected. Pacific Islanders have been in New Zealand long enough to become established, and in practical terms this means growing up here and feeling free to move anywhere in the country to seek work or study opportunities.

The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and median personal income was -0.29. This was significantly negative, but not as strong as the corresponding correlation with being Maori (-0.48). Also, the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and turnout rate in 2014 was -0.44, compared to the corresponding -0.75 for being Maori and turnout rate in 2014.

Applying the General Disenfranchisement Rule to the correlations above, we can surmise that Pacific Islanders are generally doing better than Maoris by most demographic measures.

The majority of this difference can be explained by the fact that, although immigration restrictions towards Pacific Islanders are understandably lax, the average person who gets it together enough to become an immigrant in the first place is usually a cut above what is otherwise average for their demographic.

Perhaps the profoundest illustration of this is the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being a regular smoker – this was only 0.14, compared to 0.92 for being Maori and being a regular smoker.

Also, Pacific Islanders didn’t have quite as strong of a male death bias as Maoris. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being female was 0.16, which was not significant.

Perhaps the largest statistical difference between Pacific Islanders and Maoris when it comes to measures of well-being is that, although the average Pacific Islander income is greater than that of the average Maori, it is so by a much smaller margin in the medium income bands than in the lower ones.

Consequently, there are few Pacific Islanders who are desperately broke. For instance, the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being in the $10-15K income bracket was negative, at -0.16.

In fact, the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being in the $10-15K income bracket was even more negative than the correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and being in this income bracket.

Again, this is probably a result of the fact that the human capital of the average immigrant usually has to be above a certain minimum level for immigration to even be possible, and because Pacific Island immigration is fairly recent, they have not had the time to sink into the true underclass to the degree that Maoris and Kiwis of European descent have.

Being a Pacific Islander, however, was significantly negatively correlated with being in every income bracket above $50K. This tells us that the distribution of incomes within the Pacific Islander population is nowhere near as wide as the distribution of incomes within the Maori population.

The only occupation that had a significant positive correlation with being a Pacific Islander were machinery operators and drivers (0.31). Related to this is the fact that the only industry with a significant positive correlation with being a Pacific Islander was transport, postal and warehousing (0.50).

The profoundest difference between the Pacific Islander and the Maori populations is, of course, the correlations with being born overseas. With being Maori this is obviously very strong, at -0.67, but with being a Pacific Islander the positive correlation is only 0.38.

This tells us that, although the perception is of the Pacific Islander community in New Zealand as an immigrant one, they are much better established here than many realise.

They were, however, the least likely of any ethnic group to live on freehold land, although only just. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and living on freehold land was -0.56, even more strongly negative than for Maoris. This is probably a consequence of fewer Pacific Islanders having inherited land from parents who died in New Zealand.

Another strong difference between Pacific Islanders and Maoris is that Pacific Islanders are very, very unlikely to be in part-time work – the correlation between the two was -0.82. The reason for this is that, even though the average Pacific Islander in New Zealand is older than the average Maori, their relatively recent immigration means that they comprise a smaller proportion of the old people who themselves comprise the bulk of the part-time workforce.

Statistically, this apparent paradox can be seen in two correlations: that between median age and being a Pacific Islander (-0.45, compared to -0.63 for Maoris), and that between being on the pension and being a Pacific Islander (-0.49, compared to -0.20 for Maoris).

This tells us that, much like income, the distribution of the ages of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand is much narrower than those of Maoris or Kiwis of European descent.

*

This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Psychiatry is Just Rehashed Four Temperaments Theory

It’s so difficult to know who’s sane and who isn’t these days. In the Post-Truth Age, anyone can simply assert anything, no matter how ridiculous, and be taken seriously by hordes of morons. The only reasonable approach seems to be to declare yourself perfectly mentally healthy and everyone else variably so – depending on their relationship to you.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that, aside from the technology of pharmaceutical drugs, mental healthcare hasn’t advanced in 3,000 years, and in significant area has in fact gone backwards, as genuine wisdom inherited from previous ages is forgotten.

Because the wide world all fits into categories of earth, water, air and fire – and always has done – it is possible to fit all of the human personality types into these categories as well.

With regards to mental healthcare, one can simply do this by declaring oneself to be the fulcrum of sanity around which the world rotates, and then applying the four temperaments theory to everyone else.

So “modern” mental healthcare is mostly a matter of dressing up four temperaments theory in a cover of psychiatric jargon.

