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.

What comes next…

The adventure doesn’t have to be good, to be worth having.

More often than not you pick up a book in order to see the protagonist brave adversity; to overcome obstacles corporeal or otherwise, endeavour against an antagonist mental or physical and reach a natural conclusion – rather than read how fantastic their lives are at all times, and how regardless of the black upon the white of the page it continues that way until the end. If we were to do that; if our characters were to stay static and for everything to remain unchanged regardless of what happened – then it would be as much use to us as if nothing happening at all. If life is a state of change, why would we endure an experience of nothing; of stubborn unchanging?

It makes sense for our character to change, evolve and develop from moment to moment, exponentially even from chapter to chapter; regardless of if that development is ultimately better for them, or worse.

What this tells us; is that what comes next, does not always have to be the time at which you were most happy, for it to be the time you most needed. It does not have to a time you were most proud of; in order for it to be a story you may later wish to tell.

In fact; a large number of stories you’ll recall from your youth, involve actions you would never take again. Or unintentional copious amounts of alcohol.

The age of anxiety is upon us; because we feel as though what we have now isn’t that great, and that it’s only going to get worse. Which seems terrifying.

In order to avoid it, we try to cling on to this exact moment, knowing all the while that inevitably it will be taken from us, whether we like it or not.

Rather, offer no resistance. Let it go.

Do not be afraid of what’s to come; relish in the experience, knowing that if what is to come is pain, pleasure will be put into perspective, and it will follow in time.

What comes next may not be the time of your life; but it will be yours. What you can decide, is your perspective upon it. And how you will tell the story, when its over.


 

This article is best paired; with the following:

Uncertainty

Stop The Possibility of Future Happiness, Determining Whether You Are Happy Now

Temporary

 

A New Home

A blank canvas. With the material equivalent spread on new walls all around you,  you are boundless. You could write, you could paint, you could be whatever you want to be within these walls. They are untouched – and while they wait for your kinetic imprint, the footprint of life, they are potential.

Ahead of you, you see what your life could be, at your time within these corners. You see the smiles and the laughter, of the ones that you love as they gather round where your dining table will be, when you’ve managed to obtain it. You’ll place your fingers against the walls, and trace where picture frames of friends and family with smiling faces, will hang. You’ll walk around and imagine your legs bent at the knee, as you lay in comfort with your arm around the one you love, as you remember why on idle Sundays you cherish having your person to do nothing with.

As you stand with a smile, baked across your face, for a brief moment in vanishes, as you think of the places you’ve left behind to get here. All the places you’ve been, and all the people you were, at all the points in your life. You’ll think of the good times you had, and feel a sincere moment of melancholy, only because you are so thankful to have those memories in your head, and sad that they are in the past.

And then you remember; the person you are now. And as the smile reappears, you stand in awe of the future ahead of you. And the future you’s ahead of you.

How times you’ll never forget; have yet to happen. How your dreams will slowly metamorphose into memories, and in turn spawn new dreams and ambitions you will work towards. You realise the road does not have an end, but you will instead consistently be amazed by the happiness you will achieve.

A new home is the epitome of potential. It is the foundation, by which you will build yourself, and the life of the best you that has yet to come.

So, artist, now that you stand before your canvas, what will you paint?

A Response to a Selfish Writer – RE: Orphans

All it takes is a great reader, a great speaker – a great writer – to challenge the absolute core of your beliefs. Of that which you are, and that which you stand for. And while this is the beauty of human interaction, that it makes us cement our values further or change them entirely, either way allowing us to grow stronger or in a different direction – equally it is an extremely dangerous tool when someone has manipulative intent for their own agenda.

I don’t often use the word “I” on this blog, or speak in the first person – as I try to talk to everyone and engage, rather than focus inwards. However, this is an exception.

To provide evidence to my point; I read an article from a rather selfish man (which is leading, I know), who had disabled comments on his blog, perhaps because he knew there would be a backlash from the ways in which he speaks. I am aware there are a number of reasons one might disable comments, but I digress. I will not call out the exact name of the post, or the authors name. This is not a doxxing attempt or a witch hunt. But in his post, he wrote very clearly and categorically that we should not feel sorry for orphans, because even non-orphans can be alone.

Now forgive my stunned silence, but these two points, are irrelevant. This would be as though I were to say, when a rich person dies, don’t feel sorry for them, because their family have money. Or that you can’t have a bad day, because there are war-torn countries whose people live in fear everyday. It doesn’t make sense. Pain and grief, good and bad, exist in all facets of life, in all manners, relative to that person whom is experiencing it or can determine a perspective upon it. Because someone else feels worse than you, does not mean you cannot feel bad also.

I cannot emphasise more strongly, how much you should ignore this kind of thinking, this kind of talking. This is someone, who had felt alone, as we all have and is deciding to inflict his own need for attention, his own requirement to be victimised, upon the reader. In doing this, he’s calling out a vulnerable group. Which is deplorable. This would be as though I were to say, “Don’t be appalled by police brutality towards an ethnic race in your country, I’m not that race and was pulled over for a speeding ticket the other day. I get it bad too.” It doesn’t make sense, and it’s just targeting a group to make a point, that you aren’t even making well.

Now to his credit, he then went on to say how he visited an orphanage and they were all living in the moment and enjoying life, free from a virtual world. Which is great… but this is not their fault. Because he feels sad, alone, perhaps distanced in an online world, does not somehow validate his point. We can still empathise with an orphan, who has lost their regular home, their security, and the loving embrace of parents. Equally, of course parents can be bad influences, but it is scientifically proven that significant trauma is likely to be caused in a child, whenever a significant life event happens upon their parents. E.g They leave the family, they pass away, they get divorced, etc.

