Friday, November 21, 2008

safe zone

Ibede sat on his little three-legged chair and was spinning the paper strips around his skewer deftly and precisely. As he spun the paper into a tight little roll, the edges of which were fanned on each end, he mused on his dilemma.

Only that morning Manakte had reminded him of his innumerable character flaws, his propensity for gloomy cynicism about the future being the highlighted flaw of that morning.

"Honestly," Manakte had said with a belligerent and patronising tone in her voice "The trouble with you Ibede, is that you are too.... Fussy!" She'd rattled off the last word as if it had popped into her head at that moment and had surprised her by its accuracy.

Ibede had only muttered about pots and kettles being black as each other under his breath. Taking Manakte on in one of her tirades would engender even more spleen thrown at him. It was as if she believed her whole world was finely balanced on his brain circuitry operating within her specifically stated parameters and when he didn't perform adequately, it was not her fault the parameters had shifted! He should have known!

Ibede picked up another strip of magazine and began twirling his particular skillful magic on it. The little buds of paper he spun around skewers became beautifully designed artworks. The embedded inks in the disused papers matched and sorted by his astute artistic eye were to be woven into door hangings, which from a distance appeared to be scenes....ephemeral and indistinct but captivating and delightful.

He hated his work. It paid the few meagre bills he had. A few denaso's for old magazines from the local agency and the rest to cover his food and the upkeep of his beloved box.

Not even Manakte knew about the box. No one knew about the box. Ibede would weave through the city streets on his morning off from twirling paper beads, so that no one he knew personally could track him on his route to the box. Not that anyone would have wanted to find him given the boxes location. It was practically in the centre of the city dump. The piles of rotting refuse rising high around him like giant mountains only stinking, filthy and fetid. Ibede refused to acknowledge the smell of these mountians, for once inside the box he felt so wondrously at peace both within and without, he hardly cared for other smells in the immediate vicinity. Inside this amazing thing, he found solace from the world where he could just "be" what he thought himself to be.

No one was there to denigrate him for his character flaws. No one was there to make him work harder or faster on twirling endless pieces of coloured paper on skewers, or thread the finished paper beads into shimmering and essentially useless artifacts for greedy tourists. In the box, Ibede was safe, ensconced within a world unto his own creation. Nothing could impede his world within the pinewood scent of the place.

The box was essentially a large packing crate. It appeared to have been purpose built as the planks on each side were all firmly slotted together to the point of being nearly weatherproof. Only the narrow entrance in one corner, which Ibede had managed to cover with the cleanest piece of hessian he could rummage from the dump, allowed the weather in. Inside the box it was semi-dark and this lent a kind of ethereal element when entering it. After awhile, sitting there, his eyes adjusted to the soft diffuse sunlight coming in through the hessian cover in the corner.

In the corner he'd supplied himself with a small wad off incense and a burner. It could have been a very dangerous idea to light such a thing inside a pinewood box, but for Ibede it as a part of the pleasure of existing here. For him, it was the twixt place between heaven and earth...that moment of transitory danger between Nirvana and Hell where you didn't know what you deserved. This soft piece of danger, regarding the box, made it even more extraordinary for him.

The box was very large, probably the size of a sea freight container. In fact, Ibede could well have housed his family in the box if he'd chosen to tell Manakte about it. She would have added the box to their home requirements in no time flat, making Ibede disassemble it and rebuild it next to the rough corrugated construction they presently called "Home". This is why Ibede kept the box a secret. He little knew anything of wood and woodworking tools and he knew he could never have reassembled the box to such exquisite exactness like it was now. That it had survived its unceremonious dumping in the centre of the city refuse heap...for whatever reason...was testament in his mind to its longevity. He saw it as a device to think with.

Ibede did very little inside the box except feel especially safe. Here he could unleash his imaginative capacity for thinking about the possibilities of a long distant future where people didn't need to live under corrugated iron or have to spin paper to make a living. Inside this box, Ibede just thought. Imagined. Explored his own self and put the pieces of things together to make it all make sense. Then he assimilated what insights he found inside his box and returned to again live among the mountains of fetid human activity, wiser and more serene than he had dared hope for.

The box soothed his soul. It became like Mother and Father, Spiritual Guide and Mentor to Ibede. His work, which he hated so much but was so assiduously good at, was less burdensome when he could spend the time in the box musing on countless artistic possibilities for paper beads, before he had the tools to work those possibilities into realities. His craft became exceptional. Others noticed. Others became suspicious.

