Monday, July 25, 2005

The unhappy

An old 'poem' as I'm too lazy to type anything else!


I shout for equality and fairness.
I stamp my foot for justice and rights.
I scream for cooperation and coordination.
But do I ever step off the back line,
do I ever face up to my words?
One voice can't change anything, I say,
one person can't do anything, I think,
so I sink back into my world,
until next month, when I am next feeling lonely,
or I am next feeling upset,
or the next time I get victimised,
or when I next get a parking ticket,
or the emptiness bubbles to the surface.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The world around us, the world our children will have

This post was going to be a chapter from Times Tides, but instead it is going to be some political discussion thing... well why the hell not!


I feel I should start this with a nice picture to keep people in a good mood...


So where are we? What do we know? There are people in this world who are willing to sacrifice their life to kill others in the process. Normally I can usually empathise with others view points, even if I do not agree with them. However I can't see why some people would want to do such a thing.

This does not mean they are unjustified with their actions nor does it mean that they are justified. A dark cloud of ignorance surrounds me. I can't help but feel that this cloud is deliberate, whether by the individuals performing such terrible acts or by the media, to make sure we never see them as individuals, only as crazy mindless marauding monsters. I'm not suggesting a wild conspiracy, it is almost certainly just the way that people cope, by not acknowledging that the enemy are people, dehumanizing them makes them all the more easy to hate.

The other possibility is equally possible, that these acts are not directly related to England, but are just being used to show power and control for some group elsewhere. Yet another possibility is that there are no demands or claims of responsibility as the perpetrators hope that the government will know and understand what they want. Like I said, it's all covered over, it's a darkened path. So I shall take the easy route, I shall avoid attempting to work out what is hidden in the dark, surely there is enough in the light to help guide actions.

So to that end, what the hell can we do about it? Two bombs and a shooting by the police will not be easily forgotten by the public, nor should they be. In some ways the shooting has more power, at least descriptively for the media, as it is a more face to face fight, almost more human and personal in a way. So should we avoid the tube on Thursdays now, should we carry on our lives in a stalwart way or should we let every individual be X-rayed before getting on the tube. None of these solutions seem ideal.

While the first is not necessarily letting the terrorists win, for it is unclear what their motives are/were, it is giving up and caving in, something different from acceptance. Think about those words. The second option is too trusting and naive, and is more cowardly than the first. Instead of doing something with our own lives to solve the issue, we'd be almost saying: "it's the police's job, let them sort it out". We all live in this world, we are all part of it. So that just leaves the third option, a security crackdown, with us losing liberty and freedom to help preserve life and maintain security.

While I disagree with people who say that liberty is a fundamental human right, in a similar way that racists who assert that one race is superior to the other; liberty is just as subjective as any other opinion in this world and in some ways it is even more self contradictory than other beliefs. However I do believe that liberty should be strived for, respect and trust work very well in friendships, so surely they can possibly work in wider scales. So am I pro tougher security or anti? I'll take the easy way out and say neither! The choice of more or less security measures will ultimately have very little effect.

If I found that people could easily pick my front door, so that every time I went away for the weekend half the stuff in my house was stolen, what would I do? Would I just ignore it, hoping that others in the world would just be nice. I could try helping local drug addicts, in the hope that it was them who were stealing my stuff and hopefully prevent them wanting/needing to take my stuff anymore. If I replaced the lock it would be a mild inconvenience for me, and would probably just cause them to start taking from my neighbors, but I'd be safe. I could spent thousands and have solid metal shutters added to all my doors and windows. The list of possibilities is long.

So which is the best solution? I'm guessing you'll have picked up on one of them as being the best idea as you read. Personally I think that replacing the lock is most practical, while helping local drug addicts is a nice idea, but totally impractical. Hopefully you can see equivalent analogies to do with terrorists, I mean, I've made it fairly blatant in that hope! So what gets in the way of choosing the best solution. What makes something the best is one major problem, would it be the cheapest, the quickest or the easiest. Also not fully knowing the situation makes it difficult to say as well.

