|Posted by Cobaltsoul on December 31, 2011 at 3:45 AM||comments (0)|
New Year's Eve and that seems like good enough reason to blog.
I think, actually, the idea of blogging was originally that you didn't need a reason, you just splurged any old nonsense onto the digital space and in a thoroughly post modern gestalt someone might read it and connect, or not.
Returning to my thought... oh, right... On those occassions, rare as they may be, that a New Year's Resolution actually works there is a good reason in our design why it works. We attribute significance to things without reference to their actual significance. When I say "actual significance" it kind of begs a question, how one determines "actual" significance. If you are Theist of any colour then the answer is easy, "actual significance" is some pure or absolute thing determined in the eyes, or whatever, of some perfect and all knowing entity/being/force. (Frankly I think the idea of "the universe/force" as any kind of substitute for an actual Being is pretty silly. Seems to me as soon as you say a force is "knowing" then your saying the force is actual a Being and we are back to talking about God in one or another guise. If your force remains purely a thing of non-Being then it seems to me you've chosen a spirituality a tad irrelevant to Beings.)
Returning again to my thought...humans attribute significance to things entirely subjectively. Indeed this attribution of significance happens not only on the level of consciousness. It turns out that our brains have developed a marvelous pattern recognition capacity as a way of processing the virtually infinite amount of information our senses flood us with every moment of our waking life. Not just processing that information but organising it. The information our senses take in is useless without organisation. Our brains organise the information and what do you think it uses to organise? Previous patterns that have been found useful for the same task. It's not mere human stupidity that causes us to struggle with seeing important changes in our environment and our situations, it's hardwired into our brains to first trust old ways of organising and interpreting information.
This is a real example from my past - I see a field mouse scurrying away from my lawn mower and I stop to watch with a sense of wonder and delight at discovering a little bit of Wildlife right at my feet. My friend, mowing the same field sees a field mouse scurrying away from his lawn mower and stomps on the mouse, killing it. I don't know what significance he attributed to that mouse but clearly not the same as I did.
We attribute significance from within us. Sometimes reality forces a significance on us but even those we have a lot of choices in how we frame what cannot be denied or ignored. Everything less than catastrophe or bald tragedy is open to our own decisions about the attribution of significance.
If the resolutions you make this New Year are significant to you, then they'll stick. If they don't stick, just admit the change wasn't that important to you, not down in your belly where it matters. That's the learning potential right there - the gap between what you think is important to you and what is actually important to you. It can be a pretty confronting gap, which is why most of us mostly don't notice it.
Happy New Year.
Mikel O Azure.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM||comments (1)|
In The West we have endless myths about Family.
We are given the idea, somehow, that family relationships have a special quality that excludes them from the normal shittiness of human hearts.
We are quietly conned into thinking that somewhere out there is a normal family full of unconditional love and mature mutual respect for all family members. We are sure that family must exist but we all know it's not OUR family. In that comparision OUR family suffers terribly.
I don't use family in the traditional sense in my own thinking these days. For me, family is still that ideal thing - unconditional love and mutual respect - but it has nothing to do with blood relationships or the house I grew up in.
Blood relations are no different to any other stranger - some of them are fantastic, some of them are criminal, some of them are selfish, some of them are nice, some of them are takers, some of them are givers. You get the picture, just because someone is your blood relation has no bearing on how they will treat you. If you accept that fact then you just totally exploded the myth we all tend to buy into - blood family is something special.
In fact, a bad family member is MORE dangerous and damaging to you than a bad stranger.
Now the reverse is also true, if an important member of your family is a really wonderful person, that has a bigger impact on you than if a stranger is a wonderful person to you for five minutes.
But it's a major lottery about which kind of family member you are going to grow up with.
Most of us grow up sharing a house with people who cannot help burdening us with the overflow of their own gross imperfections. The nature of that overflow can be across a wide range - from the parent or sibling who is constantly violent towards us, the parent who neglects us or ignores us, the parent who loves us but with a serious amount of their own self loathing staining the message, the parent who loves us pretty well but also leaves us feeling a bit afraid of the world and feeling weak, the parent who overflows with love and positive energy but struggles to let us go and be fully grown up,..... etc etec............it's a wide range.
