Sunday, 29 December 2013

Oh, January, January.

Even though you're not even here yet
I am.

I am in January.

Each year, my sievelike memory forgets just how much I adore you. Your long light.  Your slowdown.  The lens shifts in January and the world around me, in the depths of a southern hemisphere summer, slows down to MY speed.

January.  Where you do two things in a day and that is perfectly acceptable.

January.  Where the creativity flourishes with the stretch.

Thank you.

You know, many count you as the beginning of the year but I'm not so sure those Julians or Gregorians or whoever it was had it right.  January doesn't feel like an appropriate beginning of a year for me any more than July would.  If I had to choose the beginning of a new year (whatever that means, which really isn't a lot to me to be honest) then I would choose one of the equinoxes.  Balance.  Each side of the earth in a beautiful balance of spring and autumn.  Not now.  Not January.

January is no time for backwards and forwards looking, for resolutions.  January is just no time.  Full stop.  Nothing coming after that.  End of long delicious sentence.

January is no time, and a crappy song by that band from the 70's.  January, January.  I simply can't count the number of ways I love you.  Thank you for being the one time of year where the lens is clear for those of us who are speedy snails.   You allow me to rest in my chronically ill unproductivity while my intellect has the opportunity to go wondering and wandering (at least, it's starting to now, now that the evil Bastard of Sinusitis has fled once more).

And that means in January, I am rich even beyond Rothschildian standards.  Rich with light and rich with time and space.

What more could you ask for?

Click 'n Share Request


Saturday, 21 December 2013

I hate doing this sort of thing, but a post I wrote on here a few weeks ago is up at Independent Australia. If you think it's worthy of clicking and sharing on social media I'd be most appreciative if you did ~ if it gets 5000 individual address hits I will be paid $125. Which is nothing near a princely sum but it is a week's worth of food.

Thanking ye :)

In the Midst of Summer I Am Dead


Friday, 20 December 2013

The Sinusitis Blues.

Today, it is almost-midsummer and

I feel as dry as a leaf at the end of autumn and

As dead as the midst of winter and

As fragile as a spring shoot.

Today, I feel like I have lost myself again.  I lose myself every day and then find myself again.  Reborn every day.  Today, I feel the monster reaching out his claw from the green murk to clutch my ankle.

I look back on things that I have written in previous years and they sparkle in a way that I feel like I have lost, at least for the moment.  Today, I am beaten down.  Perhaps it's just simply the fact that I am in the midst of yet another sinus-related thing, and I feel bad because I feel useless.  I feel like I want to be a hermit and never go anywhere and yet I feel guilty about that too.  I do not feel like I will be able to sparkle anymore.  But then I look at something I wrote two weeks ago and there it is again, the sparkle.  And tomorrow or the day after or the week or month after I will be back in that space again, actually walking around in it, all three dimensional.

Time is becoming stranger to me as I go on.  And I know that it is a false conception to think I sparkled in previous years more than I do now because I wasn't sparkling then, any more than I am sparkling now.  It's just the benefit of hindsight, the safety that comes from the past that is sealed, combined with reading the things that come from the writing space where I feel more myself and safer than the me who walks around bumbling.

Some days, I feel so exposed, like other people are tsunamis and I am a baby beech.  Some days, I feel like the stuff that is in me, the good and sweet and lovely, is not for any of you to see because how could I trust anyone with that?

I know what this is.  This is trauma.  This is limbic and wordless.

I have gained some traction with this space, believe it or not.  I will tell you about it sometime soon. 

But today, I feel so beaten down by the world, by everything, by the spaces that I love and which for today at least are lost.  I have lost the Godspace.  Which probably means it's closer than ever before.  Sometimes when you feel like you are losing something, what is actually happening is that you are gaining something new.  Transmutation.  My word for the year.  Sometimes the monster swims up from the depths into the space where you can see him.  He's been there all along, under the conscious sea.  But when he comes up, though he is you and he has lived within you perhaps for your whole life, you recoil from him in horror.

