Thursday, October 12, 2017

Crazy Pills!

Crazy Pills? 
You know what I mean right? Somewhere deep in the core of you, you've had those moments where it seems everyone is going along with something that makes absolutely no sense to you but they're all acting like it's perfectly normal... 

Well to me this that’s the catch phrase for this current epoch. It may have been used elsewhere but I take it from the movie 'Zoolander'. Will Ferrell’s character ‘Mugatu’ is confounded by the fan hysteria around the latest ‘look’ or facial expression of a brainless male model by the name of Derek Zoolander. For context I quote:
"SHUT UP! Enough already, Ballstein! Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for Christ's sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They're the same face! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"


Why am I talking about Crazy Pills? Well because I was recently criticized for using the term ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ in a fb discussion. Apparently I shouldn’t assume that people know what that means and therefore shouldn’t use the term. 
In my opinion this is utter crap! How else are we supposed to explore ideas if we can’t use the terms given to us which best express a concept. It reminded me of an expression I’d heard in a movie which uses much simpler words, so I thought I'd write about it here rather than get embroiled in a pointless joust in other social media arenas. 

Experiencing ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ is just like ‘Feeling like I’ve been taking Crazy Pills!’
The thing is that we live in a world where we are often lead to believe nonsensical illogical explanations of what we would otherwise perceive very differently. Basically lies, spin and gammon BS currently trump truth, research and good old fassioned gut instinct. Yet in order to ‘get along’ the most comfortable option is to accept the illogical explanations we are given for absurdly obvious errors in perception and fact. 

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term that describes the level of discomfort we feel at the inconsistency of the narrative… Our minds need to resolve the agitation, so we can either seek truth, recognize the lies and reject them out of hand, putting us at odds with society, or we can accept the BS, drink the cool aid and fall into a state pretty well described by George Orwell in '1984' as ‘Doublethink’. 
As I write this longwinded, unqualified exploration I am beginning to realize, that I have been drawn into arguments with people who are fully engaged in the art of Doublethink, by challenging them I have introduced a state of Cognitive Dissonance that needs to be resolved. So therefore with ‘peace of mind’ as their objective the solution is to silence the agitator, restore the narrative, rationalize with more illogical and irrelevant explanations and excuses and move as quickly as possible back to the state of bliss that only the deliberately ignorant can know. 

Of course there’s another Pill metaphor from a popular movie that relates very clearly with the theme of Cognitive Dissonance:

Image © 1999 Warner Bros., The Matrix
This train of thought was spurred by a conversation with Midnight Oil fans who went to see the band in concert recently. I found the idea of watching Peter Garret singing those old songs absolutely abhorrent yet others appeared to experience no internal conflict around the obviously glaring conflict between his onstage performances and his real life betrayal of the ideas he sings about.  Peter Garret was a member of the Australian Government for a short time during which he made decisions which appeared to be in complete contrast to the values many of us believed he had. 

I'd really like to explore this idea further, as it has so many implications and applies to so many situations but will probably  leave it at this... just a musing I had to spew forth. ;) 

So It's back to the wheel we go.

Blogging my escape from social media

I started writing in my blog back in 2006, the year that facebook was unleashed on the world!

Of course it took some time for the social media blitz to really get a grip, and for someone just getting the hang of navigating the online world, there seemed to be an abundance of interesting blogs and basic amateur websites to explore. 

Memes probably existed but most of my online communication was far more engaged and interactive. 

Exploring blogs related to specific topics or general themes put me in touch with networks of people I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to communicate with. When I found blogs of interest I could follow them in Google Reader and shape my reading preferences entirely according to what my favorite bloggers were writing about, I could choose easily which ones I wanted to look at regularly and those I just wanted to check in on from time to time.Then Google removed it's Reader... (Why?)

Back then the nature of the online space made it easy to engage in conversations with like minded people while feeling as though I was involved in a ‘real’ community. It was exciting, inspiring and inviting to those who wanted to share experiences and information in a more intimate and focused way.