Manakte heard on the city grapevine that her husband "was up to something" the day she had spent a few denaso's extra above housekeeping on a new "door" for their abode. It was a heavy piece of canvas, smelling of oil and fish and weather but she had immediately grasped that such a thing would do an even better job of keeping out the weather than the current flap of material serving as their door. She had scrounged every deni she could to acquire this great prize. In passing, the store owner had mentioned seeing Ibede ambling past that morning. Manakte had never really taken much interest in her husbands doings on his morning off from the bead factory, but for some reason on this day, something else piqued her interest. Apparently, she learned, Ibede had been grinning!

Ibede never grinned! Manakte suddenly saw in a moment that Ibede had some sort of secret which he kept from her. Why was he grinning? Where did he actually go on those mornings? What did he really do?

It was not just "Secret Men's Business" anymore, his usual grumpily said reason for his absences from home - there was something else going on here. No one Manakte knew in their circle of associates had ever once mentioned seeing Ibede grin, let alone smiling. He maybe curled up the corner of his lips on the rare occasion but generally he was either merely irritable or morose. She knew he hated his work.

It was then she suddenly realised that about the only time Ibede was really "charming" and sociable was after he'd arrived home from one of his mornings out. Her curiosity was in overdrive. Nothing would stop her now in finding out where her husband went. Cleverly, Manakte, walked the market stalls and garnered little snippets of information about Ibede's movements through the town. It transpired he was somewhat well-known among all the marketeers, dipping his brow at some acknowledging them in silence as he passed by.

Manakte became more assertive and concocted a story that she needed to find Ibede immediately as there was an emergency at home. This of course, led even more marketeers to give her directions and possible threads on where to find him.

When she came to the large gate that led into the city dump, she was appalled. "What could my husband be doing in this place?" she thought to herself in aghast horror. Although Ibede and Manakte were not untouchables, the thought of stepping through the gates made Manakte shudder as if she had become tainted with the blood of being untouchable herself.

She stopped in front of a particularly enormous pile of rubbish and pondered her next strategy. She figured it would be almost impossible to simply stumble on Ibede amongst the oversized piles and her nose would not have stood it for very long anyway. She resolved to come here quickly the next morning Ibede had off to follow him from the gates herself.

The air inside their corrugated home bristled over the next two weeks as Ibede felt Manakte was up to something and Manakte did her best to hide her impatience and curiosity about Ibede's alternative hobby. They each knew the other knew something was going on but being as out of love as two married partners could be they never mentioned it.

It was for this reason that Ibede took an especially long and winding path through the city streets to the box on the next, overcast, morning off work. Manakte had carefully disguised herself as best as she had been able and had gone straight to the dump, waiting with barely contained impatience for her slow husband to arrive. When she saw him, she quickly turned into the wall so he would mistake her for one of the untouchable women that usually haunted the dumpsite. It worked, Ibede was so intent on his goal he never took notice of Manakte watching him from behind the long veil in front of her eyes. Her mind lurched when she saw him grinning a huge smile that dropped a good 20 years off his face! Astonished would hardly begin to describe her state at that point. It revved up the curiosity count within her by a factor of ten.

She carefully followed Ibede into the dump. When she saw him disappear inside a big, rather useful looking packing crate, she was assuming he was going to meet someone there. She waited for the full four hours as the sky blackened and the storm clouds harkened. When Ibede came out of the box finally, she watched him as he straightened himself, stretched a good deal and then stand there looking into the sky and smiling the most unearthly smile she'd ever seen on his face. He looked positively angelic standing there as if he was in some kind of drug induced crazy zone of bliss! Was her husband doing drugs? How was he able to afford it. No one else emerged from the box.

With a great deal of will power, Manakte managed to stand and continue to rag-pick from the vile pile in front of her. Her nose had become somewhat accustomed to the smell by now, but the heavy humidity in the air and the weighty stillness seemed to be slowly sucking the oxygen from her lungs, only replacing it with the sulphuric gases of the dump itself. Her lungs and eyes were burning but she refused to move. She wanted to investigate the box for herself once Ibede had left.

Ibede seemed to glow and then slowly, from his feet up, he took on a different persona. It was as if he was putting on clothes. Gradually he reverted into the man she thought she knew well, the true Ibede, her husband. He sloped, gloomily away through the piles back towards his real life in the heart of the city. Manakte fleetingly thought she probably should go home immediately or he will wonder why she was not there. However, the lure of the box was too much for her and she needed to know just what compelled her husband to stay inside it so long.

