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Archive 17 April 2007

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Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.

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April 18 2007

Cult Dogma or Freedom of Choice - Alcoholics Anonymous DonInLondon

Yes this is a recurring theme. No I am not a spokesperson for Alcoholics anonymous. Yes I do go to AA meetings and have a life again. No I don’t have a dogmatic cultish intent to convert mad people into God fearing and a life of subservience to a doctrine. Cor blimey!

I have to smile, I went and saw a friend of mine in the programme to ask him how the "cult" was today and had he had dogma for breakfast. He hadn’t of course and told me to fuck off and not be silly. But I said, surely you feel that you have been brainwashed. And his response was simply if he was brainwashed not to drink anymore, just by a daily programme then this was to the good.

He asked me if I felt got at and was it right to make video’s about recovery. I said truthfully sometimes I was less certain of my motives. And he then suggested it was a good thing to demystify the whole thing which often gets stuck in the mire of religion and what is spiritual. In other words if you get a group of people together from as many diverse backgrounds you will get a few who are middle of the road, a few at extremes and a lot more who just want to stop drinking.

And as we discussed it some more we both felt it was to the good to debunk the mythology and get back to reality.

Attitudes and Behaviour

This is what AA tries to do. Change our attitude to drink and give up our addiction to alcohol, and then suggest some steps which make living work. When we had lost the plot, when we were addicted and mad with ourselves and life we were truly heading for an awful ending. Then AA simply helps find a path to being sober.

What are we dealing with in AA? Often the difference between a life and certain early death as our physical well being goes and our mental health has been completely compromised.

As we discussed a few things further just about our lives and things which were on my minds, well we forgot completely about AA. And we just got on with discussing life issues and things we needed to do today.

We chatted about whether we were getting along ok, and that our family stuff was working, that our outlook and the news in America and how awful that was, the horror of guns and people and madness.

We then talked about friends and family some more, and then about work and what next. We just got on and had a great conversation about life the universe and everything. And then we went our separate ways.

So in all after we did whatever we had had to do today.

Later of course I went to a meeting and my heart was not in it. I had met up with another friend and we had discussed some silly things of no particular importance and we were fine.

Tonight’s meeting

Sometimes we don’t hear what we need to hear, or we just seem tuned into something else. This was me tonight, and yet the person sharing had an important message to convey. And they did so, and others were very glad of what they had to say.

My mind has been elsewhere and uncertain just how much truth and honesty one can offer and another can absorb and deal with. I still feel I may have been a little too blunt to say the least with someone I know. Its never easy to share news which may or may not be received in the manner intended. And this always bothers me.

There is no point to being right and causing distress, at the same time as my head feels clearer and others are still struggling, there is a question of the right intervention at the right time. I feel it’s a difficult balance. And sometimes its best to let go. And letting go is not having the final word or being right, its just stopping a conversation which will do no good and go nowhere all over again.

Letting Go?

A very difficult part of living. Letting go when others are forever hanging on when we want to be free. I realise just how much I clung to some people places and things in the past, I need be mindful just how much I do this myself and maybe others do to me too.

Its always difficult for me having had a people orientation throughout a long career. And the knowledge I have about living and process and what we all do, well sometimes knowing is pretty useless when we have no way to share truth except bluntly and completely, so we are less leant upon.

Tonight I feel awkward and aware that my truth and sharing may not have helped another. And you know, there is nothing I can do but look at the facts and then decide if it was the right or wrong thing to do. And still I am uncertain. This uncertainty I have to park and wait and see. I am indeed powerless over people places and things and as we find in life, sometimes we need keep our own counsel.

Using and abusing People Places and Things

Something for us all to consider in the overall picture of living. We are very good often seeing our own point of view and not seeing another’s. Having pointed this out yesterday, I detect a hostility and most likely a resentment for not just being nice and letting time be wasted in debate which will have no value or worth in the long run.

Life is short

And we may find sometimes our abruptness or our conciliatory ways use up vast chunks of productive and worthwhile endeavour, which means making changes and being firm and not unkind. The trouble is some words are hard and leave a harsh feeling, so what to do? Say them and accept the consequences are not always good or pleasant. And sometimes when people lean too hard on me I need remind them to seek professional support and not me. I have my life to live also.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Is a fellowship of people trying to be sober and get on with their living.

For those who don’t like it, share your views, for those who get on with, they probably never say anything about their experience outside the fellowship, and quite rightly may feel they need not do so.

I have kept a journal for many years and shared it on the net. And seems to me as long as I portray me and my life, I am on safe ground. I will say again I am not a spokesperson for AA, or suggest it’s the only way to be sober. And actually actively encourage anyone anywhere to try and find a path which works and makes life possible and to be in recovery.

The problem these days is a lot of people find themselves in the mire of addiction and cannot be fixed. The hateful sides of us will relish finding blame and blaming everything but ourselves.

My part in my alcoholism is simply to acknowledge I became addicted and then had to work out how to get back to living at all. And in the process found a bunch of people who have a set of attitudes and suggestions how to behave soberly on a daily basis. As simple as that.

Anyone out there wanting to blame the world and their bad luck, well, that’s life people, and we can find a way if we are not too late. And can get help wherever we may. Living is bloody hard at the best of times, and just being able to function is quite an achievement in this stressful world.

