Polish Up the Mind

Quite some years ago me and my friend Dodd were talking about the Clint Eastwood film Firefox. Here the missiles were controlled by the pilots thoughts, but as it was a Russian plane, which Eastwood was stealing, so he had to think in Russian. Now we were discussing whether someone whose first language was English could thinkt in Russian. Purely by coincidence my old French teacher was passing, so was handy to ask whether you think in a foreign language. Anyway let’s leave that conversation of 27 years ago.

Friday night I went to a quiz night in aid of the Blairgowrie Hillwalking Club. Apart from a nice night I met a drop dead gorgeous lady. So beautiful I had to keep looking at her, I couldn’t help it. What is the etiquette in a situation like that, when you meet someone for the first time? I know they write songs about it.

The other thing was I thought she looked like Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. Those who have been following the posts will know this is in keeping of context. In Magic Boxes, Horns, Thieves and Warriors I wrote about the author J M Barrie living at Kirriemuir just up the road, and the dog in the book, Nana, was thought to be a Bearded Collie. 

Now she said they were going Rambling the next morning, others said if I wanted to go just turn up at the Wellmeadow in Blairgowrie. Having bought some chicken that was going out of date and a bottle of wine when I got home I had to make a curry and drink the wine. It would have been rude not to. Still I woke at 7.15 and decided to go for a nice days walking.

The Ramblers’ site said to meet at 9.30 am, plenty of time. So I left the house, then met Steve, who with an eagle eye for detail noticed my walking boots.  I referred him to the review on this site, as I had to get into town. When I got there no one was about, so I waited until 10.00, still no one, so guessed they might have gone early, they didn’t know I was turning up, so no reason to wait.

Having got ready for the day I might as well go off on my own. What I wanted to do was recky the first part off the route to the Iron Age remains I mentioned in the Scarpa boot review. So off I went on the first part of the Cateran Trail out of Blairgowrie. covered in Magic Boxes, Horns, Thieves and Warriors.

Half way to the the Bridge of Cally I stopped for dinner. On some rocks, by a wall, in the sun,  just me the birds and the valley. After getting my sandwich box out of my small day ruck sac and eating, I thought it would be nice to have a parlech. BANG. Parlech is Polish for smoke. The bag, the box were the ones I used 2 years ago when I was working with 250 Poles in the berry fields. It seemed polite and an opportunity to learn Polish especially sitting around on  warm sunny dinner times.

Looking east from my dinnertime spot. No Ruskin, no Rafa, no 250 Polish, but they were all with me. memories I have collected. All with love.

Looking east from my dinnertime spot. No Ruskin, no Rafa, no 250 Polish, but they were all with me. memories I have collected. All with love.

The deja vue of the context, the subconscious memory had come back. I had thought in Polish. Out of nowhere the English part of my brain had been bypassed and I thought directly in Polish. My French teacher, Roger Strange, was correct. He told me thinking in another language was to do with context. If he went to France after a day or so he didn’t think in English, he thought in French, there was no English interface between thought and French words. Here I was in a similar context, in my own mind, and had gone straight to Polish.

But it was deeper than that and more more meshed more coherent. My friend Rafa had been the one teaching me the most Polish, had known my dog Ruskin. When he died Rafa put a tribute to Ruskin on his page, for all those who couldn’t attend his funeral. Now this was the first time since Ruskin had gone, I was starting getting comfortable with walking on my own, something I had never done for more than a third of my life. So I was probably thinking of Rafa in the web of thoughts. Rafa linked sunny days, Ruskin and walking.

But I was also out in the country looking at the hills. The Sunday before I had been in Alva at a Bearded Collie show, outside the hall the hills also rose steeply. I had been previously told by a Kennel Club Crufts Judge and experts with working farm dogs I was one of the best dog handlers they had ever seen. Which was nice, but was it just because I had the best dog in the world or that we went everywhere together and had the to build our relationship?