She carefully lifted the piece of hessian aside and peered in. The box was black.

"Hello?" she asked timidly, half expecting to hear breathing or a voice from the inky black come back to her in answer.

Nothing. She stepped inside and allowed her eyes to become accustomed to the gloom. The box was practically empty. There was a large sitting cushion on the floor and a box of incense in the corner. She'd wondered where that had gone! The Devil! Other than that, the box was completely empty. This confused Manakte so much she didn't quite know where to begin on this mystery. What possessed a man to deprive himself of human company and enter a foul-smelling dump to sit inside a discarded packing crate on his own for hour upon hour with nothing but incense for company?

Manakte didn't get it at all. Ibede became a complete and utter mystery to her in that moment. She realised she never did know the man she married. She merely used him for the convenience of being a suitably married woman. Ibede had hardly any say in the matters of home and family, she ruled and that was how she liked it. Without him though, she literally would become one of the untouchable women she was currently pretending to be. Not a happy existence to say the least, for either of them.

Or was it? What had Ibede found that made his life have these moments of bliss? What spiritual entity was he in communion with that gave him that glowing energy of beautiful repose she'd witnessed in him before? What was her husband on?

Not quite knowing how to resolve such questions, Manakte threw off the slovenly and dirty veils she was wearing and pursing her lips, walked home in strident and determined steps. She would succeed in getting the truth from Ibede come hell or high water. The rain fell at that moment.

Manakte arrived at her shanty like a half drowned cat, bedraggled and miserable. The water from the sky didn't just rain, it plummeted down in torrents. The streets became almost impassable with traffic and people trying to escape the downpour. Gutters on plausible houses broke away and water rushed off the gaping wounds like rivers. Children were soon crying when they had shortly before, been laughing in the rain. The heavens opened and still the rain fell. Her home appeared and she went inside hoping to find some relief from the battering she was receiving outside. But, the sound inside her home was beyond deafening. It was so horrible in there she had to escape outside again. Calling for her family, she realised no one was home. Obviously they had escaped the deafening cacophony on the walls and roof as well.

But where were they? Ibede should have arrived home by now? Was he at his work already? Surely not?

An idea struck Manakte. It was a long shot but she thought she had nothing else to lose by following her hunch. She turned tail and began to run back the direction she had just come. Weaving in and out of bogged carts and frightened livestock, lost children and beleaguered adults, all trying to escape the sheer fortitude of the water coming from above. Never had Manakte seen rain like it. It cowed you, bowed you over with the force of it. It was like standing under the bottom of an angry waterfall. The streets were filling fast. There was no way her home would survive the flood sure to engulf the city before long.

When she arrived back at the gates to the city dump, she realised with a start, that she had in fact been travelling up a very gentle incline. The dump was actually higher than most of the rest of the city and was not flooding quite so quickly. She went among the sodden piles of flotsam, all seething and releasing vile smoke into the atmosphere as if it was thumbing its nose at the very rain.

Through the torrent, she saw the box and rushing for it she flew inside. Part of her expected to not see Ibede there, another part of her was hoping he wouldn't be. This box made her feel safe. The water outside was a muted thudding on the wood. The box, she realised was so well made, it barely leaked despite the deluge outside.

"Manakte?" Ibede's voice loomed from the gloomy depths.

"Ibede!" She stepped forward unable to clearly see her way. A pair of hands pulled her down onto the cushion. A few mewing sobs from the bodies of her children were heard nearby.

"Ibede! How...?"

"I claimed it! It's mine. No untouchable lives in it and they guard it for me too. I pay them to." said Ibede reading her thoughts. "It's my safe place Manakte. I come here to feel safe and to escape this life in my mind. This box free's me to be myself."

Manakte broke into sobs. Deep rattling sobs that seemed to be trying to match the emotional depth of the rain outside. "I want a safe zone too!" she screamed against Ibede's chest. It was then that Ibede learned how frightened Manakte really was under all her cruel beligerance. His heart softened and he let her spirit in a little and he smiled down at her kindly.

"I brought our children here to be safe." he said pragmatically. The children on hearing this cuddled around their unhappy parents and they all held each other on the sitting cushion until the torrential rain had subsided.

When it was quiet. They carefully ventured outside the box. The sun was setting opposite the darkest grey storm clouds Ibede had ever seen marching into the east. Around them, the piles of garbage steamed and farted foul smelling scents into the air. But astonishingly, they were not knee deep in water. The dump appeared as a small island rising from a gross and unsightly sea of unimaginable disaster.