None of that range measures up the mythical family we all wish was our family. No-one has that mythical family, it doesn't exist.
For those who suffered in families at the really shit end of the scale, the myth of a normal happy family is a massive burden, one because it makes us think our crap family is less normal than it is and two because it stops other people recognising the whole truth about the families they are looking at - so we stay isolated, not recognising how much helpe we all need. We all tend to push out of our minds the suffering and pain we see in other families because seeing it everywhere undermines our grasp of that comforting myth - normal happy families are common.
No such thing as a normal happy family.
But if we see that, really admit it, then we have to ask ourselves a whole load of uncomfortable questions about humanity and our society and our culture and our beliefs.
Most humans are walking around ignoring the pit of loneliness and pain sitting in well of their soul. Clumsy sentence but you got the drift of it.
By holding onto the idea that happiness is common and normal and that families are the happiest places of all, we train ourselves to only see THAT reality rather than actual reality. We train ourselves away from noticing other people's pain, and thus, our own as well. Perhaps it works the other way, by refusing to feel our own pain we make ourselves incapable of feeling other people's pain. Every stick has two ends, can't pick up one end without picking up the other end.
I don't have any "moral" to this blog. It's just a blog. Something I was thinking and I'm trying to really put into practice the knowledge that for me writing is good therapy even if it seems pointless in terms of structure and content.
Oh, do you think this blog means I'm anti-family, as if you can be "anti-family", family is unavoidable. I'm not anti-family but I certainly don't put a special frame around family relationships, they are just relationships like any other and contain all the good and bad any relationship might, in the same ratios but with greater power over us because we are IN those relationships so closely and intensely for the first twenty or so years of our life.
What's more important, in my mind, than the blood group I was born into, is the relationships in my life that ARE about unconditional love and mutual respect. In fact, I'm happy for them to be "less" conditional love and mutual respect as I think "un" conditional love is pretty rare.
Not just being in them, making the effort to create them. I'm not so good at that, my own blood family left me with really good self isolating skills and if I don't pay attention I tend to ignore the very people in my life who offer me the richest friendships and the freest love. (Sorry Dave.)
OK, blog over.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on June 28, 2011 at 7:38 AM||comments (0)|
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
I just watched a great movie, but one that did not crack it big at the box office because it was a genre ambiguous movie.
This was a romantic movie, also a mythic movie and a theological movie. It was fast moving with plenty of chase scenes and that was how it was advertised, more a thriller than a romance.
Mythology is full ofstories of mere mortals challenging the “gods”. It is an important theme in our story telling history. This movie is in that lineage even though “the gods” are kept thoroughly low key and the movie tries to avoid any traditional theological interpretation of who or what the highest power is. This element of the movie is not well handled, not badly, but not with a real grasp of the pointlessness of being vague when telling this kind of mythic narrative. If you tell it well enough, the theological specifics you use become tertiary and the story carries the universal truths forward regardless of your narrative's particularity.
One man meets his full on soulmate, they both feel it. The powers once intended them to be together but the plan has been revised and now they should only meet for this one moment, then never meet again.
He discovers the Power's meddling and is convinced by them to let her disappear out of his life.
He tries to let her go but he cannot.
She is his “the one,the only” and she feels it too.
So, eventually, he challenges the Powers, willing to risk being wiped clean and reduced to an empty vessel in one all or nothing venture to be WITH her.
Their story resonates because so many of us have felt that feeling, that THIS one is THE one.
Their story resonates despite the fact that so many of us have felt that feeling and then discovered we were tragically wrong and THIS one was just a horrible mistake or a sad mistake or a failed chance or an unfortunate coincidence of mutually triggering wounds and family pathologies. Despite our experience of the pain that comes with believing in “soulmates” we go right on believing in them and hoping ours is just around the corner.
I suspect the hunger underneath this belief is the hunger to be “the one” for someone else and to feel ourselves absolutely surrendering to them, the freedom of self abnegation without care or fear, to feel that safe, that loved, that known, that welcomed, that embraced and penetrated. We hunger for absolute acceptance from one other. We desire to feel able to GIVE absolute acceptance to one other.
So, we believe in a soulmate.
