Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Greater Self-Reliance in Health and Wellness - New Website

So I am finally getting to bring together my interests and qualifications and put them to good use! I have started a new project that aims to help people use herbal medicine and wellness tools to increase self-reliance in terms of their health and well-being. A little later I will also be offering herbal consultations, but I will tell you about that a little nearer the time.

This project is great because I get to do what I really love, follow my interests, and (hopefully) really help others! It draws on my experiences of the last several years, the study I have been doing, and the perspectives I have been, and am, developing. I am integrating my interests in herbal medicine, human development and well-being, an integral (or holistic) approach, and sustainability and self-reliance.

Sustainability and self-reliance I think is a really important issue: the signs as I read them are that issues that we are facing across the globe, such as financial instability, environmental problems, and a looming energy crisis, are not going to go away in a hurry. Therefore I believe that what we can do to increase our own self-reliance, and the sustainability of our communities and culture, we should do. This is true in many areas, not least in healthcare. What we can do to improve our health and well-being, and to manage simpler illness ourselves, will decrease the burden on our healthcare system so that it is better able to help us when we really need it. Of course, improving our health and well-being and treating simple conditions naturally is a good thing in its own right, and it is something I highly encourage no matter what the rest of the world is doing!

It is still early days for my project, but part of it is up and running and I am continually developing it. I will be running some online courses in the near future, with the first one being ready in a few weeks. What is up and running already is my blog, and a mailing list through which you can learn a new medicinal plant and practical tool for developing your well-being every month, and as part of that I have just started a free mini-series called Little Acts of Wellness.

Little Acts of Wellness

Often (and I know this from personal experience) it can be quite difficult to find the time or motivation for caring properly for your health and well-being. There can be so much to gain from regular exercise, eating good food, developing your inner self, your spiritual practice, your relationships, and your being in the world, but often life just gets in the way! By using Little Acts of Wellness you can overcome the time and motivation problem by making small changes or designing small activities that support and care for the many aspects of your being (that can then be expanded when time and energy allow). It is a useful way to get doing something rather than nothing, and to open up the possibility of sometimes doing more. Check out my post on Little Acts of Wellness to find out more and to join my mailing list and receive future installments.

Thank you for reading, and if this at all inspires you please join me! 

Do you know of anyone who may also be interested in this? Please click on the share buttons below or on my other post to share it.

Best wishes,

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Zsofia Forro: Hungarian, Romanian and French Tutor

You know how people are always asking you where they can learn Hungarian, Romanian or French, how barely an hour passes without someone pestering you? Well now I can give you the solution!

Send them to this wonderful Hungarian, Romanian and French tutor. The tutoring is mainly based in Bristol and Somerset (Glastonbury, Yeovil, Bridgwater, Taunton etc.), but in the age of technology I'm sure arrangements can be made for international tutoring. She will also cover your translation and interpreting needs for these languages.

You can check out her qualifications and background on her website, but as someone who has kept her under close observation for the last two years I would like to add to whatever is written there in saying that she has a good mixture of intelligence and empathy, amiability and professionalism and that I heartily recommend her!

If you sign up to her fun and interesting newsletter, you get a free audio lesson to download (these normally supplement the one-on-one tuition).

Best wishes,

P.S. The promised pictures of Romania will have to wait a bit longer, but in the meantime here is one of a horse riding trip we went on in Transylvania.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Space Hotel

Space hotel to give rich a thrill that's out of this world: Russian aerospace engineers join race to provide wealthy thrill-seekers with the ultimate holiday destination
(From The Guardian)

Mark's Hotel Review: 1/5 stars

When I saw this hotel advertised in the brochure it sounded wonderful: I could get away from the mundane life here and hang out with the stars! Well, after a long and arduous journey (public transport in the area is non-existant to say the least) I arrived. From the outside the hotel was clean. There was no graffiti, no mess on the streets, in fact, no streets! I felt a twinge of doubt about the lack of people in the area, it was somewhat creepy, the place was devoid of life!

The room I was staying in was comfortable, and I certainly felt a weight off my shoulders at having arrived and being away from the gravity of everyday life. The bedroom and facilities were remarkably clean, but that was hardly surprising: the cleaners would not have had much work to do as both rooms were tiny. Another negative was the décor. They had made the place to look like a space ship, so 1970's, so dated!