The box had kept them safe. As the waters receded, they discovered they were some of the very few who had survived unscathed by the deluge. Friends, family, associates, the marketeers, many had suffered losses of incomparable quantity and quality. Eyes looked at Ibede and Manakte and their children as they stepped gingerly through the city back to their home to recover what they could from it.

"Ibede?" said Manakte quietly.

"Yes, wife" he replied as quietly.

"Please keep your safe zone a secret." she said simply.

Ibede looked at her, slightly astonished. This was not usual Manakte speaking. Normally, he would have been harangued and castigated for keeping such a thing so secret. The box would have been made to be rebuilt as a part of their makeshift home. This however, was a new Manakte speaking. He realised what she already had surmised, that if the box had been translocated, they would have drowned, trapped inside of it.

Where it was, embedded in a large pile of junk and human refuse on the crest of a gentle rise in the topography of the city, the box was more than a safe haven, it was an inspiration. Ibede smiled. It was a warm, open genuine smile and his face dropped 20 years.

Manakte finally loved him. Ibede finally felt safe outside of the box.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Does the White House have a Bat Phone?

I am aghast!

The article that the title of this blog links to is implying that President-Elect, Barak Obama, will have to do without most forms of personal electronic communications with family and friends during his term/s in office.

I find it incredibly strange, bordering on Luddite insanity, in fact, to have such a thing happen in this day and age.

Forgive me if I'm being a little too naive but having a human being - a formidable leader among nations notwithstanding - be denied access to the same kinds of technologies available to every other citizen under his watch seems impossibly ludicrous!

I know there are certain conventions where the role of a President of the United States should be seen to be reasonably transparent in his dealings with people, but we all know that is a pipe-dream fantasy which does not happen in practice. Still, I argue that a President who cannot email or text his own wife and children, close relatives and dearest friends for fear of those very emails/messages being subpoenaed in a court seems to be the very height of Breach of Privacy.

If a public office denies these very rights to someone who is there to protect those same rights for everyone else...well that is just hypocritical in the extreme.

Let the President keep his Blackberry (unless of course some 007 out there has implanted - or will be implanting - a tracking device in it or something) and leave the poor guy alone to run the country while still having the right to an electronic life like the rest of us!

I didn't REALLY want to know about Bill Clinton's exploits in the Oval Office with Ms Lewinsky btw... impeachment or otherwise, all that was just sloppy, slutty media encroachment on a personal choice in Bill and Monica's (and Hilary's by proxy) private lives.

How many people's lives do we seriously wish to ruin in the course of "Investigative Journalism"?

Watergate was one thing; serious breaches of personal power and political manipulation etc. However, there is still a reasonably wide scope for the PERSONAL life of a person - be they powerful and in the public eye - to have a life that is private and unfettered by qualms of persistent and invasive scrutiny by that same public eye!

Yes! I am an impossible idealist on this matter. I'd be the first to be shocked if a President of the USA meddled in the affairs of others for Machiavellian purposes, using his "Right to Privacy" as a cover for such things! Integrity of the Highest Order is a prerequisite of the role...I would have thought!

Still, it just seems outrageously unfair on Obama and his family to deny them the same opportunities to communicate in a way that the rest of us presently enjoy, just because he has the top job!

sci fi alive

Please, please, please find a way to spend just 23 minutes watching Stewart Brand detail the ideas of The Long Now crew in finding a home for an "impossible" clock. (Apologies to those who have daggy broadband though and won't be able to view this TED talk properly).

What a fantastic story of human ingenuity.

Perhaps it is pointless given the ills of the world! The world though, has always had ills and always will.

The artistry of being a human is that, instead of being bowed and cowed by ills, we can instead, invest in creating monumental mythology! A striking and breath-taking thing which encompasses, science, art, architecture, nature, sound, design in one singular artifact such as a 10,000 year clock.

That which transcends but does not try to usurp the universal laws of life is, in my book... very, very cool. I get really excited by projects like this. They seem to tap into a very deep core of my psyche and resonate almost as beautifully as the bell chimes in the clock itself!

I'd not heard of The Long Now Foundation until today. Now, having been introduced in this small way, I'm completely and utterly energised with a strange kind of excitement.

Why? I could hardly have conceived of something so esoteric as this and yet it seems so right to me that it exists!

