Monday, 30 November 2015

Back to 1931.........

Its 1931 again,,,but this time the Parliamentary Labour party is about to establish a nationGovernment in favour of a war. The Leader of the labour Party and two thirds of its odinary members are opposed to the bombing of Syria. The parliamenary labour party should reme,mber that it is the paert members that select the candidates, and vote for policy. Well anyway thats how it is in the Green party. Thats why I belong to the Green party. We have a new coalition being formed as we are bounced into war.........

In the eye of the Bully............

Why do bullies often accuse victims of bullying them?

Bullies are often unaware of their behaviour and the impact they are having on others. They projected their unacknowledged, and unwanted, anxieties on to colleagues. They deny those feelings once belonged to themselves and claim someone else (the victim) has them.
But when aggression is projected outwards it can round back on itself in a persecutory manner. Being in denial, the bully then feels persecuted by the anxieties which he, or she, projected on to the victim.
In the ‘eyes' of the bully - the victim becomes ‘the bully’. Bully and victim appear to have switched roles. This can seem very confusing for mediators and others trying to resolve the conflict.
The serial bully displays behaviour congruent with many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.Narcissists react angrily to criticism and when rejected, the narcissist will often denounce the profession which has rejected them (usually for lack of competence or misdeed) but simultaneously and paradoxically represent themselves as belonging to the profession they are vilifying
Fragile self-esteem, a need for constant attention and admiration, fishing for compliments (often with great charm), an expectation of superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them, and a lack of sensitivity especially when others do not react in the expected manner, are also hallmarks of the disorder. Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others, overworking those around them, and forming romantic (sic) or sexual relationships for the purpose of advancing their purpose or career, abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature.

People with narcissistic personality disorder also have difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest, exhibit envy (especially when others are accorded recognition), have an arrogant, disdainful and patronizing attitude, and are quick to blame and criticise others when their needs and expectations are not met.
but it is possible to observe the following traits in an individual who accuses their victims of bullying them.

 A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

It is sad when this happens. It leaves a disturbing atmosphere. Over my 25 years in practice I have often witnessed this in trlationships, in workplaces, in institutions and within political organistaions, charities and campaigning groups. I feel a revu;sion this morning after reading of the events within the Conservative Party. However any organisation that places the market at the centre of all deciosions and means of distribution sets the bullying attitude of the market over all of us.

Friday, 27 November 2015

And there's a mighty judgement coming...the Welsh Road to Eco-socialism

Now you can say that I've grown bitter but of this you may be sure
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
And there's a mighty judgement coming, but I may be wrong
You see, you hear these funny voices
In the Tower of Song

I see you standing on the other side
I don't know how the river got so wide
I loved you baby, way back when
And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed
But I feel so close to everything that we lost
We'll never have to lose it again

Now I bid you farewell, I don't know when I'll be back
There moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you'll be hearing from me baby, long after I'm gone
I'll be speaking to you sweetly
From a window in the Tower of Song

There is an urgent need for a clear Welsh Road to Ecosocialism. Wales needs to be an independent Welsh republic. It needs to make real the aims of the old Welsh Republican movement. Its needs to be inclusive that all people who live in Wales are Welsh. That the issues of land and property must be dealt with, that there must be a fair and equal distribution of that land and property.

There must be a realisation that Welsh industrialists are the same as industrialists from anywhere else. The issue is class, poor housing the lack of well-paid jobs, the deskilling of workers is a product of capitalism. The problem is capitalism the word English is a descriptive noun and not the cause. The cause is the economic system and not the English.

Wales needs to be proud of its language and culture, there should be more education and awareness within our education system we need to know our folk tales , our history and our literature. My Great grand parents are Exiles from Ynys Mon and Beaumaris. I have a faint Midlands accent but my origins are Welsh and I returned here at 16 and have been here ever since. I am Welsh and proud of it but I want an Ecosocialist Wales, where we allow communities to own renewable sources of energy, a clear non-Nuclear Wales, a Wales outside of NATO and a classless multicultural Wales that knows both its past and its future and the direction it is going in. A Wales within a Europe of the regions and A Wales that follows the Scandinavian model, a Wales that rejects austerity and the doctrines of neo-liberalism. 

The old Welsh Republican Socialists have become bitter and vanished in some cases out of politics and in other cases into Plaid Cymru where they rage and take their anger out against wind farms. Some of them now use offensive language that if you substituted Jew or Pakistani for English you would find yourself be guilty of racism. This is an example I saw shows the bitterness of age , of disillusionment and the rise of xenophobia  

too much of their funding on housing misfits, criminals and others from England with no local connections. I stand by that; and everyone who knows this field knows I'm right. They may deny it, they may call me names, but they know I'm right.

As for "Scouse junkies", that was a specific reference to what happens in the decaying resorts along the north coast. I stand by it because, again, it's the truth.

Yes, earlier this year I put up a sidebar panel with a Confederate battle flag. I did it because that flag does not represent racism, it remembers brave men who fought for four years against overwhelming odds, and is part of the heritage of Southern whites. If black activists, white leftists and others are so intolerant that they wish to defame those brave men, and their descendants, then don’t expect a free-thinking man like me to fall into line with this hatred and censorship.

In fact, I stand by everything I write, because I have beliefs, and because I don’t care what creatures like you think. You, however have a couple of apologies to make. “

Plaid has within in it a group that is hopeful. I was cheered by the elction of Leanne Wood some years ago, there is Ill Evans as well and there are activists like Ian Titherington and others and yet I have seen sneering by Plaid spokespeople against the Labour DEFRA Shadow minister because she is an animal rights supporter and a vegan. Plaid Councillors have voted against renewable energy again and again and although there are honourable exceptions I sense a golden boy, Rhun ap Iorwerth waiting in the wings. If UKIP surge in May 2016 the Welsh Farming Union men in boots will tell Leanne that time has come and in the aftermath Plaid will move to the right in the contest between Elin “badger” Jones and Rhun.

As I write Labour is in turmoil an honourable figure like Jeremy Corbyn is being attacked by the major institutions of the UK state. The labour party membership is far more progressive, anti-nuclear, socialist and radical than  the PLP Yet that parliamentary party is close to a position of declaring unilateral independence from the mass membership. The Welsh labour party is worse I have just finished reading a long  email that Christina Rees the Labour MP for Neath sent to one of our activists. The crucial passage was this

If the government now has a proposal to bring forward relating to airstrikes against ISIL/Daesh in Syria then – as we have consistently said, and our position has not changed – we will consider it against the tests we have set. We need to be clear about what difference any extension of military action would make to our objective of defeating ISIL/Daesh, the nature of any intervention, its objectives and the legal basis. Any potential action must command the support of other nations in the region, including Iraq and the coalition already taking action in Syria. And, crucially, it must be part of a wider and more comprehensive strategy to end the threat they pose and the Government must seek a Security Council resolution for it. “

What a contrast to Corbyn's honest, clear position. If Labour lose the Oldham by-election next week. The parliamentary party will launch a civil war within Labour. The new activists will be ignored and the oligarchs of Welsh labour will strangle the Momentum before it is grown. Both the radicals within Plaid and the radicals of the Cobynistas will have nowhere to go except out of their respective parties. Many of these activists could well form the activists of a welsh republican movement.

There are still those in wales who cling to the traditions of the old "Brit Left" and this is sad. The end of the British State and of the United Kingdom is the key to this new Wales, an independent Scotland and a united Ireland. I fear that within both Plaid and the SNP I see the ghost of Devalera where the old institutions and classes dominate defended by the acclaim “ But at least they are Welsh or  Scottish and I can imagine the panoply of state and the first warship of a “Welsh navy” but then again I am rather cynical ........

