One bonobo's view of the world...and stuff.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Damn good questions, Az! I warn you...I tend to digress - but you probably know that about me.
You call yourself a 'militant atheist'. Why do you think it's important to take a militant stance on this matter?
The full title was 'Born-Again Militant Atheist Fundamentalist'. Born-Again, because although I've been an Atheist at least since the age of 12, for much of my life, I was happy enough to countenance countenance pseudo-religious, mystical hippy shit...Taoism, Zen, UFOs, Telepathy...again, all part of voluntary difference; I probably thought it made me more interesting. Of course, they're all nonsense. Militant - yes, that's pretty much a pose. I'm more strident than militant, in that I don't actively seek out religious people to attack and abuse (but if you hand around long enough, they'll come to you...), so that's really redundant. Whether or not I'm militant, people are going to carry on believing all manner of tosh.
I think Azahar was kindly concerned that I might not want to answer this question. For the record...I have absolutely no embarrassment about my illness. I'm deliberately open about it, and on the whole haven't experienced negative reactions.
It will be helpful if I take the second part first. It's also something I feel strongly about. The notion of bipolar disorder as having positive aspects - the highs as massive compensation for the lows - has entered public mythology. For example, Stephen Fry has made high-profile statements along the lines of "If there were an 'off' button to take away bipolar disorders, sufferers wouldn't press it." Well, I'm sorry...maybe Stephen hasn't experienced extreme highs...maybe he has sufficient life cushions (wealth; life in a tolerant, arty circle) that his highs haven't damaged him. Yes, many people with bipolar disorder speak of the creativity the highs give them...but they're a self-selecting group of high achievers. Could it be that there's a hidden population, perhaps undiagnosed, whose lives have been ruined? Think of that next time you pass a homeless drunk slumped in his own piss.
Thanks for the compliment, and for giving me an ever-welcome chance to talk about books.
- Some kind of classic 'Space Opera' SF - I'm tempted to go for Arthur C Clarke's The City and the Stars - but I can get extra credibility for the wonderful The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem.
- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (I should choose Slaughterhouse 5 - but this was my first proper literature)
- On The Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Good Terrorist - Doris Lessing
- Candide - Voltaire
- Penguin Modern Poets: The Merseysound - Roger McGough, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten
- A History of Western Philosophy - Bertrand Russell
- Selected Poems of Hugh McDiarmid
- Another Country - James Baldwin
- English Bread and Yeast Cookery - Elizabeth David
Eek! Where's the Greene, the Burgess, the Salinger, the Steinbeck...10's not nearly enough! (Funny - in my Desert Island Disks, I chose the complete poems of Norman McCaig. That's a nice thick book that I'd like to delve into more, but it's not really part of my story).
If you could change jobs tomorrow, and money and qualifications weren't a factor, what new career would you choose?
I always say that if I win the lottery, I'll go and study something. Anything. I'd enrol in a university and study stuff. If I could, I'd do it without bothering about exams or qualifications. (I suppose I'm an intellectual at heart. That's what my university old tutor still maintains...ever since he saw me coming out of the library on the day after finals had finished, with one of the books on the above list. Mind you - at my university it was a relative term). I do also like teaching people stuff - although I don't think I'd want the hassle or discipline of working in formal education. Maybe I could be some sort of 'public intellectual'. (Gawd! That sounds poncy and self-aggrandising - but we did say qualifications weren't a factor)It's all a complete pose, of course. 'Intellectual' doesn't imply that I'm smarter than anyone else - just that my head's full of more shite. (I'm dead serious here. There's more than one way of being clever. There's more than one way of being a good person).
Alternately - a baker.
Or a fluffer for Lesbian porn films.
The rules of this meme are here. Feel free to ask me to interview you.
Posted by Edward the Bonobo at 12:15 pm