Normally, I'd be cynical and wondering of the costs that "should" be going to support the poor and oppressed. Maybe that modus operandi of mine will still kick in with time. However, there is a palpable essence of triumphing over that which would bring us down in this Long Now project that I find exceptional and inspirational.

The IDEA of thinking long term beyond the instantaneous gratification of this moment seems to be essentially a correct and proper approach to all things. If we want to indeed help the poor and oppressed then we need to be looking from the vantage point of what is possible for these peoples long into the future. I suspect much of why we ignore the plight of those in the South is because we are uncomfortable with the possibility that they may be our equals or "shock, horror" our superiors in the distant future, so we oppress now to keep our own immediate sense of rightness in our place in time and history for as long as possible.

I shall endeavour to discover more about The Long Now Foundation now and muse on what it is about this clock project that resonates so deeply within me.

If only I had had the brains to have been a scientist of some kind! *muses wistfully*

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've had a few complimentary comments about my "Strangers still" post I made the other day. Not posted to the comments but via email and in person.

It's always gratifying receiving supportive comment for one's writing.

Thing is that piece of writing needs a lot of work in order for it to be "publishable" outside of this blog. It might be worth doing perhaps if I thought it merited such work. I'm not entirely sure it does. It was a "quick" story I dashed out in about an hour. That's how I write. It just comes from somewhere in me and I put it out. I rarely expect much else from it.

Thank you to those who are willing to pat me on the back for writing such things. It's a wonderful thing that the stuff inside my weird head can appeal to some people some of the time :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Strangers still

They'd known each other for a few years but had only ever met once. She lived on the planet called XQ12, he lived on the planet on the other side of the vortex rim. She knew his people called it Ke, but for her people, it had always been XQ23.

Falling in love with him had, for Shenana, a rather easy thing. She had followed his posts on the grid for some time, noting his easy and gentle manner under the words, his affectations and mannerisms of text-speak and identifying with them far too much really.

Eventually, Shenana and Kill crossed from text-speak over to the Access ports on the grid super-bypass. Shenana had had to upgrade all her in home systems to do it but she was determined to put the magnetic deflector dishes in so as to get Kill into her life on a more personal level. She was a determined woman anyway. No one ever told Shenana what couldn't be done unless she decided it so. Kill found her inexorably sweet and never once doubted her steely will under the cloying, sometimes annoying, cloak of self-deprecation.

The day of their first voice meeting was a sloppy, tangled affair of shouting "Are you there's?" in staccato on virgin microwaves. Like ungainly puppies pawing a new toy, the two grid lovers shyly progressed into innuendo's that only lovers tolerate. Shenana oggled and played with Kill's mind, teasing and turning him on with her witty repoirtee. Kill in turn, minced and wriggled his way out of any manipulations on Shenana's part, whether she intended them or not, refusing to commit to anything beyond gridflirt. They got to know each other. Or, so Shenana thought. Kill appeared to know Shenana very well having imbibed her style of text-speak and voice patterns to the point where he knew exactly how to press the buttons that would calm or stew her.

It was Midturn when Shenana got it into her head some 19 sectors after their first introductions on the grid, to buy herself a ticket to travel the rim to see Kill in person. They discussed in detail the expectations of their first meeting, eventually coming to the mutual conclusion it would be best to "just see" what happened with no expectations or forced outcomes either way. Shenana was so in love she believed only the very best thing was possible anyway and Kill was more than ambivalent, preferring to see how things would pan out. He was always the pragmatic one. Shenana climbed aboard her shuttle and felt the gentle pang of exhilaration in the freedom of being able to travel for the entire 38 Sixtes to the man she believed to be the love of her life... to that point.

The void was a beautiful thing to watch as she was whisked around its rim. One day everything would eventually eke one six too much and the void would obliterate the lot in one giant gulp. Many's the shuttle that had disappeared into that unknown space before. She trusted these pilots to keep her shuttle on the rim for her emphatic will could not allow otherwise. She would visit Kill or die, physically or metaphorically.

When they finally did meet face to face, they were pleasantly surprised by sizes and shapes and colours and movements. She was smaller than he'd pictured in his mind. He was thinner than she imagined possible in a male. She was more gangly and ungraceful in her mannerisms than he'd imagined. He was more deliberative and stoic than she had come to believe. Their voices and words had spun webs of intriguing mystery and unintentional lies. They were so very much in love.

Shenana welcomed Kill into her body and soul. She made a nest for him deep in her heart and believed him to be the essence of her other self she had lost in time before the void. Her logical self constantly debated the merits of this love. They were so different, she and Kill. Both of them were so obviously opposites, their planetary position on the Rim notwithstanding.

