The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

Definition – A study of “Now”

It would be a presumptuous yet fair statement, to say that we all have a preconceived notion of what we want from our time in this life that we perceive as ours. An idea of what it would take for us to reach the plenum of existence, and consider ourselves “fulfilled”.

And yet, if you were to stop for a moment; put a pause of your life as best you could, and write a list of exactly what it is that you want from your time on this Earth, and make a conviction and a promise not to change that, you would run into two distinct problems.

One: while it is perfectly easy to suggest you pause your life, you obviously and unfortunately cannot. If you were to take your time and write this list, with the intention of completing it in totality and never changing it, you would encounter a problem based on an assumption you would have had to have made, in order to even begin writing the list. The assumption would have been that you, unlike everything else in the universe; are static. An assumption that while your body grows old and tires, YOU are always YOU.

When in reality, YOU are changing all the time. You are not some steadfast rock grounded into foundation which a river works around, rather you are part of its water. It just becomes difficult to define the water part, in the same way you can point to the whole river and say “water”, or pick out a single molecule and say “this too is water”.

It’s a result of a struggle to separate the “I” of the mind and the “I” of the body. Assuming they are not one thing, because one part thinks, and the other part is physical matter. We forget the physical matter provides the means by which the conscious thinks, and can therefore perceive the physical part.

The two are cyclical; perfectly chicken and egg. And the two are changing at every second of the day as you flow from one moment to the next. A great example of how ever fluctuating both your mind and body are; is you may have a memory of a time you were brave, and so you could define yourself as courageous – that you put your body in harms way to save another in some form. And yet, you will probably also remember a time when you were cowardly. When you stood and watched a bully, rather than intervene, for fear of reprocusion. So are you brave, or are you cowardly?

Or were you simply brave in one moment, and cowardly in another?

But while you think of that; you will come to:

The second of the two problems: you can write down the words, “I want to be happy” or “I want to have wealth”; but you must remember that these are just words, not the feeling as they are themselves.

That is to say, that to physically say the words, “I am happy.” is not the same as being happy itself. Being happy is an indescribable feeling, because once you are in a moment of happiness, you’re not thinking about how happy you are; you just are. Like all else, it’s like a flow. You lose track of time, and you simply are the experience you are living, and it’s one which through one way or another evokes happiness. If you are to stop and think “why am I happy?” or “how happy am I?” you have begun to detract from the experience, and may actually think “how could I be more happy?” which decreases the intensity of the experience further so that actually you can’t describe your feeling of happiness just now, because you’ve lost yourself trying to define it, and by comparing it to future or further happiness it’s now not as happy as you imagine you could be.

So you’re defining nothing.

In the same way you could say you “want wealth” and in one moment mean “money” and in the next mean “purpose.”

In summary; what this effectively means, is a “You” which is no longer “You”, is defining an experience of say, “Happiness” which you cannot define, because the “Happiness” you are trying to define has passed to the variation of “You” than you were, and the “You” that you are now because you spent the time to define it.

Classification and definition are traits of the intelligent entity; perhaps experience is the trait of the wise entity.

To live the moment; is better than to define it, for in defining it, you surrender it.

And while you could define a moment, retroactively, this is defining a memory of a moment, and not the moment itself. So it is subject to infinite complications and inaccuracies.

Definition enables comparison. Rather than experiencing temperature, you are now experiencing hot or cold, or hotter or colder. This applies to happiness and sadness.

Rather, live in the moment as it is. Do not fear it or long for changing of circumstances, simply bask in what is. And while you can choose to define, at least understand what you are doing to the moment by categorising it. Take the moment as it comes, as it is in its purest form. Do not long for more or less of it, or a greater or lesser intensity of it. Simply; be.

Regardless of what you do; I hope the moment you find yourself in now, is a happy one. Just try not to think about it.

 

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.

