What is this site about?

Happy Indian Girls in Kolkata. By Jorge Royan, Argentina

Photography: Jorge Royan, Argentina

What are we doing here?

We’re here to discuss aspects of human well-being as they relate to our sense of self, our personal identity and whatever other notions we may hold for our own uniquely human sense of being. This means the discussion centres upon the pragmatic or real-life dimensions of experience – things like our sense of contentedness, of personal meaningfulness, and other tangibly perceived aspects of well-being. The discussion is positive, respectful, non-judgemental, considerate.

So it’s about me too then is it?

Going a little deeper, we can say the discussion involves our discovering more about the nature of our being, at least in regard to our psychological and emotional aspects, how we perceive ourselves and others, how our felt reality impacts upon experience, and so on. It’s not a place of indulgence, not somewhere we come to vent frustrations, to criticise those aspects of our self, the world or of others which we may currently see as being deficient, faulty or inadequate.

What’s at the heart of this site?

It’s intended that the site develops around how our sense of well-being is affected by mental disciplines or practices – things like contemplation, meditation, and other non-theistic forms of mental culture. At times we’ll engage in discussion on teachings of so-called ‘non-duality’ and ‘non-self’ for example. For those not familiar with such terms, they’re essentially going to the very heart of what it is to be human, beyond any erroneous notions of selfhood and personal identity.

Will I learn about myself here?

Here, we welcome those new to what may seem to be these rather esoteric or obscure takes on the nature of the human animal. They’re perhaps more commonly associated with what are the altogether more familiar Westernised practices of say, Buddhism and other similar Eastern Philosophies. But we’re not really interested in bells and incense, rituals and ceremony – nice as they are – only with how those teachings relate to our psychological and emotional well-being.

Is this stuff complicated?

If it sounds at all daunting to be identifying these very practical ideas surrounding human understanding as say, ‘teachings’ or ‘philosophies’, then whilst they are indeed that, there’s no need in the least to feel intimidated. There’s no agenda here; this isn’t leading anywhere other than to an understanding of how our own sense of contentedness and well-being may be developed. This place is for down-to-earth discussion of our felt reality – the ‘warp and weft’ of life as experienced.

Is this a friendly place to visit?

This isn’t a forum for setting philosophical outlooks one against the other, for one-upmanship or for intellectual dominance. It’s a place of non-conflict, of harmonious and respectful mutuality. It’s a place where we leave our pretentions and arrogance at the entrance, and don’t seek to impose our egoical identities upon others. Everyone is free to comment provided these tenets and principles are adhered to. And if you just want to listen-in for a while – you are very welcome.

 

121 thoughts on “What is this site about?

  1. Thank you for taking a stroll through my site. And thank you for the likes and comments! Your blog and discussion sounds very interesting!

    • Oh god, would it sound like a mutual appreciation society if I were to say the same of yours? – probably, but it’s true. I don’t comment on sites unless the discussion or content stimulates me. Love the cheerful avatar; half light, half shade – a true reflection?

  2. How fabulous to come across this blog showing such joy! Jorge’s photo of the women in the car is so happy! I And lots to read here. I’ll come back and read the rest – just passing though for a moment now – I want to look at the artwork too.

    • Thank you so much Carla. I too love that photograph by the wonderful Jorge Royan. I’ve just briefly checked out your website – very sophisticated! I love your hat too; I wish I had that much style . . . or any style come to think of it.

      Warm regards to you Carla, Hariod.

    • Hello!

      So glad to find your site, I can see I will enjoy it. Reading this page alone, I feel a deep resonance with your understanding of this experience. Your expression closely mirrors the energy with which I navigate my experience. I especially like this, “But we’re not really interested in bells and incense, rituals and ceremony – nice as they are – only with how those teachings relate to our psychological and emotional well-being.”

      Cheers!

      • Hello there Angelina!

        Thank you so much for taking a little time to review some of my thinking; I greatly appreciate it, truly I do. It’s a great delight to discover that a reader relates to matters in a way similar to my own; though doubtless even such kindred spirits have a unique dimension to their own understanding, as I’m quite sure you yourself do.

        Please feel free to relate here as much or as little of that understanding as you deem appropriate; and feel free to take issue with me over anything if that is your inclination. If you look at the comments in some recent postings, you will see that I greatly welcome reader involvement and enjoy learning from others’ experience. I rather get the impression that I have much to gain by hearing of your own Angelina.

        With much gratitude and respect, and ‘cheers’ to you too!

        Hariod.

        P.S. You seem to have jumped in here on Carla’s comment, but it matters not a bit.

  3. Hi Hariod, this description of your site makes me feel excited. Whilst I was in India, and before that and now in Australia, I spent time learning about Eastern philosophies and practicing meditation, most specifically Zen and Vipassana meditation and enquiry. I find reading writing like yours here complements the practice and other learning. Thanks for taking the time to look from the asmukti blog. I’m looking forward to further reading here and watching how this space evolves.