The downside of that belief system is that it tends to be a system that relieves us of any responsibility to build something good, to choose well, to work for our lives. If our perfect soulmate is out there somewhere then all we need to do is find them and when we meet, it will go perfectly well from then on without any real effort from us. If it hasn't gone perfectly easily, then they were not our soulmate and we need to keep looking.
I think that might actually be possible, in a few small number of cases. If you grew up in a healthy family with lots of balanced affection and discipline, where both your parents were mostly balanced and mature in their adulthood and did not contaminate your young psych with serious warps and impossible needs and if the partner you meet had a similar family experience and it just so happens that the internal patterns that gave you and the internal patterns that gave your partner are mutually complementary and balanced, then you can merge together healthily, not loosing yourselves while still being thoroughly open and exposed to each other. It's a rare thing.
For most of us much more work is required.
I think it IS possibleto be richly fulfilled by the way another human being sees us, welcomes us and embraces us. I think it IS possible for them to behaving that experience from us at the same time we are having it from them. It's possible but it for most of us it requires SERIOUS work, on ourselves and on the relationship we are in.
The intimacy and fulfilment that is evoked in the idea of soulmates is something I still believe in and still anticipate experiencing in my life. I expect it will require hard work as part of it's ongoing realisation. Two people, together birthing the full goodness of their partnership into reality.
In the movie, the hero, and then his heroine when she realises she has a choice, decide to reject the simplicity of going with the flow and take the chance of fighting for what they believe can exist between them. In that sense they challenge the soulmate stereotype. It is not easy for them to be together and they are prepared to challenge even God (Not called that in the movie.) in pursuit of their own desired future. I think that is excellent theology. The movie is more subtle than most will appreciate, it implies that what can be seen as fate or predestination and used by some in power to force people into certain paths and roles is not as simplistic as all that, not even close. I think that also is excellent theology.
The movie is based on a Philip K Dick short story, so of course it would not fit into tidy little Hollywood genre patterns. It is a better movie for not trying to fit into such constricted pigeon holes. It is nicely balanced between character development and fast paced storyline, New York looks fantastic and adds huge wallops of character to the whole affair, the two leads are convincing and engaging and the unreal elements are so well handled you buy into them without noticing you just did. It is hugely romantic and seriously theological/philosophical simultaneously. This is one I will beadding to my dvd collection.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on February 24, 2011 at 10:27 AM||comments (1)|
How brave am I? How brave are you?
When I'm driving the taxi on a Friday and Saturday night I listen to the BBC World Service. Recent coverage, as you might expect, is Tunisa and Egypt and Libya. I am awed.
My sisters and brothers who have the courage to go out on the street, knowing that there are guns out there. They awe me.
My brothers and sisters who basically walk out naked into a world they know is controlled by brutal old men who don't value their lives or care if they die. Brutal old men who are merely play ground bullies writ large. Bullies who can bury whole families, bullies who can hide you in their cellar and have you tortured simply because they are scared of one voice.
Would you walk out into that street?
I listen to radio interviews live from Egypt or Libya with a local person and in the background is the sound of gunfire.
Think about it. Would you go out into the streets to claim your nation's freedom when you knew it could get you killed? Really? Killed.
My brothers and sisters on the streets humble me.
I wish I had their courage.
How about you?
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on February 17, 2011 at 5:37 AM||comments (0)|
You know how sometimes something just strikes as being SO dumb or SO funny or SO somethingorother? I had one of those moments today, listening to the radio I heard a politician who was SO stupid he managed to demonstrate that what he was saying was wrong while he was saying it and without noticing that he'd done it.
World's Dumbest Politician.
And that's a category with some pretty stiff competition in it.
The topic was multiculturalism as a national policy. Which has been in Australia for most of my life a bilateral policy. One party first started talking about it when they were in power, the other major party made it legislative policy when they were next in power. No elections were fought over it, pretty much everyone has agreed that it's the kind of Australia we want. When you migrate to Australia we don't expect you to abandon your culture to fit in. Bring the best of your culture with you and celebrate it as a community and let the rest of us enjoy the additional riches we discover flowing into our national awareness from your cultural streams. We have a few values which are non negotiable, like equality of respect regardless of differences and fairness and being a meritocracy but other than that, be Greek, be Lebanese, be Italian, be Vietnamese, be Sudanese, be who you are and be it together and we don't have a problem with that.
