Aphorisms 1

 

It must be so very easy to go to work when your out of work life consists of living with a partner who you share no interests or conversation with, your home consists of simply a TV because you're too locked in your compromise [scared of tipping the status quo] to try new things and too fearful with your money to buy them even if you had the interest…

When you have no real interests in anything because...

  1. you were never encouraged to

  2. your partner would object or show no interest

  3. you're surrounded by the powerful influence of others doing just the same

  4. you lack the imagination, determination and will to fail before you succeed

Then your home is kept as tidy as possible (tradition and culture at work along with other elements), until it effectively reflects a cold tomb

After this who wouldn't want to get to work and try to snatch as many little bits of gossip confirming that everyone lives as miserably as you

On the other hand...

When your life is full of every entertainment you can think of to try, when you care little for money but to see your life richer lived, when you have a partner who is [at least] willing to try your hobbies (and you his/hers), when your house is designed without thought for others but simply for your own comfort and enjoyment (and plenty of other considerations – a man’s home is after all his castle)... then going to work - even if you enjoy the activity - becomes a fucking nightmare (personally speaking this morning), because you adore all your personal activities so thoroughly.

 

Time as relative in different ways, the ‘arrow of time’ moves according to the relative forces at work, but the internal conception of time, while being affected by the arrow, being far more flexible depending on alterations of state. The more the granulated moments of time are broken in pattern by alternating activities the more the effects on time. The effect seems twofold, the one that time seems to pass more quickly without the ennui created by non-alteration of activity and more elongated thought processes, while in recollection the past seems further away in relation due to the sheer quantity of different experiences working in relation to said ennui.

 

‘We are reflections in the eyes of others’ People claim they don’t judge (well, some do…), and all the while they decide that this is a door and this is a wall and manage to exit the room and not break their nose. To judge between one thing and another is perhaps the most basic function of the mind, based on experience and similarity (difference/sameness), without this illusion we could not survive.

The judging of sameness is illusion for everything is different and distinct, while based on the same principles, manufactured from the same basic elements (however small we one day manage to discover), their infinite union is separated by design, location and time – all in relation to the observer.

To cry to the Heavens ‘Don’t judge me’ to hear the words ‘Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’, are the wail of children and the reins of guilt. The one is pathetic in nature; it shows a lack in strength to stand by convictions, it shows convictions not believed in powerfully enough to deserve devotion. The other is an attempt to open the closed perspectives of those who judge from single standpoints (while admittedly an effort to engender compassion – well, it was by one man…).

When we have always been surrounded by limited perspectives it is relatively easy to understand why our own are limited. When we are introduced to the potential for new perspectives one of two things occur; first, we choose to allow all the new information so be adjusted by our current perspectives to fit nicely within the realm of their conceptual understanding and so twisted they do nothing but continue to strengthen and support the previous perspective. Second, a slight acceptance to a perspective shift – allowing for the possibility of a new form of empathy, and thus a new level of understanding (not higher or lower but through a direction within another dimension), might be produced within the observer.

Balance should be carefully maintained: on the one side the opinions of others will keep us relatively in check to some of the more imaginative paths of our own opinions and actions, ones inspired unconsciously by particular drives. On the other side those opinions on others are created by their own drives and thus will be biased in nature meaning their opinions of us should be handled with great care.

 

Ideals only work from a distance – when one stands too close to the image of perfection the eyes take over from the imagination and begin to detect all the fault-lines.

 

Aristotle argued that even after death it is impossible to decide whether our life had been happy or not (eudemonia) – and he might well have a point – think of all the ways your intentions and actions are misunderstood, think of some of the ways great historical figures have been used for the needs of the living in whatever capacity – think of the horrors perpetrated in the name of innocence and hope (but then you’re dead – so who cares)…

 

‘There is not enough love and kindness in the world to permit us to give any away to an imaginary being’ but think of the depths of despair, loneliness and hopelessness involved in that – think of the lack of love within a life – that one must ignore the very nature of our world and how we act within it. We do not walk off cliffs thinking to fly, we do not eat rocks think they will turn to cakes, we do not give our money away sure it will be returned with interest, so then to place faith in a being, or collection of beings, or invisible spiritual force, that has zero evidence to support it – how utterly desperate people must be – how powerful the craving for love, and how very little people ever managed to dig from the surrounding world. The defence against being further hurt makes a second attempt impossible (or next to), so how ready are people to remember ‘love like it’s the first time’.

 

WAR – the on-going battle between the superego and the Id. From one of many (always), perspectives, personalities (at the very least mine – possibly), can be seen as measures of depth within these often conflicting explanatory tools. The superego, a name given to the moralistic normative tendencies within the mind, the Id, a similar appellation glued to all those unconscious (but never irrational), drives based on ‘the will to power’ (these divisions are not actual, the frontlines are moving and changing constantly).

In the character of a soul deeply imbued with these ‘entities’ (and their inculcation is always continuingly possible) we see the greatest conflict: in the one hand the superego goes about with intense opinions on just about everything, regarding all about it with the same judicial contempt as it regards its own flaws – reflections of each other, perhaps (something for another snippet), while the Id feels nothing for guilt or rules, for appearances and respect, and thus their conflict is truly magnificent – they bicker!

The one searching tirelessly for a perceived perfection, the other driven to satisfy its perceived necessities, staggering back and forth trapped in an eternal love/hate embrace.

 

Shouting at others because we fear our voice is so inconsequential we cannot hear ourselves…

 

What difference someone leaving a room to travel to distant places, and them leaving the room to be struck by a car and killed, if you will never have contact with them again – their light has left your life and will not return… the loss is far more brutal if they betray, if they desert and abandon, leaving what was a burning flame of love for their company turned dark and evil to eat at the soul and influence future relations.

 

The relationship between Levinas’ existential communication with the other and Buddhism’s destruction of the self in an attempt to avoid the suffering accompanying a conception of necessary ‘loss’: the one a [desperate] attempt to discover some ways of alleviating the solitary (lonely), understanding of forced individuality implicit in the ‘I’ by means of mesmerizing the self with [conditional] logic into a faith in understanding and union, the other more pessimistic (ancient as Nietzsche would perceive), long past giving up on communication with the other and so hypnotising the self into believing in the oneness of entities, but once again breaking the solitude of the self.

How desperately lonely we are… the more sophisticated the thinker, the more they are able to read [this portion] of the human condition (could this division of modernity be traced to Descartes and his happily wretched experiment?), and not all the science, not all the philosophy and not all the religion in the world and beyond can yet take that one infinitely small step across the divide between the ‘I’ and the ‘You/world’…

 

Suicide – to take one’s own life for various reasons – why not? You have a responsibility to your family to continue, you have a responsibility to society to continue, you have a responsibility to yourself to continue…  why? There are plenty of arguments for each: If the burdens upon you begin to affect your family, endangering their own mental and physical health, if you no longer have a position in which you are supporting society, rather you have become a strain upon its resources, if your life has become more painful than the alternative… but all these are simply the same forms of perspectives. The real question becomes… why not? What is there to live for? Where do you find your meaning, or is it simply dread at the alternative which motivates you to continue?

Living within as we all do means that ultimately all choices are based on our own beliefs; it is impossible to say the effects on those other groups, impossible to predict the consequences, and finally – if one is successful – it really doesn’t matter…

 

Definition by the best – rather than the whole… now, perhaps always, but more apparently now, as our level of social sophistication reaches undreamed of heights, we become more like tiny, next to inconsequential, cogs within some giant machine; so very easily replaced (at least at the macroscopic level). In order to battle the constant pressure of inferiority we self-reassure by defining ourselves in the light of our skills and achievements – what we are good at.

We claim to seek to be complete individuals, at peace with ourselves and rounded by perspective and experience.

Such opposing philosophies… are we not also what we are bad at, are we not our failures and our crimes, do we not equally strive or surrender against or before obstructions and hindrances?

Acceptance doesn’t equal complacency; understanding and admitting the traits we consider negative in ourselves does not lead with necessary logic to allowing them to thrive and even to hold sway over our actions, and defeat before a negative passion does not necessarily mean when next we encounter such force we must capitulate without once more attempting to stand strong.

We are human, oh so human, and the struggle never ends, but in accepting the struggle, in accepting defeat at times, in continuing to ‘keep, keeping on’ as a very fine friend once gifted me, perhaps we find a little balance…

 

Loyalty – an extention of habit?

We live our lives by clocks, by the repetition of actions in particular order that we might find some stability (this all a very simple reflection of the internal processes ticking away in their own highly precise ways – I did an experiment on myself once – I would train a certain martial sport for some time each day, during one of the repetitive actions I made myself think of the same non-related thing – some four years later I am now unable to complete that exercise without thinking of that non-related consideration… yes, yes – of course I’m a little mad – have you actually read me?).

We either fall into habits or deliberately cultivate them, they are easier or more difficult to shift/attain (usually only able to be ousted by being replaced with another), and all of them can fall into vaguely positive or negative (neutral floating around in the mix too), categories (although this is obviously a highly mobile classification).

Follow through some steps and questions…

  1. Do you have some things or people that are more valuable than others – and I mean this in an emotional capacity rather than a monetary one (although it’s possible the monetary factor then moves on to create an emotional one)?

  2. Do you then feel a certain attachment to such things (especially the objects), which has little relation to their actual worth respective to their place within a wider social structure?

  3. Do you feel (relational to said social worth), an irrational sense of loss (or some comparative emotional equal), at the loss, destruction, theft etc… of such items?

  4. Would you do a great deal to have them returned, repaired, found?

Working by such clocks and habits could not emotional reactions to certain situations, items, people also be working along such lines, like switches turned on under certain correct stimuli?

 

Time – the greatest enemy – most obviously for the terminus, but perhaps more immediately important through every day the gnawing frustration involved in never having enough to complete personal projects, routines and desires.

As life expands – as experience and perspective broadens, as details become more vital, then activities – passions become more varied and time-consuming. When your passions are watching television, eating good foods and sleeping perhaps even then time is insufficient, but when passions encompass an entire world, when opportunities begin to flood, to overflow the dam of availability, of ability…

The passage of time – the ultimate enemy, a bitter, implacable, unconquerable foe not just at the end of the journey, but at every step of the journey (psychologically speaking the writing does seem to reflect my conception of aging)…

 

Making interesting conversation – for those with ears to hear – perlocution, or the meaning behind our utterances, what we actually want to convey, can simply be expanded. The ability to communicate is so well refined by empathy and usage that where we might use ten, twenty or a thousand words to create an effect has been efficiently refined to one or two, perhaps even simply a sound, but if one is to use one’s imagination just a little that utterance can be reinflated to dance and sing before the eyes of the imagination and the ears of majesty.

 
 

Aphorisms 2

Imagination as the criminal behind failure and the revelation to the greatest practical joke ever conceived – the irony of immortal perfection in the face of mortal failure and pain.

 

  1. Somehow, whether gifted or tortured by a supreme entity, a collection, a confliction of these beings, whether the universe itself grown ancient and senile devolving to dark humour, whether coincidences lining up in row, or whether mechanically determined from the very beginning – whatever/wherever you should decide to put you faith, we have an imagination. That imagination is the unseen, unknown perpetrator of frustration and failure (also the wonder of invention and possibility). We can imagine immortality, intelligence and sophistication, peace and harmony – but the actual limitations, the finite ability to connect individually but never truly to the general, puts a real division between the thought and the action.

  2. Go smaller – go to the realm of meaning – the imagination allows us to conceive of great procedures of the universe, of majestic destinations for mankind, but once more the imagination is deceiving and tricking us with the divide between its god-like abilities and the finite resources of the frame it is housed within.

  3. Reduce this even further and one arrives at personal choice, with regard to relative exposure and interaction, and finally the imagination begins to have applicable use, which still at war with the level of understanding and control with the drives from our internal unconscious needs.

  4. Finally end with a community of two – and we find (within the confines of the finite body and restricted mind), we are able to make those meanings, those fantastical imaginings, come to a life of sorts.

  5. One last warning – beware the writers… their imagination takes hold of those great chimerical ideals and beautifies them to the downfall of all; encouraging the impossibility and thus feeding the frustration – they birth nihilism and should without doubt be the first against the wall…

 

Technology (the death of religion) – the result of laziness…

 

Is it possible that religion at this moment withers and dies due to the actual effort it takes to live by the precepts – both the physical and the mental? Could it be true that our increasingly developed desire for ease is a result of and the cause of the swelling growth in effort-saving items, until we arrive at some collective cessation?

 

We want an easy life, we want the minor problems preventing us from relaxing to be gone, we even want to fight wars more efficiently, thus giving us more time for… sitting around watching television… was that really the point…

 

Primary and secondary pleasure…

 

Man the machine – programmed by the environmental conditions upon a circuit board of self-satisfaction. The general thought today is that there is no such thing as a selfless act; everything we do is motivated by self-interest. This doesn’t feel right. The argument we help other to feel better about ourselves, or because the torment we would inflict upon ourselves would be greater than the gratification of not helping… but to go to some of the great lengths and troubles we do, purely for the rather convoluted and unimaginable pleasure which will ensue…

When we get an idea to do something kind or generous for another are we really thinking that coherently ahead, or acting upon impulse (a bit of both sometimes, but not always), and the gratification we receive – is the unconscious really so sophisticated as to expect so much… detail…

When we see the joy in another at our actions… was that so cunningly foreseen at some incredibly intelligent level, and if so where is the evidence to support in so many of the radically stupid things we also do for ‘self-interest’. Even trying to do something wonderful for another that backfires is evidence that we are unable to calculate to such a degree.

Then the joy itself, something provided for us, or something secondary, something encouraged not by what we have somehow achieved for others through our wonderful ability, but something spare, something presented to us innocently as we react to that joy with some spontaneous of our own…

 

Fate, destroying possibility through psychological processes – psychological foundations creating the need for fate…

 

Meaningful coincidence; not only generating a belief in Fate, God and gods, Universes with a dark turn of humour, but creating those things in themselves, generating the original concepts allowing us to believe in them.

 

  1. Bump into a person in the street – forget the event.

  2. Bump into someone you know in the street – a slight memory, quickly dissipating.

  3. Bump into a fellow worker you’ve known for some time in the street – a fond sensation of pleasure.

  4. Bump into a fellow worker in the street you have romantic feelings for – a sense of coincidence stronger than simple luck, hints of providence.

  5. Bump into a fellow worker in the street you have romantic feelings for in another city on holiday – some hand seems to be throwing you together.

  6. Bump into a fellow worker in the street you have romantic feelings for in another city on holiday when you have been indecisively attempting to call them and ask them to go on this very holiday with you – events are being moulded precisely according to some larger plan and you have no control over the results.

 

A lifetime of incalculable events will with near certainty provide several such coincidences. Man, being a social communicative creature, tells the amazing coincidences to each other. Man, loving to find patterns, needing to find patterns to sort the infinite data constantly bombarding upon the shell of the bubble, disregarding data without meaningful content, building tale upon tale, spreading them with exaggeration for sake of interest, generating difference to beguile each other into finding purpose, builds perspectives based on such events – Fate enjoys an almost painless birth…

 

Darwinism – of a particular flavour – take natural selection… the spontaneous mutation in the genomic sequence of DNA. Take a wolf – when all wolfs were black (thought experiment conditions) and have the environmental conditions changing, causing them to live in predominantly snow bound environments (either through changing weather patterns or enforced migration…). Once or periodically a mutation causes a wolf to be born with white fur – the wolf then has a greater chance of being a more effective hunter, with more food it prospers and grows strong, because it is stronger than its fellows it has more chance of attracting a [fitter] mate, more chance of offspring, more chance of further white wolves being born, which will go on to also be better hunters, breed more successfully, until white wolves dominate this particular environment.

 

Go back a few thousand years – humans living in more primitive environments – the stronger, the more cunning, surviving by making better use of their strength and environment, nothing to waste (no excess of resources), and conditions being far harder on the unsuccessful. Those lesser variations – the weak and stupid – will be unable to attract a mate and die off; only genetic strengths will be passed on.

 

Leap forward to now – the cunning and the strong have succeeded so magnificently, their products have overflowed their particular group, spilling down until they have become available to the weak and stupid. The weak and stupid no longer die out, but are able through said artificial means (artificial selection from a different foundation), to spread their genes causing a reversal. Rather than only the strong genetic traits continuing to further strengthen an adapting race, the negative traits – far more prevalent than the positive ones – begin to dominate the race.

 

Like a cancer it is not immediately discernible which of these two categories a human fits into, making it increasingly difficult to choose which to mate with, leading to unsuccessful, inequal bondings and hereditary devolution.

 

Solution – selective breeding (artificial selection), sterilisation and/or aiding eugenics’ through involuntary euthanasia (welcoming Thanatos – for another), ridding the species of characteristics inappropriate for the evolution and increasing wellbeing of the species as a whole.

 

Considerations – love, selection processes, abuse, conceptions of fairness (which has no place in nature), and ability to carry out the action.

 

I don’t recall if I mentioned this before but it seems to have some merit so just in case I’ll endanger repeating myself…

 

So I was in the local small convenience with my dog (we walk down there for milk and other immediate supplies), and while I was perusing the shelves I heard some panicked screaming from the counter. My dog is a very friendly, lively and gentle thing who wants to make friends with everyone, but not everyone wants to make friends with him. Some are cautious of any dog, some of energetic ones and some are irrationally terrified of dogs in general. Understanding this I quickly went to see if he needed restraining…

 

I rounded the corner to see a boy of about 13 years old screaming in high pitched (irrational) terror of my dog. One relatively amusing other note to my dog is that he doesn’t realise that the high pitched noise emitted from some individuals he encounters is actually a rather pathetic request for him to leave immediately, in fact he seems to find the noise quite fascinating and is almost hopelessly attracted…

 

I took hold of the dog as there was no way the boy would calm and it might take some time for my dog to become bored of the wailing and was prepared to wait until they had finished whatever they were doing in the shop…

 

This was when the boy’s mother turned to me and (forget the tone of voice), told me the dog should be on a lead. I asked her why. She told me (very certain of herself), that some people – her son the example – are scared of dogs…

 

I didn’t see the logical connection and replied…

 

  1. I liked my dog far more than I liked her son so why would I take preferential action for her son’s sake?

  2. My dog was running around being happy and giving freely – her son was screaming in fear and doing nothing to anyone but making the environment unpleasant in several ways – why would I punish my dog for this by chaining him?

  3. Then suggested to her that rather than going through the world trying to keep her son from all possible harm – something patently impossible – she might spend some time encouraging him to face his fears (there did seem to be a direct correlation between her extreme concern and the boy’s irrational fear – but not provable).

 

Obviously there are several matters there – the first something about perspective (isn’t there always), that the woman apparently saw all humans as more important than animals, and then her son as the foremost of these – there is a rather clear logical error in these two ideas.

 

  1. Claiming non-partiality with humans being more important than dogs.

  2. Claiming partiality towards her son.

 

There is of course a hierarchy here, but I don’t think she was considering this.

 

So if she is claiming her son is more important than others, then she is being preferential, so then why would she not think I would prefer my dog over her son…

 

If you removed the fact of different species would one punish one’s child for being friendly and [technically] reward the other for being scared (even if the former child was bigger and stronger than the latter)?

 

It is as near to impossible as I can imagine to make the world an utterly safe place (and where would the life be if it was), so treating each and every [even fractional] threat as something to be feared, hidden, locked away, made safe, etc… seems to be an impossibly difficult and infinite piece of work, doomed to frustration and eventual failure.

 

It would seem to be a far less frustrating, futile and possibly highly useful to try to cultivate some speed of thought, some courage, some ability to adjust through broadening experience, so that when potentially dangerous situations arise suddenly, which almost certainly they will, one is able to deal with them as effectively as possible.

 

Destroying courage – the suing system…

 

A point of interest – a tree, some few hundred year old oak, sitting in the middle of an English green, was cut down because [ostensibly] it was a hazard to children climbing. Other’s argued this was because if a child did fall and hurt themselves the parents would be eligible to sue the local council.

 

It seems likely that children being children (until they have been completely ruined by the growing anxiety…), will just find another tree to climb, and children will have been climbing the tree for hundreds of years. There was a time when you climbed a tree, you fell out of a tree, you broke your arm, your parents beat you a bit for being stupid, your arm got better, the next time you climbed a tree you were more bloody careful… now slowly less trees [for many reasons] are being climbed…

 

Sometimes we are completely unequipped to recognise the motivations of other…

 

We understand through empathy – the most powerful and necessary aid to all communication. I can only really appreciate the pain you suffer from a head wound or a broken heart of I have once fallen or been left bereft.

 

I can only really understand the savage vicious nature of an evil act if I too have relished the feeling of giving pain.

 

There are many reasons explaining an act; these are not reasons to excuse an act. One person (a great many people) grows up with [relatively] decent parents, able and caring teachers, friends related through equality, they believe (perhaps consciously perhaps unconsciously follow…), the reasonable interaction of people: I shall try to do well but not at the intentional suffering of others.

 

‘Doing well’ is an interesting term – if due to very different environmental and circumstantial conditioning the person thinks doing well is inflicting some pain upon others – this is not a simple mathematical equation, but rather something they… need.

 

However, people who have no idea of the internal rage, bitterness, spite of others can have no empathy with their motives; they will seek rational reasons from the standpoint of their own foundations (equally those acting/reacting from the negative foundation can have nothing but mistrust for the benign actions of their opposites).

 

These are obviously only two of infinite examples – even empathy itself can only be a very general equality of feelings and therefore communication and understanding.

 

Once again – the wider the experience the more we can [generally] understand the motivations of others – but once again if we lack that ‘particular’ standpoint we will simply mistake their reasons and easily fit the action into one of our own ready concept boxes…

 

Euthanasia – or the darker side – eugenics… purifying the useless from the race – but ‘useless’ becomes a result of the perspective you begin from – if your foundation is a strong, healthy and intelligent race the eugenics become culling all those lacking in those traits, but if your foundation is money… then the methods and techniques to do this become more subtle, more insidious, and rather than inhuman practices shouted against in public protest… already here…

 

  1. A population has a high birth rate and short life expectancy due to a general lack in basic utilities, including modern hospital resources.

  2. Use the population for a cheap work force to increase the nation’s wealth.

  3. Build more hospitals, along with other utilities, not for the health of the nation but to further increase revenue as more people begin to be able to afford them.

  4. With the new medical facilities the life expectancy extends a little so push back the retirement age so more people are working and paying taxes before they die rather than claiming the tiny pensions they have worked so hard to accumulate.

  5. Make it national policy that when the fraction of the money paid to the government in taxes allocated for the health of the individual has run out, the savings are gone (including all that the families of the suffering individual decide their love cannot deny them from using up), and then send them home (if they still have one), as they as there are no systems in place to support them once their private funds are depleted.

 

Where is the difference to eugenics, but the foundation is money rather than strength? When the money is gone the race is purified of the weak – those unable to maintain their strength through the new gauge to purity: money!

 

Aphorisms 3

 

Surroundings – who you choose, allow to fill your life, will shape you – very few, and perhaps even they are finite in resistance, can stand the influence and remain…

 

As Aristotle wisely recommended – choosing our friends is of vital importance, and while I do not believe they need to be our equal, whether in intelligence or station I do think they need to be of the temperament we either possess, through positive choice, or the type of person we respect or aspire to.

 

Saw a friend today – old, old friend, been through wars and grief together over near a decade. We don’t see so much of each other at the moment; the excuse is we are now spending time in different circles and work so far apart, but that’s not the real reason…

 

His friends now fit the mood he, perhaps doesn’t choose, hungers for; he is filled with despair and self-loathing, and spending time with loud, uncouth drunks makes him feel… perhaps justified.

 

It doesn’t take a genius to see that if we are always surrounded by misery we will become miserable. Many is the time when an unhappy person is unable to attract the friends of his choice, and many a person is unable to subsist without companionship, so they are thrown into a situation, but also many more are able to exert a little choice as to who they want to spend their meaningful companionship time with.

 

When we see someone great we have two choices (well, far more than two but for the perspective of this piece): we can try to become close to them, to emulate them, to learn from them and aspire to be as great or even greater, or we can despise them; fit them into little boxes where we can point out their faults and why their greatness is little more than a fraud, or some other style of protection to the hurt they generate in our inadequate personality (I do not mean we are not enough – for we are individual and therefore the only gauge is yourself – but we are not enough for our own self-expectations – conscious or subliminal).

 

That we live in an age of larger than life television heroes when we belittle all the truly great individuals into hiding who could truly be walking among us is a very large testament to this particular era.

 

Emerson says, and this is one of my favourite quotes ‘keep your friendships in good repair’ and this works in two ways… to make an effort for those you love, and if you do not love them then they are not your friends, is vital to sustaining and growing a friendship, but it also has an inverse effect – it makes us the sort of people worthy of having loving friends. We maintain our friends with our love, and in turn we re-impress loving upon ourselves, shaping the soul we would give meaning to…

 

When taken as a whole we seem complete and explainable but the moment we begin to fracture ourselves for more details, paradoxes seem to spring up like spring weeds…

 

When we understand ourselves it’s intuitively, something beyond or beneath the comprehension allowed by linguistic thought. We are a holistic entities and therefore can understand ourselves only holistically, so unable to use any particular function of the whole to understand the whole. We are fooled into thinking language and linguistic thought are able to solve this mystery due to the perfectly reasonable grammatical forms we use when relating the problem to ourselves using language.

 

It is a frustrating thing for entities living predominately within the linguistic thinking part of their minds to be unable to list the elements we consist of.

 

We want ‘a’, we want to do ‘a’, but when we try to track down the motivation for ‘a’ so many other considerations, pros and cons, inspirations, insidious possibilities, delusions of mood and moment, passions of reaction, heartless utilities, and so many more come into play and then our attempt at rational understanding collapses like some house built on the sands… but the wanting of ‘a’ (even just for the moment – and moments are everything), remains… so where lies the mis…calculation…

 

Hume maintains there is nothing logical (nothing reasonable), about the passions – master and slave relationship – and he does not seem mistaken (for all our Kantian duty we remain Twain-like machines – with a twist…), but this has nothing to do with comprehension (attempts at rooting into the unconscious, digging past the repressions, locating a seed to motivations – have uses but has the feel of trying to locate and understand every pattern of movement in an ocean…).

 

How do we judge happiness… we remember things from the past (conditioned and changed by experience, altering perspectives and need), we suck up a moment, but the moment we begin to think ‘I am happy’ we are no longer involved in the happy pursuit (so is happiness a prolonged feeling that can last after the experience itself), the future drags us forward… making us miss the moment, deluding us with false promises, or even lying on our deathbed, cursing ourselves with regret, lying with a small secret satisfied smile, or still hungry for more…

 

Is sadness more overwhelming than happiness; when we are happy the moment seems so fleeting, when sad the time last forever… this could be a personal perspective, difficult to judge such things, it could be as in the nature of time: when we think more the time goes that much slower… it could be that when happy we dwell little, so it makes less of a psychological impression, like forming habits, and thus appears all the more transient, while with sadness we ruminate over and over and thus drive the matter deep into our malleable psyche…

 

Friends…

 

Reflections: discount two of Aristotle’s categories, those of friends of utility and admiration, and focus on your peers – is your friend usually in a good mood, ambitious, empathetic when your mood suffers or burns, gift you with time and item, diligent, easily riled, trustworthy, hang on your words, open (if just with you), unconcerned with the world and its issues, positive and sure, fickle, happy to put off to tomorrow what might easily be done today, does their mood rise and fall like a storm sea, sociable to an extreme of some sort of hermitic recluse…?

 

If we disregard the first two categories then by deduction we are left with a personality most like our own (or we’re using them or attempting to emulate them), look at your friend, and for the parts of them you treasure the most, you’ll be looking into a bright shining mirror of sorts… and if you are not perhaps you should re-examine your relationship from the standpoint of those first two categories…

 

Related: those people we despise the most, are they not those refusing to be used, or filled with all the qualities we find offensive…  perhaps they disdain our control, worse our soul might be too small to accept their brilliance, or most probably – they simply exhibit those parts of ourselves we despise or fear might come to play…

 

Defining ourselves by what measures…

 

Who are you, what are you – when you introduce yourself is it based on your job, your hobbies, your fascinations, your failures…? Are you defining yourself by what you believe centres your soul or by what you think will win the most award in the eyes of those new threatening souls…? We are as many things as we do, think and dream, but will you choose for yourself or allow your surroundings decide for you…?