But perhaps he is a monster only by dint of him being the Other within your own body.  You react the way all humans react when they are scared and something other than them is facing them:  you feel an antipathy, a horror.  Sometimes the horror is in direct correlation to the things that are stored without your knowing in the undersea of your own self.  And then someone out there pops up and presses buttons you don't even know you have and would be horrified to know that you did.

We are a deeper sea than we like to think.

But it's not all clunking chains and dead carcasses and hairy monsters down there.  There are the most beautiful schools of fish, made of gossamer.  There are laboratories of alchemy down there, sealed from the water and hidden from sight.  The You that you don't know very well is cooking up things and while S/he does, it feels like it is some sort of evil.  It feels like you are dying.  But sometimes hairy monsters do not stay hairy monsters forever.  That's why stories exist about frogs and princes. 

I feel today like I am dying.  But everyone who swims in these waters knows, that's not the end of the story.

And yet even so, I feel like help!, like I have lost myself again, and that feels very unsafe. Even while I know it's not the whole of the matter or the end of it either.

Do you still do that old-fashioned thing of actually borrowing actual books from your actual library?  I know, right?  It's so three-dimensional.  Moving your body into a public shared space to borrow books that are on paper?  Bizarre!

Though there is a growing amount of reading I am finding myself doing on my phone (must stop that stupid habit) on the e-reader and on the computer, for me they are still a shadow of the old ways.  The tactile nature of reading a book that is made from paper not plastic means that my enjoyment of book-learnin' has only grown alongside my e-reading.

I love the library, and do not take for granted living in a country that has a plethora of books available for me to borrow and read for myself, all for nothing at my local libe!

Well, nothing except for the fact that as taxpayers we actually pay for it anyway.  But nothing as in no user-pays charges.  Which is a refreshing change, I must say.

And except it doesn't even end up being nothing for me anyway, because as an avid user who struggles to maintain herself upright and responsible and adult and productive within space-time, there's often library fines on my card.

I feel bad about that.  Every time I get another fine I tell myself that that is the last time it will happen.  Next time, I will be more organised and get them back on time.  Which is sort of sad because I actually already am organised.  As soon as I borrow books I come home, make a note of when they're due, and type myself a reminder a day or two earlier to take them back.  But still, one never can tell what sort of a day one is going to have, and suddenly one can find oneself putting off the library till tomorrow, and then tomorrow forgetting about going to the library at all.


Which is why I am a little bit in love with the Eastern Regional Library Service's Xmas Food for Fines Amnesty.  Basically, it's a swap - you bring in some non-perishable food all this week, and the library will waive your fines.

Being able to contribute what constitutes a pittance in my country - like, five bucks - but knowing that it will make a diff to some of my fellow struggling folks via local charities, and in the process having the punishment for my impertinence wiped clean?  Nice.  I like that.  Very, very much.

And it ends tomorrow, so wish me luck for getting there on time. 

The Right to Free Assembly

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Guy Rundle writes a most important piece in New Matilda today about the clampdown across the West on the right to free assembly, ranging wide from the behaviour of universities in the UK all the way to McDonald's injunctions against Tecoma protesters just down the road from me here in the outer east of Melbourne.

It's gonna come down to the wire at some point.  That point is coming fast, the point where sticking to the status quo, where the common people are enslaved while the criminal aristocracy runs free, becomes worse than whatever will happen if we fight back, take back control, make change.

May the revolution be as bloodless as possible.  I'm not sure those holding grimly to their cushy side of the division will allow it to be that way, however. 

Freedom is the most important thing, in the end.  Freedom to be out and about and free to know yourself innocent, not judged guilty by dint of existing by burgeoning police forces and security companies.  Freedom to know the truth of a situation, to live righteously, dude, fostering dignity and beauty;  and freedom to live in a way that demonstrates that we are all one.

We are many within the one.  The time is here when the many need to fight back just a little harder against the few who refuse to budge.  I don't know how the status quo perpetrators can live with themselves.  Their wads of cash must have blinded them to envision the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.  How could they not wish that for everybody?  How could anybody not wish for everybody to be as happy and healthy as possible?  That is the true mark of humanity. 