    • It’s a privilege for me to have you visit here; truly it is. With your extensive background in Zen and Vipassana, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with many of the ideas discussed here on this site. Please feel free to comment on anything with your own perspectives – I’m always keen to learn from fellow enquirers, and particularly so when they’re well-practised in contemplative mental cultures as you are.

      With gratitude and respect, Hariod.

    • That’s very gracious of you Faqeeha. I am indebted to the artists concerned for allowing me to use the pieces I’ve chosen to display, and also am indebted to you for visiting here; truly.

      With gratitude and respect, Hariod.

    • Thank you for showing an interest Wyrd Smythe; I truly appreciate it. You describe yourself as a ‘fool on the hill’. I describe myself as a ‘fool over the hill’ – though I ain’t quite dead yet. You’ve almost pipped Carla Saunders (see above), to the post for my ‘hat of the year’ award.

  4. Thanks so much for liking some of my posts, and liking my work enough to follow my blog! I really appreciate it, and am grateful to have found you. I love your site and the content totally resonates with me. I cannot wait to read more!

    • I greatly appreciate you stopping by. I’m not sure if all that you might find here will be to your taste – can that ever be so? – though am gratified that you are willing to give it a try!

      With gratitude and respect, Hariod.

      • If we only gravitated towards things according to similarities, we’d never grow or gain other perspective – yes? There is always beauty or wisdom to be gained from any situation/thing/person if that’s what you’re seeking 🙂 I am grateful to have the opportunity to do this with your work!

        • This is very true, and I reach out to yourself for this same reason – ‘other perspective’. The closed mind deadens our being; though perhaps not surprisingly, many sense safety there . . . ❤

  5. Dear Hariod,

    You speak so eloquently in your words and thoughts here on your site. I want to thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment which was of a new and refreshing variety of thinking. I love exploring many similar topics as you mention above. I am intrigued and fascinated by your words here and look forward very much to following, reading, and listening.

    I’ve been working on my own evolution of sorts looking for greater understanding of my spirituality and how what I’m learning about consciousness, awareness, and mindfulness affects the practical, emotional and psychological aspects of how I live. (I hope that makes sense!)

    Wishing you peace,

    Allison.

    • Dear Allison,

      What a privilege it is for me to have an authentic author visit and comment so graciously on my little space. This is a new project, though I hope over time to stimulate a little interest, and I can only dream that more serious visitors such as yourself will occasionally drop in and engage.

      It sounds from what you say Allison, and also from first appearances at your site, that we very much concern ourselves with similar terrain. I hope to learn from your own writings, and if it’s not an imposition, will endeavour to respond with some thoughts of my own. This interaction is, I think, part of what sustains the compulsion that you yourself experience as a writer – from what I can so far tell from your wonderful and extensive site.

      Thank you for your wishes of peace, which I amplify and return to you.

      Hariod.

  6. What a wonderful surprise to discover your blog . . . after your visit to mine. Thank you so much for the visit! Thank you, even more, for the presence of this space. I am so thrilled . . . I spent a wonderful morning here taking in the art works, among other things. I’m very excited to return, and will do so shortly.

    I greet you warmly,

    Meredith.

    • Thank you so much for your gracious, generous and kind comments Meredith. I am delighted that you so appreciate the visual aspects of my site as I work carefully on this. I seek to create an environment which facilitates the easy reading of my articles, and hope to find the right balance between the text and the visual. Your confirmation that I am going some way towards achieving this objective is a great encouragement.

      With gratitude and respect to you Meredith.

      Hariod.

    • I’ve always found Anastasia to be a wonderfully exotic and alluring name, if I may say so. And how exciting it is to have an ‘omnivorous pervert’ amongst us . . . You will go gently on me won’t you? Just as an aside, don’t you just loathe that term ‘follower’? I can hardly think of anything less preferable than being someone who is followed – my idea of a nightmare. I realise however, that you come in peace, and for that, I owe you a big welcome.

      Hariod ❤

      • Dear Hariod,

        Thank you for such a lovely compliment. Indeed my friend I’m always gentle and more so loving. I agree at first it felt a bit creepy letting one know I was “following” them, however not stalking. I also was hesitant to use the word “pervert” due to it representing such a negative connotation. I believe it takes just one person to make a change, and I would like to think that I could by expressing my sexuality in a tasteful manner.

        Without a doubt I come in/with Love & Light. I’m looking forward to getting more in depth within your blog site, and writings.

        Your Friend,

        Anastasia. 😊

        • Dear friend Anastasia,

          I hope it was okay to quote your avatar as I did; had I felt uncomfortable with the expression I would have desisted.

          I wonder if in fact you are more of the flavour of being pervicacious [i.e. headstrong and wilful] which are powerful qualities and to be admired when applied in certain domains.

          Perhaps you are aware that the term ‘pervert’ has its etymological origins in the Latin ‘pervertere’ which simply means ‘overthrow’ or ‘overturn’.