 

Nothing but self-delusive control… through threatening control only in danger due to love… (bluffing a grab for the dog’s ball – but I would never get it – only his love for the thing actually makes him feel threatened… and to him it’s part game anyway) – it is because we cherish a thing, because we are addicted to a thing it becomes valuable – things are nothing more than symbols of our needs – but it is nice to value, for that’s where love comes from…

 

Loyalty – it’s one thing to be willing to stand with a friend against the world, to support a loved one’s lie than betray them to the truth of thousands (Homer writes: It is no great difficulty to die for a friend, the difficulty is finding a friend worth dying for…), but when their actions personally upset you where do you stand (it might even be that due to your own distaste you find yourself agreeing with the mindless herd). The line becomes far more blurred… when your friend acts like any other member of the herd, ah but that’s the very worst test to loyalty, for you begin to wonder why you are friends. Aristotle would deny such a friendship as true, but based on some other motivation…

 

Another thought on Buddhism…

 

If you are unaware of this idea of improvement and devolution depending on your actions it would seem the system might work (although as written elsewhere – what could an amoeba, cancer, virus, etc… do which was morally worthy (and thus surely some sort or reasoned and willed action), enough to become elevated in the next life), but if someone develops the system of Buddhism, encourages others to follow and act on its regulations, then is that person not acting (in their moral endeavours), with the idea of self-betterment, and therefore the moral action lacks charity and goodness for its own sake (are such selfish motivations enough to send a soul plummeting a notch or two), and further is such concentration on the self (even the general perfection of the self), not the opposite to losing the self in the general oneness of the universe, the very dissolution of self…

 

Ends or Means…

 

An old topic but what are your activities to you – when you go to work is it to provide yourself with the means to enjoy the non-work elements of your life, or does the work itself consume you? When you exercise do you do so to strengthen your body or because some other factor in the element allows you’re a different, more obscure form of pleasure? When you collect your collectables, when you cook your meals, when you watch your films and fish your fish… are you doing so for the results, or for the process itself – or a little of both…?

 

Take for example the gym… observing others in the gym I notice that some, like myself, are listening to music with the use of headphones and an MP3 or some-such similar player (effectively warning others they are not listening to what they say; not to approach them), they are at the gym alone, rather than going with others or meeting companions there, they do not attempt to involve others in conversation, and when disturbed they begrudge the interruption.

 

On the other hand you have the individuals who go with others, who meet people there, who are not listening to music and would gladly pause in their exercise to exchange a word or two.

 

The former group tend to work harder, but the latter remain for longer…

 

(all these are general observations; there are frequent members who cross this divide at various times)

 

Apart from the pleasure gained from the exercise itself (and this would seem to be more heavily favoured by the former group as their lack of distraction allows them to more fully involve in the exercise), the former group would seem to be there for the eventual results of what they do in the gym, the latter would seem to be making the time something of a social exercise, going for the time they spend there, rather than more purely for the results (it seems obvious the results should also be factored in, at the very least because the social environment they have chosen is one where even if the focus is entirely on the interaction they will have secondary healthy results).

 

Expand this theory out to all and everything we do – where lies the [changing] divide between what we receive from the activity itself, whether coerced or voluntary, and whatever following effects come about from the activity.

 

This once again leads to carpe diem – capture/seize the day – the latter group seem to be living more truly to this imperative, while the others are projecting themselves into the future – is this actually possible… see following…

 

Carpe Diem… is it possible to live without projecting ourselves into the future, with being for the future… people talk of ‘seizing the moment’ of forgetting all their worries and plans for the future, disregarding all the pain and hardship from the past and existing perfectly in what Nietzsche described as the eternal arch under which we constantly step from one to the other.

 

Freud and others would say that the past has created us, has grounded all our thought patterns (Jung would say that history itself has set archetypes of thought to influence the way we perceive in similar ways – and thus allowing for some part of communication), and it would be impossible to simply disregard them (the idea then of wanting to live in the moment would suggest some past trauma demanding we find solace of some sort there).

 

Heidegger might say Dasein (being-here/being-there), cannot exist without being projected into the future, that an integral part of his being lives in the future within all choice and action, thought and intention (which makes a lot of sense).

 

It might be possible, just might, to live without any regard to the consequences of our actions (although I doubt it the grammar allows for it), but to make decisions at all would seem to rely on experience (even if we act in opposition to that experience), and therefore judgement which cannot be self-contained. So we find that the surface meaning of carpe diem is not sufficient for any meaningful philosophy.

 

Granting that the philosophers of old were not ignorant to such concepts could it be there is some deeper meaning contained within that [incorrectly] inspiring idiom? The answer seems painfully obvious – embrace all that the day brings – as a part of a construct born and bred through past experience, and a part of a development continuing and intending for the future, we take the day as the whole (the Bubble), we are (here we see Nietzsche – that as whole and developing wholes we accept and embrace the now – as all we have…).

 

The error of logic…

 

Only the logic of closed mathematical systems is flawless, and those systems can tell nothing new, only shed more light onto the information we already possess. For example 2 + 2 = 4 – four here is simply another way of saying two plus two – providing a little more detail on the way such a concept might be grouped.

 

Other forms of logic, those that bring new information are forms of induction and therefore reliant upon the perception and particular inferences of the individual (group), making the steps. We are human (all too human:), (well, some of us are), and thus when we make a hypothesis to test we are making it because something within us generated that idea [and not another] to hope to prove/disprove – these are unconscious drives making decisions for us and therefore affecting our results. When we examine those results the mind (which needs to find patterns or we should not be able to exist in this universe of infinite particulars – for we naturally group them into ‘same’ ‘different’ and ‘similar’ in order to function), those same unconscious impulses will not only group the results into a particular form we wish to prove/disprove, but will also be at work when the particular target group are subject to research (predominately in the case of human subjects).

 

Like someone/something action ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’ will all be fascinating, good or at least tolerated with a smile; dislike someone/something action ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’ will all be annoying, diminished and arrogantly belittled…

 

It is not the action itself, or even the person committing the action, we approve/disapprove of (causing us to like/dislike), it is the similarity/dissimilarity to our own perceptions of our-self. The things we like are the things we do, or we believe we could/should/might… do, the things we despise are the things opposite to not only our own actions (for sometimes they are exactly the same things as we ourselves do), but to our ideals (and justifications), our conceptions of who we are, who we want to be…

 

1. See a man spit on the street condemn him for you would not do it

2. See a man help an old woman, praise him for carrying out the action before you had the chance to do so

3. See a man use his time to write a book and condemn him for wasting his time – for it is something you might wish to do but lack the ability… (obviously personal examples – but then what else do we really have – and those who make the examples impersonal are only hiding – not just from others but most of all from themselves…)

 

Born into the stepping stone between the past and the future… a twenty year leap…

 

(speculative article) For some one hundred thousand years we have dragged ourselves through the mud without any noticeable advance. Perhaps we were not ready for change, perhaps the actual thinking processes had to mature, perhaps there were too many obstacles (mental and physical) in our way, but now the time has come…

 

In the last hundred, speeding to this twenty or so, focusing on this twenty or so, we have in some way fundamentally altered. Technology has not simply advanced, it has jumped to the end. Not that there will not yet be huge technological advances, but they are now a part of the imagination, and for them to live there some fundamental change must have occurred for us to be able to conceptualise in such a way.

 

For myself and those few who have eyes to see I think myself blessed lucky that I have been present to witness it (continuing), happen. For the previous generation, they are unable to accept the change of thinking necessary, for the newer generation, they accept it as a part of life, there is no leap to them, simply some new thing among many, but for me and mine – we have watched (continue to watch), this incredible leap from the very past to the very future, we are the bridge. (Expand – see the poem/prose piece Narration)

 

Aphorisms 4

 

The New Rich… Parvenus

 

The thing about the new rich; well, some of them, is the reasons they do what they do – their motivations… why splash their money around, trying (and often failing), to match the sophisticated actions and possessions of those born to – not money – class…? Went to a place last night, truly a beautiful place, a wine tasting place that also did a really first class dinner (although the mix of dishes trying to cater to both national and international tastes made it very bizarre – and unfortunately in an effort to cater to so many tastes – or perhaps appear sophisticated in delicacies and choice, they made a rather clashing melange of flavours and styles), but at the table the owner kept trying to persuade the visitors of his altruistic reasons for creating the place – to bring all the cultures together under the international conception of wine… well, for one that’s like saying ‘let’s get all the drunks together’, but apart from that the place costs a thousand per person (not including any wine) to eat there, not a bottle on sale for less than two thousand so who is he really trying to bring together. I had nothing from his postulating than ‘I want lots of classy people to come here and accept me as their equal’, but that desperate cry only says ‘I’m not your equal, so I try to prove myself by throwing money around’ (and when he asked to touch my hair… well…).

 

The insecurity and natural inferiority, leading to such bold efforts (so often misplaced when you see the bright yellow Porsche or 1930’s gangster shiny Armani suit), comes from where… it comes from class distinctions millennia old, and one cannot bridge the divide with money, or even education… it is a thing of generations, of breeding, of control and reserve… it is an innate confidence, often mistaken for arrogance, nurtured into individuals throughout an entire life…

 

Pedestals…

 

Picture an ideal, a beautiful little fantasy of an ideal, like all, but all ideals are… undisturbed, through natural insecurity, to approach and examine too closely, but seen from afar, with all the personal perspective building it high ad higher… such a beautiful thing, and we have so many of them – often the stars on TV or musicians, or in more exclusive realms of imagination – philosophers, writers, artists, etc…

 

Then someone or something comes along and quite by accident allow you more information… the information shatters the fragile ideal; it falls and crumbles to lie in the muck and mud, not even down to your level, but lower – now covered in filth…

 

How do you react… do you despise the thing now, do you hate the messenger, do you pity it, and thus elevate yourself far above; forget it, search for another, lose the capacity for ideals… some alteration is necessary…

 

What if the fall is pitiable, and the messenger purely ignorant to the damage they have done both to the ideal, and to you in their unthinking utterance…

 

‘A wave comes crashing like a fist to the jaw’… the whole adventure, the whole process, the ENTIRE building, falling, listening, pitying, angering… and all the rest has existed ONLY inside the realms of your own imagination… though you might not like the physical act of uttering (thinking it uncouth, crude, unnecessary, etc…), and the physical act itself (thinking it a foolish one, a failure, a disappointment, etc…), in comparison with your own choice of word or deed, the rest, all the emotion, the structure, the thoughts and feelings… have always only existed within your own head…

 

Take that to the final place, and what you then decide to think is ALSO not what is really happening, all that you then ‘choose’ to think (if you have that element of control), is ENTIRELY up to you – so all the pity, hate, disgust, etc… become something else – they become mechanisms within your own mind to allow it to adjust to the new information without suffering (as much as possible), and so… play with them – if the mind needs more fantasies to replace the old, then why not apply a modicum of your own conscious control over those fantasies…

 

The next question then would seem logical… if we are doing this for things of particular interest, and then notice only those because the positive/negative reaction to the breaking is so much stronger (due to our focus), could we not be doing this for all things…

 

As we live ENTIRELY within our own heads, and empathy our only form of [limited] understanding; could not the table become something more or less than it really is, the bike, the coffee cup… and then, oh and then… EVERYTHING simply becomes a projection, our own needs and affinities projected out into a realm we know ONLY through those projected needs and affinities… the world as we unconsciously create it – and thus, armed with this knowledge (much easier said and vaguely understood than applied), can we not make the world exactly what we choose to… it does make something very different of things like labelling people ‘optimistic/pessimistic’…

 

Gifts

 

A person told me a story today – two young boys were best friends (I’m leaving out some of the detail for it is irrelevant to my point), the one came from, if not a rich family, at least a comfortable one, while the other came from a family that often had to struggle for the necessities let alone luxuries. The time of year came about for the poor boy’s birthday, and the wealthier one, though not having very much pocket money had saved every last drop to buy his friend a gift he knew he wanted but his parents could not afford for him. When the day came and the boy presented the gift to his friend his mother would not allow him to accept.

 

Take what you will from the tale, but I have some thoughts…

 

Initially I thought the mother a proud woman, who saw the gift as something close to charity, but then I thought closer and saw the mother as being made to feel inadequate. When a small child presented her son with a gift that she could not afford to supply him with it must have made her feel very terrible, a failure as a mother, and being showed this by some small boy must have filled her with pathetic self-loathing (although she might not have put it in those terms herself). To see that gift every day, to see her child enjoying it over and over would have been torture, and a weak soul would have come to hate both the gift and the child who had presented it.

 

Take it a step further and we see the mother as a small-minded and selfish woman, for what mother or father would not eat a little shame for their child to be happy? Isn’t what we think of pure love putting aside our own feelings for the happiness of another?

 

These are only the iceberg of what I’m thinking though… I read a wonderful idiom once ‘Accepting the gift honours the giver’ Someone has gone to some trouble to find something for you and by accepting it, whatever it is, is to show your thanks for that trouble. To not accept it for whatever reasons is to say ‘I do not value the many different levels of effort you went to for me’ (thought, money, searching, time, etc…)

 

Let’s take that thought a little further… the only way to perceive as a gift too much is to perceive the gift as a debt, and then doesn’t it cease to be a gift? Is the nature of a gift not something which is given freely, or it then ceases to be a gift, and something given freely becomes invaluable (not invaluable in that you cannot put a commodity price to the item) – for how can you pay for something free?

 

(I’m obviously not writing about gifts given with ulterior motives – which again are not technically gifts at all, and leaving the possibility that at some level – conscious/unconscious – all gifts are given for ulterior motives)

 

This leads to the giving of money as a gift… this has a very exact calculable worth (unless the gift of money comes at exactly the time a person has great need…), and take no effort.

 

So what makes the perfect gift… the giving of gifts then becomes a skill, a game if you like…

 

What is the person like, their interests…

What do you notice them pay attention to…

What do you think they want for themselves but might be hesitating for some reason…

How will you present the thing…

 

These are further things to consider in friendship… friendship being simply another word for love… and the very effort to create in such a way for love will only increase the feeling of love through the same processes as habits…

 

Insanity…

 

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice expecting different results’ I’ve used that many time before but I thought I might refer it to something that struck me the other day. I was in a situation where someone I knew told me that many people think I’m crazy… where once this would have upset me, now it simply annoyed me (for I’ve heard it pretty much my entire life), and I struck back with perhaps more malice than I might (and enjoyed every word…)…

 

I’m crazy… let’s have a think about that… I love life, live life to the full, don’t hold back on joy or despair, sleep the minimum because I adore the thinking/doing rather than the hiding/forgetting… I exercise, have a hundred hobbies, read, draw, play music, and most importantly… write… and in my writings, poor reflections of my imagination, I explore every world or thought or action, comedy, romance, tragedy, horror and more I can create with a constantly expanding creativity…

 

This makes me crazy…?

 

I try, and of course fail, but the trying is enough, to live up to impossible ideals of action and morality, I examine others, try to anticipate what will make those I care for happy, will not tire or give up, never show weakness, and drive myself far beyond what most people even conceive as possible…

 

This makes me crazy…?

 

Let’s look in the other direction – at the accusers – getting out of bed as late as possible because they have nothing to get up for…? Their relationships, once filled with all the promise of a delusional culture, have devolved into the occasional word (I asked a guy yesterday, married seven years ‘how often he told his wife he loved her?’ he said he’d NEVER said it…! Obviously the concept is she always knows, but I bet she wouldn’t mind hearing it just now and then…), and those other words as often as not sharp and bitter.

 

They go to a job they [at best] are ambivalent towards (proceeding to complain about it), which they make no effort to change, and even the very worst situation might have moments of wonder if one has the eyes of perspective on your side (an alliance all you must do to make is choose…).

 

They return home, perhaps after spending some recreation time, with their friends – not their partner – in the same round of dinner, shopping or cinema (sometimes in combination), where they sit in front of a television watching the very same recycled, poorly acted, badly scripted rubbish – even if they keep it on the same channel for more than five minutes – returning to the same programmes because there are so very few to actually distract them from the safe repetition…

 

Then they go to sleep as early as possible, claiming they ‘love sleep’ to which I cry “How can you know – you’re unconscious (the little death)?” At best (unless they have some wondrous dreaming ability), they love the falling asleep and the waking up – and if that were really the case why not set the alarm five times a night…?

 

They repeat this cycle for years on end… raising children to expect nothing more… and finally have so little to do when they retire, having had nothing but their working lives to keep them occupied, they then try to parent the grandchildren for something to do (and I don’t deny they might well adore children)…

 

They then die…

 

They call me crazy…?

 

Moments of humour…

 

1. There’s a [relatively] new fashion pervading the world of mobile phones – our phones are portable computers and then some – the phone now is the centre of a life – it has evolved into the complete companion – communication, messaging, face to face real-time conversations, Internet, all but infinite applications for everything from self-help, to exercise, games to lifestyles, efficiency to… well, everything. Calculators, diaries, GPS, camera, video, book, magazines, news… it just goes on and on – touch screens, resolutions as good as the human eye… they are the marvel of the modern world – nothing so incorporates every facet of human existence like the phone – not the PC, the laptop, the tablet.

 

These things could have evolved into any piece of technology – it could have been the camera the developed all these facilities, or the calculator – but communication is the foundation of human lives and so the phone seems the natural starting point.

 

I have nothing but admiration for such devices… but… there is one development which I feel here I must mention… there is now a device with which you can record yourself saying something and can send it to another person much as a written message… I often see people talking into their phone, waiting, hearing a replying voice, talking once more until their conversation is concluded… but… I must ask… … … why don’t you just call…

 

2. I was comforting one of my friends a few days ago – she had been pursued by a boy most faithfully, but due to being in a five year abusive relationship until relatively recently, she had found it extremely difficult to open up and try to trust another guy.

 

She’d finally decided to accept him but unfortunately at exactly the same time he had given up thinking it not only impossible, but no longer worth the hard effort he’d been putting in…

 

(I make no judgments here – I never do, and I write this with her permission)

 

So she said “Just as I start loving him… he stops…” then being a little drunk she continues without thinking “Just as I start to make love… he stops…” (couldn’t help but chuckle at that one…)

 

Kindness…

 

I was waiting for a friend the other day, they were sad and I was necessary… I was perched on the edge of a wall with a considerable drop behind me into the canal. It was reasonable but not very late and bitter cold winter.

 

There are old ladies here who keep the streets clean, all bundled up to look like round balls with all the clothing. Being unable to speak English, being unfamiliar with foreigners, and being night and uncertain would obviously make approaching one a difficult thing (certainly for me), but this darling old woman, with a few of her mates in the background having a great laugh over the effort, came up to me and asked me to get down, worried over my safety…

 

While I was in no way concerned for my position, my balance being impeccable, and quite enjoying the feeling of the abyss behind, I leapt to the pavement and thanked her profusely, told her she was very lovely for her concern and promised not to do such a reckless thing again…

 

Small human kindness – found in the most remarkable places... It is extremely difficult to argue with Mark Twain when he claims all actions are selfishly motivated – either the action will bring us pleasure, or it will allow us to avoid pain (guilt, for example), but (as I have argued before), while the unconscious powers at play here are impossible to judge it seems the equations don’t quite [always] add up – this for me was one of those examples – this woman seemed to have no way of garnering either pleasure or pain from such an act – at least to the extent that the effort would have cost her – and so why psychologists would easily find flaws in the logic of my argument I shall continue to think of it as an actual act of altruism… reasserting, a very little, some delight in humanity (and I so don’t mean that to include all the things that walk around on two legs and speak…)

Compromise…

 

A recent tale… I was out for dinner with several friends and I was asked for advice on a certain situation – without going into any details about the relationship’s history, which does have some relevance if you don’t look at the underlying point behind my following reasoning…

 

A husband and wife are about to have their first baby. They have moved into the wife’s parents’ house so she can have her mother near her during the pregnancy. The argument has begun over what will happen after the child is born.

 

They were originally under the understanding that they would return to their own home after the child has been born, which for the man, who feels very uncomfortable in the ‘in-laws’ house (for quite reasonable reasons but I shan’t go into them here for that is an entirely different point), this was a point of great relief.

 

Now the wife has decided she should stay at her parents’ house after the child is born for help in the raising of the child. The husband as disputed this, saying that if they are to live with parents then it should be his they live with.

 

The argument continues…

 

At this point I had to step in, for the answer seemed, while not perfect, so obvious that I was quite amazed (well, I should have been quite amazed), they hadn’t discovered it all on their own.

 

If I loved someone then I would do [relatively] most for them, perhaps all, but if something was to make me so unhappy that I found I must say “I don’t want to” then I would think they would listen to me – and visa/versa.

 

If living with my parents is unbearable, or at least would make her life an unhappy one then I should not ask it, and if my living with hers the same then I would expect her not to ask it of me. When there is a perfectly good house waiting for both of us to live in then the answer seems quite clear.

 

The argument then arose that which of the parents would take care of the child (which I just thought ridiculous – are they planning on spending so little time with the little one they might as well put the bugger up for adoption!).

 

The answer to this seemed so painfully obvious I wondered if I were being a little stupid in missing some important fact to prevent them even considering this solution. If the parents (grandparents), are coming to take care of the child then they could quite easily take turns – one week on one week off – the child will then grow up with an extremely close relationship to both sets of grandparents…

 

If their intention is to ask one set or another to move in, then why exactly did they decide to have a child?

 

My final point though has little to do with all the rest, while applying it can sit quite independently to all these facts and details… If I loved someone, and my victory would bring them pain, I would rather lose… How could you live getting what you wanted if you knew it was at the cost of the person you love (and really are you so spoilt for real love you can so betray it…), how can you live in comfortable satisfaction knowing such gratification is causing mental pain/unhappiness to the one you loves you/you love…

 

1. How much of the ‘moving into the parents’ house is for help, and how much just because it’s a good excuse to live at home and have the environment she feels most comfortable in?

2. While in this, as in many, country, the living at home after (actually, often never leaving), is very normal behaviour I do wonder if it is really because they need the help, for my parents, and at least equal numbers never have or choose that option, or whether they simply want what they perceive as a more comfortable life (are you proud I didn’t say ‘lazy’…).

3. Seems too much of a coincidence in timing that he decides to live with his parents – I suspect he wanted to go home – her argument about having help with the child was too powerful to counter, and so switched to living with his parents out of desperation.

4. There is no question that the parents would go to the house they shared to help with the child – the distances are very reasonable – twenty minutes in a car from hers, and five minutes on a bike from his.

 

Child License…

 

Leading on from the last point, although not necessarily related is the question of having children. In some countries it is illegal to own a gun, in others you must possess some kind of license (to which strict security checks should be carried out before such permission is granted). The reason for this is you might harm or even kill someone else, either intentionally or accidentally.

 

The state which many children grow, with the ongoing abuse – I’m not talking about such serious matters like sexual or violent abuse, but with the more insidious ones, like neglect, leads me to believe there should be an application, test and some kind of certificate granted to couples wishing to breed.

 

We live in a situation, while many don’t realise it, in which we have tacitly agreed to surrender our natural rights to hurt, murder and steal, for the security of living within a society where the other members also surrender like rights – this is most commonly known as the ‘social contract’, but we are also responsible for other contracts, equal if not more powerful, for these contracts we actually have some choice in agreeing to.

 

There are certain contracts, while pen never touches paper, we should be agreeing to when we decide to have a baby, and they are very similar to the surrender of certain rights included in the social contract.

 

We agree to…

 

1. Surrender our time, the most valuable commodity of all, for the raising of the child.

2. Surrender our money, hard worked for with our own hands for both the needs and the entertainment of the child.

3. We agree to educate ourselves in both the proper manner to raise a child healthily (in both body and mind), and for their future – which might well mean relearning modern physics (for example), to help the child with its homework.

4. While our care and attention for our spouse should not be interrupted we decide to put the child first above all other considerations – for if we are not willing to do this then it seems quite logical not to bring a child into the world and spend a lifetime concentrating on the spouse (to which option I couldn’t agree with more).

5. We agree to put the needs of the child before our own, which might mean the sacrifice of all things (obviously extreme example for effect); the surrender of money, time, pride, possessions, wants and even dreams.

 

If we are not willing to do this then I ask… why have a child… the law does not say you must have a child and if you find yourself incapable of putting the new life first then it is no crime not to have one and to either focus on yourself or the partner you love…

 

Aphorisms 8

 

Throwing cigarette butts on the floor – the litter from the window, and follow the thought trains… having a moral crisis – well, perhaps not, but a conundrum of minor proportions. Walking along the street I throw a cigarette butt on the floor when finished, I don’t do this in the country if I can help it but try to find some suitable receptacle, but in the city I justify this to myself by thinking of the street cleaners, who are employed to keep the streets clean.

 

In the country I live in many old people who might not have enough money to support themselves garner a little more income from working such jobs, so from a certain perspective one can say we are actually keeping them employed by littering…

 

This is a fine line to walk, even for myself, as I have, not infrequently, gathered up rubbish I have seen guys just throw on the floor (bottles and bags are real examples), and demanded they place them in bins which have been so obviously convenient they must have some particular form of disregard to not notice (or perhaps have been raised in such a way as the rubbish bin does not occur to them) (there is also a very real possibility that due to being in a bad mood for any number of infinite variables I have been actively attempting to start a little trouble…).

 

Aside: I was in Xi’an some few years ago, climbing Hua Mountain and visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors. Travelling on their brand new subway, I was laden with bags and items and drinking a bottle of juice. In an attempt to alleviate my load a little I placed the empty bottle on the floor. I remember the chagrin, the absolute shame, when a young woman picked up my bottle – which I was fully prepared to dispose of myself when I reached my stop – and gave me such an accusing look (for the city is very poor and their subway a splendid new creation), I could have curled up there on the spot and died – trying to explain my litter intentions would have been far too little too late (and thus I have never thrown a piece of litter on the floor apart from a cigarette butt since then – although I’m not one for littering anyway)…

 

A few weeks ago my friend Henry, upon watching me throw a butt on the floor looked surprised and said he hadn’t expected me to be someone to throw things on the floor. I was a little embarrassed and told him my ‘keeping people employed’ justification (which is really about ease), to which he replied – most pointedly I believe on consideration – that they have enough to do without my little contribution (although equally in the theory of we are all droplets making up an ocean if he was successful in convincing everyone they had enough to do they would no longer have enough to do…)…

 

So I’m walking through my neighbourhood the other day, a self-enclosed community with parks and gardens, security guards and our own people for cleaning litter when I observed someone simply casting litter from the window of their fifth floor apartment… I had little choice but to compare their actions to mine… what was the real difference between what they were doing and my little butts, but for quantity? They obviously have a bin in their house, they also had to be relatively ignorant or uncaring about their neighbours and themselves to so litter the front of their apartments, but was the action fundamentally different… while I still throw butts on the floor I do now search a little more thoroughly in my surrounding area for a rubbish bin…

 

The point of all this, apart from making people consider their actions a little more closely, is that it is through the actions of others, held against our own, where we find and clarify our own morality. The theory of self-enclosure is a necessary one, for so much of the time the things other people say and do in regard to our behaviour and actions is so filled with their own mood, motivation, perception of what their universe should comply to, that much of the time it cannot be accepted, but the pendulum swings both ways, and our reaction to the behaviour of others can tell us so very much about ourselves, and direct us to modifications of our own behaviour…

 

We fracture upon the rocks of others… when we are alone we are whole, but the moment we interact with another our whole (and theirs), is/are shattered by such an inviolable ‘I’, all that might have been before is struck clear and what remains is [predominately] a reaction to the form of whosoever we pounded against… but like water slowly eroding rock the substantial ‘I’ upon which we crash is also worn and altered by our own potency.

 

Fear and how we deal with it… (see Trembling) – It is the founding fact of our nature – we shall end, and all that was will come to a close; sooner or later, painfully or gently, with some satisfaction or desperate and bitter, the great leveller will flatten us all… Upon such a foundation we make our stand, and how do we deal with this fundamental truth…

 

Whether consciously or unconsciously some lose themselves in repetition, they pass each day in rhythm and routine, and the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years… pass so slowly the fine lines degenerate into deep wrinkles with almost imperceptible transition – such a way deludes the subject into a feeling of eternity.

 

Some charge headfirst into their fears, the smaller offspring of the greater whole, braving them again and again in different variations, hoping to inure themselves to the anxiety underlying existence itself.

 

Others breed; they create offspring of their own in some hope to extend themselves, something of themselves in the mirrors they create. The mould and model creatures which are essentially extensions of themselves, and when those extensions rebel against such succubus they curse and gnash their teeth in consternation (one could also argue that creative acts of all form are correspondingly similar).

 

Some detach themselves from the world, discarding attachments and all the delight in existence they bring with them, and in no longer taking great joy, or awful pain, in this world they hope to obliterate any particular desire to remain, thus finding yet another way to [attempt] to conquer that constant terror.

 

The list goes on…

 

Abandoning cats (continued from the autobiographical piece And Three Make…) – Walking my dog about six nights ago (his evening walk is about twelve at night as it is so wonderfully quiet and dark), we are on the return leg and from the distance I hear the sound of a rather plaintive and pathetic crying. I immediately recognised this as the sound of a kitten and being me also knew well what would next unfold.

 

Upon discovering the half-starved kitten, a very pretty grey female, I inquired of a guy who was leaving a nearby house if was his, he denied it and said it had also been there the night before. While I cannot be certain (but I’m never certain) it seemed quite obvious she had been abandoned. There are several reasons for this: she was part of a large, or simply unwanted litter, she is a female so would in all likelihood go on to have babies of her own, in the end overrunning some poor household, she had been purchased or given to a son or daughter who had not asked parents first and they had refused to allow it to live in the house, etc… all of these and more I have encountered in my experience.