Psycopaths might be running the show, but they're not the definers of my kind.

We want to change the way we live to reflect the dignity of humanity and the dignity of the earth to suit us all, and our great-grandchildren, not just you mob who find yourselves in the most powerful places, enslaving everyone else because you're enslaved yourselves, unable to change the way you do things.

We are still the 99%.

Nouveau Riche

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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Pic by David Sky under creative commons licence

To live among objects that are not cheap, but made with consummate skill, attention and care, would be true material wealth.   Can you imagine a society where each person's talents and gifts were fully expressed in their work, and not suppressed in the interests of machine life?

Charles Eisenstein, The Age of Reunion:Work and Art United from the book
Ascent of Humanity, a pondering of how the future will look, (available for free or for a fee)

You Beautiful Mofo

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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dear Michael Leunig,

I have fanblogged you more than once on this blog.  I don't write these posts in the hope that you will read them.  I just like to voice my appreciation sometimes.  It's difficult to write about, because what your stuff evokes in me is the space inside that I need to protect.  It's childlike, and paper-thin.  It can be laughed at as naive by cynical people who are very rational and very grown up.  I think it's something like hope and belief in a better future worldview, with a slice of mysticism thrown in.

I guess it's pretty obvious that we can do something better than the paradigmatic shit we're currently sewering in.  I s'pose it's the particular viewpoint you come from, but to me our hope lies in the fact that the us living under this destructive rampant capitalistic shit are much bigger than the them for who it is in their best interests to keep facilitating it, even if they're killing their own grandchildren's nest.  Not that I like fostering any more extra separation than we're already living under, but in this instance it's helpful. 

Lots of people have given up hope.  I give up hope regularly, too, but then I tire of the ridiculousness of being caught up in such a 2x2 paradigm so I go searching for a bigger turning circle again.  Your work never fails to bring me there.

So when I write to you, it's hard to harness the bubbling joy that sprites up my guts.  I can't help it.  Even when you draw or talk about the things that make me want to impale my eyeballs down hard on two metal spikes so that my brain spurts out my ears and ends my place in this current insane sphere of inhumanity and returns me to my cosmic swamp, you are like medicine.  Especially there.

Which is the best medicine, of course.  You spill out your guts and make something beautiful of it.  You shine starlight on my dark, Mr Leunig.  You're a fucking marvel.

Yes, yes, I know, I'm platforming you.  I'm Mandelaing you, as an Australian Living Treasure, into the schmaltzosphere and into something evil.  Or am I?  It's not you that makes me feel like that, after all.  It's your words and pictures.  I'm sure you're a pain in the arse at times, a fearful, hating mess, who leaves his jocks on the floor and doesn't pay his bills on time, who's made dreadful mistakes and royally let people down.  Who poos.

I still have this thing about how weird it is that everyone poos.  Like, even the queen, and stuff.  (I will not capitalise the name of someone who inherited their great riches on the back of sweet fuck all.  But I digress).

This human human compulsion to venerate the good takes the good away from us.  Vaunts doing good stuff into the stratosphere inhabited by People Not Me.  It's just one more case of slicing and dicing ourselves up into dissociated bits.  And I've had quite enough of that, thanks.  The reality is that even mofos make good and make art.

Not that I'm saying you're a mofo so much as I'm saying we're all mofos, beautiful mofos.  And even though we're all beautiful mofos we can still do awesome stuff.  The stuff we share as common ground is more than a beginning.

I started writing this post by pen, sitting outside in the grass and the sun of greenly Belgrave.  I have begun writing morning pages again, and this morning I chose as my writing tray of choice The Essential Leunig.  A perfect choice, really, though a little hefty in the weight department, it is a lovely hardback 7/8 A4 size, a size which often seems to be used by books that inspire me in some way.  Of course, it's a perfect size for reproducing cartoons.

