Can’t sleep

Can’t sleep

When I lay awake at night, when the long night won't take me on a short journey so easily it's generally because there is too much going round in my mind.

I'm thinking of life, living, being and how to do those things properly, as always. It's not uncommon for me, I seem to be particularly concerned with these topics, more so the ideas of, than the implementation. It is a topic you can never stop learning on, there is no definitive answer, more a general direction and in a sense, journey.

The art of living you might call it, a path that if achieved properly will be full of events which topple you, that will throw you down the stairs. But only due to these events will you then climb higher than before. Each stair ascended you'll realise there is even more steps than previously thought. In a sense this is the journey.

Here are some pointers that I can humbly offer to help you climb.

Make good sacrifices.
A sacrifice is essential to being human. Many thousands of years ago we discovered what sacrifice was, that is to bargain with the future. While our being is trapped in the eternal now, our being, within this eternal now can project the concept of time to allow us to make choices that benefit this future self. So in a sense this is what allows you to improve yourself. This is why you save money, go to university, skip desert and iron your shirts. While this all seems rather obvious one fact you may overlook is the quality of your sacrifices. Not all sacrifices are successful and we often never understand why, but if you sacrifice what is of value with faith, if you give with truth and honesty it will be repaid. You will see returns worthy of your risk. Try it.

Speaking of truth this is the second pointer I can give

Speak the truth, no matter how much it hurts.
Now this is a kind of obvious but this doesn't just mean to others, but to yourself as well. Speaking the truth has power that is hard to comprehend till you wield it and use the spoken word to bring forth betterment for you and all others beholden and stranger. Truth will strike through any problem, it is that powerful. When you speak the truth good things will happen, by that I don't mean you'll suddenly end suffering on Earth. What I do mean is that you can, with your effort and truth, bring light to your own little garden. Start speaking the truth to those closest to you. Watch those relationships become stronger, as they will starting speaking the truth also. The hardest concept to understand of this is that by speaking the truth doesn't just mean saying things that are true. Discovering what this means will have profound effects, just try it.

Life is suffering.
This is pretty much the first thing you should learn about life. It ain't simple, easy, kind, compassionate or fair. These are simple facts. The sooner you realise and accept it the easier the whole journey will be. Not because you cannot then be disappointed, but because then you will find value in life. You will see that the suffering you accept and bare burden to is what makes being human so special. This is a great segway into the next pointer.

Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
The reality is that life is suffering because your immense vulnerability. From disease, from injury, from cancer, heart disease, drowning, suffocating, the list is endless. It's a wonder we all can get out of bed in the morning really, but if you think like that then you are missing a very valuable lesson. To be vulnerable is to be human, to be limited is to be able to strive. To be human is to fight, for life, for survival, for growth, for success, for your fellow man. With this our emotions would be useless. What good is love without loss. Our vulnerability is what moves us to emotion. It is what fills us, it fills us to the point of overflowing, in art, in music, in exploration, of mind, body and world. This is how we create what gives us joy, what gives us drive. This is what gives us purpose! We take what is raw, we take what is cold and we bring it to life because we feel it, we can emote and bring meaning upon it. To be vulnerable is to be alive, embrace your vulnerability as it is what brings the value to your suffering.

It is late so I must retire, but when you lie in bed awake next think of your sacrifices, your suffering and your vulnerability. I hope these thoughts fill you with the fulfilment they do for me.

Vulnerability.

Vulnerability.

A word many associate with the negative. A word, that to many means weakness. Such an ideal  is only born of immaturity and fear. I however can understand how people come to see it this way though as I used to be one of them. I was once afraid of it, afraid I’d appear weak, not good enough. I feared the consequences of opening myself up, I feared whatever was shared would be used against me.

What I did not realise is what I was trading for my perceived protection was worth far, far more. The problem many face in their ignorance to the value of vulnerability is a rather complex one, one made up of many facets. So lets try and break it down.

I feel the first major concept one must understand is why one would find value in vulnerability. Essentially this breaks down to creating value within any kind of relationship, including one with your self. What I mean by this is that the more protection one has, the less committed they are, and not only that, the less they have to lose. If you hear of someone flying to the other side of the planet to chase a lover, you think, shit, that person must really love him/her, on account of the high risk and cost if rejection. You see it is this display of vulnerability that instilled value into his/her lover. Lets look at another example, a woman who quits her established career to follow a dream of being an artist. In this example the value is created in the art, for she has raised the stake of its importance, this is therefore transferred directly into this passion.

I can understand some might find this all a little.. abstract. Well, it is. But if you keep following I hope I’ll iron and dispel and doubts you may still have.