 

The why is unimportant for this but a discussion of the morality of throwing a cat out, or throwing any living thing out. Far better to kill it; it would take little or no effort to either strangle the thing or to snap its neck, but this seems to be something many people are incapable of doing. I remember two times; the first was when I was with my father at the seaside, we found a rabbit suffering from myxomatosis, I was only about seven or eight so didn’t understand at first when my dad told me to walk on – a few minutes later I realised he had gone back to kill the poor, blind thing. The other time I was driving home from a party when I was about 17 or 18 and a rabbit leapt out at the car lights. I didn’t have time to stop and hit the thing. It was pitch black but I walked back to where it was lying – couldn’t see more than a shadow and no way to take the thing (if it was even still alive), to a vets, so remembering my dad’s example I crushed its head with my boot.

 

Such actions are subject to arguments from both sides, much as subjects like euthanasia, and mercy killings (and I see no distinction in importance between humans and animals), but in the end do we not have to be hard to be kind. I try to be understanding; that there are many reasons why a person could not keep a cat, but in the end I think it necessary to live with a little obvious blood on my hands than to live with a lot of invisible stain.

 

Throwing the baby cat out, unable to walk properly, let alone hunt, was still murder, but a slow, terrifying and painful death starving and alone rather than a quick, near painless action. It would be interesting to be able to find whoever threw the thing out and ask them what they actually thought the results of their action would be; whether they actually believed the cat would find some way to survive, whether they knew it wouldn’t but simply couldn’t bear to kill the thing themselves, whether they simply didn’t consider it at all and just discarded it like a piece of inanimate rubbish, or some other possibility I haven’t considered…

 

Stability, a blessing or a curse, and however one might struggle to escape its clutches is it nothing but an inevitable condition of resolution… Is it possible to live a life of chaos…? Chaos, the mixing of actions, thoughts, intentions, values that we are forced to grow, shrink, destroy and recreate, burning down the whole and rebuilding according to little but whim… Such an idea has appeal, and at the same time within lurks the most terrifying… possibilities. It would seem we are not built that way; we revolve for a while and then return to some form of stability – habit, routine, regularity, repetition… these are all ways of being we gravitate to with such easy we hardly realise we are doing so and if we do it is usually too late…

 

No Gender based qualities – a difficult to explain piece – so often in society we hear things like ‘men tend to…’ and ‘that’s a woman’s quality’, and see subliminal imagery like a school crossing sign portraying a woman (or at least an adult in a skirt:), holding hands with a child. The yin and yang, the ‘masculine and feminine’, and even in modern psychology the ‘classifications’ of archetypes, neuroses and their treatments are heavily based in gender, but is this a biological truth or a age old cultural condition…

 

Such a very difficult thing to prove, but we can speculate a little – if a girl was raised as one of many, within an entire culture, in an entire world, where the traits were truly mixed, and the same for men, would we see a very different situation, one in which the moods and actions of both sexes were approximately split equally, where more to do with the personal influence within more direct spheres affecting the individuals rather than the more powerful machinations of cultural psychology…

 

Suicide and its relation to smoking… in some countries suicide is illegal, England is an example… firstly, this seems patently ridiculous for if someone is really serious about killing themselves it is highly unlikely they will fail, and then who would the police press charges against, but more serious a consideration, and something I believe directly related to my previous mention of smoking (that is stealing away one of the basic rights of society to direct to the owner of an establishment whether or not he can decide whether people can smoke on his premises or not).

 

Once again – in ‘The State of Nature’ we are free, no rules or laws to say we cannot act in any way we so choose, no natural morality. Morality, rules and laws are artificial devices we have invented or have evolved as we have developed societies, and then so we can live with each other in a [theoretically] peaceful and cooperating fashion.

 

In theory any law or rule, any form of morality, which coincides with this cooperation is then permissible and any which works in conflict is then a poor one and should be discarded for a better. The only rules, laws, moralities, which cannot be allowed are those which directly conflict with the very reasons for creating social rules in the first place, which is to allow a [theoretical] higher level of freedom by sacrificing some of those freedoms – thus we give up the right to harm or steal from others in an unwritten [social] contract in return for the implicit guarantee from others to also sacrifice those freedoms.

 

While it could be argued that suicide does real harm to society; to the family, to others who are traumatically affected by the act, by the example it sets for those more susceptible to such actions, all of these ‘harms’ would seem to be a psychological reaction only to a culture which holds suicide as a negative action. If a society, and the Romans were exactly such a society, were to hold suicide, under the right circumstances, to be a noble act, all those traumatic reactions would [possibly] not occur.

 

Regardless of the social stigma attached, and thus the following traumas, the personal rights of the individual, which do not directly harm or steal from others, should be respected, or once again the individual is being sacrificed for the majority, not at the cost of restricting some of those [agreed] rights, but at a foundational level, which tears up the very basis of the social contract.

 

Law reflecting culture/culture reflecting law… one aspect of the pendulum which swings back and forth between individual and individual, individual and culture… I was having a conversation with someone the other day about violence towards women in England and China. I told them that the legal penalties against men hurting women were very harsh, that the culture itself treated the action with anger and contempt, and even in the prisons men who have committed such crimes are treated far more harshly by their fellow prisoners than those who have committed almost every other crime. They then said that now they understood why Englishmen are such gentlemen, to which I responded I did not think so…

 

The process seems to be more subtle than that, for are the laws not the results of the particular psychology of the culture, and then in turn do not the laws arising from such sentiment then go on to reinforce the sentiment, once more raising the desire for even more detail and attention to such issues – back and forth, back and forth the pendulum swings and in such movements developing the supra-personality of entire cultures, which then in turn go on, positively or negatively (and by this I mean gravitating towards or away), other cultures.

 

Equality, egalitarianism and its relation to the twilight of the idols… With the death of kings we find man equal… and I say that with a sincerely bitter taste in my mouth, for one man is not equal to another, but all the unequal little men so outnumber the rare special few they have imposed this painfully irregular law upon the world… When Chairman Mao did away with the organised religions, when he sent the professionals and scholars to work beside the farmers in the fields, when he destroyed the churches and like Marx before proclaimed Man to be the pinnacle of existence… when equality in America taught that an aristocrat or a shopkeeper could raise themselves to the presidency… when the French peasants decapitated Louis the XVI… when the Church came to answer to secular law… when… we took steps along the great, narrowing road to equality, and with each confining step towards false freedom we diminished…

 

We diminish in our perspectives, close ourselves to so many things which, in ideal at least, were greater than ourselves, and in so doing lose, or are losing, the capacity for sacrifice. If I am the pinnacle of existence, then what is worth more than ‘I’, if the world is my oyster then anything I allow to you is something I have granted through my magnanimous nature, and not yours by due or right. Me, and by extension, mine, are all that now matters, and when the hard choices need to be made it is all but certain which way the scales will tip.

 

Psychology creates its own problems and its own solutions…

 

The science of psychology – a myth made actuality by belief? Labelling mental problems, both minor and major might have been the beginning, categorising them as we would a person or type of reptile, as we do with emotions themselves, feelings, if you like. By giving each similarity a name we began to believe they are the same, much like those who use the word without real thought consider love to be a single entity, but the mind, that blessing and curse of cosmic proportions, that object so infinitely complex we have yet to encounter another thing in the universe in comparison, that mixture of chemical, psychic, and spiritual which may or may not be greater than the sum of its parts…

 

Oh, it’s the nature of man to categorise, and in truth we could not function without naming, murdering, things, but to become convinced by that naming, by that limiting, by that destruction of all the other interlinked qualities, we run the risk of stumbling past many more signs, pointing in infinite more directions, because we are no longer looking for other languages to decipher.

 

To get to the point… as we categorised, and limited more, we were able to turn the complicated philosophy of struggling with the infinite variations of the mind, changing pendulum like with the interaction of in and out, into a ‘science’ and the moment it became a science, with knowable facts to unearth and learn we invited the ‘experts’ to devote themselves. Finally we know so much that only the ‘experts’ may be, like magicians before’ be privy to all the secret formulas…

 

Like all experts in a subject we tend to surrender our own free thought on the matter and refer to their encyclopaedic knowledge, trusting them to explain and answer our questions, or if the information they choose to supply is beyond our understanding, at least without similar devotion, to simply accept them on faith.

 

As such faith develops it becomes fact, and facts are something we have implicit trust in. Where once before we would fall at the feet of the guru to lead us from our lost position within the maze towards understanding, now it is the couch of the psychologist we throw ourselves, penitent and pleading, for them to show us the way to health.

 

The psychologist is the absolute authority on something which is a personal experience, but the trust in the patient is so implicit their faith swings back, altering the unique issue they have into exactly what the psychologist explains it to be. This more standardised problem has routine and well-practiced steps capable of remedying it without more than the necessary time, money and suffering of the patient, necessary for them to believe they are actually travelling down some path of transition.

 

After they have travelled through all the stages, stages predicted (thus expected, thus discovered), by the ‘expert’ they are filled with the confidence of having suffered and won through all their trials, thus earning them freedom from the psychic burdens until then weighing so heavily upon their shoulders… They are cured (the deeper issue – apart from those souls with problems so different or abiding the ‘experts’ usual methods simply cannot work, is that is this a good or bad thing…?)!

 

Likes and friends… Like a person, feel them to be a companion of your heart, but does that make them a friend… what is a friend… someone you like, because they do what you say, because they share your interests, because they are something you admire and wish you could be… all the above were argued as categories by Aristotle, who then claimed friends can on exist if they are on some equal footing, some mutual respect must exist between the two or the inequality will always rear and burn down the edifice with jealous or demanding flames.

 

(Note – I’m fully aware of the limited perspective I have on this issue, and the many instances where the noble faith of others in such an enduring concept has been shown to be incorrect, this does not mean it is incorrect, but only that my experience might have been less than fortuitous or defects within my own personality have always heavily influenced such relationships)

 

Ignoring for the moment the possibility of being friends with someone who is your servant, or with someone you have placed on a pedestal above your own position because they have particular qualities you wish you might emulate, let’s focus on friendships based first on some sort of equality. After this shared experience is one of the argued foundations from which to build a friendship – having similar experiences in the past, sharing similar interests, choosing to do things towards a future that in some way coincide[s]. Then through a following series of actions taken/experienced together a bond grows, this is reinforced by a level of trust, coming both from not letting each other down under particular stressful moments (especially in need), and confiding in each other things which you would not tell another without at least a certain level of trust existing between the two. Time then adds the glue to these elements until, with the constant effect of intimate time affecting each other of prolonged periods working as the pendulum altering the internal thought processes and the external actions in relation to the two… and there you have a friendship… but then it’s just another words, right…?

 

When do you give up trying to help people who don’t want your help, and believe you are not helping…? A recent experience… but leading on to a more interesting topic…

 

So working for an organisation I have found that if I comply with the rules of the organisation the organisation with eventually suffer. However, if I rebel against the organisation I will suffer consequences. Such a decision would seem relatively simple, either the organisation is more important than I and thus I rebel, or I am more important than the organisation, in which case I comply (this in itself is such a poor example for the current state of the world it brings a tear to the old-fashioned eye or perhaps just because I have a cyst)…

 

There are other complications – a part of the responsibilities involves a duty, but to carry out that duty conscientiously it is necessary to rebel against the very people trusting you to diligently carry out those responsibilities…

 

Further consideration… the other people it is necessary to work with here, while agreeing as much as their limited, inexperienced knowledge can allow, are not in the same situation allowing them to make a real decision and are left if not simply following the organisation and those who gave the duty, but because they do not fully understand the consequences battling actively against rebellion…

 

Once again it seems, and tragically so, to be a case of trying to fight with not just one person (see The Madman), but the entire world in order to attempt to save them. The organisation is in a place where it seems they are unable to shift from their stance, but if I comply I shall perhaps satisfy those few calling for my obedience now, but in the future, something EVERYONE is incapable of imagining, not only will the organisation suffer, the duty suffer, those who gave the duty suffer, but I can see myself being the one everyone then places the blame on for their misery…

 

I find myself, for all my trickery and cunning, to be in a place of lose/lose… the simple decision… take what I can get by complying until everything falls apart, rather than make some moral stance now, lose immediately and take nothing at all… the end looms in sight one way or another, with the only difference being should I take a moral or a financial stance…

 

I am not a moral man, or have not been in the past, or have had my morals quite easily defeated by my desires/[perceived]necessities in the past, and fully expect that to happen again in the future… so why the moral trouble…?

 

ArroganceJ … the utter inability to allow others to break me… after all, what else gets you back on your feet again after the world has played its ironic little tricks once again… you can’t trick a trickster, the trick is to know everything is a trick (a little insane cackling there with a crackle and rumble of a little lightning and thunder…)…

 

Aphorisms 9

 

People watch the news, and to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon the particular social circles they move, other television (films, books, magazines, etc…)

 

I was studying several articles recently on how to make good conversation. I found, not to my great surprise, the subjects not to talk about were subjects like philosophy, politics, religion, etc… (unless of course you are in a group of philosophers, politicians, people of shared religious beliefs, etc…). The reason for these making bad conversation, and to this list I would personally add any subject so technical that only one person actually knows what they are talking about, is that they break certain important rules to making good conversation.

 

The rules to good conversation [apparently] are as follows:

1. Talk about something other people about.

2. Talk about something other people can have an opinion about.

3. Talk about something which is unlikely to elicit strong emotions (avoid controversial subjects).

 

Essentially they turn the conversation into a lecture…

 

Alright… this led me to two speculations. The first, and probably more relevant for the majority of people, is wondering if this is the real reason many people watch the television they do (and to a greater or lesser extent whether many people have the group hobbies and activities they involve in).

 

Let’s take the news for example, some few things in the news are close to home, and may or not be important for daily life (although I still think the same applies to these but they are more easy to argue against my case), but the majority of issues people watch on the news are so far removed from their own lives as to be more akin to fiction that real life. However, so many other people are also watching the news that they then have a constant, varied and most importantly, group of things to talk about which fulfil all the criteria above for good conversation (‘good’ conversation itself being a debatable term we shall discuss in a moment). Then to a greater or lesser degree, and also dependent upon the personality type and thus the other personality types they will involve in conversation with (if given the chance), they will watch the particular shows available so they can a) enjoy the show and (perhaps more importantly), b) have something to chat with their friends about in the various environments which allow for conversation.

 

The second point, and for me one which is far less objective… apart from building bonds with people (and the level of a bond developed on the shaky foundation of shared television entertainment has to be wondered at), what is the point? A conversation which is not controversial, not debatable, where one cannot learn something one did not know before… seems a little… pointless (there is though the psychological factor to recall that most people seem to need some form of sociable attachment in their lives – which may or may not be a developed habit emerging in any society)…

 

‘Power naps’ studies never pay attention to the related situational influences – sleeping to need energy for something important, guilt or pressure from taking the extra time out, etc…

 

Studies… the word slips from the mouth with a certain amount of contempt, I must admit. The example I shall make use of will be the ‘power-nap’. If you think about the name it’s a little funny in itself, for needing to sleep for a short while indicates the very opposite to power and strength. It has been argued that this ‘tool’ is effective for supplying a quick influx of energy under difficult circumstances…

 

I have watched many people, who are not suffering the stress of a high-pressure moment, take a nap at lunch time, or in the afternoon, and I have also been occasionally in the situation where the lack of any great requirements have allowed me to succumb to weariness after a long session in the gym and a good meal. When they (or I), wake they certainly do not seem very alert, or to have discovered new reserves of strength, energy and determination. Rather they seem all the more tired and dopey for their time away from consciousness and require time, coffee and a good nudge to get them stumbling back in the right [metaphorical] direction.

 

On the other hand, if someone has an important deadline or if they are expecting something important to happen, they are tired and try to sleep for a brief time, they do seem to awake refreshed…

 

Have you ever gone to sleep the night before a holiday, or some major event, and the next morning woken up in a state of excitement even before the alarm clock has gone off…? Is the principle not the same: the excitement of the event has caused adrenalin and energy levels to heighten, sleep has been provided (although how quickly do you find yourself tired again once the journey has begun and you are settled, thus indicating you never slipped into a deep sleeping state, and thus while finding it easy to wake, and full of energy, you did not manage to rest sufficiently), but not a deep sleep and you wake with the increasing pressure (positive or negative), of the coming event pressing you all the harder.

 

This in itself is an interesting refutation of the benefits of the ‘power-nap’ but there is a larger more interesting subject here. Research and studies, the problem with research and studies is that however neutral they attempt to be (and many are so obviously biased as to be verging on ridiculous), they always have a human personality, a psyche made up on uncountable unconscious variables, influencing them from the beginning.

 

We have limitations to our perspectives, some larger than others, but all are restricted by the boundaries of our empathy and shared experience. These will influence the data we receive; it will be channelled and shaped to conform with our experience, with our expectations and what cannot be re-moulded will be discarded and quickly forgotten.

 

How many, if not all, of our studies are exactly what we wanted them to be, or if not then the exact thing we expected to disrupt our expectations. Studies can’t be trusted, but what they can do, if we are capable of managing a distance, and remember we can never completely disconnect from any effect upon us, is teach us a little about ourselves, through assessing the origin of the study itself and what we expected from said study…

 

What relation to finding satisfaction in teaching a child and deciding to have one… where lies responsibility to procreate…

 

The position of model, teacher, power-figure, is an attractive one indeed (though I never forget the idiom ‘those who cannot do… teach’, that I might remember to never teach (or tell) others to do something I have not or would not be willing to do – obviously there are other readings of this but I choose to take it as so…). To impress your own character, and who else is so prepared to prepare (obviously sarcasm…), upon another mind, physicality, and future is an addictive narcotic.

 

Being a good teacher depends on many factors, both in the teacher and the target student group. It would take a book consisting of several volumes to outline the many thoughts on such a subject but for me, one of the reasons I can attract the attention of the kids is related to also having no automatic respect for elders, people in powerful positions, the rich, etc…  I have respect only for achievement, and that does not include, luck or help, but self-achieved success (this has no direct relation to money, although it can be used to keep score in certain areas of this game).

 

The children are simply smaller people, their reaction to the efforts I make is what qualifies them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, there is no difference here between them and ‘adults’, for from this point of view – the teacher of a group, however [technically] old they are is the only adult in the group and the others are all ‘children’.

 

Returning to the relationship between teaching and having children – the narcotic is like any drug, taken upon occasion it can heighten the experience of living, add an extra dimension and element to perspective and pleasure, but taken in excess, being made dependent upon it changes it entirely – it then becomes the master, and the addict is crushed beneath all the necessary responsibilities implied.

 

It is of course very obvious that many people are satisfied with living their life with this symbiotic addiction, but (and here is where the insidiousness of cultural conditioning (and the chains of the establishment) can be observed in one of its many guises), is it really necessary for ‘the good life’…

 

Rather a meaningful box than a rich waste of time (after you have ‘enough’ what does it matter… but how easy to be seduced by a rising balance…). Rich or poor it matters little, unless rich or poor is the meaning you create for yourself (is it possible to create meaning for yourself, to paint yourself with your own colours…? The difficulty seems to be in the knowing – can we step outside our own conditioning to condition ourselves, or are we enslaved to the dictates of our environment (meant in the largest possible context)? Doubt will always be present, for we cannot step from ourselves to observe ourselves from an entirely objective perspective, but perhaps this is a necessity for the perception of [relative] freedom).

 

With the conditioning we live with today the driving focus behind our lives is money, closely followed by immediate family/friends, this will be hotly debated but that’s not my problem. The evolving nature of capitalism, aided and in turn supporting the technological explosion, drives one on to possess more materials, replacing those so quickly out of date with others.

 

These materials are great fun; the new technologies are not only useful but wonderfully entertaining. Added to this the competitive nature of man is well-satisfied by attempting to gather these things, impossibly gather all these things (which was where Marx made his error – unable to predict the rapid evolution of new technologies he speculated we would eventually possess everything and capitalism would have nothing left to tempt us), and if meaning can be satisfied by gathering these things then so be it.

 

If raising a family, imposing yourself upon another or others, making and moulding the next generation, for one or more of many possible reasons, then once again the goal of a life, if goal there is (or you should so decide there should be), has once again been met (none of this includes the very real possibility that as we age and grow in experience our goals may and often do change, and there seems nothing innately wrong with this).

 

However I have recently noticed an interesting phenomenon – watching money simply go up in your bank account can become addictive in itself. In my life I have made (through various machinations), and lost (once again through a series of events), several fortunes, but until now there has been no steadiness to these processes, and as a result no particular care one way or another – or rather no abiding (through more protracted conditioning), devotion.

 

Now I am in a position where I have more than enough (there are one or two expensive articles to tick off on my bucket list, but they are of no great importance in the grand scheme of what I see as development), but still I gain an almost fanatical satisfaction when upon rare occasion I actually check the total in my bank account, and find it has jumped significantly.

 

Consider the psychology of this… I have no long term plans, I have no wife, nor intent to have, I have no children nor intend to have, I have no great devotion to some grand scheme or charity, and even if I did even the respectable amount (for a normal guy), I could contribute would not even be a drop in the ocean considering the amounts of money now floating around the world. I’ve had and lost money so many times, and have managed to survive and prosper every time I have destroyed myself, that the fear of lacking security doesn’t ‘seem’ to be present, so what possible reason could I have for this [apparently] unreasonable satisfaction in the rising figure…?

 

Keeping score seems to be an answer, but I think it is more than this, I think it is a form of addiction, which would go on to explain (if it not something that only applies to me, but to others with obsessive personalities – and those that can develop into obsessive personalities), how and why the attraction of capitalism is so compulsive, and in turn reconditioning the next generation to an even stronger addiction…

 

The philosophy of have/has… a philosophy of possession… to ‘have’… what a complicated word, filled with often unconsidered depths. “I have a book” “I have an idea” “I have a bad feeling about this” “I have a friend, and enemy” “I have a cold” “I have to freedom to choose”… the word is used in each time, but the relation between many of these things would not seem to be immediately apparent, or at least not apparent along the lines of apprehension.

 

In each of these and many more cases the thing has become mine through apprehension of a thought. I have successfully sliced it away from the whole and in its new, diminished form it has become a part of me.

 

Have would seem to be related closely to portion. To have is to segment and parcel a piece, to steal it away from the whole and make it, in a certain conceptual form, into an actual part of myself – “I have arms and legs” (to be expanded perhaps…)

 

Memory of good, so fleeting (because it puts one in someone’s debt…?), memory of [perceived] injustice, so very long…

 

There an old saying, can’t recall the exact wording but it goes something like ‘A king can rule wisely for fifty years but will be remembered for his one injustice, a criminal can lead a life of evil, but will be remembered for his one charitable act’. The psychology of debt… a person who is wealthy, not only in monetary means but in spirit, in confidence, in actions, etc… will be able to accept debt, physical and mental, for he will be sure he is able to repay such obligation, whereas the mean, the little, those without true resources (perhaps more importantly of the spirit rather than of material means), will begrudge the need for debt, and come to despise those who aid him.

 

The very act of giving incurs debt, whether or not that was the intention. Another saying ‘accepting the gift honours the giver’, in being able to accept and thank one is paying attention to all the efforts the other must have gone to, to refuse a gift seems to be an insult of the highest degree.

 

Allowing others to help us by justifying that help as well-deserved, or motivated by some other self-serving motive, rather than accepting the charity, we are able to discard the debt, and if we are not in debt, and perhaps due to the unconscious recognition of the debt, we are anxious to separate ourselves from the one who helped us in the first place. We are more willing than before to find some fault, to find a place where we can judge them negatively and push them away or down…

 

The ‘facts’ (again), what do we know we know (smoking in Shakespeare, smoking now, smoking in the future…)

 

Once upon the time it was a well-known ‘fact’ that the earth was flat, walk for far enough and you would fall from its edge… for a very long time if you have a fever you blood was too hot, the only way to cure the situation was to syphon some of that blood away. I was reading a relatively new biography of Shakespeare, a kind birthday gift from my mum, and I discovered at the time truly conscientious teachers would beat the boys they discovered not smoking some ten or twenty cigarettes a day, because it was well-known smoking was good for you and thus a teacher was neglecting their responsibilities if they were to allow such laziness to go unpunished…

 

It is an extremely weak example but how do we know smoking does not prevent some terrible disease. Recently I wrote a piece, Nicorette Patch, in which a previously unknown disease is unleashed upon the world that until then had been held in check by a certain level of nicotine in the atmosphere – perhaps a poor example but simply an exercise, a thought experiment – we are so sure we have all the answers these days, but we look at the world through perhaps even more narrow perspectives than before.

 

To look at the world simply with ‘scientifically’ healthy eyes is to limit ourselves to so many other forms of ‘health’. There is a ‘psychological’ health that would seem to live at the other end of the spectrum from the ‘physical’ health we labour under. I live in a country where many people live in a neurotic state of worry. The slightest sign of a cold or flu and they will run off to the hospital and suffer days on intravenous drips, where they will not eat the skin (often the healthiest part), of fruit and vegetables because they might have some insecticide remaining even after thorough washing, where picking up and dusting off a fallen candy is almost sacrilege, and endless more precautions (many of which are little more than slowly transformed old wife’s tales passed down from generation to generation like gospel).

 

If you are constantly worrying about your health will your health not suffer…? Many connections have [apparently] been made between our mental and physical health, showing that constant states of anxiety may well have a detrimental effect on our health, and certainly if we are feeling happy and positive we seem to have a great deal more energy than if we are depressed and miserable...

 

Why write all Aphorisms from my point of view… A reader asked me recently why I write the Aphorisms from the ‘I’ perspective rather than some third party speculative tone. The answer is quite relevant so I thought I would add it. This Aphorism, perhaps more than any of the others, is thinking about facts, and how transitory they can be. The point of these Aphorisms is not to state facts, nor even to suggest the ways things might be, but more to try to understand some of the things ‘I’ encounter in everyday life, and possibly to allow others to make similar speculations themselves. If you agree or disagree it really doesn’t matter (and I’m sure some of the articles are just so alien as to not even bear close consideration), but if they make you ponder life a little more, explore your own thoughts and feelings about certain subjects you might not have considered before or simply taken for granted, then you are philosophising, and in philosophising you are perhaps, as Bertram Russell might have said, on your way to creating a new science…

 

Death Tax… this one is of deathly importance… sorry… but seriously, this is something it amazes me people do not get up and start to tear down governments over. I have known for some time that they have been thinking about introducing this tax to the country I live in, but only today did I discover they have begun to experiment in a specific city…

 

To work your entire life, and throughout that life to be subject to taxes which you may or may not be in agreement with (not even mentioning the corruption going on at higher levels which wastes a great deal of those resources…). Then, under the burden of those taxes you decide to save your money. You tuck it away into the bank, for rather than simply spend it on yourself you have decided that the future of your children is more important than any satisfaction you might gain from spending the money on yourself. Then, as you finally die after serving your country your entire life through these taxes, the government comes in and takes a further massive amount of that money… why… as a punishment for dying…?

 

What possible burden could your death be to the state, what possible reason could there be for penalising you for dying… for penalising your children for you saving your money for them and not spending it on yourself when you had the chance. Could there be a more offensive tax… I cannot think of another that could come close. I say if a country is so unable to regulate money well enough when you are alive, to not find a decent balance between what you earn and the needs of the nation, to tax you the proper amount to make life both fair and bearable, if they then are managing things so badly as to need to add a further insult to your very death, then that tool of the people is dreadfully failing in its duties and needs to be, forcibly if necessary, replaced!

 

Without being clever, or intentional, can money psychologically grease the hinges of doors that without its presence would have remained firmly shut…? It would seem that many unconscious factors can alter how we receive people. Some pay great attention to such things as first impressions, how a person looks, dresses, acts, but these are, at least on the surface, conscious reactions (although there’s every chance previous events and conditioning in their lives have guided them to make judgements on these and other factors).

 

Looking at only one of possibly an infinite amount of influences which might well affect the way we receive people let’s look at money. If we were to meet two people, perhaps on different days, but before we met them we knew a little something about them. They are very similar in many respects – both are fat, not handsome or pretty, have poor eating habits, are arrogant and more than a little overbearing, are incapable of carrying out a conversation based on equality, and as many other bad, without being damning, traits as you would like to add… but one was let’s say fairly comfortable set for life, while the other was a billionaire… do you think that many (if not all), people would somehow manage to excuse many of the traits of the incredibly rich person, while at the same time condemning the poorer one…

 

This is a very powerful example for effect, but now tone down both the negative qualities and the money. Now the negative qualities are just one or two of the above, or whatever ones you wish to conduct the experiment with, and the finances are much lower (but importantly still in a range where we find some possibility of behaviour being affected), do we now find that in our everyday interaction with others, at all levels, these factors are contributing to our behaviour…

 

Developing pleasure and fun through the necessity of duty (getting used to pets you don’t want – same as children)…

 

I have a dog, and now I have a cat – I asked for neither of these animals. The first, a friend begged me to take while he patched up his marriage, which he never patched up and I was left with the six month dog (which I predicted before but the other option was to let the thing grow up in the countryside here and trust me, dogs don’t have a particularly good life in those situations). The second, I found abandoned as a baby and if I hadn’t taken it would have [probably] have died (don’t misunderstand me – this is not natural kindness, this is duty the constant example of my father has conditioned into me).

