ARTICLES

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1. BRANDING

A brand is a unique personality. It makes you stand out from the crowd and encourages loyalty. This means you gain trust and repeat-business.

Creating a brand identity requires practical design-skills as well as creative drive and flair. You also need a deep understanding of marketing and consumer psychology.

Branding involves:

- research
- defining an audience
- analysing competitors
- creating mood-boards
- naming the brand
- designing the logos
- testing

Brand identity is crucial in the areas of digital media, fashion, advertising, product design, packaging, and retailing.

Brands are a significant part of modern consumer society. And they are used to promote such things as: Clothing (e.g. “cool” jeans), Local Towns (Lossiemouth - “the Jewel of the Moray Firth”) or even the British Royal Family. However, it is not that easy to come to a clear-cut, and satisfactory definition, of exactly what a “brand” is.

You see, brands are much more than just the product you buy; they apply to services and concepts too, or even a “celebrity” (e.g. Lady Ga Ga). To be able to define what a brand is, and does, it is helpful to consider, firstly, why people buy, and what influences their choice of one product over another.

Being a consumer is about identifying one’s needs (some would say “wants”) and satisfying them by choosing, buying, and using a product or service. These needs can be as varied as the consumers themselves, although there are basic requirements that are fundamental for all human beings, namely: food, clothes and shelter.

These basic needs are then followed by more subjective needs. These are defined more by a person’s lifestyle, which, in turn, is pre-determined by their culture, society as a whole, as well as their social-group or “class”.

Purchases in this higher-level category are often driven, not by basic requirements, but more so by individual aspirations and desires. If decking, for example, is to be sold to a target audience of 50 year-olds, the adverts don’t depict planks of wood lying around. Instead an advert will have 30 to 40 year olds, sitting elegantly outside in the soft evening light, having a dinner-party. What is being sold here is aspiration, not bits of wood.

Social pressure (the need to fit in) plays a big part in all this. Some people want to appear more successful than the average person and this is highly influential in their buying decisions. Therefore, understanding why people buy, and the triggers that make them choose one item over another, is the key to designing a brand image for your company.



2. WHEELS OF FORTUNE

95 per cent of Crop Circles are man-made. However, the most complex ones are not. There is a secret agency whose full-time job is to make sure ALL circles are seen to be hoaxes. Four agents earn a salary, and have paid-for accommodation, which for the most part, lies empty. These flats are rented all around the world. These world-wide bases co-ordinate the manufacturing of the fake circles.



3. LASTING IMPRESSIONS

A human being processes around 11 million “impressions” or “sensations” every second. The brain decodes this information into sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch. We have many other senses too, but let’s just deal with these five.

Our sense of reality is constructed out of only 40 impressions a second, after our brain edits out and stores the rest. This other information (about 660 million “bits” in a minute - think how much that is in a day) sits in our subconscious, that is, our internal “hard drive”, and this affects and directs all our actions. Instructions are “downloaded” to us by bypassing our conscious mind. We are then under the illusion that we are acting under our own free will.

These behavioural instructions are bombarded to us via the Mainstream Media, in all its forms, and that is why we are increasingly encouraged to get “connected” to The System via all the gadgets that are provided for us.

On the other hand, animals on the planet Earth, don’t tune into the media and so they can sense and understand the world the way it really is, undistorted. Us humans, however, have had our perception “hacked” and replaced by a false reality.



4. ROBOT DAWN

The merging of humans with technology is fast pacing-up and promoted by universities and the Entertainment Industry.

You can trace this back to the 6-million-dollar-man (70s TV) and Robocop (80s movie) etc. The long-term plans is to incrementally introduce us to a new “normal” that we fully accept.

Part of this is: the micro-chipping of pets, teddy-bears … and then people.



5. GRIDLOCK

If you care to look at IBM's website it will tell you a lot about your future. When IBM hold their big international meetings, every corporation attends. They must attend. You will see a list of all the top corporations across our planet.

IBM have given themselves the right to go ahead and create what they call the "smart grid" and also the "global smart grid" across the whole planet.

They plan to funnel a lot of our Western energy systems across the water (using undersea cables) to all countries across the world. Eventually, they will be able to cut some countries short at times, and route energy to some other country, as they see fit.

The subsidies we all pay in energy taxes is used to build all these big projects.



6. AMERICAN ANSWERS

During my political research on Henry Kissinger I came across some footage of actual Americans being interviewed on the street. Males, females, of all ages, all adults, who were just stopped at random.

