John Grieve    
 Alternative Newham cont.4 comments
category picture21 Aug 2013 @ 12:36

In the Autumn of 1979 Derek Smith and Gill Hay opened a vegetarian cafe and bookshop at 54 West Ham Lane called the Whole Thing. It soon became the focus and hub of the alternative movement. Derek Smith was a writer and had done plays for Soapbox. Gill had been on the staff of East. I remember her asking me to give her a lesson in double-entry book-keeping which was a subject I had been studying for my job.

On my way to one of Matt and Jenny's parties on New Year's Eve 1978 I slipped and broke my leg on the ice. I was out of action for a long while and spent my time studying philosophy. When I recovered I started going to to the newly-opened Whole Thing and started a Philosophy Discussion Group, held there on a Friday evening. One of the people who joined the group was Brenda, from Essex, and she and I soon got together and were to be a couple for the next 5 years.
The discussion group was led by me a bit dogmatically from a Marxist perspective, but we were all learning together and there were other strands and voices. Before becoming The Whole Thing the shop had been run by a Sufi organisation and some of their people joined the group and influenced our debates.
About this time I became the treasurer of a housing Co-op, Autonomous, and moved in to a short life house. Brenda and I lived there for a while and took part in the communal life of the co-op.
By now I had a job selling motor-cycle insurance in Stratford which I eventually left in order to write a book called Civilization and Alienation which I published at the beginning of 1981.  More >

 Alternative Newham 1972-893 comments
category picture21 Aug 2013 @ 12:16

I first encountered the alternative side of Newham in east London when I returned there after finishing at college in the summer of 1972. I joined an evening class in order to make more contacts as I was working for an insurance company. This was held at a local secondary school as was in improvisation and assorted drama skills. It was run by a drama teacher and his wife, in their early 30s, called Matt Matthews and Jennifer Gould. They were young, vibrant and alternative. At that time they were in the process of moving from Reading, where they were working, and were commuting to Newham. I enjoyed the lessons and got on well with the other young people, and they valued the fact that I had just graduated with a degree in Politics.
Matt became something of a father figure to me over the the next few years, he was a charismatic man who attracted people to him, larger-than-life.Jenny,equally talented and better educated, was a natural foil to him. They had an alternative life-style and lived in a commune/community in East Ham in a sort of open house where they had frequent parties. After a few years they expanded their activities and started East Community Action which helped local people with bureaucratic, housing and money issues.

Soapbox theatre was a professional theatre group which went into schools and gave performances to students. They employed writers to produce plays and work was also put on at a venue called "Stage One" which was the Council's flagship for Arts events. Over a period of some years I attended many of these performances and found it vibrant and exciting.

At this time I was working for the London Co-op in their Manor Park dairy. I was also a Marxist and somewhat to the left of my friends in the alternative movement.
Newham Community Housing was formed in the mid 70s to use short life housing owned by Newham Council which were otherwise empty. It housed hundreds of people over the years and many of them became part of the alternative movement.  More >

 Progressive Nationalism4 comments
category picture30 May 2013 @ 12:55
You can judge how civilised and enlightened a society is by the way it treats vulnerable minority groups like prisoners, gays, Muslims. Progressive nationalism has the ability to integrate them into the nation.It is neither left or right but is the middle way.  More >

 Symmetry , Primorials and Prime Numbers2 comments
category picture19 Jul 2012 @ 21:20

The number system contains symmetries, one class of which I will demonstrate here.

The remainders when a product is divided by its factors are zeros. That is, for example 10 = 0 Mod 5 and 10 = 0 Mod 2. These zeros are important because they create a mirror-image type of symmetry around the product. Thus, if we take the product 15 = 3*5 then in the sequence of numbers before and after 15, there is a mirror-image of the factors 3 & 5.

5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 / 17/ 19/ 21/ 23 / 25
5 /P / 3/ TP / TP/ 3.5/ TP/ TP/ 3/ P / 5

where P = Prime , TP = Twin Prime and the number underneath is a factor.

From the diagram we can easily see that the order of the factors is reversed.

This interesting fact is true of any product, because the remainders are set to zero, but is particularly relevant to primorial numbers. A primorial is a product of all the primes up to a given prime. So primorial 7 consists of 2*3*5*7=210.
Numbers which are almost primorial are relevant here too. Primorials are important because they have more factors than the numbers around them.

When you multiply the numbers 3,5 and 7 together you get a product which has a large field of mirror-image symmetry around it. Since the numbers 3,5 and 7 create about 70% of composites, it is not surprising that the underlying symmetry of the composites is accompanied in many cases by a corresponding symmetry of the primes and twin primes.