The view from the hotel was indeed stunning. Still, looks can be decieving. The surrounding area was inhospitable to say the least. When I asked the staff on duty if there were any cafés or museums around that they recommend they looked at me incredulously. Further, when I told them I was going outside to have a look around, I was told that I would not last long out there alive! Imagine being told that by the receptionist! Needless to say I was too scared to leave the building the entirety of my stay.

Resigning myself to my fate I decided to check out the resturant. Again, it was small, and the same weird space ship decoration was still in evidence there. The selection of drinks was particularly limited and (there is no polite way to put this) half the time it was as if I was drinking recycled urine! Also, the food was all reheated, as if even the staff didn't dare a trip out for fresh vegetables (perhaps even vegetables wouldn't last long around there and, thinking about it now, I don't remember seeing a single tree the whole time!).

Needless to say the hotel did not have a swimming pool, which is a great shame, as the weather was perfect all week. I was just glad to have bought enough to read: I had recently been getting into science fiction and had taken out several books from the library before I left. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to be in space, quite fun I imagine, certainly better than that small hotel in the middle of nowhere! One out of five, a poor place for a holiday, stay away!


So hope you enjoyed my review! Sorry for the long time between posts these days, but there is so much to be doing in the world! At some time I intend to put up some photos of my time in Romania, but it may be a while yet!
Regarding my actual views on space hotels, I am actually in great favour for. Not the hotel per se, but rather that technology is still developed in that direction.
I understand the argument that there are people not being fed enough down here to be wasting money up there. However, it doesn't work like that, it isn't that simple. The people doing this are not choosing between feeding the poor and going into space, they are choosing between building the worlds tallest building or such like and doing this. Besides, it is entirely possible to reduce world hunger and have an active space program.
And it is never just about space hotels, it is about learning how better to take stuff into space, how better to live and carry out experiments in space, about how to overcome huge technological feats. This technology all comes in useful. In a way this is a brilliant plan to save money. Instead of paying to build the rockets and the space centres, and paying the astronauts to go there, you get the astronauts to pay for project and to pay for the privilege of going!
Why do I think it is important to go into space? Well why is it important to explore new areas on the map, or to see how silicon conducts electricity? I think it is the same thing: because you might find something that changes life for the better such as new places to live, new ways to connect to others, new possibilities, things you cannot even imagine until you do the exploration.
There is another rather interesting thing to consider about space travel: for the majority of this planet's existence it has been uninhabitable, and not just at the start. Fairly often most of it is covered in ice, quite often masses of volcanoes trash the atmosphere and plant life all but vanishes. We just don't notice this because we are like mayflies, we live for a day, not even! Our stories that have been passed on for the longest still only tell us about what happened a week ago. Get some perspective - ask a mountain!

So long, and thanks for all the fish...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stories Within Stories


By Mark Jack

Prop, of the Klimba people, sat on a small ledge at the base of a huge tree trunk. He sucked on some pieces of bark as he stared out across the valley, idly listening to the chatter drifting up towards him. Of all the Klimba people he personified what was most disliked by those of the valley. He spurned the depths, the God-warmth, the highly regulated life, and instead followed his joy in the hills and on the trees.

The joy was only ever partial though. All too often the sharp edge of the machines swept through the land, tearing through tree and often ground. There was little protection to be found on this denuded landscape, and strong winds and heavy rain ravaged the land. His people, and all the many races, survived by hiding in whatever nook or cranny they could find.

At times it would seem that the machines had forgotten about this world. The stumps of trees up on the hills would begin to grow, striving upwards towards some unknown and futile goal. But perhaps then a flood would come, and not long after, while the moisture still clung to the trunks of the still young trees the machines would strike.

To Prop it seemed that the floods were coming less often these days and the trees were growing taller than he could remember. He pondered amongst his many selves if the two things were related. The bark of the tree around him still glistened with moisture and he wondered if the machines would strike now.

As if to mirror his thoughts messages from the Order came through that the machines were coming and that all beings were to cling to their God. The Order lived in the deepest parts of the valleys, where the God-warmth was felt the strongest. It was they who sent out the messages that guided how all may live and kept the civilisation running smoothly in the face of these difficult times. It was also from whom, while never explicitly stated, that the deep prejudice against the Klimba came. Of course they never said things like 'dump your waste up in the Klimba's region', or 'don't trade with them, they are inferior, ungodly, and should be despised', but they did say things like 'God is warmth, God is in the depths, and all who are good and pure strive to be closest to him.', and that seemed to be enough.