So I flipped it open to a random page.  One of them was of a man standing outside with a piano, and atop it a telescope.  One eye was trained through the telescope at the stars while one hand tinkled the keys and the other hand wrote down the music he was seeing.  That made me very happy.

The other side of the page was an interaction between two people.  A Bunnings employee and a customer, maybe, if Bunnings had a New Paradigms aisle.

"I'm looking for life's precious little golden thread," the customer says, having crawled into the store in abject exhaustion from the dispiriting version of 'reality' outside.

"We've got the rusty chain, the tangled wire and the thick rope, but we can't help you with the golden thread I'm afraid.  What do you want it for?"

"I want to just see it.  I want to smile at it.  I want to tell life's precious little golden thread that I love it.  That's all I want."

The employee responds to his consumer, both of them made much smaller by the paradigm of the world in which they live which turns them to turds and turns off the stars, a world which has been largely manipulated by a small percentage of the whole but which is not in fact the last word on the matter.

"We've got the ball of string, the reel of packaging tape and the optic fibre cable but I'm sorry, we don't have the golden thread any more," he says sadly to the sad consumer.

No, we don't have much of anything any more in this dying paradigm, Mr Leunig.  But I suspect you feel the golden thread just as much as I do.  It's because of this you feel like a safe space to me, someone who has a vision that extends beyond the current limitations.  And so even when you point out the foibles of life, the things that make me want to impale my eyeballs in a dramatic death scene, you remind me of what I value most of all and what is there, beyond the aisles of dead consumerist culture.

Thank you for that, you beautiful motherfucker.



Friday, 13 December 2013

My dearest oldest friend - who I've known literally forever because before she became my friend she was my cousin - and still is, funnily enough - has been going through breast cancer treatment for the last seven months. 

It's the ultimate cliche to say that someone is brave when having cancer treatment.  I've always thought it was the most ridiculous thing to say, a Hallmark superficiality that's actually a little insulting in some ways - how are you brave taking an option you have no option but to take?  Surely bravery is when you do something courageous when there is the option to not do anything at all?

And yet I do feel tempted to call her brave in the way she's approached this, although she might argue that here as well, emotionally dealing with a life-threatening illness that's become real really doesn't have options either - you either sink under the weight of it in terror and further compromise an immune system already under assault, or you live in the moment, taking each one.  And if this whole experience has taught her anything, she says, it's how to live in the moment because any other moment is too terrifying ... and no other moment is available for maximum livability but this one.

So I don't know if I would say it's bravery or not, but what I do know is that I am so massively proud of the way she's faced the terror of it all.  And so relieved that the treatment is, as of today, something that does live in the past.

May it always live there.

Love you, Andi.  I wish I could have done more physically to have helped you through this time than I have.  More practical things of Grandma quality :) 

But if intention and love and desire counts for anything from my end, you'll live till you're 126 surrounded by great-great-grandchildren :) 

And that's about as Hallmark as it's gonna get.

Ooosh noosh.  You love Eric Estrada <3

Circa 1980, when you were going to be taking your film to the chemist to be developed for the next decade and more,
this was the ultimate in newfangled cutting-edge excitements that we had from the Doncaster Shoppingtown. 



Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The only problem I have with my partner going to see Yngwie Malmsteen do a guitar clinic in Ringwood ... you know, I never thought I'd say that phrase ever in my life.  I mean, I guess it's some sort of a cultural cringey-type thing that I never really considered that it was possible that Yngwie Malmsteen could ever be in Ringwood, much less that he would ever want to.  I don't know why really - I mean, he has to go somewhere, right?

I guess I just think that he may feel it's a little beneath him, doing anything in Ringwood, after being the big teenage prodigy 'n all.  'Cause a small inward snobby part of me feels that I am too above doing anything in Ringwood.  Me, who used to live in Braybrook.  Goodness me, wo' a duffer.

What was I saying?  Yes, the only problem I have with Yngwie Malmsteen doing a clinic in Ringwood is that then I keep saying "Yngwie Malmsteen, Yngwie Malmsteen" over and over in my head.  Happens every time.


