"The most brilliant minds are always the most curiously bent."
- Lewis Carroll
The days were spent with her in your mind
The nights with her voice in your ear,
No matter the distance that kept her apart
The calls made her seem so near,
Then they stopped;
No longer the exchanging of dreams
Or the plans for a shared future together,
The warmth in your chest that she forged every night
Replaced by cold and turbulent weather.
But don't let your heart rot
Though it's cheated and bruised,
Love will find you again.
Your veins will run hot
With passion infused
When love finds you again.
You say you don't care for anyone else,
Or whether you even wake up tomorrow.
Life seems to have lost all of its beauty and colour
Replaced by a bottomless sorrow,
You picture her romancing other young men
And it's like you've been knifed in the heart,
You cannot believe that something so small
Tore something so perfect apart.
But don't let yourself drown
In those swamps of despair;
Love will find you again.
Sometimes we fall down
Before we reach that last stair,
Where love will find you again.
The memories continue to play through your head
Fuelling the pain that gnaws at your heart,
You remember the beautiful things that she said
About the new life that together you'd start,
But there are others with equally passionate minds
To escape with away from this world,
The best woman is one you still haven't met,
The best relationship one not yet unfurled.
There's a million fish in the sea
As they say,
So love will find you again.
So just wait knowingly
For that inevitable day
When love will find you again.
The reporters pretend to be saddened
By the disasters that keep them employed,
But deep down when there's a tsunami
They're all secretly overjoyed.
There's nothing like a serial killer
To keep things nice & exciting,
We love it when husbands shoot wives,
We love it when countries start fighting.
We love it when there's an uproar
Over what some drunken footballer did,
We love it when the guy-next-door's basement
Turns out to be a dungeon for his 19-year-old kid.
We switch on the telly hoping
That New Zealand's sunk into the sea,
Or to jump on the indignant bandwagon
Over al-Megrahi being set free.
The world revels in crime and corruption
Because otherwise we'd all get bored,
Whenever there's some kind of destruction
We reach for the remote and thank the Lord.
"Why do we fall down , Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
- Thomas Wayne, Batman Begins
Rammstein are like Fight Club turned into a Wagnerian opera remixed by Nine Inch Nails. Their music is the hoarse, passionate cry of the disillusioned & angry young man - toiling hard to win the affection of cold-hearted women; burning with the emotions of love & hate, bestial power & haunting loneliness; it's a testament to camaraderie; an expression of the epic drama of one's life in one's own psyche; a sonic mirror of the crunch & repetition of industry, and a chronicle of the world's cultures both European and exotic.
Rammstein are my sweat-and-dirt yang to the transcendental, Feminine-Mystical yin of trance.
Bird calls from pine trees shrouded in mist,
Burbling of a nearby creek,
Setting sun casts a golden glow,
Slowly lengthens the dojo's shadow.
Inside, a simple meal awaits,
A bowl of rice and cup of tea,
Candles and incense dispel the gloom
And fill the room with herbal perfume.
Upon the floor, sit silent still
And focussed on nothing, just disappear,
Perfect serenity upon one's face,
The mind in a place without sound or space.
I don't think the human brain can actually comprehend the sizes & distances involved here... in the context of the Universe or even just our own galaxy, we're not even fucking bacteria.
Tyle było dni do utraty sił,
Do utratytchu... tyle było chwil.
Gdy żałujesz tych, z których nie masz nic,
Jedno warto znać, jedno tylko wiedz:
Że, ważne są tylko te dni, których jeszcze nie znamy,
Ważne są tylko te dni, których jeszcze nie znamy...
- Marek Grechuta, Dni, Których Jeszcze Nie Znamy
There were so many days that sapped all your strength,
That left you breathless... so many times.
But when you regret the ones that gave you nothing,
One thing is worth knowing, to keep in mind:
That important are the days that have not yet come to pass,
Important are those precious moments that we are still waiting for...
"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand."
- Frank Herbert
There was once a man named Lemon Baxter.
'Lemonhead', they called him,
Because in place of a human head
He had a giant, featureless lemon.
He couldn't talk, of course,
And wasn't very social by nature -
"Sour", people called him,
Not unaware of the pun.
One day, Lemon was leaving work
When he tumbled down the stairs,
Puncturing his head
And spilling juice and pulp down the well.
Doctors, baffled by the broken fruit,
Were unable to save him,
And he died -
A pointless end
To a bizarre and pointless life.
NASA conceptual drawing of a Moon base. The beginning of Moon colonization by Man will be an exciting time - imagine being able to build on a clean slate world with everything we know and have now. Will it break down our geopolitical boundaries on Earth, or reinforce them in a new space race? Will it catalyze the rise and institutionalization of New Age cosmotheism, or will Earth's established religions spread into the lunar New World? Will those who live on the Moon evolve into a different species of human, psychologically and/or physically? In an extreme situation of nevertheless typical human stupidity, could Earth's inhabitants go to war against the Moon's, or vice versa?
Fascinating questions. Whatever the case, I hope we do better as the Moon's future caretakers than we do as Earth's present ones.
Learning disabilities are one thing, but "behavioural problems" are something else altogether. I mean, I dunno if you guys remember or had many classes with me back then, but I was pretty out of control throughout much of high school. Copping detentions, getting thrown out of class or concert band, having shit written in my record book was a weekly if not daily occurrence. In Year 10, Mr Bevan must've been this close to approaching Urwin with the suggestion I get transferred to Berendale. But despite throwing books & shoes around, rolling around on the floor, drawing cartoons on my exams etc, there is and was nothing wrong with me. I just wasn't taking things seriously. When it all started to matter, i.e. VCE, I changed my attitude and did. If the other class clowns of the world can't straighten up when it comes to the crunch, that's their problem. "Stupidity" is the only diagnosis I would prescribe in their case.