 

 

Discussion: Language, without barometer

Suppose that in ten million years, humanity has been long wiped off the face of the planet. Some life still remains, but it has regressed to a more primitive state, due to some cataclysmic event, caused by our own iniquity, or some element of chance.
No animal that could understand the basics of calculus has existed on the rock called Earth for a very long time.

When one day, entirely by chance, our no longer blue planet is discovered, by some nomadic civilisation, who managed to achieve travel into the stars without using that same technology to blow each themselves up. In the ruins alone, under the assumption that concrete has eroded into mere particles that blew in the wind, and pages from books lost their ink; this civilisation would be able to piece together very little of what we were. Even if somehow some homestead had managed to endure the withering of time – if it had been cocooned in a blanket of ice, for instance; where would you even begin to understand what objects were?

A slab of metal and glass filled with silicon lines, in the corner of a room, where every piece of furniture is pointed at it. Knives and forks on the dinner table, for fighting no doubt. Window frames on the second floor, because we could jump so high, and often used that for quick access. Cloth in wooden containers, powdered energy in glass jars, animal carcasses in large white frozen boxes. It would be a frightening world of guesswork without a basis by which to guess. Everyone has had that experience of trying to tell a story, that was funny at the time, but after telling it out loud you find the other person does not find it so. Think of this, except not only do you not speak the same language, but you share no history, no culture, no prospects, no allegiances, and perhaps not even the same galaxy.

Now let’s suggest that humanity as a collective decides that the idea of a future civilisation discovering our remains and not being able to fabricate who we were is just too harsh a thought to bare. So they decide to devise a solution to this, or at least to devise a means in which to help these future nomads. And as a collective, they have decided to accept applications from anyone on the planet, and accept any ideas anyone on the planet may have on how best to communicate with the future visitors.

The problem then becomes the focus of this article: How do you communicate with these visitors? How do you construct a language, without barometer? In our own world, translations of works are inherently different to the language in which they were originally written, mainly because there is no word which translates over 100% – but at least we have something by which we can vaguely relate it to. But with an alien visitor -you don’t even have a set of words, objects, animals, or plants, by which you could guarantee you share. Not only this, but you cannot even predict the senses this alien might use to perceive the world around them. It is not enough to suggest you could communicate in a language that is a concatenation of a number of languages that are most frequently used or most expressive; because you cannot guarantee this creature has ears. Or perhaps they do but do not hear in the same frequency as we do. Perhaps you wish to communicate in symbols? – Well it has taken us thousands of years to build up semiotics to the point we can look at something and register to which category it belongs to at a glance, and even now most humans struggle with all of them, they differ in time and they differ from culture to culture. Equally, as before, the visiting nomads may not have eyes. Or if they do, maybe they do not see colour in the same range that we do. Lets say that they do have eyes – well what do they even register as a note? Say they looked at English at a glance, they could interpret the white space between the letters as the symbols rather than the letters themselves.

The possibilities are near endless for interpretation. This would be fair to say of something that came from our planet, or even our galaxy. But this could be a visitor that we may not even recognise as intelligent life, and yet regardless, it is. So much so that it had travelled through the stars to find us.

Furthermore then, we have an obligation to protect intelligent life as best as we can. To avoid any kind of pain and anguish where we can. If something can intelligent understand the universe and perceive its own consciousness, it must be our responsibility to ensure it.
It is important then to have this discussion – say we are aware of what brought about our destruction. It is our obligation then, to warn these visitors of the dangers we could not avoid. Perhaps areas of contamination, physical or otherwise, should be left in the past and certain technologies either avoided or proceeded with caution. The question being, how do we do this?

How would you communicate to something that may not even perceive the world in the same way that you do? And on a more personal note… Would you? Would you personally make an application to share your thoughts on how best to do this?