          The essence of this site, and the means to all ontological discovery, is in just those acts; that is to say, those of overthrowing and overturning our preconceptions.

          Hariod. ❤

  7. Hi Hariod,

    Just to say that the parts of your life you’ve shared with me since we connected have come up a few times in conversations with friends and family over the past while and have given me strength to make some recent decisions.

    Thanks again for your comments and ongoing support.

    Michael.

  8. Quite an ambitious project you have here, and it looks very impressive so far! The layout is appealing, and the articles certainly are thought-provoking. Keep up the good work!

    • Interesting that just tonight, a friend who I haven’t seen for a while asked me, ‘Are you contented?’ I considered that for a moment and said, ‘Yes.’ I thought it was a really good question. Better than, ‘How are you?’ or ‘What are you doing?’ And it was so nice to focus on the fact that I feel contented, even though I have (as we all do) my concerns.

      • Hi Belinda,

        What a pleasing coincidence it is, that our paths should cross at the very time you’ve been reflecting upon contentedness. What’s further pleasing, to me at least, is to have a poetess and artist show an interest in my writing.

        This is a fairly new venture for me, so I am learning on the job so to speak. It’s great to have feedback to help me on my way, and so your comments are both very welcome and appreciated; truly this is so.

        Thank you very much indeed Belinda; I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.

        Hariod. ❤

    • Hi Michael,

      I am very touched and appreciative that you have considered this blog for an award. This has never happened before and so I will look into it and see what is involved on my part if I may. I am rather fussy about the look of this site I have to say, and so would not be too keen on displaying logos or some such as I think they can end up having a detrimental impact on viewer experience. This may seem rather churlish, and I feel somewhat awkward in not immediately accepting, though I remain greatly appreciative to you dear Michael for considering my site in this way.

      Thank you so very much, and I hope you can understand my hesitancy.

      Hariod.

      • Hi Hariod,

        It’s all good whatever you decide. I’ve seen that some people have a blanket blog policy of not participating in awards. Either way, your blog was one of the first that came to mind when it came time to choosing ten to nominate. I feel very lucky to have found you here in the blogosphere and wanted to let you know.

        Much respect,

        Michael. 🙂

  9. I just wanted to say how very pleased I am to have you follow my scribblings over on Learning from Dogs. I just love your approach and can’t understand why I didn’t sign up to follow you the first time around. Now corrected! P.S. It would be a joy to have some guest posts from you!

    • Thank you very much Paul, for expressing an interest in my offerings; I greatly appreciate your presence here. For several months now I have had my attention caught by your avatar [“Pharaoh”] and this is because I have always had an affinity with German Shepherd Dogs (as well as Border Collies). Accordingly, I’ve tended to read your many comments on other’s sites though only today thought to subscribe to your own – apologies for my tardiness. It would be an honour to submit something for publishing at your site, though perhaps I ought to become more familiar with what may be appropriate before doing so. Would you care to suggest a topic or two that might fit the bill Paul?

      With all best wishes.

      Hariod.

  10. Hi Hariod,

    I am not sure whether you are interested in this kind of award, but I have nominated you as a ‘very inspiring blogger award nominee’. So, if you have a moment, please visit the link below to find out more about it. It is one we give to other bloggers we have found inspiring.

    Warmest regards,

    Karen

    Link: http://idoartkarenrobinson.com/2015/01/11/very-inspiring-blogger-award-nominee-shout-outs-keeping-the-blogosphere-a-beautiful-place/

    • Dearest Karen,

      I am most touched that you would think of me in this regard, and feel somewhat of a curmudgeon in being reticent to engage. My sense of the matter is that accepting such awards is not a terribly English thing to do, and so would sit a little uncomfortably with my feeling that I must rightfully remain extremely modest in my endeavours here in the blogosphere. In a very real sense, the mere fact that you have thought sufficient of my efforts that you would consider making me a nominee is accolade enough; and once again, I am genuinely touched that you chose to do so. On balance, I think I must remain true to my feelings and opt to decline acceptance Karen. I do so hope that you do not see this as any kind of snub, as I would feel most uncomfortable should that be so. Instead, I hope that you can accept my deep gratitude and appreciation, knowing that in truth, it is people such as your good self who should be the recipients of all such awards.

      With much love and respect.

      Hariod ❤

      • Thank you Hariod for taking the time out to explain how you feel in regards to these types of rewards. I actually felt similar but wasn’t sure how to proceed and perhaps I could have taken the same stance as yourself. But never mind, what is done, is done, and the act was geniune on my behalf. I always appreciate your support and your words of wisdom.

        Sincerely, Karen.

  11. Hariod,

    I have nominated you for Sue Dreamwalker’s Hearts as One Drumbeat award. The award is to acknowledge that I see your blog as coming from love, compassion and caring.

