I value reading substantial literature, enjoy thought-provoking entertainment, and above all, I think every day. With Stepping Stones, I develop my thoughts in writing and share references to relevant media, intending for other readers and thinkers to find these writings useful.
The first in a series on solitude and solitary activity, this article outlines the personal, interpersonal, and social modes of being before discussing how postmodern culture obscures solitude and attenuates personal being.
Solitude is an integral aspect of human experience, hence its eternal relevance. By intention or by circumstance to either positive or negative effect, people experience periods of aloneness to some extent and degree. More fundamentally, a human being is a separate sentient entity prior to his associations with others, no matter the degree to which he is immersed in a social environment. Thus, solitude is an inherent aspect of life whether one cultivates it personally or suppresses it collectively.
Based on my regular practice of solitary activities (which are to be the topic of subsequent articles), this article establishes solitude as an important yet misrepresented aspect of life. After outlining modes of being I then discuss the sociocultural status of solitude in the postmodern world, specifically, the various ways it has been disassociated from its authentic meaning and demoted from its traditional value.
A philosophical discussion about sports betting and gambling, based on my e-book Sports Betting Pure: The Educated Bet, which is now published here for free download.
The Dolphins score a touchdown and Homer celebrates (spilling his Duff beer in the process) while Lisa copies his cheering. Homer lets it slip that he bet $50 on the game, but Lisa doesn’t understand why. Homer: [Gambling is] a little thing daddies do… to make football more exciting. Lisa: What could be more exciting than the savage ballet that is pro football? Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you? Lisa: Uh huh. Homer: And don’t you like ice cream better when it’s covered with hot fudge? And mounds of whipped cream? (getting carried away) And chopped nuts? And, ooh, those crumbled-up cookie things they mash up? Mmm, crumbled-up cookie things. Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better?
The Simpsons, ‘Lisa the Greek’
Sports and Gambling: An Inevitable Match
The lures of both sports and gambling are apparent and ancient: throughout history, sports has served multiple functions considered essential to society; while gambling has had rising and falling prominence in societies of every place and age*. Given the excitement and the stakes common to both, it’s inevitable that the combination of sports and gambling would appear to many as a perfect match (as Homer explains simplistically), particularly during an age in which both are prominent.
Part IV of an article series examining themes from the British dystopian series Years and Years that have become pertinent following the Russia-Ukraine War.
Parts I, II, and III of this article series examined the various societal and international themes derived from the prophetic fiction series Years and Years, specifically those that have become ever more pertinent due to the Russia-Ukraine War and its emergent consequences. Respectively, the themes discussed were Refugee & Housing Crises, Nuclear Attack & World War, and Financial & Employment Crises. Furthermore, this particular succession of socio-international themes was shown to comprise a logical chain reaction of crises that can be traced through the series’ narrative, implicitly when not explicitly. Part IV presents the culmination of this chain reaction of developments in what can be thought of as their sociopolitical ‘endgame’ and the ‘comeuppance’ of accumulated follies: neo-fascism*.
*To avoid ambiguity in using this term, the Wikipedia definition will suffice here: “Neo-fascism is a post-World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, racial supremacy, populism, authoritarianism, nativism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment as well as opposition to liberal democracy, parliamentarianism, liberalism, Marxism, capitalism, communism, and socialism.”
Part III of an article series examining themes from the British dystopian series Years and Years that have become pertinent following the Russia-Ukraine War.
Part I and Part II of this article series discussed the themes of housing crisis and limited nuclear war, as represented in the prophetic fiction series Years and Years and in relation to the ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine War, both primarily with concern to British society. The theme explored in Part III is one emphasized in the second episode and remains a consistent theme throughout Years and Years: Economic Collapse. In fact, the series shows multiple economic crises to be indirect effects of the nuclear attack, thereby suggesting the consequences of an equivalent action in the real world; and more specifically, the political (re)action to it and the ramifications of such an action.
Part II of an article series examining themes from the British dystopian series Years and Years that have become pertinent following the Russia-Ukraine War.
Part II of this article series begins by establishing the concept of Limited Nuclear War and highlighting its enduring significance as a sociocultural theme. I then examine the depiction of limited nuclear war in the British prophetic fiction series Years and Years, the predictive significance of which being the basis of this article and series. From this context is presented the following thesis: that the international developments ensuing from the Russia-Ukraine conflict are likely to provide the catalyst for the fulfilment of the nuclear threat born from the Cold War—specifically, in the form of limited nuclear war.
Part I of an article series examining themes from the British dystopian series Years and Years that have become pertinent following the Russia-Ukraine War.