Arguably our only efforts to communicate without language thus far, is music. For thousands of years, we have communicated celebration, happiness, fear and war to others through music. No lyrics required to communicate exactly how we feel. Perhaps this would be our best bet to begin. Perhaps the sound of children laughing, the rain forest, or the ocean reaching the shoreline. The times at which we as a species were most at peace.
But then, while this may provide an example of our environment – it doesn’t necessarily define who we were or are. When we were good or bad. When we loved, and when we hated.

If we continue on a scientific trend – would we leave behind a hologram of a child as an ark of information, to provide context to who we were? Would this be the most realistic option, to convey our messages of peace in as many images and as many words as we possibly could? Could this child hold out a hand, with the bumps on his hand spelling in braille, and his words echoed in every other language, and Morse code? Would what the child spoke even resonate on any parallel? Should we literally throw sounds and light in some form of pattern, and hope that something sticks? Data dump our history and languages in as many different patterns as possible? Perhaps an AI, that can use everything that we are currently to determine what COULD be encountered in the future? Statistically, this is probably necessary. As much as they would like to earn us, we may need to learn it first, in the form of some machine learning. To discuss topics not only do we not understand yet, but we may never even have encountered in our cosmically short lifespan.

What if we decided that we wanted to communicate, only that which we wanted to communicate. I.e. perhaps we would wish to leave out the horrid parts of our history, or tell much more embellished versions of it in myth, legend, and art rather than the much more hard to swallow science and objectivity. If we were to do that, how could we separate semantics from pragmatism? To say very clearly what is, and not what we meant to say. This applies to our language, and also our visualisation of our culture. Say we built, or painted, or sculpted a grand cathedral, and hid it in some frozen ark – we may try to convey how complex and grandiose we were in our architectural choice – only to find that our visitor friends interpret the use of space as inefficient. They may regard our distinct lack of compactness instead, as a sign we were not intelligent whatsoever. That we were too wasteful. Perhaps then, they would be right.

The questions are endless, and arguably you could discuss for the millions of years we are hypothetically wiped out discussing what we could and should do – if and when we should – why and where we should. In fact, this question, which its infinite possibilities seems to grand a task to bestow upon us, and too great a burden to endure.

But if something is important enough, you must always try. Even if the expected outcome, is failure.

However; the question remains: Would you? And if so, how? How would you begin to construct a language to speak beyond the stars, without barometer?

Go.

What Lies Beyond

As you look into the night sky; and remark on the beauty of the universe in the shape of stars and nebula, you may at some point if given enough time, come to a realisation. These beautiful wonders, that have guided humanity since the dawn of our time, that have inspired poetry and created great works of art; may no longer be there. Light is the fastest thing that we understand. Nothing we perceive is greater than the speed of light. And yet even it, is finite. And the great span of distance from where we are, to where the stars lie beyond, is so great, that it takes finite definable light considerable length of time to reach us, and display to us the grandiosity of the stars, and nebulae, and everything beyond our world.

Potentially, these works of awe may have existed a length of time so greatly long ago, that the stars have not only died – but have dissipated and spread the elements of life into the universe since then. They may have brought about life in other parts of the universe, a life that may be so intelligent they too have used it to guide themselves through the dark, and used it to create light in works of art. How fascinating it is to think, that balls of light, crucibles of elements and life may have in turn brought about more life in new form, in places we cannot even hope to see. They may have inspired entire civilisations worth of culture, in what lies beyond.

Image result for pillars of creation
Pillars of Creation – A long dead mix of star and nebulae. This is a real image, taken from the Hubble telescope. Courtesy of NASA.GOV

They have done this, and they have done it so long ago, that cultures we may never meet, have already came and went based upon them. Yet still we see their awe. With certainty – stars will come and go – and yet still they inspire long after their implosion. It serves as evidence – that long after something dies – it can still be experienced.

Imagine you are in a room, and you are with one other person, facing them directly, as it would not be uncommon for you to do. You’re talking about something trivial and generally just spending time with someone you enjoy. You may smile and feel so in the moment with someone at that time, which is beautiful and remarkable in every way. But on a scientific level – there is a delay.