The next prine is 11, and as the primorials get larger, the underlying mirror-image symmetries get richer and more complex.

The fact of these symmetries among composites and primes, may make it easier to demonstrate previously inaccessible propositions about prime numbers.  More >

 Financial protests,Secession of the Plebeians, Widening Generation Gap3 comments
category picture12 Nov 2011 @ 17:42

The present financial protests by young people in hundreds of cities worldwide reminds me of a little-known episode from Roman history. In Ancient Rome the Plebeians were an underclass of commoners and most of the privileges went to the rich and powerful Patrician clans and families. So as a protest The Plebeians decided to secede from Rome, and they went and camped outside the city walls. In the end their protests won them reforms.

What is happening now on a global scale reminds me of this. The Youth of the world are saying "we've had enough of this unfairness and injustice (of the banking and financial system) and they have literally encamped around places of strategic importance. The Youth are seceding from our unjust and unfair society which is putting huge burdens on their shoulders for years to come.

I see a new politics emerging out of this. A politics whereby the voices and values of Youth are heard, where society is not grossly unfair and unjust. Otherwise the gap between the generations will become unbridgeable. The evidence of groups like the Pirates Party in Sweden and Berlin and the "Anarcho-surrealists" of Reykjavik shows that it can be done. The older generation owe it to the young people to hand over some of their power. Those who ignore the claims of the young do so at their own peril.  More >

 What is Economic Narcissism3 comments
category picture5 Oct 2011 @ 13:46

I have referred in previous articles to something which characterises civilization and have termed it "original narcissism", instead of the more usual term "original Sin". In the myth of the Fall it is a form of overweening arrogance and selfishness that permits Adam and Eve to compare themselves to God, and strike out on their own into uncharted territory, and this comprises what the Taoists call "The Great Separation".

Greek civilization displayed in its citizens an individualism on a colossal scale and this individualism is often seen as a plus despite the crimes and excesses associated with it. I think that as we approach the end of the present phase of our global civilization this narcissism, which is still with us, is assuming grotesque proportions.

If you wonder what this Narcissistic culture is, just look around you at the way the world is now. Ordinary work is disdained, people are desperate to get rich quick,whole populations are living beyond their means. Everyone wants to be a "Somebody" and not a "Nobody".Casino capitalism instead of proper work and jobs. Lotteries abound,sports heroes and celebrities abound, tv talent shows abound.

The whole culture is escapist and suffused with an infantile avoidance of harsh reality.

Ancient Greece and Rome were based on slave economies. Now the narcissism of those days is at the heart of the way we work and do business. But it is unsustainable. You cannot go on living beyond your means indefinitely. The day of reckoning always comes.  More >

 Absolute Spirit2 comments
category picture26 Sep 2011 @ 17:29

Marx came on the scene half-way through the 3rd Act. History does not begin with capitalism. All the stages of pre-history,tribal and clan, then nation,empires etc. are part of the story. It is my contention that the whole of history is a unity and correlates with different phases of civilization. Things have accelerated remarkably in the past 250 years, since the advent of capitalism, but I think the emphasis of Marxism is wrong. They suggest that what came before capitalism is relatively unimportant.

Now we are in a phase of integration,the coming together of many different aspects of the world to make a global unity. To me it seems closer to the spirit of Hegel's thought, what is happening,than to Marx's. There seems to be an emerging spiritual element here that the Marxists would deny.

This turns Marx on his head, as he claimed to have done with Hegel. We should celebrate the spiritual element in history ( as in Hegel) and look on it as a unity which is proceeding to integration in the form of globalisation and things such as the Internet.


 More >

 Fermat's Last Theorem X^n +Y^n = Z^n2 comments
category picture1 Aug 2011 @ 10:21

I believe that the essence of this problem is contained in the simple geometrical fact that the six sides of a cube are all squares. Thus in the equation X^3 + Y^3 = Z^3 there are also squares X^2, Y^2 and Z^2 but it is not the case here that X^2 +Y^2=Z^2, that is X^2 plus Y^2 is not equal z^2 since this would involve a contradiction.

But there are still definite constraints on the values which X,Y and Z can take as they are both the sides of the cubes and the squares. So if X^3 + Y^3 = Z^3 then we would find values of the squared equation close to but not the same as the cubed.

We see from the following Pythagorean Triplets that as the value of n goes higher the gaps get smaller;
6 plus 8 equals 14
6^2 plus 8^2 equals 10^2
6^3 plus 8^3 equals 8.xxxxxxxx^3
6^4 plus 8^4 equals 8.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx^4

We notice from this that after the squared equation the values of Y and Z get ever closer, which suggests that Z can't be an integer, in fact the limit of its value is the lower number 8.