Kill was sweet, kind, more or less attentive. But, they knew each other so well, it was like being with the other slipper and no extra parsecs were taken in order to create early romantic impressions. Both of them were pretty much exactly as they believed they were supposed to be after knowing someone for more than 24 sectors. Shenana had been trying to learn the language of Ke with only vague success. She travelled a little in the immediate vicinity of Kills residence but never really wanted to venture too far from him. She felt safe, secure and deeply and impossibly right at his home. It was as if she had once lived there before and memory was being jogged back into life again after a long sub-sleep.

One sector later, and the lovely Shenana, glowing with the fullness of love in her body and soul caught her shuttle home. Kill waved her off at the platform without so much as a tear. He merely smiled and waved. The deep cave of loneliness in Shenana's heart grew as weighty as the void itself the closer she got to her own home.

Reconnecting with Kill over the grid seemed both normal and now cruel. It was like she was with a different man. There was knowledge where imagination had once fueled the gaps. The language was different. The modes of reaction and action seemed charged and strained with some unknown energy. A shift in the fabric of their affair grew seismic. Shenana caved. Her emotional state became erratic and disabled. They fought now, mostly in text, voice seemed to full of something wrong.

For Shenana, the more distance she felt between her and her lover, the more she fought to retain whatever shreds of connection remained. She was determined to never ever allow this love to die. The love she bore in her every cell for this man on another planet became engorged with even more love. In a frightening way, even unto herself, Shenana became increasingly desperate to own him, to have him to be with him. No other man could match Kill in her mind and she determined that no one would. It was Kill or no one.

For Kill, he'd fallen in love but for now, it wasn't going to work. He moved on. He dated other women, some lovely, some very not so lovely. Shenana was special, but she was on another planet. She wasn't his. He did not want to own her even as much as she wanted to be owned by him. He refused. He tolerated her outbursts and dramatic tirades in text-speak until they wore him down. He preferred peaceful women really. As sweet and as wonderful as Shenana was, she wasn't really his type in the end. Pragmatically, Kill sort of kept Shenana as a back-up plan just in case the woman he really wanted never showed.

Eventually, Kill distanced himself more and more from Shenana. They were communicating regularly but gradually the sixes became longer in between talks, and they were curter, more refrained. Much was not being said. Much was being kept hidden and yet known it was available if any one of them had been game enough to call it for what it was.

Shenana would cry in the evenings on her side of the Rim wanting Kill beside her so badly she would have screamed for the pain of his loss. She never knew how Kill felt about her because he would not say. He remained firmly non-committal and inclined to just wait and see.

Shenana died and kept on living on her side of the Rim doing what she was expected to do. She rarely heard from Kill for the next 24 sectors. They remained strangers even when they knew each other so well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time is such a waste

Incorrigible and nasty is the Demon named "Time".

Mathematical ingenuity notwithstanding, Time is a Quixotic but devoted servant of Chance and Change.

For sure it moves at the consistent pace of precise constancy. Yet it shimmers and moves and stutters and frobbles about with our senses of it. It plays with our heads and messes with our hearts. It forces us to succumb to our own inevitable need for impatience.

Is Time immutable? Of course it would smirk and imply it most certainly was, is, will be.

But our shifting cellular inclinations for the possible, perceived and potential morph Time into more chaotic measures.

Inessential and unavailable, Time's rule is an over-rated media - like long winding Presidential Elections and Security Council deliberations on Congolese shenanigans.

I would not have Time if I did not want it. I would be perfectly poised within this centre never wavering from instantaneous bliss of the here and now.

And even in there, Time still plays its merry brand of necessity to language and desire. There is no "here and now" without it. There is not any centre of the self without the direction Time moves us to.

Ubiquitous and evil, the demon Time destroys pragmatic hope and enlivens useless fantasy, numbs pleasure of the essence of being and builds desire toward possible promises for what may come. And never does.

Do not march to the beat of Time. You cannot compete with its cloying intransigence. Regulated flow is best when forgotten.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

what's your motif?

In an attempt to isolate that which fuels me from within and lights me up, I happened upon Curt Rosengren's ebook "The Occupational Adventure Guide".

Even though I am a total whine about not having any money, on this occasion, my gut told me that this was a worthwhile investment in my navel-gazing search for betterment.