Here are some examples of the questions asked, and the answers given, from these “regular” (and mostly very nice) people:

Q Name a country beginning with “U”
A 1. Yugoslavia 2. Utah 3. Utopia

Q What is the religion of Israel?
A 1. Muslim 2. Israeli 3. Probably Catholic

Q What religion are Buddhist Monks?
A Islamic

Q Who won the Vietnam War?
A We did

Q Who is Fidel Castro?
A A singer?

Q How many sides does a triangle have?
A 1. Damn...Four? 2. There’s no sides...one?

Q What is the currency of the United Kingdom?
A 1. What is the United Kingdom, I dunno? 2. Possibly American money? 3. Queen Elizabeth money?

Q In terms of the War on Terror, which country do you think we should invade next?
A 1. Saudi Arabia 2. Somebody in the Middle East 3. We should F***ing make a big blast crater out of the Middle East, for all I care 4. I’m thinking....Italy? 5. Cuba? 6. Iran, to stop the revolution 7. Russia or China 8. India and Pakistan 9. Indonesia or Brazil maybe 10. Korea, because they’re trouble, they’ve got a bad attitude 11. Canada

Q In terms of the War on Terror, which country do you think we should invade next?

The man was then given a world map to put a pin on it

A I think “France” he said, they’re too close, and there seems to be some friction between us. He then stuck a pin on Australia

Q Who is Kofi Anan?
A 1. A type of coffee? 2. Is it a Law Firm?

Q Who is Tony Blair?
A 1. I don’t even know him, is he a skater? 2. He’s an actor 3. Linda Blair’s brother?

Q Which countries are in the Axis of Evil?
A 1. I know Germany is one of them, but I’m not sure about the others. 2. Ok, California 3. Jerusalem 4. I think all of them. 5. Florida 6. Those guys that throw the rocks, Israel? 7. The fella with the turban thing, the guy with the diaper on his head?

Q Who was the first man on the Moon?
A 1. John Glen 2. I think it was a Russian, I’m not sure 3. Is that not the thing that was reincarnated in Arizona or somewhere and it didn’t really happen? 4. I don’t have any idea, was it an animal?

Q What is collateral damage ?
A Something to do with a movie?

Q How many World Wars have there been?
A Three?

Q Which State does KFC come from?
A The chicken? I don’t know

Q What are Hiroshima and Nagasaki famous for?
A Judo or Sumo wrestling?

Q How many Eiffel Towers are there in France?
A I’d say about Ten

Q What is Al-Qaeda?
A 1. A suicide group in Israel who do suicide bombs and stuff and I think the President of it is Yaser Arafat, everybody knows that. 2. A wing of the Masonic order?

Q Where is the Berlin Wall?
A Believe me I know the answer......but I’m thinking....Israel?



7. NEW FRONTIER

The Truth revealed about Star Trek

Star Trek initially came out of the mind of Gene Roddenberry. The idea was of humanity being a peaceful space-faring people and all races were included in this vision, and we would go around the Universe exploring.

Roddenberry was presenting a hopeful future for the 60s generation. Star Trek today is a huge phenomena. What is interesting about Star Trek is, although it did come from the mind of Roddenberry, it goes back to 1963 and the programme Outer Limits which was produced by Leslie Stevens Jr.

Leslie Stevens Senior was a Vice Admiral in the Navy who was working with Admiral Rico Botta who was part of the Naval group who brought the German scientists over after the second world war in Operation Paperclip to start the secret space programme.

Star Trek is a product of the Rand Corporation which is a Think-Tank that has considerable influence over America, in particular with NASA and the US Air Force. The Rand Corporation directly consulted on the early episodes of Star Trek and with Gene Roddenberry. When you see things like phasers (tazers) and hand-held communicating devices (mobile/cell phones), sliding responsive doors, and the automation of everything, you are looking at predictive programming.



8. DECODED

Pythagoras said “All is Number”.

Number coding is inside every sun and every atom. The Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Mean are deeply embedded in all that exists.

Our DNA decodes this programme to give us our perception of Reality.

In a similar way Wi-Fi networks use decoders (Smart Phones etc.) to present us with the World Wide Web. Without the ability to decode, we would see nothing. The Universe would be empty. If you lose your Wi-Fi connection then your personal universe becomes a blank screen.

The Universe, as a whole, is full of love and harmony. That, indeed, is its natural state. It has always been that way. However, there are small grains of Evil around, and unfortunately, our Earth is not representative of the usual Good state of everything. Here we have lots of Evil, and it is deeply present in those who rule over us, but quite rare in normal everyday humans. This Virus of Evil encourages us to fight among ourselves, because the virus, like any virus, feeds off of life itself, and can only function by destroying the host. Hence, the pain and suffering that our world is full of.

