Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Continuing a Conversation

I thought it was a bit odd to have a discussion about UFOs in the comments of a post called "Lawmaking", as I have been with commenter "Crushed by Ingsoc" so I'm going to broaden the discussion in a new post.

Some of CBI's points addressed something I failed to in my earlier posts about my old interest in flying saucers: the fact that if you haven't seen something which to you can be explained in no other way, you need to bend logic and reasoning in order to accept as I did the ETH (extra terrestrial hypothesis). Seemingly obvious concepts like few astronomers sighting ufos need to be explained away or ignored. In my case I ignored them completely - they didn't pass under my radar. I assume that sceptical friends would have raised them but I don't recall. I have mentioned before my need or desire to believe in something that would prove I was mistaken in my assumptions and my understanding of the world around me; but there is more to it - the need to be accepted into a group, to will oneself into being an outsider within a group of likeminded persons. For me that was the only way I could try and avoid the point that it was my social inadequacies causing my outsider-sense, and that becoming a UFO buff was only likely to make it worse.

But then that itself is self-reinforcing. It was self-evident to me that people who laughed at me were deluded, lulled into a life of ignorance and alcohol by the manipulative Government (always spelled with a capital G). So the more excluded I felt, the more I got into it, and the more excluded I -was_, and the more excluded I felt, and so on. It meant, as a by product of this, that I became an acolyte of truth, a kind of deskbound crusader for something that everyone should know: another way it diverted my religious impulses.

It is also worth bearing in mind that this was the mid 1990s (say 1993-1996), that long bleak period of post black Wednesday political ennui and cynicism that haunted John Major's government like the ghost of a snarling dog. The incompetence of that shambling wreck of an administration was plastered over all media night and day and David Mellor even hosted 606 for goodness' sake. I wanted to think that governments might actually be competent, devastatingly so, because all I could see was wastage everywhere. I wanted to think that there were levels of government in which Major was involved (don't laugh) which actively and ruthlessly pursued an agenda and, by and large, achieved it. Looking back on that period now we kind of forget how many people felt about that government, how its sexual indiscretions only seemed to point to a wider and indeed a fundamental disappearance of ethics or responsibility, how its utter lack of charm or charisma detached it from the people like the bits on lego blocks. Yes there was Blair waiting in the wings but until early 97 he was often seen as thin, idealess, vague (even if he was miles ahead in the polls). The government, the country, was tired, really dog tired, probably from the trauma of the 80s - whatever. This was how I saw it and this was the background to my mid 90s keeness on ufos.

As I've said before, the wish for there to be something hasn't changed. Only my credulity has taken a massive battering so that now although my old interest stirs when I read a sighting story or see a ufo photo, the scepticism kicks in - twelve years ago I'd have called it denial.


Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Flattered to have initiated a post.
Oddly, my experience of the late nineties was somewhat different. I never like Blair and in fact joined the Conservative Party in 1994. I couldn't understand how people could prefer such an obvious sleazebag to honest John (In fact I continued to respect JM until the Currie revelations, I never could stand her).
I was never much of an idealogue, in fact later I was a bit of a Portillista, though I was also a member of Conservatives against a Federal Europe.
The 1997 election really depressed me. I was a student at the time and responded by getting stoned for two months. It shook my faith in democracy, I'll admit, and I have been fairly cynical ever since. I left the party when they elected IDS and While I may vote for Cameron, I no longer find myself a fan of party politics. Most of my friends always thought I was out of place in the party anyway.
I don't think there is any deliberate conspiracy, apart from the one to pull the wool over our eyes long enough for uds to vote them back in.

Oddly enough, I just remembered I posted myself today on a fairly cynical analysis of what I think will happen in Scotland.
It may well be something your drum might have something to say about.

james higham said...

...if you haven't seen something which to you can be explained in no other way, you need to bend logic and reasoning in order to accept [it] ...