There is a delay between what happens for the self, and what the other person will see. There is a delay in sound. Sound travels at the speed of about 345 m/s, meaning that if this was a particularly massive room, a ball room perhaps in some large palace in Germany, that was this distance from one end to the other, if you stood at one end and your companion at the other, then there would be a one second delay between what you said, and when they heard it.

Now, when we actually experience this in reality, talking to our friends in close proximity, this delay is remarkably small. So small in fact, that relatively it is negligible. However, let’s not forget… it is still there. There is a similar delay with light – except that light travels significantly faster than sounds, at about 3 * 10 ^ 8 m/s (30’000’000’000 m/s), meaning that the delay is even more negligible. However, it IS still there.

To reiterate, what this means is that every time you talk to someone. there is a delay in when they say it, and when you see and hear it.

The complexity intensifies however, when our understanding of the universe and technology increase greatly. Let’s suggest that some far away intelligent being can view that conversation you are having with your friend; that they can view it on their version of a telescope which can see unimaginable distances away, and perhaps even translate what you are saying via subtle movements in your mouth and vocals cords, into whatever language they speak, effectively meaning they can see and hear you. The problem is, that if they are doing this millions of light years away from you – by the time they see it, it will have happened a long long time ago. Millions of years ago in fact.

But they are seeing and hearing it right now, to them, and yet you and your friend would have lived and died millions of years before. So how can this be?

Well… actually… this is exactly what’s happening with humanity and the stars. The two examples differ in negligible ways. So why even provide the two examples to say the same thing?

The reason being, it is necessary to humanise the following question; if everything we do is technically in a delay – if everything that we see and perceive is technically a memory – if all of time is relative to the person observing it, and there is no definite point of certainty – when does something, or more specifically someone… die?

If your friend perished in some terrible accident, to you they would be “dead” and naturally you would be very sad about it, and yet at the same time, this intelligent being could be observing them in their now, and viewing some certain events that happened before they were killed off in the third act. So they are dead to you, but not to this other being, who still sees and hears them, millions of years later.

It would seem then, that as the problem continues, the true crux of the issue – is that the general person still views time as an absolute constant, rather than simply constant – to you. In other words, relatively constant. Which is of course is an oxymoron.

What lies beyond, is not only new worlds, homes, discoveries, people, and cultures, but also the past, present, and future, simultaneously and all at once. It’s all just based on the perspective by which you view it.

Some comfort you can take from this, is that friends and family whom you have lost, some time in the past. No matter how long ago it was, they are not truly gone. Sadly, they are only gone, to you. But they are still smiling, and being happy, and looking at you with adoring eyes, from someone’s point of view, somewhere. Someone, somewhere, may be looking at you both in the past, with wondering eyes, and thinking, “They look happy.” And if some future technology could transport you an unimaginable distance away in an instant ( perhaps some quantum entanglement one day may teleport us ) then you could too, sit and view this person and you, watch each other with those same adoring eyes.

What lies beyond, is the past, future, and present; it’s the now and then; it’s the you and I.

Think of that, as you look into the night sky.

 

 

People who cross at traffic signals.

If you can, at any point in life, be the person who decides when to cross at traffic signals, irrespective of their colour.

When you are on your way to work, or spending an idle day in the presence of a busy street, watch the people who wait by the traffic signals.

When the light for pedestrians is red; stand and watch. You’ll see a spattering of different humans, each categorised into a few different tropes, of which you will fall into one.

There are those who stand still, on their phone, gathering news, messaging friends, and ultimately and more truthfully, watching videos of animals being cute or humans falling over. These people have no concern for the traffic, for they know when to move, as the periphery of their eyes tell them that the bodies around them have begun to shuffle. And so too they canter to keep up.

There are those who listen to something on their headphones. Perhaps it’s a podcast, a motivational speech, an audio book, or some music. But whichever it is, they will stare blankly as possible across to the other side of the road, until perhaps at some point a smile will curl up from the edges of their mouth. It’s a song they like. Or maybe they’ve related to something said. They normally pay more attention to the traffic signals than those mentioned before.

