Shorts: Brevity Vs Verbosity

Brevity, alone, does not make you intelligent.

It is fine to speak a statement, and mean it exactly as it is said. To speak succinctly, and to the point. But the “problem” in language, is its open interpretation of it. Without clarification, you would be better off saying nothing at all. And yet it seems as though often, people regard it as profundity. As though to say, “With strength, you are delicate.” is insightful. When in fact, it provides no information at all. No evidence, and merely contradicts itself. And yet people can apply it to the self; “Well yes, I am strong, and yet I have feelings… so this is true!” … But actually that wasn’t what was said… in fact, that was just what you wanted to hear. In the context of when they wrote it, they could be a bodybuilder and have meant as your strength training increases, so too does your likelihood to injury yourself, and remain fragile. So actually, nothing of note was said, because we still don’t know what they said. So we may as well have thought to ourselves what we wanted to hear.

Obviously, the intended point of some forms of literature, such as poetry, is brevity. And it is to evoke personal feelings, discussions, and emotes, in as few a word as possible – so of course for the sake of this argument, poetry and certain forms of artistic prose are excluded.

Equally verbosity is not intrinsically the solution. With the addition of words that can be taken in multiplicity, you increase the chances of contradiction, or fulfilling a point that you did not make. Which obviously increases your appeal to a wider market, but your intended point might have never been heard. Remarkably enough, this can also allow someone to come across as intelligent or insightful, as long as someone persists long enough to find what they want. If someone were to write for twenty paragraphs, briefly touching different topics, the chances you cannot agree on a single thing they say, is insatiably low. Someone could say something horrific, bigoted, and downright rude, but if they justify it with, “We all want to move towards a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.” you would be inclined to agree with that end statement. And so you might consider something you otherwise would not have, simply because you feel like you agree on some points.

You must not hammer home the point, when it has already been made, for risk of bending the nail. But equally, it does not make you intelligent to say something to confidently, yet so vague, that it can be taken not so literally in so many different ways.

It is then important to understand, that extremes of either, do not fulfil a need, alone. We have all read poetry that makes no sense, because of its determination to succinctness, and yet we have all read books, that ramble on for hundreds more pages than they should have, to the point even the author becomes a little lost. Instead, a careful balance of the two may be the solution. To keep it brief as to say exactly what you want, without allowing for a thousand iterations of what you might have meant. Equally, try not to keep it so brief, that you almost cut it off in the middle of your –

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.

 

 

Home

Broken heart; and tired mind.

Useless body, set out to find,

A solemn place to belong,

Where you can dance, and write your song.

Where worries past, will not follow,

Torture you, obsess and swallow.

Where what you grow into; matters more,

Than what you were, from long before.

 

Companions come, and surely go,

And while where they went, you’d like to know,

Free they are; let them wander over hill,

And out of sight, forever still.

Love you’ve had, has left you to dwindle,

And still with open heart you’ve managed to rekindle,

Time again sparked hope from ash,

And time again, your body’s been smashed.

 

Bruised and cracked, imperfect and scarred,

Your thoughts and feelings, permanently marred.

Trust and expectation are always cautious,

Every bout of closeness, makes you noxious.

Never been given reason for kind,

Yet still your heart, and that word entwined,

And so through fog you wander on,

To find the place, where you belong.

 

It’s darkness out there, with fumbling hand,

You cast it out, searching for land,

In lieu of that, as you’ve found times past

Instead you feel somebody, at last.

They hold you tight, and pull you close,

You could not tell who needs who most,

But of course you would not let on,

Your defences are up, you appear to be strong.

 

You’ll try not to care, for fear of ridicule,

It will go unnoticed, that it’s yourself the fool.

You’ll talk and wonder, and eventually you’ll share,

And at some point you’ll come to realise you care,

You capsulise and notice, every detail

And while you try to find the bad, every time you fail,

While every other has given you reason to doubt,

You find yourself in wonder of what this person is about.

 

There’s hope and wonder now in your eyes,

And try as you will; you can’t disguise.

They’ve broken through; see who you are,

And they adore you still, for that every scar.

Through imperfection they’ll see you perfect,

They’ll see beauty where you see defect.

And as paths ahead split, you wish; nae you know,

They’ll follow you wherever you go.

 

Then at some point, as you both foot down path,

And you try to anticipate what could be aftermath,

You realise you no longer travel simply side by side,

But you walk hand in hand, and together you stride.

You don’t look ahead, and rather stare into eyes,

As the dawning sun, breaks the burning skies.

Together you slow, almost down to a crawl,

Amidst dewy grass, wild land critters answer the call.

You both seem to hear, you need not travel any more,

As together you understand, what you’ve been looking for.

Come away; take them in hand, and lay, for no longer you roam,

What you searched for was love; and so with love – you’re home.

 

Shorts: Bittersweet Sunday

A Sunday is such a bittersweet day,

Where joy is shadowed by Monday not being so far away.

Where you lie and the clock doesn’t seem to slow,

As the time and the dials pass faster than you know.

It appears to be the shortest day of the week,

And it never quite fulfils the relaxation you seek.