This suggests why X^3 +Y^3=Z^3 is an impossible equation for integer values of the variables. The sides of the cubes are also the squares and the two share the same values of X,Y and Z.  More >

 A Simple account of Civilization2 comments
category picture25 Jul 2011 @ 09:54

In the earliest times we were at one with Nature/God, ourselves and each other. Then what happened has been variously described as the Great Separation (by the Chinese Taoists), and "original Sin"/Fall of Man by the Judaeo/Christian tradition. Humanity decided to break with Nature/God and follow its own path towards greater knowledge. This is seen by some as a sin and I would term it "Original Narcissism".

Soon after the Great Separation came other separations,whereby man became alienated from woman and other men. This is separation at the level of gender/sex/and sexuality and such things are Nature within us and when we become separated from Nature/God it is inevitable that eventually sexual problems will ensue. This led in turn to enslavements and exploitation.

With slavery and exploitation, sexism, homophobia and racism the foundations of civilization were set. Of course, this was the beginning of slavery but also the beginning of the fight against slavery. The beginning of exploitation but also the fight against exploitation. So we see that the creation of such forms of injustice set in motion a counter=current in the opposite direction.

As Hegel said "History is the higher and higher evolution of the Idea of Freedom". This is the political content of civilization. The striving for greater freedom and we see it throughout the ages culminating in recent centuries and decades in wars and revolutions.

This period of striving against bondage is almost at an end and we are passing on to the final phase of civilization's career: globalization and integration and the rise of the internet.

As world society moves on it passes through the original layers in reverse order. Because of Freud and other teachers the layer of sex,gender and sexuality problems have been negotiated and are known to most people.

This leaves only the final knot to untie, the Original Narcissism referred to earlier.This will hopefully complete the business of the past five thousand years and humanity will pass through the Great Separation into a global unity with Nature/God.

This adds a new and striking element to history:globalization, which was not present at the time of the original "fall" of man. This also involves the use of a new tool of globalization- the internet.

What will happen soon is the continuing globalization and integration of the world which will eventually facilitate humanity arriving at Cosmic Consciousness, so admired and talked about by the Mystics.  More >

 The World Wide Web: Civilization's non-coercive Global State1 comment
category picture13 Jul 2011 @ 10:37

It's time we moved on from the old discussion of the contradictions and crisis of capitalism to an appreciation of the fact that we are in the critical phase of the unravelling of the crises of Civilization itself.

We are in uncharted waters as far as many of the aspects of modern living are concerned. For example, modern means of communication, the internet, laws of privacy, global economy and banking, and global weather patterns (climate change).

In fact a lot of the seemingly insoluble problems facing us today are global in nature and threaten our very way of life and world.One reason for this is because it is the first truly global civilization in the history of the world and its unravelling threatens to undermine and destroy many of the achievements of the past few hundred years.

I believe that it is this inability of the global community to control vital areas of common concern which is the cause of us all being in these uncharted waters. Some sort of control, not necessarily world government,seems to be called for.

All the areas where the individual nation state cannot act effectively, because alone, are connected with the globalization of these same areas.

We are at the stage of history where we must unite in a unique way, not by creating yet another coercive organization, but by using something that already exists, like the internet, in a new and liberating way.  More >



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This is a forum for my shorter and more topical writings.


Previous entries
2016-05-12
  • SuperCivilization, The Second Axial Age and not-so-enlightened Despots Cont.
  • SuperCivilization, The Second Axial Age and not-so-enlightened Despots

  • 2016-02-28
  • Economic Evolution

  • 2016-01-24
  • Love

  • 2016-01-21
  • Diamond Numbers

  • 2016-01-12
  • Dialectical analysis of Mathematics

  • 2015-07-27
  • Civilization & Alienation: A very short Introduction

  • 2015-07-21
  • Towards a New Science

  • 2015-07-08
  • Laws of Karma, Dialectics and Newton

  • 2015-07-01
  • It's On its Way

  • 2015-06-07
  • The Media Class and Information Capital

  • 2015-05-06
  • Towards Democracy

  • 2015-02-25
  • The Two Faces of Mathematics

  • 2014-09-11
  • Failed states, Civilization and Transition

  • 2014-09-04
  • Dialectical analysis of Fermat's Last Theorem

  • 2014-08-21
  • Dialectical analysis of the State

  • 2014-08-16
  • Soft power and influence

  • 2014-07-09
  • World Philosophy

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