There are the elderly, who rather consistently will not be on their phones, or listening to music. Largely they have grown without it, and unlike the younger generations can continue to do so, without trepidation, or the fear of the world passing them by.

There are the confident or perhaps flirtatious people, who can be an extension of the first two, except that these people are merely pretending to be doing what they are not doing. They instead, are thinking about how they look, and trying to appear as casual as possible, as they occasionally catch eyes with someone across the street. They smile and look at the floor, or up to the sky. Funnily enough, this casual attitude will extend as they both pass each other in the road when the lights do change. Unlike in adverts for perfume, no one ever meets in the middle of the road. Unless flattened.

There are people, who are eagerly awaiting the changing of the traffic lights, because a friend or loved one awaits them on the other side. These people have most likely forgotten all rules of social conduct, as they cheer and wave at their counterpart. Sometimes they’ll even shout words, that when taken out of context are either deathly frightening, or intolerably intriguing.

There are people who are anywhere between the age range of young to elderly, who are not on their phones, they are not listening to music, and they are not particularly looking at anything around them. These are insane people. Avoid these people.

There are a few other tropes, but as the list goes on, more so do they reach into sub-genres of the above mentioned. Regardless, the sustenance was never whom the crowd consists of; it is that they are waiting at the red light when they need not be. For there are only two options when there is a red light, either there is traffic coming, or there is not. And yet from our 50% chance, I would wager that 99% of the time, people are waiting. People are just standing… waiting.

Why? Unless jaywalking laws are particularly strict in your country… Why are you waiting? What are you waiting for? You do not need to listen to a light. If you are listening for the light, I can assure you, you will not hear it. This light is a guide, not a rule. Cross the road, if you wish to do so. Get to where you need to be, regardless of who is telling you otherwise. Regardless of who around you has chosen not to move forward, or stand still; you don’t need to listen to that whatsoever.

Take your surroundings, or advice, or rules, as a basis for caution; but do not let it hinder you. Because when you cross at a traffic signal, when the light is red, and no traffic is coming; you will notice something remarkable. Suddenly, 99% of people have begun to move. And now it all becomes silly, how such a small thing had been stopping them all along.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals. Be a brighter beacon than that dim light telling you what to do.

– While this is all well and good, there is an addendum to this, which acts as an exception.

When the traffic lights turn green for pedestrians to move, and everyone starts moving; Watch for who is left behind. If someone stumbles or falters, perhaps they are unsure or need a hand – Stay. Wait. Help them. Take valuable time out your day, to make them feel valuable too.

For if you rush too far ahead, and leave all those in need of a little help behind you, perhaps you will turn around to find, that you left a better version of yourself behind also.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at traffic signals.

So perhaps the next time you’re beginning a new day, you’re at a crossroads, and you need to make a decision, remember this article. And reflect on how the traffic signals had nothing to do with anything.

Temporary

Everything, is temporary.

One of the quickest ways to become hopeful is to remember that.

One of the quickest ways to become ungrateful is to forget it.

When you have found yourself surrounded by loved ones, be that friend or family, when you have a hobby or a job that you enjoy that occupies your day or night, when your hard work ultimately has paid off; you can remain humble by remembering that simple phrase.

At some point or another, that which you are experiencing at the time you call here and now, will end. It’s not something to fear, or to be sad about. An end always leads to a beginning, and vise versa. It is cyclical, and otherwise known as “change”.

It may lead to something much better. It may lead to something worse. But for the moment when all is good, you need only remember that phrase to remain grateful. Be in that moment, and enjoy it for everything it is. Every sight, every sound, every scent and touch. Every pleasant thought. It’s yours; and in this exact moment, no one can take that away from you.