For example, patients who are sad no longer get diagnosed with melancholia, but with depression. The melancholic personality type, which is associated with a tendency to depression, is now called avoidant personality disorder.

Fittingly for melancholia, which is represented by earth and is consequently the most feminine of all of the conditions, avoidant personality disorder is characterised by feelings of inadequacy and a hypersensitivity to criticism.

Diagnosing someone as depressed and prescribing anti-depressants today is not significantly different from diagnosing someone as melancholic 3,000 years ago and prescribing them cannabis sativa.

The dependent personality, characterised by clinging and submissiveness, also falls into this category.

Marginally more warm-blooded people fall into the phlegmatic category of person. These usually end up getting diagnosed as schizoid or schizotypal, because their phlegmatic nature makes them broadly indifferent to social contact.

Some phlegmatic people are nonetheless capable of extracting small amounts of pleasant feelings from hoarding things. So if you meet a person who appears indifferent to much of the outside world, don’t be surprised if you end up finding out that they hoard newspapers.

Even more warm-blooded people – those who used to be called sanguine – lead us into the domain of the borderline and the histrionic personality disorders.

Unlike people in the previous two categories, these types are much more outgoing – indeed, one of the major distinctions relates to whether the condition causes problems for the person who has it or for other people, and the more warm-blooded a person is the more likely they are to cause problems for other people.

Borderline personality disorder is characterised by instability and impulsiveness, and a person is more likely to be impulsive the more warm-blooded they are.

Histrionic personality disorder, likewise, is too noisy and dramatic to fall into the categories of melancholic or phlegmatic disorders.

These two conditions have the common factor of both being primarily socially orientated. In much the same way that a mentally healthy sanguine person might be described by friends as easy-going, witty and spontaneous, a mentally unhealthy sanguine person would be like a reflection of this in a dark mirror.

Instead of wit there comes verbal abuse and manipulation, and instead of spontaneity there comes a puppet-like mindless lurching from one impulse to another.

The most hot-blooded kind of person was referred to as a choleric personality in ancient times. In modern times, a person like this causes problems because of being too aggressive or domineering.

Consequently, cholerics are often narcissists, possessing a grandiose desire for the admiration of others. This becomes unhealthy when the desire for this gets out of control and they try to force or bully others into showing admiration against their will.

At the most extreme, the choleric personality manifests as antisocial personality disorder, characterised by a pattern of disregard for the rights of others. In particular, the antisocial personality does not recognise rights as anything more than the ability to enforce them.

This is why the antisocial personality so frequently commits murder – if it has the capacity to kill it considers itself to have the right to do so, for if it did not it would not have the capacity.

Antisocial personality disorder could be considered a way of having an excess of masculinity, in the sense that the desire of a person with it is to impose a degree of order upon the world that inevitably brings them into conflict with other people.

Alchemically speaking, it is possible to see this four temperaments theory as representing the spectrum of personality from unhealthy feminine at the melancholic end, to unhealthy masculine at the choleric end.

Correspondingly, the melancholic personality at the feminine end is, at its least healthy, at risk of killing itself, and the choleric personality at the masculine end is, at its least healthy, at risk of killing another.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Medium-Skill Occupations

Perhaps the most striking correlation in this section is that between being Maori and being a community or personal service worker – this was 0.72. It’s possible that the best explanation for this very strong correlation is the social orientation of Maori culture, as the community or personal service occcupation is one that demands social intelligence above all.

The likelihood of a member of any given ethnic group working as a community or personal service worker is a reflection of how established that ethnicity is in New Zealand. For Kiwis of European descent it was essentially uncorrelated; for Pacific Islanders it was on the border of being significantly negatively correlated and for Asians the correlation was a moderately strong -0.49.

Interestingly, the ethnic breakdown of those who were clerical and administrative workers was very close to the proportions of those ethnicities in the population as a whole. And so, no ethnicities were significantly correlated, either positively or negatively, with being in this occupation.

In a way, that makes being a clerical or administrative worker the quintessential Kiwi middle-class job.

There is a split in the middle of this demographic when it came to religious attitudes. Technicians and trades workers and community and personal service workers both had moderately strong correlations with being Spiritualists or New Agers or with having no religion.

This was not true for clerical and administrative workers, who had a marginally significant correlation with having no religion and no significant correlation with being a Spiritualist or New Ager.

