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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Craving For Attention

A long time ago I heard a marvellous description of teenagers “Love me, hate me, but please don’t ignore me.” With the ubiquity of Facebook and less pandemic social media, it seems the trend for seeking any validation of your existence by posting your least activities for the world to see and hopefully comment on is a new societical trend. Something along the lines of: “How can I be insignificant? I have 16,347 friends, Vin Diesel liked the post I did last year on his new movie project and Zynga games send me emails every day.”

The craving for attention. The onslaught of reality TV shows where contestants are prepared to endure mortal embarrassment and ridicule just to get their faces on the TV. I mean, X-Factor and the releated hordes, everyone seems to prefer the auditions to the main show, where talentless people who are so convinced of their worth and ability get to be stars for nothing but their sheer atrocity.

The cult of mediocrity, where trying is enough. It’s like the ethos of punk rock has become some corrupted mainstream virus. Try to stand out, even if it’s by being so appalling that the world has to see to believe your blatant ego-feeding. We are back to the opening quote, but now it is a societical norm, where your existance is so meaningless that you will do anything to try and prove your paltry efforts and cultured mediocrity has some relevance.

Then again, is a blogger just as guilty, only preaching from a perceivedly ‘higher’ pedestal? I do not know. But I would like to think that somewhere in amongst my online navel-gazing and fauxlosophy, there may be some passages or sentences that actually give you insight, help you get by or make you think in different ways.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Blogophilia

Strange. I’ve only had this blog for a few weeks, yet the compulsion to witter endlessly about trivia under any guise so I can just post something does not go away. It is a real effort to keep the drivel over on Facebook and try to only put deeper, thoughtful material on here. I’m sure there’s some desperate craving for recognition lurking behind this, but I shall be disciplined. I will also admit that I think it’s going to be struggle.

So, a new definition for the dictionaries of the world: Blogophilia – The inability to stop fucking around with your blog for no better purpose than self-gratification/justification. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Daybook

 

Stop Whining

There are so many ways that the title of this post can be delivered, usually as subtext, body language or a telling glance. I admit it, I whinge like a bitch at times, thankfully keeping most of it to myself. Because I have always had the ability to see both sides of a situation, a gift that has made me a reasonable man (most of the time).

But sometimes I wish that I had the short-sightedness to be comfortable in my narrow-minded view. The blinkered insularity of utter surety, unswayed by logical argument and considered opinion. It must be so nice just to have an opinion and that’s it. No doubts, no reticence. Just the knowledge that what I percieve is the all of the situation.

I see it every day, I meet it on the streets and in the shops. People who are so sure that what they see is all that life has to offer. It has taken me so long to realise that for many, that is the way and they are incapable of seeing beyond it. Frightening to me, because I know that there is a point beyond which reason will not work on these folk, they will just fall into incomprehension and possibly anger if their view is challenged.

“Look up! Dull eyes, and wonder –

What you have missed.”

I wrote that couplet many years ago, before I arrived at the realisation that the eyes in question may not be ‘dull’. A lack of ability to see the bigger picture behind any situation or the other side of an argument does not indicate a lack of intelligence. Indeed, one may posit that any fanatic suffers a similar reluctance to ‘look up’. And there are some scarily intelligent fanatics loose in the world today.

The point of all this? Heh. Now that’s a telling one. In all conscience, I cannot bemoan my current situation and the changes it is about to inflict on my life. But I can regret, with a rueful smile, that I’d be a lot happier if I could just cry foul and the act like the universe had it in for me, and that this was the worst thing that ever happened to an ‘honest, hard-workin’ white boy’.

With very few exceptions, you have only yourself to blame for where you are now. However, beating yourself up about decisions made in your past is a futile hobby. Shade the memories and reasons with regret and gentle, self-depreciating sorrow. Then smile, shut the fuck up and get on with your life.

I tell myself that every day. Somedays it works.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Life & Self

 

#3

Follow your heart, but make sure your head is steering.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in My Father's Life Tips

 

Memories of Dust and Bones

Events of the past few months have very much made me consider my earlier years and the memories thereof. More importantly, it has forced me to question just about everything that I remember, that I hold dear or that I thought was absolute truth for me.

The physical results of this are the clearout from hell around my house. Very little is sacred and nothing of potential saleability or removability has avoided a serious consideration of what it means to me. Does it hold special meaning? Is it something I will use or refer to? Or is it a leftover from a time where I had the luxury to try to obtain everything I might have a hankering to play with one day? Worse, is it the moldering carcass of some ‘approved’ pastime from my marriage, where I filled the vacuum of a loveless marriage with toys to distract me, or that made her feel safe or superior? I am not proud to admit that last category, but truth cannot be avoided if one is to progress.

Filling your life with things and toys is frequently an indicator of an underlying emptiness, and let me stand up right now and say that I am irrefutable proof that having money to burn cannot buy you happiness. It can buy you diversions to distract you, but it won’t fix the problem.