Humans are heart-based. Their natural state of being is to be kind and joyous. The Dark Force of Control, however, is heartless, and soulless. This force needs humans, but can never be human. Therefore, we are conditioned from birth to abandon our hearts (the Truth) and pursue the Mind-and-Brain version of the Programme (e.g. money, status, materialism, gratification, false knowledge, fame etc.).

But, when someone refers to themselves in conversation, they always point at their chest, where their heart is. And that’s the Truth. Our main Chakra point is our Heart which radiates and receives infinite love. And that is what the Evil Distortion cannot bear. We are everything They cannot be.



9. COLUMBO

As we know a Columbo episode works to a well-established structure. The formula is as follows: (a) someone gets murdered right at the start, (b) the viewer gets to know who commits the murder and how they have actually done it, (c) Columbo then appears on the scene and continually hassles the murderer while mis-directing him (or her) by pretending to be scatter-brained, (d) the murderer tries to outwit Columbo (by covering their tracks) but they never succeed, and, in their desperation, usually botch things up, and finally (e) Columbo nails the murderer ...


10. AWARENESS

A human being can look something up on the WEB and this gives them: (1) INFORMATION. Most people are happy with that. But there is a higher level we can reach which is: (2) UNDERSTANDING. This is when you grasp concepts that are abstract and then apply them to knowledge to gain a clear appreciation of what you know, and then, using fluid intelligence, you can apply your understanding to another situation.

But you really want to go higher than that, don’t you? Of course you do. What we are after is: (3) AWARENESS. That is the bit you get when you get the information, understand it, and then get above the understanding into an area which is intuitive and expansive. At this level the normal boundaries and limitations disappear. We gain awareness via our DNA programme which we receive downloads to.




11. INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence is one of the most important ways in which we judge one another and is a powerful and emotive issue for parents, teachers, employers and even politicians. However, it is still difficult to find a majority of experts anywhere who would agree on an acceptable definition of intelligence, as well as on its implications for human behaviour.

The nature-nurture debate is a long-standing argument over the relative contributions of experience (nurture, environment, learning) and inheritance (nature, heredity, genetic predisposition) to the make-up of an individual. But, clearly, both genetic and environmental factors influence IQ and therefore measured intelligence can be attributed to an interaction between both of these factors.

It is important, however, to understand that no matter how heritable intelligence is, some aspects of it are still malleable, that is, heritability of a trait is a separate issue from its malleability. Consequently, there is little doubt that a programme of training can increase some aspects of a person's intelligence, however, no training programme, and no environmental condition of any sort, can make a genius out of a person who is not particularly bright in the first place.

Real intelligence is about understanding, and being aware of what is important, and reacting appropriately in the circumstances being experienced.



12. STRAND THEORY

A human being can absorb (1) INFORMATION and (2) UNDERSTAND concepts. However, to reach a higher level of (3) AWARENESS and insight you need to break free of your limitations. These are: (A) being PHYSICAL and therefore relying on your five senses to judge everything, and (B) running on a DNA programme.

All information, and all physical matter, and all consciousness is wave vibration. Light and sound are wavelengths on the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Visible light and audible sound (for humans) occupies only a wafer-thin part of that whole spectrum. And so a human being only perceives a tiny tiny fraction of what actual information is around us. None of us can perceive WI-FI, for example without a decoder. But if we have a decoder then an astonishing amount of information reveals itself, that is to say the WEB.

But we tend to work on the principle if we cannot hear or see something it cannot possibly exist. Nothing could be further from the truth. A human brain only decodes a minute fraction of what is available.



13. BREAKAWAY

Western education is about left-brain thinking. Let’s try some right-brain perception.

Imagine what the Earth was like a long long time ago (thousands of years in the past) when we had distinct civilisations, some of them highly advanced, but existing entirely separate from each other physically and culturally. These co-existing civilisations had their own technology, belief systems, and explanations of their world. And they were all at different levels of development.

It is no different today. It appears that there are a number of civilisations living on and around the Earth and the Solar System which have entirely different ideas, technology, and motives to that of humans. We assume that humans are at the top of the food-chain on Earth but this is not actually the case. It is not even likely.

There are quite a few breakaway civilisations who are here, but not officially announced to us humans, but nevertheless they’re around. Only a few political leaders know this. Most don’t.

There is at least one advanced species, with higher than human technology, which would explain the number of strange flying craft that get reported thousands of times each day all over the world. And several thousand animals, and indeed, humans, disappear each day, or their body parts are stolen from them, by using advanced laser surgery which humans can’t perform. This doesn’t get reported much because of the alarm it would obviously cause.