    Any of you who have received blogging awards before know that they are a way to acknowledge bloggers and also to let potential readers/followers know about blogs that they may not have seen before. Some award processes can be very time consuming and involved. This one is not like that. The only request is that you identify five bloggers who fit her criteria.

    My blog acknowledging and nominating you is at: https://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/thanks-for-the-hearts-as-one-drum-beat-award/

    Sue Dreamwalker’s award page is at: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/awards-hearts-as-one-drumbeat-award/. She would love it if you left a comment there saying that you were nominated.

    Participation in the award process, in any form, is of course totally up to you. My main goal is to let you know that I honor your blog and look forward to getting to know you better!

  12. So pleased to find your beautiful blog, I very much look forward to following and reading more, many thanks. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind and generous words Lynne. I, in turn, look forward to engaging with your own thinking; so do please feel very free to express the same here whenever you feel moved to do so. Your presence is most welcome and appreciated, truly.

      With gratitude.

      Hariod ❤

  13. Hariod, I am so enjoying life I do not follow up and comment as I should. As you have been looking at my posts, you would know I select bits and pieces of wisdom from everywhere. I then struggle to pass them on in condensed form to help others. I say ‘struggle’ because I have not had much formal education in English grammar. So my blog is a win-win situation; I am improving my communication skills and keeping my brain cells percolating. Also, someone could benefit; although to most of the people that visit, it is superfluous to their needs. That is why I value your comments. _/\_

    • What a beautifully gentle and self-effacing comment Jack; you have made my day with these words. I think the great quality of your own site is the way that you pace your pieces; each snippet of wisdom is followed by a pleasing image which allows time for the thought to digest. I think this works exceptionally well, and as regards grammar and such I detect no deficiency in the least my friend. I too am a retiree and like to think that my writing assists the grey matter in keeping going. I spend much more time reading of course, which I believe is known to approve or at least help maintain cognitive skills in later life. Let’s hope that for both of our sakes this is true, though the evidence from your side would suggest there is no need for wishful thinking in any case. Thank you once again dear Jack. _/\_

      • That is a most constructive and encouraging response to my writing. A lot of selective reading may account for your eloquent writing. I also read a lot of non-fiction, to further my understanding of the nature of life. It is interesting trying to fathom out the helpful facts from the myths. There is so much information at our disposal but a big percentage is misinformation. My unique path is unconventional but it has given me joy, if not Nirvana, some contentment, and a challenging goal in life. Please keep writing interesting posts, and your comments are highly valued as I feel we have a lot of common interests. _/\_

        • Thank you very much Jack for your further response. It has been a pleasure to get to know you a little more here, and I hope we can further our friendship and mutual understanding as the year progresses. _/\_

  14. Beautifully presented, simplistic ideas are often mistaken for complicated contemplation, especially when trying to be ‘described’. But you have an exquisite reflection here. Lovely.

    • Thank you very much dear Human for dropping by and leaving such a generous reflection; I truly appreciate both. I have only been running this site for around eight months or so, and am always excited and gratified when a new visitor stops by and expresses an interest. Your kind and lovely words are a boon to me and I shall carry them with me for a good while. Hariod ❤

    • Thank you so much both for your interest and for your kind and generous words Don. Please feel free to contribute your own perspective on anything appearing here; I welcome all contributions whether they be in contradiction to my original offerings or not. The aim is to invite discussion and an exchange of ideas, not for myself to impose any agenda upon others. Many thanks once again Don! All best wishes – Hariod.

  15. Well, hello Hariod,

    You’ve done me the honour of visiting me in my corner and engaging, so I have come to visit you.

    You have built something of a ‘resource’ here, and I like it. Much of the content that my scanning eyes have absorbed is semi-familiar to me; the philsophy/ies and perspectives. And thus, I may drop in to read from time to time – maybe just to reassure myself, or to find a peaceful room to draw in the words you have combined in one convenient location.

    The images are also very appealing and draw the reader in.

    Top work!

    Wick

    • Hello there Wick; how very civil of you to drop by and announce your presence, and with such words of grace too, for which I must thank you. This is quite a different style of thing to what you offer at your place of course, though we appear to share a similar political perspective and mutual disdain for much of what is happening in the world these days. It would seem also that the content here would not be entirely alien to your interests, and so it only remains for me to say that you are very welcome to visit whenever you are disposed so to do.

      With all best wishes and gratitude.

      Hariod.

  16. Oh my goodness, I am so inspired and truthfully grateful I have stumbled upon your blog! So, so many posts that bring such sheer clarity to my spirit. Joining hands with you along this inward path of rediscovery and true freedom. I couldn’t be more excited to become an avid follower of the work you do and the joy you express here. Love and Namaste, Luna. XO

    • I am delighted that we have chanced upon each other Luna, and your kind and gracious words are valued greatly, as is your presence. Please feel entirely free to add reflections on your own experience, and from your own knowledge and wisdom, whenever you consider an article here. I would value your feedback greatly, and the exchange of ideas is a boon to me as much, I hope, as it is at least in some measure to any readers. Love and Namaste, Hariod.

