It is late afternoon and Holmes has returned to 229B, a place that we know so well. It has been a frustrating day for Holmes, everything he tried seemed to go wrong. At the stationers they didn’t have the right sort of carbon paper, the chemist had no jeweller’s rouge, nor had they any shellack.
‘All that walking down to the Marylebone Road for nothing!’ he thinks to himself as he opens the door to his rooms. Immediately his senses are on the alert.
‘There is something in there,’ Holmes thinks to himself, holding the door half ajar.
He is aware of a faint clinking noise that is accompanied by an implausible noise that he can only describe as ‘sloshing’ or ‘wavery.’ There is also a strange droning grunting sort of noise that sounds remarkably like the dromedary he saw at Regent’s Park Zoo last year. Not that he’d wanted to go, but there are times one must humour one’s friends. To add to this there is the distinct waft of lemon in the air.
And lemons are very expensive at this time of year!
The newspaper is barely half read, the editorials are next along with all they have to say about the situation our modern world finds itself in. The coffee is drained though, so a walk to the kitchenette is in order, where a fresh cup can be obtained.
This isn’t about gold as such, it’s a post about how people make money with it. There has long been a conspiracy theory that the bullion vaults of Fort Knox have little more in them than air, dust and a few hungry spiders. As ever, conspiracy theories emerge when facts are few and far between, or the reality is a little too absurd to comprehend. I guess this post covers an area where both are true. After all, the last audit on the US government’s gold reserves was in the mid fifties. Which is not something to inspire confidence in the evidence, is it? Few corporations can get away with that kind of auditing – but then, that’s why we have off–shore banking. Where it’s allowed, that is.
There is a toddler screaming its head off! It matters not a jot if it is a boy or a girl, it wants attention and means to get its way. You’ve all seen it in the local shops, on the high street or just about anywhere there are humans. Quite what it is that mum did – or did not do – is irrelevant, and any of us who have children will know how difficult it is to deal with an implacable toddler. There is nothing more embarrassing than a screaming toddler: there is simply no reasoning with them. It feels as if you have gotten everything wrong, especially with everybody’s eyes saying that you’re a bad parent.
Well, it’s autumn and the time for harvesting has passed. In the farming year, autumn is always considered as being the start of the year: after all, the crops have been harvested and whatever remains of them are now bagged and bushelled. It was whilst I was clearing my borlotti beans that I was reminded of something the good doctor had said about seeds.
I admit it, I was a marketer. A few years back, I met a young man on a train and out of politeness asked him what he did for a living. What surprised me about this smart young man’s response was that he cowered back into his seat in shame! The effect I had on him could not have been more forceful had I threatened him with a large club with nasty looking spikes poking out of it.
It took thirty seconds for the penny to drop. Pennies don’t take long to drop when you understand what drives fear.
Now, this will be more of a personal reflection rather than any detailed historical analysis. If you have an observation or an objection, please use the comment form below as I am more than interested in other people’s ideas – just as long as they are intelligent and well formed.
For myself, what I am interested in here is the way people thought at the time, in this case, the late mediaeval period. The point of this is to say that people simply didn’t think as we do today, and for very good reasons: the world around them, the society around them was so utterly different from ours that it formed the minds of the youngsters in a manner quintessentially different from our own. If this aspect of history is overlooked, then can one call it history at all? Wouldn’t it be fairer to call it a regurgitation of facts?
My friend Hendrik’s job is to teach evidence based decision-making. It makes him happy, so I don’t complain too much. In this post, I want to explore the ramifications of living a life having made decisions based on evidence. I have spoken of the nature of evidence on a few occasions. In brief, evidence comprises of three factors, each of which has to be present if it is to be classified as evidence:
1) Somebody needs to have noticed something happening.
2) They need to have regarded the ‘something’ as being worth recording
3) They will have written it down.
If they have done this, you have some evidence. Hence a tree falling in the wood will make a noise – it’s just that the passing scientist didn’t notice it because he had his nose buried in a book about trees. Whilst the tree did make a noise, nobody noticed – thus no evidence as condition ‘1’ was not met.
In a rather bitty dialogue on an anthroposophical blog, a gentleman spoke of my style of conversation:
“Your style of conversation is to throw the words of the conversant right back in their face, and try to humiliate them. Why do that when conversation is so important between equals?”
What I want to look at in this rather abstract post – as several of mine have been in the last weeks – is the nature of humiliation. What it is, and what it signifies. Because if there is one thing that humiliation does not signify, it is self-assurance.