Also, someone is “toying” with our official military (who often try to intercept the advanced aircraft) and some other advanced life-forms are eating us. For example, 1500 sheep disappeared overnight from a farm in England recently without any explanation or trace, tracks, or sound; and this has not been reported or discussed by the mainstream news. This is a common occurrence

There may be at least three sets of advanced life-forms, other than humans, who have a lot of control, and a vested interest, in the planet we live on. There could be many more side-players too.

This cannot be disclosed as it would cause mass panic and the need for everyone to review everything they thought was true, everything they hitherto believed in. So not easy to let people know.



14. TIME

Change is a constant. A paradoxical oxymoron. It’s all about time. Modern life has fundamentally changed our sense of time. “We all live hectic lives these days” I heard Brian May, of Queen, say recently. Do we? Why? Is being “busy” a virtue in itself?

But even as we live longer, we seem to think shorter. Is it because we cram more into each day, or because the next person seems to cram more into each day? Everything is happening much faster, and more things are happening. What are we trying to prove by consuming time in this way? Are we seeing everything and understanding nothing?

In the 60s we were taught that, in the future, machines would automate work, giving us more leisure time. But now machines automate the production of attention-consuming information, which takes up all our time. Every minute of everyday life is to be used productively or it’s an opportunity lost.

Businesses focus on short-term results; politicians focus on elections; school systems focus on test results. Everyone knows about the big problems, but their behaviour focuses on the here and now. Best to concentrate on the current quarter, because who knows what job I’ll have next year, Best to pass that test, because what I actually learn, won’t be worth much, ten years from now.

We are information-rich but time-poor. We’re bombarded with so much information, from so many sources - video, audio, flashing screens - it’s like being fed too much processed, sugar-rich food. We no longer can easily discern cause and effect, put together a coherent story line, think scientifically, read a book with a single theme. We click, click, click our way through the world. What’s all the rush for? Is it a fear of running out of time? Is “hectic” a good thing? Something to be admired in itself? Does it make us happy?

When I get the time I’ll have a look into all this.




15. WHISKY

Does whisky conjure up emotions? What is going on when you encounter an outstanding bottle? The easiest way to make us feel something is to create a back-story, that is the “legend” behind the exquisite dram you are about to experience. Spin a wee story on the label about the “purity of the water” flowing through the Highland stream for hundreds of years, the lovely Morayshire barley fields, and the charred white-oak casks ...



16. SOUND OF THE CROWD

John Donne observed that “No man is an island” capturing the fact that humans are essentially social animals. We all like to be “connected” to others and this is why mobile phones are so very popular. We are all dependent on our friends and family; our network.

So what happens when you take sides? That is, you might be watching a sporting event, for example, in which you have no particular interest regarding who wins, but yet you soon find yourself preferring one side to another. And it’s hard to stay aloof in any division of opinion, any quarrel or conflict.

Group thinking could be seen as an evolutionary advantage: clubbing together against a tiger or gang of aggressive strangers has obvious survival value. However, in modern times this natural inclination to be part of a group can have less constructive outcomes. This is the madness of crowds. People can be “whipped up” by charismatic leaders into collective blood-lust. We see it everyday in the media. People do horrible things, as one of a mob, that they would never dream of doing on their own.

So whose side are you on? The side of generosity-of-spirit, tolerance, and social justice? The side of love?




17. WIND UP

I will soon be working on the promotional poster for my new novella. Set in a 19th Century Edinburgh-like city, this alternative history will be based on the idea that electricity hadn’t been developed in the way we use it today, and so all machines will be analog and dependent on springs, wind-up mechanisms, or steam. There will be so much steam about that The City will literally reek of atmosphere. And there will be lots of hissing too.

In this world there will be advanced vehicles which will be flashy and futuristic but be powered by 19th century technology and so they will have lavish upholstery and shining brass knobs. People will communicate in work places by using pneumatic tubes in which they will place paper documents.

Computers will have immense calculating power but will be mechanical like giant adding machines. Propeller-driven dirigibles will fill the sky (on regular routes to Glasgae). Women will generally wear hooped skirts, bonnets, and dresses with bustles and bows. High-status men will wear top hats and cravats. In general there will be a joyous feeling that anything can be achieved.

In the narrative I will be referring to background music often played in Olde Worlde hostelries around Rose street by steam-guitar bands such as The Driven Thing and Gabriello (this is just in case I get an offer from Hollywood for the film rights to my work, makes it more filmatic you see; maybe need to use lots of dialogue too, to explain the plot).