In the book, Curt discusses isolating the WHY you feel excited and energised when engaged in a particular activity. It's like trying to figure out what makes your heart go "tick tick" to the beat of a sound bigger than your heart itself.

This process of digging down deep to actually isolate the things that make my eyes sparkle and a smile dance across my mouth instinctively and unintentionally will prove interesting I'm sure.

I've already isolated a few words/phrases that resonate with me at a very core level.

To muse
Making Interconnections between seemingly disparate concepts
Text/Words in print
Discussing theories and concepts

The "motif" in all of this is surely the words "To Muse". I am not a muse myself, I rely heavily on others to fulfill that role. But what I need to do almost as much as I need to breathe is to be able to think things out. I do that in printed text best of all.

When I speak and "go all philosophical" as my dear First World friends call it, it's hardly coherent and manageable information. In print however, I feel a certain natural calmness and energy to my musing that feels "right".

How all this will translate to finding "The Job That's Right For Me" is anyone's guess right now. Safe to say, that no matter how it turns out, if I learn some small thing that stops me from being so terribly angst-ridden and irritable about my current circumstances...well, that has got to be a good thing. Yeah?

I keep banging on about how I believe my purpose is "to write". That's all well and good and I do intend to write as much as I possibly can. I've yet to discover what kind of writing I'm meant to do though. What kind of writing is going to energise me and feed my family at the same time? Is this blog really "it"? I doubt it! This blog is the most feeble excuse for writing that ever existed! This is where I merely muse in the play of words, not make a living musing! To do both would be astounding and electrifying indeed. I don't even know if such jobs exist. Perhaps that particular box hasn't yet been breached there in my mind.

So now I encourage you dear reader to find your own Passion Core. What turns you on? What AND WHY do certain things light you up inside, deeply, at your very centre? What journey of discovery would you be willing to take if it meant you could find the truth of who you really are?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

intending nothing

I've hit a wall of frustration and inertia within my spirit.

There are three things I want to change about myself but feel powerless to do so, even though I "know" that I am very much responsible for creating the changes within myself. There are no magic wands, or fairies to do these changes for me. No "Law" of anything to fulfil the necessary impetus to change. It's technically me deciding to change and then "just doing it".

Resistance meets with emotional melancholy and I can change nothing, no matter how much I "decide" to.

There is a dichotomy between the decision in the brain, the desire in the heart and the impetus of will to move forward. It's like I have shackles on, preventing me from doing that which I say I want to do.

Three things in my current state I wish to change. Three things I desire with forceful passion and want. Three things I know will greatly enhance my ability to make a difference in this world.

Perhaps they're too selfish! Maybe God is putting on the brakes and I am the goat, kidding myself it's all possible "if only".

Three things: Financial freedom. A healthier body through diet. A closer connection to Spirit.

Those three life areas not only affect me but my children and those I love. Those three iconic desires forge both a strong sense of duty and purpose in me and at the very same time, complete and utter dismay that I won't and can't reach them quickly and effectively.

This is the long haul truck drive through the frozen wastes of time...perhaps with more than a few flat tyres!

None of the three things I've chosen are easy. Hence my inertia. I'm not looking forward to the fact of the hard work involved in achieving them.

So I stew and foam and loathe myself for my inability to create the right impetus to "just do it". Wishes converting into manifestation.

No "Law of Attraction" here! Just plain old human "I want this. Give it to me now!", while I sit back and take the credit for this Grace I did not earn.

Financial freedom: A healthier body: Spiritual ascendence:

I intend these things with my cerebral intelligence. Desire with the mind is an easy thing. I am not able to, right now, achieve my intentions with spiritual acuity. What is required is intent at the cellular level. Where literally the fibres of my very being are in synchronous tumult as they shout "YES!" along with my mental frame of mind. That is a spiritual thing. It's where God and matter meet to create thoughts into being.

I want these things. I want them badly. I want them for free! Ergo, I cannot intend them at all.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We are killing Africa

I know it is incredibly dangerous to base an opinion on one article. It is dangerous and I do not care!

In this instance it's important not to equivocate and prevaricate about the political bush. It is time we as a collective society, regardless of race, nationality or creed say something, do something, make something happen that is beautiful for the millions (no exaggeration unfortunately), of people suffering the most god-awful hour upon hour of their lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The conflict on the eastern border between the DRC and Rwanda has been on and off since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The United Nations currently has one of its largest peace-keeping forces ever established in a post-war region. 17,000+ blue helmets are ostensibly there to protect the people, regardless of their tribal affiliations. It's clearly not working.