Now recently the current government has overtly re-stated their committment to multiculturalism and to wanting to revive our awareness of it as a national direction and value.
So the World's Dumbest Politician candidate gets on the radio and says something like this.
Multiculturalism is such an old hat term. (Substantive analysis there, really getting to grips with the issues at an important verbal fashions level.) We've been talking about multiculturalism and implementing it in this nation for over thirty years, it's so past it's used by date. The current government just wants to create division and an excuse to treat different groups differently and if they adopt a multicultural policy we'll end up with the kind of divisions and problems we seen in Germany and England in their failed multicultural policies.
You said we've been implementing multiculturalism for thirty years (And you can't point to it creating division and failure up to this point, or you would have.) but if we start implementing it NOW it will fail. Point out that it's worked for thirty years and then think that supports your denial that it can work now.
Additional stupidity: "treat different groups differently" wow, such a terrible idea, recognise differences that require different approaches and implement them so we all reach the same goal.
Additional additional stupidity: because the same word "multiculturalism" is used in three different countries assume, like the simplistic moron you are, that it refers to the same attitudes, the same policy, the same system and the same implementation processes.
It was one of those moments of me yelling at the radio as I drove down the road. He He. Probably even waving one hand in the air like the Italian mates I grew up with in Western Australia.
The human capacity to astonish never ceases to astonish me.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on January 24, 2011 at 9:28 PM||comments (1)|
The end of your last year at school provides a striking example of damaging false thinking. The false idea is the one that says your entire future depends on what university you get into.
What a load of bollocks.
The false idea is even more stupid than that first formulation. Working back from which uni you get into the all or nothing lie appears when students are choosing the subjects they will study years before their last year. Students are told that they need to pick "the right" subjects in their early teens so they can get into the right streams and get the right marks and get into the right university and get the right career and that if they get it wrong some massive life tragedy will ensue.
What a load of rancid bollocks.
When it comes to education paths and career paths there are multiple routes to the same destinations. Assuming that most fourteen year olds can actually know where they want to be in twenty years time still does not mean any decision they make at fourteen will absolutely rule out any destination they ultimately want to reach.
You can get accepted to a "lesser" university, go, excell and use that excellence to shoe horn your way into "better" universities. You can excell at the "lesser" university and enter the career stream you desire and THEN use your excellence to move toward the ultimate career goal you started with. You can skip university initially, get straight into the work area you want to be in and then use your work experience to gain admission to the university of your choice. Multiple paths. It's not all or nothing.
I've illustrated it with the student education path but the general principle is the same, in most things in life there are multiple paths to get us there. Not everything, but most things.
The all or nothing lie puts false pressure on people at decision points. The lie makes us think the decision we are making is between utopia and misery. That false perspective makes each decision a burden when it need not be so. It also creates a false expectation in us, that THIS decision is the one that will ensure our life long happiness. When this decision does not ensure our happiness we feel life has cheated us. Life has not cheated us, we have a false idea and false expectations.
There surely are a few decisions we could make that DO have a truly monumental impact on everything that comes after that decision AND which are irreversible decisions. But those quality of decisions are rare.
Most of our decisions are not all or nothing.
Most of our decisions can be unmade or remade with subsequent choices.
Life is complex and there are multiple paths to the same destinations.
If you are a parent, please don't burden your children with the all or nothing lie.
If you are an adult then you are now parent to yourself, don't burden yourself with the all or nothing lie.
In our lives, in the search for fulfillment and happiness
We have more chances than we think.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on January 21, 2011 at 4:52 AM||comments (0)|
Why do we love stories?
Pretty much that's all I've got, the question.
Maybe you think you don't love stories.
Do you love even one movie?
Do you regular WANT to watch even one tv show?
Is there even one song you love and will always love?
Then you love stories, just like the rest of the human race.
But why do we love stories?
What I can tell you, as a long time story lover and story teller is this:
Stories have power.
Stories have joy.
Stories have life.
Stories carry me to some other place.
Stories touch me in hidden places.
I don't protect myself from fiction the same way I protect myself from reality.
Fiction can share truth with me when I'm still denying it in reality.
That much I know.