Medium-skill occupations were generally younger than the high-skill ones, especially community and personal services workers, for who the correlation with median age was -0.46. Technicians and trades workers, however, were very close to the national average – the correlation between working as one and median age was only 0.05.

Being a clerical or administrative worker was much better paid in general than the other medium-skill occupations. The correlation between working in this occupation and median personal income was 0.43, compared to -0.14 between working as a technician or trades worker and median personal income, and -0.31 for being a community or personal service worker and median personal income.

Looking at income bands, we can see that clerical and administrative workers are the best paid of the medium-skill occupations. There is a significant positive correlation between working in this occupation and being in any of the income bands between $40K and $150K, but not above this.

This makes clerical and administrative workers almost as well-paid as managers, and this is reflected in their educational levels. All of the correlations between being a clerical or administrative worker and having a university degree were significantly positive, except for that with having a doctorate. The strongest was 0.32 with having a Bachelor’s degree.

Being a technician or a trades worker is, as most know, a male-dominated occupation. The correlation between working in this occupation and being male was 0.34.

Perhaps reflecting a certain degree of solidarity among the sort of person who would decide to find work as a community or personal services worker, there was a strong positive correlation of 0.67 between being born in New Zealand and working in this occupation. It’s likely that, because immigrants primarily come here for the money, few would come here to work in this area.

Interestingly, clerical and administrative workers were more likely than technicians or trades workers to be paying rent and less likely to be living in a freehold house. Some might find this very surprising considering that clerical and administrative workers are considerably wealthier than tradies, and that wealthier people are more likely to live in a freehold house.

This can be explained by the correlation of 0.39 between working as a technician or trades worker and living on the South Island, and the correlation of -0.16 between working as a clerical or administrative worker and living on the South Island.

In other words, clerical and administrative work might be better paid, but it generally means that you have to live in either Wellington or Auckland and that means much higher housing costs and a less secure tenure of dwelling.

*

This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

The Fundamental Masculine And Feminine Intelligences – And Stupidities

There is a lot of hot air and angry discussion at the moment about gender differences and intelligence. Some say men are smarter, some say women are smarter, some say both genders have exactly the same degree of intelligence in all areas.

This essay will argue that there are two entirely separate kinds of intelligence, and that the masculine one is best expressed by men and the feminine one is best expressed by women.

Psychologists have long known that men and women differed predictably when it came to certain tasks that their minds were optimised for. Men are predictably better at maths and logic where women are predictably better at language and psychology.

Less broadly known is that the brains of men and women were optimised by differential survival pressures into tendencies towards slightly different behaviours.

The biological past was a brutal place for humans. Survival was marginal at the best of times. Massive predators shared the same jungles as us, and we had nothing in the way of natural defences against them.

Human survival was primarily a matter of intelligence. Individual humans, as a general rule, are intelligent, because it was intelligence that gave humanity the edge necessary to overcome survival pressures in our ecological niche.

Acquiring the necessary food resources for the maintenance of bodily metabolism was always the main challenge for our intelligence. This was primarily achieved in two ways: hunting and gathering.

Hunting requires something very similar to a masculine intelligence. In order to successfully hunt (as a hominid at least) you need to be able to keep quiet for as long as possible, and then to suddenly explode into tightly co-operative action that has a direct and obvious goal (killing something).

As a consequence, men evolved to be very good at delineating a target from the background of visual stimuli that surrounded them. In other words, we adapted to become good at focusing and discriminating.

The flip side of this is the relative inability of masculine intelligence to consider the holistic picture. It simply isn’t necessary, when trying to club a goat to death, to consider any other factor than the immediate task at hand. In fact, it would be a tremendous disadvantage to waste cognitive resources on such things when food was right in front of you and any hesitation could see it escape.

Because more successful hunters were inevitably more successful at surviving and reproducing, this has led to the evolution of a kind of masculine intelligence that allows its holder to focus their attention on a target.

So because the vast majority of hunting in the biological past was performed by men, this masculine intelligence is mostly – but far from exclusively – possessed by men today.

Gathering, on the other hand, requires something very similar to a feminine intelligence.

In direct contrast to hunting, gathering is a noisy endeavour. A group of primates engaged in gathering are constantly twittering to each other information about what they see in front of them, about who has found what, about where to gather next, about the dominance hierarchies of the group, and all manner of chatter.

This means that the selective pressures on women were different to those that shaped men. A gatherer has to do the opposite of focusing.