In economics there is a term “scarcity creates demand”. This is rather effective term to explain the next point. While one of the more obvious features of being vulnerable, it is nonetheless important. So to explain, why do we value anything? Almost always the value of something comes down to its availability. Can you easily get it, or is it hard to get. I don’t think I need to explain this one too much, except on how it links in. Vulnerability, regardless of how comfortable you are with it is something not something found in abundance, this is where scarcity comes, and you guessed it, demand. As humans we value people who show us vulnerability, it shows how much that person values us, and in return, we value them.

As we get deeper down this rabbit hole the concepts get harder to explain, this next one takes some fundamental rewiring to understand. It is also not easy to explain, but I shall do my best.

Being as it is, and that is rather abstract, these examples might be rather abstract also. But bear with me. So, if we think of heaven, or god even, lets us go with god. So god is meant to be three things, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. This is theologians idea of an unlimited being, so the one thing god cannot be in limited. This is where we have our uhuh(!) moment. Because to be all these omni-thingies is the very definition of not being able to value anything. I know, this is confusing, but let me explain. Think for a moment about why we as humans generally love all things “cute”, what would you suggest all these “cute” things generally have in common? I’m fairly certain most of you will agree that is vulnerability. So following this logic you can see, while many may still claim to love god irregardless of this fact, but other things are valued due to their vulnerability. It is where if you remove this vulnerability that you take away the things you love. If kittens had hard skin as protection, we probably wouldn’t find them so cute, if your lover was devoid of emotion like a robot you might find them rather hard to love.

If the world of love and relationships were a market, vulnerability would be like gold, nothing else would be valued as highly. So ask yourself this, why exclude yourself from this market when you have something so valuable to trade. You have it, we all have. 

We just have to be open, be free, be naked, leave you inhibitions, your reservations, your doubts on the floor. Don’t dip your toes in, just jump in. 

If you’re not vulnerable, you’re playing a dumby hand, it’s not real, you aren’t playing for keeps. You only have one foot in ready to pull it out incase you’re caught over investing. Fear will control you till you self author your life.  

You only get one shot, make it count. 

Hallsey

Hallsey

A dark hallway
Candles drip from the sconces
Overflowing in pools of wax below
Giant pools of wax threaten the hallway runner

Threads like escapees abandon their life
Frays run for the walls
Floor boards hidden for generations hunt for freedom
Nails who’s lives are well spent give way

A body sprawls
One not dead but gone
A mind active but lost
A face, meeting frays, nails and boards
An eye, open while the other is closed
The frays are blurry
The boards are between
A nail, clear in focus

Its life is clear
Once with purpose
Now different
It has grown
Up, physically

And out, in beauty

Tragedy, in all its beauty 

Tragedy, in all its beauty 

One’s life can be viewed in many different ways, depending upon which philosophical ideas you subscribe. The purpose of life, the existence of a god and what happens when you die. Not typically questions many attempt to attack and determine without doubt, but most have a general idea of what their own reality consists of.

My own reality is the absurd. It seems to me the only logical choice and is a rather satisfying answer, not only on a philosophical level but also an emotional one.

This human experience is one of complete contradiction with the universe it is played out in. In general we feel disconnected from this world, we say things like “I was born into this world” rather than saying “I was born of this world”. This represents the feeling many hold, when the things that matter to us most, meaning and purpose to our lives and a lasting impact for our labour. In return the universe offers nothing, it offers us no purpose and inevitably destroys all we create. In the face of such ideas one might find life meaningless. Personally I see it rather different, this only brings meaning to my life.

One might argue the we are all here by chance and for the most part that is exactly right. In the face of the absurd and this happenstance existence what does one do? Well, personally I find meaning in the grey, between the lines. Not just in actions or relations, but in the beauty that to me is plainly offered by this absurdity.

There is something rather comedic that it is essentially meaningless, I just have to laugh at how desperate most of us are to know there is a greater purpose for us outside of ourselves and that what we face is cold and distant, something completely inhumane, something bereft of even being able to give purpose. In a lot of ways this is rather tragic, being born with the greatest desire for something that just isn’t there, unless one subscribes to a religious narrative, that might be satisfactory for some of you, it isn’t for many.

So this leads me to the beauty. Everyone loves a good drama. A play where someone has so much desire and hope. In the end the story is pointless and boring if one does not lose it, the story would feel meaningless and lacking a plot. One might say that in this desperate search for meaning where there is none is much the same, the value that is created is immense, then to lose it or be faced by the inevitable fact there is none. Well, to me, that is just inherently beautiful. It is the tragedy inherent life. It is the beauty right before you. Now life simply may be beautiful in itself due to this tragic nature, but there is far more beauty to be found.