The message coming from the Order now caused barely a ripple in Prop. Sometimes they did hold power over him, when they were on the winning side of the conflict within him. Certainly if he climbed higher they did cause him to doubt and to turn back, but now he wasn't that high.

He thought of all the others running into their holes, to cling to the ground and God-warmth. Down in the valley the other races spent most of their time that way, so he heard.

Of course Prop had never seen those places, the Klimba people were shunned, not only that but he felt uncomfortable in the warmth. He shuddered at the thought, for, as the Order said 'Be not like those who live high, for they shall fall off into the sky and be damned'. Well, he hadn't yet fallen off into the sky, despite many close brushes with the machines. Many a Klimba had shown startled surprised to see him sat, gloomily perhaps, but alive, on a flattened stump of a tree that was until a short time before his playground.

Prop also knew from all he heard that he would never see the Heavenly Kingdom beyond the farthest hills. It was said that there no storms could reach, that nectar flowed rich and the gentle warmth of God wafted softly over all. Try as he might Prop couldn't bring himself to feel upset about that: yes the food sounded good, but the warmth didn't, and he quite liked a mild storm from time to time. Perhaps he could dwell in the entrance to the Kingdom he mused, and get others to pass him food. But he was damned no doubt, for he lived high and it was where he seemed to fit best.

Something certainly felt missing from his life, perhaps his people were cursed. If any did try and live in the warmth of the valleys they tended to dwindle and die. Even up here on the hills disease was rife. It seemed more than the segregation could account for.

Another message came from the Order, stronger, more insistent: people must cling to their God, the machines are surely imminent. Prop inwardly sighed and slid of his ledge, the ground was several handholds away but he moved with ease. The usual throng of beings that was the norm he only found as he moved in between outcroppings and into the crevasses and wide spaces beneath the surface.

Even here on the hillside he found the warmth too much and started to feel lethargic. He found a damp and slightly cooler hole in one of the walls and molded himself into it. He fell into a slumber, but as he did his consciousness drifted out and he vaguely felt the goings on around him.

He felt the trees growing taller, the Order sending out messages of the machines coming, the anxiety building throughout land. He dreamt of huge caverns, warm and dark, of bursts of huge energy shooting along impossible distances, of power that made him shake in his sleep and push deeper into his hole. He felt the trees still growing, heard the Order speak of disloyalty to God, of being tested, of how the machines were coming. He sensed people growing hungry and fretful.

He awoke later to a buzz of messages, people had been to the surface and were babbling about a great change. The Order were sending rapid, loud messages, but they sounded erratic, contradictory. One message came through loud and clear though, no one was to climb the trees, for that was the stairway to damnation. Prop was confused, there should be no trees now. He sped towards the surface, and was stunned.

The trees were growing up at dizzying heights, blocking out parts of the sky. The wind and rains they had known of the storms were now softened and there was a great quiet over the surface. But more than all that the presence of God could be felt more strongly everywhere; His warmth filled the air.

The excitement grew in Prop, but the warmth suffocated him. Something deep within him wanted to climb. He clambered over and through those around him to get to the base of tree. One of his arms reached and gripped it. Messages came from the Order that up in the trees was the way to oblivion, that no one was to touch the trees. The message rang false and Prop reached for more handholds. The voices around him shouted that he stay, voices gathered over the years within him told him to stay, but they rang true neither. With doubt he started to climb, amongst himself he questioned the voices, weakening the doubt. Around him the shouting to stay grew stronger, but arm after arm of his reached up and pulled. Slowly at first did he reach the holds but then faster and faster. He found his rhythm and grace, and his love of the tree and the climb grew. The voices below and within quietened and with the cooling of the air peace grew within and around him. He sucked in the freshness. Those of him with longer and stronger arms thrived. The tree provided him with nutrients he had barely known before and he grew way beyond what would have been recognisable as him before.

Time passed and still he climbed. Between him and the tree was joy, they spun together in a dance; he leapt for a hold while the tree came to meet him in perfect union. He swarmed around and up. Along the tree some of him found places to settle, having found their peace with life. But still part of him climbed.

