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My Royal Society of Arts, 22/02/23, evening Zoom script/ presentation

"I want to talk for five or six minutes. It’s about individualism and the notion of mavericks, with personal references in it.


Today, individuality is hampered by the plethora of options, but almost five decades ago, when I was eight, the effects of physical maternal abandonment, put me on an unusual path. My trust, and chances for self-esteem, were very damaged. That made fear colour everything in my life. I wasn’t taught to read either. I had to learn the so called 'hard way'. I did manage to get through C. S. Lewis’ 'Mere Christianity' though. I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I took things from his book anyway.


My early 80s comprehensive school was very like the one in the film 'Kes'. It reinforced my distrust and fear. I think the headmaster, almost subliminally taught us never to complain, and to fight our own battles; and I always have.

To attempt to avoid people, after uni I went into computer programming. I had two positions in my first three years of work, then a five-year gap, followed by a third and last job for 13 years. Throughout this time, unbeknown to me, I was parenting myself, whilst cruelly watching my peers, do everything people do in life. I loathed my first two jobs, and was made so poorly, that I continued getting worse, even after quitting work. A psychiatrist diagnosed schizophrenia, and I was admitted to hospital. Later, 'psychotic depression' became a more accurate description. That’s gravely serious, but less so than schizophrenia.


I like the idea of mavericks, but not with labels. I was made redundant from my third and longest job, in 2010. My first wife passed away in 2012 (it wasn’t a good marriage.) Then in 2014, literally on the 12th of February, out of work and alone, you could say my self-parenting got a massive boost, because at 45, I’d been through enough in life, and I chose happiness; just like that. It took a moment. I became me.

Mavericks might 'reinvent wheels' by their life experiences, but their convictions have got to be stronger than academic based ones. Herman Hesse famously wrote, 'wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it'.


Despite this quote, I believe that if enough people, share their wisdoms that were arrived at in isolation, faith increases, and common-sense can emerge. A discovery shared in a book, represents a single strong such one, with copies of it, or references, being necessarily weaker. Of course, the strength of our life experiences, are never more obvious, than when we choose them in preference to anything else, to make vital life decisions.


My website is - www.exithell.org - I suggest a download of my 42 paged 'I am' book, for further reading. It’s on the site.


I mentioned label avoidance, that includes identities and group mentalities. At 45, my life started. As I said, it was a choice. I’d finally learned how to love myself. In other words, I’d realised my individuality. Then I started assuming similar in others. They could be equally opposite to me, so respect also started emerging. I was never meant to be Elon Musk or Ed Sheeran, just like they were never meant to be me.


Globally, individualism will fail, due to imbalances in climates and natural resources. What I strongly guarantee though, is that micro and macro conflicts both feed and start, through group mentalities, labelling, and the crass obsession that some people have, with collecting identities. Why have identities, only to get upset when they’re not validated?


That’s it. They’re my thoughts for this evening."

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