The narcissism of small differences


“The English and the Scots. The Serbs and the Croats. The Sunnis and the Shiites.

If you look at some of the fiercest and bloodiest rivalries in history, what’s striking is not how different the opposing groups are, but how similar. Sure, they often hold different beliefs, but they live as neighbors, share ancestry, and hold similar customs.

In his 1930 essay “Civilization and Its Discontents,” Sigmund Freud commented on this dynamic, noting that it is frequently “communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other.” Elsewhere he notes that the phenomenon is not limited to ethnic or religious peoples either: “Every time two families become connected by a marriage, each of them thinks itself superior to or of better birth than the other. Of two neighboring towns each is the other’s most jealous rival; every little canton looks down upon the others with contempt.”

If as a teenage football fan you were caught up in a cross-town rivalry with another high school, you know of which Freud speaks.

So what accounts for the peculiar hostility between groups of people that are in many ways quite alike?

Freud chalked it up to the innate human proclivity for aggression and the desire for distinct identity. To see one’s neighbors reflect and mirror oneself too much threatens a person’s unique sense of self, and superiority. It’s what political scientist Stephen Brooks calls the “uncomfortable truth of resemblance.” To alleviate this injury to one’s ego, one downplays their similarities with others and emphasizes their divergences — which can be amplified into seemingly unbridgeable rifts.

Freud called this phenomenon “the narcissism of minor differences.””

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

The crisis in the Labour Party


Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

Stan rides his bike and Dave arrives


forest bike bulls

Photo by Philipp M on

Although Stan was 92 years old he still rode his bike as much as possible in the summertime.He was out in the garden pumping up the tyres before going off to the Library when suddenly his neighbour Annie appeared at the gate,bedecked as usual in finest Scottish tweed with a long pendant on a solid 22 carat gold chain swinging nonchalantly from her neck,with a matching ring attached mysteriously to her upper lip
“Who’re you,the Lady Mayoress” he joked noisily as he felt nervous.
Where’s Mary?” she whispered shyly.
“She’s up with her widowed sister Joan in Scotland ” Stan admitted nervously.
“Joan,that’s not a very Scottish name!” Annie joked.”anyway how about we sit down here on this bench for a moment”.She pulled him vigorously towards her.Stan responded regretfully yet politely
“I’m afraid I can’t stop.I have all these  old books overdue and the library shuts in 15 minutes.
“Don’t worry, sweet heart”, she cried softly.”I’ll pay all your fines.I’ve just come into loads of money.”
“Oh,how’s angel” Stan murmured into her ear.
“I just shot Bert.If you help me to get rid of the evidence,I’ll share the loot with you.”
At the funeral,Annie was dressed in a beautiful dark brown suit from Jaeger.She went around the room making sure everyone had enough food and drink..As she leaned over towards Stan her heavy gold locket,inside which was hidden the bullet that killed Bert,swung over and hit Stan a glancing blow on  his temple.
Stan fell to the ground where luckily there was a thick  wool carpet
“Do you think we should ring 999?” someone asked sarcastically.Within minutes paramedics arrived.
“So,is it that chair again?” they clamoured.
“Yes,this foolish old man fell over and the leg came off my new antique chair.I’ve only had it a few days and it’s not insured.”
“Did anyone ever tell you,your eyes are like deep pools in the Sargossa Sea?” The paramedic whispered into her right ear.I’m  Dave,by the way,her muttered.
“Have you still not finished that Creative Writing Course?” Annie shouted,continuing..
“I’m getting tired of you admiring my eyes.What about my nose?”
“Has anyone ever told you,your nose is the shortest they’ve ever seen?” he said furtively
“That’s a bit boring” Annie retorted. angrily
“Yeah,maybe I should change to Art,” he ruefully moaned, his eyes on the ground
“I love the way your deep blue and turquoise eye shadow is melting round your eyes and running down the sides of your nose.”
“Hurry up and fix my chair,and while you’re about it,you may as well take Stan down to A and E for a head X-ray.”
Glancing  slyly at Annie in her Jaeger suit with carefully contrasting deep coral blouse and opaque teal blue 80 denier tights with 6 inch stiletto heels to complete the outfit, not to mention her raspberry coloured bra which clashed violently with the coral blouse, which, as it happens, was more transparent than she realised, Dave picked up a hammer and began,excitedly,to mend the broken chair as this would put her in his debt.
“This is what life is all about,my boy” he thought.Little did he know the true tale, that Annie had murdered her husband merely because she felt very  bored.
Boredom is very dangerous.If you are affected why not go out and look at some hats?