For women, it was much more important to not be discriminating, to not focus, to stay open. When gathering the important thing is to keep one’s senses as open as possible so that if an example of the thing being gathered came into view it would be noticed.

The flip side of this is the relative inability of feminine intelligence to identify threats in the immediate physical or temporal environment.

Not only is it generally unnecessary – the idea being that the males on the periphery of the group’s territory will keep you safe – but it is actually a cognitive waste, because it’s much better to keep your field of awareness as open as possible, to best notice any nuts, mushrooms and berries.

From this, it’s possible to describe the two intelligences more simply.

The fundamental masculine intelligence is the ability to correctly focus one’s attention (and to see a narrower picture), and the fundamental female intelligence is the ability to correctly unfocus one’s attention (and to see the wider picture).

This probably explains why the bulk of surgeons, who have a very specific task to deal with, are male but the bulk of general practitioners, who must take as holistic a perspective as reasonable, are female.

It also explains why the national Australian women’s soccer team can’t beat a local representative side of 15-year old boys, and why men commit the vast majority of crimes of truly unnecessary violence.

We can also surmise from this that there is a fundamental masculine stupidity and a feminine compliment of same.

The fundamental masculine stupidity is to over-discriminate, and this takes form in prejudices like racism and sexism. Masculine stupidity draws hard and fast lines between things that do not need to be kept separated. This is also why the majority of autists are male.

The fundamental feminine stupidity, then, is to under-discriminate, and this takes the form of making inadequate threat assessments.

And so, in our modern world, we can see all of this in relation to the issues of the day, such as immigration.

The masculine stupidity draws hard and fast lines between the immigrants and the natives and will not let them mix. The feminine stupidity draws no lines and lets everyone in without due care to whether or not they fit properly or want to cause trouble.

Both of these lead to conflict and violence.

The masculine intelligence, by contrast, learns about history and anthropology so it can make more accurate decisions about who to let in and who to keep out. The feminine intelligence gets to know the immigrants and tries to intuit whether their mentality is something to be trusted or not.

Both of these lead to peace.

How to Self-Evaluate Your Own Religious Integrity, in Eleven Premises

Premise 1: My religion represents the exclusive truth.

By way of an answer, consider this: which of the following scriptures have you devoted to rigorous and charitable study: The Koran, The Bible, The Torah, The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Gnostic Gospels?

Consider approximately in hours, days, months, weeks or years your devoted study to each, and then review your assertion of Premise 1 from a space of honesty and integrity. You will review this yourself with no higher authority than your own to judge.

Premise 2: My religion is unique.

Every religion is unique in its own way. This by itself does not lend a measure of truthfulness. For example, only Buddhism holds that if a statement should not accord with your own sense of reason, then you need not accept it, even if is spoken by Buddha. This may make Buddhism unique, but it does not immediately qualify it as true.

Islam holds that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse. Again, this qualifies Islam as unique, but it does not immediately qualify it as true. Even the belief that Jesus was the son of a virgin and died upon the cross for our sins is not unique to Christianity, as this mythology was already present in a much earlier religion called Mithraism.

Premise 3:

I feel very strongly about my religion/
I have perfect faith in my religion/
I know in my heart that my religion is true/
I have special access to the truth/
I have had special spiritual experiences with this religion that confirm my belief

So does everyone else who adheres to a religion, even to the extent that they would sacrifice their own lives for their faith, Sikh, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Mayan. They each have heaven, miracles, saints and holy days. If their faith is as strong as your own, can it be possible that you are both correct? Are you both wrong? Is there another possibility? What are to be your standards for judging, given that you are the advocate of only your own religion?

Premise 4: When I am uncomfortable, something is wrong and I should therefore avoid it.

False. Something is not wrong when a dancing bear has the ring removed from its nose, and something is not wrong when a woman is in childbirth. When you question your convictions, you are stepping into your own authority and demanding that your assumptions meet the appropriate conditions – namely, that they reflect truth. The most wonderful and transformative change is often initially uncomfortable, this does not mean it is not worthwhile.

Premise 5: Those who encourage me to question my faith are agents of of evil or are otherwise trying to lead me astray.

To the extent that you believe this, you will remain in a spiritual cell. The only thing you have to lose by questioning your beliefs and convictions is illusion – you get to keep anything that is true. No one imprisons you but you, and by your own free choice. Are you worried about losing the illusory? Are you worried about losing what is false?