A girl I was talking to last year, she had ADHD and OCD. Officially. I remember the night before her first Semester 2 Uni exam, she told me how she's not going. She "couldn't handle it". Yet the more I talked to her, the more I realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with her at all. She just had no self-discipline. Put up no resistance to her impulses. And her parents, for their part, thought it was easier to send her to a psychologist than just tell her to grown up and get her arse into gear. The fact that she was actually quite brilliant made her laziness all the more inexcusable.
I reckon the generation of kids below us will be a fucked up one indeed, because none of them have attitude problems anymore - just "personality disorders". Blame my upbringing. Blame my genes and neurons. Blame my teachers. Blame my fucking neighbourhood. Blame whatever, but don't blame me.
"I suddenly realized then that year that life was already happening. I think it was because my mother was so obsessed with education. And the idea that childhood and adolescence, well everything, was about preparing for life that was going to start later, and I suddenly realized that life wasn't going to start later. That it had, you know, it starts at dot and it happens all the time and then at any point you can grasp the reins and start guiding your own destiny, and that was a big revelation to me."
- Roger Waters
Come with me
Into the trees,
We'll lay on the grass
And let hours pass.
Take my hand,
Come back to the land -
Let's get away
Just for one day.
Has nothing on this;
You're breathing in fumes
I taste when we kiss.
Take my hand,
Come back to the land
Where everything's ours
For a few hours.
- Rammstein, Stripped
I've got this urge to visit Manchester. Something about the industrial north of England has been pulling at me over the last year or so - a grim and grey landscape, much like Katowice and other cities in the post-Communist east, which out of its ugliness and desolation has produced so much raw, melancholic genius.
"You were brought up in such a brutal landscape, so when you did see or hear something that was beautiful, you really appreciated it. You were always looking for beauty."
- Bernard Sumner, Joy Division
As Oscar Wilde expressed in De Profundis, the deepest beauty is cultivated in dirt and despair. The human condition is best seen under the hard light of a downtown street lamp, or a flickering gas-tube in some dank basement, wearing a black trenchcoat, sucking on a cheap cigarette for warmth amidst biting cold, eyes taking in monotone slabs of ugliness but behind their world-weary gaze, a brilliant mind converting the desolate images into the most poignant existentialist poetry.
So my sentiment today is, to hell with Italy and its squares and basilicas. To hell with Spain and its raves and beaches. To hell with Greece and its open-air taverns and party cruises. Away with Monaco and the south of France.
Nordic, Celtic or Slavic, we are the grim, proud men of the North. Our pagan hearts are hard but deep. And it's these hard, deep hearts, forged in bitter climate and landscapes of stone & sulphur, that can become the greatest diamonds.
The Sun burns, a beautiful white-hot orbFloating in the ocean of the sky,It never changes, never tires,Its warm light never expires,It's the one thing that never tells you 'goodbye'.
Sometimes I watch it, shimmering bright,Removed from Earth's petty, hurtful affairs,It remains powerful and pure,Equipped to endureEven the worst of our Man-made wears and tears.
And though it disappears it always comes backRejuvenating the world with its fire,Like a Phoenix it diesTo once again riseAnd lift our dull spirits a bit higher.
"There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent."
From Ralph Waldo Emerson's brilliant essay on history as manifestations of humanity's common creative consciousness.
I was thinking back to The Neverending Story the other day - as you do, when you're on a cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills at 2:45am - and remembered that amulet Bastian wore, AURYN, consisting of two intertwined snakes - each holding the other's tail captive in its jaws.
I remember AURYN (for some reason it was always spelt in caps, so I may as well continue that here) was meant to represent the symbiotic relationship between Fantastica and the 'real world' - one snake representing Fantastica, the other 'reality', and the amulet as a whole representing the fundamental and continual dependence one had upon the other. It's only now, all grown up, that I understand the full meaning of this and just how profound it is.
AURYN signifies the causal link between mind and matter; imagination and reality; the world of thought & fantasy and the material world. With the growing distribution and uptake of New Age concepts in the 21st century, we're becoming reacquainted with the concept - as old as civilization itself - that the latter actually flows out of the former. To quote the intro to Monkey Magic:
Time and the pure essences of Heaven, the moisture of the Earth, the powers of the Sun and the Moon all worked upon a certain rock, old as creation. And it became magically fertile. That first egg was named 'Thought'. Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, said, "With our thoughts, we make the world."
It seems to me that this is the reason why the world's organized religions have proved so enduring - not just in a general sense but why Muslims, for example, will insist Islam is the Way, the Truth and the Light, why Christians will maintain the same for their faith unto death, why Indians cling to their bizarre picture-book religion of animal-headed deities in the face of an unprecedented technological revolution.
Quite simply, people interpret the reality they live in according to their thoughts, beliefs and background. So if they're Christian, they will take the true, essential elements of our dimension and paint a Christian reality with it. The Divine Consciousness will assume the face of Christ; the inspiration and intuition flowing from it ascribed to Mary, Jesus, the Big Fella Himself or perhaps one of Christian saints or angels (some of which are actually pagan, but we don't talk about that). If the individual is Muslim, naturally, all challenges and blessings from above will assume an Islamic flavour, with Allah or Mohammed flicking the switches. So on and so forth with the Jews and Jehovah, the Chinese and their spirits and demons, Trekkies and the Federation Starfleet. And because there are indeed real, actual forces at work beyond the purely empirical, all it takes is for certain deities to be stamped onto them, and a set of ethics and aesthetics linked in with them, and voila - you've got a belief system tangible and pleasing to the human mind, a religion, with its need for characters, rules, rituals and hierarchies.
In other words, what religion does for our human psyche is illustrate the abstract and compress the Universal through a series of chants, names, stories and visuals, which stem from a specific Man-made culture rather than the endless, shimmering and shapeless cosmic truth - which doesn't make them void, exactly, but it does make them limited, 'lost in translation', and often missing the point as a result. I guess you could say religion is taking the angelic and making it accessible to our animal albeit evolved minds; occupying an inevitable midway point in our dual nature as both advanced apes and something more; as channellers of Creation and Divine Consciousness.