Once more we are back to the problem of the dark fogs that prevents us from seeing all the world. Much like poledancing the best solution is not quick, not easy and not easy to explain. Learning to take a different world view, to realize why we should be tolerant, and not just being tolerant through learnt behavior or because it is the right thing to do is the closest I can get. Trying to sum it up in a sentence, a paragraph or a book would still leave it not fully covered, it seems to be an idea or concept that I just can't put into words easily, maybe because it can't be spoon fed to you.

And where are we left for the moment? We will need to be more careful, need to understanding and let the police search us at random, but with the constant though in our heads that it is only a stop gap. It is only a measure to help us reach a goal with less bloodshed and with less destroyed lives. That's not to say it's second best, or not necessary, but is the best we can do for the moment while we wait for other actions to run their course.

Well that's my vision anyway.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Elementalist: The beginning

One of my many short stories which I really should finish. Written about 4 years ago I think.


10 minutes left.

9 minutes left.

Now only 8 minutes.

The sound of feet on concrete approached, John's head jerked up and saw the shoes. As soon as he saw them he knew, it was time once more. Should he look at the face, should he look to the ground, should he look to the side? Down, show you're theirs. At this time you are theirs, but later you are yours.

'So John, how's your pet? How's your little fluffy pet? I heard it tasted quiet nice when your mother cooked it for lunch.' John kept his head lowered, mouth closed.

'Chickens should not be allowed to keep chickens,' the feet to the left stumbled, as if Philip had been hit by Pete. The yelp of Philip confirmed this.

As Pete's feet stepped slowly, deliberately, towards John, he started to step back, almost hypnotised by the slow thud of Pete's feet. John was so hypnotised he did not notice Philip coming to his left until he had hit. John hit the ground on his right side, his head followed shortly after; pain reverberated around his head. He turned his head up wards to see Pete, Philip and Andrew approaching, yet something was different. Some thing was different about them, they had the same menacing filled expression, but there was something else, something unusual.

John shot a look behind him, 2 meters of playground, then the field, but no escape, no hope. As he turned his head back his check was met with a boot, and was forced to the floor and held there. The voice of Pete rang out through his head, 'I heard from a little bird, that a chicken had been talking. I thought we agreed no talking, a simple arrange meant for someone simple like you. But you could not understand could you?' The pressure on Johns head increased, he was sure, somehow, that it was Pete's boot, somehow he was unerringly sure. The boots pressure released and lifted off. John turned to face Pete, and saw destruction in his eyes.

John dug his hands into the ground and push himself backwards, helped by his feet he manages to scramble back 2 or 3 meters, and could feel the soft, stony earth between his hands. But he was too slow; Pete was above him, with Andrew on one side, Philip on the other. He clasped his hands; readying for the first blow, he closed his eyes and thought. Why me, why now, why do they hit me, what is it they gain, is it a rush, why? It is the way of the gods. Yes it is the way of the gods. But can any gods allow this, why is this allowed. Why was he thinking of this, he was only a 16 year old, he should think of other, more normal things.

As these thoughts rushed through his mind, he realised he was still unhurt, he opened his eyes to see his attackers looking in the direction of the playground, shouting, 'Look it's old Mr Slinky, run.'

As they parted and the sun once more glared into his eyes he looked over the playground, not a teacher in sight, he then felt a feeling of self-survival and power in his right hand. He turned his hand over, realising he was griping a stone from the ground, it had a faint yellow glow to it, with a clear depression pressing into his palm he turned the stone over and saw a symbol of a star over a heart. He stood up and faced the sun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Silence

No comment, from 20th July 2003


I have been silent for too long.
Something inside of me has slowly been dying.
Is it my self doubt? My inquisitiveness?
My individuality?
Do I want to bring it back?
Can I even bring it back?
What is being my self?
Who am I?
I am just a mould.
just a reflection of you.
An echo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Padded Life

A few years old now, I still like it though, unlike a lot of my other poems.