Within the Greens there is a pressing need for an independent We;sh Green Party, that recognises we are another country, another culture and that the Green party here is not a regional branch of the London-based party. The Green party in Wales has nearly three thousand members, it will be contesting all the seats for the Assembly elections in May 2016. It now has promising candidates for Leader and Deputy Leader. Anthony Slaughter offers a safe and radical pair of hands for the immediate future.

The unique Welsh brand of the Ecosocialism will come fromm people like the Deputy Leadership candidate Hannah Pudner. Hannah is from Skewen, she comes from a clear Socialist and radical background. Other Green shoots emerge from the excellent Adam Taxiboi-Smith, organiser of the thriving LGBTIQ group within the Welsh Green party and  Amelia Womack born in Newport has returned to Wales. The roots are strong and however turbulent the next few weeks are to be the clear message is that the Welsh Green party has taken a massive step forward. The careerists may have left but those loyal to Eco-Socialism and the Welsh Identity remain. The Wales Green party will be a key player in the emergence of a Red Green Welsh  Republican movement.

Its eleven years since I stood down as the first Leader of the Welsh green party. The party in that time has moved forward, it`s become inclusive and more radical, it is attracting new converts, new activists and is gaining a clear identity. Pippa has added much to this over the last few years and hands on a hopeful and bright future.

I am greatly relieved that because of my “past sins” that I cannot stand for elected office. It`s a good thing it saves  you from your own ego, your own ambitions  and it ensures that your hopes and dreams and outlook exist outside of yourself. It looks like our own wonder boy, our own Rhun Ap Ioerwith has left us. I expect that very soon they will be in the same party. Both are clearly pro-Nuclear or will soon say so There is a mighty judgement coming but I may be wrong............

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The narcissism ...within us all

"Ordinary communication, like objective thinking in general, has no secrets; only a doubly reflected subjective thinking has them. That is to say, the entire essential content of subjective thought is essentially secret, because it cannot be directly communicated. This is the meaning of the secrecy. The fact that the knowledge in question does not lend itself to direct utterance, because its essential feature consists of the appropriation, makes it a secret for everyone who is not in the same way doubly reflected within himself."
--Johannes Climacus, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, p. 73

Yesterday I pruned my Facebook contacts. I have become fed up with actions of some individuals. I was disturbed when a so called left winger wrote the word c##t on a friends time line and a so called Green called him an arse-hole, and criticised my Shakespearean spelling. I immediately unfriended him and left his group. If you are still here welcome. I dare say there is a little pruning left but that will emerge in the coming days. Another friend quoted this biblical passage for me and it made me think of the last week. Thank you David Richards "For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive" I would like to thank Hayley Jutsom-Moss for giving me the idea for this piece.

The narcissism of a tribe can be a wonderful, terrible, lovely, bloody, life-giving, life-taking thing—sometimes all at once. It. It's part of every company softball game ever played—techies versus sales, design versus manufacture—and every blue state versus red state argument ever had. It's the Whigs versus the Tories, the Bolsheviks versus the Bolsheviks, the Left versus the Right. It's soldiers who race into the field risking death and ducking crossfire to save a wounded comrade and then, that job done, turn their fire outward and take other lives with the same resolve and pride with which they just saved one. I began this week writing about a dream I had. Yesterday I had a phone call. I am still stunned by it and I suspect many of you will be shocked amazed, disturbed and alarmed by what might emerge over the next few weeks
Human beings are social creatures—a very important adaptation allowing soft, slow, fang less, clawless ground-dwellers like us to survive. But being social implies bands, and bands imply favouring your own above all others. And because we're rational creatures, too—creatures who like to feel good about ourselves and don't like to think we seize land and resources and mates simply because we're greedy—we tell ourselves that we favour our own kind because we're smarter, prettier, better, more virtuous, more caring—a superior breed of people in a world filled with lesser ones. Those who oppose the Golden One, the new messiah , are demeaned and attempts are made to through them them out of the group. The anger is so great that people witnessing it are shocked, amazed and disturbed that they did not see it coming.
Those feelings may exist in us naturally and unavoidably, but they are also dangerously easy to manipulate—with an anthem, a chant, a little scrap of flag. The narcissism of the individual is a focal-point thing—growing from within to take control of only one mind, one personality. The narcissism of the tribe is a gravitational thing—the kind that gathers more and more individuals, its tug increasing along with its size and mass. Dictators and despots may ignite wars and bring down nations, but they are still merely borrowing their power. They are the engineers in the cab of a hundred-ton locomotive. The people, the tribe, are the machine itself, and they generate a collective power that can all too easily go off the rails.
There's a reason that in Nazi propaganda films Jews were depicted as rats swarming up from sewer grates—and it's the same reason Rwanda's Hutu referred to the Tutsi as cockroaches during the 1994 slaughter . These are beasts, the seismography says—and they're vile beasts at that.
Invidious believes a dominant group needs to go through three stages to reach a state of mind that allows its members to slaughter: Dehumanization of the other comes first; a sense of disgust, which the animal imagery helps turbocharger, comes second; and finally comes extreme fear or extreme anger. The anger part is often stoked by framing the out-group as an existential threat—and it must be a knowing, calculated threat. An out-group that unwittingly carried a virus that was lethal to the in-group would surely be rejected, and maybe even killed, but its members wouldn't be despised. An out-group that knows the harm it's doing and does it on purpose is an entirely different matter. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fraudulent manifesto published in 1903 that purported to be the Jews' secret guidebook for world domination, trafficked in such an idea.
There's a reason that in Nazi propaganda films Jews were depicted as rats swarming up from sewer grates—and it's the same reason Rwanda's Hutu referred to the Tutsi as cockroaches during the 1994 slaughter and American propaganda posters during World War II depicted the Japanese as fang-toothed, claw-handed, yellow-faced monkeys. These are beasts, the seismography says—and they're vile beasts at that. When David Cameron described the refugees around Calais as swarm he was using the same methods. Its used when people condem benefit scroungers and we all talk about the person who is “is not one of us”

Invidious believes a dominant group needs to go through three stages to reach a state of mind that allows its members to slaughter: Dehumanization of the other comes first; a sense of disgust, which the animal imagery helps turbo-charge, comes second; and finally comes extreme fear or extreme anger. The anger part is often stoked by framing the out-group as an existential threat—and it must be a knowing, calculated threat. An out-group that unwittingly carried a virus that was lethal to the in-group would surely be rejected, and maybe even killed, but its members wouldn't be despised. An out-group that knows the harm it's doing and does it on purpose is an entirely different matter. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fraudulent manifesto published in 1903 that purported to be the Jews' secret guidebook for world domination, trafficked in such an idea.
The most macro expression of tribal narcissism is the one that gathers us all in—the narcissism of the human species itself, something that has made us the unquestioned lords of the planet. The dinosaurs once thundered, but the dinosaurs were an entire grouping—just like the croup of mammals—and now they're all gone. Homo sapiens is a single species , and one that has been around for only 200,000 years.
It's hard to know how many other species there are on the planet that could, in theory, have competed for that crown, and the figure has variously been placed anywhere from 3 million to 100 million. One of the best studies, published in 2011 and conducted by a team led by marine biologist Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii, puts the figure at 8.7 million—and humans are chipping away at that numbered fast.
In a typical year, we wipe out about 25,000 acres of forest, which comes out to a loss of 27,000 species at the same time. Clicking along at that rate, it's pretty easy to burn through the entire 8.7 million total in just under 325 years. Mora does not hesitate to label our willingness to wipe out other species to make room for our own as "narcissism," but he cautions that it's a characteristic of nearly all life forms. "If there were any species with the capability we have, it would very likely be taking all the resources too," he says. "But typically in nature there are automatic control mechanisms that stop the overexploitation. We became too smart, and now we're overcoming everything."
It is only in this one expression of narcissism that our me-first, self-adoring impulses might win. Narcissists in the workplace, in relationships, in political office eventually burn out and go away. Humanity as a whole, however, has little to check its ego. We may indeed achieve the utter dominance at the expense of all else that every narcissist craves. Whether we'll like what's left of the planet we've won will be another matter entirely..
We are all potential narcissists, the trick to battling it is to understand ourselves, to see our limitations and to recognise that narcissism is a continuous not a discrete category. Its a bit like fascism its hard to get rid of it because it is within us all. The challenge is not to ignore it but to recognise it. All witch hunts begin in this way. Challenge the narcissist within and you will not be surprised what you see in the political world. And particularly in the Swansea and neath political culture over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Full Moon: This Cosmic Disorder Won't Be Easy! ..the self-obsessive and the group