I probably should work with the brain instead of trying to fight it.  Probably a good time to go and do some Yngwie Malmsteen mantra meditation.

Speaking of guitars, seeing there's about eleventy six of them lying around the house I thought I would like to begin to learn how to play one.  And so I'd forgotten the "A" Anth taught me about a year or two ago.  So he retaught me that, and taught me "D" as well, but I can't for the life of me remember either of them so Dr Google is going to have to help me by providing some guitar chord pages.

But sheesh - that guitar playin' hurts, man.  Hurts me fingers.  Puts big lines in 'em.  And then Bryan Adams starts up in my head about playing till his fingers bled, ruining a perfectly fun and creative, if painful, experience. 

In completely unrelated news, this, from Buzzfeed:

So beautiful I almost cannae stand it.  Just like I cannae stop italicising this evening.

Time to go away and write one of the three essays I have on the go at once.  Typical way of writing for an attention-challenged individual, I suppose but still ... weird.

Work with the mind, Susie, work with the mind.

~ ~

Update:  Oh!  I've been saying it wrong, according to these lovely Swedish people.  It's not so much INGVEY and it's INGVEE.  And the way they say Malmsteen, I'm never gonna be able to get that level of inflection.  I'm afraid the Yngwie Malmsteen Mantra is going to have to be of an Australian flavour.  If you wish to partake of it with me, wherever you are in the world, please feel free ~ and you might want to make sure you're saying it properly. 

What I Did On My Summer Holidays - by Caine, Aged Nine


Monday, 9 December 2013

Could be a bit of a bummer, maybe, having to go with your dad to his auto parts business when you're on school holidays.  You might wanna go to the pool, or whatever else you do when you're nine and you're Caine.  But then, when you're nine and you're Caine, you just make up your fun on the spot.

'Cause what there is in Dad's auto parts shop are STACKS of cardboard boxes.  Stacks of 'em.  What better thing to do with them but make your very own cardboard arcade game?

And so you create one, and then you create another, and then suddenly you don't have an arcade game, you've got a whole bloody arcade!  You come up with an good entrance fee system - $1 for a couple of goes, or you can buy the Fun Pass for $2, and it's valid for a whole month and you get 500 - that's FIVE HUNDRED - rides.

That Fun Pass is awesome value.

And so you wait for visitors.  But it's not like your arcade's positioned in a highway or nothin'.  Customers are a bit thin on the ground, especially when so much of your dad's business is now done on eBay.

And so you get one customer.  But it's a pretty cool customer to have ...

Do you remember doing stuff like this when you were a kid?  I didn't make my own arcade out of cardboard, but I did make up my own advertising jingles and record them with my friend, on a cassette recorder (More than just the price is right at Warehouse Sales!)  My cousin and I invented an entire elaborate family who were all rich, gorgeous, and talented.  We sat at the dining table in Wantirna and drew girls, and made booklets.

I made a board game.  Its details are lost to time now, but I remember it had cards, like Chance and Community Chest in Monopoly.  I still have a hankering to make a board game.   Do people play board games anymore?

Creativity opens up the world.  Play is not sideline stuff.  Play keeps you grounded in your own body.  Playing makes you free and happy.

I really need to think about that board game ... 

Stop Hating Yourself

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

As far as the internetosphere goes, there seems to me to be two camps of people when it comes to responding to others.

Actually, no - three.

At one end you've got trolls - deliberate antagonists who have bored and small lives and want to fuck everyone up.