So to me, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Brahma are all the same deity in different cultural guises. To borrow a brilliant and elegantly simple concept from Greek philosophy, religion is to spirituality what the material realm is to Plato's realm of Forms. The former is merely an imperfect (in some cases very imperfect), necessarily defined, necessarily localized and therefore limited manifestation of the latter. Just as we used to ascribe legends and supernatural beings to explain natural phenomena, we basically continue to do the same today for spiritual phenomena, always requiring visuals and sounds and actions to bring the Form down to Earth - at the expense of its purity and Universality. Plato's Cave also provides a useful analogy, in that strictly religious people, to me, often seem to be like the poor souls focused on the shadows before them, unaware that they're just a reflection of something still more real. Religions are spirituality seen through a narrow, culturally-defined lens, further smudged by the editorialization of unworthy successors to the original teacher, some of whom - like Jesus and Buddha - themselves harboured an express distrust and distaste of religious dogma. As psychologist Dr Wayne Dyer puts it:
"Religion is orthodoxy, rules and historical scriptures maintained by people over long periods of time. Generally people are raised to obey the customs and practices of that religion without question. These are customs and expectations from outside the person and do not fit my definition of spiritual."
The problem with organized religion as opposed to 'New Age spirituality' is that its boundaries have been set and once set, like concrete, it becomes rigid, reactionary, and a severe hindrance to further investigation of the truth, further evolution of our understanding of the Universe, and perhaps above all our willingness to mould it and ourselves in ways which can seem frighteningly powerful and unnatural at this point in time. Going back deep into history, you realize that science and spirituality were once not only friends but one and the same - astrology stems from astronomy, for example, 'magick' stems from herbal medicine and metal-making. The tragedy is that with the rise of Christianity and Islam, paganism - a religion of the Earth, Sun and space - was suppressed and spirituality became synonymous with fear-inducing, immutable theology. As a result of the medieval assault on science and the Enlightenment's subsequent revenge on religion - and by consequence spirituality in general - the two have remained tragically dichotomized ever since, both needing the other to become whole but kept artificially at odds by the misunderstanding that the spiritual plane = organized religion. Neither side wins in this equation - science in itself is regarded as cold and soulless, even sinister at times, whereas spirituality that cannot produce evidence of its truth, and cannot stay relevant and vibrant in a high-tech, space-exploring society, is rightly seen as fluffy, backward and/or illogical.
It's my belief that the two need to integrate, like the snakes of AURYN, to provide humanity with a new, powerful, awe-inspiring and all-unifying ideology that will fast-forward us to myriad new insights and perhaps a whole new world civilization. Rather than seeking to disprove psychic phenomena and age-old cosmic knowledge, which has been chronicled across all continents and all epochs, science should seek to understand how it works, to integrate it at least as a valid mystery to be studied, like many of the inexplicable (and possibly related) discoveries that have been made in the bizarre world of quantum mechanics. In turn, faced with an all-encompassing, human-centred, big-picture spiritual alternative, rooted in the Earth, Sun and stars, and verified by science, Organized Religion would (hopefully) collapse, no longer the only option one can turn to if you feel that there's more to life than the atheists claim.
Just a final thing before I finish ranting - at one point in The Neverending Story, Bastian turns AURYN over and notices a sentence:
Do What You Wish.
When you think about it, these four words are the most beautifully simple and lucid summary of why we're here on Earth. To develop ourselves and fulfill our destiny through our actions. To carry out our calling, contribute to the world what our talents allow us to, to "follow our heart's desire"... however you want to phrase it. Most simply, to do what you wish.
This should be the founding stone of spirituality, and for me, The Neverending Story - I've been talking about the book all along here, forget the stupid movie - is a far more valuable document for the soul than the Bible or Koran, containing far more intriguing parables, far more profound wisdom and a far more touching and poignant reflection on why we're even here in this realm, equipped with such an amazing creative consciousness. Now that I'm an adult, I not only fully understand the book's overriding analogy - our need for Fantastica, the plane of creation, and Fantastica's need for us, the creators - but believe it should lie at the heart of our future spiritual perspective.
'I wonder,' Bastian said to himself, 'what's in a book while it's closed. Oh, I know it's full of letters printed on paper, but all the same, something must be happening, because as soon as I open it, there's a whole story with people I don't know yet and all kinds of adventures, deeds and battles. And sometimes there are storms at sea, or it takes you to strange cities and countries. All those things are somehow shut in a book. Of course you have to read it to find out. But it's already there, that's the funny thing. I just wish I knew how it could be.
The same could be said of a human mind - it has the capacity for epic vision and tremendous achievement but you have to open it to find out. Fail to open it, to clean out the bullshit and ponder the world with fresh eyes, and you're doomed to mundane activity and expired ideas, living the past or at best the present at the expense of the future.
Here ends the rant.
"It is clear to everyone that astronomy at all events compels the soul to look upwards, and draws it from the things of this world to the other."
I want to dance with shadows at midnight
I want to conduct thunderstorms like orchestras
I want to hear stars burst in faraway galaxies
I want to feel hot blood running down my arms
I want to visit people in dreams
I want to see through the eyes of a wolf
I want to bottle heartbreak and loneliness
I want to die so that I can rise from the dead.
I want to watch Stonehenge being constructed
I want to feel at one with the one I was meant for
I want to touch the edge of the Universe
I want to tell God it could've been better.
Quantum entanglement is the sort of thing that could bring us to totally new perceptions of reality. We might even discover that time doesn't work in just one direction, i.e. past > present > future, but that the three can interact, hence explaining (if you believe in it presently) clairvoyancy and why even ordinary people get hunches or 'gut feelings' about upcoming events. Perhaps in these instances, we're picking up a dimension or layer of reality we're not normally tuned into or can't detect consciously... which perhaps operates 'ahead' of our reality's time zone, or in which events unfold in a different way to the sequential time-flow that we're familiar with.
The same object can get to two places at the same time.
Who knows? The all-encompassing truth is probably far too epic and bizarre for our still-primitive society to comprehend anyway.