Most of the blogs I subscribed to back then have been shut down as people either couldn’t keep up the writing or most likely moved their efforts across to the facebook, twitter, snapchat, Instagram universe. One by one the bloggers vacated the scene and very few enlisted to take their place. Now it seems blogs are the domain of professional writers, people wishing to promote some kind of product or hopeless diehards like me who can’t let go of the idea that there should be a place for self expression (online) outside of the plethora of re-shared meme’s and selfies managed by the algorithms of a master program and ‘pushed’ onto the reading space of all of our ‘friends’. FRIENDS! Are they frigging kidding me? I have attempted to relate to people on fb in a manner fitting of the title ‘friend’, it seems the courtesy’s and graces we used to afford to people under that title no longer apply. Although there remain a few great blogs I continue to read…

So I realized lately after a dissatisfying exchange of words on facebook, that regardless of lack of exposure to an audience on my blog, this is the place where I can continue to express my views regardless of whether I have an audience or not. If I’ve got something to say it would serve me best to put together a more thoughtful argument than facebook has time for and post it here, for the sake of my own sanity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

And It's Only October

Have you ever hated somewhere so much as I hate you now! Darwin you Bastard! There's nothing sweet about you I hate yer stinking guts and I want to leave! 

In our small but comfortable housing commission house we have no aircon, definitely not complaining about that, we prefer it that way. The louver windows allow reasonable airflow, ceiling fans will do but are poorly placed and barely cut it in the heat. 

The problem is that our house is like a noise magnet! We hear everything from Dogs barking all night at drunks who won’t go home, kids who roam the street, the Pokemon Go freaks or sometimes at nothing at all. Our neighborhood is cluttered with the sound of angry and miserable households with nothing nice to say. I still can’t get used to the sound of violent Chinese soap operas at 4am! 
Fear of being robbed leads one neighbor to leave a floodlight on in their backyard all night! It shines right through our bedroom window! 

And the children! 
The kids in our street are a living confirmation that the zombie apocalypse is just around the corner. They appear to have lost the ability for verbal communication and seem only capable of screaming, grunting or swearing… nothing in between. The 'C' word is flung around with gay abandon regardless of who is present! For sport they tremble with delight at the prospect of tormenting some unsuspecting weaker victim. Younger children, or the single mother who lives across the road seem to be their current targets. Throwing stones at baby birds and snapping the branches off trees are a standard recreation till something more exciting comes along. 

The constant rank screaming and abuse of neighbors on all sides, hateful and vulgar as the racist misogynistic gangsta rap that blasts through our cyclone mesh fence! The vernacular here is a form of hateful profanity which has replaced human conversation, the Morlocks now rule! 

Surely this place is proof that the Zombie apocalypse has arrived and I must face it without rest because the dog next door didn't stop barking till two hours before dawn! Buildup mornings are always the same! Sleep deprived and in a lather of coffee scented sweat, with a pounding head I prepare to face the day!

Damn you Darwin! Damn your shopping malls and your wide streets full of impatient drivers, Damn your false sense of security ‘cameras’ and your V8 utes, Damn your ‘sporting fishermen’ your pig hunting yobbos and your endless piles of goon filled coke bottles! To hell with your FIFO workers in bright orange shirts! Damn your drunken fornicating fuckwits destitute and lying in their own waste! Damn the stink! 
I have never felt a love so dear as how I hate you today. 

Oh and this little gem from Andrew McMillan pretty much sums it up re: the heat!

A Postcard from Hell in October > poem Andrew McMillan > video by Annaliese Ciel Walker from slam tv on Vimeo.

(Edited 12/10/17)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Holding Hands

Nice title eh? Holding Hands. 
Not something that ever truly appealed to me as a youth, I think it always seemed a bit clingy, childish and (Not to put it in the same basket as childish) too feminine! But today I have a completely new respect for hand holding. 

Having listened to Hootie and the Blowfish singing Hold My Hand multiple times over the past couple of days and meditating on the violence in the way we deny each other in a thousand ways every single day, I think it's all coming together for me. Contemplating the brutality we commit on each other as a matter of course and the twisted lack of wholeness which is engulfing society generally and people specifically I think it's time for a revolution in compassion and why not start where we're at?

Cause I've got a hand for You!  
What better response when I see someone as broken as I am than to say "I've got a hand for you". It's brilliant!

When my grandfather was dying in hospital and I didn't know what to say to him, I held his hand. We'd never talked all that much, there was a world of things I would have liked him to share with me but it was too late and he wasn't ever really inclined to talk much about his life anyway. But, while he lay in that hospital bed knowing that the fight was nearly over he grasped my hand and through his pain looked me in the eye.