    • Thank you for the acknowledgement Paul. In fact, it is a re-subscription of one I originally made several months ago. When I went on my travels in April, I unsubscribed from all blogs which posted regularly, as I did not want a mountain of notifications upon my return weeks later. So, I merely have reconnected now that time is plentiful once again my friend.

  17. Hi Hariod, thank you for checking in to my blog, much appreciated. I love the photo on this page, such happiness and warmth. Your blog is quite unique, I am really looking forward to reading up on your posts.

    • Hi Teri, and many thanks for showing an interest in my offerings here. I only post one article a month, so you shouldn’t find my presence too overbearing in your reader or notifications. I have just posted an article yesterday, so do please cast an eye over it whenever you have a moment; it will give you a feel for what I do here, and any comments are most gratefully received. All the very best, Hariod. Please see: http://wp.me/p4wkZJ-d5

    • You are, as ever, most gracious Professor, and I thank you for your expression of interest. Nonetheless, I suspect you will find little to suit your palette of tastes here, though you are of course very welcome to peer into my little home my friend. 🙂

        • Commenters sometimes complain of my obliqueness, so it seems fair to forewarn you in that regard. Also, I moderate all comments as you can see, so as to correct typos which invariably appear – including several of your own already! Forgive me, this is entirely the norm, so please do not feel chastised; it simply is that it is easier for others to read comments when the syntax and spelling is reasonable. I am not so stern a soul in truth that I care about such things beyond the aforesaid. Welcome aboard esteemed Professor! By the way, is your title a play on words? i.e. ‘profess a taboo’?

          • What a fine reply that is! Thank you for your candor, sir, on my well-known writing imperfections! I am a work in progress. Hah!

            Yes indeed, my self-appointed title/name is a play on words, imagery, and un-convention. 😈

              • Another fine reply Hariod. My intution tells me I can learn much from you and your blog!

                …does a putative un-convention ever appear as if conventional due to repetition or familiarity?

                To be frank with you, and also offer my easiest answer, over time it would appear it does, yes. But my intuition whispers that you might be curious for more finer details? I’ll start here…

                “Professor” is an appropriate title, I think, because professionally I was a public school teacher – Special Ed. 4th. thru 8th. grades. During my late professional, then semi-professional, then retired soccer/fute-ball career, I was also a teacher of sorts. One-on-one tutoring/coaching of youth goalkeepers as well as on their defensive tactics, and defenders – the marriage of those 3-6 players with that of their goalkeeper is critical for victory or draws, or at least for respectable defeats. I was also a Psych/A&D clinical-financial assessor at a hospital – another ‘teacher/guide’ of sorts. Loved that job amongst the socially ‘unwanted’.

                The “Taboo” portion is also appropriate because there is truly no subject under the sun or moon that I will not willingly immerse myself into, nor that I’ve rarely not heard of in my travels – truly. I am an Engager! That’s what I am. I am a curious Listener/Spectator, I am a Participator. Not ashamed of my core traits (self-esteem?) despite the messes I can find myself in. Hah! However, this “engaging-listening-participator” also includes other seemingly modern social un-conventions of which I reserve respectfully to/for all strangers, but am not shy or aloof to divulge my… let’s say ‘darker side’ when appropriate. 😈

                Have I helped or hindered? 😀

                • Neither greatly helped nor hindered in all truthfulness Professor, yet I appreciate the considerable lengths you have gone to in your elaborations. One never quite knows what one is dealing with – not to depersonalise the matter – and one is indeed grappling more with a ‘what’ than with a ‘who’ in the aether, of course. People cultivate identities, which may be more or less true to their lived actuality. One test, perhaps, is their willingness to be open as regards their online identities with those that are closest to them. For example, my own family members are all fully aware of my activities here, having access to every word I write, here and elsewhere, if they so wish. Having read most of your last-but-one post I know you have a son. May I ask of you professor, is he aware of your online identity, and were he to be, would he recognise it as a true, albeit partial, reflection of his father? This is a flawed test, I admit, and it is not unreasonable to keep aspects of oneself private – ‘taboo’ – particularly if children are involved. [I believe your son is still a young teenager.] Nonetheless, answers may prove indicative of sincerity on occasion. Then again, one may question the value of sincerity per se, and being an inveterate Relativist, dare I say even a Moral Relativist, I can appreciate that. The other flaw is that if one is insincere, then one’s response to such a test itself may follow that course. You will doubtless be able to set my mind at ease on the matter.