Churchyard rocksImage by Katherine from a photo she took 2013

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

A whale has swallowed Brexit and Ms May

The late night news was very black today
Get ready for the angst , be mobbed by tears
A whale has swallowed Brexit and Ms May

No more shall little children, heedless, play
For  love imperfect has not paid their fear
The late night news is very grim today

Let the moon and stars each turn to grey
As in their grief they weep with hate sincere
A whale has swallowed Brexit and Ms May

Who will pay the bill  or  write the Play
Can  it be that lady, Germaine Greer?
The late night news is very grim today

Where do whales live,how about E bay?
Or in the House of Lords, is there a pier?
A whale has swallowed Brexit and Ms May

Who would have thought that vote would bring us here?
Weep well, oh mine eyes,have you  got no tears?
The late night news was  wonderful today
A whale has swallowed Brexit and Ms May

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

Auden and God



““To pray,” Auden wrote, “is to pay attention or, shall we say, to ‘listen’ to someone or something other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention—be it on a landscape, or a poem or a geometrical problem or an idol or the True God—that he completely forgets his own ego and desires in listening to what the other has to say to him, he is praying.” This may seem a denatured idea of prayer, but Auden took it seriously, and seems to have prayed in exactly this sense. The only value he found in “petitionary prayer”—prayer that asks for something—was that the act of expressing desires can reveal what they are, so that “we often discover that they are really wishes that two-and-two should make three or five, as when St. Augustine realized that he was praying: ‘Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.’” Auden prayed to a God whom he knew he thought about in falsely human-centered terms, but only by doing so could he listen with any attention: “I can see…what leads [Paul] Tillich to speak of God as ‘Ground of Being,’ but if I try to pray: ‘O Thou Ground, have mercy upon us,’ I start to giggle.””

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

I need help,Lord

Bulbophyllum_makoyanum_2.jpgI need a good sinner
I am  not Hungary
Where is the damage?
Is there a desert in the kitchen?
The Neg’ev… sounds like my wife
Are you a misphlogistonist?
Do you like a beginner at  dinner?
Why do we always have three horses every night
Sorry, three hearses.
I like an  egg fish
Sign,aye. Give me a pen.That’s an order
Is Rael still here?
He’s gone over to Rome
Wireless in Gaza?
Tireless at Murder
The order is   in Gatwick  they say,
Is this a war or just a piece of one?
Conflict with glassy fists is vulgar,regina.
Where will it all end? At the bottom.
So King David had his Hotel and Solomon had the Temple then some terrorists blew up the Hotel.Where was King David at that time? I see they are now Rulers/
I’ll say this for King Herod.He knew his pie from his  irrational jumbles
Why, I never knew he built a new temple all by himself.
What a Nero!
Do you like the Pope? I didn’t even know he was on FB!
Do you ever bleat? Join Blitter or otherwise Bitter.
What a nun, aeon!
I scrambled   my legs on  a low heat
We can’t even  afford an oven.
What did they do with them after Auschwitz.. give them to Charity or sell them to another  evil Fascist country to pay for the re homing of the survivors who were refused entry to   the UK or USA and then we complained when they decided to flee to  the Holy Land.I bet Jesus wept all night.Unless he was not a survivor
That made me blink.
Oh, fire a blank.for God’s sake.That’s blass venomous.. you will remain in hell >
I told you to vote Leave, so don’t claim me
It’s still a free cointreau,I daresay.
Food for the bitch, work for the  whore.Death  to the Menace.
What   about God? He’s not got a blog yet so no About

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

Aretha Franklin

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

There’s a fiddler on the roof

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

The living whole

  • gray and white castle built near a cliff

    Photo by Pixabay on

    Everything abstract is ultimately part of the concrete. Everythinginanimate finally serves the living. That is why every activity dealing in abstraction stands in ultimate service to a living whole

  • Edith Stein
Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment

The Jewish Mark Twain

” Her book is nothing less than a cultural history of American Jewry as refracted through its most celebrated artifact. Fiddler, which debuted in 1964, is placed within its moment. After a couple of decades of postwar assimilation during which Jews, like Catholics, won gradual mainstream acceptance, ethnic identity was beginning to reassert itself. The melting pot was being reimagined as a salad bowl, and the movement that Fiddler helped launch would eventuate, 13 years later, in Roots. Some potential backers worried that the show would prove to be “too Jewish.” Its Jewishness, in fact, turned out to be the key to its success.

But what exactly did that Jewishness consist of? If Fiddler marked the early days of multiculturalism, it also represented the climax of the process by which the Jews of Eastern Europe were rendered safe for their grandchildren, reduced to a set of reassuring stereotypes—poverty and piety, laughter and tears, candlesticks and chicken soup and “warmth”—that preserved them not so much in amber as in schmaltz. The paintings of Chagall, the photographs of Roman Vishniac (redacted to eliminate signs of prosperity or modernity), books like Life Is With People (1952) and, indeed, The World of Sholem Aleichem (1943): for the new suburbanizing Jews, those Unitarians with yarmulkes, such artifacts performed a complicated kind of psychic work. They gave them a past to adore, but also one that they could proudly leave behind”

Posted in Thinkings and poems | Leave a comment