What I really like about us show kite fliers at big events is how we use very artifice to get first pick of position, covet other people's anchors, hog the sky, try to relaunch first after tangle ups, and practice every form of subtle (and not so subtle) intimidation to persuade our neighbours to just give up. While all the time loudly proclaiming "This is not a competition you know." We also cooperate very effectively to eventually get as many big kites flying as possible.
Ron Spaulding lifted this art form to a new level at Pasir Gudang during the last few days, very impressed I am, a learning experience for me.
On the second day, after anchor jostling had mainly settled down, he made an earnest request that we space everything a bit closer so as to create a hole in the middle where his bols could fly. These bols are a good spectacle so I was favourably disposed, while pointing out that the closer spacing would inevitably increase the frequency of tangling (steady wind is not a feature of Pasir Gudang), which it did, by at least double.
He then used the created centre space for bols some of the time (the wind being uncooperative), but also positioned a new anchor right there in the prime place from which he flew his large Octopus and Transformer kites. Genius stuff! Might even work a second time, as he's such a friendly and helpful guy. And very difficult to get angry with, especially as I also support his general intent; to get and keep more stuff up.
But finding the balance between competition and cooperation is a wider theme:
I have the realpolitik view that every individual/ family/ tribe/ culture/ nation is in constant competition for ascendancy, not by choice, but because this is how the struggle for survival is structured.
Any human grouping that doesn't run a system pretty close to current "best practice" will sooner or later have someone who does, knocking on their door saying; "Slavery or death, take your pick".
By this view, New Zealand Maori were just blind lucky that an arriving 19th century culture (the British Empire at the peak ), was relatively benevolent; slaughter followed by enslavement being the usual pattern, including by Maori whenever they had the opportunity.
I don't, to the slightest degree, buy into the left/progressive theory that there is some intrinsic right to existence. All counterpoints to this derive from belief in some universal moral code.
But morality is nothing more nor less than aggregated self interest; codes of behaviour that evolutionary forces have programmed us with because these have resulted in preferential survival for the programming agent (individual genes in this case). However, like for many evolutionary mechanisms, these ones have developed under very different social structures than now pertain. and such things only ever work on average anyway, so can have perverse and negative effects.
An example is that, in times of plenty, we overeat to build a body fat buffer against famine. Now that food is plentiful in every half well organised country, we suffer the ravages of obesity.
Another is our strong inclination to support the weak; essential for the survival of small hunter- gatherer bands, and certainly still beneficial to an extent in this anthropogenic age, but now bizarrely warped into the current leftist/progressive; "revile the successful, but victims can do no wrong and are never in any way responsible for their own situation".
That this is a core belief of Progressives is clear from their current obsessive dislike for Israel (to a far greater extent than can be supported by comparison to much more reprehensible states). Jews have, unpardonably, thrown off the ultimate victimhood they were anointed with by the holocaust and made themselves strong. How dare they!
And it's a belief evidenced by their unbalanced support for every sort of legislation from health and safety to constructive dismissal to tenants rights. Even when a tenant uses the house as a methamphetamine lab, by the Left's view, it's the building owner who's evil for trying to evict them.
A few weeks ago in NZ, a small sink hole (approximately a metre cube) developed in the yard of a social housing unit. The tenant then spent 15 days agitating for the 'authorities' to stake this off with hazard tape, during which time one of her children fell in. To get action eventually required the attention of national media. It frightens me that a general public reaction was to blame the government, rather than amazement and scorn that the tenant in question was completely unable to temporarily secure the area herself. Such an ingrained sense of entitlement and victimhood does not bode well for our future.
These are errant and pernicious beliefs which will destroy any community that adopts them widely..
To my view, a strong case can be made for 'human rights" even while holding to the central realpolitik principle espoused above, for the reason that countries and cultures which don't utilise all their available talents are eventually for the chop. If you cloister your women and treat them as male property, if the law is not colour blind, if access to professions is based on class not merit, if wealth becomes too unevenly distributed; that stronger neighbour will one day come knocking on your door.
But a line is crossed into disfunctionality when instead of states limiting themselves to ensuring there is no legal impediment to anyone getting educated and taking on any job they are capable of doing, ethnic, gender and minority quotas are mandated. This, for the obvious reason that it also prevents the optimal use of available talent, will also eventually lead to that dreaded knock on the door should some other culture or country not be handicapped in this way.
The kite field equivalent would be if, for example, it was decided to restrict Peter Lynn kites use at events because they have become too dominant. And of course, Simon, Craig, Gavin, William and I should publicly confess to the sin of success and apologise- like is ritually required from all white males now by some sub-groups. Fortunately the world is probably not yet this disfunctional, but if it did happen, I would like to think that events applying restrictions would not be as successful as more meritocratic ones.
In the wider world, eventually some culture that's more interested in work than work/life balance, that doesn't give a hoot about gender balances, or have an army of paid social workers to wipe the widdle bums of those who's development the nanny state has stunted, and definitely doesn't share the deeply held conviction that violence is not the way to resolve conflict, will come visiting.
What are you, the urban/ progressive/ left/ greenie/ vegan/ snowflakes going to do at that moment?
Take the opportunity to be victims and blame everyone but yourselves as usual I expect, but by then it will be too late for NZ and possibly for the West in general..
Not in NZ within the lifetime of anyone now living I hope, but trends are already clearly visible. For example, many previously backward Asian nations have not only caught up with the NZ standard of living since WW2, but have streaked ahead. From having one third NZ's gdp/capita in 1970, Singapore now has twice our wealth per person, and they aren't stopping.
That money is power is no less true because so many lazy people don't want this to be, and the world is a friendly safe place, until it suddenly isn't.
I have just passed the 3 score years and 10 milestone, having enjoyed a comfortable and affluent life while never having been subject to war or violence. This is rare in all of human history, and is a tribute to my parent's and earlier generations who suffered privations unimaginable to us, worked, fought, and died for the values and society that my generation inherited and have enjoyed the benefits of. Unfortunately we have failed to convince many of our descendants that their privileges are not by right, as they seem to fondly imagine, and will require concerted multi-generational effort to recover if carelessly thrown away, which some of them seem hell bent on doing.
But while the band keeps playing, I'll just keep on flying kites - non competitively of course.
PETER LYNN, JOHORE, 1 MARCH '17.
Single skin single line update:
I do now have the much modified 30m Serpent flying well, in light winds at least, and with acceptable appearance. Even in retrospect it's difficult to understand why this design has given me so much trouble. Ominously, my current theory for this is that single skin kites of the head and tail sort have perhaps more than 10 critical parameters, many of them interdependent, and every one of which must be within a narrow range for the kite to fly at all. Probably, in the two years of quite intensive development this design has had I just never chanced on a flyable combination until now. The flip side of this is that the Octopus design flew almost straight away- and is still a better flying kite in most conditions except for how its linked tentacles snag things - was this just lucky? After a bit more development I'll make a much larger Serpent- 60m/9kg?
The 1Skins and Singers are also becoming reliable kites. The 6sq.m 1Skin ex Kaixuan on the 125mm shorter leading edge setting is the best light wind pilot I've ever seen, the latest 3sq.m1Skins (ex me) are the most reliable and cleanest single skins I've yet had in the 12 to 40km/hr range and the 2.5sq.m Singers (with tails) have as yet no known upper wind limit (2 weeks ago one of them lifted me), but need more than 15km/hr to get started. To be really useable pilots these ranges need to be available in just one kite that doesn't have to be pulled down for re-setting. Currently I have no clear idea how this can be accomplished except by using radio control to make changes from the ground as required (with the bonus of being able to steer right or left to avoid tangles).