                  Brissit brawnis and brokin banis,
                  Stride, discord and waistie wanis.
                  Crukit in eild syne halt withal,
                  Thir are the bewties of the fute-ball

                  Football you say, or something similar; and with a specialisation in defensive roles and tactics. Cricket – or is ‘Crukit’? – was always my game, and to a lesser extent the oft beautiful sporting pastime of tennis. Left arm ’round, medium-fast seamer, and with a reasonable cover drive as well as cut with the bat, if that means anything to you? I was a regular attendee at Lord’s Cricket Ground in Marylebone, London for many a year, and the game always appealed to my peculiar ability to appreciate not-much-happening-at-all for great stretches of time. That was a capacity – useless though it is – that enabled me to contemplate my navel for many hours a day, over a period of close to three decades. I learned absolutely nothing as a consequence of such endeavors, though unlearned a tremendous amount of useless and wholly inaccurate stuff about myself, and oddly enough, about others too. Not that it has served any great purpose, other than leaving me by and large in states of contentedness during my dotage. I have said enough for now, and shall await your response should you feel fit so to do.

                  Enjoying the introductory exchange with you, Hariod.

                  • Well, I am truly smiling in heart at that… that most considered and considerate response. I’m honored as much as humbled by your words Hariod. Thank you doesn’t seem enough here. *smirks a slight grin*

                    May I have a bit of time to draft my response… placing it as a new comment to aesthetically rejustified left margins, sir?

              • Grrrr, also meant to include that “un-convention can appear conventional due to both repetition and familiarity.” Apologies for my omission Hariod — it makes more sense I think. Also, I’ve been immersed in a brutal battle on Feminism and my white-flag somehow got misinterpreted as toilet-paper. Ugh.

                • Yes, the Gibraltarian it is primarily. Hmm, valid next question Hariod. The answer to it is unsurprisingly… complex. *gazes at the sky and sighs*

                  I can say this with unreserved amity, amour, and/or aggravation “the woman doth protest too much.” But a fiery lass she is and I am fond of her… most/some of the time. *wink*

  18. Enjoyed very much the short poem, sir. Think I’ll steal it from you as a Gentlemen’s Thief, of course. *wink*

    Your flawed test, as you appropriately put it, is a fair question pre-empted by equally fair considerations. I’m enjoying immensely your internet etiquette. For that I also thank you and will do my best to match it.

    Are you familiar Hariod with Texas? I’m assuming not, but want to not presume too much.

    I’m afraid I have no significant knowledge, much less experience, of your sport ‘Crukit’. I’m sorry Hariod. I wouldn’t be much of a pleasant Engager with you in (or on) that field. *frowns* My first questions would bear witness to that.

    As to why I used my autobiography-answer about my fute-ball/footballing career, it was to explain the “Professor” title I’ve given myself in a more related but expanded introduction so as to avail further questions, if you desired. Or not. *smiles honestly* There is a good real-life story I could share with you from two South African boys/lads I played with briefly, and mostly against, that would also elaborate somewhat on my self-appointed title. Another reason was indeed my actual professional experiences and background. The title, I feel is not entirely unwarranted.

    I’ll pause here to allow you to ask more of what you’d really like to know in more details, including more of the “Taboo” part versus my son, family, newly-married 21-yr old daughter, and the more revealing purposes behind my blog-alias while living in Texas; more specifically the central Hill Country now. Also, if you’d prefer to take this privately so as to not clutter up your blog-page here, I am fine with that as well. *nods graciously*

    The microphone is your’s sir.

    • ‘Texas’: that explains everything. Thankyou professor. Oh, there’s just one question. *turns and scratches chin Columbo style* Your son and daughter, are they not just that first and foremost over being Texans? Would it be necessary to altogether conceal your hinted-at predilections in a soubriquet? Perhaps it would, and I should understand if that were to be the case. Our children must be set free, and account for themselves, for better or worse, to live as Texans true or not.

      Now, I am undoubtedly willing to accept you as being sincere, though part of your cultivated identity is of course what The Gibraltarian, just earlier this very evening (European Time), alluded to, somewhat ungraciously, as your ‘southern politesse’ and ‘grovelling sycophancy’. [Forgive me for the repetition, and let me know if you wish that this be deleted.] This is altogether too harsh and from a person steeped in harshness I feel, not to say lacking somewhat in humour – I have tried, and failed spectacularly, in that department. So, we come back to the question, and should you choose not to answer it directly, then I am left wondering quite to what extent your offspring’s Texan cultural profiling is accountable for your reluctance. It is simply that I like to have a feel for what lies behind the mask, or tipped hat.

      To re-state the enquiry in case we have lost each other’s drift: do your family know of your online identity as revealed partially here and more fully on your site Professor?

      • More good, carefully considered questions and stage-setting Hariod. Thank you, thank you.

        Three things you may not, innocently, know about Texas:

        One: Employment here, and by default livelihood gained/sustained, is by law “At-Will”. That is by both employer (and by fairness in theory and legislation only) by employee also. If you need an explanation as to exactly what that means here in Texas, I am happy to oblige, sir.

        Two: Job hiring and terminating practices – afforded by the At-Will ‘protective’ laws – include monthly and/or timely monitoring of employees’ social-media/internet activity [e.g. WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc.] for the maintaining of the business’ public image/reputation; especially if said company is Conservative or Ultra-Conservative. This most definitely includes state-paid employed public school teachers or workers.