I think there is plenty more to know about stories.
I also think that you can tell good ones without understanding why they are good
Or how they work.
Something else I know.
You are a story teller even if you don't see it.
We tell stories to ourselves all the time.
We process our reality by RE-telling it to ourselves.
Think about that for a while, it could change your life, or at least, make it richer.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on December 25, 2010 at 7:13 AM||comments (1)|
I am a BIG movie fan. I mean, multiply the girth of the universe by the number of hamburgers eaten by the average Aussie bogun in any given year and even THAT number won't be big enough to let you grasp how BIG a movie buff I am.
I think movies are THE modern cultural stream.
If you want to write a PhD thesis on modern society and culture, write it about Movies.
Do you want to know what modern cultural expression has the same interpretive power in our generation as we attribute to the great Masters of classical painting? MOVIES!
OK, that's my one exclamation mark in ten thousand words. (Hemmingway's standard.)
Movies, despite the venality of so many .that get to our screens, are THE modern narrative expression of meaning and values and self reflection. That's what I think.
They incorporate story telling, visual power and (In those rare few with any good quality scriptwriters supported by intelligent directors and intelligent producers.) the soul scouring blade of well used words.
Sadly, the potential of the majority of movies are undermined by the power of the “bean counters”, the profit margin obsessives and the egos of the actors involved.
Here is a piece of movie world reality. Every major movie actor is insured for millions of dollars on each movie. The insurance company will not allow THE star to be at risk. If THE star takes an injury then the whole movie takes a dive or costs massive amounts more to make. Therefore, the insurance companies make sure that the star of a movie never takes risks.
Now, if you watch all the “extras”and “features” of some movies, you are given the distinct impression that the movie star DOES take risks. I remember one movie, it's quite impossible for me to remember exactly which movie that might be, in which the additional features were edited to make it look like the male lead, a real tomcat, actually DID one of the big stunts in the movie. That particular (In my view shallow and clearly insecure.) actor even gave the impression he HAD done the stunt. How embarrasing is that? A ful grown male PRETENDING he took a risk he didn't take? Like a twelve year old lying to impress a girl.
Meanwhile an actual stuntman took the actual risk and made the liar actor look good.
Now you might think that on Christmas day I had something more substantial and “deep” to write about.
Is there anything more substantial than honesty?
I love movies.
I admire the talents of actors and directors and screenwriters and producers and directors of photography and gaffers and all the gifted talents who work together to create the modern narrative miracle of the movie genre.
Any sane person knows that the actors don't take risks. We, the movie viewers, don't need to believe the actor is in danger for us to enjoy the movie and to be carried alone by the narrative.
Apparently some actors are so underdeveloped as human beings THEY still need us to believe they take risks they don't actually take.
I still remember, “You had me at.....”
No risk was involved in that truth, no danger imagined or stunt person involved. A grown up actor would understand they did not need to lie to convince us that they GAVE us something in their art.
In art, in movies, as in life, the truth always has more power than the lie.
Let us each be naked and honest.
Let us not pretend we are more than we are.
Let us not pretend we are less then we are.
Christmas is a time full of bullshit.
This year I met a guy who wanted toknow why people made such a fuss about being nice and honest and giving at the end of the year, why not all year round? Fair question.
So I leave you with this question...
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on November 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM||comments (2)|
I've seen this kind of advertisement a few times but the latest one is a pizza restaurant in the city with a big sign out the front declaring, "Classic Gourmet Pizza". A different version I saw was "Traditional Gourmet Pizzas" and in the US I once saw (Not kidding here.) "Original Traditional Pizzas".
I'm pretty sure that "gourmet" pizzas are a recent innovation so there is no way any gourmet pizza recipe is old enough to qualify as a "classic".
I'm pretty sure the same thing applies to a "traditional" gourmet pizza, it can't be traditional if it's a recent innovation.
As for a traditional recipe also being original, well, maybe that would be possible in Italy, if the restaurant in question can prove it's been making it's own, original, pizza recipe for the last one hundred years, long enough to also be a tradition.
Such lazy use of language is common these days and most of us seem not to notice.
Oh, here's one more in a slightly different groove.