It was some time later, after days of the climb had past, that Prop entered a crevasse that was dark and jagged. He worked his way upwards, groping in the dark but ever moving. Before long he saw far above him light coming through a long narrow crack. He quickened his pace. Soon he was clambering over the top ledge into the blinding light. When he adjusted to the light he found himself on a flat plateau on the top of the tree. He recognised it as a place he had sat once, sad. Now he looked about and a thrill took him. Over the twisting tops of the trees about him, looming huge on the horizon, he stared, fixated, into the twin caverns of Nostralis, the Heaven of his people.

Or, to put it a different way,
I now have a beard and moustache!

Well, I hope you liked it! I apologise as it is probably a bit late for this story, as me having facial hair is old news to a lot of you, and I am going to cut it off in a couple of weeks anyway – the weather is warming up and it also makes licking food off my plate more difficult!

I have had a few sources of inspiration for this story. Perhaps Carpet People by Terry Pratchett was one of the first, later my ponderings on Gaian Theory and later still a somewhat bizarre and humorous conversation I had with a fellow trainee in a Zen monastery when we pondered what religious faith the cells of my body held towards me their God! Recently I came across this fun and thought provoking poem by W. H. Auden, which hopefully I am not breaking any copyright laws by posting here...

A New Year Greeting
by W.H. Auden

After an article by Mary J. Marples
in Scientific American, January, 1969

On this day tradition allots
to taking stock of our lives,
my greetings to all of you, Yeasts,
Bacteria, Viruses,
Aerobics and Anaerobics:
A Very Happy New Year
to all for whom my ectoderm
is as Middle-Earth to me.

For creatures your size I offer
a free choice of habitat,
so settle yourselves in the zone
that suits you best, in the pools
of my pores or the tropical
forests of arm-pit and crotch,
in the deserts of my fore-arms,
or the cool woods of my scalp.

Build colonies: I will supply
adequate warmth and moisture,
the sebum and lipids you need,
on condition you never
do me annoy with your presence,
but behave as good guests should,
not rioting into acne
or athlete’s-foot or a boil.

Does my inner weather affect
the surfaces where you live?
Do unpredictable changes
record my rocketing plunge
from fairs when the mind is in tift
and relevant thoughts occur
to fouls when nothing will happen
and no one calls and it rains.

I should like to think that I make
a not impossible world,
but an Eden it cannot be:
my games, my purposive acts,
may turn to catastrophes there.
If you were religious folk,
how would your dramas justify
unmerited suffering?

By what myths would your priests account
for the hurricanes that come
twice every twenty-four hours,
each time I dress or undress,
when, clinging to keratin rafts,
whole cities are swept away
to perish in space, or the Flood
that scalds to death when I bathe?

Then, sooner or later, will dawn
a Day of Apocalypse,
when my mantle suddenly turns
too cold, too rancid, for you,
appetising to predators
of a fiercer sort, and I
am stripped of excuse and nimbus,
a Past, subject to Judgement.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Officially an Immigrant!

So I am back in Romania and I have my residency permit, I am now officially an immigrant and therefore I will be lazing around doing no work, living off benefits and stealing everybody's jobs. Neo-racism doesn't specify exactly how this is done but no doubt destroying the fine traditions and everything this country stands for will come quite naturally now. 'Immigrant', a word surrounded by dark shadows of twisted meaning, put there by those with a less than generous turn of mind.

But nations are as transient as bubbles on water, they form, join, split, pop and reform, so who is calling who an immigrant anyway? And to say that one bubble is better than another, madness! Its all the same water, its just forming pretty shapes!

Well this is a post of my journey from one bubble to another (bubbles inside bubbles). I apologise now for the quality of some of the photos and the lack of others, I lack the obsession, sorry I mean motivation, that many have towards taking photos. Also in taking photos on a moving coach there were quite a few very interesting pictures to the right of the photo I actually took! (Click on the photos to see large versions)

So, I set off from Birmingham at 9pm on a Tuesday, arriving by coach in London just before midnight. Here was my first challenge, enduring the night in Victoria coach station.

My bags contained many books that I would be needing on the project, solar power and equipment, netbook, and of course clothes, packed so that my two bags would form a reasonably comfortable bed to lie on. I found myself a wall near where others were trying to sleep and made my nest. Not being tired I got out Terry Pratchetts new book from my bag and settled down to read, Pratchett did not disappoint! I needed the toilet though and it was a few hours before they would open them. What a strange phenomenon, being somewhere on my planet where there was likely no legal place for me to perform such a basic bodily function!