        Three: Given the previous two conditions, those in certain positions of educated “management or supervision” – as they typically are – carry and can swing a rather large bat. Or rather in the Wild Wild West Texas, a rather large arsenal of various legal weapons.

        Regarding my own kids, both raised in a typical Texas Christian-Fundamentalist home and both educated completely in private Christian schooling: My daughter is about to graduate in May from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. She knows all about her dad’s personal secular humanist world-views. She is quite aware of my WordPress blog and Facebook profile. And based upon confirmed evidence and firsthand testimony, she most likely knows of my ‘Alternative Lifestyles’ with her mother prior to and during our marriage, from her mother, from her maternal grandparents, and though in a completely different light, me as well. However, only very mildly from me until she became a woman at the age of 21. I’ve told her if at any time she had burning questions about me, to please ask! I will not hold back. I think that frightens her somewhat. Or a lot.

        My son: He is only 14 now. One day we will have a lengthy lucid talk. He and I are very close.

        You asked:

        “I am left wondering quite to what extent your offspring’s Texan cultural profiling is accountable for your reluctance.”

        If I haven’t answered that sufficiently, then please let me know. Beyond my own children’s sheltered and over-bearing protections by mother and church, I also protect myself from my native state’s popular and common disdain(?) for progressive active Liberals. More simply Hariod, being an 8th. generation Texan [i.e. here before Texas became part of the Union] and after 20-years here, I have learned I must pick and choose my battles wisely on my terms.

        Regarding my immdediate family, which is only my Mom and 35+ year-old addict-sister: They both know probably too many raw details about the real Professor. Mom has told me several times, “I don’t understand your need to be so extreme, but I still love you the same. I just don’t need to know all the details about that side of you.” The reason they even began to know was due to my ex-wife’s betrayal and needed exit-plan for a biblically-based divorce, as you may have read in my next to last blog-post.

        Apologies Hariod for my lengthy, long-winded reply. *nods in acknowledgment of your patience*

          • Oh no, “forgiveness” is not warranted for innocent inquiries. Besides, you’ve alluded to, or I inferred, that you recognize my culture here amongst the savage Native Indians and Eccentric Cowboys – with their spurs clanking and tobacco-spitting six-shooters a-blazing – [and which] I call The Wild, Wild West; whereas I quickly recognize your culture of refinement and civilized evolutions. We have quite a kaleidoscope of differences, yes, but I can sense some kindred-ness too. *smiles genuinely*

            Nevertheless, your gratitude and kind words flatter and honor me. Thank you, truly. *gives a most required Namaste and smile*

    • That sounds like the sort of thing I should have done decades ago, Paul. Sadly though, and despite many recommendations and admonishments to do so, I’ve always eschewed (physical) yoga, instead devoting my time to meditation (mental yoga). Many years of sitting have left me with postural issues, which yoga would doubtless have staved off, but I’m an old dog now, and you know what they say about them! Will yoga be beneficial for Jean’s recently diagnosed condition, may I ask?

      • Yes, the recommendation came from her doctor and it was also recommended for me. The place where we go for physio has a class for those new to yoga every Monday afternoon. It’s even free! But they encourage a $5 or $10 donation. Amazing find!

  19. I was born into an Irish Catholic family and attended parochial schools for 12 years. I never felt very comfortable, especially with the concept of a ‘One true Church’. So, when I went off to college, I no longer participated in an organized religion, although I did take very seriously [the teaching of] “Love thy neighbor as thyself” throughout my life.

    I married later in life and my husband moved to my town. He told me he would like to belong to a church and I said I would help him find one, but I would not be attending services. Through friends, we went to a Sunday service at the congregational church. The Deacon started the service with the words, “Whoever you are and wherever you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here.” That was 5 years ago and I have been attending services and participating in all the good works in which the Church involves itself. My husband is now a Deacon and I am still the atheist in the pew.

    I like being with people who are good to each other and the sermon that really has meant the most to me is the one in which our pastor explained that the Church is a Sanctuary. It’s a place where people, who are sometimes vulnerable, come to seek solace. He made it clear that we needed to always keep this in mind and be kind to each other. At the end of his missives to us he includes a quote from the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” I believe this is what you are seeking to create with your blog, Hariod. I can truly appreciate this and will read carefully what you and others have to say about learning about ourselves and our journeys.

    Thank you, Clare.

    • Thankyou so much, Clare, for this very warm and open message; I am quite touched by it, truly I am. I also feel myself to walk as if in your shoes, so to speak, as there are clear parallels in our respective lives. I tend not to define myself as an atheist, as the term seems (wrongly) to be taken as meaning ‘anti-theist’, not least of all due to the wave of militant anti-theism that has swept across much of the Western World as a result of the Dawkins/Dennett/Hitchens/Harris axis – although Sam Harris perhaps escapes that charge of militant anti-theism. Religious belief can indeed be a sanctuary, and who would deny the oppressed their emotional solace?

