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

 

Feminism; Equality Takes Two

It is a strange world we live in; where one could decide they would like all things to be equal, and yet not decide they believe in feminism. The core concept of feminism, being that in a primarily patriarchal society, it is about time that women were given the same rights as men, and not be subjected to petty rules based on a pre-defined gender at birth. Ultimately, it is about shaping the world so that women are not classed as second class citizens. It makes no sense, to pay a woman less, to require she work harder to achieve the same goals, or to assume she must perform “housework”, must put on make-up or go through additional “grooming”, or must perform “womanly duties” because she is a female.  It’s creating fictitious rules one must abide by, simply because of their sex. This is archaic, it’s misogynistic, and it needs to change.

In the defence of those who are not yet feminists (one must assume ignorance before maliciousness), it may be that they are indoctrinated by a male dominated media, who have managed to swindle the case of feminism so that it appears all supporters are radical. It’s a common technique, called minimalising. Where you make an issue seem small, and that only extremists could care about it. Of course with all causes there are radicals. But it is important to remember they are called as such because they differ from the norm. It is vitally important, that you do your research, and understand what feminism really means. It is important, that women are given equal opportunity in the field of journalism, professional journalism, so that they may steer the view-point. With more women in the field, in the positions of power and with the ability to make change, so too will this trickle down to the masses, who will be educated on the other side of the the debate.

Equal Work Opportunity

Now what must be understood, as a matter of physics, is that to start moving an object takes more energy than for it to continue moving. So while it is unfair, the task is upon the world to make an effort, to gain the momentum we need, to reach the place we should be as a society. And that requires the participation of all peoples. Or all genders and sexes.

And yet, what is problematic, is that some are falling into a trope of assuming you must be radical to be true to the cause. What’s more upsetting, is that some vocal speakers, believe that feminism requires misandry. As a male – I come across a common issue when trying to comment on feminist issues, to show support for it. I come across the issue, where I am immediately made to feel not welcome, or when I do enter a forum and read a horrific story a woman has went through, the top and most up voted comments are to the effect of “Typical man.” or “Of course it was a man who did that.”

And when you do try to comment with your own perspective, you are touted as not being eligible to have an opinion on the matter.

Some people are under the impression to be a feminist, you must be a female. This is categorically false – and remarkably short-sighted. This would be similar to saying you cannot believe black people are treated unequally because you are not black. Which would be a very stupid thing to say. If we could only comment on qualities we posses, then one could not believe disabled people require support; unless you are disabled, or that gay people deserve equal rights; unless you are gay.

Long story short; you are allowed an opinion on a matter, even if you are not the direct subject of it. To say “You aren’t X so you don’t have an opinion.” is moronic, and cowardly. We all fit into the society we are creating, which means we are all allowed our takes upon it.

To say, “Typical man” or “Of course you’re a man; you would act this way.” is the very definition of sexism. Do not fall into this trap. I understand, as a male, my struggles to enter the feminism debate does not equate in any way to the struggles of the brave women out there who have had to endure endless ridicule and denigration because of their sex – what I am saying – is that there should not be an additional barrier to being a feminist. Especially an invisible one.

Because the Male Sexists of the world will use it as ammunition. They will be given evidence, however false, that will allow them to spin stories, and tell lies about feminism. They will point to the one negative article surrounding feminism, and ignore the adjacent positive hundred. It’s very easy to convince large groups of people, when you show them a narrowed perspective. This in turn will slow the move towards feminism, which will in turn increase frustrations, which may lead to more misandry, which will in turn slow the transition more, and so on.typography-2730340

The fight for equality requires that we both participate. And while the rules of progress are still debated, please ensure you are moving towards the solution, and not simply creating a problem.

Lastly, if you are a man, and you believe this is a fight.  You believe this is a fight, where the women are stealing your power, they are stealing your advantage, they are stealing your ways and the traditions of how the patriarchy has operated for thousands of years, then understand this; this is a fight we must lose. 

We are on the side of the privileged – and in a world where we should all be given an equal opportunity, it is important then that we lose this advantage. You are not losing your opportunity – you are just ensuring others have it too. In the race of life, we must all start on the same line, as best we can. We cannot make education, opportunity, work, money, healthcare, safety, politeness, caring, kindness, or priority, different for one sex – and not the other.

This is unfair. Just because it has been the way, and the way for a long time, does not mean it must continue to be. You must not continue making a mistake, simply because you have committed so much time to it. This, is a honey pot.

As we move towards equality – a world where men, women, and children of all genders, ethnicity, and sexual orientations are allowed equal opportunity – we will move towards a world of peace, of understanding, and of a forgetting of past bitterness and unfairness. We do not have to be dystopian children; dystopian dreamers. We can have a future, and a beautiful one at that.

Be sure that in the future, when you look back upon your contributions; you see you fought for the winning side; the side of feminism.

 

 

“I feel as though I haven’t really done anything…”

Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?

How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?

Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.

Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.

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.

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. 

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.