Most scientists believe that space is finite, and that the Universe is shaped like a dodacahedron.
So what I want to know is, what would happen if you got to the edge of space? Can we even comprehend what that means? For us, "nothing" usually means empty space. But what's absolute, space-less nothing like? The only way I can imagine it is, if you were to step beyond the edge of space, it'd be like having all of your senses terminated - like going instantenously blind, deaf, dumb etc because there's nothing at all to engage those senses. Maybe, in stepping beyond space, you'd cease to exist altogether.
Reading about space blows my mind.
We also recognize the need for a new synthesis of the best of older spirituality with scientific knowledge. It is not coincidence that many Pagans are highly educated and that many are involved in high technology fields. The mechanistic scientism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is giving ground all the time to the shattering insights of relativity and quantum physics. No longer can the world be viewed as a dead clockwork construct of strict causal determinism. While organized religions have never accepted science in either its rigidly materialistic or more open-minded aspects, Pagans are uniquely positioned to begin what Griffin calls "the reenchantment of science" out of the ashes of scientism. Because many of us share libertarian beliefs, we can see the "holes" in the strict causal model as the channels by which free will creates novelty and purpose in the world. To non-Pagans, this "magical thinking" is anathema, but science may find itself converging with "magic" in the future, as it once diverged from it just prior to the modern era.
- Paul Connelly
I dunno what it is about this song. It's typical Tangerine Dream - slightly psychedelic sort of 1980s synthpop, built around some simple, washy Yamaha chords... and yet I think this is the best, certainly the most addictive ambient song I've heard this year. Most ambient songs, even the quality ones, I generally get bored with before they're finished - very much it's like eating a salad; subtle & healthy but it just lacks that all-essential meat - yet this song is perfect: light enough to be meditative but with enough colour & depth of sound to arouse emotion & maintain interest, supported by a very absorbing rhythm evoking some kind of New Age Utopic clockwork. It harks back to the Kraftwerk era of electronica with its old-school sonics and unpretentious structure, and has that upbeat-yet-melancholic quality that sadly disappeared when 90s pop-whores & boy bands took over with what can only be described as the musical equivalent of a lukewarm UDL.
"The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired."
- Stephen Hawking
With my window wound down
To let in the breeze,
I cruise down the highway
And start feeling at ease,
As the big buildings clear
And the cars disappear,
Giving way to bright paddocks
Lined with eucalypt trees.
The air is so fragrant
And the sky is so blue,
The mountain range shimmers
With a similar hue,
My heart starts to swell
From the wonderful smell;
Everything seems so gorgeous,
So fresh and so new.
And as I breathe deeply
And soak it all in,
The serenity exorcising
The discord within,
I can't help but smile,
Stop the car for a while,
And joyfully yell
Down the great tarmac aisle:
"Goodbye City, Hello Sunshine!"
(inspired by Airwave - Hello Sunshine [Magical Dub])
There's a great scene in Kill Bill 2 where Pad Mei, the Chinese dude with the long white beard, smashes What's-her-name's rice bowl off the table when she starts shovelling the rice with her hand. He instructs her that if she wants to eat like a dog, she can eat off the floor like a dog - and gives her a second chance, placing a fresh bowl on the table for her to eat kulturalnie, to use that great Polish adverb.
Culture is part of what makes us human. Eating with grace, holding a door open for a woman, cleaning up after oneself - these are the small yet sure trademarks of a well-bred individual. The Japanese tea ceremony is perhaps the purest exemplification of this concept I can think of - a highly formalized and time-consuming ritual, but full of subtle beauty with its guidelines on where to sit, how to sip, even how to file into the tea room.
A man without culture is just an ape wallowing in shit - or an AFL/NRL player.
No one wants to admit we're addicted to music. That's just not possible. No one's addicted to music and television and radio. We just need more of it; more channels, a larger screen, more volume. We can't bear to be without it, but no, nobody's addicted.
We could turn it off anytime we wanted.
[ ... ]
Old George Orwell got it backward.
Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother's busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed.
He's making sure your imagination withers. Until it's as useful as your appendix. He's making sure your attention is always filled.
And this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
- Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby
"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual, and is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity."
- Albert Einstein
Trains glide along networks of glistening tracks
Like serene, precise, mechanical snakes,
While above, the clouds follow a course of their own,
Both coming and going with the passing of time,
And all the while, the Earth turns:
Rolling through space along an invisible track,
As the trains arrive, then depart, then arrive.....
(inspired by Cosmic Gate - Elements of Life)
Good article. Like the author, I'd like to see a future in which science is not regarded as an anti-spiritual force but a spiritual one, where we seek 'God' in the abstract elegance of mathematical formulas, the mysterious beauty and unimaginable vastness of space, the intricate harmony and stranger-than-fiction quirkiness of nature - in short, to recognize the deep and living nature of the Universe.
The essence of the article's argument is that science and humanities should not be countering forces - rather, the two should be seen as complimentary disciplines, as they were in Classical and Renaissance times. For example, astronomical laboratories should not just be for middle-aged geeks in white coats, but, like Stonehenge, mystical places of wonder for the masses - the temples of the future, transmitting to angels of steel alloy and solar panels. In my view, Mankind has got to stop staring at crucifixes and golden Buddhas and go back to gazing at the stars... in short, to stop creating gods by the dozen and seek to understand and connect with the irrefutable, awe-inspiring divinity already out there, in front of our very eyes - the marvellous galactic clockwork that pulls the tides in and out every day, makes the leaves on trees change colour every year, etc etc.
What we need is a scientific revision of age-old cosmic mysticism - the original religion of Mankind, rooted in intuition and observation, and the only one that truly spanned the globe, from the Vikings of Iceland to the Aztecs of South America.
"And one day there will be a great awakening when we shall realize that life itself was a great dream."