We all walk a padded life,
strapped in,
disinfected,
risk assessed,
whitewashed,
buckled up,
quality controlled.
But if I stray from this padded line,
will I walk in to a padded room?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Art and Action

This was just going to be 3 lines in my other blog, but it started to turn into a mammoth beast, so I moved here and finished it off.



I would hope that very few people would disagree with the idea that art is open to personal interpretation. Whether it be a piece of music, a painting or a novel, different works of art mean different things to different people. This can appear in a very wide scale way, such as Elton John's 'Candle in the wind' being re-released when Princess Diana died, or it can be a very personal reason; e.g. our own past experiences shape the imagery presented by a poem. I would hope that the reader is familiar and accepting of this idea that a work of art can have a different meaning for different individuals and in particular that it can have a different meaning from that intended by the original artist.

This could spark a discussion on if the best pieces of art are the ones which invoke similar ideas in each observer, or if the best pieces of art will have a meaning that is as unique to the individual as their experiences of the world. However that is for another time and a place, although I'd particularly like to discuss works such as this novel. Still I must remain focused on the original point, the relation of art and life. I also want to state explicitly, although doing this did not help when I discussed this point with my parents, that this is not about what is art and what is not. While the issue of "but is it art?" is an interesting one, it does not, as far as I can see, have any significance in this discussion. This discussion relies on the concept of actions that people do and that works of art exist. Whether these are the same or separate does feature as a concept, but I do not feel that it is pertinent to the central discussion.

I will use actions to describe the influence that an individual has upon the world. I can perform an action of drinking from my glass, I can also perform an action of throwing the glass across the room; I have many actions that I can do, many of which are mutually exclusive. I could also present an item to you, say a renaissance picture in gilded frame, that we would both easily agree was a work of art. We might disagree on the meaning of it, of what the artist intended and of what it means to us (two different things) and you might even say it is a terrible work of art, while I would be willing to pay millions for it. Assuming that we both are open minded enough to know that there is not one right way, we would hopefully be accepting of each others differing opinions.

That's not to say that I might not try to explain to you the beauty of the shading in the painting, or that you might not try to persuade me that it is badly composed; but in any discussion of this type we would be attempting to at least express to each other how the work of art affects us. There would never be any question of your interpretation being wrong, just different. This is so much the case that you, as the reader, might require some time to think this idea over. What are your motivations for the appreciation and discussion of works of art? Hopefully you'll reach the same conclusion as me, whether your favorite form of art is music, poetry or garden design.

So, you may ask, how does this relate to actions that we perform in life? Let me start off by telling a short story. Imagine being sat at a table in a pub chatting about life with some friends. You make some witty comment and glance up from staring in the foam of you pint. You notice that two people on the table are smiling, while the other two have a combination of shock and disgust on their face. You then explain that you meant it as a joke and not in the way they understood it originally. It's all good once more and you can get back to enjoying yourself.

So what is the point in this story. There is not really! I would like to bring up the point that in this situation there was a very definite meaning that you were trying to portray. This is the case with every form of communication (written or verbal) between people. I want to make sure that when I say to a friend that "I would like a cheese sandwich" that they do not take that to mean that I actually want a ham sandwich. These are both extreme examples, but cases exist in the middle, but are too long winded, and personal, to explain in enough depth here. Draw on your own personal experience and you will hopefully find a personal example.

The problem arises when you consider if art is also not just a form of communication. The communication of ideas and emotions. So is speech, it is just that with speech it is a form of communication that most people can take part in. So why is unambiguity in actions important, e.g. offering someone a hand to help them up and not to push them down again, yet ambiguity is accepted in art and possibly even encouraged. I have only been able to devise some very general and misty reasons for this.

One of these is that actions need to be unambiguous to aid in the practical nature of continued survival, where as differences in opinion on art allow us to better explore ideas and concepts by seeing different points of view. However I dislike this option as it makes a definite distinction between material survival and intellectual masturbation. This separation is dangerous as it allows us to forego ideals and principles with the defense that it is for physical survival; considering the body and mind as separate is a dangerous path, but once more this is a topic for a different essay.