"The more excessive the Puer’s ‘nice guy’ and charming Persona, the more brutal and cold becomes his shadow. At parties he stays long enough to enthrall and perhaps make a castrating remark to the man of the house before he exits."

I am at my most creative in the mornings, I often spend the 15 minutes between Neath and Swansea thinking about my observations, insights and intuitions. Today it went on longer I walked from Swansea Station to the Bus Station to begin my journey to Mumbles and to join Grant Eden for the monthly show about Educational courses at the centre and t record a programme about loneliness at Christmas. I had a long time to think and these thoughts began to rise up...perhaps they are just idle speculations, they certainly are not all mine. I have taken these ideas and began to speculate of the role of destructive and self obsessed individuals and the organisations they join, belong to and seek subsequently to wreck. Now before anybody gets upset I would like to say I am speaking generally and thinking aloud. If you are disturbed by them then I would ask you to consider why...that is all. Buddha once said that if you find his ideas useful, develop them, synthesise them, apply them, adapt them, criticise them if they are not useful discard them. Ideas are like clothes they wear out........
I am a keen observer of synchronicity. This was my horoscope for the day. I neither believe nor disbelieve them. I notice the context and today was a full Moon. Life is about to get overwhelming! Logic is getting tangled up with emotion in a major way due to the Full Moon in Gemini. This scattered energy coupled with additional planetary friction could make you feel like you have the world at your feet, and yet NOTHING is making sense!
But despite how you may be feeling -- your greatest power is within your grasp! This Full Moon's overambitious influence is creating a confusing duality in your desires -- making you want everything! The trick is to focus on the right opportunities and not get distracted by the rest. Clear your mind and let powerful wisdom light your way...

Theses are the thoughts I had today..........
From my own experience and studies on the narcissist personality type, there is always one core trait: A narcissist is wounded.
Something, somewhere along the line, usually stemming from childhood causes a person to feel worthless and unvalued and, due to this, they will constantly and very desperately seek validation.
. If an empathic and radical organisation is not consciously aware of boundaries and does not understand how to protect themselves, they will very easily and very quickly bond with the narcissist in order to try to fix and repair any damage and attempt to eradicate all their pain. They will regard the narcissist as able, an action figure , someone who is a god send or a boom. Small organisations are most prone to this interaction
What the organisation fails to realise is that the narcissist is a taker. An energy sucker, a vampire so to speak. They will draw the life and soul out of a person or group come into contact with, given the chance. This is so that they can build up their own reserves and, in doing so, they can use the imbalance to their advantage.
This dynamic will confuse and debilitate any group as if they do not have a full understanding of their own or other people’s capabilities, they will fail to see that not everyone is like them. They will always put themselves into other people’s shoes and experience the feelings, thoughts and emotions of others, while forgetting that other people may have an agenda very different to their own and that not everyone is sincere.
The narcissist’s agenda is one of manipulation, it is imperative they are in a position whereby they can rise above others and be in control. The empathic organisation agenda is to bring change, heal and care. There is no balance and it is extremely unlikely there ever will be one. The more support and care an empath offers, the more powerful and in control a narcissist will become.
The more powerful the narcissist becomes, the more likely members of the empathic will retreat into a victim status. Then, there is a very big change—the empath will take on narcissistic traits as they too become wounded and are constantly triggered by the damage being in the company with a narcissist creates. Before long, an extremely vicious circle has begun to develop, trust goes out of the window and the witch hunt begins.......
When a narcissist sees that an organisation that is is wounded they will play on this and the main intention will be to keep the organisation under their down. The lower down an empath becomes, the higher a narcissist will feel. The organisation will begin to frantically seek love, validation, confirmation and acceptance from a narcissist and each cry for help as such will affirm to the narcissist what they are desperate to feel inside—worthy. A bitter battle can ensue.
As an empath focuses solely on their pain, trauma and the destruction of their lives, they become self-obsessed and fail to see where the damage is coming from. Instead of looking outwards and seeing what is causing it, the organisation will turn everything inward and blame themselves.
At this stage must realise the situation they are in and wake up to it, as anyone who is deeply in pain and has been hurt can then become a narcissist themselves as they turn their focus onto their own pain and look for others to make them feel okay again.
Any attempt to communicate authentically with the narcissist will be futile as they will certainly not be looking to soothe and heal anyone or anything else. Not only this, they are extremely charismatic and manipulative and have a powerful way of turning everything away from themselves and onto others. A narcissist will blame their own pain on an empath, plus they will also make sure the empath feels responsible for the pain they too are suffering.
Emotionally exhausted, lost, depleted and debilitated an empath will struggle to understand what has happened to the once loving, attentive and charismatic person they were attracted to.
However we allow ourselves to be treated is a result of our own choices. If an individualchooses to stay in a relationship with a narcissist and refuses to take responsibility for the dynamic, they are choosing at some level what they believe they are worth on the inside. An empath cannot let their self-worth be determined by a narcissist. It is imperative they trust and believe in themselves enough to recognise that they are not deserving of the words and actions the narcissist delivers and to look for an escape.
The more an organisation or group or individual can learn about the personality of a narcissist the sooner they will spot one and the less chance they need understanding and knowledge and to dig deep into one’s soul and recognise our own strengths and capabilities and do everything we can to build the courage and confidence to see it for what it is and walk away—for good.
The chance of a narcissist changing is highly unlikely, so we shouldn’t stick around waiting for it to happen. If a narcissist wants to change, then great, but it should never happen at the expense of anyone else. They are not consciously aware of their behaviour and the damage it causes and in their game they will sacrifice anyone and anything for their own gain—regardless of what pretty lies and sweet nothings they try to whisper.
A narcissist will struggle to have any connection to their authentic self and will likely walk away from the relationship very easily once they realise they have lost their ability to control the empath. The game is no longer pleasurable if they are not having their ego constantly stroked, so they will seek out their next organisation or group .

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can't help it if I'm lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.

The blog develops and moves on.....and of a Good Friend

Yesterday was an important day for the blog. And I would like to thank Neil Wagstaff for adding a few new touches to it. Neil added a donation button and a tweet feed. I have always been grateful for Neils friendship and support over the last 18 months. He has been a good friend, critical of myself and  my thoughts and actions over that time. Yet he is one of the most honest people I know. I look forward to working with him over the years to come.

What upsets me though is how someone allegedly a solid leftwing campaigner, anti sexist and anti racist can leave the comment c##t on his Facebook page. Its bad enough that someone has cloned Neil`s Facebook page and sort to damage the Green Party. Just to make clear though I am not suggesting that the author of this insult and the cloner and the same person. Even with a knowledge of quantum mechanics it would be impossible.