The hills rise steeply, on them small dots of sheep. For obedience for Bearded Collies perhaps the only word should be 'fetch'.

The hills rise steeply, on them small dots of sheep. For obedience for Bearded Collies perhaps the only word should be 'fetch'.

I had had a lovely day. But I never told the lady who took me I had never been out since August. Her dogs were lovely. All the dogs were lovely and all the people were, apart from the Chairman of the Bearded Collie Club of Scotland, who didn’t want to speak to me, even say hello, but some people are like that. Having not been out for so long or met anyone I was a little lacking in confidence and unsure of myself.

At the Alva show they were talking about rescue for Bearded Collies either through the owners circumstances changing or they didn’t know how to communicate with their dogs. I offered to help. In recent weeks I had been learning more about psychology of dogs, instead of just using intuition. From the reference I put on the Genepools and Co-evolution pages and Have We Breed Out the Wolf I got into Theory of the Mind.  Covering many areas, one was the differences in thinking.

Pat Scott's working Beardies won 1st and 2nd in obedience. 5 years ago Ruskin would have won. By cheating and the judges might not have spotted how. I would have let a few top dogs go first. Ruskin would have watched what they did, then done it better. Pat and her dogs were brilliant, but Ruskin would have stood on the shoulders of giants. All he would have asked for was the occasional look of the eyes to reassure him he was doing it right.

Pat Scott's working Beardies won 1st and 2nd in obedience. 5 years ago Ruskin would have won. By cheating and the judges might not have spotted how. I would have let a few top dogs go first. Ruskin would have watched what they did, then done it better. Pat and her dogs were brilliant, but Ruskin would have stood on the shoulders of giants. All he would have asked for was the occasional look of the eyes to reassure him he was doing it right.

Linking my coalescence of thoughts, purely from the initiation of thinking in  Polish, was what I was doing there. Celtic Lion is  limited company. Some regard me as one of the best Earth system ecologists. If not the best, one of the most influential. I am a member of the UK’s Sustainable Development Research Network which advises the Government. The agenda for the 2005 G8 held in Perthshire, of climate change and Africa was derived from my original work for a United Nations report I was asked to contribute to.

The intention of Celtic Lion was to set up one of the world’s leading environmental and development strategy companies. Creating a minimum of 140 jobs in the area but most important for me saving, peoples lives and stopping the extinction of animal and plant species. I had been one of the scientists who set up the next generation of climate models which was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2007. When Al Gore was notified of his Nobel he quoted my work for the British Government.

Things had been put on hold a bit with Ruskin’s illness in his final months. But life had to go on and on 9th August I went to work for the first time without him. I was stopped by the police in Blairgowrie. While one spoke to me two came up behind me and whacked me to the ground without any warning or provocation from me.

When I was lying in the gutter of the road one stood on my head and started being abusive to me. He was swearing and threatening me. He thought he was hard, I could have taken him apart anytime I desired and he would never have seen a thing.  I wouldn’t have hurt him physically, he would have just been on the sick at the taxpayers expense with ‘pyschological and loss of confidence problems’.  

After they got me to Perth police station the motive for the actions was becoming apparent. The police seemed to feel their attack on me was justified as a continuation of traditional football violence between Scotland and England. Though my mother’s family were Scottish and my father’s Welsh, I was born in Cheshire a few miles from the Welsh border. And unfortunately had a northern English accent. Enough justification for the police to launch a racially motivated attack.

Having lived in the countryside all my life I come across a catalogue of incidents. Sheep with baler twine wrapped around their legs. Hedgehogs caught in polythene shrink wrap. Cows slidden down muddy banks and caught their legs in fences. As an ecologist I often find plants I would like to identify. Plant and other species identification an important aspect of the understanding of climate change. So for these and other reasons I had a knife on me, I hand it to the police and they charged me with having an offensive weapon. No questions no explanations asked for, just charged me, and so the   police could conceal assaulting me threw in resisting arrest, the injuries I sustained the 3 officers concealed by writing false statements saying I resisted arrest and attacked them.