At the other end you've got people who may be in opposition or disagreement with another person or group of people but who don't wish to spew their own internal crap over other people who have become their enemy by virtue of the fact that the other people are alien to them in some way, and therefore a threat (we have very flimsy egos in the early 21st century, as flimsy as chiffon which, as an aside, I have been told by reliable sources actually means 'rag' in French.  I'm about to get my chiffons has a nicer ring to it, although there's nothing all that romantic about having blood come from your vagina no matter what you call the appendage you use to mop it up so it doesn't spill onto the floor.  It is almost unspeakable in many circles, this having blood come from your vagina, being entirely not what some people still would consider feminine, a little vulgar, hence blue liquid.  But I digress twice).  So these people, though they are disagreeing with someone else, are able for whatever reason (generally self-examination and development of certain social skills) to put forward their view without condemnation or shame because they do not need to use the tools of the Empire ~ violence and oppression ~ in stating their case.

In the middle of trolls and people who can have a view without condemning those who don't are maybe a big lump of people who from what I can see have the mindset of the group above but who actually come across as trolls.  They seem to lack the discipline to behave kindly, to live and let live without condemnation because the opportunity to define themselves against someone else so they know they exist is too much.  The chance to assauge a tiny bit of the contents of the giant vats of anger and anxiety and ennui which reside inside of them is simply too much to resist.  Those vats are huge in most of us.  They are byproducts of living in the almost-unbearable-at-times death-throes 21st century.  The projectionists.

As far as I can see, there's an opportunity in every encounter that can go either way.  You can accept the differences of people and try to overcome whatever fear rises up in you at their differences.  Or you can perform the equivalent of online masturbation, or eating an entire block of Snack chocolate, by indulging in projecting your vats of understandable fear onto the person in front of you who has become your enemy by their difference.  For you, as for me (particularly if I've hit the PTSD freeze), this feeling about people is a regular occurrence.  It's a product of an entire species of tense and/or traumatised mammals communicating with each other in an ever-changing environment the changes of which their evolutionary processes haven't even caught up with yet.  It's the product of living in a world where every day we hear of how fucked up it is ecologically (or get to experience it firsthand, if you happen to live in areas that are inclined to the occasional deadly cyclone/typhoon/mass fires/or even ridiculous barometric drops that cover winter and summer in one week (that's us, Melbourne, this week.  Have you recovered)?

This fight, between the terrors that fuel our insides and the person in front of us (or in front of us on our screen) is the ongoing fight of the age.  The extent of its going on, especially on the net (where we wouldn't dare to speak to people face to face the way some of us do online) shows just how scared we are, and why it's necessary, for our own health and the health of our culture, to continue the ongoing quest to overcome the separation that we feel so often but which, as far as I can see, is really about as thin as chiffon.

Our enemies, whoever or whatever they might be, are an awesome way to discover what is going on within ourselves.  Because it's almost a cliche to say that when I hate you, I am really hating a part of myself.  Just because it's not immediately apparent what the corresponding part is in you doesn't mean you're not doing it.  Something in your shadow, some undeveloped or ignored (whether good or bad) part of you that you fear because of its unknowness, is projected out onto you hating that idiot over there because they are irrational in the face of your cool rationality.  Or they are a stupid trump falling for all that left-wing bullshit where you can see the hole they're about to fall into in the road they're taking.  Or they're an extrovert who loves partying so they must automatically be a bit dim.  Or they believe in God/don't believe in God ~ whichever way that mop flops, if you're a judgmental fundamentalist on the other end then that person is a fucktard who deserves to have their nose wiped in their stupid beliefs, right?

The real interesting part comes when we examine WHY we feel so strongly and react so strongly against people who have views that we consider are really so against the grain that they deserve our contempt and our disrespect (and don't think being polite but yet making snide comments is not a form of shaming and disrespect).  Are we really so in the throes of the idyll of control freakness that we think it's all neat and squared away and that everyone is on the same page as us or they should be?  Is there any need for everyone to see the world the same way?  Where does that leave paradox?  What would the world look like if everyone looked just like me?  It sounds good in theory but man, what a nightmare it'd be in fact.

I also find it interesting how so often many of us seem most alive when we're defining ourselves against something else.  When what I'm really interested in is if people would spend more time explaining and describing their own position, their own take, their own view, whey they hold it, what they love about it, what it does to them, instead of just blathering on against the shadow of what's-not-for-me.