The backstory is complex and requires some understanding of tribal culture within African society. Hutu's and Tutsi's aside, there is a massive grab by various militia warlords for territorial wealth in securing the DRC's rich deposits of natural ores and minerals.

The collateral damage that stems from this greedy avarice is a convoluted and astonishing abrogation by Rwandan and DRC Governments in Human rights for their citizens. It doesn't matter which side is which, the fact is the UN is pretty much handcuffed by the Charter of the United Nations established just after the Second World War. In Article 2 of the charter, there is the unequivocal statement that states will not interfere in another states affairs except in instances of self-defence. Period. That's it! No coming to whip the bad boys over the knuckles even if they're raping and pillaging their own peoples!

In the time since Rwanda, much has been discussed about the use of force by the international community to secure ordinary citizens against human rights abuses.

The wealthy 'North' are twiddling their holier-than-thou thumbs over notions of propriety in regards to words written nearly 70 years ago, while the African people die of starvation, thirst, rape and rampant violence.

When does a genocide not become a genocide anymore?

And how are we implicated in this astonishing spectacle of dysfunctional humanity?

When we buy ourselves a new mobile phone or rave over new technologies invented to assist in the pursuit of our happiness and ease, we are blithely unaware that the very minerals used in the manufacture of these devices come from the ground currently being bathed in African blood.

We are guilty of innocence perhaps; we can remain guilty no longer. As the article I cited at the beginning says, it is time collective humanity demanded that companies which exploit human life in the pursuit of profit are brought to an end.

It may be almost impossible to purchase any new device with the demand that it is made with materials sourced from places that showed the best of humanitarian intentions. Impossible right now but it should no longer be impossible! We demand to know what is in the food we eat. We are even beginning to become more aware of Fair trade foods where employees are paid a decent wage and have working conditions well above that of mere slavery. If human devastation such as we are seeing in the DRC, is to be prevented, then we can expect no less from our hardware as we do our food. I want to know that my next mobile phone has...genuinely... not been made from product provided through the genocidal influence of warlords (no matter if they're a political leader of a country or not), wielding weapons with glee against his countryman all for the promise of incredible wealth.

Now, I realise that all this is a simplistic and naive view on the tangled web of machiavellian intrigue that makes up African culture and politics, but this is not about politics anymore. This is also about whether we are beholden to our neighbours when they're in trouble. This is about if we are our brothers keeper or not.

If the boot was on the other foot and it was us being raped and made to flee a refugee camp as it was burned to the ground by rebel forces (a complete breach of International law I might add), would we want someone to come to our aid and thump the bullies for six over the back fence?

I'm not preaching a war. Heaven forbid we seek another war. It is a very fine line though. What does it take to protect people from an out of control bunch of stupid idiots who care nothing for human lives except their own? When does it behoove us to say "War is, in this instance, a just war!"? How many innocent can we afford to lose before we finally say enough is enough?

Tough questions, which I am sure are right now being debated, hotly, in the back rooms of the United Nations itself. Pussy-footing about just because its Africa and not a wealthy "North" country makes us all as guilty as the Nkunda's of the world. Africa may be suspicious of the "North" given our arrogant colonialism of the continent in times past, but aren't we just as guilty if we stand back and leave them to it?

I ask again, when does a Genocide not become a genocide anymore?

This week, I had a job interview for a mobile phone company to sell mobile phones. That was before I saw read the above article and learned more of the backstory to the crisis in the DRC. I've not heard if I have the job. A part of me is at war now. I "need" the income this position would provide. It is a "good" job; stable, interesting, and would suit my strengths and abilities very well. Now, however, I'm bombarded with concerns as to the ethics of selling these products enmasse, very nearly all of which are manufactured in China, the world's largest consumer of Congolese coltan.

How did I become implicated in the current crisis in that region? I am already very implicated as I use a mobile phone. No longer can I remain apathetic to the plight of strangers in a foreign land for I am living my kind of life on the back of their contribution. If I'm to make that a Fair trade, then I will need to seriously question how I can ethically sell large numbers of mobile phones, should I get the job. It may mean saying "No" to selling them despite being broke and unemployed. I've yet to think it through further and find ethical counter-balances to the concept. Right now, I cannot in good conscience, be hard-nosed and so pragmatic as to ignore the plight of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children currently being savaged to the death, all over a mineral their piece of the planet harbours and which I am the end-user thereof.

When do we care enough to stop our planet from imploding with greed?