Equally, when times are bleak; when the walk home seems steeper than you remember, or when colours have conspired to grey themselves, reminding yourself of the above can give you some sanity, when perhaps you can find none.

Be it lighthearted physical pain after or during exercise, and you’re struggling to power through – you can simply remember that as it is temporary, you will recover. You can push yourself a little further, the results will be much more impressive, and you will feel the benefits for longer.

If, however, for example you have found yourself struggling to cope with the loss of someone (this can be through death or otherwise) you can take solace in those words to live by. There is no guarantee that temporary will mean an hour, a day, a month, or even a year; but the fact that what you are experiencing is temporary is an absolute certainty.

Change will come, as it always has. The universe abhors staying still. It does not create or destroy, it only changes.

You will be okay. And you will change with whatever comes next. It only takes time.

It just so happens that time is a funny old thing. Always fleeting. The moment you try to grasp onto it, it is gone. So, rather, let it go. Accept that times change, and so do you. Simply enjoy that moment, that only the you in that moment, will ever experience.

Everything, is temporary. Including you.

PROCRASTINATION

If it takes five minutes, do it right now. You’re putting it off, and in thirty minutes you’ll put it off again, and after thirty more times of putting it off by thirty minutes, it’s time for bed and ultimately your objective is failed. But don’t worry, you’ll do it tomorrow. Procrastinate, I mean.

It’s one of the worst, most stressful feelings to procrastinate, because you become more aware of time than ever, and most importantly the sheer lack of it. You’re not a bad person for procrastinating. We work more now than any other time in our recorded history. Even those who were of pure hard labour were given more time off to mend. We have more obligations, commitments, and deadlines than ever before. You’re consistently told you should do more, and for less. By the time you’re twenty, your job requires twenty years experience. By the time you’re forty, they’ll want someone who’s twenty. From the day you are born, you are being shaped to work, and the entry requirements now are astonishing. So you’re not a bad person for feeling like you require more time, less effort. It’s okay to feel that for a day you wish to do absolutely nothing. Time wasted, is not necessarily wasted time. As long as you need it to be.

That is why there are those who say “Work a job that you love and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”, for if you can practice and hone your hobby and it is classed as working to some, then bingo. But unfortunately that process can’t be forced. You have to be one of the lucky ones and hope that your hobby does not become work for you.

See more on doing what you love in life in – WHAT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?

During the great depression, Bertrand Russell proposed the idea of the four hour working day to combat this from happening. Think about it, instead of the main focus of your life being to serve your workload, your boss at work, the main focus of the day would be your hobby, the things you actually care about, rather than those things you have to pretend you care about. When you get to the end of your life, you might actually have done that one thing that you “always wanted to do”, purely because you had a reasonable time frame in which to do it in. Whether what Russell proposed would work in practice rather than theory, whether I agree with him to any degree or not, it’s an interesting thought. That we have lived our lives, since the beginning of human lives, dedicated to working. That one paradigm has never changed.

And the frustrating thing about working all of our lives, to achieve greater things, is that no matter how much we work – it will never be completed. There is no limit to us, no limit to life. There is no end goal. We will always need more food, more water, a greater thirst for knowledge, more money to trade, more deals to be made.

No wonder it gets tiring.

If you find you are procrastinating, but you are not lazy, then perhaps you are simply over working yourself and deserve a break. Maybe, the next time you convince yourself to work because you should be, and find that you can’t get anything done, you should take a break. Take time for yourself. To explore yourself, and what it is that you need to wind down.

Otherwise, ultimately you’re achieving nothing of use in your work. You would work more efficiently with a rested mind than you would with a tired one. Waste your time, in whatever way you need to. Time wasted, is not wasted time.

Just ensure that when you actively choose laziness over rest, you must ask yourself a few simple questions, “Should I be doing this?”, “Does it take a couple minutes?”, “Will I be much happier relaxing if I know that it is done?” and finally, “CAN it wait?”. If the answer to two of the first three is yes, then do it. Equally if the answer to the last question is no, just do it. Don’t be mad at yourself for procrastinating, but understand that there IS a time and a place for it.

