Thursday, August 18, 2011


Not had time to write a post for a few weeks - been very busy with travel, working on a new book, and reading loads (neuroscience, science fiction, and Agatha Christie!).

Some quick thought on the recent riots in my home country of England:

The left were very quick to blame this on inequality, but that explanation soon fell flat when it became clear that many of the looters - or at least the ones who got caught - were middle class. I'm not sure that its even possible to prove exactly what the real cause was - and theorising about it is just as likely to reveal ones own political prejudices as the reality of the situation. Equally, I think these types of spontaneous crowd movements are not only akin to the subconscious/irrational group mind of a society acting out, but there seems to be a real anarchic and revolutionary feeling around the world right now, in the middle east, other European countries and elsewhere we've seen large public protests and movements emerge suddenly.

However, for what its worth, I'd say that a big part of the English looting was due to a general degradation of public behaviour and morals that has been going on for many years, and is in evidence in equal amounts at the top of society as at the bottom. There is barely a week that goes by now without us hearing of corruption in many of the institutions that are supposed to make up the backbone of our nation. And as some have pointed out: is there really that much difference between the members of parliament who were shown to be abusing the expenses system - effectively stealing from the taxpayer to pay for mortgages and luxury goods - and those who looted from shops? Also, one particular incident which enraged the public was that of a young man, injured in the lootings, who was apparently offered help from a small gang, who then proceeded to rob him. 'How low', people thought, 'to steal from someone who is vulnerable, under the guise of pretending to help them.'

But isn't this exactly what our governments have been doing to us in recent years?

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