But nevertheless, you’re grateful still,

As it starts to recharge, some of your will.

If you’re lucky you lie, with the person you love,

And you cosy with blankets, and thank stars above.

Although time flies; you wouldn’t have it any other way,

For what would a week be, without this bittersweet day.

 

 

 

Pressed for time.

You will always be aware of the passage of time. As leaves around you turn amber and crumble, as trees wither and rivers shape mountains, you will be well aware that nothing can escape its grasp.

Man – is the only animal on Earth that pertains a concept of time; and with that comes an equally unique fear; what happens when it stops.

Rather than spin this in dim light, rather – look at it with unhinged beauty. Time is based on our own perspective. Five minutes to someone in an excruciating interview will crawl its way along, while the same five minutes to new lovers will pass in the snap of a finger.

While you can be certain that your life will expire as it is at some point in the future, and while you can say with relative certainty you will not live to be as old or much older than a century, equally, you could unexpectedly perish tomorrow of some unnamed disaster. While you know your time will end, you do not know when. You do not know how worth your time will be, or how quickly it will pass. The time on your clock may tick for the last time, in the following heartbeat.

So… run. You are pressed for time. And if you wish to leave some part of you in this universe, act with haste. Do not put up with situations that bring you unhappiness. Relish in those that do. Do not bother with people who are toxic to your well being, in any way. Rid their weight from your shoulders and press forward linked in swinging arms of equally enthusiastic runners. You owe nothing to anyone, and are bound by nothing but that which you yourself will accept to be bound to. The thing about the great social contract (where we conduct ourselves uncharacteristically for the sake of  the acceptance of others) is that we do not have to abide by it at all. And just because we have spent so much time on it, does not mean we must continue to do so.

“You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago”
– Alan Watts

Rather, do what brings you joy. With happiness being forever fleeting you must pursue it as though fire burns at the back of your heels. You must dish it out and lend a helping hand to those you can. Kindness and happiness can be shared without depreciation. So, do.

Put nothing on hold – because it can be dropped at any point – no matter how securely you imagine yourself to be holding it.

Let no anchor tie you to the shoreline, because adventure awaits beyond the horizon. To find new land, you must watch traverse stormy weather, and watch as the horizon obscures the security of where you came from.

Plan; but do not fret if the reality of the situation alters so much you cannot use it. While your sail can steer, it is still influenced by the wind. And the changing of that wind, is anyone’s guess. But that does not mean you should opt to float on driftwood, just because the sail may fail.

And so with that in mind, equally do not judge. Others or yourself. This will only stifle your release of endorphins from your runners high. In fact, do not concern yourself with the achievements or the decisions of others. Comparison rarely every bring anything other despair.

Instead… run, and beat the clock.

And while you will always be aware of the passage of time – you will slowly start to realise you no longer fear it. And the time you spent on the race will no longer matter, only how far you ran, and all the things you saw along your way. How you turned the leaves red, and shaped the mountainside.

 

 

 

Where Your Head Should Lay

In my room there is a double bed, in the place I’ve made my stay;

And on one pillow sits a book, where your head should lay.

As the light dims down low, in I tuck my feet;

And I stare at the empty space, where our noses would meet.

I think about you now and then, when you get in my head;

And at those times, I lie and wish, you were that book instead.

Important thoughts, thought last.

The fourth beat;

I know it’s coming, and I calm myself.

The body is still in shock, but my mind is settled in its own.

As I lay back in my bed, I know now that it is too late to bargain.

Death’s machination; It has already begun.

Instead, I quickly pray for my last thought, to be a good one.

Although, my current thought feels persistent in the back of my mind

Clinging on, as though it will not leave me.

And that thought; I simply do not want to go.

The third beat;

The light begins to darken at the edges of my eyes, and my ears betray my balance.

If I were not sitting down, surely I would have fallen.

My head slowly falls back onto my pillow. Its final resting place.

I look at the pattern on the roof, the cracks and the fissures.

Straining my eyes I try, to fully capture one final picture.

One final still frame, called a moment. A memory.

My head falls to the side; and I see my condensation encrusted beer on my bedside table.

Amber leaves out the window, falling in the wind.

Sunlight always finds a way.

The second beat;

Closed eyes. It goes on, doesn’t it? Life. Whether I am here, or not, it continues.

Leaves will continue falling.

Sunlight will continue to brighten.

Beer will continue to sweeten the lips of lovers.

And it could not end, for nothing ever has. Every end must surely be a beginning.

Every bad time came to a close, every good time did not last.

Even now, my final thoughts do not belong to the same person in which in this body was born.

Not one single part of me has been the same. I was someone different all through my life.

And so in many ways, so many of me never did die. Or perhaps they already have.

The final beat;

I do not want to go. I do not fear nothing, for nothing has never existed.

I have never understood. And as I reflect, my life seems iridescent.

The humbling of I being one of many; and yet the grandiosity of knowing

That the universe in all its grandeur, existed within the circumference of my eye.

And while my final thoughts are of understanding, acceptance, friends, family and cold beer.

I cannot help think, as the light comes down low.

I simply do not want to go.

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?