To procrastinate means you are human, and an overworked one at that. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you that you can’t procrastinate every now and then. But the secret to never procrastinating again, the true secret of it all, is – … I’ll get to that tomorrow.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

“You know what I meant.”

No, I think I know what you meant. It is very rare that you will converse with a person and they will understand exactly what you trying to convey to them. More than likely, they will get a rough estimation of what you’re saying, and even get very close to understanding to what you said verbatim – but if they pass on this information, it will be tarnished with the brush of their own perspective and their own understanding. Like a grand game of Chinese Whispers, it will be lost. Unfortunately, as your words are bound and punished by the words you did not say, someone can always infer, and apply a different meaning to that which you said. At least in it’s true sense of what was meant when you said it.

It is why you must think carefully about the words you choose to describe what you’re trying to explain, for it reduces the chances that it will be so blatantly different at varying degrees of the future. You should never have to say the words, “You know what I meant” for most likely that person took interest, and was looking for clarification.

That clarification and classification of an idea is perhaps the single most important explanation you will ever give, because an idea is the only thing in our lives that transcends time. Words do not transcend time, but an idea does.  It’s why it’s so important not to become so recluse. You must express everything that you have, everything that is core and important to you, because once an idea is seeded, it dies only with the last person who heard of it. It is equally why the great never die, because as long as someone remembers them, they are gone only in body, not in mind or effect.

An idea can be dangerous, all of the most extremist people you know of are founded on the basis of someone’s idea, someone who chose to vocalise their opinion despite being in the minority at the time. They could infer from text, either because it was written poorly or mistranslated  or they applied their own meaning to it. Whenever we feel we cannot express an idea, we must remember this – the iniquitous of the world do not get a night off, so neither do we. But rather than extremism, we must explore creativity, knowledge, expression, kindness, what it means to be one with nature. These things will bring us happiness, and can bring others happiness, not by force, but by education.

As people misinterpret the text, and yet feel so innately attuned to it, they will commit to that which no one ever wanted until they had perceived it to be as such. You could wager that no belief or religion ever founded was intended to create hurt, but instead create or define purpose – however a misinterpretation in the meaning of the text, and translations over the years, resulted in many people being hurt and killed in the name of atonement. In the name of the idea spoken or written, but not intended.

As you choose to express yourself to the world and to others, you must find out that which you mean to say, and then choose the words deliberately in such a way that you see it. An idea is a thought, and to translate it to a language is more difficult that you can imagine.

This is where we require the poets, the writers and the philosophers. The job of these people is to find the detail, the beauty in the things which go unnoticed. That which goes unsaid. Think – we walk everyday of our lives. Yet it is those who think of these things, that notice we are falling and catching ourselves every time that we do. There is beauty in this when we discuss how we can ever pick ourselves up again after a fall. We already do it everyday. While this is a rather outlandish example, the principle remains the same. There is beauty in the idea, in reality, and the correct words to which you express it.

There are millions of words and syntaxes from which we can choose, and to misuse our languages, to say “very good” – is pure Newspeak. We should not add a plus to the beginning of a word, or the minus to it, or at least we should try our hardest not to, for there are so many other beautiful words which will describe it more eloquently and succinctly – You see a man sitting in a room by himself with a TV on in the centre, he’s smiling. Is he happy? Or is he content? Because there is a distinction. And while to be content means to be free, it is important to note that one can be content but not necessarily happy. Equally, you may tell someone that you are sad, but are you melancholy, or have you been devastated by a loss? The distinction will prove more beneficial to you in the long run, this you can be assured.

The distinction of words and ideas are essential to the growth of our cultures, and ourselves as human beings. It is our responsibility as a species. To write, to imagine, to inspire, and to wonder, would be a most beautiful life.

“There is nothing outside of the text.”

Do you know what I mean?