The mental and emotional results are far more interesting. I am reassessing my memories in the light of what I know. The memories are still there, but the context has changed as I realise that those involved in the memory probably saw more truth of me than I was prepared to face at the time. In example:

It is sobering to think how much my deeply religious great grandfather must have prayed for me, his eldest grandson and without question a sinner of the first water. He never said a word.

So, we come to the lesson from this… Hmmm. Difficult. Because if I had read this thirty-odd years ago, I doubt I’d have made three paragraphs. So, while admitting the danger of preaching to the converted;

Hindsight is a merciless thing. Never let your psyche take criticism from it, but do take lessons.

Never lie to yourself. It is so easy to do and so deadly in it’s results, which are always slow to mature. Always make the very best decision from the information you have at the time, and make damn sure that if you’re biasing your decision, be absolutely clear with yourself as to your reasons.

Never lie to your friends. Tell them what they need, even if they really do not want to hear it – however, timing is of the essence; you must judge the effects of your truth versus the effect of not revealing it.

Never lie if you can avoid it. These days I will omit, or refuse to answer, rather than lie. A direct question deserves a direct, honest answer or a direct statement that you cannot or will not reply, and the reason. But always be sure that explaining the reason does not betray the answer to the original question – I’ve done that and it’s a good way to be damned from all sides.

Enough waffle from me. Have fun, and may your gods go with you.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Life & Self

 

Will Be Sadly Missed…

From The Times a few weeks ago and bouncing around the net ever since:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or a paracetamol to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge financial settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his four stepbrothers;

I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I’m A Victim

Who have all filed for sole beneficiary status.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Humour

 

Rise Above

There is a malaise within the societies of the world today. Simplistically put, there is no grand conspiracy. But there is a mutual consent by greedy people that their situation would be better served by no change in the way society works. Debt driven life, where those who work hardest to scrape a living end up paying for everything, either by taxation, charity or just buying what they need to survive.

I look back at the three decades after the Second World War and there was an optimism, a communal daring to dream the big dream and the inspiration for inventors to deliver that vision. The pace of progress was phenomenal, and despite some horrendous liberties taken with the environment and minority groups, the only way seemed to be up.

Now I look at the last three decades and it seems that society has acquired a bad case of fear. Frightened of the things they are told they shouldn’t understand. Frightened of those poorer than themselves. Frightened of things that have always been with us yet are only more publicised. Simultaneously we are bombarded with messages to consume less, just make do, be grateful for the crumbs of existence you can scrape from the big society. More than anything, be thankful that those in power are working to homgenise the world; there will be nothing for you to fear because they will all be just like you.

Individuality is discouraged, at least public individuality. Don’t be different. Be like everyone else. Ignorance is encouraged. The internet started as a way for many to share the visions and truths. Now you have to search for the truth in amongst the plethora of trivia.

There is so much to find, to see, to know. Mankind is nowhere near it’s potential, yet I see the beginnings of almost feudal striation amongst the rich and the poor, those with access to education and those scrabbling in the financial ruins of their once beautiful inner cities. Indeed, that epithet no longer applies to just inner cities. Huge swathes of formerly productive, populous and vibrant cityscapes have been rendered wastelands.

Frankly, it scares me. There are clear indications that this societical model cannot survive because it is not being allowed to evolve. Evolution and adaptation are mankinds single advantage. Take that away, and we just drink, eat, fornicate and breed like a parasite that contributes nothing to it’s host except death by infestation.

More worryingly is the fact that behind the current top of the stack are those who would be top of the stack, but the only way they can achieve that is to remove the current heads. Given the entrenched nature of the establishments throughout the world, who keep the lid on using the status quo and public apathy, the only way is to raise the pressure until something blows.

Which is where it all gets messy. Because a repressed change will eventually occur, but the longer it is restrained, the more explosive the event that instigates the change. Egypt, Libya, and so on are litmus paper for societies famous for righteous indignation. Europe and America have longer, because their citizens are far more complacent and smug in their wallows, thinking themselves fortunate despite worrying about paying the bills this month.

When western society changes, it will be a series of events happening rapidly, combining to make a devastating whole. I do not think that it will be mass rioting and bloodshed et al, but I do think that it will be devastating for those who live in the cities and towns. Everyone without the private estate or means to isolate themselves from the ruin that will come.

I titled this piece ‘Rise Above’ for a reason. The cycle of repression and optimism can be broken. We are not going to achieve utopia tomorrow, and the wonders preached by The Venus Project and Zeitgeist are far away, because those well-intentioned visionaries have omitted the one essential thing. How do we get there from here?

We can rise above the stagnant mess that is the world’s societies today. It does not mean tearing it all down, nor does it mean a return to a simple way of life. It does mean that clever people should be encouraged to help mankind to return to it’s adaptive ways, and those who rule by our consent (and that’s a topic for a separate piece) should work together to allow society to evolve.

Rise Above. Learn from the past. See the errors from history. Listen to the people and the land. Then let us start on the incredible future we are so capable of realising.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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