 

I am a person who [now] no longer has a need for company. Oh, the occasional chat, dinner with friends, encounter, etc… (and even that is becoming less), and I am quite satisfied. Over the years, and recent month or so I have become adjusted to looking after these pets. I train, walk, feed, and play with them in amounts I believe to be suitable to their needs (I know, I know; like ice…). I cannot deny that I have had some pleasure from these animals: moments when they have shown great loyalty or affection, adventures we have gotten into together, times when they have stood out in some particularly exceptional way, etc…

 

Recently, for reasons it is too complicated, and not terribly interesting (in this context), to go into, they have had to go and stay with someone else for some short time (the dog also goes away when I go on holiday, but then I am in a different environment and the psychological effect is different). This has left me alone in the house…

 

Rather than feeling some heartfelt loss at their disappearance I feel very peaceful (also don’t misunderstand – I shall take them back, even though I do not need to – responsibility and duty being heavy as a mountain…). The mind I can never escape has calculated that at least fifteen days (when added together), a year is spend on these animals, which if they were not here would be a considerable adage to activities…

 

I have thus applied this to children… now there are people like my own parents, who naturally adore children. They have gladly sacrificed and would sacrifice all and everything for their children. These are the natural parents of the world, the loving, self-sacrificing, nurturing souls that should be blessed with children, but what of the others…

 

On two sides of a culture… on one side of the ocean, living within a culture which while applying pressure, is more accepting to those who choose another path I know an older couple who made a choice when they were young not to have children. The have lived a very successful life, treasuring each other, having time and resources to take holidays, explore the world, buy interesting things, indulge in great hobbies (basically using the fifteen days, multiplying it by however many more hours – plus opportunity and lack of worry, exhaustion, etc… - to do what they want/could).

 

On the other side of the ocean, living within a culture that literally demands people have a child, I know a woman who has been forced into leaving a successful career she loved, and returning home, to basically produce babies, by her family (living within said conditioned culture she accepts this as quite normal and is not overly depressed about the situation) (my mother, who is something of a genius was not allowed to go to university by her family in a time when women only nursed or worked as secretaries so had little use for a university education)…

 

While there are many fascinating psychological, both individual and communal, I could focus on here, I shall return to my original point, which is ‘how much of the joy people get from having children is becoming adjusted to the situation and gleaning what they can from it?’ While they, like me, not return the children once they were in their care, had they been free to make an educated decision for themselves, without that pressure, would they have chosen to have the children (would we choose to do so many of the things we do – which leads to another interesting question – is/are the pressure[s] of society/establishment necessary for our way of life; could it be successfully maintained (would chaos or some other form of ordered community come to exist) if people had more ‘freedom’)?

 

We make the best of what we have; it is a human condition (or at least something we have been conditioned into over millennia) to adjust, not only physically but mentally. Talk to a person with a new job they intensely dislike, a month or two later (if they are still doing it), they can bear it. A year later they will have made friends, learnt the best ways of doing it, will now claim it is ‘alright’ or they might have begun to enjoy it – is this because the job has changed, or because we cannot live in misery, so we change…?

 

Aphorisms 10

 

The next article is something of a debate with myself, so for those of you who aren’t particularly interested in games and science fiction I beg you bear with me for a while, the point I arrive at eventually is one of real merit (or completely pointless, but then what isn’t…).

 

I have been recently playing a very good game; I would say the best game made so far, not only for picture/graphic quality, tactics, action, suspense, but perhaps most of all for the story. I shall give you a very quick overview so you can understand what I’m trying to get at…

 

The game starts this year; a single man and his teenage daughter (good relationship), are at home watching TV. Very quickly it unfolds that there’s some kind of pandemic spreading through America until the next night a neighbour bursts through the window, raving for blood and the usual zombie end of the world catastrophe (except these ones are fast), ensues…

 

As you, your brother and daughter try to escape you discover the town has been cordoned off by the military in an attempt to quarantine the disease. The soldiers are ordered to shoot anyone trying to leave the town as it is impossible to determine who is and isn’t infected. In the following struggle your daughter is shot and dies in your arms…

 

The game then jumps forward twenty years; mankind is reduced to a rationed existence living in small quarantine areas within a few of the still habitable cities. Everything is ruined, either from time, scavengers or the military where they tried to bomb the problem away… mankind is on its last legs…

 

You have become a mercenary of sorts, literally willing to do anything to survive. I won’t go into too many details as I could write about this story all night, but events unfold until you are commissioned to transport a teenage girl across the country to reach a laboratory (obviously a journey wracked with danger – or not much fun – zombies of various types, human gangs killing, raping etc… to survive, the military, and various natural problems to the journey). Fairly near the beginning you discover she is immune to the illness, perhaps the only person in twenty years, and somewhere within her might be the salvation of humanity (she becomes the most precious commodity in the world).

 

You’re a pretty bitter, not exactly heartless, but certainly ruthless, survivor. At first you want nothing to do with the girl (you are repeatedly looking at your broken watch – the last gift from your daughter the night before she dies), and she’s a pretty tough thing who repays your dislike for dislike. Slowly as the game, and about nine month journey, unfolds you grow closer and closer, saving each other, beginning to rely on each other, etc… until about three quarters of the game through your barriers collapse and she comes to an equal status in your heart as your previous daughter.

 

Obviously you’re a pretty dangerous guy and you will now go to any extreme to protect her. I’m missing a great deal of the emotive attraction, and beauty of the game, for it truly is a masterpiece (and I say that from the absolute position of someone who believes he can recognise a moment of genius when he reads/watches/listens [to] one…).

 

Finally, against all odds, and after more than a few twists and turns to the plot, you manage to get her to the laboratory where the few remaining freedom fighters struggling to return government to power over the military are still experimenting with vaccines. The girl nearly drowns just before you reach them so when you arrive she is unconscious and taken away for testing.

 

This is where the real discussion begins…

 

You are then informed by the leader, who is also the aunt of the child (adding to the moral difficulties now faced by everyone), that the only way to extract the necessary materials to make a vaccine is to kill the girl as they will need to harvest some of her brain (yea, yea…). At this point you act, and act violently… you go through the complex like a tornado (if successful, as it is still a challenging game), and eventually find her just in time, unconscious on an operating table.

 

There is no choice to the ending, you kill the doctors (actually you don’t need to kill them but by now I certainly was so involved with Joel, the man, that I was fuming angry with them and beat them to death with a nailed bat), and rescue her; finally before you leave you also kill the leader woman, stating if you left her alive she would just continue the hunt (the girl is unconscious when you rescue her and you lie to her that they tried to use her and it was unsuccessful).

 

This game has been the subject of a great deal of debate (it is one of the first games to ever score a 10.0 in the reviews), and I watched one of these debates live on the Internet a couple of nights ago. I would very much have liked to have joined with this debate as the people involved seemed to have a very shallow reading of the script. In the debate they simply accused Joel (the protagonist), of being selfish, and sacrificing the future of humanity for the sake of the satisfaction he receives from his surrogate daughter.

 

I absolutely agree that Joel acts from self-interest, but I think the writer is also adding an element of unconscious morality that the Joel character could never explain, but lives within him from a time before he became the ruthless survivor he has had to become. I believe (or perhaps only hope, but many of the signs seem to be clearly there – strongly recommend either playing or watching someone else play the game), that he understands intuitively that we cannot sacrifice even a single child, even for ‘humanity’ (nor even an adult, but here the line becomes more difficult to empathise with).

 

I shall tell another story, bear with me…

 

I once read of a ruthless (evil if you choose to use such a word – and perhaps I would under these circumstances), warlord (more than two thousand years ago now), who marched with his army from city to city. At each city he gave the inhabitants a choice – they could sacrifice a single baby, smash its skull against the top of the city wall so all the inhabitants would know of the action, and he would leave the city untouched, they would just have to pay him a tribute once a year and send men as soldiers if he needed them. If they did not capitulate he would kill every third man, cut the right hand off every third man, and sell the rest, and the women into slavery. The entirety of the city’s children would be killed so they would not grow up seeking revenge.

 

Each and every city complied with his terrible demand, for was it not simple math – sacrifice the one child so all the rest (and everyone else involved), would survive… He finally came to a city led by a very great man (Plutarch writes of him in one of his surviving Lives). The inhabitants would have first also surrendered to the demand, but this man made a speech, some of which is still recorded. I won’t repeat the speech, but I will paraphrase a little…

 

He argued that we will all die, even, at some point, the race will end and it will be as if we never existed. Nothing of what we have done, accomplished, our crimes and our heroism, will survive. He claimed that to make this decision, to act in a way as evil, or perhaps even more evil, as the enemy leader would be to condemn ourselves. If we willingly allowed a child to die so we might live, individual or community, we would be lowering ourselves to the level, or lower, than the man making such demands. He claimed he would rather die than have to face himself after such an act, for then what would the rest of his life be worth…

 

His appeal won the population, who loved him well, and the city refused. The leader, angry at such heroic defiance, perhaps holding a mirror of sorts up to his twisted soul, had every man, woman and child in the city killed, the city pulled down, and even the land around the city salted so crops would not grow there again for a very long time…

 

I think that the writer of the game, hopefully intentionally, understood and tried to convey a similar idea in the game.

 

One further point, and this is mine… what right do any of us have to make a choice for all humanity. To say that I shall kill this child so I can save all of you. To take that decision away from me, and you, is arrogance of the highest degree – to say that just because you are willing to sacrifice the child to save yourself you believe that all the rest of us would do the same (perhaps you would, but that is not for any individual to decide – the arrogance, and the presumption, to steal that choice from me…)…

 

Note - By the basic rules of the social contract I can make any decision I want if it does not harm another or in some way infringe upon their property. There is nothing in there which claims it will be ok to harm you, or deprive you of your property because it would be good for the majority… if that were the case then we would redistribute the money possessed by the small minority rich throughout the world (also material goods)…

 

Desperation is a powerful instinct, but is it not the ability to defy instinct that makes us humanity…

 

The Age Factor – remember those infuriating moments when you were young and someone older completely dismissed you with ‘you’re too young to understand’? Beware the patronising factor – it is a very easy line to cross between knowing that someone is missing some of the facts, perspective, because they lack experience, and dismissing what they have to say because it might threaten some of your preconceived ideas.

 

Beware the youthful arrogance factor – it is very easy to cross the line between having new ideas, born of a new generation and the ever-changing way of life, which older people are either unprepared or incapable of understanding/accepting and charging into realms in which your youth prevents you from having a clearer understanding of a larger picture than you are necessarily aware of…

 

Everything you think you know, you know because you want to… There is no such thing as objectivity – any idea leading to experiments, leading to assessment and research, leading to testing and truths… all come from the same source, some human being who had an idea… that idea came from a particular psyche, a conditioned, fashioned thing reacting to so much unconscious data and so many drives ‘know thyself’ is almost comical (in the darkest of ironies). Why did a person decide to test shoes and not socks, why sex and not love…? It was in their predisposed makeup to follow that path and not the other, and as they are already predisposed to such exploration they are already predisposed to arriving at certain results. Everything they attempt, every test they conceive, every result they assess, will already be influenced by those predispositions (and every good scientist will tell you exactly the same thing, which is why other scientists, with other predispositions, will come right along and try very hard to destroy the ‘truths’). This is exactly why science has so very few ‘Laws’, and so many hypothesises, because it is only [so far] conditionally true.

 

Note – The example of the ‘white swan’ was the example given when I was at university. Until we went to Australia (or perhaps New Zealand), all the swans ever found in the world had always been white, so ‘swan’ had become synonymous with ‘white’, so when the discovered a creature in a country which so closely resembled a swan, but was unmistakably black, there was a large controversy over whether to change the dictionary explanations, the encyclopaedias, the text books, etc… or whether to simply create a new species to fit them into…

 

Progressive affection – people really are addicted to this ‘love (or affection), at first sight’, but steering away from a feeling which seems to only be driven by pure aesthetic machinery, why would there be some great difference between friendships and love, are they not just slight different gradations of the same thing, and for that matter aren’t hate and ambivalence, and all the other adjective/metaphors all slightly different dots on the same line, a line capable of divisions far smaller than Plank ever dreamed…

 

There not only seems to be a close relationship between all these points, but they appear quite capable of moving, up and down, even in a moment, but their natural state would seem to be a gradual, steady increase. We are none of us able to exist in a constant state of misery; the mind will slowly adjust to any situation, eventually making the best of it (even if that best is simply a necessary delusion), but more importantly, the more time we spend with people (again in the same way as friendships and love), the more experiences we share with them, the more we grow towards each other – less things surprise us about the other, the sharp edges wear away, we can expose our true personality a little more, we can be slightly less embarrassed of making mistakes, and many more of those barriers which separate the one of us from the other.

 

So as time and experience passes the more affection we feel for those we associate with and the less embarrassed we are to show it… what does it then say of the personality who finds this surprising, of those who don’t/can’t see the gradation, but imagine the process as leaps and bounds… needs further consideration…

 

Dog, Pita and Princess… the names we give to things, one of the ways we develop relationships with them. Once again the duality, multiplicity, of the mind is such a fascinating thing – by choosing names for things which denote little more than species, duty, and untouchable ideals, we are psychologically distancing ourselves from the thing (the reasons for this would seem particular to each case so going into the details would not be greatly beneficial), but (see above), even though we attempt to place barriers between the entity and ourselves, time and experience goes straight to war, slowly, like a relentless tide, wearing away at the powerful walls placed in the way, protecting and preventing the salt, both corrosive and life-giving, from flooding our reserves.

 

Blind – the consequences of our actions are infinite, and without a doubt holding yourself as criminal for every domino effect would be a pretty miserable way to exist. The question is where do we draw the line…? Direct results are obviously ours to claim, we are utterly responsible for the immediate consequences of our actions and stupidity is without a doubt no excuse to plead.

 

The further distanced by events and the choices of others then the less unequivocal responsibility, but other factors cannot be denied – if we are fully aware of potential consequences, even if we know they are far in the future, we go ahead with this knowledge in mind, and they do come about, we can in no way excuse ourselves.

 

The question now arises – do people take responsibility for their actions, or do they simply pass such responsibility off onto the closest possible scapegoat, or target someone they simply have a psychological propensity to wish harm (and a thought can be harmful in much the same way it can be cathartic), or most frequently just claim they ‘did not know’, but knowing is about thinking.

 

What separates a human from an animal… biologically, nothing at all, so if you wish to actually give yourself superior airs and graces, you will have to come up with some other distinguishing element… some might say it is the ability to think, to reason, to work out the consequences of actions, to see the longer sequence of events, and thus to plan more successfully…

 

If this is true, if you factor this into what elevates you above the animal, then it would be very difficult to plead ignorance to consequences you could have easily foreseen with just a little of that distinguishing element you claim…

 

The psychology of helping an insect… walking to a taxi today, past several groups of people, I spotted a rather large and intimidating insect, closely resembling a beetle, perhaps the size of my thumb, struggling to right itself from where it had somehow managed to get itself incapacitated on its back.

 

I walked past it…

 

Moments later I turned back, approached the thing, allowed it to make purchase on my thumb, lifted it up and shook it back off again so it could fly away.

 

Those are the facts, but what of the processes… First, I was painfully aware of what I call the laowai factor (laowai is a term for foreigner in the country I live in). The laowai factor goes something like this: there are no people with long yellow hair in this country (or if there are they came from another country), there are very few people from another country here, until only a few decades ago it was almost impossible to come to this country, the further you are from a [relatively] developed city, and I even mean as close as the suburbs, the more people stare at you. This can be anything from complimentary to unsettling and uncomfortable, depending on what you are doing to who is staring. I am, perhaps more so than many others, particularly uncomfortable with people staring at me, especially when I might be the victim of negative speculation.

 

Second, the beetle/flying thing was very intimidating. A huge, shiny green monster, violently bumping around on its back and making, while only the sound of its wings futilely trying to work, a very aggressive sound, and when its hard, almost sharp legs and feet gripped my thumb it was a decidedly disturbing sensation, almost causing me to simply flip the whole thing away in disgusted and unreasonable fear.

 

Third, the whole thing seemed to be completely pointless; there are infinite more of the things, which will spend their lives flying around, eating whatever they eat, making more of themselves so they might fall back on the ground or die an equally meaningless death…

 

Why did I turn back and help the thing…?

 

It’s a very difficult question to answer, especially when, like me, you believe that many of the reasons for the things we do come from unconscious drives, but the image that immediately fixated itself in my head was its helplessness. It was not sick, or dying, or in some way inadequate, but for reasons beyond its control it had found itself in a situation where it could not, without aid, return to its life. The next process that occurred to me was that none of these other people had helped; it might have been that they had not noticed, but even then that has no impact on the drives that urged me to help as I considered that none of these people (some of which must have noticed as it was pretty damn conspicuous) had decided to help. As I said, the thing was not pleasant, and even I, pretty much untouched by irrational phobias, was disconcerted by its alien form and sounds, but if they had noticed it they had either passed it by deciding not to or they had not even considered aiding such a distantly related entity.

 

Two things then happened almost simultaneously; the first was I found myself empathising with its plight, obviously not being stuck on my back, but being helpless due to unknown variables I had not been able to foresee, and having no one to help me (or no one willing to)… and at the same time there were people there to help, plenty of people, and at least one (me), had thought about the whole thing enough to know that with a very small charitable effort, demanding no thanks or repayment, the entirety of its problems could be resolved. Then I was attacked by a powerful sense of self-revulsion… that because I was a) worried about something’s appearance and manner, and far more powerfully b) because I was worried what other people might think of me, I was going to abandon the thing to its fate (and considering it was lying in the middle of a relatively busy car park, that fate didn’t appear to bode well…).

 

There is every chance I turned, returning to aid the, as far as I’m concerned, unthinking thing, mostly because I wanted to be able to look into that metaphysical mirror and not want to vomit. How many times does this happen… obviously not necessarily beetles and their kin… but we are easily in a position to help, but, for various reasons (and I’m not talking about situations where we might suffer real harm due to our charitable actions; that surely needs another section all on its own…), we do not extend aid… it is, I think, a worrying question and one which might be applied constantly to an entire way of living (if someone is of a moral turn of mind).

 

Meditating in a crowded place… Watching a film the other day, a particularly good movie by Tom Cruise, a little old now, called: The Last Samurai, in which Tom is trying to learn how to use the sword (wooden practice ones), and one of the locals runs up and says to him “Too many minds.” When Tom questions him he, in broken English, tried to explain… “Mind the sword, mind the opponent, mind the people watching… too many minds… no mind!”

 

It’s not terribly difficult to understand, and I have treated something similar about a stone in the night, and our worries being exactly what cause those worries to come true, but with some differences. The ability to concentrate all one’s attention upon a single task, or even further, to have that task so habitualised, one has no mind at all when completing the action.

 

I was boxing in the gym today; I practice this almost daily, and for about half an hour each time. I don’t use gloves or wraps and in my time I have been trained by my father, by an Olympic competitor, by a gold medal Kungfu teacher, by an ex-mercenary, by a guy who trained in the CIA camps in the Philippines, by professional instructors when working in a medium secure hospital for the criminals with mental problems; there have been many more but they would be the very best I learnt from. I train daily, mixing the styles over the years into something which cannot be called boxing, or kungfu, or knife/stick fighting, of knife work, sword work, chain or quarterstaff work, and more, but some, when I’m at my best, fluid combination of all where I can switch from one to the other quite gracefully.

 

This is all just a little background and related to both the movie above and to the insect piece from further above. In the gym is a very good bag, maybe one hundred kilos, about a metre in diameter, and standing a good two and a half metres high – perfect for really letting go. If I go to the gym in the morning the place is nearly empty, and I work the bag like running water, fast and powerful, but today I went to the gym in the early evening when it was very busy, and as there are no other ‘real’ users of the bag, my efforts drew considerable attention (this is not the first time, but for the sake of the piece…).

 

I have known of this technique for a long time, but watching that movie so recently caused the thought and desire to be freshly awoken and powerful, so I assessed myself as I tried to ‘no mind’ – every time I managed to reach the state where I not only forgot people were watching, but managed to not plan my actions, I effortless danced around the bag, precise and powerful but fluid as mercury, but the moment I recalled I was the centre of attention I would falter my shots and find myself, if not clumsy, then certainly far from my potential.

 

So, when the monks go off to find their inner peace, when they remove themselves from the world to find their ‘no mind’, are they really deceiving themselves… it would seem to be easy, or easier, to detach themselves from the world when the distractions are far removed. So what would be the result of trying to meditate in the market place… to simply sit down by the side of the road beside a busy school or shopping centre and then trying to detach themselves from the world…?

 

Note: is this something like the greatest athletes, musicians, etc… do, when the lose themselves completely in the moment of their effort/action, while hundreds, perhaps thousands, are concentrating and [unintentionally] doing their best to distract them… are they far closer to reaching that state of ‘no mind’ than those distant hermits perched upon the mountain tops…?

 

Aphorisms 11

 

Dissociation… while it can easily be argued that separation and detachment from the world can have many negative aspects (difficulties – or lack of desire – in forming intimate relationships, developing no lasting roots in a place, or abiding attachment for things or activities), (I’m not referring to the almost mystical ideal of detachment you can read about in Taoist and Buddhist texts, but rather something a little more… attainable, and less escapist, I shall explain below…), there certainly seem to be positive aspects, in regard to mental health, involved.

 

When something… traumatic… occurs, and I use the term in a more encompassing sense than something physically or mentally damaging to some kind of extreme; I use the term more in the sense of something which shocks the mind from its normal routine pathways, it will be disturbing in the sense it plays itself out, over and over, in the mind, and we begin to obsess over all the implications, imagine all the following, possible and impossible, scenarios, regret all the details (choices or accidental variables), which have led us to this point, etc…

 

It becomes very easy to fall into a circular, downward, spiral as such rumination can become addictive as we continually reinforce its power – we try to repress or supress such thoughts, battle against them, denying them, and thus the reinforcement becomes something far more powerful than it might have need to be. However, by allowing all the feelings free rein, almost allowing them to flood the mind without resistance (writing can also be a very good form of catharsis here; allowing the words to flow in a story… something full of rage, impotence, passion, etc…), letting the fire burn down the entire structure so there remains little left in the morning and one is forced to begin to rebuild right from foundational scratch, to use an interesting metaphor, one is able to emerge on the other side (and I assume the other side would be directly related to the strength of the trauma), without any annoying scars which have failed to heal properly and continue to… irritate.

 

Married people (people suffering under the jackboot of the establishment), want/need single people, those living through a different philosophy, to be ‘unhappy’ with their existence – other lifestyles powerfully repudiate their… errors… (this is only in reference to the people who married for the wrong reasons – not for a true feeling of commitment to another individual, but because a, or a number of, external pressures drove them to take the course of action).

 

How often do I encounter people who ‘pity’ me because I live a solitary (note the conscious decision not to use the word ‘lonely’), lifestyle, but upon closer examination, my lifestyle, relatively free from many of the restrictions they endure (and do not think I do not have many responsibilities or commitments, or I’m referring to those who happily embrace the ‘restrictions’ imposed upon their lives), seems to be far preferable from theirs (I refer to those who seem ‘unhappy’ – a dangerous word to use in reference to another as invading the secrets of their mind is not easy or necessarily reliable).

 

It is, perhaps, a necessity for them to place me securely into a concept box, labelling me ‘unhappy’ and in the same way Nietzsche suggested the impotent Christians revenged themselves upon their conquering Romans, using ‘pity’ (and even possibly ‘forgiveness’), to exact the psychological balance (victory). If they do not so ‘label’ me would my lifestyle not highlight the possibility they could have made other choices (not necessarily mine – and how many of mine have been real choices – but at least come to an understanding that other choices were indeed, at least, possible…). To thus place me into a comfortable place beneath them they can justify their [miserable] way of living… their capitulation and admitted (at least unconsciously), defeat.

 

Is there really ‘no accounting for taste’? Agreed, the variables constantly bombarding an individual will even develop different personality traits in twins, living in the same place, going through [on the surface at least] all the same actions… but look how many times the general feeling, or the feeling within a particular group, will influence an individual into preferential behaviour, how, if explained in detail by someone an individual feels is in some way worthy of merit, the individual might come to an intellectual preference for a thing (which can easily translate into a physical one), how, to become close to another, the continual participation in an action can slowly develop into a truer feeling of preference, etc… are these factors in the study of aesthetics forever beyond our understanding and prediction, or do we step remorselessly closer to a complete understanding of our own innermost workings…?

 

A name – the construction of qualities… there are many ways for us to define a thing… its use, its components, the value people put upon it, and I would suppose as many other ways as the mind can perceive a thing… but one linguistic way would be the sum of its qualities, or even some of those qualities… for a rather dull example let’s take a wall, or rather a window, or perhaps both… I was in the classroom the other day and quite interestingly a little argument began among the students as to whether the wall, which is entirely made of glass, was not in fact a wall, but actually a window… my first instinct was to go with the group who believed it a window (and here, if I examine myself, I find a fascinating insight – there was no obvious reason to support window rather than wall, but that’s where my preference immediately went, and then with some introspection I realised that due to my need to be seen teaching the children – for the sake of new customers – I thought of the thing as some form of observation portal…).

 

However, on further consideration I realised it was only a predisposed pressure; in reality it is simply both (and more), in that it possesses the quality of separating two places it can be labelled ‘wall’ and in that it possesses the quality of transparency, allowing for people on either side to look through, it can also be labelled ‘window’ (in that marker pens could be used on the surface it could be a board, etc…).

 

Note – mentioned, I believe, in a former Aphorism, the naming of things can be understood, from a certain perspective, as murder – a thing has, perhaps, infinite qualities, depending upon the observer, and as such when we name it, we essentially limit it to the qualities contained within that concept, thus destroying all the other qualities it is fashioned from… Psychologically this can be a very dangerous action, for when we limit a person to certain adjectives, we diminish them in ‘infinite’ ways – the results of such an action would be very difficult to assess, but surely the unconscious would fight against such labelling… perhaps feeling most dreadfully underestimated, even when treated to the most complimentary of adjectives (although if the unconscious is particularly used to being so diminished perhaps it would rejoice in a little compliment…).

 

Person A,B and C… judgement is relative… person A meets person B, they like each other almost immediately… person B goes on to meet person C, they have almost the opposite reaction to each other… person C soon meets person A, and they also like each other very much…

 

Person A is inspired, admires, finds similarities, thinks is very helpful, etc… by person B. Person B dislikes the manner, the attitude, the arrogance, the humility, etc… of person C. Person A finds exactly those trait[s] likeable, attractive, desirous, necessary, etc… in person C.

 

Tomorrow their environmental situations have changed a little… and all the relationships end differently.

 

Personalities shaped and moulded by the environment… personalities stamping their own design onto the environment… a little of both… the strong personality, prepared to impose creation, meeting equal (or stronger), resistance from a powerful environment.

 

A normal personality, if surrounded by a situation/environment, will usually adjust itself to fit in; unconsciously or consciously it will begin to take on the mannerisms of those around it. For example, if the people the normal personality like to socialise in the pub, or play sports, or use gossip as the medium for their relationships, then it will not be long before that personality will be doing much the same – even if not long before it wold have strongly denied any interest in such things.

 

Then along comes the particularly strong personality, which has the opposite effect. If strong enough, and those around relatively normal, it will begin to stamp its own particularities upon those susceptible. If the personality is encouraging, hardworking, precise; in other words such a personality which can inspire those around to be closer to their ideal of themselves (either one already in their possession or one even inspired by the new personality) (or in rarer, possibly negative, situations), and actually begin to change the environment into something more fitting to its own perspective of what should be.

 

Lastly… what happens when the strong personality begins to try (automatically in most cases I would think), to work its magic upon an environment in which already exists a particularly strong… natures… in which case it finds itself rejected (possibly even abused). What then happens to the rejected personality – does it withdraw, either physically or mentally (or both), defending itself as best it might (for would it not think that the environment doing the rejecting simply wrong – which it might, but not necessarily, be…), from what might be a crushing blow to its surety… (bears further investigation…)

 

The world is measured by opposites or similarities – an anti-climax, you’ve been so looking forward to something, built up such expectations, that when the even finally arrives, no matter how wondrous, it is still something of a disappointment (although going back to it a little later can improve original opinions), but what of the opposite – something very few people take note of, for it is not in our nature to concentrate on what has turned out to be not quite as bad as we imagined (unless neurotically, in a very general sense of the word, engaged) – we are dreading something, something we are sure will occur, our imagination has built it up to similar, if negative, proportions as its opposing sibling, and then we find we are not nearly so disturbed as our imagination had threatened. While the effect is still a negative one, which is why we would not research the sensation with very close scrutiny, if we are to think carefully it is a near identical situation…

 

Entropy – eventual disorder… so an interesting way of understanding possibly the most important law of physics – the second law of thermodynamics – which says all closed system will tend towards the greatest disorder.