As a young man I was able to travel to Indonesia, where I realized that people do things quite differently. In the early 90s it was very common to see young men holding hands with other men, of course girls did the same but that wasn't nearly as confronting, after all, hand holding was a 'feminine' gesture. It took me a while to get used to seeing it, but I lived in abject fear of a man ever reaching out to hold my hand!

Back at home in Ausie land, as my wife will attest, I have not been a good hand holder. It always seemed impractical to me but now in hindsight I can see my attitude has been immature. I'm always wanting to rush ahead and scope the terrain, never 'with' the ones I'm with.

Hand holding took on a whole new meaning for me while I assisted in the birth of my two children. Luckily my hands recovered from the vice like compression they received during that magical moment.

Then as the kids grew and began to walk I found myself naturally putting out my hand for them to hold, from there on holding hands became a completely natural and integral part of my life. Not a road was crossed for the next 10 years that didn't require the holding of at least one hand. 

Besides the assurance of personal safety it provides, holding hands transmits something far deeper. A bond which the act of two hands enfolded around each other is only the surface transmitter of. People can see the physical connection, an emotional connection is assumed but the alignment of spirits is rarely comprehended, although in a way we all perceive that in the coupling of hands, two in some ways become one.

When I started working with Yolngu people again I was confronted with cultural practices very similar to what I experienced in Asia (far and wide actually). The practice might be far less than it used to be but it still happens that men will hold hands. In a lot of cultures it is inappropriate for there to be physical contact between men and women in public. 
In my first month of work I had to take one of our older men to the chemist at the local shopping centre, as we were walking he took my hand and walked with me for a couple of hundred meters that way. I have to admit it was something I was not quite prepared for. I had to put 30 years of overtly non physically intimate masculinization aside and just go with the flow. It was a peculiar experience but one which left me totally questioning the brutish and emotionally vacant nature of western culture. 

Two years ago after a kind of serious accident which left me lying in a hospital bed for an eternity (just 4 days) at my whit's end I was desperate for the touch of another human being. When someone eventually held my hand as I lay there with a fractured vertebrae and a face full of gravel, tears of joy and relief came to my eyes.

Today I see holding hands in a very different way to how it seemed in my youth. I can't help thinking that if I'd never left my home town or Victoria even, I'd still be stuck in the same mentality that impoverishes the emotional landscape of millions of men throughout the western world. Now in my 40s I am only beginning to see just how indoctrinated I was into the world retarded emotional development.

Now, (as in just this year.) I am seeing the extreme significance of holding people's hand, what's more there are people who drift through my life whom I feel an overwhelming desire to just reach out and grab their hand, or put my hand on their shoulder. I have no idea how this will be received but I know I must begin to act on the impulse and try to find my way to being more physically empathetically connected to my fellow human beings or risk dyeing an empty soulless shell.

Blowfish love

Recently I synced a bunch of music to my phone, among it was the album ‘Cracked Rear View’ by Hootie & the Blowfish. I think I got the CD about 10 years ago from an Opp Shop or marked down at a discount music store or something. Basically I bought it because I really liked the song ‘Let her Cry’, I knew ‘Hold my Hand’ vaguely but didn’t really have much time for the rest of the album. I rarely listened to it. It seemed overly sentimental to my taste at the time.


So I’ve been riding around a bit and somehow my song randomizing shuffle function on the music player must have been knocked out of whack and the machine cycled through the whole album twice! An album I had passed off as not quite all that suddenly sounded differently to me, the songs started, well… singing in my ears and I  heard the pain and the beauty contained in the lyrics and whatever I was thinking about at the time just completely vanished, I was transfixed on the voice , on ‘the person’ behind the voice and the people behind the story behind the voice. I heard the songs completely for the first time. Pretty soon I could feel my heart pounding and a lump in my throat and I was thinking of people in my world who I have felt an overwhelming compulsion to express these things to and to reach out my hand to reassure them as a comfort, to love them. Cracked Rear View is beautiful, compassionate and alive with the spirit of a closeness and love that despite the suffering the pain will be there to catch you! Like a reassurance that no matter how messed up you might be, I've got your back! The songs are brave and unguarded; the artists expose themselves and invite us to relax our defenses, (well at least that’s the effect it had on me at the time). 

