29/11/2013 05:48 GMT | Updated 28/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Fly With Your Own Wings, Peaks and Troughs and How to Choose in a Perfect Situation

Fly with your own wings

What a week we've had in London! Three prominent individuals are revealed as habitual drug users. One is jailed for committing the most atrocious crimes on very young children while being 'off his head on crystal meth'.

Too much money and too much choice. Drugs feed off a rampant ego and an absence of self. The finger is too readily pointed at the drugs or the alcohol or the porn as being the destroyer but the truth is, we destroy our own lives.

I have seen what drugs do to people - my own brother and two very close friends. Drugs make people psychotic and consumed by darkness where they are a hell of their own making and where empathy is replaced by a self-serving and greedy ego.

The government addresses the purchase and consumption of illegal substances by seeking to protect the human species from itself (go to church is you want that!). No one however considers the fact that the responsibility lies with the individual, free will, after all wasn't invented by politicians, it is the way humans are designed.

On the news this morning, the government is undertaking an independent review of introducing plain, brand-less packaging for cigarettes. Cigarettes are already shielded from view behind sliding doors in the major supermarkets. I would argue that if someone wants to smoke they will do so regardless. The key to increasing growth in the sale of cigarettes is a) winning new smokers, the younger the better and b) availability. When a smoker can't get their preferred brand, they switch. They don't however stop smoking. (I used to work for a major tobacco company as a Marketing Manager and I smoked for twenty four years.) The mechanism to switch off the desire to smoke is not a button inside our heads but rather a 'will' to do so.

Cigarettes, legal and illegal drugs are all the same: no government can stop us wanting them. Where the government fails is by not investing our taxes into a school curriculum where youngsters are taught how to think and value life. In France, philosophy is mandatory in high school and French kids know their cogito ergo sum from their néant (that doesn't stop them getting drugged up or succumbing to peer pressure but it does give them the tools to make better decisions in their lives).

Taking drugs is like the avalanche that must pursue its course - the damage to one's soul, forget the body, is irreparable. But if you have no concept of who you are, should it matter?

Volez de vos propres ailes. Fly with your own wings. (French proverb.)


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

Peaks and troughs

The maze of life when viewed from a distance is a splendidly crafted thing.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

When we are embroiled in the hardship and uncertainty of life however it can feel quite the opposite. None of us is lucky enough to live a life without trials and tribulations. Many of us have to fight to make sense of our world.

Peaks and troughs. Hills and valleys. Good times, bad times. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Yet in spite of it all, we do have it all. We can be blessed and not know it.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen

How to choose in a perfect situation

We have a thousand variations of mist, fog and rain in this country and then suddenly, we get perfect conditions which last for a few brief moments. We also get opportunities in between the brief moments and we have to seize them wholeheartedly before, well, you know, the rain comes back (or the mist or the fog). A bit like life, actually.

Here's one such perfect moment in the woods today with my hound.


Photo copyright S. van Dalen