Evil will be personified by a character called Alex, who will be short, portly, have slicked-back black hair, wear a dark cloak, and always have a smug and smarmy expression on his face. Alex will be manipulative, contemptuous, petulant and downright heartless. He will drive a steam-powered motorbike with sidecar containing his side-kick-come-floozy, the lovely Nicola. His motorbike will be tarnished and always having the look of something which needs attending to with a bit of brasso and elbow-grease. Alex, who is a fool, wants to undermine the Empire and form a new Kingdom of Darien where he will reign as King and therefore have Divine Rights allowing him direct access to the evil Murdoch who controls the whole world.

The force of Good will be represented by Alistair, a suave, dignified and sophisticated silver-haired tall man, who travels around in a highly polished shiny horse-driven white carriage. Alastair is a man you can rely on to defend the Empire. He is to be trusted and he is loved by everyone. He is a strong man but he will be tested to the limit by the horrible man that is Alex of the Kingdom.

As well as plenty of polished brass and upholstery in the form of machines there will also be brassy women (usually hanging around The Docks) who will attempt to corrupt Alistair (so room for some steamy sex scenes you’ll be glad to know Hollywood producers, hint hint).

Another character will be a wise old bearded milkman called Shaun who will represent the voice of reason in this morality tale when our hero Alistair is becoming blinded by the spooky gas-lighting of temptation (by the Dockland Ladies of the Mist) and possibly falling into trap set up by the obnoxious Alex in an effort to scandalise him and undermine the Empire.

But, hey, I’m giving away the plot!



18. FRESNEL LENS

It is always worth carrying a Fresnel lens around in your suitcase. It is quite portable and thinner than a Frisby but about the same size. If you are staying in a hoose with lots of history you can stick then lens onto a window and peer through it to see if you can see anybody from the past who may have lived there. It all depends at what time of the day you look through it and the lighting conditions. Early morning is quite good for seeing figures. Not so easy to capture them on film however. It can be spooky right enough when one of the figures comes up to the lens quite close and peers back through at you. I suppose they must be looking into the future from their perspective.






19. FRACTIONAL RESERVE LENDING

The rules on banking finance are not set by governments, they are set by their corporate bosses, the privately-owned (for profit) Banking Cartel who run the American Federal Reserve.

This system allows banks to lend 10 times more money than they have on deposit. So if you borrow from a bank they simply create the money for your loan out of fresh air and type the numbers on a screen. And then they charge you interest on it. They need the signature of your Strawman, of course, to allow them to pull off this magic trick. They can even refuse you the loan and just keep the new money, all they need is your signature to create it.

But here’s where it gets crazy …

If you borrow £20,000, for example, and then go off and buy a car. The person you buy the car from will deposit that £20,000 you pay them into their bank account. Their bank can then lend (and charge interest) on 10 times the amount of the newly-received funds; that is to say £200,000.

National Debts always go up because of this method of generating money which has no backing in actual goods or precious metals. However the real danger lies in the fact that, if these debts are not met (with interest) then real items of value, such as houses, land, or a life-time’s work, pass to the bank as they seize it off you. Eventually, by this cunning plan, all wealth ends up in the hands of a small bunch of world Elite, and everybody else finds themselves increasingly getting squeezed financially and emotionally while the Elite are sitting pretty.

They can even seize a whole country’s assets if they wish.

Britain, Canada, and the US, and the like, are allowed to run up huge, off-the-scale, National Debts, because this is by far the best way to exert control over them. Meanwhile, because of the interest payments, they general population (taxpayers) are increasingly struggling to make ends meet and are experiencing budget cuts in all essential public services.






20. SCRIPTED

The movie Capricorn One (1978) is an enjoyable film about a manned mission to Mars. The plot is that they didn’t really go to Mars but actually faked it all in a studio to save face as they were unable to do it for real. Unusually for Hollywood, this film suggested that an agency of government would hoax such a thing. Because, almost without exception, all Hollywood films that feature military hardware and space stuff are pro-US. The pentagon ensures this, and budgets them, and writes the scripts you see; and they also allow the use of equipment etc. to make the films. The US therefore tend to come out "whiter than white" in these films and then they get huge surges in applications to "join up". Job done.

Bill Kaysing was a technical author for NASA who worked on various technologies and he had a great knowledge of the space industry. BK actually wrote a screen-play about a fake mission to the moon in 1977. It was allegedly a true account of a cover-up.

Capricorn One followed exactly BK’s script. The only difference was they substituted Mars for the Moon. This meant that, what was to be a true account of faking a moon-mission, was fictionalised into a story about Mars. BK sued the film-makers for breach of copyright.