In Part I of this article series I discuss the theme of Housing Crisis as depicted by the British prophetic fiction series Years and Years, examining its predictive significance in relation to the wider ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine War, specifically those of direct concern to British society.
British Housing Crisis
In Britain (perhaps even more so than in Europe), the most immediate and striking development of the Russia-Ukraine War was the appeals and then arrangements for the mass asylum of Ukrainian refugees, which transpired even faster and more fervently than I had anticipated (as mentioned in my previous article: Russia-Ukraine & ‘Years and Years’: Prophecy Rising). Of particular interest here concerning this ongoing development – and testament to the gung-ho humanitarianism at its basis – is the quickly-emerged subplot of volunteer refugee housing, whereby the portrayal of British citizens’ eagerness to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes at no cost is heavily featured in the news. Soon enough, the Media’s theme of the Public’s generosity was converted into an official Government policy of subsidized sponsorship: the “‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme” (launched on March 14th).
A follow-up on four predictions from the prophetic fiction series ‘Years and Years’ most relevant to the wider ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine War; beginning an article series expanding on this significant yet overlooked topic.
The Russia-Ukraine War and the Prophetic Fiction ‘Years and Years’ began by examining the prophetic content and praxis of the 2019 BBC mini-series Years and Years, so as to highlight the general cultural significance of this televised fiction. From this context I identified four specific predictions (sections linked below) made by the series that are most pertinent to the manifestation of the present war and its most likely ramifications:
As of writing, the first two of those four predictions were and continue to be of immediate relevance; the third prediction has shown indications of being inevitable; while the seeds of the fourth prediction could well have already been sewn by the Western reaction to the war. This follow-up article re-examines these four themes in light of what has transpired since I introduced them; and begins a series of articles that each introduce and discuss an overarching societal theme and subthemes derived from Years and Years, thereby expanding upon the thesis of the original article. I shall, in other words, identify more of the predictions casted through Years and Years and specifically those I consider most relevant to the potential ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine War, in each case revealing the essence of this relevancy in relation to the present state of the world.
The 1997 book The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski identified Ukraine as the “geopolitical pivot on the Eurasian chessboard” whilst thoroughly analysing the Russian, American, and European implications for the future… which has now arrived.
In the first article of this series on the Russia-Ukraine War, the prophetic TV series Years and Years (2019) was examined for its predictions relevant to the current crisis. In complementary fashion, this second article presents the insightful and prescient analysis of perhaps the most influential diplomat, political scientist and geostrategist of the 20th century: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997), by Zbigniew Brzezinski. For aside from the Years and Years ‘prophecies’ of a war between the two nations, as well as its wider ramifications, the breaking news of Russia’s intent to invade Ukraine in mid-late February 2022 recalled to mind Brzezinski’s seminal book.
The Russia-Ukraine War (2022) as highlighting the significance of the prophetic BBC-HBO mini-series Years and Years (2019).
In mid-late February, reports of Russian intentions to invade Ukraine began to occupy the news media—upon which one thought immediately came to my mind: Years and Years.
For those who have seen this 2019 mini-series, its relevance to what is now the Russia-Ukraine War should already be apparent, particularly to residents of the UK, since the show is primarily oriented towards developments in Britain. In this article, I first offer a summary of why Years and Years is generally significant, before revealing the specific details that directly relate to the currently developing Russia-Ukraine War and its wider ramifications.
What’s the meaning of this? Who’s to say? (Certainly not me…)
I don’t know what this is. Maybe it’s an inane mixture of things. Or something novel and deep. Guess it depends on who (or what) is reading it. Maybe it’s nothing but with something in it. Or something but with nothing in it. It’s not for me to say, even though I’m the author. Actually, because I’m the author. Just technically ‘the author’. See I wrote this here thing, I did, but who’s to say I am the authority of its meaning? (That question may or may not be rhetorical, according to preference.) As a matter of fact (technically just an expression, BTW), it’s each reader that decides the meaning of what(ever) he/she/it is reading, as determined by the law of Intertextuality (and quite authoritatively at that, FYI). See, this fantastic law ‘deconstructed’ (as it likes to say [not that I really know what it means]) the myth of ‘authorship’ by revealing that the actual producer of meaning is [drumrole]… thereader! Ergo (just using this word ‘coz I like how The Architect said it in Matrix 2), each ‘meaning’ is equally valid(praise the law of Equality!)—and, ergo, implicitly untrue. Case in point: commenter says this “post” is “garbage”. Therefore, he/she/it (‘they/them’ from now on) is actually right on both counts—provided only that they meant what they said. Then again… …what they said might be totally untrue—who knows? (Rhetorical?—who knows?)