I find Irony is often the best form of this beauty. In the face of the absurd, to be offered ironic tragedy is, well, bizarre, and in this, comedic. When one can desire so much and to be betrayed by what you were born out of in such dramatic fashion, well, how can one not laugh at that. What a tragedy others might say about your life. Maybe you beat cancer before finding love only to die on your wedding day in a car accident. Extreme example, and many might say that there is nothing beautiful in that, and if that’s you, then you take life too seriously. I mean, it’s all meaningless, don’t let your desire for meaning play you. But back to the point, such a scenario is an epic and rather ironic tragedy. It is in these areas we find the beauty, and in that beauty we find meaning, so I implore you to not be too concerned if your life is perfect or not, wouldn’t living out a beautiful tragedy be so much more meaningful? Let’s be honest, there are many made famous by leading such lives.

So in the end we find that meaning and the lasting impact you’ve been searching for all along. In the tragedy of the human experience, all found in the face of the absurd.

Cracks and voids

Cracks and voids

My dear, what has become of you

Electric you were, a discarded robot you remain 

In my eternal now, devoid you remain
Replays of empty shelves, the dust collects 

The fear of your self being known to me, like a wedge between us which grew and grew

A divide as far one can see, a hug feels empty as any touch is in vain

Matters of the heart are simply complex, to the outsider.

Inside is a clear early morning, vivid green grass, the dew twinkling with the rising sun. Crisp cool air surrounds.

This is where to begin, again. 

Forest

Forest

Thick dense forest consumes

Beautiful but demanding of respect

Lonely and silent, but full of wonder

A lake exists, a rare break in the endless evergreens

Each side a dinghy awaits

Many times I have voyaged

To the centre, and even beyond

I found the other dinghy, patiently waiting on the opposing shore

It was beautiful, peaceful

As it waitings for a passenger, a partner in it’s voyage

 

Again I stand before this dinghy

This time I feel

I feel nothing, not expectation, not hope

Just open

Just free

Life, the universe and everything.

Life, the universe and everything.

Homeless, to a time, to a place. Generally, just floating, disconnected. Reality not apparent in the manner you may have come to expect within your days.

Anyone who isn’t confused doesn’t really understand the situation – Edward R. Murrow

How many times can you say a word in a row before it becomes unfamiliar? Till you’re not even sure what the word is anymore. What it means, if it is even a word, let alone how you might spell it.

If you stare at an object, how long does it take before you forget what they object does?

Absurd, this is the reality you ignore. This is the world you remember to forget.

A man is talking on the telephone behind a glass partition, you wonder why he is alive – Albert Camus

When you break down, your world, your actions. What do you see? Do you see what you choose, or do you see it for what it is, the absurdity of life is hiding behind the present veneer your mind creates.

Take for example the current scientific narrative, although to describe it as a narrative is the wrong description, alas, but I digress.

The recent discovery of the Higgs particle is a great example of this narrative to explain the ridiculousness that we do exist, instead of not. The discovering of this particle proved something, as it was explained to me by the brilliant Lawrence Krauss, if you leave a beer bottle in the freezer for too long and then open it, the beer will freeze upon opening and shatter the bottle. In a very similar way the Higgs field was created, by chance, as the early universe cooled it went through a phase transition releasing energy and creating the Higgs field. Without this field, particles would be massless and the conditions required to create a universe to sustain life would not have been possible.

This random chance is not the only one, but just one of many parts of this apparently finely tuned universe. You may consider that points to intelligent design, but the more of the latest scientific narrative you learn, the more you realise that this is rather unlikely and isn’t at all logical.

Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of the universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of “world history”, but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature drawn in a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die – Friedrich Nietzsche

Logically speaking, it is immensely more likely that we live in a simulation, rather than in the one true existence, and ironically we would, and never will know. This coupled with the fact of mans great search for meaning and purpose, we are so desperate to find this purpose we are happy to invent and follow it blindly, just because it is easier.

As humans, we desire a cosmic order, significance for our labour, and an intelligible life. But life has no order, destroys our work and is alien to us. In short the things we want – A caring universe with which one is connected and in which we are immortal and precisely the things we cannot have. We get death – Unknown

Considering all the facts of the matter one must ponder, why go on? Well, why do you? It is a good question after all. If we consider the eternal bliss of nothingness we experienced before birth, to believe this is all we face in death isn’t much to fear. The unfortunate fact of the matter is our simple instinctual state of survival is a rather conflicting view on this ending, so much so, any different narrative in which we can exist beyond death is not surprisingly rather attractive.

In the end you must wonder, why do we exist, why something rather than nothing. Personally it is only logical to create ones own meaning to life. Although there should be one area we must agree upon, doing best for the mankind, as a whole and as induviduals, should be a drive inherent and intertwined in ones actions.

To me, if life were to have any meaning it would be to enjoy the absurdity of the journey and the poetic tragedy that is death.