 

Take my lounge… untidy… a little… dirty… not bad… add several animals… the structure becomes more and more difficult to maintain, unless the cleaner is injected into the closed system and uses energy to reorganise the structure (there’s nothing in the laws of physics to say the animals won’t accidentally cause the living room to get cleaner in their actions… it’s just really improbable).

 

Inflate that out to the entire universe… there is no cleaner (unless you would like to introduce God into the equation – and then you have to deal with Him wondering why you’re calling him a cleaner…)… there is no further external source to inject, and thus the mess created by all the tendencies to disorder, which is far more probably than order, will become greater and greater until it reaches complete disorder, and then there is nothing left to add even the slightest shred…

 

Duty and Guilt – what’s the difference… Mark Twain, one of the first to suggest something like behaviourism, argues that we do everything for our own pleasure. Many today would agree with such a concept. If we do something for another it is for one of two reasons, although both are branches growing from the same tree; on one side we do an act for another because we get some satisfaction from the action, on the other side, when we are acting for the sake of another it is because if we do not act we shall feel bad, and thus to avoid this uncomfortable, disagreeable feeling (to one degree or another), we act.

 

Guilt then would be one of the names we put upon these various uncomfortable feelings, from guilt, due to whatever conditioning caused a reaction to whatever environmental stimuli, we are then forced to act, or not act, and thus assuaging such feelings. Is duty not simply the antithetical name for guilt, acting as constrained by the desire not to feel guilt – is duty not acting against our own perfect desires for the sake of something which we feel is in some way more important that our individual wants, something we have for some reason placed on a pedestal above what we [in this case] consider out petty needs…

 

The next piece has nothing of conclusions; more in the nature of speculation on something I recently encountered/participated…

 

A guy came for an interview in the school; he was responding to an agent, who had informed him (true), there were full time places available in our school. His resume didn’t look good – he’d not finished a year’s contract anywhere before and a couple of the very few previous positions had been for much less time. He was a little overbearing, but we were in great need and he’d come from another city, so I allowed him the chance to demonstrate a class…

 

As usual the girls from the office, teachers, teaching assistants and anyone else we cold round up, pretended to be students while I sat at the side with a pencil and paper to take notes. Also, as usual, I sent a quick message around to a few other people in local schools asking if they knew anything about the guy.

 

The demo was awful… mostly because he, as so many do, assume the ‘kids’ have a level far above reality (this may be due to a rather foolish, but understandable, assumption – as they are really adults, with good English skills, they can understand him – but they are informed the ‘students’ are of a particular age group, so…). However, because he treated the ‘kids’ as high level English speakers, and while he didn’t play enough (or any, really), games with them, he didn’t do well. Also, as instructed, the girls pretend not to understand higher level instructions, at which point he actually became a little threatening…

 

After about ten minutes of pain I called a stop, and took him for an interview. I did this mostly for him to feel he was getting a real try, but I already knew I couldn’t use him for full time (there was still at this point the chance he could do a little part time, as while he wasn’t any good he had clearly been around kids before – the manner – and with the right training…).

 

In the interview I tried to talk to him a little about some of the problems in the demonstration, but at the first sign of criticism he became openly hostile (this is a pretty big guy, who actually puts weightlifting on his resume as an ‘interest’ and who claims to have military experience).

 

As some of you might know, I don’t really care if you’re a professional killer, so I was unintimidated. I continued to try to communicate with him, but now he’d seemed to have lost interest, replying to text messages during the interview. I, as politely as possible, noted that it was a little unprofessional to respond to messages while being interviewed for a job, to which he actually became belligerent, making himself as large as possible and leaning over the desk in an attempt to intimidate me…

 

I became quite excited, and leaning in as close as possible I asked him if he thought threatening the employer would make his chances of employment more likely. I’ve known some really dangerous, violent people in my life, and this wasn’t one of them, he’s a bully, and he did what most bullies do when they are called – he folded. He then became the most sycophant cretin I have ever had the displeasure to meet.

 

I’d had enough and just told him to get out, to which he complained in a mewling kind of whine the agent had promised him the job! Almost incredulous I informed him it wasn’t the agent’s school and he should really take up those kinds of promises with the agent. He left…

 

Those are pretty much the ‘facts’ as I saw them. Later I received several warnings from other schools (ones he’d neglected to write on his resume), urging me to not only not employ him but to be very careful as he was considered dangerous (I really didn’t think so but I have certain resources I can call upon) – he been fired from one school for [pseudo] strangling a kid. Another school had been terrified to fire him even after he’d treated the office girls and female teachers to mild sexual harassment, and more…

 

In my experience this was the best example of a sociopath as I have ever met. This was a guy who, in his own eyes, could do no wrong; whatever he saw, or the actions affecting him, was either instantly assimilated into his own glowing ideal of himself, or if this was impossible just crushed away – while on the other side, the real world, which was constantly rejecting him, was assimilated as the truth of evil, small-minded people like myself, jealous of him so trying to hold him back… there was nothing of what you and I might call reality in his acceptance of the information flowing into him from the outside.

 

The story doesn’t end there…

 

I had completely forgotten the whole thing – but then a friend, who teaches for us and wanting to show another friend who he worked for, typed the name of our school into the Internet and one of the hits was on an international ESL (English as a Second Language), site. These sites, for those who don’t know, offer everything to do with English; schools can advertise, teachers can place their resumes or apply for jobs, helpful teaching ideas, etc… also, teachers who have had a bad experience with a school can post a warning, and other teachers can reply and discuss.

 

Some of you might have read Banter with a Nutter (if so you will find the exact letter this mad guy posted and my reply – if you haven’t read it then get to it as I’m not repeating it here).

 

Now to the final point of the… thoughts… another friend, having read all this, kept an eye on that website and several (not many, just five… I do hope that most who read the two letters saw mine was far more reasonable and rational, and just didn’t bother to reply, but I have no way of knowing that – although one of my readers said this exact thing to me a few days later), replied to me. I was then subjected to some abuse – I was a sellout (and several other adjectives that possibly shouldn’t have been written on a public website), who’d either sacrificed my morals to become a director of studies, or simply hadn’t been able to be a real teacher so I told other teachers what to do, I was an uneducated moron who couldn’t make it anywhere but China, Chinese schools were a joke, and the people were all lazy, etc…

 

It is, admittedly, difficult to be neutral in this, as I am directly involved, but I like to think I can retain some professionalism… in the two letters, the sociopath spelt words wrong, used poor grammar, then claimed to be a teacher, posting on a teaching site, and to finish his letter he started ranting on about conspiracies and international espionage and racist politics. I ignored the latter and commented on the facts of the interview… to these two letters [some] people responded by (and without having any real information but the two letters), simply attacking the character of the person who wrote a realistic, fair (if not kind), letter…

 

As I said, I hope any normal people who might have read the letters would simply have passed them by as a madman and a legitimate response, but what would make you attack a person you don’t know, a school you have no experience of, and a nation you can’t have met more than a handful of representatives (if any), of… in defence of a guy who is clearly stupid, shouldn’t be teaching and considering some of the nonsense about conspiracies obviously mad…

 

The assumption to believe we are the centre of the universe, and thus everything which happens to us is in some way a crime, a sin, a universal injustice, rather than the nonchalance of an individual or a group (which is a humbling thought, enough to send you raving at the inconsequential nature of ‘I’), is a powerful one. So too is the feeling others [should] agree with us just because we feel we are right (I include myself in that – the letters are a wonderful example), and then to gather armies of imagined supporters under names like ‘we… people…’ – dangerous arrogances (a polite way of saying madness)…

 

Which centre of the world are you… the grammatical conception of ‘I’ growing from a sense of singularity, unity, and self-realisation – the Cartesian ‘doubting thing’, leads us [necessarily] to place ourselves at the centre of the universe – and as such we are; I am, you are – in a similar way every point in the universe is a physical centre, the space around growing like some vast balloon… but how do you centre yourself within those surroundings?

 

Here is a conscious that sees itself as deserving of everything, the world itself being unfair when plans and ambitions go astray; there another, blessing fortune when it comes knocking unexpectedly at the door – in a life so filled with unforeseeable variables, when we know without doubt we are at the centre – the most important thing in creation – how do we balance the injustice of all the lights not flickering to green before our passage, with the conception of how utterly insignificant the ‘I’ is, even though it is placed directly in the middle (just like all the others)?

 

Some don’t, either biting and gnashing in endless bitterness (or arrogant in receiving what it rightfully theirs…), others, those blessed with fortune (and good sense will often help fortune unlock the right safes…), accept what is their due and… glide… and most… most just never think about it, grinning when things go well, grimacing when they don’t, and forgetting about it almost immediately as they travel the path of the mean… but what of those few, those few who see it all… all the normatives… all the ‘should[s]’… maybe one day I’ll tell you…

 

Man is paradox only when distinguished by the contemplative ‘I’ – the unconscious, the ‘I’ is forever exiled from, is the pure unified whole – struggle from this realisation can be harmful…

 

Related but not joined with the previous [continuing] work on perspective – how to justify neurosis… trap a person in the house as much as possible, have members of the family take turns checking up, and when they are not available then doing so oneself, if they are unaccounted for calling and calling – if it was a boyfriend doing this people would think him insanely jealous, if it was someone who wanted to be a boyfriend people would call the police… if it a parent… people put it down to parental concern…

 

Usually making no excuses, just avoiding uncomfortable questions as to the ‘why’, a rare moment of [non]truth (‘non’ because while the conscious might persuade the ‘I’ this is the reason, it has little to do with the possessive nature of the psychology), in admitting they are trying to keep her ‘pure’… that is until they have chosen out someone they think is suitable (in other words someone who will live with or nearby, who’s family are friends and live near, who has enough money to take care of them when they are old, etc…), to stop her being ‘pure’, as if that kind of purity is only a tool (or an excuse…)…

 

Lazy hypochondriacs – treating damage control with myths rather than actively attempting to strengthen… I sleep too little, I eat irregularly (although usually relatively healthy food), I smoke heavily, my flat is not really as hygienic as perhaps it could be (though the cleaner does a very whirlwind job), if I drop something tasty on floor not obviously dirty I pick it right back up again and eat it, I eat food past its date of it doesn’t seem bad, I cut the rotten parts of fruit and still eat the good, its possible I don’t wash my clothes quite often enough… well, the list goes on… and on… and on… but you get the idea.

 

People keep telling me I will get ill, I will contract diseases, I will age to young... well, that list goes on too…

 

In my life I have tried most drugs, I have drunk far too much for far too long, I have starved and overeaten, been beaten, stabbed, battered and far worse… but what I have always done is exercise… and I have exercised heavily.

 

People run about taking medicine, vitamins and supplements of all kinds, they sleep on hard mattresses, they listen to every kind of mumbo jumbo about their health, they go and see specialists to advise them on what names to call their children, on what colour to paint their living room, on which days to do… whatever… in other words they go to extreme lengths to ensure their longevity… except… the difficult one… going into the gym, or outside… and running (lifting weights, playing sports, practicing yoga, etc…). The one obvious way to maintain good health, the one absolutely ensured (without accident), to extend the span they are lucky enough to squander, and obviously the difficult one, because what worthwhile (both physically and mentally), is easy… and they use every excuse possible to avoid it, while desperately scurrying around to find ‘quick-fixes’.

 

Note: could it be a cultural reaction, a neurotic phobia generated by circumstance and spreading out to pervade an entire people in something akin to Jung’s collective unconscious (without the mysticism), can neurosis be catching… (or it could just be people are bloody lazy…)?

Aphorisms 12

 

Lazy or hopeless… if your day in day out was the same, with no realistic prospect of improvement, if you’re not educated believing you are the centre of the universe and life should be handed to you on a platter…

 

How many people love their job… there’s an old saying which goes something like: ‘love like you’ve never been hurt, work like you don’t need the money and dance as if no one is watching’. How many people do you see, if you take the time to look around, working in a job where they have little or no prospects? If you really look around that’s most people; the cleaners, the builders, the people working in canteens, the receptionists, the secretaries, the assistants, etc… and go a little higher, the mechanics, the painters, the IT people, the people who input data, and on and on and on… and especially all those factory workers who produce all those things we are conditioned into believing we need, or might make our lives just a little better (and maybe they will). How many people does it take working in the infrastructure for the small percentage at the top to keep themselves in all the beautiful things the people in the infrastructure dream of having…?

 

Look around… do you see people working hard; going to work all day long for not so very much, sometimes only just enough to struggle through the year, if they are very lucky having a small holiday, if they are not so lucky having to wait to replace some vital appliance? They have children, and then save all they have in the hopes they might give their children the chance to live a life a little better than their own (while in reality if they hadn’t had the children they might well have had better lives themselves – discounting those who truly take joy in children).

 

The television keeps on at us… the companies selling the beautiful products invest huge amounts of money into the movies and shows so that all those people who go and watch the movies begin to dream about having one of their products (learning to associate them with the adventure, success, etc… of the characters in the movie as well as seeing the thing in the conditioned light of necessity/pleasure). The governments encourage this, because working hard and spending money keeps people paying their taxes and keeps the stability (as well as the government’s wages… and perks).

 

Sometimes, through some random chance, or fortunate calculation, someone we know or hear about, makes it… they get those things we dream about, reinforcing the belief so liberally spread about that we too might have just such a lucky break… once again we dig in and resolve to try all the harder (but of course we hear these stories for who is going to tell a story of the hundreds of millions of people who never do…).

 

Take pride in what you do, take pride in everything you do, if it’s not worth doing well then don’t do it at all… so easy to say or write, but if every day you get up very early and spend the day wandering around a shopping centre sweeping up people’s cigarette butts, old candy wrappers and discarded plastic bottles… taking pride in your job is pretty hard to do, and even if you manage… what’s the point…? It’s wonderfully easy to tell someone ‘if you don’t like what you do then go and do something else’, but what else do you do if you live in an area without many opportunities, if your education has been limited, if you don’t have any useful connections, if you’re not beautiful…?

 

Next time the street cleaner seems to be less than enthusiastic about their job, next time the checkout person looks at their phone when they could be hurrying on to the next customer, next time the waiter or waitress doesn’t bound up to you with the fervour of a loving dog after you settle for a diner after being out all day… maybe you should remember these words…

 

Each day… what keeps them going… with so much so close and forever beyond their reach… unthinking continuation… some unconscious resolution… in this situation it can’t be the inbred, inculcated belief that things can dramatically change…

 

In reality most people don’t really believe they will get their lucky break (in many of the western countries, America especially, we are taught that even being born into the lowliest position we still have opportunities to ‘change our stars’), but deep down, after enough experience has managed to discredit all the lies, we know a little up or a little down is about all we’ll ever manage, so why do we continue…

 

Suicide… the thought doesn’t occur to most; society (and religion has had a large part to intentionally play in this), the establishment had done a very good job of making this into some kind of sin, whether a metaphysical one or something more secular.

 

Quitting and just leaving… again the establishment (however you want to understand that term), has managed to persuade people their responsibility lies in being a good member of society, having children, caring for their elderly, being a vital cog in a system going somewhere…

 

Revolution… on one side you have so many possible political choices (all remarkably similar to each other), what else is available, what would be the point, and on the other side, no other choices are allowed and such attitudes are ruthlessly weeded out…

 

When we get up, the alarm demanding we return to the identical day again as a little more of the sand runs from our glass, do we do so with the intentional choice of continuing on, making the best of what we have, what we might (realistically), have? Is there some unconscious choice, some will at work encouraging us (realistically), even in the face of what seems hopelessly repetitive? Is the whole thing beyond any of our choices; from the lowest to the highest, the path we tread a slow, incremental road influenced by all that has [necessarily in retrospect] gone before…?

 

The establishment… Does such a thing exist; is there some great unspoken (or agreed upon), movement to keep us all in our correct places, to keep the stability, either for those at the very top to remain at the very top, or just to keep the world from (they believe), falling into chaos…?

 

It’s an interesting idea… there is no great necessity to having a steady job, marrying or having children – we have a certain urge to have sex, which naturally creates children, but with our modern technology, or even a little control, it is possible to have the one without the other. In today’s age travel is easier than it has ever been, and in many countries marriage is no longer a sign of deciding to enter a monogamous relationship…

 

There have been many ‘devices’ in history to keep stability – the rule of leaders, somehow always becoming more that simply administrators, the Catholic Church and its prohibition of divorce, contraception or abortion, and now endless advertising promoting the perfect relationship, marriage, financial stability and more, and the rewards… more products, which are continually refined in ways which demand the continuation of work so we can replace them with one just a little better.

 

It’s certainly in the best interests of companies, selling their endless products, to keep people in stable employment, and the best way to do that is to burden them with responsibility – what could be more responsible than having to raise a child, and so we have endless conditioning suggesting or even stating if we don’t do… for our child we are not only a failure, but something more – perhaps even abusive.

 

The one way to encourage people to have children is to promote an ideal of love, one in which the family is at the very centre (and perhaps for most this is the best way to exist). The governments would certainly wish to encourage ‘stability’ for they have their arguments to keep going, their armies to build, their roads to repair, their holidays to pay for…

 

The question is merely a speculation, but seems almost impossible that great minds, with their hands tightly, covetously, clutched on the reins of power, would not be aware, and in many ways wish to promote the kind of stability which will keep their interests healthy, and for them not, even tacitly, agree this to be the best course of action for them all, would seem… unlikely…

 

Nothing not earned is valued… to understand a thing you must work through a thing, you must use a thing, you must test a thing, even break a thing. There are many ways to earn a thing – a friend gives you something you have wanted for a long time, have you not earned it, in a way, through being a devoted friend…

 

It seems it would be very difficult to keep something we did not earn – if we didn’t place great value on it would we guard it to the fullest extent of our capacity, and if we lost it would the regret be powerful?

 

Knowledge seems a very good example of this, we study hard for qualifications, we work harder for real experience, and the accumulation of these things allows a certain confidence, within the bounds of our experience, to grow.

 

People, smiling on the outside, liked and encouraged to participate – but on the inside they a marred, or perhaps consumed, by a streak of hatred – a fear, a jealousy, a rejection they never came to terms with…?

 

Some people are incapable of taking joy in the happiness of others, and even their own pleasure seems tainted, as if they expect it to be rotten in the core or to corrupt very quickly. I’ve seen it many times, and even felt it myself on many occasions, but fortunately I seem to have been blessed with a naturally sunny disposition (or perhaps that’s just the effect my excellent parents had, which has managed to sustain me through all the very difficult things I have experienced), but in the end, and like a great many people, I tend to see the best of most situations (eventually), but I’ve watched people intentionally sour the joy of others, and so far as I can see to no real profit, simply because they cannot bear to allow (if they can help it), others to attain the happiness that seems forever forbidden them.

 

Archaic approaches of people in a modern time…

 

Change is a terrifying thing, most of all because our unconscious shudders at the heavy tread of approaching death with every small alteration to our lives; why should we be surprised so many people despise change, repeating the same moment of their lives over and over, but this becomes increasingly difficult in a world which literally rewrites itself with ever new discovery, and increasingly so at that.

 

Clinging to the old ways, however ridiculous, unfair or even cruel, is a method for those living in horror of losing themselves, to retain some illusion to stability. I’m not justifying their actions, the faster they extinguish and allow those of us ready to expand into the brave new world the better… but understanding doesn’t have to be acquiescing.

 

The replaced boat… the question never takes into account the emotional relationship you have with the entity… one of the questions I studied philosophy was about how we retain ‘I’ in the face of change. There are many parts to this but one of them was the metaphor of the boat… it goes something like… you buy a boat, happily take it out at the weekends and holidays, but after a few months a small part needs replacing. This is no problem, and after a quick bit of mechanics you are good to go again. However, after a year or so a more important piece needs to be replaced. This continues until over the course of twenty years or so you have entirely replaced the boat. Not one piece of the original boat remains, although for all appearances it is the same boat. The question then is ‘Is it the same boat?’

 

There are many answers to this and it has been argued back and forth, but something occurred to me today which I never encountered in all the associated reading… that’s the emotional relationship we build with not just people but also things over a period of time and use.

 

All the times the man went out on the boat (and a little writer’s licence now…), when he survived sudden and unexpected storms by the strength of his arm and the durability of his craft, the moment when he proposed to his wife on the gently rocking deck on a sunny spring day, the month he spent sailing the islands of… etc… All these moments have built in an emotional link to the object, one that exerts a continuous bond, and the bond itself makes the boat one and the same, even though the entirety of its parts have been replaced – the sum has become something more, and more enduring, than the parts.

 

Pride and arrogance – but one step removed through the act of self-awareness…

 

It’s highly debatable where the line lies between arrogance and pride; if you are good at something and say you are, are you being arrogant or simply stating a fact (possibly it depends on the context – were you asked a question, and your answer would mean, for example, something would occur for the better, then wouldn’t it be foolish to attempt some [false] humility, but if there were no great need to admit your ability then ‘arrogance’ would seem the more appropriate appellation)?

 

Another way of considering the question though would be from the perspective of self-awareness; if you are aware of yourself to sufficiently know you are good at something – it has been tested in extreme conditions, it has even been beaten at times to give you a clearer idea of the limitations, you have considered your abilities in context and understand them well, then perhaps admitting your skill is, if not humble, then certainly a matter of pride and not arrogance, but if you have no real understanding of your ability with regard to external difficulties, and still, blindly, proclaim your skill, if you lack the insight to be aware of your own limitations, but still claim them paramount, then ‘arrogance’ would seem better suited to the situation.

 

Complaining… to the person we care about, and then changing their perception of us, while those we don’t care about remain unaltered…

 

Attitude… a strange thing, and one more often than not we have to (or should)… fake. The way we are doesn’t just affect the way people treat us, it also affects them. A person comes into work every day, his attitude is good, even though perhaps he doesn’t really want to be there (how many of us really want to be there – even if you really enjoy your job wouldn’t you really like to be at home, or travelling, or hanging out with friends who were equally free – I’m not discussing whether we would bore of this, and I’ve often written about opposites grounding our centre, but just for a moment imagine you had the real freedom to quit your job and turn your hand to whatever you wanted… would you stay…?), he or she, complains to the person sitting next to him, perhaps they are friends, perhaps they are simply colleagues, but it goes on day after day (perhaps to more than one person…). There’s a very good chance the poor colleague will try to avoid the other, another chance they will join in the complaining, but like all morally active choices it will spread like a wave…

 

That’s not the worst of it though… while that person has to endure, and perhaps contribute to the misery their own state of mind will progressively be conditioned into a similar kind of dissatisfaction. Their despondency will grow and then in turn perhaps go on to infect others, both in the work place and other places.

 

Satisfied or not, a) do we have the right to infect others with our unhappiness, and b) would we not find it easier to bear, perhaps even put an end to, our misery by reconditioning ourselves, and lightening the environment around us… How do we do this… we fake it! We slap a mask on our emotions, we force ourselves to endure, we become a model of satisfaction… the result… perhaps… twofold, a) we add to the environment rather than sapping it, conditioning those around us in a positive way (which may in turn have a positive effect upon us), and b) recondition ourselves progressively into actually being the person we are faking…

 

Trivial things… what is trivial, how can we know the trivial… we cannot, because we can never see the ‘big picture’. As Kopp says, we are forced to make decisions (sometimes not even knowing we have acted in a way which will set a series of actions into play), without even a fraction of the information necessary to make a wise decision, and the variables which may then come into play rely on so many factors, stretching back to the beginning of time, are incomprehensive to anything but the perfect conception of God we can conjure but never truly comprehend…

 

I stand on a street corner and light a cigarette… such a trivial thing… wind blows smoke in my eye the moment I step out into the road, I stumble and fall, a car swerves at the very last moment and narrowly avoid hitting me. The driver umps out to check if I’m ok… a year later we marry…

 

I stand on a street corner and light a cigarette… such a trivial thing… wind blows smoke in my eye the moment a driver suffers a heart attack behind the wheel of her car. She swerves out of control and unfortunately for temporarily blinded me strikes me… I don’t die, but I spend the rest of my pathetic life in a wheelchair…

 

I stand on a street corner and light a cigarette… such a trivial thing… wind blows smoke in my eye the moment a driver pulls up for a moment to ask directions… the beautiful woman, seeing me struggling with temporary blindness drives forward a little way asking someone else… I never knew the love of my life just drove away…

 

Bloody big pictures…

 

Natural selection in a modern era…

 

A mutation which allows a creature to survive more successfully in a particular environment, thus increasing the chances of that particular mutation being passed on to following generations through the increased chance of mating and producing more offspring – there’s nothing in that to suggest it only works in natural habitats… is it not still at work, in each and every constructed system of humanity… particular traits in this environment make a man successful, he then has greater chance of attracting a woman, more chance of passing on both the physical and the mental abilities to survive and prosper in the environment…

 

Songs, writings, movies… do the recipients know…? Obviously the nature of the next piece is pure speculation, but speaking from the perspective of a ‘writer’ somebody who is forced to use their imagination to create work, I think I might have some insight into the subject…

 

When thinking about what to write there are many places to search; memories, whether true or corrupted by time and joy/horror, recent activities, things we have read or watched, things those around us have done or told us, the pure truth hidden beneath fiction, or fiction disguised as rational truths… the list goes on… now think of all the songs, the poems, the books, the paintings, the sculptures, and on and on and on…

 

So does each love story have a true person at the centre, does each villain represent some hated rival in reality, do stories come from combinations of events, received in all manner of forms, or are they a truth hidden behind a veil of entertainment…?

 

The next time you watch a poor soul, hiding his feelings for some beautiful girl destined to be with another, when against all odds she finally becomes the partner of the poor soul… are we watching the impossible resolution of wish-fulfilment come true at the hands of that poor soul in the only way it might.

 

The next time you see some dreadful villain, representing pure iconic traits, getting everything he deserves… is it a truth, a modified version of the revenge the writer once took, or once again merely wishes, or nothing at all… but the latter seems very unlikely.

 

What a way to empathise with the creators; to imagine characters we know in our lives in the roles of the protagonists, and then to understand all the better some (perhaps), of the motivations driving the creator to the act of creation…

 

Politics – no win within the system, each check and balance has a flaw… my resolution… I recently wrote apiece on Canadian politics and the controversy concerning prorogation (this is basically the right of the governing body to ‘halt’ politics for a little while, allowing some much needed manoeuvring). As I was reading the questions put to the students by their professor two things came to mind…

 

1. The professor himself, knowingly or not, and I hope not or he would be actively attempting to alter the minds of his students, and that’s a job for them once they have (as unbiased as possible), been offered as much information on the subject as is available, was highly biased towards one side of the argument, and in such a way it appeared he couldn’t see the entire picture.

 

2. There’s no way of fixing up a fundamentally flawed structure. The only way to truly make things better is to smash the thing down, and rebuild from scratch.

 

Radical change causes problems; it either damages the infrastructure in such a way great hardships come to life, causes such controversy the group affected are torn down the middle, the group who caused the upheaval are ill-equipped to manage the new situation after the succeed, etc…

 

It seems all but impossible to shake the status quo now; the minority, holding the wealth and power, conditioned into believing their way to be a) their own, and b) the only one, will never allow individuals with such controversial intentions enough power to make any change (having the general majority conditioned into believing by serving the majority they might become one of them…), and those who gain and maintain power, even if they hold hopes of making more radical changes, are carefully kept in check by the system.

 

A good government is one which conducts all the difficult (immoral), activities in secret, allowing the people to think themselves wonderfully, self-satisfied, moralists…

 

Once again in reference to the paper I wrote on Canadian politics… we now live in a time when we are not allowed to torture the bad guys to find out what they know… well, that’s we have to believe, right (and the recent – no doubt government sponsored – series of movies persuades us that our governments are living up to the ridiculously pure set of one-sided morals)?

 

First, that some people even believe that we should do this is both lovely and naïve almost beyond comprehension. Such liberal thinking is only able to exist because the people who really run things are not liberals. If there were not men and women standing on borders, assassinating, stealing information, torturing, then those people living in their nice little houses with their lawns and Sunday afternoon barbeques would not be able to rant on in self-important tones about such barbarism.

 

A government is doing its job correctly (well, one of its jobs), when they manage to keep this a secret. Unfortunately, they are a victim of their own success… as they manage to keep all those people voting for them believing they are the examples of an enlightened race, they give them more and more reason to believe their way of doing things to be correct. Then, upon the slightest slip up by the government, some naughty little item is exposed to the public (and that’s a very difficult thing to constantly keep silent in a world of wars and terrorism), the people will rise up (rising up being an extremely safe thing to so in their liberal countries), and stone the government for exemplifying the same barbarism as the enemies of civilisation.