The lawsuit failed because it appeared that the patent date recorded at Washington had been falsified thereby making it appear that the film about Mars was registered first before BK‘s script about the moon. But recent research shows that this could not have been the case. It looks like BK’s original work about the truth behind the moon mission was stolen and turned into a work of fiction about Mars.



21. SELLING POINTS

I worked for six years in Direct Sales. In this form of sales you are under the maximum pressure to “close” a deal. It involves going to see a business owner, partner(s) or director(s) having never met them before at any time. You have to close the deal within an hour and you will never see them again. You just move on to the next lead. And so it goes on. It’s a psychological game of nerve. I made around 300 sales in my short career at an average value of about £5000 each. A lot of money. You do the math, as they say.

You get what is called a “lead” (someone who has expressed some interest in the product) and you make an appointment and visit them with the idea that you are going to give them a “demonstration”. But in fact, in order to keep your job, you have to get a sale on the day.

Not everybody is this way, but sales has a lot of people who are hard-faced and cynical. The reason for the cynicism is to protect yourself from the constant rejection, and you do this by seeing your prospects as “The Enemy”. And there is a saying that “buyers are liars”.

Here are some examples of what people say and, in brackets, what they actually mean

“I’ll call you at the end of the week” (I won’t call you at the end of the week)
“I’ll definitely get back to you” (I’ll never get back to you)
“I want to discuss it with my partner (I don’t want your product)
“I can’t afford it” (I want something for nothing)
“I have got a much cheaper quote from another company” (My brother-in-law will do it for nothing)
“It’s too near to Christmas” (I can’t make a decision)
“I’ll decide after the summer holidays” (you’ll never hear from me again)
“I’m a bit short of cash at the moment” (I’ve just had a “charge for papers” and I’m going bankrupt)
“Haven’t I seen you before” (is this they guy I bounced a check on last month?)
“I’ll need to consult the missus” (I have a Thai wife and she knows how to stop me from giving my money away)

And it doesn’t even have to be sales, it can be “normal” life too, for example:

“Could you send me an email on that?” (I gave up listening five minutes ago)
“I’m sorry but… (I’m not in the least bit sorry)
“Let’s be honest” (let’s agree with me)
“Let’s face it” (let’s agree that you’re wrong)
“With respect” (please die)
“With the greatest respect” (please die now)




22 SENTENCES

A sentence usually starts with a capital letter, and ends with a full stop. However, some begin with quote marks, and others end with question, or exclamation, marks. It tends to stand separately from other sentences around it. But this is not always the case. It could be a fragment that hangs over from a previous sentence. Like this. Or this. It may even consist of just one word. True. Or three words. So very true. A sentence must have a subject and a verb, except when it has neither. It can contain as many words as you wish. Up to infinity.

Skilled writers, write small, and their books become long. This is because lengthy books contain many individual sentences. A sentence can be more than its meaning. It should have sound, rhythm, and ‘feel’ too. In spoken language, there are stresses, and emphasis, on individual words, and syllables. A good sentence should reflect these nuances.

Syntax and pronunciation are important components of spoken communication, but if you have no feel for rhythm then you won’t sound ‘human’. Rhythm is instinctive and so does not need to be taught.



23 MILLENIALS

1


A millennial is somebody under the age of about 35. At least, this is the term that marketers have invented to describe impressionable Young People. Some name this demographic Generation Y.

A millennial is someone born after 1980 and they outnumber every other generation. But, according to multiple studies, millennials are the most depressed generation, ever. The suicide rate, since the 1950s, has tripled among young adults. Suicide is now the second most common form of death amongst college students.

Between 2005 and 2014 the number of clinically-depressed teenagers increased by more than half a million, and three quarters of them were woman. Every year, more and more millennials are taking time off work and are seeking help for mental health issues. An even greater number report extremely low job-satisfaction and say they experience difficulty maintaining relationships.

2

Young people get a lot of stick, the older generation have always experienced ‘Juvenoia’ - a fear, or hostility, directed at the younger generation. This is nothing new.

Baby Boomers, born just after the war, had a strong work-ethic and believed that the amount of hours worked should be directly relational to their income. Baby Boomers heavily begrudged the generation that came after then, Generation X. They were more independent, they changed their careers more often, and believed in a fair work/life balance.

And now it has come full circle once again, both Baby Boomers, and Generation X-ers are resenting Generation Y, the millennials. Generation Ys have brand-new values, such as collaboration, work that’s actually meaningful and impactful, having fun in the work-place, and, of course, free food. Do previous generations look down on the millennials just because they are different, or is it more than that?