Another option I have managed to come up with is based on the idea of post modern historical analysis, or at least how Sam explained it to me. The idea is that it does not actually matter if two of us interpret actions in different ways, it comes about from the very nature of us being different. This makes reality and fact totally flexible, eliminating the problem of different interpretations of actions by saying that our worry of different interpretations is the problem. However I'm not content with this idea either, it leads to a very lonely and disconcerting idea of the universe where we are all in our own separate spheres of interpretation and can never hope to communicate/share ideas and concepts.

The idea that I have found which resolves the problem of the meaning of actions and art is to remember that the individual is not a single entity. Within out own mind when deciding actions we will not just have one reason for anything. Even if we are not aware of it many things contribute to the reasons for our actions. There is no one reason for anything. This is what leads to the ambiguity that others can see in our actions, but also leads to the resolution. It is not the case that with actions we wish to communicate the one meaning for something, with actions we wish to communicate the meaning that we consciously intended for that action. This leads to the idea that we should not assign only one meaning to actions, but in a totally different way to the idea in the previous paragraph.

Instead of solving the problem by splitting the universe into individual pockets of reality, this resolves the issue by saying we are all mixed within the same universe, with many meanings for each action flying around. When we correct someone who has misinterpreted us we do not do so to get them to know the meaning of the actions, we do so to let them know the conscious meaning we had for that action. By accepting that there are other meanings that we might have meant, but not thought about consciously, the problem disappears. Actions become open to as much interpretation as art, although the ambiguity is at different stages of the conscious experience for each.


Constructive comments on if this is utter rubbish or not, please...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gertrude

Free-form poetry from a couple of years after when I started being vegetarian, so about 1999


I once had a cow
her name was Gertrude
and when she died
I ate her
and then used other bits for other things
and I made a nice coat
out of her skin
and out of her bones, I made a trifle
and out of her tail, I made a charm
and now when ever I walk the fields
Gertrude is proud
for she knows, that she has been useful
and that none of her was wasted
not even a scrap.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Luck of the draw

Written this afternoon. It's amazing how a focus on rhythm and rhyme can help settle the mind.


By the fear of feeling,
and the dread I see.
Ignorant of the meaning,
a trying time for me.
Glance in a mirror,
disgust has been drawn forth.
No love for the self,
actions come about by force.
False desire leads nowhere,
eyes gaze at the unknown.
Lacking emotions for others,
by a reflection of loathing.
How can I be for another,
when the self is half formed?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

There's revolutions, Revolutions and REVOLUTIONS.

This essay was inspired by the preface to 'Brave New World', so does show some similar elements at some points.


This is from early 2001 when I was an angry teenager obsessed with the idea that mankind was doomed unless we changed our ways massively.


Through out history there has been many examples of revolutions, revolutions of various sizes and proportions. Now I am not very good at history and don't know much about dates and the like, so I will be speaking in general about revolutions. As far as I can see, there are 3 main types of revolutions:
  • revolutions - These are the revolutions when nothing much actually happens in the end, some of the 'rich' people have been killed and replaced by the 'poor' people who started the revolution.

  • Revolutions - These are when there is a major change in the way peoples' lives are run, moving from capitalism to communism or back again.

  • REVOLUTIONS - These are absolutely massive changes going from hunting and gathering to farming for example. Living up trees instead of in huts.



You may puzzle over how Revolutions and REVOLUTIONS are different. I agree that Revolutions are fairly big events, and there is big social change, but the basic goals are still the same; show that your way of life is much better, as it is the only right way. Both the Americans and the Russians wanted to win the space race, not for mankind, but to show how much greater their way of life was at achieving things. People in communist Russia still went to work for food, people in America still went to work for food; there are big similarities. The main difference is how wealth is distributed. (I won't even start on why communism does not seem to work, there are many books on the subject so go read one of them, its just that its better to dream of being rich, than be as rich as your neighbor.)

REVOLUTIONS change the way we live, instead of hunting for food when you are hungry, you go out to work every day for money, major changes like this do not happen over night. I think that the time each revolution takes increases as you go from revolutions to Revolutions to REVOLUTIONS. 'revolutions' can happen in a matter of days, a group of people get together and plan to overthrow the people in power, although they can take years of planning and years of terrorism etc.