Neil, I am sorry that  things like this happening..and I am most disturbed by such actions Thank you, Neil for being a friend......My Hat is off won't you stand up and take a bow


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Narcissist at the centre of the political Labyrinth

I have never known a period of my life that has been so full of creativity. I am am having vivid dreams and the associations, connections thoughts and intuitions seem to be flooding into both mu conscious and unconscious mind. I have examined the reasons why, I have reached a stage were contentment seems easy to achieve, where dare I say happiness creeps in. I have put that down to a happy personal life, to the teaching that I love and an ease in doing Psychotherapy. Yet......

I feel a disturbance in an other area, that of my political activity. Its not within my local party but something rather dark and manipulative seems to sniffing and nipping at the outer limits of political friends and colleagues that I know and trust. I have an imagination and knowledge that is vast. Its my fathers fault, he read me Mythology from an early age. I have an extensive awareness of symbolism and a keen sense of reading behind the apparent story. Freud, Jung , Marx, Rudolf Bahro and Neitzche have fed this well. I often use their approaches and my own personal knowledge of my own iconography have led me to examine my dreams and frequently I have found that the personal meaning of a dream has helped me in many ways. Sometimes the meaning takes time to appear and this morning while travelling in by train I had an epiphany over a dream I had on Saturday night.

There is a scene from on of the Star Wars films based around the Imperial Senate. In the dream myself neil Wagstaff and others from NPT Green party were helping Jonathan Tier in an election for that Senate. I was aware that Senator Palpatine was seeking to undermine and destroy our efforts. In that dream the good Senator was a much younger man. He was in in his early 20s and no one but these few of us were aware of it.

I have a vivid imagination nut it does not fail me in helping me see what the over analytical, intellectualised individual I am often refuses to accept. I realised this morning that I fear that at the centre of the political world I am involved in something rather disturbing. Its feels like there is a narcissistic element or individual at the centre of the Labyrinth. It seems very clear to me now and I feel at ease with recognising this. The problem is what do I do about it?

I have been a Therapist for over 25 years. I have seen manipulation done on others, experienced attempts by others to manipulate me and have helped others who manipulate others to change and over come it. This has also helped me spot element within myself and within my every day life. Its helped me have sixth senses, intuitive leaps but now I must decide what to do. It would be easy to fade back into private life to get on with teaching and enjoy every day life. So I have to point out the following and leave the observations up to you

The abusive narcissist works in five key ways. In popular culture, the term “narcissistic” is thrown about quite loosely, usually referring to vanity and self-absorption. This reduces narcissism to a common quality that everyone possesses and downplays the symptoms demonstrated by people with the actual disorder. While narcissism does exist on a spectrum, narcissism as a full-fledged personality disorder is quite different.

It’s important in any kind of relationship or friendship that we learn to identify the red flags when interacting with people who display malignant narcissism and/or antisocial traits, so we can better protect ourselves from exploitation and abuse, set boundaries, and make informed decisions about who we keep in our lives. Understanding the nature of these toxic interactions and how they affect us has an enormous impact on our ability to engage in self-care.
1. The Idealization-Devaluation-Discard Phase
Narcissists and those with antisocial traits tend to subject colleagues through three phases within a relationship or friendship . The idealization phase (which often happens most strongly during the early stages of meeting consists of putting you on a pedestal, making you an important of his/her world, being in contact with you frequently, and showering you with flattery and praise. Be wary of: constant texting, shallow flattery and wanting to be around you at all times. This is a technique known as “love bombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: they are tired of the “games” people play with each other in communication and are flattered by the constant attention they get from the narcissist. You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he or she is interested in making you dependent on their constant praise and attention.
The devaluation phase is subsequent to this idealization phase, and this is when you’re left wondering why you were so abruptly thrust off the pedestal. The narcissist will suddenly start to blow hot and cold, criticizing you, covertly and overtly putting you down, comparing you to others, emotionally withdrawing from you and giving you the silent treatment when you’ve failed to meet their “standards.”
Even though the narcissist can be quite possessive and jealous over friend, their own worth , since he or she views you as an object and a source of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is prone to projecting this same behaviour onto you.
Unfortunately, it is during the devaluation phase that a narcissist’s true self shows itself. You have to understand that the man or woman in the beginning of the relationship never truly existed. The true colours are only now beginning to show, so it will be a struggle as you attempt to reconcile the image that the narcissist presented to you with his or her current behaviour.
During the discard phase, the narcissist devalues his or her opponent in the most demeaning way possible to convince the opponent that he or she is worthless.
2. Gas lighting.
Most abusive relationships contain a certain amount of gaslighting, a technique narcissists use to convince you that your perception of the abuse is inaccurate. During the devaluation and discard phases, the narcissist will often remark upon your emotional instability, your “issues,” and displace blame of his/her abuse as your fault. Frequent use of phrases such as “You provoked me,” “You’re too sensitive,” “I never said that,” or “You’re taking things too seriously” after the narcissists’ abusive outbursts are common and are used to gaslight you into thinking that the abuse is indeed your fault or that it never even took place.
Narcissists are masters of making you doubt yourself and the abuse. This is why victims so often suffer from ruminations , because the emotional invalidation they received from the narcissist made them feel powerless in their agency and perceptions. This self-doubt enables them to stay within abusive relationships even when it’s clear that the relationship is a toxic one, because they are led to mistrust their own instincts and interpretations of events.
3. Smear campaigns.
Narcissists keep followers because they love to have their egos stroked and they need constant validation from the outside world to feed their need for excessive admiration and confirm their grandiose sense of self-importance. They are clever chameleons who are also people-pleaser, morphing into whatever personality suits them in situations with different types of people. It is no surprise, then, that the narcissist begins a smear campaign against you not too long after the discard phase, in order to paint you as the unstable one, and that this is usually successful with the narcissist’s support network which also tends to consist of other narcissists, people-pleaser, empaths, as well as people who are easily charmed.
This smear campaign accomplishes three things: 1) it depicts you as the abuser or unstable person and deflects your accusations of abuse, 2) it provokes you, thus proving your instability to others when trying to argue his or her depiction of you, and 3) serves as a hoovering technique in which the narcissist seeks to pull you back into the trauma of the relationship as you struggle to reconcile the rumours about you with who you actually are by speaking out against the accusations. The only way to not get pulled into this tactic is by going full No Contact with both the narcissist and his or her followers
4. Triangulation.
Healthy relationships thrive on security; unhealthy ones are filled with provocation, uncertainty and misrepresentation Narcissists like to manufacture triangles and bring in the opinions of others to validate their point of view. They do this to an excessive extent in order to play puppeteer to your emotions. I. Triangulation consists of bringing the presence of another person into the dynamic of the relationship, whether it be an ex-lover, a current mistress, a relative, or a complete stranger.
This triangulation can take place over social media, in person, or even through the narcissist’s own verbal accounts of the other person.
Unlike healthy relationships where feelings are communicated and dealt with in a productive manner, the narcissist will belittle your feelings and continue inappropriate accusations of bullying without a second thought. Triangulation is the way the narcissist maintains control and keeps you in check
5. The false self and the true self.
The narcissist hides behind the armour of a “false self,” a construct of qualities and traits that he or she usually presents to the outside world. Due to this armour, you are unlikely to comprehend the full extent of a narcissist’s inhumanity and lack of empathy until you are in the discard phase. This can make it difficult to pinpoint who the narcissistic abuser truly is – the sweet, charming and seemingly remorseful person that appears shortly after the abuse, or the abusive partner who ridicules, invalidates and belittles you to others on a daily basis? You suffer a great deal of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile the illusion the narcissist first presented to you with the tormenting behaviours he or she subjects you to. In order to cope with this cognitive dissonance, you might blame yourself or others for his or her abusive behaviour and attempt to “improve” yourself when you have done nothing wrong, just to uphold your belief in the narcissist’s false self during the devaluation phase.
During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals the true self – the genuinely abusive and abrasive personality beneath the shallow veneer rears its ugly head and you get a glimpse of the cruelty that was lurking within all along. You bear witness to his or her cold, callous indifference as you are discarded. You might think this is only a momentary lapse into inhumanity, but actually, it is as close you will ever get to seeing the narcissist’s true self.
The manipulative, conniving charm that existed in the beginning is no more – instead, it is replaced by the genuine contempt that the narcissist felt for you all along. See, narcissists don’t truly feel empathy or love for others – so during the discard phase, they feel absolutely nothing for you except the excitement of having exhausted another source of supply. You were just another source of supply, so do not fool yourself into thinking that the magical connection that existed in the beginning was in any way real. It was an illusion, much like the identity of the narcissist was an illusion.
It seems clear to me what has been happening in my political life and these are my thoughts this morning. But I suspect I may be onto to something. Or perhaps I am just deluded.........