3

Even TIME magazine has poked fun at the millennial beast, calling them “Lazy, entitled, narcissists, who still live with their parents.” And, unfortunately, they could have a point. Unlike the generational divides of last century, there is a lot of research and statistics indicating that every negative label that millennials have been tarred with, may be well-deserved, even if it isn’t, strictly, through their own fault. The cold, hard, facts don’t lie. The volume of incidents of narcissist personality disorder is three times higher for people, currently in their 20s, than the average. Are we really all in love with ourselves because we have received 50 ‘likes’ on our latest ‘selfie’ ?

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Millennials are the first generation that have been brought up on Reality Television, and every year, more and more fake-reality programming is shoved down our throats. Such programmes promote narcissism above all else, portraying looks and popularity as the source of ‘fame’ and happiness. In such shows, real human relationships are often shown as being cheap and disposable.

And then, or course, there is the Social Media swamp that drowns millennials in a sea of likes, shares, pins and follows. Countless studies have shown that dopamine, the pleasure chemical, is released in the brain, when they receive likes on their photos and videos. This system breeds narcissism at its very core. It appears that the more narcissistic they are, and the more likes they receive, this, sadly, makes millennials happier.

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Experts also accuse millennials of being ‘entitled’. A recent study revealed that 40 per cent of millennials believed they should be promoted every two years, even if they haven’t earned it. Research shows that this entitlement to be given handouts, regardless of one’s performance, stems from an unusual place: school Sports Day. Millennials still get a prize for participating in a race, even if they have come in last. Children are always rewarded for participating. It’s the taking-part that counts. Countless studies have shown that this attitude creates a disingenuous and diluted sense of achievement and this can be damaging to future expectations of what it really takes to achieve something.

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Generation X-ers, Baby Boomers, and those before, were all brought up in a deeply competitive environment. It was instilled in them from a young age that rewards had to be earned through hard work, or graft. They were not told that they were entitled to anything.

The so-called Silent Generation, who lived through the two World Wars, certainly didn’t feel entitled. They lived through the hardest period of modern history, and everything they had earned they had to cling onto with their lives, quite literally. This meant that when they brought up their children, the Baby Boomers, they instilled, within them, a strict mentality of saving every penny and an extremely hard work-ethic. They were told that nothing in life was free, or even expected. It was all up to them.

The Baby Boomers grew up and had children of their own: Generation X. And so they passed on the same hard-work ethic. But then a huge shift came in the global economy that changed everything. Generation X lived through a time of great prosperity. Industry was on the rise, and the world was dragging itself out of the pit it dug for itself during the war. This gave Gen-Xers a “can-do” attitude. And so, they taught their children, the Millennials, that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything, become anyone, and live a happy life. You are special. This has created a generation who all believe they are special, why wouldn’t they? Their parents have drilled it into their heads that they are special and unique.

Millennials are also completely fame-obsessed too. Four times as many teenagers would choose to be the assistant of a famous person, rather than the CEO of a major corporation. In a recent poll, when asked, what would they like to do for a career, 54 per cent of 16-year-olds answered: “Become a celebrity”. Far gone are the days when becoming a celebrity was just a side-effect of demonstrating a unique talent to the masses.

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Millennials have been brought up with technology that does their thinking for them and this therefore makes them lazier than previous generations. And therein lies the biggest problem that’s ruining the lives of young people today. Mobile phones. Yes, I know, we have all heard it a hundred times, mobile phones are bad for you. But do you really know why? And just how damaging are they for mental health? Because the research it terrifying.

So, imagine you are out enjoying a meal with family or friends. How many times do you check your phone over the course of that meal? The average millennial checks their phone over 100 times per day, and they touch, tap or swipe on their phone over 3000 times a day. Why? Because we are all addicts. Receiving “likes” releases dopamine, and so does hundreds of other things that we do with our phones.

Taking a picture of your food, taking a selfie, writing a status-update that you have just cooked the most amazing omelette of your life. All of these acts release dopamine, even before we upload them to the internet. Dopamine is released, in advance, because our brains anticipate the multitude of likes and shares it should hopefully receive.

Within seconds, we receive feedback, and this is instant gratification, instant approval, from our peers. And it goes on and on around the clock. We receive instant gratification when we wake up, peer approval before we go to bed, and through the middle of the night.

The dopamine swirls and swirls in our brain in an ever-lasting continuum of self-fulfilment and reward. And this only serves to perpetuate our narcissism. Until it stops.

When we upload a photo of our chia seed and avocado toast, and it doesn’t receive as much attention as we’d hoped, in our minds our peers have rejected us. We are now lost, without purpose, we are now depressed. Does all this sound familiar? This cycle of masses of release of dopamine followed by periods of intense sadness? Sounds very much like an alcohol or gambling addiction doesn’t it? Millenials have become a generation of addicts.