These revolutions, personally, I think are the most useless type, terrorism only works by inciting terror in the people, and once you have got into power or to your goal, people will still be scared of you, and resent you. They then start planning a revolution and it all goes round in circles. I know revolutions of this sort don't always involve terrorism, but the majority do, and so there for the majority of them may well work, but they also fail at the same time.

'Revolutions' can appear to only take a couple of days, like revolutions, but for all the effects to come into force, takes several months, so they are more long term, and because of this they seem to be slightly more stable than revolutions. Another reason for this stability might be because of the fact that most people who cause Revolutions have a vision, while the ones who create revolutions only have ideas. Revolutions aim to change the vision of everybody (the good joke 'Come the revolution we shall all have peaches and cream', 'But I don't like peaches and cream', 'Come the revolution we shall all like peaches and cream'.) While revolutions try to change the ideas of who should be in power, and how power should be divided.

Having said that Revolutions have a vision, is not entirely true, I think, the recent anti capitalist riots in London, England, show this. While most of the anti capitalists (the one with the true vision) probably protested peacefully, with a very low number becoming violent; I am willing to put money on many of the violent protesters on people coming along, not because they believe in anti capitalism, but because they just wanted a fight and some action.
This might be a very naive point of view, and in actual fact almost all anti capitalist are violent protesters, and I am willing to be corrected on this, but as I see it, its a group of individuals who are, in effect shunning people away from even thinking about questioning their lives, because the riots are shown in bad light in the media.

Then we get onto REVOLUTIONS, these are major events, and take years to really reach their full potential. Changing from hunting and gathering to farming is one of these REVOLUTIONS, and shows that they are not necessarily violent, or destructive, but just change the paradigm (central beliefs) of the population as a whole. These REVOLUTIONS, I believe, are not lead by anyone, they just happen as a group effort, there was not one person standing there telling all the hunters to grab a hoe and start farming. REVOLUTIONS just happen. A REVOLUTION is what is need for us to shed the lie, for us to become free and live happily. Another thing about REVOLUTIONs is that the end is almost never seen, I don't know if the REVOLUTION to shed the lie will end up in caves with big sticks or with a government system similar to our current one. REVOLUTIONs have the blind leading the blind, and whether we will lead each other off a cliff, or onto a hill top, is undecided, we shall see when we get there. I am fairly confident that some major even is brewing, no one can tell whether it will be an extinction or a REVOLUTION. Having said that what is a REVOLUTION if not an extinction of the old ideas? So in rephrasing that I shall say: no one can tell whether it will be an extinction of the human species or a extinction of the lie.

City at Night

Written early on the 28th March 2003


When I say city, I actually mean small suburb of a town. As I cycled through the empty streets a strange feeling came over me. I was hoping that when I tried to describe it, that I'd be able to, but I can't. It's the most annoying feeling... I want to be able to describe the feeling of freedom and separation that I had with the wind rushing through my hair, passing the dark houses. I felt like I controlled this domain, that this was my time, my place, and my worlds. Even when
I saw a light on in a window, the brightness creeping around the edges of the curtain, invading my domain, I didn't mind, I was still in control, I still had unrestricted movement. And then I breathed in...

I don't just mean I drew breath, I actually really opened my lungs, and tasted the air, and felt it move inside me, feeding the fire burning with in me. I felt the coldness of that breath all the way down my wind pipe. But it grew warmer the more it was inside me, it stopped being the external, and became the internal, it became part of me. Then I realized: I wasn't feeling that this was my world, I was feeling that I had a place in this world. I fitted in somewhere, while
I might not have had a purpose, I had a place, and that place was mine, and mine alone. Lost were all my feelings of trying to fit in, trying to do what was right, I was free. It wasn't that I was lord over all of it, it was that I was a link in the chain, a stitch in the
material, I was part of the world, as much as an atom is part of an object. I felt something close to being needed and feeling important. What I mean is I could have not been there, I wasn't vital, but it would not have been the same without me there.