Monday, 23 November 2015

Of Boymen and fatal flaws...........

Here we go again, a fatal flaw, a boyman, hurt pride, external enemies and there is a collective uprush of the shadow. All while I slept peacfully. Two quotes from Jung say it all.
‘Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to put away his scholar's gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, Socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with real knowledge of the human soul’
The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing. A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within reach. It is certainly a good thing to preach reason and common sense, but what if you have a lunatic asylum for an audience or a crowd in a collective frenzy? There is not much difference between them because the madman and the mob are both moved by impersonal, overwhelming forces.

Of Speciesism and Peter Singer

Ethics that favour humans have been under attack for the last few decades. The
critics accuse their opponents of being prejudiced, and brand favouritism toward
humans as ‘human chauvinism’, ‘anthropocentrism’, or ‘speciesism’, viewing it
as on a par with racism and sexism. The most renowned exponent of this view
is Peter Singer. In this essay I shall examine his own carefully considered ethics,
and try to show that there is a lack of coherence in Singer’s views. In spite of an
avowed and widely announced aspiration to equality across sentient species,
Singer’s ethics eventually favours humans. No impartial and plausible justification
is provided for this, thus his favouring exemplifies speciesism.

It is convenient to start with a clarification of the notion of speciesism.
Speciesism’, Singer wrote in Animal Liberation, is an ‘attitude of bias toward
the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of
other species’.1 This limitation to attitudes and interests is unnecessary, and in
Practical Ethics he applies ‘speciesism’ to views or opinions. He does not
identify speciesism with the view that the border of ethical concern coincides
with the border of our species. Speciesists, he says, ‘give greater weight to the
interests of members of their own species when there is a clash between their
interests and the interests of those of other species’.2 The view that the interests
of one’s species are more important, though, would be speciesism only if held
on the basis of species itself’.3 The most plausible and interesting interpretation
of this is, as I have argued elsewhere, that speciesism has to do with a bias in the
meta-ethical reasons that are put forth.4
Singer devotes pages to the refutation of different meta-ethical reasons for
favouring humans, dismissing the refuted writers as speciesists. Yet, he advocates
the view that an acceptable reason can be given, namely that we are persons
in the sense of biographical beings.5 Evidently he does not believe himself to be
speciesist, but why not? As I want to show, Singer does use human-favouring
criteria in his crucial ethical principles and arguments. If I am right in this, one
could say that Singer is at least an indirect speciesist, in the sense of the
expression that Raymond G. Frey has captured:

Am I not, it might be suggested, an indirect speciesist, in that, in order to
determine the quality and value of a life, I use human-centred criteria as if they
were appropriate for assessing the quality and value of all life?6
Validational criteria, as I take it, are articulated in meta-ethics. That criteria
are human-centred should mean that their construction is such as to give
precedence for at least normal humans against the members of all other species.
But even if Singer uses human-centred criteria, I think it is possibile for his
position to avoid indirect speciesism, in the case where such use is justified by
non-partial and otherwise plausible reasons at a higher level of meta-ethics. At
that level the conditions on the validational tools would be fixed; ultimately we
would be dealing with the very choice of evaluative point of view. Singer,
however, does not present a non-partial and plausible defence of his humancentred
meta-ethical criteria, as I intend to show.
To allow Singer the best possible case, I shall operate with a weak and rather
uncontroversial interpretation of ‘plausible reasons’ as reasons that would not be
implausible to contemporary philosophical common sense. As such, this condition
would be fulfilled if the majority of philosophers (regardless of philosophical
affiliation) could agree that the reasons provided were not illogical, for
instance, nor impossible to prove by normal means, nor strongly counterintuitive.7
But Singer’s high level meta-ethical reasons fail to achieve even this, I shall
maintain, and his ethics therefore can be said to exemplify (indirect) speciesism.


I shall focus on what I understand to be Singer’s central argument in regard to
the different ethical status of humans and non-humans. It has three main steps,
where [1] is supported by [2], and [2] is supported by [3], although it is possible
to view [3] as providing support for [1] independently of [2]:
[1] It is directly wrong to take a person’s life, but not directly wrong to take a nonperson’s
[2] A person’s life is valuable in a way that a non-person’s life is not9
[3] A person has important interests (preferences) that a non-person does not

When in the course of [1] Singer uses the expression ‘directly wrong’ it is not
clear what he, as a utilitarian, means by this. One interpretation is that it just
means ‘wrong’. However, to thwart a preference for future experiences, for
instance, is not always wrong according to a utilitarian. It depends on the
consequences for all of the beings concerned, compared to the consequences of
the alternative acts. Another interpretation is that ‘directly wrong’ means that we
have a prima facie reason against the act in question. But this interpretation
considerably weakens [1], since any frustration of a preference could be said to
give a prima facie reason against it. Besides, it is also the case that the killing of
a non-person frustrates its preferences for the future, as Singer recently has
conceded (agreeing that it gives rise to a reason not to kill such a being, see note
24). One might counter that more, more intense, or more important preferences
are frustrated when persons are killed than when non-persons are killed. Yes, but
then the difference in [1] seems to change from a difference in kind, between
directly wrong and not directly wrong acts, to a difference in degree of direct
wrongness. This would change the picture and transfer the interest to [2] and [3],
where grounds for a radical difference would be given.
A third possible interpretation of an act being ‘directly wrong’ is that it
produces negative intrinsic value. Then [1] would imply that the death of a
person has a negative intrinsic value that the death of a non-person lacks, which
is one way to understand what [2] is saying. Again, the core of the issue is found
to be in [2] and [3]. Since I think that the last two interpretations are the most
appropriate, I shall focus on [2] and [3].

In classical utilitarianism all voluntary acts, killing included, are judged only
on the basis of the amount of pleasure and pain they (tend to) bring into the world.
If all sentient beings were to be counted, and counted equally, this utilitarianism
would have rather dramatic effects. Singer claims that the mental capacities of
humans sometimes make them suffer more than non-humans, but the contrary
is also true according to him.11 Still, humans would have to accept relatively
modest places in an endless queue for resources of pleasure and avoidance of
pain, in competition with pigs, elks, cats, mice, etc. Classical utilitarianism even
gives us reason to ask whether the human race ought to be radically diminished
or exterminated.