They were nothing but lying foul mouthed racist thugs. If they had been members of the public they would have been locked up. But as they are police officers we have to pay them to attack innocent people.

The justice system then stitched me up with a con trip. I was told the charges had been changed to possession of a knife. As I had told the police I had the knife there was no defence and would automatically be found guilty, so had to plead guilty. Days later I was informed by Perth Court that wasn’t the charge. What I had been charged with neither the police, the Prosecution, the Sheriff or the solicitors revealed to me. Had they told me the real charge I would have had a defence. All that money and resources used in attacking me and locking me up and prosecuting me would have been wasted. So a false charge was made up was made up to ensure a conviction for a real charge I had a defence to.

All that was reason I hadn’t been out. The police attacked me in a racist attack then covered it up by saying I attacked them. But I hadn’t even defended myself. The police made out they were heroes gallantly overpowering me. If you don’t know me I am the same weight as but only an inch taller than Mike Tyson when he first won the world heavy weight title. Never ever, in their wildest fantasies, could those police officers ever have overpowered me. I didn’t defend myself to protect them from accidental injury.

So what do I do if Blairgowrie police attack me again. My dad who was a police officer for 25 years, would have said deck ’em, stick them on their backsides. Others have said the same, if the police are going to attack you and then lie to cover their action, you may as well get your monies worth and give them a taste of their own medicine. Other people have quite sensibly advised me not to defend myself against an attack from the police, whatever they do to me, for fear of the consequences.

So thanks to the Bearded Collie Club, Blairgowrie Ramblers and Hillwalkers I was out in the country, my environment. For the first time in many months.

And then one of the realisations from the Theory of Mind struck me. All species or people don’t think the same. I had expected police officers, the prosecutors the courts to have some affinity with the way I thought. We are all on this planet together, we need to work  together to make a better futire for all life. But the justice system didn’t think the same did they. I was just fodder to be processed through it. No attempt at due process or the rule of law or the consequences on society or life or anything. They just wanted a conviction for the statistics, regardless of how many people died, how many species were made extinct, how much suffering was caused. Misconceived self interest.

I packed my bag and continued on my walk.


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  1. #1 by ecolizzy on February 24, 2009 - 8:38 am

    And I quote from a piece written by Dorothy Rowe Psychologist.

    “Neuroscientists have now proved Epictatus to be right. They have shown that we don’t perceive reality directly. Our brain constructs pictures or interpretations, and it’s these meanings or interpretations that we experience, and not what is actually there. Newborn babies don’t just open their eyes and see, hear, touch and smell the world. They have to learn to see, hear, touch and smell, and what they learn depends on the interaction of their developing brains and their particular environment, that is, the room they are in and the people around them. Thus they learn how to interpret what happens to them. ‘SINCE NO TWO PEOPLE EVER HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE, NO TWO PEOPLE EVER SEE ANYTHING IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY’!”

    When I read this I found it rather depressing, it means that a real meeting of minds is almost impossible. We just empathise more closely with some people than others. It very neatly ties in with what your last paragraph says Roger. I also thought reading through this that dogs must be the same. I’m very pleased you went for a good walk and was more relaxed.

    p.s. Sorry about the capitals, but it’s an important quote! ; )

    • #2 by celticlion on February 24, 2009 - 12:42 pm

      Thanks Lizzy for reading my thoughts while walking. Yes dogs are the same, this is one of the things I have been learning while attempting a more formal understanding of dog psychology. This thought journey started a few weeks back with co-evolution. http://www.uwsp.edu/psych/s/275/science/coevolution03.pdf

      It is depressing that a meeting of minds is impossible especially on important issues we all share such as the future of the planet. While at the same time if we all thought the same there would be no need for conversation or blogs such as this or my reply to you.

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