Recognise this responsibility to yourself and to those who depend upon you. There is no one to reply to, object to, or argue with in this situation, because the only person you need to answer to here is you.

Premise 6: The truth of my religion is established to the extent that we have faced persecution.

This is assumed by every religion. Every religion faces persecution from every other religion, and yet each religion assumes the role of passive victimhood. This is simply not true. All religions both persecute and are persecuted, and all have a history of violence.

Premise 7: My religious community shares love with each other and that is real.

It may very well be true, but so does every other community, religious or not. How do you treat those who choose to leave your community? Do you judge them? Often the love shared between members of a church or a religion is actually conditional. We are happy to give love, care and attention to others within our group just so long as they live up to our expectations by believing what we believe and behaving in ways acceptable to us.

If they leave, then what happens? If their religious commitments change, then what happens? If your religion teaches that they should be treated any different, does that resonate with you on the deepest level?

Premise 8: The holy scriptures that my religious beliefs are based on are very old, and can be proven authentic because within those scriptures is the promise that it is true.

Again, this is ‘true’ for every single scripture-based religious tradition. Each relies upon a circular argument. “God has divinely authored a book in which he promises he was the author, and God would not lie”. This is self-contradictory, and the absurdity of it is clearly seen when the same assumptions are championed by other religions with entirely different assumptions.

Premise 9: If I did not maintain the beliefs, traditions and practices set out by my religion, then the world would collapse into moral anarchy.

The sad irony is that the world is already in a continually worsening state of moral collapse, largely due to interfaith conflict. Please read this last sentence more than once, because it is imperative that you understand. If multiple groups are being guided by inflexible moral rules that are in fact mutually exclusive, then conflict is the inevitable result. Period.

Premise 10: I would rather be wrong with my own religious group than right by supporting beliefs that I experience as heretical, distasteful or challenging.

This is very important to review for yourself, because herein lies the crux of the issue of personal moral and epistemic integrity. That which is true will not always conform to your expectations, preconceptions, and certainly not your comfort zone. Read this last sentence twice, please. It is imperative to understand. If you choose to be wrong with your own group, you are not in your integrity, because what you are in fact choosing is to be in your comfort zone rather than in respect to Truth.

Premise 11: Other religions and belief systems are immoral and misguided.

Now, if you are fundamentalist of any kind this has to appear to be true for you, because you have concluded that the rules set out by your own tradition are exclusively correct. You may be surprised to find with a little honest research that some traditions are very much aligned to your own. They may have an attitude of high respect and tolerance for their ingroup and an attitude of disapproval and even violence of their outgroup. They may even walk the talk better than your own tradition.

For example, the Islamic practice of stoning adulterers and homosexuals is frowned upon by moderate Christians, even though the moral law is expressly the same in the Koran as it is in the Old Testament. Fundamentalist Christians may not necessarily be so far off in disagreement with Radical Muslims.

There are also very loving and moderate religious traditions that may agree with your own teachings about expressing love to outsiders, forgiving wrongdoing and respectfully allowing others of different creeds to live in peace without imposing one’s own views and constraints upon them. Does that really sound so bad? If your teachings inspire you to anger and malign against others, can you honestly say that those beliefs are in the better interest of mankind?

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Simon P. Murphy is a Nelson-based writer. He is the author of the short story collection His Master’s Wretched Organ and the forthcoming Lexicanum Luciferium (both by VJM Publishing). His fiction is heavily influenced by Gnosticism and Alchemy, placing a central focus upon the theme of our navigation of an occulted reality through the use of archetypal symbolism.

What Does It Really Mean to Be Honest?

To honestly assess information, we need to fully inform ourselves.

We have all heard ‘honesty is the best policy’ and, ‘you shouldn’t lie’, but what is honesty at the deepest level, and why is it so important?

Honesty, at the deepest level, is a form of integrity.

Integrity asks you to be spiritually courageous, and involves using your wisdom and discernment even in the face of great pain. Being honest is not always easy. Sometimes being honest means moving away from the comfort of beliefs that we hold great stock in, beliefs which we have been taught over a lifetime, beliefs which inform our our daily lives, actions, decisions, and relationships to a profound degree.

The truth is, none of the comfort or emotional well-being derived from any belief is indicative of its truthfulness. There is simply no connection between what provides comfort and what is true.

Why is any of this important?

Believing things which are untrue can be very harmful, even though we may derive enormous personal comfort from the familiarity and promises of these beliefs.