I just got up to see how my downloads are going, and cbf'd replying to all that. I will just say though that astrology has nothing to do with constellations. The constellations are just symbols and you're right, although the current ones are supposed to represent certain traits, they could be anything - Gemini could be called 'Zrok' and represented by a feathered cyborg-walrus. But the cosmic imprint would nevertheless be made - in fact you could say it's expressing itself right now in this e-mail thread. Gemini = the sign of communication, information & analysis :)
Actually though, my belief in astrology stemmed from observation of physical rather than personality traits, because I agree the latter can be very open to intepretation. A number of people on this list have seen me identify girls born under (specifically) the Pisces or (generally) one of the water signs. This is the easiest gender/element combination to recognize IMO, but by no means the only one - when I was at Revolver a couple of weeks ago, I took a good hard look at a girl and told her she must be a Leo (she had the typical pinned-back lion's mane hair), and she couldn't believe I'd picked it just like that. But there's nothing amazing about it at all. It's like how I can pick Russian girls. Some of us have seen me do that too and while it could seem freaky to someone unfamiliar with the tell-tale characteristics of a Slavic face, we accept this as a genuine, in truth unremarkable 'skill' because we do know the tell-tale signs. We know that genetics play a part in how we look, ergo we accept that someone can identify one's racial background from one's facial composition. The fact is, astrology is no different - considerably more subtle, to be sure, but no different. To me it's the difference between the shape & colour of the eye and the look behind it. We can all identify the external aspects (shape & colour) but, never being taught to even recognize let alone develop the inner side of things, most of us struggle to identify the 'look'. For what it's worth, water-sign girls typically have a soft look in their eyes - the softest being Pisceans, who have a very delicate, wet, far-away look (hence their fish symbol), through sentimental, sensitive Cancerians to the harder-looking Scorpios. I didn't read this in a scientific or religious book somewhere. I consistently observed this for myself, which is why it can no longer be refuted for me. Everything that is realized is right.
Of course, to make my crucial point, I can't spot all Russian girls, perhaps not even most, and not all Russian girls look Russian. Yet despite this, we naturally accept that my failure to spot these ones, or the fact that they don't fit a certain stereotype, does not mean that there's no such thing as 'Russian-ness'. That would be an appallingly retarded logic, yet we ruthlessly apply it to astrology and other things we don't properly understand. No wonder most humans are still little more than apes in nice clothes, addicted to TVs & bars. We see, hear, talk, judge, experience - and that's fine - but the criminal part is, we're convinced that because we hear, talk, judge and experience... we know.
The fact is, we don't know shit yet. IMO, the greatest ignorance is the delusion of completed knowledge.
OK, this is the way I see it. The world is an amazing place, full of phenomena. The problem is that science only accepts that which can be observed by the scientific method, the rest being automatically relegated to the realm of fantasy. Religion, on the other hand, is only too eager to indulge in fantasy and refuses to bow to the wisdom and objectivity of science.
So what I want is for spirituality to be studied scientifically. I have no interest in dogmatic religion. The whole point is that I'm actually very pro-science - I was watching 'Visions of the Future' last night and even though I was a bit wary of some of the issues raised by this documentary, which talks about genetic manipulation, virtual realities, robotic brain enhancements etc, I realized you can never really do anything except let these things go ahead. The truth must be explored no matter how uncomfortable it may be, because the truth is inevitably superior to ignorance or delusion. I believe in reincarnation but if you artificially created a human in a lab, for example, or extended your life permanently (thus evading death), that'd obviously force me to reconsider - and so be it. I'm not attached to any beliefs, I'm just interested in getting to the truth by exploring all possibilities. The future's scary in some ways but that's no excuse not to reach into it, thoughtfully and cautiously but confident in the virtue of progress, rather than endlessly fucking about with dogmas and legislation and controversy.
To put it another way, I'm a big fan of science as an approach. I'm not a fan of science as a self-contained, empirical-based atheistic worldview. The approach is pure and timeless. The worldview is rooted in the present and will be, like all worldviews in the past, disproved and discarded. Humanity still has a tremendously long way to go before we even understand the full nature of our existence. That's why I respect Buddhism - because in Buddhism, wisdom starts with accepting that you know nothing. It's supremely abstract and flexible. No dogma, no messiahs, no stone tablets and shit like that. Buddhism, together with paganism - which has been so degraded by Christian propaganda, but which was essentially an advanced religion of the cosmos - marries with the scientific approach beautifully.
Take astrology and herbal medicines. Both have their roots in paganism. Both work. The thing is, I write that line and some of you will think 'No, only the latter works'. And there's a simple reason for that - herbal medicine has become integrated into science, astrology has not - being heavier on what we might call the 'intuitive' rather than empirical side, and having its place in space, something we still don't understand, rather than the earth immediately around us. Imagine if herbal medicine wasn't studied by the scientific establishment that followed the Middle Ages. It'd be a much shoddier, vague and hit-and-miss area, like astrology sometimes is. Because it'd be classified as Bronze Age rubbish, "what the fuck do a bunch of leaves and mushrooms have to do with anything", and because it'd be the realm of amateurs and enthusiasts, it would actually be unreliable, like many illegal drugs are, and therefore self-perpetuate the idea that it doesn't actually work or should be avoided. But we know it's not rubbish and we recognize its value, by virtue of its association with science which assures it's researched, taught and produced out in a proper way and has 'scientific credibility'.
Incidentally, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here. And the last thing I'd do is believe in something because I want to. Stan, you mentioned love, and you know what - I don't believe in that anymore, certainly not in the standard sense. God knows I'd like to and used to, but as perhaps my favourite saying of all time goes:
"Everything that is realized is right."
Meditate on that quote and you'll realize how profound it is beneath its simplistic veneer. In its emphasis on complete open-mindedness to experience and acceptance of one's default ignorance, it's Zen Buddhism as its most succinct.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."- Steve Jobs
Perhaps every person on Earth is the result of a very complex formula, which frees God from having to "hand-make" each person individually. This formula takes into account genes (from parents); gender; race; culture; sun, moon & rising signs; relation to siblings (oldest/middle/youngest child); developmental life experiences; upbringing & education; etc etc. The resulting personality is then expressed in a number of ways, including the lines on your hand, the features of your face, the colour of your aura, and can be read and analyzed to predict future events by clairvoyants.