I ran a post yesterday about investigating and clearing the mind of prejudices. Holmes said that 'whatever else is left, however improbable, must be the truth'.

The Tin Drummer said...

CBI: please be assured that there is nothing remotely odd about someone having a different experience of the mid 90s than me. You seem to have seen some kind of hope or possibility: I, along with almost everyone I knew at school/univ., saw conservatism as irreparably dead, utterly discredited, hopelessly moribund. Your political history is intriguing: I went from Thatcherite-Blairite-nowtite---(long disillusioned pause)---and finally today to a kind of Cameron/Macmillan/Thatcher mix. The election of IDS, a day after 9/11 I believe, only confirmed my fears that the world had gone entirely mad, although, like Hague, he's done his best work since being sacked as leader. The Tories were an international joke after his election - I respect him now, I did not then.

James - I don'tknow if I've read this post, you write so much! I will check out no again asap.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I think, Tin Drummer, I was never really a conservative Conservative, if you catch my drift. I think I was then, as now, what Orwell decribed himself as: A Tory Anarchist.
I think I was in it because I loved the traipsing the council esates with a blue rosette and a clipboard feeling I was doing something constructive, I loved the rallying feeling of the Conferences. I suppose I'd have been cannon fodder for the Totalitarian movements. Instinctively, I probably still am. Crowds do excite me, it's why I dance on the podium when I go clubbing even now.
I agree about IDS, I felt at that point that by not electing Portillo, the Tories had lost the will to win and I could not credibly continue with them.
Nowadays I describe Nietzche as my key political infuence.

The Tin Drummer said...

CBI, the point of my blog was for a poison dwarf to spout ignorance and hate, not for me to agree with commenters so much. I too am a Tory Anarchist but never with the courage to actually campaign for the cause - what was the response, CBI - surely your experience is what conservatism needs to revalitise itself properly?
Crowds only excite me when I'm leading them, CBI, so if you were Nazi fodder, that makes me Hitler; I loathe and despise nightclubs precisely because I see the people in them as followers of a dead ethic and I wish it were me talking to the crowd. As I said over at Ellee's place I adore public speaking, especially improvised, but in front of a hostile political crowd - not sure.

I felt the same way about Portillo but in retrospect I'm glad it wasn't him. I find him rather more cynical now than I did before.

Nietzsche, who I know poorly from about half his output, is like a little mad ghost in the back of my philosophy, shouting at people and waving sticks at them.

Thoughts come to _you_, you do not create them.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Re nightclubs, that's why I dance on the podium. I will never dance on the floor itself. I am quite vain really. Yes, I agree about leading crowds, it is a buzz. I just love the energy to be found in crowds, great to be parter, but true, better still to direct.
I saw your post at Ellee's - in fact I posted at length on the same post, it was how came across your blog in the first place. My job basically consists of talking shite to people.
My experience- certainly amongst my circle- tells me that there is a huge swathe of Thatcher's children out there. all my best friends vote Tory, but they are all quite un-conservative in terms of social outlook. You probably can figure what I mean. I think the problem is the perceived right-left spectrum. I was a Tory because I believed first and formost in personal freedom- the freedom for anyone to get the maximum benefit out of their life. That's still my view. Ideology seems to get in the way of that. For example, I was disappointed Cameron didn't use his current headlines- especially as his poll rating wasn't affected- to announce that he would be prepared to consider a thorough overhaul on drug laws.
I just checked my profile at your prompting. It has been reworked (and corrected in the case of a major error).

The Tin Drummer said...

CBI I'll respond to your comment in more detail tomorrow but I couldn't resist this:

My job basically consists of talking shite to people.

So does mine. I'm a teacher.

CityUnslicker said...

Portillo's cynicalness(?) was brought on by his failure. he would have been better than IDS; but then so would I.

As for UFO's, I like your piece on conspiracy theory and how it grabs you.

It reminds me of the global warming conspiracy that is going on now.