If someone comes to your door and explains that they believe something without providing charitable counter-arguments, alternatives, or competing explanations, then this is a very strong indication that that person is not acting in their integrity, their honesty.

An evangelist will stand at your doorstep and faithfully show you everything that they believe, including why it makes sense to them, and the path they have taken to arrive at those conclusions. If they present you with any material that entertains a competing explanation, such as another very different religious system, it will always be used to show that other explanations are false.

This is a very, very important point, because this is how we discover whether someone is acting in their integrity or whether they are deluding themselves or others.

For example, a Jehovah’s Witness will not charitably discuss the merits of Catholicism or Islam, regardless of how many believers there are in these faiths worldwide. Other belief systems will only be referenced in passing in order to show that they are mistaken relative to the interpretation of the evangelists’ own religious commitments.

A missionary does not go into the jungle to deepen his understanding of tribal spirituality, at least, not intentionally. He goes in order to persuade others of his culture’s views which he assumes to be superior prior to any philosophical comparison.

Now, again imagine you are an Evangelical Christian and a Muslim comes to your door behaving in precisely the same way as you might. They offer you only an explanation of how Islam is exclusively true and holds spiritual superiority over other faiths. They will not hold competing faiths, including your own, in a favourable light, nor will they provide any charitable explanation of how these work, or the benefits they provide people with globally.

In short, they are not acting out of integrity.

Let’s go back to why honesty and integrity are important.

If you are not genuinely honest about your beliefs and why you believe them, then the relationship of those beliefs to reality will be muddy at best. If we do not allow our beliefs to conform to the best available reasoning and evidence, then our worldview is at risk of stagnating for lack of congruence with reality.

Just think what this would matter to divinity – I am not speaking of religion, but of divinity itself that people on earth should not act upon their integrity. This divinity may not take offense at having been wilfully misunderstood, but it would surely not condone people believing falsehoods without question and not honestly considering different answers, particularly if those false beliefs were harmful to others.

A Baptist who comes to your doorstep to preach about the bible has nothing glowing to say about the Koran, the Talmud, The Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita, irrespective of how valuable these may have been to millions of other lives over thousands of years.

The reason for this is clear – once people believe they have found answers that suit them, they tend to stop considering the legitimacy of other explanations, and feel justified in confidently discounting the validity of those worldviews without feeling the need for further analysis. This is not a Christian problem or Jewish problem or a Muslim problem or an atheist problem – this is a human problem.

When a politician comes to you, whether on television or in person, he isn’t telling you why his competition are wonderful and can help you in your life. He comes to you because he wants your support, he wants your vote. Your belief in his policy is a kind of transaction to him. In fact, it usually does not even matter to him that his policy should make you or your children’s lives any better. All that matters to him is that you vote for him. It is the same with religion.

There are other important reasons that people once deciding upon a belief system do not carefully and charitably explore alternative explanations, and this is because of something called cognitive dissonance.

If you already believe something, particularly if you have believed it for a long time and/or these beliefs inform much of what your personal life is built around, then there will be very strong resistance to changing or even questioning those beliefs, even if those beliefs have been harmful or false.

If an animal in a zoo has been kept in captivity for its entire life, even though it may have been kept enclosed in cramped, uncomfortable conditions, then the world outside will seem terrifying, even the wild where it belongs. Its natural freedom will terrify it to the point where for the sake of its imagined comfort, it will choose to remain caged out of fear and the comfort of an abject yet familiar environment.

We even limit our own children in order to indoctrinate them into our own views. This can be done in many ways, by limiting the friendships they have, monitoring the books they read, the movies they watch, or even schooling them ourselves, bypassing the perceived problem of our children receiving and understanding alternative ideas and explanations.

Christians frown upon Muslims for doing this, and vice versa. If anyone was truly operating in their integrity, in respect for truth they would never limit their children in this way. Now, of course we all love our children, and of course we all do for them what we think is best.

However, if we truly believed what we say we do, then we would allow our children the freedom of education that would naturally lead them to seek the truth, and if what we believe to be true was indeed true, then they would reach the same conclusions as we have.

The fact that people force their own beliefs upon their children is a form of dishonesty. It is symptomatic of a lack of faith in one’s own beliefs and assumptions.

Many religious parents, although somewhat uncomfortable with the inherent dishonesty of indoctrination, reason in the following way: “Yes, I am limiting their beliefs and freedom because I love them and I do not want them to be affected by evil, whatever the cost, because in my doing so I spare them from sin and damnation”.

