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Entries in life (53)


A Succession of Victories

"To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence."
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There's tensions between all points in the universe - that of the educated person schooling the fool and getting only resentment in return, the kindness of a stranger that's taken advantage of and original thinking being lauded until declared dangerous by powers that have heavily invested in maintaining the status quo. 

In our world, we strive so hard not to do what is right, but what is correct - to tick boxes that have been arbitrarily created. Our world has been abstracted beyond our current understanding. We have made for ourselves a world of words, symbols and commands. Anything else would be deemed "subversive" or "strange."

It feels incomprehensible to me when parents and elders tell me "when" not "if", that my path has been pre-determined. In this world, so many paths bear the footprints of legions of fear-wracked men and women that never dared and unfortunately lost. I defiantly say "No!" when told that I must and ought. The only must and ought comes from a divine source - a wellspring that I am not convinced to exist. We have choice and using this choice we can find what is best for ourselves. It took me a long time - and will presumably take even longer - to realize victory is a feeling that arises from within; it does not - and never will - come from the approval of others.


Sense Data from the AGS

Here follows a summary of the activities of the Australian General Semantics Society National Conference and our attendance at the UN DPI-NGO Conference "Advancing Global Health" held in Melbourne, Australia.

The 1st Australian General Semantics Society National Conference
27-29 August, 2010 held at the Initiatives of Change Center, Toorak, Australia

The first day of the conference on Friday Night was muted - just a dinner held in the stately Armagh manor in Toorak. A federation mansion, it boasted a ballroom, two libraries and a conservatory - the focus point for our discussions. I met some of the AGS members - David Hewson, Pauline Heather as well as Dr. Earl Livings, Laurie Cox and Robert James and his wife Jeanne. We talked into the night before retiring for the big day ahead.

Saturday Morning saw President Robert James and elder statesman Laurie Cox make their keynote addresses and Earl make his talk on Fiction and GS, particularly A. E. van Vogt and the World of Null-A and Nexialism, a sort of fictional applied GS that has even been applied in the real world.

I then gave my talk on Overcoming Conservative Characteristics, a research into a little known chapter in Korzybski's Science and Sanity.

In the Afternoon, David gave his talk on GS and Happiness to the general public as well as another one on GS and problem solving using other sciences. Laurie talked briefly explaining GS to beginners. Robert James prepared a talk on a "sense of purpose" that GS brings as well as bringing in Initiatives of Change volunteers to give their perspectives.

Sunday morning we reconvened for a talk by David on "Identity, non-identity, then what?" which was originally published as an article in ETC. Confusing facts with inferences was a warning to us all. Earl then presented his talk on the nexus between Edward De Bono's work and GS which proved very useful, in my estimation.

31st August - 2nd of September - the United Nations DPI-NGO Conference: "Advance Global Health" held at the Melbourne Convention Center, Melbourne, Australia

Though I only attended one of the three days at the UN conference, I thought my time to be more interesting than valuable. It was admirable to see the United Nations and affiliated NGOs work to advance the Millennium Development Goals. However, the milieu of the delegates was centered around a select few organizations and their booths (we at the IGS were not given one) as well as "Workshops" which focused more on guest speakers, established players and government officials rather than opening up the debate to people like myself or even the youth delegates. Though we met many people interested in GS, its hard to explain "What GS is" since GS principles are more like verbs, not nouns. I can explain How it works or why one should use it but emphasizing "clear thinking" or "sanity" will invariably draw glances of indignation - "How dare you imply I am unsane!"

Nevertheless, it was a rewarding experience and I would like to thank the members of AGS for affording me these wonderful learning and networking opportunities.


Like Silent Birds of Prey

Selected Observations from Adelaide - 18-22 June, 2010.

Letting the right one in is like a process of lying to the brain so one can salve a bleeding heart. More mechanically, its like abstraction from the point of entry and acting blissfully unaware of its process. Lips taste sweet without any flavor. The sun pierces through the blades of my eyelids without mercy. The cold rattles the bones within my fingers as smoke billows to the top of the room, hazing the glow of yet more horrible television.

At the end of the longest night comes day. With the rising of the sun, laments for miseries past and cheers for enjoyment yet to come can be heard. If we cannot compromise with time, we remain its enemy. We put up arms but we are always overcome.

If there's one thing I've learned during my travels here and elsewhere, its that people are as unknowable to me as they are to themselves. Probing, demolishing and intimating - all general theories; conjectures just itching to be refuted at some later point. Maps are never territories and are in constant need of rewriting. I cannot watch and report for you - the feelings I encounter flow deep within are everpresent like the lightness of our being. A process of my own assisted design from Mother Nature. Nevertheless, I do care in my own way. All ways and none; unique in their expression. For what it's worth, at the end of the world, it's a small step in the right direction.