In short, maybe our personalities are just the product of a massive mathematical equation. That said, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that past lives may also account for our differences, particularly when we're drawn to certain things/people without any rational explanation as to why. For example, the ideal partner we have in our heads may actually be a vague memory of a husband or wife we loved deeply in a past life.... who knows?
Discreetly I watched her
Put curlers in her hair,
Watching her reflection
On the blank TV screen,
Pretending I was reading
But really, inside,
By an ideal made so real.
And yet, though the girl
Was sitting right there,
Watching me watching her
Put curlers in her hair,
That's where the real stopped;
The rest never came,
No kisses, no touches,
No whispering her name,
And so I just lay there,
So powerfully affected
By the untouchable beauty
On the TV reflected.
The history of the planet Earth, from beginning to end, in a nutshell - if one acknowledges, as the ancients did, that the Sun is in fact the closest thing we have to a God or Creator.
The Sun created all life on this planet. It was the Sun that provided the heat for the warm, bubbling mud-pool in which life first came to be. It is the Sun that provides the energy we need to live every day, via the food we consume, beginning with the photosynthesis process in plants.
Likewise, it is the Sun that will inevitably and unstoppably extinguish life on this planet, when it becomes a Red Giant in ~7 billion years.
The Sun giveth, and the Sun taketh away.
The truth is,
people don't commit suicide because they can't handle reality.
They commit suicide because they can't handle the matrix.
All we want is a headrush;
All we want is to get out of our skin for a while.
We have nothing to lose because we dont have anything -
Anything we want, anyway.
We used to hate people;
Now we just make fun of them -
Its more effective that way.
We dont live;
We just scratch on, day to day,
With nothing but matchbooks and
Sarcasm in our pockets.
And all we are waiting for
Is something worth waiting for...
You are alternatively thrilled and desperate,
Sky-high and fucked.
Lets stop praying for someone
To save us and start saving ourselves.
Lets stop this and start over.
Lets go out.
Lets keep going.
This is your life.
This is your fucking life
We need something to kill
The pain of all that nothing inside.
- Dogma, KMFDM
Seeing as I got some time I may as well write something about the passage I've pasted below, coz it's probably the best nutshell theory of why we're here that I've ever read. And just as Christians turn to the Bible for solace, this is basically what I draw meaning from when I fall into one of life's trophs. I call it the Rock-Grinder Theory.
Every now & again in your life, maybe once every few years, things happen that really fuck up your perception of how things work, make you doubt whether people are fundamentally good and even whether there's much point in being here on this planet. And this is where Palahniuk's simple but profound analogy comes into play. The Rock-Grinder Theory argues that suffering is the key reason for our being here on Earth - not as punishment for some original sin, not so we can enjoy a heavenly afterlife all the more, but simply as part of a spiritual and emotional boot camp to become tougher, wiser and more graceful in defeat. There's that saying - "We're not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience" - and that pretty much gets to the essence of what the theory's about.
As metaphysical beings of no substance, we're tossed onto this planet, with all of its diseases and disasters and immorality, to be moulded and matured into beings of power, insight and sound judgment. Just as Christians believe Jesus was God, born a man to go through his own painful, sweat-and-blood human experience, so New Agers believe that in a sense all of us are gods - sentient, dual-natured beings with a capacity for conscious creation - who need this rite of passage to evolve. And like the Crucifixion, it isn't something 'wrong' or abhorrent but in fact entirely right and necessary. Because it's through the Purgatory of this world that we find salvation. It's through our trials and tribulations that we acquire knowledge. It's when we're battered that we muster our innermost strength. To quote that brilliant introduction to Monkey Magic, "The Phoenix can fly only when its feathers are grown."
So that's why life rarely has that reassuring sense of Fate or heartening moral righteousness of a movie script. That's why true happiness can seem to evasive, why faith often goes unrewarded, why wholesome things like love and prosperity can seem so corrupted and unfairly distributed. Because maybe this world, for all of our endeavours to make it so, was never meant to be perfect. Because it's precisely the injustice, sadness and loss that trains us, like the physical obstacles and verbal abuse soldiers have to endure in order to become hard, disciplined and at one with themselves - no longer slaves to fear, self-pity and the preciousness of ego. And while it hurts, we wear these thorns and endure these nails because it's the experience we need to have. Because a lofty existence of comfort and instant gratification would be of no consequence. To quote something I once read on some New Age website:
Why are we here?
We have come to escape the quixotic bliss of Divine Ennui.
Stuff happens here!
The way I see it, perhaps this is also why it's often the most sensitive people who get hurt, the most idealistic who see their dreams shattered - because you could say we're angels cast into a very physical, animal reality, where base instincts have a natural advantage over transcendental aspirations. In our human form, I believe we represent a mid-point between angels and animals, but the ratio differs across individuals and those closer to the angelic side are, unfortunately, less compatible with this dimension than those inclined in the other direction. Even so, I still believe the concept above applies to all of us - that all of us are, to word it another way, angelic beings going through an animal experience.
Having said that, I guess it's no surprise then that our civilization is and always has been part-Utopia, part urban wilderness. To tie in with Palahniuk's outlook, it goes some way to explaining why we fight wars for peace, why we occupy to liberate, why we destroy and plunder to build and furnish. The human realm is one filled with noble visions and barbaric actions, of endless tension between kindness and wickedness, stupidity and genius, infinite yin & yang locked in a fascinating and relentless co-existence - the resulting friction of which generates our life lessons and serves as the foundation stone for this entire Universe.
Whatever the case, I've already dwarfed the passage in question with my own ranting... so without any further ado, it's over to the guru himself.
THE ROCK-GRINDER THEORY
"The same mistakes we make as cavemen", says Mr Whittier, "we still make".
So maybe we're supposed to fight and hate and torture each other...