However, this is precisely the same reasoning that keeps other authoritarian religious traditions which you disagree with in business. If you are a Fundamentalist Christian, you disagree with Fundamentalist Muslim children not receiving a free education.

Yet their parents reason in the same way that you do, only they consider that beliefs in departure from Islam lead to damnation, while you believe the same regarding Christianity.

In honesty, you cannot have it both ways – either you agree that all religions should indoctrinate their children, or you believe that children should be allowed freedom to seek the truth.

Questioning beliefs and assumptions costs energy. If we re-evaluate what we believe and why, then the resulting change can be very difficult, which is sadly why people, particularly those with strong beliefs, have a strong resistance to this.

It is more important to most people to remain comfortable, in familiar territory, and amongst people who believe the same things than it is even to pursue the ultimate truth of reality, who they really are and why they are really here.

They are afraid that if they question their beliefs, then they will betray their family, friends, church, tradition, culture, God.

All that is actually happening is that that person is no longer putting comfort and familiarity first, and is now stepping into the courage and integrity to hold all of their beliefs subject to a rigorous questioning. People do this out of a deep respect for themselves, for others, for truth, and for divinity. Unfortunately, many see it as easier to die for their convictions than to live questioning them.

To the extent that people do not do this, they choose to remain asleep. This is why we have traditions spanning thousands of years, and yet no peace to show for it. Violence, both physical and ideological, is rife, as is suffering, neurosis and fear of death, insanity and damnation, all despite the proclamation of great faith and righteousness. It is not loyalty that keeps you in chains, but fear.

To value and practice honest questioning and integrity is to value spiritual awareness, to be awake to the truth in whatever form it may take.

The time to remain asleep is over for those who choose to awaken and hold to question every assumption that separates us from our brothers and sisters.

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Simon P. Murphy is a Nelson-based writer. He is the author of the short story collection His Master’s Wretched Organ and the forthcoming Lexicanum Luciferium (both by VJM Publishing). His fiction is heavily influenced by Gnosticism and Alchemy, placing a central focus upon the theme of our navigation of an occulted reality through the use of archetypal symbolism.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Tenure of Dwelling

As alluded to in the previous section, a New Zealander’s tenure of dwelling is primarily a function of their socioeconomic status, with the wealthy likely to be freehold, the next most wealthy likely to be mortgaged, and the poorest likely to be paying rent.

That Kiwis of European descent are well-established as the land-holding class is a fact well known. The correlation between being of European descent and living in a freehold house was a very strong 0.78. There was also a positive, but not signficant, correlation of 0.11 between being of European descent and living in a mortgaged house, and a strong negative correlation of -0.68 between being of European descent and living in a rented house.

There were significant negative correlations between every other ethnicity and living in a freehold house. Even the correlation between being Asian and living in a freehold house was significantly negative, at -0.34, despite that the average Asian in New Zealand is fairly middle-class. The correlation between being Maori and living in a freehold house was -0.52, and with being a Pacific Islander and living in a freehold house it was -0.56.

Because we know that most recent immigrants to New Zealand are Asians or Pacific Islanders, these statistics tell the story of how opening the immigration taps has been immensely profitable for the land-holding class, who were then able to charge much higher rents on account of the much higher demand for housing.

Even stronger, and perhaps even less surprising, is the correlation between median age and living on freehold land – a whopping 0.90. The obvious reason for this is people saving their wage or salary for much of their lives for the sake of being able to buy some land and no longer being forced to pay rent.

Mirroring this was the almost as strong negative correlation between median age and living in a rented house – this was -0.86. There is equally little surprising about this statistic because the majority of New Zealanders leave home as soon as they are able, and very few of these move directly into a mortgaged house (much less a freehold one).

Curiously, a person with School Certificate as a highest academic qualification is more likely to live in a freehold house than a person with a doctorate. The correlation with the former is 0.23 and the correlation with the latter is 0.07.

Some might find this very surprising considering that there is a strong correlation between education and wealth and another strong one between wealth and homeownership. The reason for it is that, when it comes to living on freehold land, age trumps both of those things, even added together.

Likewise, it can be seen there is a stronger correlation between living on freehold land and working in agriculture, fishing or forestry (0.32) than there is between living on freehold land and working in a plum industry like information media and telecommunications (-0.38), financial and insurance services (-0.30) or professional, scientific or technical services (-0.16).

