Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Real Justice

Following Conrad Murray's conviction Michael Jackson family and fans can be heard to yell that justice has been done. And in truth the court has certainly handed down a guilty verdict. But who has this version of justice really served.

From what we now know Michael Jackson was prone to using a range of sedatives, including propofol, to aid his sleeping. It was not Conrad Murray who introduced or recommended it to him. While it is true that Murray did illegally procure it for him, it was Michael Jackson's choice and decision to use it. It is unlikely that he was unaware of the dangers in using it.

However, Murray was the architect of his own downfall. He knew the procurement and use of propofol were illicit but did not exercise better judgement and integrity in deciding whether to enable this dangerous practice. He claimed to be a friend of Michael Jackson and did nothing to stop him continuing to put himself at risk through rampant prescription drug use. He also did not exercise better professional judgement in ageeing to administer dangerous and unnecessary medication.

Had Murray not complied would Jackson have found some other doctor who would have? Most definitely, yes! But the decision was Murray's to make and he made the wrong call. Maybe his inattention contributed to Jackson's death on the day. But in all truth Jackson was his own grim reaper. Murray was merely an accomplice. And as it turns out the classical fall guy.

So exactly where have the scales of justice fallen here? Murray has been called to account for his bad professional practice. That is rightly so and just. But is this justice for Michael Jackson and his family? I doubt it. A lot of them could probably have done a lot more to prevent him meeting the demise he chose for himself.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Intelligence in the UK

Living one's life with these days gives one reason to query so much about the actions and behaviour of so many of those around us. Sometimes its hard to understand the motives of people. However, it is becoming clearer that in most of one's dealings at work, on the streets, in groups and online there does appear to be a waning of intelligence in the UK.

When I was in university great effort was made to explain the difference between inteligence and wisdom. And it is a reasonable distinction. Intelligence being the innate ability to understand relationships between things, and interpret the order that things follow. This ability either remains stagnant or develops and attains new levels with our advancement in years. Wisdom on the other hand, is the application of experience and knowledge gained from interacting over time and groupings. Whether there is a point at which intelligence and wisdom merge into one is a thought for another ramble.

I beleive there is another component of intelligence that is fequently overlooked. For me that is the ability to apply a value system, and and make value based decisions. Now whether we deal with conflicts of morality or choices of preference there is a set of values that should guide us in this. In understanding our view of the world and our place in it our perspective is inherently value based. The effort we put into what we do or achieving our objectives is often dependant on how important we consider the need to do so is. The more committed we are the higher the likelihood that we will understand the elements that drive the activities we enagage in. Or in fact the thoughts we contemplate.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Jessica Ennis: Myth or Mistaken

I'm a big fan of Jessica Ennis. I think she has a pleasant personality and is a great competitor. Leading up to Daegu the story has been about how she was going to win the gold and go on to blaze a golden trail to the 2012 Olympics. She was the reigning world champion so clearly has some good form and ability. She had been performing well during the lead up to the games. She was even confident enough to elect to miss the Commonwealth Games. Ready for gold she certainly she was.

Once the heptathalon started it seemed that after 2 events maybe things weren't going Ennis' way. Fountain, the American got the jump on her after the high jump. By the end of the day Ennis was ahead and looking good. A personal best in the shot put had given her a mojor boost. However, the second day proved decisive. And a poor javelin series put her out of contention for the gold. She went on to run a personal best in the 800 metres but it wasnt enough to deny Chernova.

As it turns out even Ennis personal best would not have beaten Chernova on the day. I dont know what went on in the Ennis training camp but I wonder whether they had Chernova in their sights. I dont think that Ennis came into the competition believing she would need a personal best to win it. And if that is the case then her preparations fell a little bit short of what was required. Possibly she and her coach got carried away with all the press adulation and took their eye of the competition. They did so at their peril. Chernova literally shoved her aside. Chernova put in a solid performance but it was no supperhuman effort. No records were broken or threatened. No sensational peaks were attained. So it seems all it has taken to beat Ennis is a solid yet unspectacular performance. Am sure Ennis will go away and prepare harder but I am sad to say if Chernova improves just a little bit then there is almost no way Ennis will beat her to gold in London 2012.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Recently the word cynical has cropped up quite a few time in the news. A few cases recent and past come to mind. The shutting down of News of the World. The backing down from prosecuting DSK for rape. David Cameron criticising Rebekah Brookes for not stepping down when he wasnt decisive with Coulson, Laws or Lord Young. Obasanjo's regime in Nigeria, paying off the national debt during its last years in under the stewardship of Okonjo-Iweala; two people who sought to profit from currying favour with international finance bodies. All these were cases of people taking calculated actions to subvert the public consciousness and secure some advantage for themselves.

There is the notion that cycnicism is something that particular people with very specific personality traits is prone too. It is based on the assumption that by and large all people are, or aspire to be, altruistic and compassionate by nature. To be truly cynical you had to be a misanthrope. This is why people found Machiaveli's The Prince so shocking. It went against every notion of human nature that people held to be true.

Even though babies are born innocent and guileless their first human thought and desire is to manipulate and acquire. In short, they set off on a mission of cynical exploitation. Of their mother's breast, people around them and their environment. So as it happens, cynicism is instilled at birth. Therefore all human beings are cycnical by nature.

Rather than being the preserve of the misanthropic and psychopathic, cynicism is actually a natural human capacity that is triggered during significant events or at key moments. Its a natural defensive mechanism that all humans call upon when they feel their self image or status is under threat. People with low self esteem tend to invert the process but they still have that rich wellspring of cynicism. It just so happens its themselves they find so unimpressive. So they exploit themselves in order to impress others.

It may come as no surprise that I have always been described as cycnical. I used to think that I was a breed apart. But I guess am just a regular joe doing what comes naturally to all of us.