Perhaps conclusions like these made Singer turn to preference utilitarianism.
He hints that the greater weight that preferentialism gives to the distinction
between killing a person and killing some other type of being’ speaks for this
rather than classical utilitarianism. When Roger Crisp forwards this interpretation
of his change of view, Singer has no objection12 – even though this could be
seen to give his move a speciesist appearance.
In the first edition of Practical Ethics Singer used both a ‘total’ and a ‘prior
existence’ version of preferentialism. The first, which focuses on the total
balance of present and future satisfactions, is to be applied to beings that are not
self-conscious. These beings could be killed and eaten if replaced by other
individuals having at least the same amount of satisfactions who would not
otherwise have existed. The second, which focuses on the satisfactions of
already existing creatures, should apply to self-conscious beings, and
preferentialism in this version would make them irreplaceable and render it
unacceptable to kill and eat them. (In some passages Singer even seems to
consider applying preferentialism to persons and hedonistic utilitarianism to
This appears to be an ad hoc measure to assure a preconceived moral
precedence for persons. Note, Singer’s move was made in spite of the fact that
the prior existence version, by referring to individuals localised in space and
time, violates a requirement of semantic universality on ethical principles that is
both well entrenched in the tradition and something that Singer otherwise
stresses.13 Admittedly, non-universal properties can often be reconstructed into
universal ones, but it is hard to see how this would be done with the property of
existing-now. In the preface to the second edition of Practical Ethics Singer
conceded that using two versions was unfounded and that he presently believed
one version of preference utilitarianism permits us to draw a sufficiently sharp
distinction between the two categories of beings.14 But Singer is unclear as to the
content of such a unified preferentialism; he just expresses a hope of it. That there
should be an ethical distinction between the two kinds of beings is still his

The favouritism toward persons soon turns out to be favouritism toward
human persons. Supporting [2], Singer suggests that there is an ‘impartial
standpoint’ for evaluating lives. He imagines himself to be successively transformed
into individuals of different species, to come out of it with exact
memories of the different lives, and to be obliged to choose between optimal
versions of the lives of different species. After the transformation he would then
decide ‘between the value of the life of a horse (to the horse) and the value of the
life of a human (to the human)’.15 A principle for the ranking of lives would even
be found:
In general it does seem that the more highly developed the conscious life of the
being, the greater the degree of self-awareness and rationality and the broader the
range of possible experiences, the more one would prefer that kind of life, if one
were choosing between it and a being at a lower level of awareness.16
Singer does not let us hesitate as to the outcome of this principle: a human life,
not merely a person’s life, ranks highest. He began with a question that spoke of
humans and not persons: ‘Is it speciesist to judge that the life of a normal adult
member of our species is more valuable than the life of a normal adult mouse?’
And after stating his principle Singer continues with a famous quote from Mill,
beginning with the following statement: ‘Few humans would consent to be
changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of
a beast’s pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no
instructed person would be an ignoramus…’ Singer summarises the lesson from
Mill thus:it is not easy to embrace the preference for the life of a human over that of a nonhuman,
without at the same time endorsing a preference for the life of a normal
human being over that of another human at a similar intellectual level to that of
the non-human in the first comparison.
Singer has a problem with this in that it is difficult to reconcile with classical
utilitarianism, but he suggests that preference utilitarianism has a better prospect
of ‘defending the judgments Mill makes’.17

There are several oddities in the method that Singer proposes.18 It is so
uncertain that it leaves too much room for guessing. For instance, the judge
would have to live through not only a single life of each species but all varieties
of life in order to find the optimal versions. More important, however, is that in
taking the judge to be a human person (‘Imagine that I have the peculiar property
of being able to turn myself into an animal…’) Singer introduces a bias. If a
human person were transformed in this way, s/he would probably prefer an
optimal human life. The result, then, is loaded in the setting of the judgement.
With a judge stripped of initial species characteristics it is not at all certain that
a human life would be the highest ranked. But what would a being stripped of
species characteristics be like? On what basis would it react to different lives?
Singer does not bother to examine the possibility.
One can also ask why the method focuses on the optimal versions of the lives
of different species – was not the issue to evaluate the life of a ‘normal adult
member’ of various species? If the judge would choose a human life on the
premise that its optimal version is superior to all other species’ optimal lives, her/
his life might still turn out worse than many normal lives of many other species,
and the judge could feel that s/he had been fooled by Singer’s method.
Let us suppose that it is the normal lives of the different categories that
Singer’s method applies to, and let us further suppose that we adopt his method
in an evaluation of human lives also (as Singer’s lesson from Mill invites us to
do). This would probably result in a classing of the lives of the unfortunate,
unclever, sick and poor as less valuable than the lives of the fortunate, clever,
healthy and rich. Paralleling the case of persons and non-persons, this conclusion
would have an impact on the direct wrongness of the killing of people belonging
to the different categories. If such a position is repugnant when humans are
considered, as most of us would say, probably also Singer (except for a few
extreme abnormalities), why should it not be equally so when persons and nonpersons
are considered? This question shows, I think, not only how problematic
Singer’s method of valuing lives is, but also that his application of it presupposes
what it was intended to prove.


According to Singer the difference in value of a person’s life and a non-person’s
life, and the difference in direct wrongness of killing persons and non-persons,
can be supported in another way. In a complex passage, which unfortunately is
poorly developed, he writes:Rational, self-conscious beings are individuals, leading lives of their own and
cannot in any sense be regarded as receptacles for containing a certain quantity
of happiness. They have, in the words of the American philosopher James
Rachels, a life that is biographical, not merely biological. In contrast, beings who
are conscious, but not self-conscious, more nearly approximate the picture of
receptacles for experiences of pleasure and pain, because their preferences will
be of a more immediate sort.19

