What are you must desirous of?  Put another way, what is it that you want most?  Now ask yourself how much do you really want it?  Here’s a story about Socrates that may help you clarify how much you want it.

A young man asked Socrates how he could get wisdom.

Socrates replied: “Come with me.”  He took the young man to a nearby river and shoved his head under the water.  He held it there until the boy struggled for air, then he let him go.

The boy took a moment to compose himself.  Socrates then asked the boy:  “What did you desire most when your head was underwater?”

“I wanted air,” replied the boy.

Socrates nodded:  “When you want wisdom as much as you wanted air when you were immersed in the water, you will receive wisdom.”

In the same way, when you want what you say you want most as much as you want air to breathe, then you will get the thing you desire.

Rock on Socrates.

Yeah, we’re fucked.  Our civil liberties, if ever we had any, are on the verge of being stripped right from underneath our noses. The Home Office is hell bent on pushing a piece of legislation through that will allow 653 governmental offices to have access to every phone call, text message, email, and website we visit.  Agencies like the police, local councils, the Financial Service Authority, the ambulance service, fire authorities and even prison governors.

What’s really insidious about this gig is that these folks will not require the permission of a judge or magistrate to get our information.  All they’ll need is permission from a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head at a local authority.

The “government” says it needs this kind of easy access to help fight terrorism.  Please!  That old chestnut!

They, and I’m using ‘they’ deliberately because there doesn’t seem to be any names associated with the ‘they’ in government who are pushing so hard to strip our liberties away.

The Home Office did a six month consultation to find out if they had any support for this idea.  Only a third of the respondents approved.  50 percent of the folks believed that the scheme lacked sufficient protection against the abuse of our personal data that these yahoos would have access to.

This new level of access would fall under the foul Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) or as I call it, the Rest in Peace all of our privacy Act.  Communications companies will be forced to keep all of our emails, phone calls, and every web click for a year.  And guess who has to pay for all of this?  Yes that’s right – Us, to the tune of £2 billion over 10 years.

There are a couple of sane people in government who are opposing this move vocally.  Chris Grayling has been quoted as saying “The big danger in all of this is ‘mission creep’.  This government keeps on introducing new powers to tackle terrorism and organised crime which end up being used for completely different purposes.  We have to stop that from happening.”

To give you an idea of what it would be like to have your information out there in the open, I pilfered someone’s mobile and this is what I found:

Bob: so what have you been up to today?

Sue: well….sending you emails…reading some Keats letters!! No idea how I ended up there…but i did…an unplanned interruption…reading some book about how to teach your dog new tricks…called management and organisational behaviour!!

Bob:  keats as in john keats? one of my favorite poets

Sue:  it seems if you give your dog – errrr – workforce treats they perform better

Bob:  will you be able to teach me some new tricks?

Sue:  what do you want to learn?!!

Bob:  hmmmm… dangerous question

Sue:  mmmm, yes.

Ok there is no Bob and Sue, but you get the point.  Our private conversations are at their mercy, whoever they are.  You would hope that they would use our private information responsibly, but what guarantees do we have?  Who will be watching the watchmen?

This hit me smack dead between the eyes this morning.  It’s a passage from a book by a Russian guy named Gurdjieff, who basically dedicated his life to answering the question: “What is the sense and significance of life on earth and human life in particular?”  He developed a school of thought called The Fourth Way, but I won’t go into that just yet.  The passage in question that caught my eye was this – and I’m paraphrasing here – life is like a river that forks into two branches.  There is the involutionary branch and there is the evolutionary branch.  People who take the involutionary branch essentially just spend their whole life meeting the basic requirements of nature.  In polite speak they are like cattle and all of their energy is focused on eating, breeding, raising their young and being a good member of the herd.  People who take the evolutionary branch embrace life.  They are never satisfied with the status quo.  They are always pushing the boundaries. Always looking for opportunities to grow.  These people, according Gurdjieff, will have something extra in life that other people will never have.

Now the thing is I think there is no end to the amount of people who talk about personal growth, who talk about not living life in the comfort zone.  I’ll hold my hand up and say that I  too have been guilty of loitering in the comfort zone, which is why this passage probably struck such a cord with me this morning.  Although I am a cautious man, I have never been known as someone who doesn’t like pushing the edge, but lately, I have been sitting back in the comfort zone with my feet up, six pack in hand, and the beer belly to show for it.  But they say it only takes the right passage at the right time to change the course of your life.

Now where did I put my sword?