At about 1am I was a little surprised to be told to leave the coach station because it was closing for the night, as I had specifically contacted the coach station before to see if it would stay open. I told the man this and was directed to a small room at the other end of the place, there was a toilet near this place too, bliss! So I remade my bed, much to the envy of those practicing contortionism in the metal chairs, and settled down again. Mainly I read, I did try to sleep at times but largely failed, not due to discomfort but mainly I think to the general level of alertness I keep while traveling and possibly to the eternal daytime that seems to exist in places like that.

Daytime came, or rather the buzz increased and the shutters went up (the mechanical sunrise!) and it was time to check in. On the coach I headed straight for the back row and sat roughly in the middle aiming to give out the message that 'yes you can come and sit on the back row, but maybe one of those other empty seats will be just a little bit more convenient for you'! It worked beautifully, aided by the fact that the coach was quite empty anyway. At 8am Wednesday morning we set off, and at 8.30am we returned due to a 'technical error' (half the passengers were missing!).

London, obviously so...
A couple of hours sleep later and the cliffs of Dover...
...where I assume we had missed our boat (and my hoped for hot meal, not of course that I was short for food in my bags), because we then headed down the coast to the channel tunnel. (Other explanations for leaving the ferry port are possible, for instance the driver may have had a phobia of boats, and while he had been psyching himself up for it and thought he could do it panicked at the last moment; or there could have been a giant iceberg floating past, full of thriving polar bears, that the international community of scientists busy conspiring to fake global warming didn't want anyone to see and so diverted all traffic under the sea instead of over it).

Heading down the ramp to get on the train...
A horse on the hill, running away from the trains...
A short nap later and France...
A few sandwiches and an open source story from Cory Doctorow and I am in Belgium...
The last stop in Belgium a father an his two children got on the coach, and their need for three of my five seats was greater than mine so I didn't fight for the space!

Germany passed in darkness, and generally sleep, though there was the odd stop (two euros to use a toilet, well done civilisation!)...
And then dawn, with her fingertips of gray, found us in Austria...
OK, so a point I want to make, for every pretty city center there are a handful of very ugly industrial parks around at best, and at worst vast slums (though not in our bubble at present). In obsessing about beauty and things that are shiny, we create much that is so ugly, and then we hide all the ugly stuff, where it then festers. This I think is true on many levels, physical and otherwise. I don't think it is just within a city that the 'nice' parts necessitate bad parts, the 'developed' world looks and operates how it does by exporting a lot of the ugliness and suffering to the developing world. What is beautiful and ugly seem a bit blurred to me these days however, maybe precisely because of this, for how can a new car or a supermodel be beautiful, when you really see all that is behind them within them? And which is ugly, a fine house with a family in conflict, or a small shack where a community meet as friends? But back to my original point, city centers are a facade, here is Vienna....
With stories, food, music and watching Europe go by I enter Hungary, and success, I am about to arrive without once loosing my coach!
On the journey to Hungary when we stopped on the way you could never be quite sure what language you were meant to speak, not least because with no boarder controls you are never quite sure what country you are in, and the question 'what country is this?' seems up there with 'what year is this?'; not questions I feel inclined to ask even when I need to know! So arriving in Hungary was great, I knew what language I was meant to speak, and even better I could speak at least a few words (I make no claims about having those words understood, but I felt good just being able to say them!).

I left the coach here, caught the subway to the train station (Updated Mark's Subway Ranking 1.Bucharest 2.Paris 3.Hungary 97.London - I don't know what the other 94 subway systems there are ahead of London, but my loathing for London's tubes assures me they must be there), and there after getting my ticket and having a look around I stood resting my back a little before searching for food. My name was called and there appeared one of my hosts from Forest Garden, she was traveling back from Sweden on the same day, a most happy coincidence! So we stashed our bags in left-luggage and went looking for food together. Nearby we found a Chinese restaurant and had a very tasty and long meal chatting away there. It was just what was needed!

When it was time for her train we headed back to the station, she left heading directly to Transylvania, and I settled down to read a bit more Pratchett while waiting for my train to Bucharest. The train I caught was the night train, and so I was in a carriage with six beds. The carriage I was in I was sharing with four friendly Romanians. The train had barely set off before they insisted on sharing their food with me, and wine, and palinca (a spirit made from plums). We only spoke a very very few words in common, and eventually found the best way to communicate was through drawing pictures, which was fun!