Wreck Ignition

In my daily self-reflection, I was thinking about some points raised with my therapist Geoff. We hit upon past relationships and how I felt about them now, after so much time had passed by. He suggested that if I still had residual feelings, I should write them down or initiate a conversation with the partner. I told him, in all honesty, I have little desire to do so. What is done cannot be undone - I doubt it would make any difference to my emotional well-being (especially when I have chronicled relevant parts in my blog on occasion).

Thinking back, I thought all of my partners were unequivocally "amazing" and beyond reproach - I would refrain to enforce boundaries with them even to my own detriment. As I rose from the bed today, I hit a salient point - the mistake I and others make is seeing their partners as "special" rather than unique.

This is not to say my current or former partners weren't interesting or pleasant or etc. - I loved them, I cared about them and strived to treat them with the respect and devotion that I expected within a romantic relationship. But keeping the irrational thought that their partners were somehow imbued with an almost sense of the divine - that they were so fantastical that another one like them surely does not exist anywhere else in this world - will only lead to heartache and counter-productive behaviors such as pining for the good old days when you and your partner were together and waiting for them to magically return to you.

Of course, affairs of the heart are seldom ruled by the head, but the aftermath certainly can be a rational, cognitive process. Its a case of differentiating from "a" girl (or boy) and "the" girl. We can evaluate them as a complex matrix of both good and bad attributes, viewholders, etc. and accept them all as part of what makes them unique - but not special (in the aforementioned sense), of course.

Swedish vocalist Krister Linder in his song "Mixed Blood" sings thusly:

"Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed / but my melancholy is existential / no remedy or antidote / Don't bother with a cure or rescue"

Some people cannot grapple with the thoughts of the "givens" of existence - that life is chaotic and nothing has inherent meaning apart from the ones we ascribe to events and people. Even a married couple of many years must concede that their encounter was dependent on chance and at one point, they were oblivious to the existence of one another. If a relationship goes sour, one can take comfort in the fact that it was yet another FGE (fucking growth experience) and perhaps even learn from their mistakes.

During an acid trip, I once wrote down that the "universe was created so me and Elyse (my former partner) could meet that one time and carry on together into perpetuity" - while that cannot be proven or tested, it's an irrational belief that cannot be held up by any real fact. I am the only person I have to please - it was not my responsibility to solve her (or anyone's) problems or take care of her as if she were dependent on my benevolence and love. As human beings we all have the ability to choose and mold our own destinies; be it with work, hobbies, interests or even intimate partnerships.


A Static Flame

Looking around this society of ours, we have become so preoccupied with time and its forward motion we have become afraid of its very existence. In one respect, we in Western countries have strode headlong into a complete disavowal of change. We fear it, we reject it and we try to cover it up to the best of our ability.

As Marcus Aurelius said in his Meditations, "The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." We sell bottles of anti-change, we charge money to keep change at bay and we legislate change away in parliament.

In my view, I feel that the fear of change is another source and cause of so much misery and discontentment for so many people. They fail to recognize the only constant is the thoughts of the self and his actions and those too are subject to change. People jump unabashedly into work, into relationships and into commitments that prevent or minimize the chances of change. People foolishly believe that some institutions are forever; that once one problem has been solved, it cannot resurface in another guise as it evidently does in many cases.

Politicians are even scrambling to cover up the fact that change is inevitable; they use scientists with dubious rationality to insist that climate change is a myth; there is no credible reason for things to constantly change, even at the submicroscopic level. Just like a belief in God, they believe that humanity has no agency for change; all is predetermined, all will reveal itself in God's own time. This divine control is filtered down into religion, into politics and even into households that follow the words of God, Allah and Yahweh.

So we attempt to control change and re-label it progress. Like unconscious Marxists, we believe that progress towards higher standards of living and technology will lead us into utopia. With all changes, there are winners and losers. We focus on minimizing harm rather than maximizing utility associated with change; we irrationally suppress all change just in case something bad happens.

And shit does happen; it happens to every one, some more frequently than others. Sometimes shit happening allows us to learn and lead us in a new direction. To embrace that rather than shy away from it is the challenge we must all face. To recognize a life in four dimensions can still lead to one of fulfillment and happiness is the one change I believe that everyone should make.

What was once a great love is now deadened; what was once a routine hobby lies in the corner of a room. There's change everywhere; its ultimately up to the individual whether he stands amongst it or walks along with it, tempering it to his own needs.