Several questions are fused here. The first question is whether or not beings that
are not self-conscious are individuals. Well, they are, every being is unique and
is perceived and met as such by others, for instance, their offspring. Across the
species we are all original copies. Still, we all have a unique past, present and
future due to our particular equipment and to the series of circumstances under
which we live. This means that we all have a unique story, a biography one might
say, which could be told.
The second question is whether or not beings that are not self-conscious have
biographical lives. In one sense they have, as we saw above. Singer could be
taken to use ‘biographical life’ in a sense that would be so weak as to apply to
all mammals, and maybe birds also. Rachels is possibly on that line, characterising
biographical life as ‘the sum of all we hold dear: our projects, our activities,
our loves and friendships, and all the rest’.20 These things might well be
described in such a way that both mammals and birds can be said to have
biographical lives. Still, we would hesitate to call them all persons in any
qualified sense. It also seems feasible to apply ‘biographical life’ in such a weak
sense to, for instance, fish – beings which Singer considers to be clearly not selfconscious.
In the weak sense of this expression, therefore, an argument from
biographical life would hardly support [2] and [3].
Singer, however, uses ‘biographical life’ in a much stronger sense, connecting
it to the idea of a person being on ‘a life’s journey’. Such persons are rational,
self-conscious and autonomous subjects of their life. They have, as Singer
writes, ‘desires that project their images of their own existence into the future’,
and their conscious states are ‘internally linked over time’.21 They have embarked
on their life journey, investing hope and desire, time and effort, in order
to reach particular goals or destinations.22 But observe, to see oneself as going
through and planning events linked to each other as in a written or told biography
is to be able (in principle) to tell one’s story, and this would involve such high
cognitive and linguistic capacities that probably both beings that are not selfconscious
and, for instance, the great apes are excluded. In the strong sense of
biographical being’, therefore, an argument from biographical life would
support [2] and [3] only if ‘person’ in these propositions is understood in a
human-favouring sense. This is a plausible understanding of Singer, but what
would remain for him to provide is a non-partial and not implausible demonstration
that biographical life/personhood in a human-favouring sense is superior to
other kinds of life. (Rachels, for his part, only argues that biographical life is the
more valuable ‘to us’.23 )
The third question is to consider whether or not beings that are not selfconscious
have nothing but immediate preferences. They do not, if ‘preferences’
is taken in a sense that does not exclude non-humans. They too exhibit behaviour
aiming at future states, both in the short and in the long run, as when they collect
food for the winter, build warm hides or protected nests. All animals can also be
said normally to have an interest in well-being and avoidance of suffering in the
future – they have future-oriented interests. In a recent work Singer actually
agrees to this.24
The fourth question raises the issue of whether or not beings that are not selfconscious
are replaceable by new members of the same species. If ‘replaceable’
means that the loss in a killing can be compensated by the creation of positive
value for the individual and her/his surrounding, then beings that are not selfconscious
are not replaceable, just as persons are not. For instance, a mama
mouse caught in a trap cannot as far as she and her kids are concerned be replaced
by a new mama mouse in the world. But if it means that the loss in a killing can
be compensated by the creation of positive value for the world as a whole, then
humans and non-humans are equally replaceable, on the same utilitarian principle.
This latter point was also made by H.L.A. Hart, who argued that, preferentially
speaking, self-conscious beings are also replaceable.25 Singer’s answer is
ineffective. He says that a package deal that involves creating and then satisfying
a preference does not need to be considered equal to the good of a satisfied
existing preference. Although hesitant, Singer thinks that his view is supported
by universalisability. One would then imagine oneself in various situations and
the creation and satisfaction of a preference would only be desired depending on
its content, which is the reason why in itself it is neither good nor bad.26
It is unclear what universalisability has to do with this point, especially since
it seems to presuppose a surviving non-universal prior existence preferentialism,
concerned with the intra-personal comparability of preferences of existing
persons. Singer denies that creating a preference in a person and then satisfying
it must be thought of as equivalent to the good of the satisfaction of an actual
preference of the person. But Hart’s argument deals with the inter-personal
comparability of satisfaction of preferences regardless of the actuality of the
bearers. Also, all Hart needs is the possibility that satisfaction of non-actual
preferences outweighs satisfaction of actual ones, which could even be due to a
greater number of created satisfactions.27 Singer does not manage to save
persons from the replacability that his preferentialism allots to all others.
The fifth question is whether or not beings that are not self-conscious have
an interest in continued life. Singer says that death, to a being that is not selfconscious,
is just a cancelling of experiences, and therefore ‘death cannot be
contrary to an interest in continued life, any more than birth could be in
accordance with an interest in commencing life’.28 To persons, on the other hand,
death is contrary to their interest, since they are highly future-oriented in their
preferences. Killing a person will very often ‘make nonsense of everything that
the victim has been trying to do in the past days, months, and even years’, writes
Death, however, is a cancelling of experiences irrespective of whether the
beings in question are self-conscious or not, and it puts an end to the futureoriented
interests in both cases. Also, in the case of a being that is not selfconscious
its interest in continued life can hardly be likened to the ‘interest’ of
a non-being in being born. If one supposes the difference to hold on the ground
that persons normally have more and/or in some sense more highly futureoriented
interests than those of beings that are not self-conscious, Singer’s point
would only give a difference in degree between the interests of a person and the
interests of a non-self-conscious being. In [1] and [2], however, there is question
of a difference in kind.
Singer tries a ‘test of universalisability’ to support the view that beings which
are not self-conscious have no interest in continued life:
If I imagine myself in turn as a self-conscious being and a conscious but not selfconscious
being, it is only in the former case that I could have forward-looking
desires that extend beyond periods of sleep or temporary unconsciousness.30
But this test works with the idea of a human person being the proper judge, which
builds bias into it. Also, Singer here relies on a view that he later rejected, viz.
that beings that are not self-conscious have only immediate preferences. If both
kinds of beings have future-oriented preferences, do they not also share an
interest in continued life?

A sixth question is whether or not beings that are not self-conscious are only
receptacles for pleasure and pain, contrary to what would be the case with selfconscious
beings. But should they not, according to Singer, be receptacles for
preference and satisfaction of preference instead? If they are, why are persons not
such receptacles? In the passage where Singer concedes that beings that are not
self-conscious do have future-oriented interests, he explains the difference
between killing persons and killing beings that are not self-conscious simply by
saying that with persons ‘there is a personal loss that is not balanced by the
creation of another being’.31 Singer still seems to use a prior existence version
of preferentialism for persons and a total version for non-persons, even though
this is not defended.
The notion of interests, or preferences, is central in preferentialism. As Singer
understands these terms they involve use of human-centred criteria. He adopts
the standard preferentialist view, according to which an interest, or preference,
is a desire for something advanced after a rational consideration of the alternatives
open in the situation. This is what has been called rational preference. In
the opening chapter of Practical Ethics Singer makes the following definition:
we count anything people desire as in their interests (unless it is incompatible
with another desire or desires)’.32 The character of the incompatibility is clarified
later on, when he writes: ‘we make the plausible move of taking a person’s
interests to be what, on balance and after reflection on all the relevant facts, a
person prefers’.33

Singer’s apparent ambition is to say that non-humans and non-persons also
have interests, yet the words ‘person’ and ‘people’ occur in both definitions. His
apparent ambition is also to say that many non-humans are persons. But ‘person’
is interpreted with reference to John Locke as ‘a rational and self-conscious
being’, which means that it can ‘consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing,
in different times and places’.34 This is such a strong concept that probably only
humans would be persons (it is made even stronger later on in the book, where
person’ comes to be identified with ‘biographical being’). The word ‘people’ is
suitable, since the characteristics of interest, or preference, are such that only
humans (if any) can have them: all the relevant facts would have to be reflected
upon, positive and negative aspects weighed, and a balance of these made as a
ground for the preference.

Limiting interest to rational preference in this way sets up human-centred
criteria, and in Singer’s work the propriety of these limits remains unargued. If
the possibility for non-humans and non-persons to have interests is to be kept
open, then another, wider concept is needed. This could be achieved by
relegating the rationality required to an observer; the observer would judge
something to be in a being’s interest if the latter could be assumed to prefer it,
were the being able to make a reasoned choice. Another solution would be to
construe the concept along the lines suggested by Peter Carruthers, viz. that
rational desire’ be interpreted in terms of the modes of desire-formation that are
normal for the cognition of the creature involved.35 This would allow us to say
that animals and non-rational agents in general do have rational desires. The
proposed concepts, however, could be said to be weakly human-centred, since
they refer to reasoned choice and cognition respectively. The latter is avoided if
cognition is understood so as to include any means of orientation that a being can
have in a given surrounding.
Yet another concept of preference that is not human-centred is conceivable,
to be characterised through the orientation of movement in an organism that
manifests attraction and repulsion. This construal would permit us to attribute
preferences also to the so-called ‘lower’ animals, like birds, fish, reptiles and
insects. Even very simple organisms such as bacteria would have preferences,
and largely the same as humans.36 Such a behaviourist concept of preference
could be said to have the drawback that in the case of beings that are not selfconscious
the interest in continued life cannot be based on observations of
behaviour, whereas the interest in copulation can, and therefore the former
would not count. It is reasonable, however, to infer such an interest on the basis
of the whole pattern of observable behaviour.