Onstage, instead of a spotlight, a black-and-white movie fragment:
Mr Whitter's head is wallpapered with newsreel armies marching. His mouth and eyes lost in the shadow boots and bayonets that worm across his cheeks.
He says, "Maybe suffering and misery is the point of life."
Consider that the earth is a processing plant, a factory. Picture a tumbler used to polish rocks: A rolling drum filled with water and sand.
Consider that your soul is dropped in as an ugly rock, some raw material or a natural resource, crude oil, mineral ore.
And all conflict and pain is just the abrasive that rubs us, polishes our souls, refines us, teaches us and finishes us over life after lifetime.
Then consider that you've chosen to jump in, again and again, knowing this suffering is your entire reason for coming to earth.
Mr Whittier, his teeth crowded too many in his narrow jawbone, his dead-tumblewood eyebrows, Mr Whittier's bat-wing ears spread wide with the shadow armies marching across, he says,
"The only alternative is, we're all just eternally stupid".
We fight wars. We fight for peace. We fight hunger. We love to fight.
We fight and fight and fight, with our guns or mouths or money.
And the planet is never one lick better than it was before us.
Leaning forward, both his hands clawed on the arms of his wheelchair, as the newsreel armies march over his face, those moving tattos of their machine guns and tanks and artillery, Mr Whitter says: "Maybe we're living the exact way we're meant to live."
Maybe our factory planet is processing our souls... just fine.
- Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
"Do What You Wish."
- AURYN, The Never-Ending Story
The black of the night;
a background for all the worries & fears I fight,
the insecure thoughts that always bite me, spite me, making me want to collapse;
the stresses that always haunt me, daunt me,
and make me wish that the sky was light
so that in the morning I could try to make them right
once more, & again be sure of my life.
So, it's Valentine's Day. The day some baby-faced exhibitionist on a cloud fires MDMA-tipped arrows all over the place, so we can go around swooning into each other's arms.
I fucking hate Cupid. Truth is, Cupid isn't some rosy-cheeked cherub gleefully showering the world with chemistry from On High. If you believe that you may as well believe in unicorns & mermaids - at least you can strap a dildo to a horse's nose or get a beach volleyball player into a green sleeping bag. The truth is, Cupid was an ancient god who left his wife Psyche JUST BECAUSE SHE LOOKED AT HIM, then made it so hard for her to reach him again that, tormented & lovesick, she died in the process. And that's how I've always seen Cupid personally - as the spiteful, nasty son of a bitch he really is, making the need for human affection a source of sorrow for the loyal & idealistic souls of the world, corrupting our relationships with doubts, petty judgements, insecurities & irrational thoughts... in a nutshell, jeopardizing the greatest investment a person can ever make: in another person.
There's a bit towards the end of The Exorcist (the book) where Chris, Regan's mother, says to Father Karras that "I'm not sure about God but I'm willing to believe in the Devil", or something like that. That's pretty much the way I feel about Cupid. I don't believe love is something activated by a prepubscent high-altitude archer. Love is something we, humans, generate. What I can believe, though, is that there's a malevolent force snipping the romantic threads that we weave. That's how it's felt to me before, at any rate - like I'd built something beautiful from scratch only to have it demolished for no good reason. Literally like a poison arrow was fired into the relationship, still too budding to have sufficient immunity against it.
I should say at this point that I have no idea where I'm going with this. I will say one thing straight out: I don't believe in the girl/guy divide much. As a guy though, there is one thing I'd like to say when it comes to chicks.
Basically: 99.99% of males are NOT your ex-boyfriends. Sounds like a pretty damn obvious observation yet I've come across my fair share of girls who simply fail to get it. I'm sorry to hear that your ex took drugs & now has less cognitive ability than my cat (or his fucking litter tray for that matter), but that's not me. Sorry your ex cheated on you with the checkout chick he works with, but that's not me. Sorry if he punched you in the face one time when he was real drunk and you yelled at him, but again, you know what? I don't hit girls. Not sober, not drunk. 99% of us don't and never would.
Problem is, girls always seem willing to be easy at the start, to the quivering wankers & dodgy sleazebags, when they're teenagers and just starting out in this exciting new world of opposite-sex interaction. Then, unsurprisingly, they get fucked over, listen to Pink, decide they hate all men and go really hard on the rest of us. Suspicious. Keeping their distance. Defensive & wary. Always waiting for the trip-up, so that when it comes they can say "Ah-ha! Knew it! You're just like the others."
If you mean I'm only human, you're absolutely right. If you mean I'm like the mentally retarded, shit-talking pindick you went out with and still carry a torch for, even though something infinitely better's come along, then "no". Dead wrong.
But like I said, I'm not into reinforcing the so-called Mars/Venus divide. More than that it's a generational thing, and in these strange & superficial times it's ALL romantics - no matter what the chromosomes - that suffer. Our generation lives in the most atomized, alienating society in the history of Mankind. There's more people on Earth than ever before, yet they've never been further apart. We work long hours, commute long hours, we come home and the TV & PC consume the rest. Previous generations - even in fucking Communist Europe, where 'fun' was pretty much illegal - went to dancehalls where the atmosphere was positive & conducive to interaction, where it was natural as a guy to propose a dance with a girl, rather than gyrating solo to electronic bleeps & farts like a bunch of peacocks on crack. Bars used to be a matter of "Would you like some drink with your conversation" rather than "Would you like some conversation with all your drinks?"
It seems that in this day & city, everyone's unsure about interacting with anyone. You 'go out' and see girls bouncing on the spot to some half-arsed electro for hours, looking straight ahead but wondering if anyone is actually noticing them. You get guys who'd happily chat to this girl and perhaps buy her a drink, but suspect from long experience that she's "just there to catch up with friends", or has some vicious ape of a boyfriend lurking nearby with five of his roided-up bros. And as for getting her a drink - well, apparently that now classifies you as wimpy & predictable.