If you find a way, I encourage you to share your experience strength and hope. Indeed if I had been left to my own devices I would not be able to write these words. Whatever works please endeavour and work it, share your vision and make your way known. This will benefit and help people who need some hope and way forward, whatever it is to make life work again. There are many ways to live life and have freedom again, share yours and be happy to pass a message on to others who can find their way too.


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Guardian Unlimited OnLine April 18 2007

Face of the campus killer April 18 2007

Gunman was South Korean student - Suspected of stalking and bomb threats

Ewen MacAskill and Suzanne Goldenberg in Blacksburg

The killer behind America's deadliest mass shooting had come to the attention of police as early as 2005, the Guardian learned yesterday. Cho Seung-hui was revealed to be a troubled loner of South Korean descent who left behind a disturbing note of grievances against his university saying: "You caused me to do this."

Police investigating the Virginia Technical College massacre, which left 33 dead, mainly students, blamed Cho, a fourth-year English student who lived on the campus, for earlier incidents ranging from stalking women to setting fire to a dormitory. The police suspect he was also behind persistent recent bomb threats.

Professor Lucinda Roy, a former head of the English department, said Cho had caused alarm in 2005 for taking illicit mobile phone photographs of women from under the desks and writing an essay brimming with rage.

Read The Guardian OnLine

Times OnLine April 18 2007

Outsider who unleashed his hatred on classmates April 18 2007

Tim Reid in Blacksburg

The gunman who massacred 32 people at Virginia Tech university was named yesterday as Cho Seung Hui, 23, a South Korean English

student who left behind a “disturbing and angry” manuscript before his rampage.

Cho, who moved to the US with his family from South Korea in 1992, was a loner who lived on campus and had begun behaving

bizarrely before he unleashed the worst single shooting spree in US history on Monday.

Police said they had seized “considerable writing” in his dormitory. Cho, whose writing assignments had already alarmed tutors,

railed against “rich kids”, “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on the campus. “You caused me to do this,” he wrote.

He died with the name “Ismail Ax” written on one of his arms in red ink.

Read The Times OnLine

Independent OnLine 'Indy' News April 18 2007

America's finest - gunned down in a bloody rampage April 18 2007

From the Holocaust survivor to his teenage students, Cahal Milmo on those who died

Liviu Librescu


The 76-year-old professor of engineering, pictured right with his wife, Marlina, died saving the lives of several of his students by blocking his classroom's doorway as Cho approached. His actions allowed students to climb on to a window ledge and jump to relative safety.

His son Joe, who lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, said: "My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to jump. Students started opening windows and jumping out. His work was his life in a sense."

It was a brutal end to a life scarred by violence, murder and oppression. When Romania joined forces with Nazi Germany in the Second World

War, he was interned in a labour camp in Moldova and then deported along with his family and thousands of other Jews to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani, Romania.

He avoided being transported to the death camps with his family when a shipment of Jews from his native Romania was held back from the capital, Bucharest, in 1944 because the country changed allegiances. According to a report by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were killed by Romania's Nazi-allied regime.

As a successful engineer under the post-war communist government, Professor Librescu worked at Romania's aerospace agency. But his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the regime, his son said, and he was fired when he asked to move to Israel.

Professor Librescu eventually emigrated to Israel in 1978 with his wife. He moved to Virginia in 1985 and received several grants from Nasa to further his research. His daughter-in-law, Ayala Librescu, said: "He has been teaching there for 20 years and was a senior world-renowned lecturer. He is the professor with the highest number of publications in the history of Virginia Tech." Professor Librescu's second son, Arie, told The Jerusalem Post that his father had been an "ambassador" for Israel in a community with many Muslim residents.

Read The Independent OnLine

BBC OnLine News April 18 2007

Virginia killings review pledged April 18 2007

Virginia's governor has pledged to review authorities' handling of shootings at Virginia Tech university that left 32 people dead.

Tim Kaine's comments came amid claims by survivors that the US university did not do enough to protect students during Monday's shooting rampage.

Police said Cho Seung-hui, a student originally from South Korea, killed 30 people, before committing suicide.

He is also believed to have killed two students earlier in the day.

On Tuesday, US President George W Bush addressed a memorial service for the victims of the shootings in Blacksburg.

Mr Bush said it was "a day of sadness for our entire nation".

Governor's warning

Speaking at a news briefing, Gov Kaine said an independent panel would carry out a "thorough" review of the authorities' handling of the disaster.

BBC OnLine Full Story

BBC OnLine History April 16 2007

April 28 1955: Albert Einstein dies

Albert Einstein has died in hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 76.

The eminent scientist and originator of the theory of relativity was admitted to hospital three days ago with an internal complaint.

In recent years Dr Einstein had lived a secluded life although he was still a member of staff at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

In a statement issued following the scientist's death, US President Dwight Eisenhower said: "No other man contributed so much to the vast expansion of the 20th century knowledge.

"Yet no other man was more modest in the possession of the power that is knowledge, more sure that power without wisdom is deadly.

"To all who live in the nuclear age, Albert Einstein exemplified the mighty creative ability of the individual in a free society."

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There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.

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