Fortunately, the author wasn’t a great writer. He had numerous (obvious) spelling errors, and clearly did not manage to sway my views. But if he had been, someone may have walked away believing this. In fact, it had likes on it, so some people did.  Some people were convinced, that you should not empathise with an orphan, because you can feel alone, or lost in your own family. Of course you should empathise. Just because a non-orphan can feel sad or alone too, does not diminish in any way, the plight of the orphan.

To that point; what is upsetting, is that this author had numerous likes already on his post, after only posting it recently. Perhaps his blog had some followers already, or perhaps people who were vulnerable themselves, were easily swayed upon the read. And relatively, this post disputing his point, based on basic human kindness, may not receive any attention at all.

 

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.

Quote of the Day: Kindness

“You are never too important, to not be kind.”

Shorts: The Small Details

In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The small details, are by far the most important.”

The wrinkle at the edges of someone’s smile. The dimples on their cheeks, or the softness of their skin. Perhaps you like how you can trace the edges of your finger around their body, and imagine a perfect silhouette left behind on a canvas. Maybe you enjoy hearing them sigh, just because they are happy to be lying against your chest.

Maybe you enjoy watching steam roll off of a fresh cup of coffee, or how your fingers feel as you drag them against glass with condensation on one side. The squeaky sound that makes, and how your fingers jump a little. Perhaps its the other side of the pillow, on a warm night in July.

Whatever it is that you enjoy, no matter how trivial you imagine it to be – celebrate it. Hold it in reverence. Dance about it in your living room, when no one is about. These are little victories. Little times when the universe conspired to brighten your day, in some way that maybe only you find appealing.

The big victories do not come often. While you will have spells of doing well and achieving great things seemingly all at once; you must equally understand that a great portion of your time will also be spent where nothing big is particularly going right at all. But this does not mean for this length of time, you should not sing and cheer, and kick puddles in the street. Instead – learn to understand that a collection of small is worth just as much as the grand.

If you’re looking for something bigger – consider looking a little closer at what makes it whole.

Love someone, not for what they are, but what makes them what they are.

Treasure something, for the intricacies that make it, rather than some arbitrary value assigned to the fact of possessing it.

Most importantly; appreciate, and value that it is happening now; rather than missing it when it is no longer there. Adore them for what they are, and be grateful for their presence, when they could decide for whatever reason to be absent from your life. If you don’t, what you’ll find (and this can be guaranteed with confidence) is that when something goes away, or someone leaves your life; you will not miss them – you will miss the small details that made them.

For it is the small details, that are by far the most important. 

Memory Is The Key.

Your memory is the rationality, by which your reason is based upon.

Everything that you are; is a result of that which you have experienced up to this point in your life. Perhaps you are not a trusting person, because at no point have you ever been provided with a reason to trust someone. Perhaps that trust always been broken in heart-aching ways; unfaithful partners, unloving parents, gossiping friends – and so as a result, you have no reasonable discourse for attempting to form a bond of trust with anyone.

Equally, perhaps you are a very trusting person because of these things happening to you, and so you understand how important trust is to you in your life, and will only surround yourself with people whom you feel will share a similar passion for loyalty and integrity.

To say which of these you would become if similar things happened to you is trying; because these decisions too are based on some rationality from all your previous decisions and experiences, and so on.

No one, just is. There is no whole without the sum of the parts which form it.

You can use this as a way to empathise with others, whom you believe harbour difficult to understand or difficult to agree with opinions. Perhaps someone maintains particularly racist, or homophobic views – it may be because their entire childhood consisted of expression of opinions of an old generation, whom had opinions that were based on misconceptions, fear, ignorance, or a lack of education. Perhaps, instead, they wrongfully correlated a problem in society to a particular niche of people, just by simple human error, rather than maliciousness. Perhaps a misinterpretation of data, or a personal experience which skewed their thinking.

It does not necessarily mean the person who believes these things is bad, or wishes bad upon people who fall under one of these scopes, but just that they lack an education on why those thoughts and feelings are either objectively incorrect, or subjectively harmful to a larger, peace-driven society.

Perhaps if you take time to educate people, you will remove the aforementioned ignorance – rather than getting yourself hot and bothered and into a shouting match with someone, normally behind a keyboard. If someone shouts “Fatty!” to someone from a car, it has never convinced them to lose weight, it has only darkened their day. So don’t be that kind of person.

Remember, everything that has ever happened, has happened as a result of the events that came before it. The spark began the fire, the rock begat the mountain. Just do not assume that every rock you find, means that one day a mountain will form in its stead. Equally do not decide that it could not. memories can be difficult; keep them. Somewhere. In the back of your mind. From time to time revisit them. While there are memories that sometimes you may wish could disappear, they won’t. They did happen, and they brought about you that you are today. They will be in the you that you are tomorrow. So instead, think what effect a time passed might have had on you.

Maybe you snap too quickly at people, and you can find why that may be, and begin to deal with it. Perhaps you’re not as romantic to your partner as you once were, so remind yourself of why you fell in love with them, and reunite with romance.

Most importantly, begin making new memories. Positive ones. Experiences that help you to grow, to learn, to be passionate, and to love; so that in time, when you look reflectively at yourself, this will be your point of rationale. If we are what we do habitually, make it so. If you’re lucky, at some point on an idle Sunday, you will reflect on yourself and see that you have become that person you tried so hard to be, by doing.

That everything you did, in what will then be called your past, was positive – because you made a conscious effort to take the baby steps that would form you into the person you become.

Because if you’re trying to unlock who you really are; memory is the key.