 

Second, that people might even believe that such a way of life is possible, that if they set the right kind of example then those barbarians will see the error of their heathen ways and decide to a more… enlightened philosophy (in other words live in the same way as the arrogant pacifists), both reassures me as to the intellectual state of these… people, and disgusts me in almost equal measure.

 

Burn it down and start again – march in and crush with every weapon in the arsenal all contention. Place children in specific schools to train them for particular functions in society – the best of which will be groomed for perfect politics (yes indeed, if you were thinking Plato’s Republic – and I remember while studying my Masters having a crazy argument with my professor the very opposite of what I now believe), and place them, fully aware of all the intricacies of their job, and as a safeguard groom another batch of sleepers… these are equally trained in politics, but also in assassination, living out lives as normal as everyone else… unless they note one of our philosopher kings… misbehaving… and then…

 

Logical contradictions… God superseding himself… there is an old philosophical question throwing doubt on the existence of God. If God is all powerful, capable of any feat, he is then capable of creating a creature more powerful than himself. If he can’t create such a creature then he is not all powerful, and if he can create such a creature then he’s not all powerful, for the creature would have powers he does not possess… simply something to ponder…

 
 

Aphorisms 13

 

One thousand years is not so very long, but why would there by only two remote records of a sight which would have dominated the heavens for weeks, and still be seen for two years…?

 

In 1054 Chinese astrologers noted one of the most powerful astronomical events our universe knows: the detonation of a star going supernova. The star, by universal standards almost right on our doorstep, was only a mere six thousand lightyears away, and even now we can witness the history of the event in the shape of the growing nebular we call the Crab Nebula. At the same time, in New Mexico, a painting on the overhang of a wall was made – a great deal of evidence, which I won’t provide here, suggests that this is also a depiction of the event.

 

A supernova, for those who aren’t quite sure, is when a star, with far more mass than ours, eventually dies, and in its last throws explodes with more force than our star will produce in its ten billion or so year lifespan. Even from six thousand light years away this would have appeared as bright as a full moon during the day and like a second sun in the night, it would have lasted like this for approximately two days and then still been clearly visible for another three weeks or so, and then faded over several years.

 

Scientists find these two pieces of evidence compelling… I find them interesting in a different way…  We have books detailing supplies to garrisons in ancient Rome, of the names of students at university when Cambridge opened, of individual death records dating back more than a thousand years in some churches… but… in all the world, for a spectacular sight, which at the time would probably have terrified the entire population of the world… we can only find two records, one of which a hand painting on a wall in New Mexico!

 

Another sun is born, challenging the night, in a time when such things were still portents, magic, end of the world stuff… and the ONLY records are by Chinese astrologers and a handprint on a cave wall… Does it not strike you as… odd… make of it what you will…

 

Predicting and Nexting… reading a fascinating book at the moment, concerned with something we are constantly involved in but very rarely consider – predicting the future. Now those of you about to switch off because you think a little spiritualism, mysticism, etc… remember who you’re reading and stick with me… This is not in some way reading the future before it happens, but something far more technical (Stumbling on Happiness – not a self-help book, written by one of Cambridge, Harvard’s professors).

 

We are constantly predicting the future… when I throw you a ball, you eye is following the trajectory, but at the same time, based on previous experience, you are predicting exactly where your hand needs to be at just the right moment to catch the thing. This he claims isn’t really predicting; he likes to call this ‘nexting’, as not only humans but a wide range of animals can also ‘next’ in such a way.

 

One of the things that separate humans from animals is our ability to imagine, and imagine not just in the present but temporally, so we can not only anticipate the flight of a ball, but plan to be at the park at the right time, with the right gear, to play a game of baseball organised some weeks ago…

 

The book considers far more things and no doubt I shall report on them with my own thoughts as the right time arrives, but now that I am aware of this distinction it makes a very interesting state of being… to step back and assess what is going on and why – for example, my friend said she saw a spider just now and had to kill it. This wasn’t nexting, reacting to past stimuli to defend herself from the ravages of yet another spider, but making an imaginative scenario, conscious or not, of the spider attacking her, biting her, and poisoning her… something highly unlikely to actually occur.

 

Another example of nexting he gives, and one which is both fascinating and interesting… when you are reading these words you are constantly making small predictions as to what I will write next, this means you are able to run through the avocado very easily… Now wait… that didn’t make sense... you stop, go back and read it again, try to work out the meaning, and are surprised! So we discover that ‘surprise’ is what happens when the predictions, or nextings, prove to be incorrect…

 

I was teaching some kids today and decided to implement to theory to create not only a little mischief but to encourage the kids to pay even more attention to what was happening. After I had taught them a word I began, with some humour, to introduce a sentence, but then to use an incorrect word for the item… Just as they were about to complete the sentence, as they should have said the word, they were shocked to find the teacher either saying wrong or had taught them incorrectly, or they had misunderstood… the result was them all telling me I’d said the word wrong and repeating it many times so to correct me (a very satisfying result).

 

Levels of stupidity… it is increasingly apparent to me that ‘so called’ leaders should not be in the positions they hold; the levels of stupidity I encounter on a daily basis are enough to encourage exactly the kind of genocide Hitler believed necessary to purify the human race, but rather than race, religious preference, or historical hatred being the tool used to decide who to cull, rather it should be stupidity.

 

I’m not talking about people who merely lack intelligence, but those who hold just enough intelligence to see the immediate, but cannot see any further into to the future to see the results of their single-minded idiocy. In reference to the last article it appears that our ability to predict longer series of events is the result of our species developing the frontal lobe.

 

If we, as a race, have the ability to consider not only the immediate, and then the immediate to us then, why cannot all people manage to look not only to their own interests but to others, and to consider them not only in the immediate but in a few time frames from now…?

 

I am constantly encountering, and while not only leaders it seems they are the ones that somehow came to hold a position of responsibility so in them lies the greatest paradox, people who in a desperate effort to grab what they can right now, often at the expense of others, completely miss, what I consider, rather obvious opportunities to do far more, far better, if they can simply make a few different choices and conduct a few different actions, with their eye to the future, not simply the here and now.

 

It seems the frontal lobe is not in itself sufficient, but other factors come into play (and don’t they always); education (the right kind of education – which means something from powerful archetypes capable of actually moulding us into, not just thinkers but, the right kind of thinkers), and environment where we are capable of actually implementing such actions (and one where others are also attempting such implementations), and an actual will, a conception of our own personality and actions broad enough to feel the choices are actually within our power.

 

How much loneliness is socially conditioned…? So you’re in a relationship, one protracted enough that the other person being around has become habitualised. Then you break up, technically they should break up with you, but the visa is possible. You then have the conscious missing, added to which you are missing something on an unconscious level which makes you feel… incomplete (but this feeling would manifest in multiple ways).

 

This feeling, like all feelings, will be gradually adjusted away; like any addiction, the body forgets (the mind may escalate the problem if determined enough). However, we live in a society (whether the establishment, or governments, or just social thought naturally), dictates we should be with someone; all the media, our social groups, even advertising and products, are geared up for the unit.

 

The solitary figure is pitied, held in contempt, condescended to, etc… but… if the social pressure, or the individual character, of the individual has no great need for society, shut off (for whatever reasons), the constantly conditioning media, are a strong enough, intelligent enough, person to defend their position when necessary, they can slowly break this habit, coming to a realisation that this feeling is but another conditioned one; to be understood, accepted, denied, or controlled as they should see fit (of course the possibility that this is simply another form of conditioning…)…

 

Where does nexting end and predicting begin, and how many divisions of predicting are in fact nexting...? For example, you plan to go to the gym to meet your friend, a complex action involving time, equipment, movement... You then set yourself into motion on your plan predicting each action before you undertake it in much the same way we ‘next’, and continue to ‘next’ as we go through each of the complicated actions necessary.

 

Is then ‘predicting’, imagining something which you don’t implement immediately, and when you do begin to implement each of the small but necessary steps then we switch back to ‘nexting’. This ‘predicting/nexting’ seems only referential to ‘planning’, undergoing the steps towards something of our own - in our everyday actions we are nexting all the time, in our imaginings we are predicting/planning, but not implementing.

 

In environmental predictions, predicting something which is not necessarily related directly to the planner, or in ‘expectations’, predicting something will happen to the individual which doesn’t need any participation, an eventuality, then the immediacy of certain ‘nextings’ wouldn’t be necessary.

 

The facing of fears… Nietzsche says that there is no growing stronger from the exercise of willing against the part of ourselves which does not wish to comply, for while the will gains in strength through the act we are teaching ourselves equal measures of victory and defeat, for what does the will defeat but itself, allowing ourselves yet another dose of failure.

 

I say he’s a fool (here and probably only…); in defeating the bleating part of ourselves we are indeed teaching ourselves defeat, but haven’t we learnt that lesson enough at the hands of that cretin…? Unleashing the will, like dogs of war, to savage the throat of the pathetic thing, to discard it by the trail and lope of for more satisfying victuals… engenders power in the active part of ourselves, while diminishing the anti-will through yet another defeat… Before long we shall have the thing on its knees, begging for mercy, mewling like the vermin it is… and shall we stay the blow – we shall not: let the blade fall and have done (yes, a clear and intentional misinterpretation)!

 

The search for meaning in this life; some discovering inadvertently, some with more direction, advertently, intentionally seeking it out or creating it for themselves, and some never dream of its chimerical possibility. A solution, one solution, one possibility amidst all the unlikelihood… facing our fears. This thing intimidates us, that thing causes anxiety to bubble to the surface, these instil petrifying dread and those… well, I don’t even want to mention those.

 

If authenticity is making your own choices, choosing the paths, with as much freedom as we can wrestle from our condition, then what greater test, what way to push the limits of our limitations, that to face all the things our unconscious demands we shrink from – for our own protection, you understand – but then what does the unconscious know of meaning and strength; it wants it all on a platter, even the struggles handed to it gift wrapped…

 

How to convince people who are only motivated towards the self, perhaps only have the perspective of self-motivated actions, you are trying to do something for their own good…? The problem is, for a practical philosopher like myself, the Twainian ‘everything we do is for our own ends’ and Freud’s belief that Man does everything to gain pleasure or avoid pain (two sides of the very same ‘happiness’ coin)… I know that I am self-motivated to fix those things for my own gratification’…

 

Fortunately for me they may well not have read Twain, Freud, or the many others who have reached these conclusions, in which case I must exemplify a perfectionist attitude, and cultivate a moral stance. They will no doubt, though may not believe, have heard that some people are simply altruistic, but if worst comes to worst… I can attempt to convince them that others gain pleasure from different… angles…

 

It won’t work at all unless I convince them that my… angles… are for their own benefit, it might even be necessary to slip in a little nonsense about ‘if they succeed then I shall prosper’… that is likely to get their attention. It’s a complicated thing – trying to help people who are usually unquestioned in their actions… but the more I experience this life from a perspective of some responsibility, the more the ability of those in charge of the systems (and most of those within the system, but not being at the top appears to leave a great many still receptive to other/better ideas, while the ones at the top seem to cease to listen), appears to be comical, and like all good comedy, that inevitably leads to tragedy (just so very rarely for those who deserve it…).

 

Note – Those of us from ‘rich’, ‘civilised’ and most of all ‘educated’ countries are all convinced we are already the boss, just no one has yet noticed it and given us unlimited power – making it so we have all the closed-minded attitudes of the boss, with none of the benefits…

 

Theories built on success, philosophy built on personality… incorrect… or the only way to build a theory…?

 

A strong race grows strong gods, does a weak race grow the greatest of gods…? The Greek gods were extensions of the best and worst qualities, lived the lives we wished to live, were essentially humans living out their wish-fulfilment lives… The following Christian God, metamorphosed from an all-powerful ally, smiting any who stood in their way, to a gentle, forgiving thing by the slave mentality of a beaten race, offered otherworldly rewards, conditioning, necessitating the meek and humble acquiescence of a people unable to rebel.

 

Philosophers bending existence to their will, contriving near flawless constructions in accordance with their dispositions, their perspectives; experience and will, a mind powerful enough to devise systems of logic based on the elements of existence which support, and to cunningly use those that disagree for real challenges to linguistic debate…

 

So I was training teachers the other day for their TESOL exam and one of the course textbooks is the instructions/suggestions of two teachers working in Norway. The book was good, containing good suggestions, but… a) it was written in a style suggesting that their methods were the only successful methods (the slightly smug and patronising writing style, condescendingly allowing the reader insight into their genius… which was nothing more than a few rather obvious activities), and b) no conjecture or insight as to why those activities had been successful (it was also woefully inadequate for the different form of teaching necessary for my teachers).

 

Another book, Stumbling on Happiness mentioned above, views happiness, and our experience of it, from a ‘scientific’ perspective. It is well written, humorous, easy to get to grips with (appealing to the lay reader wishing to feel they have read something intellectual), and is extremely well researched… from one perspective. This book exhaustively finds ways to absolutely support itself (sometimes choosing one obtuse experiment which agrees with the hypothesis and ignoring common sense itself), while missing subtle complications which throw some doubt onto central argument (for one it says I cannot judge your claims to happiness because happiness is a purely subjective experience – which does so support the desperation many first world individuals need so they can feel… individual, perhaps a knee jerk reaction of the older generation in the face of equalizing post-modernism – however, it pays no attention at all to the fact that we are all built pretty much built the same, that my eyes and ears, my brain chemistry and environmental conditioning cannot be particularly different from yours; the only differences a few basic idiosyncrasies we like to think make us different, and thus we can be fairly sure – never enough for philosophers, but their knowing is a fictional thing dictated by the uncertainty of language rather than something more essential within our unconscious capacity to know – that we experience most things in pretty much the same manner).

 

The point is, and not a negative one at all: we each and every one of us in our own limited ways, stamp our own conception of reality on the world, and describe it, back it up, prove it to the limits of our capacity to as many people as possible… Nietzsche would have us painting ourselves, painting the world, in accordance to the colours of our will, be they light shades of pastel or darker, morose, hopeless shades…

 

A morally ambivalent moment… Walking yesterday from the gym to work, about a fifteen minute stroll or a ten minute march, I was passed by a girl who, at the time, seemed to be doing a rather pathetic imitation of running. She would sort of stumble along for about five metres and then retire to walking once again for another thirty and so on. At the time I thought nothing more of this than her being late for something and that pitiable pace was the very best she could manage.

 

She was doing so badly that in about five minutes when events proved to be far different from my speculation she was still only about fifty metres in front. A guy, about the same age (I would speculate very early twenties but I might be a little under), in a chef jacket flew by on his e-bike… Just as he came beside her; he was riding on the pavement, he punched her in the shoulder just where it connects to the arm. The blow wasn’t hard, but it certainly wasn’t soft; I would say enough to cause discomfort but far short of bruising, at which time she ran out into the bike lane and took cover behind a conveniently parked car. I hurried along and just as he was manoeuvring his bike into the lane caught up and laid my hand on his shoulder…

 

Being English and all that my very first idea was to beat him insensible, whilst coming to the damsel’s rescue, but on extremely quick consideration I decided to change my tack a little… I was far bigger than he (thus reminding me of the wonderful saying ‘you get better with a kind word and a gun that a kind word…), and told him it wasn’t ok to hit girls. I continued on to say I didn’t want to trouble him, could see he was angry, didn’t want to know why, but I didn’t think he wanted to think of himself as a bad guy, so it might be better just to retire for a while and give the situation a little space, hopefully cooling tempers and allowing for conversation…

 

Now I don’t know what he was thinking but a certain series of emotions and thoughts played across his face, he didn’t even look at me, then he nodded, certainly more to himself than to me, and turned his bike.

 

I thought he was just going to ride off, and perhaps that was his first intention, but he simply couldn’t let it go and stopped his bike just two cars away and lit a cigarette, obviously deep in some moment of furious thinking.

 

I didn’t leave as I had hoped, worried that he might just begin behaving badly again, but instead walked along the road back to him, lit a cigarette, was silent for a moment and then simply suggested he go away and have a think about whatever he was carrying…

 

My intention was to stick around long enough for the girl to have an opportunity to make her getaway… It was only when I was about half way through my cigarette I realised the girl had made no effort to get away at all, but was just standing around, studiously not looking at either one of us…

 

I was slightly at a loss – it appeared that she wanted him to chase her. I continued to hover, feeling more and more useless as the minutes passed, until finishing my cigarette I just made off (though I did continue to watch in case there was some renewed escalation of violence).

 

It’s just incredible the efforts people will go to – I still have no idea what they were arguing about, though all the usual things spring to mind, and I have no idea whether my actions either benefited or further disrupted the situation…

 

Two interesting things struck me (apart from being utterly unsure as to whether I had been right to a) intercede, and b) walk away… - these are more important that they might appear because I am someone who believes that in almost every situation there is a right and wrong way to conduct oneself…)

 

1. We’re designed to evaluate a situation before we actually think about it… Reading some research recently on the way the mind views and assesses things the findings point to our reacting to certain archetypical stimulus automatically before we intellectually assess what it is and how we should react. Thus, the crying of a baby, the snarling of a predator, the call of a loved one, momentary weakness in an enemy, etc… are all things which will first have us acting, or at least inclining to react, before we actually assess our actions.

 

This seemed very clear in my first impulse to simply punch the guy until he either apologised or needed to see a doctor, but it also seemed very clear when I had zero experience, either hereditary or from my own motley range, as to what to do next…

 

2. How many quite innocent mistakes did I make by simply relying on my own experience…? The next thing I realised was how many, rather obvious, mistakes I had made – that good old retrospect coming back… It was very likely the girl could have run a little faster, and thus didn’t really want to leave, or wanted to put herself in a different position with which to manoeuvre the guy, but I think she wasn’t considering things quite so deeply, rather just running on a confused mixture of instincts… The punch could have been a lot harder, far more determined… (which admittedly is one of the reasons I tried reasoning rather than violence… but not at first), him no leaving, her not leaving… and the list goes on.

 

We are so sure of ourselves, so sure our perspectives are certain, untouchably right, and how much of the time are we simply mistaken… how many of those times do we never even know, because our errors just never bubble to the surface, and when we are proved wrong… how often we simply push this information under the carpet and continue on unscathed… (living within our perfect idealism)?

 

What do you get if you take away the politics, what do you get if you take away the religions, steal away the over-conditioned need for constantly recycled, but improved, products, the status symbols and perfect families… what do you get if you take away all the unnaturally exaggerated pieces of the human condition…?

 

You get ‘just folks’… you get people working when they have to or if they love to, you get people chatting about whatever as they walk down the street, going about their lives, you get people grateful for friendships and unwilling to do others intentional harm.

 

Some might argue against this, that the unnatural levels of conditioning, either on a small scale, like advertising or price matching, or on a much larger, grander scale… the Establishment which does all the string pulling so those microcosms do the right kind of conditioning and manipulation, wouldn’t be there, wouldn’t be in place to do the string pulling; that the natural condition of man isn’t to want more… without the grasping, grabbing, manipulating… we would not be human at all…

 

However, and without great science to back me up, without selective data to support my theory, what I see on the street is ‘just folks’… Perhaps they lack opportunity, and thus lack ambition; had they fallen into different circumstances they would be as ravening as any of the wolves which provide for and abuse our society, and perhaps that’s a closer look at the human condition… for are we not all of those things and more… bloody tyrants when we can, angels if it suits us, devils when we must, but most of the time… being a social, communal creature, having familiar preferences, not being masters of the universe… we’re just folks…

Aphorisms 5

 

Understanding…

 

Understanding is not about words... words just trigger the appropriate empathies... if you don't have the experience and the insights, you can't understand... you WILL understand something, that will be based on the limited experience you have, then you will channel it into your thought patterns, reinforcing certain beliefs and forgetting the rest (what becomes immaterial)... I write in symbols and metaphors to trigger the right responses, if there is no response either the experience to understand is lacking or simply not enough insight to have fully understood the import of the experience when it occurred (or they have not yet matured to the point of assessing from the deeper - further - perspectives)

 

Total Surrender…

 

Take two people, have them joined – in emotion, perhaps in legality – (perhaps in legality without the emotion – perhaps that’s the more frequent), and for a successful relationship what’s necessary… we’ve discussed in other places communication seems important, not criticism, or teaching, or complaining or… but talk, about all and everything until a point of not only understanding is reached but a point where one can almost anticipate the other (anticipation isn’t necessary, and some might complain it takes an element of passion from the relationship, but I think that’s unreasonable as if you wish to surprise you can step out of your own persona for a little while without too much difficulty). After communication the encouragement – coming from trust; trust both in the self and the other, and trust in the other comes from trust in the self and trust in the self comes from trying… there are many more parts to this equation but the final vital element seems to be shared activity – the doing of things together, and doing those things the other loves as well as the things you want to do…

 

If this can be achieved, and let’s face it – most relationships never even manage the first (really my next part doesn’t rely on those three being achieved… as you will see…)… what can be the result of imbalance… or rather what is the result of one partner or the other being too dominant/subservient…

 

Take away for a moment the personality type that wants to be ruled, have decisions removed, retreat into a passive servitude for the sake of certain forms of security and focus on the personality type that needs, and needs in such a way they are, if not willing, then at least able… capable… of allowing the requirements, the wishes of the other to dominate… what will happen to the frustration on the one side and the respect on the other…?

 

Would the frustration in the one grow to the point of rebellion or would the free-thinking personality slowly diminish until ‘self’ had been replaced with ‘other’? The wants of the subservient one, must they find rebellious ways to exit, or build to some explosion, or is it possible for them to be slowly diminished, but then would that not result in the literal extinction of a personality…?

 

The other – the dominant personality… how would this eventually come to view the subservient – would they stop looking at the other and begin to look at it as utility and then the look, the calling from the other to be recognised (if it still existed), no longer be recognisable?

 

What are we to ourselves when we become a utility to another (this piece is drifting far from the original mark – but then it’s mine so fuck off:)? If we are what we see in the reflection of others (including the mirror), then what does seeing ourselves as an extention, a tool – and in such a pure form we can no longer see some sharing in success to justify our being so used (Marx in there somewhere with dislocation from our products) – do to our conception of ourselves…? Needs more thinking about – will return at a later date…

 

Irony… and anthropomorphism

 

Anthropomorphism – this is a very interesting concept – in psychology something very similar is called projection… but I get ahead of myself – the giving of human (‘your’ really), emotions, motivations, feelings, thoughts… qualities… to either animals or inanimate objects…

 

First it would seem to be utterly natural – we use our own feelings through experiences to communicate and receive [shared] concepts, usually language is the method, but to understand, even in our limited fashion, what the other means we must have some commonality, some shared ground to allow for the sharing.

 

Next, with certain things – items, or animals, that have been with us for some time, we have developed a form of loyalty (perhaps habit might be the better word – for all relationships… - perhaps even a safety – some security against the unknown ‘better the devil you know’). Such loyalty may or may not be consciously perceived but as with any addiction, even the thought of losing it will cause us a certain amount of discomfort…

 

So we develop such bonds, such addictions for things – and we associate with them through the only fashion we can ever associate with anything – with empathising with them… depending then on where we draw the line between the same and alien we are able to treat things, animals, and even people either with compassion, understanding, empathy or abuse them as something so dislike ourselves it becomes impossible to overlay our own feelings upon their structure (some relation to war, torture, racism, etc… here)….

 

Dying gives us discernment and focus…

 

It an old subject and well covered but I thought I would mention it here once more – there being a reason it’s an old and well-covered subject – without the dying process, without the ticking countdown of disease and the physical/visual aging process would we ever attempt the really vast works – would we not be content to allow all to eventually come to us and thus never to initiate its arrival?

 

‘People do many great things before these signs become apparent’ I hear you cry – but is not dying as much a psychological condition as it is a physical one, are we not surrounded at every turn by harm, pain and cessation?

 

People just need a little moral clarity (it’s not that they – or all – can’t be moral or understand the logic that goes into feeling behaviour, but they have never had any instruction)…

 

I find more and more it is not a lack of moral understanding that prevents people from acting in a moral way (there is a certain lack of intelligence, but it is not that they are in some way damaged but they are lacking in the correct education). Rather, I find they are surrounded by like-minded people who also live without code or law (a personal code – but still one which is lacking due to the particular forms of conditioning present within a society – and it should be the responsibility of the governing body to provide the right environment for people to mature into moral creatures), and due to this powerful influence (and the lack of alternative influences), they act in the same utterly directed by the amoral-will direction.

 

Recently I have been (and I make no claims that this is a universal condition – but I must write on my experience and experience alone – I leave it to your unstable, selfish egos to react either positively or negatively in the gathering of circumstantial evidence for or against me…), growing in conviction, confidence and… volume… and I have found that people react (predominately), in a positive fashion to a positive ideal projection. Not only that, but many of them make an active effort to change their lives in direct response to my advice (given in the particular tone appropriate for each case)…

 

Now if I were to give them well-argued advice to rob a bank or to murder their grandmother I think it highly unlikely they would run out and get to it, but when I give them clearly logical advice on ways of behaviour that are moral (not just moral – or perhaps supra-moral – as some of the things I suggest are for the perfection of themselves and/or their personal relationships or work/associates duties/actions), they react as if they knew these things all along, they react with some… shame… and in many cases (so long as I am there to continue [my own particular] forms of support), they make active efforts to change what they are doing.

 

I’m not giving myself particular congratulations in this (I am somewhere torn between arrogance – which I do not show, frustration – that they could not see/do these things for themselves, and annoyance – that my precious time should be so taken), but trying to show that with the right ideals, real tangible living ideals – not the forms you find in books (although that’s mostly where I found mine – paradox that requires further thought), they are not only ready, but eager to better themselves in ways that have no relation to material gains (at the expense of others).

 

Propagation – the urge to have children, exercise and the obsession with health, companionship and being surrounded by other living things, the doing of things which will outlast our own life (books, buildings, art, etc…) – are they not more attempts at a… continuation of sorts, an attempt to scratch at immortality…?

 

Most of all the religions – the religions that have caused more death than any other form of disagreement in history – their ideas of Heaven, reincarnation, transformation… once again desperate, complicated, intelligent, and now with the development of conceptual language incredibly sophisticated efforts to persuade ourselves of the chances of immortality…?

 

The thought which produced the following – Working more to have enough money for a relationship and a child but then the working gives no time to build a proper bond within the relationship – and if no proper bond with the relationship should you be having a child…? If you have a child why are you having it and if you work so hard you can provide all it will need will it then not grow without your time… so why the having?

 

Someone told me they needed to work longer and harder to support their child, the result of this is they felt they didn’t have enough time to spend with their child… I have a very simple question then… why have a child?

 

First I want to go back a step – ask a hundred people (and I have, far more than a hundred), ‘who’s your best friend’ and out of a hundred maybe two or three will say their partner. Continue the question with what activities they do with their best friends and what they do with their partners you will find that with every word being with their friend sounds more and more like fun and being with their partner sounds like a chore, something to be borne… suffered.

 

So why are they having a child (I’ve covered this elsewhere so shan’t repeat myself)?

 

Don’t particularly like their partner, too busy for their child… the point I’m making is a ‘Copernican turn’ of sorts seems in order. What isn’t available is the perception ‘don’t have a child’ as a valid option. There are other equally valid lifestyles all the resources freed by this decision might support, but again we still live with the self-perpetuating beast ‘social conditioning’ terrifying the sheep into their compliance…

 

Xbox… or rather games consoles (perhaps a little in the same region all computer games). Many people deride these consoles, saying that the player loses touch with reality, play for too long to the detriment of their other activities and life, become obsessed and unable to function successfully in society… fine.

 

On the other hand let’s take a look at some of the alternatives. Television, the passive entertainment of the masses, by its nature it must be fashioned in such a way as to appeal to the majority, which means it must stay as ‘mainstream’ as possible, only the occasional piece, trying to attract through its very difference might be found outside the proverbial box (excuse the pun).

 

Television is putting your entertainment entirely in the hands of another (or even the masses), and either being forced to watch what the masses want to watch or arguably the masses are slowly conditioned into watching what the entertainment industry think (want), them to watch.

 

Television washes over you, at the very best it might wash through you, having an effect intended by those doing the creating, working through all the usual mediums of empathy, pulling all the usual strings to elicit emotion and interest, and often succeeding depending upon the demands of the viewer.

 

Reading, while this is not a passive engagement, as it requires the imagination of the reader to work at the writing, to piece the words together into a meaningful whole – depending upon their own experience in relation to that word order, that grammar, the metaphors and similes it still follows a single line. The reader is trapped within the imagination of the writer, who will tell the reader what to think, how to turn, who will win and lose, what to feel…

 

Computer games (and I really am talking about the new generations of games now becoming available to the common public), which are now becoming more frequently ‘open-world’ where the player, while admittedly still trapped within confines, those confines are so very much broader than any other theatre but for life itself (and life is so very often not so tailored to adventure), might turn and act as he or she wishes and wills, where they might evolve their own character in the ways most personally developed to their personality, where their own choices will affect the outcome of the story in great detail, where the very safety, responsibility, and future of characters relies on the actions of the player… now this is the future, and we are just now scraping the surface.