They check their phones at dinner because they have become addicted. It is the reason they put it on the table next to the food, putting the people they should be spending quality, face-to-face time, with in second priority to the little dopamine device. It’s the reason they don’t talk to people on the bus, on the train, at school or work. They indulge wholly in their addiction because they are truly addicted and most don’t even realise it.

A survey of more than 2000 millenials showed that 93 per cent use their phones in bed, and 80 per cent use their phones on the toilet. But it isn’t their fault. Millenials are simply a product of the environment. This is the hand they have been dealt.

Millenials grew up in a time of rapid technological advancement. And, as long as mobile devices continue to generate enormous profits, then companies will continue to develop new digital mechanisms and social networks that provide instant gratification. And it keeps coming quicker and quicker, we no longer have to wait for our next fix. It’s instantaneous.

We have Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp, any one of which can provide our next fix whenever we desire it.

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The parents of the millenials did not have these distractions, they had to put time and effort into receiving the approval of their peers. They had to have meaningful conversations, and form strong, deep and long-lasting relationships, with both their friends and partners to get their dopamine fix.

At work they had to graft day after day, and when that promotion came along, my god did they deserve it. They had earned it. In contrast millenials have become immensely impatient because they are so used to instant gratification that, if they don’t get a promotion ten minutes after starting a new job, they can get bored of it, because it isn’t the sort of timeline they are used to.

Millenials say they want to make an impact at work yet they expect to do so within 6 months at a new job. And when 6 months, or a year, has gone by, and they are still the tea and coffee guy for the office, it makes them feel disenfranchised, worthless and depressed.

But it’s not their fault, they have grown up in a maelstrom of dopamine, on tap, whenever they desire it. So, naturally they expect the same instant fulfilment from their career and relationships. But they can’t just tap a button to help them achieve that, there is no virtual replacement for hard work and genuine conversations.

They can’t ‘swipe right’ to get promoted, and, I’m sorry folks it’s going to take more than commenting on your partner’s latest selfie to make them genuinely feel valued and loved. Take them on a date, for goodness sake, and don’t look at your phone for the entire time, because the moment you do they are now second priority.

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Should we be worried about the future? Of a world run by the Millenials? Are the millenials really so ill-prepared to fill the boots of the previous generation in 10 to 20 year’s time? These narcissistic. self-obsessed, lazy, entitled, young adults who want success handed to them on a plate, who can’t tie down a relationship, or achieve satisfaction in the workplace, because they are too addicted to social media.

Well, I wouldn’t be so worried.

Yes, young people have their ‘issues’ but they are no different from the last generation. Generation X were also labelled as entitled and lazy, when they were young.

As a society, we need to recognise, that the World has completely changed, both technologically, and culturally, over the past 20 years. And millennials are the first adopters of this strange new lifestyle, where you can build a billion-dollar business from your bedroom, if you put your mind to it.

All the apparent faults of young people are merely symptoms of them trying to adapt to a completely strange, new way of life, that their parents didn’t have to deal with. They face new, and unique, pressures, stresses and challenges and they need to find better ways to cope with them, rather than indulging in social media.

And, for all their faults, there are actually a lot of good things to say about millenials, that are rarely brought up.

Millennials are the most tolerant generation ever. Research shows that prejudice has fallen with each new generation. And millenials are far less racist, homophobic and sexist, than their parents. The Pew Research Centre asked adults between the age of 18 to 29 what their most important priority was during their lifetime.

- 52 per cent answered “being a good parent”

- 30 per cent said “have a successful marriage”

- 21 per cent replied “helping others in need”

Now that doesn’t sound like a generation that is completely self-absorbed, does it? And their inability not to be able to settle into a 9 to 5 job may not be entirely due to reliance on social media. Maybe it is because they all want more than the monotony of working for the some heartless corporate giant.

Research shows that millenials are the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

Spurred on by young Do-it-Yourself success like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, as a generation millennials have an unstoppable appetite to achieve something big and make an impact (right after we send this hilarious snapchat). This mentality might be proving difficult for large corporations who need to employ cheap young labour that can sit in an office and push buttons for 8 hours a day.

There is no doubt that young people need to spend more time, directly, interacting with one another, and less time on social media, because all the research says that it is does bad things for mental health. But we also need to accept that the world is rapidly changing. Millennials have their faults but they are also contributing to the world in so many incredible ways. Just like the generation before them.

Change has always come, and always will. It’s inevitable. And so we need to find a way to work with it for the better, instead of pointing out the faults in others.