The result of adopting preferentialism with a concept of (rational) preference
in any of these construals would be that the importance of typically human
preferences decreases drastically. If all that counts is the strength and number of
affected preferences (as Singer often appears to assume), then we cannot be
confident that the preferences of a human person outweigh the preferences of a
non-person. And if they did, one human’s preferences could easily be outweighed
by the preferences of a group of non-persons. A preferentialism of this
kind, however, would generally be considered quite unattractive regardless of
these implications, because preferences that are not reflected do not seem to have
ethical weight. Singer, for one, does not embrace it.
A way out would be to make an axiological shift and to regard satisfaction
of preference (in a wide sense) as a secondary value compared to meaning in life,
as Roger Crisp interprets Singer to maintain.37 Since Singer thinks that meaning
in life requires a concern with long-term goals that involve the interests of (all)
others – that is, requires an ethical point of view – it is something that only
humans could have. But then again human-centred criteria are involved. This
solution would also overdo the job, since it puts people with no meaning in their
life, in this sense, on the level of frogs or dogs. Singer, in a reply, wisely denies
the adequacy of Crisp’s interpretation of him.38

Another solution, patterned on Mill’s way of avoiding a coarse and simplistic
hedonism, would be to value preferences differently, to distinguish between
lower and higher preferences. In this way non-humans should not have to be
swept out from the moral realm, at the same time humans would not lose much
of their original status – provided that typically human preferences would turn
out to be of higher value than non-human preferences. This seems to be his
assumption, as when he describes biographical persons’ highly future-oriented
preferences as ‘a wide range of the most central and significant preferences a
being can have’ (see note 29). It is fairly clear that most people but no non-human
persons, and no non-persons, have the highly future-oriented preferences of
biographical beings – only we can tell our story and fancy or plan its continuation.
39 Singer’s solution would guarantee humans an overall ethical precedence,
but again, his move involves human-centred criteria.
Singer’s ethics, then, would be speciesist, unless his use of human-centred
validational tools is non-partially and not implausibly justified on a high metaethical
level that sets the conditions on the validational tools. Singer recognises
the need, as indicated by the mentioned unsuccessful attempts, to find an
impartial standpoint and to universalise. A path that he hints at several times is
one laid out by Richard Hare, distinguishing between an ‘intuitive’ level and a
critical’ level of ethics, connected with different validational, or meta-ethical,
approaches. Ethical validity would be established only in critical meta-ethics,
through the application of the universal point of view. 40

Hare’s method has two different interpretations. On one interpretation,
explicitly invoked by Singer, the judge is an ideal being, an ‘archangel’ with
superhuman powers of thought, superhuman knowledge and no human weaknesses,
lacking all partiality to self, friends and relations.41 There are several fatal
problems with this view; and I have developed this theme in some detail
elsewhere.42 The main drawback is that this makes theology of ethics. Even if the
archangel were to embrace every being, we cannot take for granted that s/he
would consider human interests to be the most central and significant interests
a being can have, or that human life has a value superior to that of, say, a butterfly.
Such views would presuppose that archangels favour humans. But assuming this
is a matter of religious belief. We could neither grasp nor have any wellcorroborated
hypothesis about the precepts of godlike creatures. Also, the very
archangel-construct is inconsistent with the meta-ethical setting. If Hare’s
archangel were to lack partiality to self, then her/his ‘I’ would lack the
prescriptivity that Hare considers essential in his method.43 An archangel
lacking self-interests would not have any preferences in any situation of any
being! If, on the other hand, s/he were to have self-interests, what we would get
is not an impartial ethics but an ethics of the party of archangels. Why should we
humans try to live up to that?
On the second interpretation the critical level ethical judge is a somewhat
idealised human being with natural self-interests, but also willing to act on a
principle of equality. It is this version that Hare and Singer employ in practice,
when doing critical-level reasoning.44 Since the judge is to start from what s/he
wants for her/himself, and the procedure builds on her/his ability to understand
and sympathise with others, it makes for an ethical method restricted by human
psychology, even if the latter is idealised.45 This version of Hare’s method, then,
actually adopts a human point of view, inescapably favouring humans. It is
therefore not surprising to find that Singer considers the greater degree of selfawareness
and rationality and the broader range of possible experiences to be the
most preferable for his would-be impartial judge (see note 16).

Generally, Hare’s and Singer’s critical-level thinking does not upset traditional
and intuitive ethical views too much. Hare takes it to accord ethical validity
to many partial norms of common life.46 At the end of Practical Ethics Singer
withdraws his recommendation that we act only on principles that adopt the point
of view of the universe.47 In How Are We to Live? his ambition is to ‘reinstate
the idea of an ethical life as a realistic and viable alternative’,48 and in Rethinking
Life and Death he confesses that a viable ethic perhaps ‘must allow us to show
a moderate degree of partiality for ourselves, our family and our friends’.49
Recently Singer (writing together with Leslie Cannold and Helga Kuhse) has
declared that Hare’s critical-level impartialism holds, but that it is a muted
impartialism, not requiring us to be impartialist in our everyday life.50
In the passages conceding an ethical role for partiality, Singer never mentions
partiality to humans. But why would this not be as legitimate as partiality to ego,
family and friends,51 if highly future-oriented interests are the most central and
significant preferences a being can have? The problem, not solved by Singer (or
Hare), is how at all an ordinary-life partiality can be validated non-partially and
not implausibly. One might counter by saying that Hare’s methodology enjoys
such a wide acceptance among moral philosophers that this should be enough to
make it not implausible. There is a point to this, but it does not suffice, since what
is embraced of Hare’s methodology is the human interpretation of it, which is
partial to humans. Even if there were a wide acceptance of the theological
interpretation of it, this would not make it philosophically plausible enough, I
think. Singer’s ethics can therefore be said to be (indirectly) speciesist.

Singer is not alone in illustrating favouritism toward humans in spite of an
ideology of the opposite. On the contrary, this may actually be the rule. Two even
more radical philosophers can be mentioned: Arne Naess and Paul Taylor, who
plea for biospherical egalitarianism. Both constantly move away from their
ethics when it comes to conflict-of-interest cases, as William C. French has
convincingly argued.52 That Singer also exhibits favouritism toward humans
brings into question the possibility of an ethics, employed by humans, that does
not favour humans. Singer’s lack of coherence between ethical ideology and
actual ethical theory is serious, but his shortcomings in meta-ethics to defend his
favouritism need not be serious. Something like his position can probably be
defended by non-partial and not implausible high-level meta-ethical reasons.
The point of this essay is not to reject Singer or his ethics, but to show how risky
and perhaps unfruitful it is to attribute ‘speciesism’ to philosophers. I think it is
an important task to create a cooler climate for the discussion of humans, nonhumans,
and ethics. Peter Singer and other critics of humanistic ethics have
definitely shown how narrow the traditional understanding of ethics has been,
but they have also shown the need for a better underpinning of an ethics
favouring humans.

1 Singer 1975, p. 7.
2 Singer 1993, p. 58. (All references are to the 2nd edition).
3 Singer 1993, p. 61.
4 This interpretation of ‘speciesism’ is argued more in detail in my essay ‘Specifying
Speciesism’ (Fjellstrom 2002 a).
5 Singer 1993, p. 126 and p. 95.
6 Frey 1988, p. 199.
7 For a more detailed treatment, see Fjellstrom 2002 (a).
8 This thought is introduced in Practical Ethics, p. 91, and stated on p. 95: ‘preference
utilitarianism does provide a direct reason for not killing a person’.
9 Singer devotes in Practical Ethics a section to the claim that there is a special value in
the life of a person, ending by affirming that claim, as it seems (pp. 89–95). The following
section starts with this summing up: ‘Although preference utilitarianism does provide a
direct reason for not killing a person […]’ (Singer 1993, p. 95).
10 As is evident in Singer 1993, pp. 94f, the special value of the life of a person is bound
to the kind of interests that a person has.
11 Singer 1993, pp. 17f.
12 Singer’s statement is made in Singer 1993, p. 94. Crisp, in his essay ‘Teachers in an Age
of Transition: Peter Singer and J. S. Mill’, writes: ‘Like Mill, Singer retreats from simple
hedonism because of its unacceptable implications, in Singer’s case the implication being
that there is no weighty difference between killing a person and killing a non-person’