 

Already the games are as close to lifelike as you often must look twice, and with the next generation consoles coming out in a year or less with greater processing power only our own imaginations create the limits.

 

I read a thing last year, in a book on current physics – it speculated that it might never be possible to create faster than light travel, which will sensibly limit us to this solar system, at least for the foreseeable future, but then it speculated on computer simulated environments. We now have the technology to see other worlds, to assess their environments, to speculate of possible life which might exist in those environments, and with the processing power of computers, the rise in programming ability and detail (for example a game I was recently playing had the sun reflecting from the windscreen of a jeep into my eyes as I swung round corners – can you imagine the level of detail involved in such an imagination), and with the coming of virtual reality, where it will no longer even be a semi-3D screen one is interacting with… I just can’t wait.

 

Aside – readers who are perhaps a little younger or older than I might not really understand what I speak of here. For those older I have noticed a barrier in involvement, while they might marvel at it, it is something like a talking monkey – something ‘wow’ and then thought of as a carnival piece, or a shooting star, marvelled at, perhaps remembered, but nothing to affect a life. For the younger they grew within it, especially now with touch screens, with retinal screens, with on-line interactive gaming; these are simply a part of life, like the refrigerator… Only my generation, and then only the select few who have remained in touch with such things, and appreciate such things, can truly understand… and we are a dying breed… (of course I’m writing this now because my Xbox is broken and being repaired… do we do all the other entertainments, jobs, loves and hates because we are… bored?)

 

Psychotherapy through the computer… people like to be helped through the computer… another of the many new options made available by the marvel of Internet communication.

 

I have found that many people enjoy therapy (or talking to a friend, which amounts to the same thing if the friend is appropriate), through the Internet. Is this because it gives the patient more time to collect their thoughts (if so they can try to deceive), and say things in exactly the way they want to – without meeting the demands of the other…?

 

Utilitarianism as the natural product of the rational mind shaping itself to satisfy the undirected desires of the unconscious (a way of life – followed by an explanatory philosophy, not decisions or suggestions but as realities due to the way we are – we want, the conscious mind directs it – finds the most efficient ways to get it – societies are such directions).

 

Utilitarianism has suffered greatly because it cannot meet the quantifiable explanatory demands of out detailed ‘next-door’ international society, but does it not seem the natural way of things, only becoming a political philosophy after its reality? We want certain things (whether these are truly choices or the demands of a conditioned unconscious or something somewhere in between), and to get those things we must live with particular compromises.

 

Philosophers and psychologists have argued that there was some point, some tangent when we moved from the state of nature to the social contract, for example Freud drew the metaphor of the weak sons gathering together to do bloody murder to their overpowering father, but is not that kind of compromise not only the result of society, but the necessity of life itself. We must compromise with the weather when it comes to conducting outdoor pursuits, when deciding what to wear, when planting crops. We must compromise with animals, hunting them where they roam, using the appropriate tools, cooking the edible parts, we must even compromise with gravity, not leaping from heights… compromise seems to be interwoven into us far before society came into place…

 

An interesting recent event – in a school I have some relations with a teacher lost his temper with the students and (he claimed), in an attempt to retake control and order of the unruly class began to shout and bash tables…

 

Firstly, if a teacher loses control of a class it is the responsibility of the teacher (I’m not referring to those struggling teachers brave enough to dare to teach in schools where the students walk around with knives and possibly guns, for those environments are [like all others] reflections of the outer ones), but in a [relatively] normal social environment, where parents teach the children fairly standard moral behaviour, where the society surrounding the school is relatively functional and inter-reliant.

 

Second, the example might indeed quail the students for a short time, but in the end it will only teach them on both a conscious and unconscious level that [from a role model] this kind of behaviour is not only acceptable but actively sanctioned.

 

However, I don’t wish to discuss these interesting points (at least not here), what I want to discuss is that after the school failed to take responsibility for the teacher’s reprimand, or to use the case to make a general statement as to the conduct of teachers, or even offer more training to the inexperienced teacher on how to master a class that is difficult to control it was left to another teacher, speaking as if talking to himself, to send a mail through the school channels to all the other teachers as a gentle suggestion towards better behaviour.

 

This teacher is not very good (while there is nothing wrong with his actual provided information, it is flat, not very well prepared and uninspiring), but then are not nine tenths, if not more, of the world’s teachers exactly like that. This teacher is not one of the popular crowd, and within the teaching environment that is so laughable it almost takes you back to secondary school, but despite this, and despite the fact it is highly unlikely any attention (rather than the negative ire it will instil by the comment and tone), will be paid to his comments, or make any difference at all to the general conduct, he made the effort.

 

It cannot be ignored that it might have been with a sense of revenge the teacher, already ostracised, decided to add a little venom to the event.

 

This does however bring up something about right and courage. Whatever the reasons for the teacher sending the email it does seem to me to be the right thing to do; Thoreau speaks of a single man being in the right then that man being already a majority of one, which took me some time to understand… it also speaks of courage (no longer referring to the teacher or this particular case), but the courage to stand against others, to stand against the many and the strong, when you are right.

 

We know what is right – there can be no excuse ‘I didn’t know!’ we might have strong reasons not to do the right, but we know when we break it, and cannot claim ignorance. There is a simple rule which permeates all cultures in one form or another, called in philosophy ‘The Golden Rule’ which is to do to others as you would have them do to you, or the negative, not to do to others what you don’t want them to do to you, the first anticipates, possibly without reward, the second reacts, with clearer results but perhaps not so fruitful – there are other versions but this is the one we can all understand, and any time we break this we are, as fully rational beings, aware of our unlawful behaviour (in the next Aphorisms I shall treat this with a particular topic I am very concerned with).

 

Does a bad nature mean good advice shouldn’t be accepted… where it comes from – credibility and humility (someone you respect enough not to feel small taking the advice). Someone who we do not like, admire, respect – feel to be in some way in a superior position to ourselves gives us advice we dislike taking it. This takes nothing from the advice itself… good advice is good advice, but taking it from someone who we believe to be in an inferior position to ourselves… does this make us feel small, is this the reason we hate to take such advice, for if this person we feel as below us is suggesting something we had not thought for ourselves does that then place us in a position below them, and thus we must deride or disregard the advice in order to feel the return of our [perceived] power over them?

 

Aside – it is interesting that in the truly dreadful book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, in which the egocentric psychologist does nothing but spout the occasional phenomenal results of social conditioning and claim them for essential traits of behaviour, the whole time using himself, an obvious chauvinist, and his rather flat and pathetic wife for models for all humanity, we find man only turning to advice from other men (well, the idea is someone who they believe is in a position to offer reliable advice), and having to learn to exert patience when his bothering wife/partner tries to give reasonable advice.

 

Second aside – whether male or female it is extremely frustrating and irritating to be offered a solution after you have been struggling to solve something yourself for a protracted and difficult period of time…

 

Something personal… I was thinking today, not an unusual process for me, but I was wondering at what writing 'is' to me... obviously on some levels it's trying to work out thoughts and feelings current, hidden, powerful, mysterious, etc... and often it's wish-fulfilment (usually in the adventure stories), both of which would be directly linked to some of the processes dreaming acts through, but with far more control - something akin to Freud's free-association, but something perhaps more that these - and these are very interesting…

 

I write as an art form: one of the speculated art forms is 'art for art's sake' (rather than modern art – which at its best teaches us a great many things about the nature and relations we have to our internal and external societies – which at the best levels I enjoy very much, but like a great essay, not as a piece of art…), rather than creating a painting or sculpture to sell, to impress, to some end the form is only a process to acquire, a means to an end - writing simply because I love to write, to try to create something so close to the feeling, and the thought that it can communicate itself purely or as closely to as possible to the other. I write to reach a point of perfection, where word and thought and feeling can come together into something beautiful, subtle and powerful. It is gratifying that more and more people now ask for my work, but that is not the reason, and as Hesse puts it when he describes the escape of Siddhartha from the commercial world he has been overwhelmed by – forgetting the game-quality of life (a very easy thing to do, especially in unhappiness, suffering, or responsible success – a new slant on the concept ‘power corrupts’), and as Nietzsche would put it, the art form of life, so I write because I simply love to, and that is a part of my game, the art form of myself…

 
 

Aphorisms 6

 

Time to attack the smoking thing – think of the Golden Rule – someone comes into your house and tells you, you cannot cook beef for your friends…

 

The dictates of a government despite the wishes of [a significant part of] the people, is a direct contradiction of the modern concept of a government, but seems a fair indication of the evolution now inexorably occurring. Totalitarian rule by a group of individuals no longer working as an extension of the people, but now according to a personal agenda either supported or not by the people (the majority of people is not sufficient to take away the rights of the minority – by rights I mean the basic property and person of the individual which the social contract is based upon – and by person I mean the right to do as I wish with my person, including suicide if I should so wish, if those rights do not affect the person of another).

 

Smoking is a good example of how the government now believes it may decide for the individual what is right for the ‘person’, and ‘property’. Health is [improperly] used to support these controls. Smoking in a place where it may be deemed a health hazard to others would at first seem in accord with the principles of protecting the ‘person’, however when ownership of a property is considered in tandem with this hazard it becomes apparent how those most fundamental of all rights are being infringed upon.

 

The owner of a bar decides that in his establishment people are allowed to smoke. The premises belong to him and he clearly puts out signs informing potential customers that smoking is allowed within his bar. For the government – or even for every other member of society – to then tell him he may not do this, and to then punish him if he defies their decision, is a direct infringement on the rights of the individual living within society.

 

Any government agreeing to such a majority is no longer working as an extension of the people – all the people – for the customer has equal rights to go to another establishment where smoking is either limited to certain areas or prohibited entirely, or to even open an establishment of their own in accordance to their own individual desires.

 

If the government was truly concerned with the health of the individual they would ban private transport and implement changes to the public transport system, and here is the real chance to observe what is happening her…

 

The general public doesn’t consider what they are really attacking when they make such decisions, and the government, desperate to stay in power, is simply acceding to the majority for it is the majority which will decide their future.

 

The general public, who call for such measures on thoughtless, selfish ‘herd-mentality’ whim, do not realise they are setting tremendously dangerous precedents; allowing bodies to simply destroy individual rights, the very rights underpinning our society, and when one right has been legally abolished (legally by the law written by those doing the abolishing not the law as implicitly agreed to in the living together of a group of individuals), then what is to prevent another, and another… until there is nothing remaining of individuality and expression – until we finally succumb to the machine and devolve to the tiny cogs, the ghosts in the machine…

 

Rebellion, saying no… protest… protest means caring for something more than keeping silent. For whatever reason, be it the denying of an untruth, the refusal of an order or request, the decision to act in a way contrary to another’s will… what matters is that the saying “No!” is in some way greater than keeping silent, remaining passive, on the scales of decision. Today we make little decisions, small in comparison to those made for causes greater than ourselves.

 

With the destruction, near enough to complete now, of ‘meaning’, and as nihilism, in its final accepted, conditioned form, infects the modern world, we have lost the ability to say “No!” for anything larger than ourselves and our direct sphere of influence. The loss of meaning is the destruction of ideals or as Nietzsche noted so early – we live in the ‘twilight of the idols’, perhaps that twilight is past now, past and hardly a soul noted its leaving.

 

Religion, nationalism, the rise of tribes and companies, societies, clubs, families, partners… slowly we diminish… the hammer of science in the coffin of the soul. Slowly science has whittled away at all those things which deluded us (he says scientifically with a touch of nostalgia), into believing were more important than ourselves.

 

As above, Thoreau was willing to sacrifice himself (and our histories are replete with examples, just the very few that have been recorded, of men and women sacrificing themselves, their very lives – that most valuable of commodity), for something he believed to be greater in value than his own life, and in this case it was liberty from slavery.

 

We see terrifying books written at the very dawn of the scientific era like 1984, and A Brave New World, in which the naïve and imaginative insight of the writers had science bludgeoning a new society through force and conditioning, but science is far more insidious than this… and the human race requires more subtle poison. What we see in reality is science slowly wearing away at our ideals with commodities; hand in hand they teach us that to ‘have’ all that’s new and wonderful on the market is in some way a satisfactory ‘meaning’ to our lives (don’t misunderstand me – I’m in no way suggesting we throw it all away and live in caves or something, but those delusions did give us a might, a vitality, which has now all but evaporated).

 

Neither are right, neither wrong, both are simply different ways of being, and the nihilism taking the world is only a reaction to the transition itself, but with gods and ideals being replaced by gadgets and hedonistic luxuries we have lost the perspective enabling us to protest more than what directly affects us. Ever so slowly, without most even realising, we have lost the ability to sacrifice ourselves for something we believed more than ourselves, for with man, perhaps Descartes… devolving (he says with heavy judgement), to the res cogitans and the divide between ‘I’ and other being (at least from these perspectives), uncrossable (and we can see the desperation for meaning in the ‘new’ philosophies of the other as an attempt within the boundaries of said new perspectives to save some shred of meaning outside ourselves), we now have no compulsion to sacrifice… we have lost the ability to protest…

 

(aside on above) How possible to continue in Nietzsche’s philosophy – the Ubermensch, the over-becoming man who redescribes himself in the terms he wishes, who creates himself as a work of art – and what does this really mean…? It would seem impossible to decide to follow ideals we no longer are capable of believing in, for have we not seen a hundred times the collapse of even successful rebellions beneath the corrupting hands of those who will always take advantage… Is it possible to see humanity as worthwhile? If we evolve into nothing, if we advance into more sophisticated versions of exactly the same thing… can we live amorally, but for something…? A host of paradoxes there to twist your mind (it is mine)…

 

How far are you prepared to go (might get a story) – the lengths someone will go to, to get something else, are an [obvious] direct correlation to how much they want a thing. The desire can be affected, made more powerful by altering the aspect of the thing they want – making it more attractive or appealing, or lessened by the person coming to believe the thing was not as attractive as they first thought. These alterations may be fast or slow, may be intentional alterations or accidents, but each and every one can only ever get so far as the desire of the one doing the wanting, after that limit has been reached there is no way of further affecting the results.

 

Patience (indecision), pain/pleasure control… There’s a massive difference between patience and indecision, which I think most people easily overlook. As children we have no conception of the future, probably because we have not yet amassed enough experiences to have any perspective on the passing of time. We take what we want (if we can through one method or another), without remorse and only regret in passing (if at all), some better opportunity which would have presented itself, had we possessed some more control.

 

As adults we face an entirely different set of circumstances – perhaps we are able to gauge the future to such an extent as to restrain ourselves, but the majority possess no such insight, rather they are trapped in the very moment due to the infinite paths leading off to the next moment, and thus they never actually move.

 

(aside to Patience – adjustment through time – for many reasons (see earlier works and probably later), we dislike major, or even minor, changes, they upset our order, our feeling of control, our denial of helplessness, our coming death, and many more things, but the nature of existence is change and we are naturally, if not immediately, designed, evolved, to come to an… acceptance of change – two points, something disrupts our status quo, rather than rebelling – depending on the event – we can have a little patience to see if we can once more gravitate to a state of acceptance, finally finding the situation to be more than tolerable (although this might be a natural psychology re-conditioning the mind), and when a major shock strikes the system, rather than either fighting it, or surrendering to it, simply standing steadfast and continuing, until this process has been allowed time to work through, to wash over, finally ebbing away and leaving you mostly intact on the other side…)

 

Hope – the insane wishing for the improbable, but a good indicator of the heart’s desires – that it would support the insane rather than the probable… optimism has recently been described in a scientific journal as the result of a lower intelligence, and more and more often the idea ‘the definition of insanity is acting in the same way expecting different results’ has been cropping up in many forms (I even saw a version of it in an Xbox game very recently), but these theories are looking only from a scientific (at least calculating from a certain viewpoint), perspective. They assume the results, based on sentient rationality, are the very point (they consider the ends not the means – or as some might say the destination rather than the journey), rather than following old Hume in believing the unconscious, the will – the very passions – are what matter…

 

Trying the same thing again hoping for different results, believing the ‘good’ (or what is right for us at the right moment), in the face of probabilities indicating the inverse, or being ‘optimistic’ would rather seem to indicate that our passions are dictating our actions rather than our rationality… this in no way indicates a person wise or foolish, insane or stable, but rather something about their personality… it only indicates their initial perspective, and something of their conditioning (social, parental, educational, etc…).

 

(aside on the above) It could be argued that the ability to maintain a passionate dedication to an intention, thought, action, is the sign of a character more grounded in meaning. In a world were meaning is scarce, if not eradicated and living on in illusion and shadow, the ability to dedicate oneself to a thing is a sign of health…? Taken too far this can be seen in dogmatism, and possibly, if directed stubbornly towards the wrong intentions, be far more damaging than the ability to discard a notion in the face of reality, and thus we see the uncountable deaths at the hands of organised religion, for example, the ultimate sign of optimism in the face of [a lack of] evidence… balance…

 

Appreciating things when you have them broken – an old thought but still worth a mention – how we appreciate things only after we have lost them (although how much of this is in close relation to the habitual, shock/alteration thing both above and far above might make an interesting aside – I have also written recently about only being able to hurt a man who has lost everything by giving him something broken back). We think of these things in such generic terms, usually in relation to the things that shake our foundations, but how often every day do we encounter such a situation – can we come to resent a thing we once loved as it is now in some way lesser than we once believed it to be, can it shadow all that went before with bitterness when we realise what the final result became…

 

A friend wrote this…
‘'If you’re a bird, I'm a bird.' Love someone not because who he is but because who am I when I am with him…’ although the sentence does not logically follow from the saying they are both interesting thoughts…

 

The second first…

Loving someone because in their presence you find the very best of yourself… it is indeed a delightful thought, and one based on the third division of Aristotle’s conceptions of friendship – that we love someone because we admire them, but here it takes the idea even further (although also covered by A.), their very nature (perhaps even their nature when they are with us, thus an idea of a swinging pendulum, bringing out the best in both by the rocking back and forth between these two ever decreasing in distance points), brings out the strength to act on those qualities residing somewhere deep within us, that due to social circumstance might never have been able to find expression (although it does seem to lean heavily on need, and loving someone because you need them seems a paradox of sorts – it smells a little too much like using the other and in using, rather than sharing, perfect love might find a little difficulty receiving nourishment) (read once ‘you can never truly live with someone until you can live alone…’).

 

The first second…

‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird’ what can this possibly mean; without the context it was said in it is extremely difficult to understand (and verification impossible), but it does sound quite nice…

A bird – some creature free, existing in three dimensions, where we are consigned to only two. Coming and going as it pleases it is unchained, able to explore the world as it sees fit, with nothing to hold it to a single place… but there is no psychology of attachment to this idea, so the necessity of adding a partner, which in actuality a very few birds do actually have (the eagle and vulture are two examples – I think some owls too) – where the one goes the other goes, where the one leads the other follows or, in tandem they travel together to all those realms existing in fantastical imaginative wonder (and were to ever really reach them would we appreciate them half so much as the romanticised locations within our mind)…

 

The psychology remains one of escape… and escape indicates a discontent with the here and now, but it is a hopeless form of escape – for escape, or at least the changing of circumstances usually remains a very real possibility with enough effort and determination, whereas the fantasy of turning into a bird and fleeing circumstances, in the company with the perfect partner (another – thus sharing in circumstances – fleeing soul), is an impossible one, a flight of fancy…

 

The strangest thing struck me today – I am faced with a sixteen day holiday (bear in mind that I never take holiday – I work seven days a week and begrudge national holidays that force me to stop working, the only time I ever do, and then find myself climbing the walls a little for something to do – if I have an occasional day off, and I have something to actually do during the day, it is like a precious gem that flies by in a blur of pleasure, but I am more than ready to return to work the next day refreshed – at least for the moment). Not just any holiday, but a very exciting one in which I can strike off another continent, scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef, and skydiving from my bucket list.

 

While on the one hand I am extremely eager to be gone and adventuring, on the other I feel extremely uncomfortable at the idea of leaving work for such a very long time – I can already feel the void in my life left by having this core removed…

 

Like any addiction I will feel this loss, and like any addict if I know a time when even with all my cunning I shall not be able to avoid the withdrawal I shall begin to experience dread and anxiety at the very prospect, but it seems more than that.

 

A friend suggested it is because I love my work; it gives me power and purpose, and (now I’m extending with my own thoughts), this has become a foundation for my own identity, and thus a meaning of sorts – the feeling I am suffering from is the idea not of just missing out on a ‘fix’, but having my actual foundation removed – putting me into a place where I shall be fully exposed to nihilism… thankfully (as above), I’m sure I shall adjust, but the sensation is certainly a fascinating one…

 

Recently I had a discussion with someone about where I would like to retire (a little premature perhaps, but I have plans), when I told him where and he asked why.  Said that it was not only beautiful, and the kind of beauty I like, but I also enjoyed the thought of the political structure. In this country taxes are extremely high, but in return the health and education are paid for, supplied with the newest technology, staffed by highly trained staff, etc… the public transportation, and general amenities are high quality; well, you get the idea.

 

It the struck me that should not this [ideally] be the situation in a communist country. Given the country is recently (and most certainly not everywhere), escaping Third World status, it is not surprising these services are still of an extremely poor level, but the same principles should be in place.

 

However in this country (China), quite the opposite is in place, with almost everything becoming privatised (see the article I wrote last year on taxation in various countries for some details on how this is being done very unfairly). Taxation is a sign of the cultural and political structure of a country – on a very basic level: a country that taxes high, and then provides high quality public services is one which believes in the community (for what if you never get sick, what if you have no children, what if you  own your own car, etc…). A country that strives for low taxes is one that believes in individuality (on a shallow level), where you ‘pay for what you use’. Where services are privatised the individual only has to pay for him/herself and only in need.

 

This would seem to be the very opposite philosophy for a communist country…? However, in a recent meal with another friend, one whose father is a high level government official, I found that the roads (not all but certainly the major motorways), are now being sold to private construction companies, which then cover all the building costs, but receive a long term return from tolling the road…

 

It strikes me that this (in any country, but especially in a communist one), is a) philosophically opposed to the fundamental morality of the state, and b) a dangerous precedent – there are a few resources which are vital to the infrastructure of a culture – roads and basic communication being the foundational two… if you begin to privatise these resources; well… you do the math…

Aphorisms 7

 

 

Everything is metaphor - language is a wonderful example, but even the images in your mind are metaphors for the reality they try to communicate from the outside

 

Trying to hold this idea in a formed, certain concept in the mind is far more difficult that it might seem. The dictionary says ‘a term or phrase applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance’ but if we take this idea to its logical conclusion, then all words – all utterances – have no literal application, but have arisen through time and usage to indicate a certain idea, concept, empathy, etc… that we might firstly cognise, and secondly communicate to another.

 

If we philosophically examine thinking, the holding of ideas (relating to the external world – made up of a posteriori empirical data), we find that they are in no way literally applicable, but simply resemble (through convention), our perception of the thing we are concerned with (to be explained further…).

 

Refraining from striking a blow to the most vulnerable part – insult a man, but if you know his true weakness, this is the one place you must control yourself not to exploit – reading of a community of people who, reportedly, love to argue. Not only do they enjoy a good debate but the will become passionate about every disagreement and even enraged at times, creating feuds which might go on for generations BUT if they know the person they are arguing has a particular weakness, a true vulnerability, the will NOT exploit it however enraged they might become.

 

Perhaps you too are so restrained, if so this short is only for entertainment, but if not… when I am arguing, and the more passionately then the more likely, I will look for cracks in the other’s defence which I might exploit. When we argue how much is wanting to guide the other to a better understanding of something and how much is wishing to impose our will upon another (in all likelihood due to a basic insecurity which will only be satisfied by the other surrendering). If we are driven by the latter then any way to bludgeon the other into submission would seem acceptable.

 

I once saw a Catholic checklist of things not to do with the person you are with to have a successful relationship, and one of those things was to bring up previous faults, unrelated faults, from the past if having an argument. This seemed an especially difficult thing to do, and if we examine the law system, is not the past of each witness used by both sides to affect credibility.

 

It reminds me of an old story – a rebel group of priests, rebel as their order is was a pacifistic one, would train their whole lives in all things martial, then would choose a certain cause which they believed worthy of their action, choosing one to leave and begin the next generation while the rest rode off to die in the impossible conflict, setting themselves as an example to the necessity of resisting evil, however impossible victory.

 

On one such glorious action a pass was being defended. The pass would allow a horde to enter farming lands where they would no doubt, pillage, rape, and murder all the defenceless farms. The defenders were impossibly outnumbered and the end seemed certain before they even begun (the commander even allowing them the choice to remain or leave as their own conscience dictated).

 

The group of priests decided the cause to be worthy and threw their not inconsequential skills to the defence, and while this helped for some time the odds were still impossible. Right near the end (which I shall not tell you as it is a very good story and you should read it for yourself), one of the few remaining priests was trying to hold a gate with a few remaining soldiers. The enemy made it through and killed all the defenders but for the priest whose greater skills allowed him to survive that little longer.

 

Finally fatally wounded it appeared he would fall and one of the enemy darted forward to finish him, but he’d moved to early and the priest avoided the blow and brought his sword down upon his enemy’s neck, only to stop it but a fraction before it struck. The enemy thinking nothing but he was extremely lucky then finished the priest off.

 

To know you have the power to strike a killing (wounding), blow and still withholding seems a personal kind of power, a great power that needs nothing of approval or understanding from the outside, which indicates the person wielding such power has no need to conform to social standards in order to be accepted (to be approved of); a very beautiful form of authenticity.

 

The cerebral attack – we say there’s no such thing as an unselfish act, but perhaps it is because we confuse benefits to us for an act for another, as a motivation and not simply a by-product of our ever evolving self-analytic mind…

 

Oriental philosophy (notably Buddhism, but also Dao, and others) – the world is suffering is mistake, the world is suffering… in the context of time (from this following perspective) – through regret and remembered joy, from fear and impatient anticipation, the past and the future become things filled with pain (but from other perspectives these can all be viewed positively). Thus it is in the absolute embrace of the moment – whether action, intent or thought (which includes reflection on the moment itself), the perfection in the object, we may escape the suffering…

 

Recently I’ve been reading many books on the differences between men and women (with regard to psychotherapy), and I think I have found the mistake everyone has been making. Stop thinking in terms of he/she! There is no man struggling to find his ‘female’ qualities, and no woman in search of her ‘male’ ones. We all, to the limits set by biology, education, conditioning, environment, etc… have access to all of these qualities. If we are trying to readjust (to seek some other quality), it should not be a gender based character doing the searching – for that only makes the conceptual attainment that much further away – and it’s also just wrong, nor the seeking for a gender based ‘characteristic’ (same difficulties arise). If I want to be more… then I should practice being… how much effort, and the limits of my capacity, will doing the succeeding or not… by setting things into the very moulds of his/her qualities, we are being sure we can never truly understand them – trying to work our 2+2 when we start with fives…

 

Living life trying to find meaning in the narrative, some overall meaning to your life, seems… troublesome, rather finding meaning in the particular activities you are currently involved in (with reference to the past and the future…)

 

This is a complicated one, so writing it is more along the lines of working it out for myself… bear with me… in a universe where we are pointless… pointless in some greater scheme of ‘ends’ (although arguable as ‘oceans are made up of drops’) – working through some narrative (making your life into a story – my own literary tendencies would make it an adventure, but I believe that’s very much up to you…), and by story I mean giving it a beginning, middle and end… to make it a holistic entity rather than a bundle of moments… but with the endless uncontrollable variables affecting every moment, the alterations of plans, the twists and turns to intention, the floating on coincidence, and bearing in mind that there were [probably] no intentions before you were conceived and after you die you will die never having been properly understood, many of your projects (if you had them), unfinished, and what remains of you will dissipate in memory and actuality, it seems very difficult to look at the narrative of your life as anything more than a bundle of events all jammed together in an all but random way…

 

However, and this is referring to and refining an idea I read about in a book recently so I can’t claim responsibility (or blame) – what if you look at all the moments of thought, intention and action in pieces, referring them to previous and coming moments, near and far, but concentrating on them and the you of now, then their meaning begins to take shape – it is of course no great teleological meaning we have been searching for since we understood our finality, but it is a meaning of sorts – perhaps as my old teacher might say ‘Very Little… Almost Nothing’ but you take what you can get, eh…

 

The imagination – what a capacity, quantum entanglement, crossing time, space and even death

 

A few thoughts on the imagination… a blessing and a curse… we are now entering a time of infinite creativity, where science and technology, art and creativity, have leapt so far beyond anything we might have even dreamed of for the last one hundred thousand years of the race it seems we are capable of anything… but still we have limits. We outrace ourselves, and while it might well be possible, in time, to travel to those other worlds, to shrink ourselves and explore the quantum universe, to even create universes of our own (and the scary thing is that the physics is [relatively] understood, just not attainable), at this moment we are unable.