The song Hold My Hand is absolutely profoundly beautiful! LOL you may think I'm tripping but honestly if we don't make this kind of psychic change soon it'll be too late for us all.
Check the lyrics HERE

Considering my new appreciation for the romantic nature of this music I feel a sense that something has recently changed within me. Lately I’ve given a lot of thought to gender roles and the nature of manhood. I’ve considered the stereotypes, character traits and criticisms that follow. I do believe there are feminine and masculine character traits and that each of us lives somewhere within a spectrum of associated behaviour and feelings. I believe that these are not fixed or stagnant but can evolve with the consciousness of the individual. The less guarded I am about protecting my male identity the more open I am to feminine forms of expression. The less fear I have of what this means to me as a man the easier it is to flow between modes of being. I have no interest in losing my maleness, in fact I can see more easily how the process of surrendering my male power has lead to self-imposed emasculation. Likewise I should not feel at all diminished if I am accused of performing any functions in what might be considered a feminine way. I am seeing that it is important to explore and develop a greater appreciation of both aspects of my own personality and not fear any expression of either which occurs naturally. Like when I used to smoke and my mates would say "Hey what's with him? He holds that cigarette like a girl!"
It is possible that granting myself permission to simply be and move in accord with ‘the spirit’ rather than ego defense has expanded my perception in some way. Of course society already has heaps of stereotypes to classify this particular experience, isn't that what they used to call 'Metrosexual' or some shit back in the 90s? I am not particularly interested in knowing anything about that crap, I don't care if the experience or the phenomenon has been well documented, studied or described. What I’m talking about is my own authentic experience of life as it is happening. 
And the deep and sincere hope that it is!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Marriage the Abomination

Dear friends,
Please do not be offended when I say Do not approach me with your campaigning on this matter of ‘same sex marriage’! I’ve had a gut-full of the protestations about the dirty tricks from the ‘other side’ of this non-debate. Over the past months I have seen and heard quite enough outrageous BS from people who I have considered friends. Wild accusations and belittling those who hold a different opinion on this matter will do nothing to persuade anyone to consider your opinions. Name calling only creates a stronger divide! 

It seems to me the people of this country have been subdued into a state of intellectual subservience to reactionary rhetoric! 

Basically we are not capable of having a thoughtful caring or intelligent conversation about this matter, isn’t that frightening? We have lost our ability to see reason or engage in respectful discussion. So why continue to add insult to injury by stirring each other up! The more I hear about campaigning or either group attempting to persuade people of the righteousness of their perspective the more hopeless the situation becomes, and the sadder I feel. 

I am angry that the Government has presented us with this divisive survey. It is a cruel and expensive distraction from matters which truly do deserve our attention!  

Strange days! 

When marriages are failing wholesale across the western world, where domestic violence and abuse is the hallmark of many an unhappy union. When children are raised in fear and neglect and fathers are emotionally and physically absent. When society perpetuates the myth of what is ‘normal’ and ignores the repulsive realities. When men never learn what it is to be a man and grow not knowing love. When immature caricatures of manhood are accepted as normal and women are diminished as chattel. When so called ‘traditional marriage’ is an ABOMINATION and we seek to enshrine it as an unalterable pillar! As a man I have thought long and hard about what constitutes a family and as a father I know what values I would like my children to inherit. On this topic I have only been persuaded by the simplest idea. Where is the Love? How will we nurture each other and the generations to come? How will we build our society from the soulless husk it is well on the way to becoming? When you speak hate you are not for love and you lose me. 
noun: marriage;
the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).

"a happy marriage"

synonyms:wedding, wedding ceremony, marriage ceremony, nuptials, union; "

(from the net)

If people feel called to commit and live by the higher virtues attributed to the institution of marriage; If they choose to enter into that union knowing what it asks with all the restrictions and reassurances that come with it, and they do it with love, how could that possibly be a greater threat to the values of our society than the bullshit that currently goes on in the name of marriage?

I have already posted my reply to the survey and my answer was a well-considered YES!

So Please do not humbug me or try and convince me of how you think I should 'vote', this is not an election or even a voting situation, it is a decoy!