It was getting dark at this stage so we made the beds, and I was on one of the top bunks. There I slept soundly, only waking to show passport control my passport as we crossed the boarder into Romania. I woke not long after dawn, who was at that time making her foggy tendrils visible through the forest of the Carpathians. The journey through these mountains was the most beautiful part of the trip...
My traveling companions for the train journey...
A picture of the beast that carried me, finally in Bucharest...

So now I am back with Sophie, here in the capital of Romania, and very nice it is too! Within a week I will be off up into the mountains, to begin the next thing.



Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Good day to you all!

I have just found out about a search engine that donates 80% of its profits to saving the rainforest (working with WWF) and which runs all its servers on renewable energy (servers are hungry and hot beasts to tame). It also, unlike Google, deletes all of your search results in a short space of time and doesn't use them for marketing purposes.

The address is http://ecosia.org/

Pass on the message!


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Consuming Adjectives

One thing I noticed when in Romania was that fruit and vegetables, as long as you didn't buy them from the new supermarkets that are springing up, tasted considerably better than that available here in our oh so wonderfully developed Britain! Even some vegetables I don't normally like were tasty. Interestingly, a UN or WHO report on Romania I read a while ago referred to its agriculture as being underdeveloped and in need of modernisation through the converting of land to large scale industrial farming. Maybe they mean everyone's food should be brightly coloured, shiny and made of plastic, but that doesn't make sense to me! But oh how stupid I am being, they weren't talking about quality in the report, and there was me thinking that they must have been, me with my mentally abnormal bias towards the health and happiness of individuals; they were talking about maximising outputs and profits. (In fairness they think that this will mean there will be more money available for treating illness, which is an interesting approach to take - reducing the healthiness of food to increase the money available for treating ill health).

Anyway, I rant! The point of this blog was an excellent quote from an article (Gazpacho and Coffee) in Resurgence magazine talking about food quality...

"In Armando’s view, his staff, earning £7 a day and growing their own vegetables amongst the coffee, ate better than most British people earning ten times as much. He went on to say, in a bemused way, that our food seemed to be more about consuming adjectives than quality, citing the packaging in supermarkets and the absurdly florid descriptions on restaurant menus"

'Consuming adjectives'! Yes that sums it up nicely! It is another part of the shared delusion we live under, where words, images and associations become more important than reality*. This is exemplified for me by the use of TV to advertise purfume - if you smell your TV while the advert is playing you will find it smells the same as when the advert is not playing (although if the world had a sense of justice the TV would smell more like excrement when the adverts are on)!

Have a nice day!

*The question of what do we class as reality is an interesting one. So much of what we take for real is clouded by our preconceptions, like if someone gives you a red sweet and tells you it is strawberry flavoured how you are more likely to taste strawberry, or if you expect a person not to be nice you will see the negatives more, or how you only see certain details of your environment when they have a relevance to you or you purposely open up to them (the sides of roads to me always used to look like green mess, now I see many different plants all with their own styles and uses). What I am suggesting here is that what we believe absolutely to be real contains much that is subjective (not objectively real), and this might have more and more increasing subtle levels to it, until you start to wonder what is true. If you think this is mere philisophical rambling and has no relation to living life then consider how much of your energy is spent chasing or fighting stuff that isn't real, and how much could be gained if we were to see a little bit more clearly, if we were to have a little more awareness.
A further thought on this is, if so much of our world is subjective, and we purposely shape and create this subjective (as is done in advertising), then are we creating a new reality and a new reality with with its own existence and worth? For example, if you buy perfume based on a stylish advert, others may see you as stylish, and you live in a world of style. However I think a new reality isn't created, rather an existing one is perverted. For instance, the basis for judging someone based on style is maybe linked to judging how well someone can look after themselves, which in itself could have worth. However, the world of style, I would suggest, has become divorced from these roots as image is picked up from mass media and is focused on at the exclusion of much else, and being able to fit in with that image may for some be dependent on credit cards or going along with the status quo, both of which right now seem unsustainable and therefore not necessarily the best way you can look after yourself. What do you think? I welcome a discussion on this, so feel free to leave a comment.