      I argue this with my brother, who is anti-theist, almost to the point of militancy. I once reminded him of the Chilean miners (‘Los 33’) who were trapped underground in 2010 for 69 days. When interviewed following their rescue, almost all of them said that what sustained them for those 69 days and nights (though they could not tell which was which) was their belief in God. My brother said that God did not rescue them; it was engineering that did, which is true. But it was God, or rather their belief in God, which made those 69 days bearable for the 33 men, not faith in engineering. I once heard a related expression of this idea many years ago: “Non-believers don’t talk to God until the plane’s going down”. At some point in life, it seems, the healthy mind comes to think beyond self-centricity, in one way or another.

      I am not a believer in Gods or religious cosmologies, and never have been, Clare. The obstacle to doing so, for me, was very starkly obvious in my youth, in that I never believed in the ‘soul’ concept, and upon which all religious belief hangs, I think it fair to say. That said, then just like you, I do attend church, and often go to Wells Cathedral for evensong. It’s a beautiful experience, and to be, as you said, “with people who are good to each other”, is a blessing in itself, and needs no endorsement from belief or higher powers. I must confess that the music at Wells is an equal draw for me, as the choir there is recognised internationally, and the Master of Music, Matthew Owens, is an exceptional talent. But it’s the complete experience that makes it a great pleasure, the atmosphere as a whole.

      Thankyou once again, dear Clare, for your beautiful message, which has made my day.

      Hariod

      • Yes, to be an atheist is quite different from being anti-theist, although to many, incorrectly, they are one in the same. I’ve read quite a few of the people you mention. I found Sam Harris’s The End of Faith and Reza Aslan’s Zealot the ones which stand out for me. And of course, I’ve listened to seemingly endless debates on the topic of ‘Does God exist and if so, in what form?’.

        In the end, I feel we all must look inside ourselves and honestly determine what it is we truly believe. I have held the hands of the faithful – friends and family members who in their dying days looked to their beliefs to sustain them. I would never think of taking that solace from them.

        I understand how you feel about church music. When I was in Cambridge I often went to Evensong at Kings College Chapel, and I’ve spent a wonderful afternoon and evening at Ely Cathedral listening to the choir practice for Sunday Service. Sacred music is an illuminating experience. I will make sure I find out more about Matthew Owens.

        I hesitated to write such a long comment on your ‘About’ page, but since I’ve been reading many of your posts, I felt it was time to leave a message. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, and I look forward to spending time with you this evening.

        Your friend, Clare.

        • Very lovely, Clare, and I smile at your naming us as friends, which also is lovely – I am delighted that you consider us so, and hope that our friendship proves a long one. Please never feel constrained by space here should you feel moved to correspond, as there is no shortage of it, nor the slightest unwillingness on my part to engage in kind. If there is anything you would prefer to keep private, then do please feel free to message me off-blog – you have my email address in your own dashboard under my listed comments – but by and large I prefer to keep correspondence on-blog wherever possible. I do occasionally receive off-blog messages from reader friends, for reasons of confidentiality in the main, so yes, that channel is open should you prefer it in certain instances. In closing, just for now, may I thank you from the heart for your interest in my ramblings here, and hope, for myself, to learn of, as well as from, your own perspectives. I feel quite certain that I shall.

          Your friend, and in gratitude,

          Hariod.

  20. Dear Hariod, (I hope I’m not being over-familiar, calling you dear), I couldn’t help but notice that you had been very busy reading and ‘liking’ the comments on my post Sex, Ties and Which Road do I Take?. Can I just say how enormously thankful I am that you have taken the time to do this and show your support in this way. I’m also loving any comments that you leave because of your insightfulness, which is always good to read, but your supportive presence on this occasion has not gone un-noticed and is very much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Dear Marie,

      You can of course be as familiar as you like, and many here simply refer to me as ‘H’, so feel free to do that also if you wish. There is no need to thank me for anything at all, though it is lovely to witness such thoughtfulness. I read your posts because they are well-written, deal with the subject matter of human emotions (my main area of interest), and above all so as to learn from you. I cannot always add anything to the conversation as I do not have the relevant direct experience or expertise; although it seems, rather shockingly, that none of us are so very far removed from such experience when we understand the lives of our friends and/or family more deeply. Thankyou for your generosity of spirit, your kindness and the work you do through your writing Marie.

      With very best wishes, Hariod.

      • Dear H, thank you so much for your very thoughtful response. It is a pleasure to have you read my work and an even bigger compliment to know that you are able to learn from my humble little posts. I am not university educated, like some of the many bloggers whose posts I follow and read, and who demonstrate a wealth of knowledge that I could only wish for. So it really boosts my confidence to know that my posts are of interest. Very best wishes to you too, and I hope you are having a good day in that very beautiful part of the country in which you live.

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