A reporter reporting live from the Melbourne Cup (A horse race.) said, "Here at the race course fascinators are the head gear of choice as are brightly coloured floral print dresses." MMMM, if the ladies are wearing their dresses on their heads I imagine some of the jockey's probably got a bit distracted as they raced past all those naked fillies on the way to the finishing line.
The pizza thing is just an example of how language is used evocatively or connotatively. The words "traditional", "gourmet" and "classic" all have good connotations when it comes to pizza, so why not just jam them all into one description, even if it makes no actual sense.
To my way of thinking if the people in that shop can't write a sensible description of their own product do I really want to eat it? What other simple tasks are they incapable of completing safely?
Did you know that not all languages have a past, present and future tense?
In some languages there is only the present tense. Everything that can be spoken about can only be spoken of as happening in the present. Imagine the mind map that produces in the people who speak that language. That which we organise as past, present and future all become "now" and the person sees them self as living in a continuous, eternal, present moment. Things we think of as having happened in mythological times are for these people things that are happening "now".
Language constructs reality.
Sloppy use of language constructs, in YOUR head, a sloppy reality.
It once was the case that journalists saw themselves as the guardians of good grammar and accurate language but those days are long gone. The exact opposite is true today. The media constantly uses language with deliberate malice and deception.
A news reporter says or writes that ..."The Prime Minister denied there would be any funding cuts for schools." if you go and research you discover that no-one else was talking about funding for schools until the PM mentioned it and what the PM actually said was, "While I am PM we will maintain the current level of spending on schools, or increase if it funds become available."
You might not have noticed that one little word, "denied", but your subconscious didn't miss it.
If the PM is "denying" something then someone must have accused her of something, therefore the statement about school funding is part of an argument and maybe the PM is lying and maybe funding for schools will be cut and ...............
One little word totally warps the reality.
If you actually listen, really listen, to news broadcasts on the radio, you will discover many, many of those little warping words scattered thru what pretends to be merely "reporting the news".
You may think my examples are small and don't matter.
The effect of the misuse of language is cumulative.
One spilling mistake is not a big problem, you still understood my intent.
Huwiver eetz mosh herdar two unnashtan me if the spelling errors accumulate.
The more laziness and inaccuracy is accepted in the way we use language, the less we actually can communicate to each other. Understanding shrinks as language is misused.
Disciplined and balanced language skills produce a disciplined and balanced set of mental tools.
In a world getting increasingly complex and nuanced, we need, and our kids need, the best set of mental tools it's possible to have.
If you cannot speak clearly and precisely you cannot think clearly and precisely.
So enjoy your classic pizza but don't be fooled into thinking it's also a gourmet experience. They probably hope that if you are dumb enough to believe you are buying a "classic gourmet" pizza you are also probably dumb enough to pay too much for it.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 24, 2010 at 7:33 AM||comments (0)|
A large company that will remain nameless, that makes a lot of the software most of us use, has gone and done the stoopid again.
This nameless company, could be any company, has a Messenger progam, used by hundreds of millions of people.
Many of those people are in the second and third world, with still underdeveloped and sometimes dodgy internet infrastructure.
But big software company does not think about that. Oh no.
They recently upgraded their Messenger software and they changed something.
Formerly you could use your webcam two ways. You could use it just to share a live image of yourself to your friends while you typed the text of your conversation. Or you could use it, and a microphone, to start a video call and see and speak as if face to face. Now the video call uses up way more bandwidth than the webcam image.
On limited bandwidth lines you could get a perfectly good webcam image, but NOT a good video image, using the identical equipment.
That made webcam only a very attractive tool for people living in those countries with dialup bandwidth internet access for most people or seriously over stretched infrastructure even if it was wider bandwidth.
The big software company, and some of the alternative Messenger softwares have done the same, got rid of webcam only. You know cannot choose to just see each other but see each other clearly, now you only get to do a video call and if it keeps dropping out or looks more like a melted mess than an image of a human face, too bad, no choices, no options.
So, if you live in the infrastructured challenged parts of the world, according to the Messenger companies, you don't matter, your software using experience does not matter.
You can't call yourself a global company if you don't have the brains to THINK GLOBALLY.
Stoopid is just SO annoying.
PS, yes, I know how to spell stupid, I was making a little play with words there.