Good discussion in this vid below with Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg about Working With Your Enemies, whether inward or outward (facilitated by Robert's own daughter, Uma).  The work for the ages ... 

<iframe src="http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1249127/events/2592106/player?width=640&height=360&autoPlay=true&mute=false" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> </iframe>

Building a Ship


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Pic by Carlo Mirante
If you want to build a ship,
don’t drum up the men to gather wood,
divide the work, and give orders.

Instead, teach them to yearn
for the vast and endless sea.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

'Tis a strange confluence that in a world of 7 billion people, the life I live ~ and, strangely to me, possibly most likely you also ~ is one whose emotional reality feels more like living more in a world of one.

This particular point in time is more lonely for more of us than it has been for most humans in history.  In a world where we can barely stop being connected.  Where we're drowning in it.

But there are many levels of connection.  A pixellated one, where we control and stylise, edit and present ourselves as reality to those who are doing the same, is perfectly fine within its place.

But we are going too far with this at the moment.  We know that, right?  We're like the guy who finds himself stoned for the third time this week when it's only Wednesday and he said it was gonna be a once in a while thing.  And a part of him is scrabbling at his insides saying, "Hey, um, this is getting out of hand" but he's having too much fun and anyway, life is way more awesome stoned than it is straight.  He listens to more music.  He's not seeing his friends, and he's not getting much shit done, but man, as soon as he has that first bong, the pain fades away and everything seems more beautiful.

It's awfully easy to become addicted to the virtual level of connection.  It's very safe.  I need safe, because I don't feel safe, and when I am out walking the streets you are not safe, because you are so used now to connecting virtually that when we come face to face it's like you don't even recognise that I am standing in front of you, or walking towards you in the street.  We ignore each other.  It is an insult to us both.

"Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable," Sherry Turkle says (see Ted talk below).  "We're lonely, but we're afraid of intimacy."  We are afraid that no one is listening to us.  We are afraid that no one really sees us.  And so going online seems to help alleviate that.  But really, it's just a panacea.  I feel like I am seeing right in front of my eyes how it's making things worse.  And I'm seeing it in myself too.

Online connection is sometimes a chocolate bar when what our bodies are craving for is nourishing vegetable soup.  We really, desperately want to be seen and loved warts and all.  To be accepted in our totality.  And yet our technology is creating a group of teenagers who are not developing the skills in the art of real-life communication with real people that will enable them to be the sort of person who is able to love someone else warts and all, and love themselves warts and all.  Real life is messy, and it is not a series of browser pages, and it runs slower, and we occasionally get bored with each other, and we are not in control because the person in front of us is not a pixel whose avatar we can shut away with a mouseclick when they become too much or too little.

"I'd rather text than talk," Sherry Turkle reports hearing over and over again from teenagers.  One teenage boy, who does the majority of his communication by texting, tells her that he'd like to some day learn the art of conversation, but just not now, just not yet. 

It is easy to forget that we are at the beginning of the internet age.  It doesn't feel like it to us, immersed as we are within it so that what happened two weeks ago feels like it happened six months ago.  But it is still an infant.  And it's delightful, and it's enriching our lives, and it's what we have desired.  But we are its 7 billion-strong parents, and it's a colicky infant.  It's affecting our lives so that when we go out on a picnic to the park without the baby, we feel sorta exposed talking to each other, and we're jagged with distraction about what the baby's doing.  Communicating with each other without this thing between us all feels so fucking raw and uncontrollable.  And the trees in the park are getting some weird disease and the grass is asking us to take off our shoes and stick our feet in but it's weird and we don't.  The park and the experience will feel more real once it's controllable and in the past and we have upload it to Flickr.

It's funny, you know - all these years with chronic illness have made me feel so on the fringes of the world that it took me a while to realise that you're all out there on the fringes as well.  With or without without chronic illness.  Yearning for the sea



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Monday, 2 December 2013

"I was wrong.  The microbe is nothing.  The terrain is everything"

~ Louis Pasteur

Pic by Jmurawski under a cc attribution licence