Again, the reason for this is mostly because working in those latter three industries generally requires an advanced degree, and these degrees are mostly held by people too young to have saved the capital to secure freehold land.

One statistic that seems amazing when taken out of context is that only Kiwis in the $15-25K income brackets have significant correlations with living in a freehold house, and that only Kiwis in the $50-70K income brackets have significant correlations with living in a mortgaged house.

That might seem strange until one notices the very strong correlation of 0.82 with living in a freehold house and being on the pension.

Seen like that, it seems a bit strange that pensions are much higher than student allowances, despite being paid to people who also do not have to pay rent out of their benefit as a general rule. Then again, the General Disenfranchisement Rule tells us how such a state of affairs came to pass.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

If Doctors Stopped Lying About Cannabis They Might be Believed on Vaccines

The Government’s stupidity with regards to cannabis is hard to overstate. Its 40-year long War on Drugs, conducted against the people of New Zealand at their own expense, has destroyed tens of thousands of lives at the cost of billions. Signs are that they are soon to stop lying about cannabis – but the distrust they have caused will linger for decades.

It’s also hard to overstate the loss of trust that comes from realising that you have been lied to for many years about the effects of using cannabis. For many, this trust is impossible to replace.

At first it’s kind of surreal – if you are from a family background that has many cannabis users in it – to learn that so many diseases and negative outcomes are attributed to use of the plant.

It seems obvious that cannabis is of value to people who can’t handle alcohol, and that if they smoke instead of drink then no-one gets beaten up. This seems so obvious that it’s really astonishing that our entire public recreational culture revolves around the violent drug and not the peaceful one.

Most Kiwis have had the experience of being at school and being forced to listen to a Police officer lie to them about the supposed effects of the drug. That sort of thing is relatively easy to brush off – after all, you’d have to be stupid to trust a Police officer in the first place.

At high school you learn the basic lesson of Animal Farm, which is that the ruling class are pigs and they maintain control and order by setting the dogs onto the other animals. So most people are capable of eventually accepting that politicians and cops aren’t really the good guys and never were, and so their lying to you isn’t that big of a betrayal.

It’s harder to brush off when it’s a doctor lying to you.

An ever-growing number of Kiwis have, over recent years, come to bring their discoveries about the application of medicinal cannabis to the attention of their doctor, only to be firmly told that cannabis has no medicinal value, or even negative value.

This sort of thing is much more difficult to cope with because doctors are generally seen as impartial sources that can be relied upon without politics or money interfering. In many ways, doctors have replaced priests as the kind of person that Kiwis have come to confide in in dark times.

Unfortunately, New Zealand doctors will happily lie to their patients when they are ordered to by politicians who are taking money from pharmaceutical, alcohol or tobacco interests who want to use the law to eliminate a competitor.

This is why they stubbornly refuse to concede that cannabis has medicinal value, even thought it was legalised in California in 1996 and has recently been legalised for medicinal use in Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and other places that New Zealand likes to think itself more developed than.

The unexpected consequence of this lying about the medicinal value of cannabis is that many patients, having become aware that their doctors are lying to them, lose all faith in those doctors, and then stop trusting them on all other matters, such as the need for vaccines and so on.

These medical hyperskeptics are disproportionately young, for the reason that it is almost entirely old people who continue to maintain the fiction that the Drug War is fought for the benefit of the New Zealand people. We know this because there is a correlation of -0.55 between median age and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014.

The problem with this is that these young adults are precisely the same demographic that does the vast majority of the breeding, and therefore comprise the vast majority of the people tasked with making decisions about the immunisation schedule of infant New Zealanders.

Here the danger is evident. These people, tasked with making important medical decisions for the sake of their children’s wellbeing, cannot have confidence in what their doctor tells them because they know that their doctor has been less than honest on the cannabis subject.

Let’s not understate how incredible it is for a doctor not to know that cannabis is medicinal. It’s just as astonishing as meeting an astronomer who didn’t know that the Earth rotated around the Sun.

If the New Zealand medical profession is serious about preventing an outbreak of a once-eliminated disease, such as the kind that has been kept from breaking out by mass immunisation, then it needs to take care to repair the damage that its credibility has suffered from 21 years of lying about cannabis.

Californians decided that there was enough evidence to make medicinal cannabis legal 21 years ago.

It’s in the public interest of every Kiwi to see to it that our ridiculous drug laws are reformed as soon as possible.