 

However, in the computer universe this is now becoming possible. As the [gaming] world holds its breath for the release of the new Xbox true possibilities seem to be screaming to be invented. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born in a time stretching between those two points. When I was young you were lucky to have a colour TV, and when games came out they were two white boards on either side of your TV with a white, square, object bouncing around between them at simple angles… a recent game I played a game (Tomb Raider), on my 55inch 3D TV with a picture not very distinguishable from reality, but… this is a reality drawn from the imagination of others – these are windswept cliffs and beaches that I will never be able to travel to, that even with enough money (and so few of us have that), and the freedom to use it, we might search for their like in the real world and always come up short. In this game I can be the adventurer, risking life and limb to save friends, the world, etc… training and arming myself, leaning skills, well… you get the idea, and this is just one of the games now available on the current Xbox.

 

In a very short time now, before 2020 it is estimated, we shall be able (with the use of virtual reality technologies), be able to enter these places, to interact with each other across the globe, to even create these places ourselves, where we can not only be anything possible, but the impossible too, even redesigning the laws of physics themselves; time and matter will become our very play things… it leaves me close to speechless, the very possibilities…

 

Aside – there is great speculation among the scientific community as to whether we are now not inside such a program, as the chances of this particular special moment in history happening for the very first time in human history being estimated (in one study), as 3,000,000:1, and the similarity of the quantum world to the workings of a computer program seem so very high…

 

Living in the moment is not as simple as the grammar suggests, nor so wise…

 

I wish to clarify something, perhaps many things (and it’s unlikely to be much of a clarification), but I do NOT recommend living entirely in the moment as some of my readers have [quite easily] misunderstood me as suggesting (even the above can be read in this fashion). I do NOT suggest leaving regret behind, not planning for the future and simply extinguishing the detachment necessary for reasoned thinking.

 

What I suggest does involve those things, but in a far more difficult and subtle way (so much so even writing about it becomes something extremely difficult). Concern with the past, knowing yourself, who you were, where you came from, the successes and failures that have developed the you, you are now, concern for the future, for larger intentions than the one of the moment, for the consequences of you own actions, both to yourself and to others, all very important, and the concern with the present that allows detachment from the present into the timeless moment of reason, again a necessity… so how is any of this living in the moment…

 

Living in the moment seems to be… acceptance, not surrender, or that would be bowing to the fiction of fate and running from being human, being what at least appears to be the freedom of agency, the potential for authenticity… ah, just making it more complicated. Now… this me, created by the past, a blend of conscious and unconscious, working together and against itself, directed towards the future, perhaps by the burden of imagination, dashing between experience and awareness, participating in the cosmic movement between moments, inextricably involved in the whole, but paradoxically detached by the grammar of ‘I’; all of that is me, whether accepted or not, but in the accepting (not in complacent accepting either, which refuses to strive for… more… - perhaps we could call this ‘willing’, in both senses of the word), our being/becoming into another moment’s ending… ah… well, seems clear[ish] in my head for the moment (no pun intended), but like marsh gas – gone when you try to grasp it (limitations of language and ability…).

 

Answer to Mark Twain – response – how can we consider an act ‘I’ perpetrate without a pleasure/pain consequence, and the more introspective (intelligent), the more ways we will see that benefit or damage us – being optimistic, did you always find the balance in your favour…?

 

Mark Twain, and many others in other works, but I think he attacks it well, and [relatively] early, argues in What is Man? that we do everything for our own pleasure, or the avoidance of pain. From enjoying ourselves, quite obvious to helping with charitable causes (for example – the pain we will suffer from our consciences – superego in Freudian terms – will be greater than the pleasure of not acting charitably, thus explaining why some would give food to someone starving and why someone else would pass by – they have had such conditioning that they are less affected by their conscience)…

 

To a certain degree I agree, but I do not think this simple behaviouristic assessment of man is complete (although perhaps that is wilful defiance in the face of having my control stolen), for one – because we are clever enough to understand the possible benefits to an action does not mean we have purposed that action for the sake of those benefits (a fine line I think but an important one).

 

I do a good deed for a friend, I can see it will make me feel good, I can see it will put them in my debt, I can see it will nurture good feelings towards me, helping me build relationships against loneliness, allowing for intimacy, confidence, and all the other possibly benefits (although none of that takes into account the character of the one I’m helping, who might feel none of those things, or who might when the time comes, be under more powerful pressure to act differently to my expectations), but because I am clever enough, imaginative enough (perhaps too imaginative), to understand these things, does that mean I was doing the deed for these reasons, or predominately these reasons… (if doing a truly good deed consisting in NOT seeing any of these factors it would suggest goodness and utter stupidity go very closely hand in hand)

 

The nature of the ‘I’ is that all things must be directed to or from it, and thus all actions must be self-centred, but does that mean they are all for the benefit of the self. I imagine to myself a balance, a pair of scales on which on one side it the action, and on the other the pain/pleasure which will accompany that action, and while I cannot get a clear view, being blocked by the wall between my unconscious, the limits of reasoning linguistically, the biological factors at work, etc… (also easy ways to throw my arguments out of the window, which is what the scientists are tending to do with behaviourism), it does not seem that the scales are always tipping in the favour of the ‘I’, and why should they?

 

These days it seems almost taken for granted that my pain/pleasure it the motivation for all my actions, but does that not only show that a perspective change, due to the different social conditions we grow into now, has taken place, not that we have found our ways to some greater truth.

 

Light seems to be a wonderful example of this – light is still a mystery in many ways, one factor which still confuses the scientists is that if you test it from one way it appears to be a particle, and if you test it from another it appears to be a wave… can altruism (and many other concepts), be viewed in the same way… if raised into a culture where it is believed as a truth it becomes one… again the same arguments can be found to refute me; in that particular culture it would be seen as virtue offering satisfaction to the altruist…

 

Still, I’m left with the conviction the pain/pleasure do not quite weigh enough…

 

Facts – so subjective in nature – while this seems to be a paradox all it really does is make life more complicated for those with eyes to read. What is a fact: something which is true, something which can be validated, something which has [some kind of] existence, etc… The sun is a burning ball of elements, predominately hydrogen and helium. A fact… why… because some six billion years ago the mass of hydrogen reached a point where fusion would occur… why, because a cloud of hydrogen had slowly being pulled together to a central gravitational point by the collective mass exerted by each atom… why… etc…

 

The thing about a fact is it must have a ‘why’ for without the ‘why’ what is the fact but simple phenomena. Let’s take facts a step further, let’s add to them a moral or ethical value.

 

1. He forgot her birthday. A fact… left hanging like that we all make a judgement and the judgement will (I think in any social normal thought process), be a negative one, but let’s add a little context…

2. He forgot her birthday because he was working very hard. A fact… the guy is doing eighteen hour days and is so tired he has very little ability to do anything but concentrate on getting his work done. Now the fact becomes a little more blurry… we have to add a little empathy to our calculation – those readers who have worked very long hours and been in a similar situation might be inclined to be a little less judgemental, others who have been in a similar situation but remember such events will be perhaps understanding, but a little self-gratified and superior, those who have never worked that hard might judge, but perhaps have no real right to do so…

3. He forgot her birthday because he was working very hard trying to get enough money to take her to Venice, her dream for more years than he had known her. Now our perspective will shift in many ways – cynics will scoff, romantics will sigh, pretty much everyone (with a heart at all), will alter their judgements, forgiveness will rain down like happy tears from the sky…

4. He forgot her birthday because he was working very hard trying to get enough money to take her to Venice, her dream for more years than he had known her because after she had found out about his affair he was convinced she would leave him. Ah, the groans and gnashing of teeth, anger now, far more so than at simply forgetting her birthday, hard judgements, hard hearts; everything has changed, and I could easily go on and on (potentially to the beginning of time).

 

Some will now look at the chain and talk of cause and effect; these are the Newtonians – though perhaps they don’t know it – and [in theory] sacrifice their right to judge. They say that the chain is inescapable, the one event leading to the next, and will continue to lead away from this middle moment I chose to begin from. Like the mechanics of some great clock slowly turning causing others to turn, clicking away without choice or particular reason.

 

Others will look at free-will, followers of Heisenberg, perhaps again ignorantly,  they will see possibilities between all these ‘facts’ – he could have chosen not to have the affair, would he still be working that hard for different reasons, would he have forgotten her birthday, would she still be unhappy and thinking of leaving him… but in retrospect such speculations are ultimately of little use, for there are so many other variables to each situation it is impossible to really know further than a simple thought experiment.

 

So where are we… on the one side we have a fact built on other facts which might have been inescapable, on the other we have speculation on what might have been if at the moments when ‘choice’ (if there is such a thing), allowed for a diversion from the stream of events, things might have gone very differently… but we can only know this after the ‘fact’…

 

A last thought for this Aphorisms… A friend asked me if I plan what I write… when I said very rarely, and then only in the most basic of vague ideas, he thought this to be a bad idea… He said that I should plan out what I’m going to write, but also I should wait until just the right moment when I feel like writing to write… I feel the need to respond…

 

First and foremost – if you know what you are going to write… what’s the point of writing it…? I’ve mentioned before, I don’t write for you all, I write for myself, and take those that choose along for the ride, if you get something from this I’m very happy, if not I don’t care at allJ

 

Next, I write as an art form, trying to create the beautiful, the unusual, things to stir the emotions and the imagination, to open new thoughts and perspectives, to brave my way through understanding myself, and perhaps through understanding myself, understanding others, in my poor limited way (not being falsely humble – how could I ever get inside your thoughts, and further than that how could I ever get into your unconscious driving your thoughts in ways even you are not aware of…).

 

Next I write for fun… some people collect stamps, some people take photographs, some just sit in front of the TV and passively accept everything the establishment decides will aid its status quo (try to restrain my conspiracy paranoia a little…), and any number of other activities… I choose to spend a great deal of my precious spare time in writing… the feeling when I finish what I consider to be a great piece is indescribable (and lasts right up until I go to sleep – sometimes shorter – apart from a very few of the very best pieces I have forgotten almost all of the hundreds of stories I have now created).

 

Sometimes I write on request, sometimes I’m satisfying a bit of wish-fulfilment, sometimes I’m using the medium to work out confusions or difficult to understand concepts, sometimes I’m indulging in a little revenge, sometimes a little hidden autobiography and the list goes on…

 

I also write because I like to be in charge, I like to live an active rather than a passive life, perhaps one reason I like Xbox games (while still limited to another’s imagination it seems the most active, choice/reaction driven, medium for entertainment), rather than one where I simply accept what others, for all the complicated reasons they have, decide to feed me.

 

There are doubtless more reasons but I will finish with this one… I’m an adamant believer that if you want to get really good at something you must PRACTICE, and then practice some more, and then when you are tired, and really want to do something else… practice a little more… if you don’t then maybe your natural talent will let you do something well, but how much better would that natural talent be if you ALSO practiced, and even if you have no natural talent, practice can make something become which was never there before…

 
 

Aphorisms 14

 

Do we like children, do we like people… or do we like it when they fit into our conceptions of our perfect world (or when they open our eyes to a new facet of what our perfect world could be, could be better)…

 

My cat got me started along this train of thought, about the only useful thing she’s ever managed. About the only time I ever like my cat is when she’s asleep, which is pretty much the same as her not being here or just plain dead. You can make whatever judgements you like but you don’t have to live with her (and I didn’t ask for her). However I began to think about how when she is asleep she’s perfectly agreeable.

 

In the classroom I like children very much, not that I would want any of my own, and had someone asked me ten years ago whether I thought children would adore me I would have laughed in your face… but… do I really like them… or… when they are complying with the personalities I impose upon them do they become… agreeable (or when they, through some independent action of their own, introduce me to another facet of pleasure…)?

 

How much of life is exactly like this; those people and things which either fit into our conceptions of the pleasurable, or those things which are involuntarily introduced but we find amicable, are the things we quite obviously like… but then it’s only when they are fitting into our conceptions, not when they are [perhaps] being something more of themselves.

 

The law of opposites… after an accident people become more wary… but the chances of another accident indicate their fear is pessimistic rather than realistic… Like that annoying person in the group who warns you to be careful just after you have broken your leg, added caution after some random accident seems… unrealistic.

 

However this is, at core, the swinging nature of life, and a reflection of exactly how the luckiest of us have suffered dreadful tragedies. The greater the highs the more painful the fall, and the deeper the stinking pit one has to crawl from the sweeter the air on the heights.

 

Breaking the monotony… or escaping the monotony… Something sensationalist, something at a tangent, just to snap a moment free of the near eternal repetition of the same, to come up for air if you like – for the most of us all too few and far between… but on a lesser scale that leaping from airplanes at fifteen thousand feet and scuba diving from the Great Barrier Reef how do you escape your monotony…?

 

I write, obviously, I study, I drive myself in the gym, losing all sense of the outside in the constant strain and determination, and I play computer games. While in theory I can understand people who chose to sit in front of the TV or computer, who go out for dinners or socialise at the pub, who chat on line, etc… but I believe they involve in these activities through habit and a lack of options.

 

I think most would disagree with me, but they would be wrong to do so – with the right game, the right encouragement, enough practice (and these are not easy to attain or possess), there is a game for everyone… active participation, as all those characters and more we watch on the exact same TV, in every interesting or exciting environment conceivable, often as not saving the universe, or perhaps just a little girl, in the process…

 

Regarding an earlier piece – a Harvard professor, and many others in the field, believe memory is not an endless storage device, but stores key notes and then fabricates the rest on demand. I argued against this previously and now wish to add another aspect to my case.

 

If we are fabricating memories how do we explain being able to accomplish complicated motor functions after a period of time… Muscle memory I hear you cry and if you don’t know what that is have you ever wondered why it is no longer as difficult to walk as it was when you are a toddler, or writing becomes so fluid, or typing as I do now, as quick as lightning after all the practice… but it’s more than practice, it’s training the muscles into the same fluid movements so only the flick of the will is necessary to set them into motion and they only become disrupted when they encounter the new or something emotionally uncontrolled inhibiting fluidity.

 

However, if the simple answer is muscle memory, which can apparently stretch back into the very beginning of our past and all the training we began then, are the great psychologists saying our muscles, which seem unlimited in the number of tricks we can condition into them, are better at retaining memory than our minds… I think not!

 

Also, if we are fabricating the past then why do events which happened a long time ago seem hazy and unclear… This one seems, for the moment at least (I know being a word apparently for psychologists), to solve the argument. If we only record the significant moments of our life and then, when we try to recall them, fabricate all the events transpiring in and around them, why would memory have more trouble fabricating the further back it goes; a fabrication is a fabrication – they are arguing that fabrications become hazy?

 

What sets a community mood/feeling…? This is a fascinating one – I have just moved house, literally one block away, the community even has the same name but a different number. The older place had more green, a lovely little pond and walk in the middle, trees and small parks everywhere. This one is still green, but far more crowded with apartment blocks, not nearly so pretty as the last place (although my new flat is a definite leap up the ladder), but the mood here, or as I perceive the mood, is far different.

 

In the other community I was rarely treated to a smile, not that people were openly hostile, the foreigner living amongst them, and Chinese are fairly xenophobic, but I rarely felt welcome, and it wasn’t a few months before I began to get trouble about my dog, who is the friendliest creature in the world. I could understand the problems with the dog, he’s very excitable, except he didn’t get them in my old place, which admittedly was downtown and on the ground floor, walked on the street…but here I was harassed for not using the lead, but not a single Chinese master walking their dog was subject to the same abuse.

 

In the new place there is no such trouble, people on the whole even want to say hello to the poor bugger, but that’s not the real difference – the whole feeling of the place seems on the whole lighter. People hang out with the security guards on the gate and say hello, there are nods and smiles, not constant, but never a feeling of hostility…

 

I wonder if it is because there is a small group of shops in the centre, and open space where the people can gather, a couple of tiny private schools for children, could these socially based locations have a strong enough influence to change the mood of an entire community? Perhaps it is the flats themselves; while crowded they are more expensive, nicer inside, and are generally populated by middle aged people rather than predominately older people living with their families, but that seems a little too unlikely a percentage to be the cause. Something I have missed or perhaps I am just reading the place as different because those in my immediate surroundings are generally more pleasant people… bears further investigation…

 

A world where one thing eats another to exist… Watching a wonderful, strongly recommend, series of natural science programs at the moment called Planet Earth, narrated by Richard Attenborough, amongst the fascinating information and beautiful shots of obscure parts of our amazing world it shows the animals that live there. Over and over again it shows the predators chasing down and either succeeding of failing (this time), to capture, kill and consume their prey.

 

Whether it’s dolphins or sailfish separating and consuming smaller fish, wolves snapping up young deer, mountain leopards, tigers, eagles, etc… they each and every one hunt and eat, as often enough beginning while their prey is still alive. This is the world we live in, and in our own ‘humane’ way this is exactly what we do, except we do it on a far grander and efficient scale.

 

Pretending we are something more, something elevated from this universe of consumption and birth is foolish in the extreme. This is not to mean we should embrace the unthinking violence, although it certainly seems an option – this ‘state of nature’ would appeal to many without the rule of law, or rather the punishment of law, to keep them in check, but we are something more than the sum of our parts, and always have choice…

 

The cat – Kant – you can only test a moral conviction if it goes against pleasure… It’s remarkable how much later, if one continues to meditate upon matters, something learnt long ago but unclearly understood can suddenly become crystal clear. At university one of the philosophical courses I studies was Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals (been thinking about Kant a lot lately since Gilbert in his Stumbling on Happiness either misunderstood or intentionally misinterpreted his work in the Transcendental. In his book he said Kant says we fabricate reality itself with the use of his categories and forms, but this is not true at all, what Kant meant by these divisions or workings of the mind this is how we sort the infinite information being supplied by the senses – that an innate conception of time and space, conveyed to us by being alive itself, orders information temporally and spatially before we think about it, and things like similarity and difference allow us to conceptualise things into groups, again before we think of them, so the minute differences in everything would not bring about a chaos of impressions), but I digress… In the Metaphysics of Morals Kant says that to truly do a moral act it must run contrary to our likes – until recently I thought it possible for a moral action to run in parallel with our own preferences, but the introduction of the cat into my life has allowed a little more light to shine on the subject.

 

I hate nothing and no one in this world, don’t get me wrong, I feel utter contempt for a great many, but I am too self-obsessed to allow some dysfunctional being to bother me for very long any more, and my world is sorted, my distractions and entertainments so securely in place, I have but to retreat to them for a little while and it all goes away… but… if I could hate anything it would be my cat. She brings nothing positive to my existence at all: she chews the cables of expensive technological products, then decided to knock things off shelves in the middle of the night when I am getting the far too little sleep I get every night, she attacks the wonderfully patient dog, who if he savaged her a little I would not mind at all. She destroys clothes, she knocks rubbish bins all over the floor, she eats and goes to the toilet and my life is now partially about just dealing with these things. I have tried to pass her off to any friends I think would be responsible enough to actually look after her, for perhaps they might give her more attention than I and without a dog she might be a little more settled, but unfortunately none of them want her. I have considered killing her, either me cutting her throat or taking her for an injection at the doctor… but… and this is where I get all Kantian… she’s my responsibility – I saved her from dying of exposure as a baby, an act I do not regret, but regret is only a learning curve, either about future action or a mirror to the workings of the unconscious and now I am stuck with her.

 

While my actions might not be throwing myself onto the pyre of martyrdom for the sake of some grand ideal it does seem to closely resemble Kant’s definition of a truly moral act…

 

However, for the followers of Twain I have no choice (not the only behaviourist or Newtonian out there but one of the most interesting to read), I have no choice. The conditioning, both minute and blatant, I have received since the moment I was conceived, causes me to act in a way technically preordained due to what I consider pleasure or pain, and here there is little to do with pleasure so [for them] I would be avoiding what my unconscious sees as the pain of guilt after my actions, I have no choice whatsoever as to whether I have her extinguished or not.

 

The unconscious must necessarily be weighing these matters in a way I cannot comprehend, for consciously I would have ended her already, for the long term pleasures of not having her around seriously outweigh the burden of potentially seventeen years of the torture of having her… Will let you know more as it enfolds…

 

Returning once again to Stumbling on Happiness by Gilbert – he claims that people would rather take $20 in a year than $19 in 364, but rather take $19 today than $20 tomorrow. This is fairly accurate, but the reason why, like so many of his unfortunately bold statements, is wrong. He thinks that because we do not include enough detail in our conceptions of the far future we cannot understand the pain an extra day will cause, but because we ‘finely grain’ the near future the extra day wait will be unbearable.

 

While the answer does seem to accurately predict usual behaviour the reasons are wrong – it would seem to me that it’s all about a calculation, conscious or not – a single dollar difference of a period of a year is negligible, here it is the time which makes the amount piddling, but over the period of a single day it is the money which takes on the importance, or rather lack of importance – the amount then becomes next to irrelevant, as it is an irrelevant amount.

 

This is a good example of the general mistakes he makes throughout the book – while I too might be wrong and some third or fourth, etc… perspective could be more accurate, he is pretty sure that each interpretation of research results are the black and white truths. This knowing is exactly what causes so many of our mistakes in life, predominately in our interactions with others. We are so obsessed with out little safe knowledge boxes that everything is carefully squeezed in, whatever the shape, to conform with our conception of the world, especially of others.

 

If I were to walk up to you and offer you a suitcase of honest, tax free money wave my hand and wander away with a jolly smile you might think me as mad as a hatter, but it is unlikely you would decide not to keep the suitcase. However, try to walk up to people with a good plan, a structured thing, which, in the light of all evidence, will be a prosperous endeavour and watch their reactions. Is the world such a place, and you know that it is – rhetorical question – that trust is all but non-existent… everyone out for themselves and cannot but have some ulterior motive to their actions…? Once again we return to that question – Kant and Twain battling away for responsibility or robotics – and intelligence is the curse – for what intelligent, consequential considering person cannot see the advantages to the self when they aid others – whether on some unconscious level or consciously we will get some form of satisfaction from deeds which benefit others, perhaps even directly benefitting ourselves, and this very intellect, this consciousness – first sin if you like – is what burdens us with guilt…

 

Grasp your ‘meanings’ in both hands… Those of us who suffer angst, fighting in vain against the finality of absolute nihilism have no escape, but for those of you who don’t understand such knowledge, feel yourself both cursed and blessed… but we shall concentrate on the blessing for now, as ostrich people would never understand the curse, and thus they are blessed – but there are meanings to your lives, which the nature of heads and sand dictate you cannot understand – so, in the face of incomprehension I shall supply exactly what you need in the way you need it… Whatever is central to your life… grasp it with both hands, sacrifice yourself to it as if you were a lamb on a makeshift alter, and though you are the only worshipper, priest and offering feel yourself raised above all men, for you have grasped your ideal, comprehended or not, in both hands.. it is all there is… and it is enough… for you who will never understand or accept advice or commands…

 

Hope for the best – prepare for the worst… faceless things can’t feel pain…  Trust, a nice word and as reliable as English weather… So today I borrowed a friend’s bike to go to the gym in my lunch hour, save a little walking time. It’s becoming a little chilly now so she brought a heavy coat, but rather than bring it into the office she left it, some gloves, ear muffs and hat (I’m still in a t-shit so I think a little overkill, but…), in the basket of the bike… after all why would someone steal her coat…

 

A beautiful thought and completely ignoring the way of the world… for it is true the very small minority of us are blatant thieves, but that small minority, considering the seven billion plus people in the world, are still a vast number. It is nice to think well of people, and just as sensible to not put them in a position of temptation. I’m not saying people are naturally thieves (although who is not… in their own way – stealing away hearts, contracts and friendships…), but there are great differences in stealing from a face and a name as from an imaginary person – apparently too stupid, rich or both, to take proper care of their items.

 

Believe in the best, and expect the worst – you’ll live a happy life with minimal disappointment – for far easier to believe everyone to be a good soul when they never have the opportunity to prove you wrong…

 

The past – once again returning to Gilbert’s theories of memory and imagination as I reread even more thoroughly his fascinating book (you might ask why I keep returning to the same book if I so strongly disagree with so many of his ideas… well, I agree with a great deal, but not everything – just don’t repeat the correct here; you know the name of the book, read it for yourselves… but the real reason is when I read something both brilliant and incorrect I get so many new ideas on how it’s incorrect and might be able to struggle to new insights, happy days), he claims that because we fabricate the future – an agreed necessity for we cannot construct the future – we also fabricate the past.

 

In other places I have disagreed that we fabricate the majority of details between memorable signposts, if you like, so I won’t reiterate myself too much, but whether we fabricate the majority, as he suggests, or the minority, or nothing at all (for it may well be the case that any errors come from alteration, for many potential reasons, rather than fabrication – a small difference but an important one), why would he believe that a fabrication of the past is ‘identical’ to a fabrication of the future (which he does).

 

It seems there is no reason to believe such actions are identical. When we imagine the future we think about our today, we think about our yesterday, we think about direction, what physicists would call the ‘arrow of time’ or the third law of thermodynamics, and (agreed with the emotional content of the moment affecting), we make as close a prediction as we are able (doubtless the possibility, almost the necessity, of mistake arrives as the variables the human mind, even in a Newtonian clockwork universe are all but infinite, but take into account the impossibility of prediction when we examine what we understand of quantum mechanics accuracy is a very inaccurate word), to hazard a guess at our future.

 

When we consider the past, even if we are fabricating a great deal, we are unable to enter general fictions into the process, we are trapped within the realms of the possible, and those within the [fairly accurate] account, or narrative of our own existence – where he exaggerates the possibility of error I think mostly our narratives are close to accurate.

 

Along the same lines – if, as I argue, our relation of our narrative is fairly accurate it is not the facts themselves we are altering, what can be altered is how we felt about this. For example, I had a fairly difficult time at school, in which I was far from happy, but now I look back at the time with a certain sense of satisfaction for it was like a crucible necessary to shape who I was into the who I am now, who I am relatively satisfied with… but that doesn’t change the memory of how I felt then, only how I feel about it now.

 

He gives certain examples – dating couples, their love now deep, finding their memories of two months ago, how they felt about each other, being altered by how they feel now, patients asked about illness and their suffering of today affecting their recollections of their suffering yesterday, grieving spouses asked about how they felt five years after the loss of a loved one being affected by how they feel at this time, etc…

 

Here I actually find him offensive (again – as I did on his destruction of the concept of family, friendship, etc… though undermining loyalty through past experience for a laziness to change)… to believe we can forget our ambivalence upon meeting a person, to forget, and an important part of any relationship, the growing of feelings for someone… to not be conscious enough to measure our pain of today against our pain of yesterday (I recently had a very painful knee and when I began to recover I could feel the recovering by the hour)… to actually be able to forget the tearing loss of a loved one because years later time has worked its magic and we have found ourselves other pleasures to, if not replace, enjoy.

 

I believe, and for a psychology professor from Harvard I’m feel great sorrow to write this, that the understanding of the depths of humans is far too shallow, and perhaps he is measuring them by the emotional content of his own feelings (in which case I strongly pity him – thus elevating myself even more securely to a position of superiority); we are far more complicated, respectable creatures than he gives us credit for and to assume we are such ignominious things is nothing but a fault in the emotional experience and understanding of his own life…

 

Reason then knowing or knowing then reason (or a little of both), the story of the soft candy… dropping some candy into a bag I didn’t see one fall to the sofa… or did I? I had no recollection of the candy falling, no imprint on my visual cortex, and the event was immediate, so how did I know it had missed the bag and landed on the sofa – It might seem a trivial question but it is something I am fascinated with – It’s back to what’s doing most of the work, is it the conscious mind, making use of all the data supplied, or is it the unconscious, providing the conscious mind with the data it needs to get through a particular situation (or a little of the both)?

 

I lean towards the latter; those same systems which are sorting through the vast data we receive and provide it nicely parcelled into manageable pieces for the conscious mind to act upon. It might well have been that the mind noted a slight variation in the way the candy fell, and piecing together memory and logic suspected a piece may have fallen, but I think it more likely the unconscious was fully aware of the accident and nudged the conscious into a little investigation.

 

Thus, how many of the lefts rather than rights, the yes rather than no, is the conscious mind at work, either thinking itself lucky or thinking it has made the best of all the possible data it has immediate access to, or the unconscious already having made that decision and just nudging the conscious into getting it done…

 

Three’s a crowd… Two will always be the proper number for correct communication – when we are with someone we shape ourselves to the, either positively or negatively, and that fit, for better or worse, will be appropriate, but when another, or more, are added into the mix, the self tries to split itself, being this to that and that to this, and in so doing fails at all…

 

Peter and the consequences of denial… The bible talks about Peter, for the sake of his life, denying he knew Jesus three times – I’m unsure as to whether the number itself is important but thinking today it crossed my mind this action had far more metaphysical consequences than simply keeping himself out of trouble.

 

In denying Jesus he was denying the supremacy of the afterlife over the secular one. He was either doubting the heavenly reward for his faith to be true, or valuing the existence he had at that moment as of greater worth than the following.

 

It is not difficult to see the error, for he was under stress and his life was in jeopardy, but in so doing he made a very human statement about faith. It was not his betrayal of Jesus which Jesus forgave, but his more serious crime of doubting the promised rewards…

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