I don't know what the point of this rant is. Suitably according to the legend, I know that every Valentine's Day that passes, the little Psyche in me dies all over again. In this sense, the whole Cupid theme is entirely appropriate. I remember a scene in Fight Club where Tyler asks Jack, "If you could fight anyone in the world, who would you fight?" For me, the answer is all too obvious. Cupid is a motherwhoring dirty trickster, and if I ever got a hold of him I'd make him sorrier than every unwillingly single person on Valentine's Day combined. So stay on your cloud you little prick, and know that the day is coming when your game will be over and out for good.
Christians in mass brawl at historic church:
IMO, this pretty much reinforces why religions/religious denominations exist - to satisfy the human need to affiliate ourselves to something. When you boil it down, being an Orthodox or a Catholic isn't much different to being a Bandido or a Hell's Angel, a Bombers or a Magpies supporter - it's just an age-old way to feel a part of something in opposition to something. Despite all of our noble rhetoric, I doubt humanity really desires peace at all - what we really want is antagonism and drama. Coz it's through our allies and our enemies that we define ourselves, and through camaraderie and conflict that we create purpose for our lives.
And all the while, lost in this grand unfolding of petty crap, the spiritual big picture continues to be overlooked.
When we lived in Arizona
The skies always had little fluffy clouds
And they were long and clear.
And there were lots of stars at night,
And when it rained it would all turn...
They were beautiful,
The most beautiful skies as a matter of fact.
The sunsets were purple and red
And yellow and on fire,
And the clouds would catch the colours everywhere...
Because I used to look at them all the time
When I was little.
You don't see that...
You might still see them in the desert.
- The Orb, Little Fluffy Clouds
I hold it in my heart like a glowing ember,
It'll never burn out, I'll always remember,
That balmy, moonlit night in December,
When we held each other and touched to remember.
The first time I locked with your dreamy blue eyes
My heart jolted and gushed at such a pleasant surprise,
I'd never seen anything so gorgeous before
And knew I couldn't let you get away out that door.
You were sipping champagne with a flower in your hair,
And completely entranced by what I saw standing there,
I finished my drink and just stood there a while,
Until you glanced over and gave me a smile;
You joked that you needed a chaperone,
So I took you outside where we could sit all alone,
And under that glittering, balmy night sky
We whispered and giggled as if we were high;
You put your head on my shoulder and quietly sighed,
Inside the guests were cheering the bride,
I pressed you towards me and took your hand in mine,
Wishing I could lock this moment in time;
But it wasn't to be, and as cruel as it seems,
There's nothing you can do when Fate intervenes,
But still I look back on that night in December
When we sat, and we touched. I'll always remember.
Fantasy can be a dangerous area to delve into, an unreal place to escape into. Fantasy is also the place where everything starts from. The place where a personality can grow. Where "The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men" have all bred before climbing onto the drawing board and long before the ploughshare has had a chance to lay it all to ruin. Do not be afraid of your fantasies. Dive into them. Swim far out and see what other strange fish are swimming with you. Bring what you can back...Without fantasy there would be nothing; man would have stayed up the trees, never ventured into the cave, Einstein would have foregone his relativity, Christ his ascension, Leonardo his Mona Lisa, Hitler his Third Reich and Betty Ford her clinic.
- Bill Drummond, The Manual
Forced to fit the standard mould
Sense of meaningfulness marred
God must be some sort of nut.
It's been quite thematic, the last fortnight or so. First Tim Burton's Alice, then American McGee's.... I finally finished the game last weekend, but before I battled the Red Queen, a strange thing happened.
I was working through the puzzle in the final level, the interior of the Red Queen's castle, and found myself suddenly moved by the beautiful, melancholy music and, I guess as a result, the scenario before me - of a young, distraught but spirited girl fighting to reclaim her inner world. And I realized that American McGee's Alice kind of represents the girl I've always longed for, hence the title of this rant (+ my FB status) today.
Normally when people ask what I look for in a partner, it's hard to give an answer that does justice to what I mean. I've never really found anything that works as an example - I like to use the word 'Piscean' sometimes, but then people take it too literally... I mean it more as what the sign represents than that she has to be born in February/March. But Alice is kind of it - a perfect model of what I call the 'Piscean mindset'; a dreamweaver, someone for whom the realm of imagination & nonsense is as real & important as reality, not to mention a hell of a lot more interesting.
I remember one of the first times I talked to my last 'love interest', she came out with this line at one point that made me realize, in an instant, that this was one of the Ones: "I'm spending more time in my own little world these days, and I just hope I can find someone to share it with". It immediately struck me as one of the most poignant things I'd heard anyone say, and knew at that moment that I was dealing with a kindred soul.
But long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes....
If I ever get married and have a daughter, I'll be sure to foster like a jewel that deep, creative intuition which for me is the essence of femininity, but which has been seriously corrupted by our vulgar 'modern civilization'. Don't take too much notice of the external world, my dear... it's no more 'real' than the inner one, and certainly not as beautiful.
P.S. I found the attached file last night on deviantART - I've included it here coz to me, this picture captures the 'Alice' I'm talking about better than any visual depiction - book, game, movie or otherwise - I've ever seen. For anyone wondering what the hell I mean by 'Piscean eyes', this is a shining, static example... the vivid irises, the slightly bewitching gaze, the look that regardless of expression (in this case angry), nevertheless appears as though it might veil up with tears at any moment. I guess it's kind of bizarre, but this would serve as a far better pin-up for me and for what I look for in a female than any model, celebrity or calendar girl I can think of.
"Even if God won't forgive us," says the Baroness Frostbite, "we can still forgive Him."
We should show ourselves to be bigger than God [....]
Standing center stage, the Baroness Frostbite says, "We should forgive God...
For making us too short. Fat. Poor.
We should forgive God our baldness.
Our cystic fibrosis. Our juvenile leukemia.
We should forgive God's indifference, His leaving us behind:
Us, God's forgotten Science Fair project, left to grow mould.
God's goldfish, ignored until we're forced to eat our own shit off the bottom [....]
So she tells them, "Floss. For God's sake, floss before bed every night."
And every night the Baroness, she forgives other people.
She forgives herself.
And she forgives God for those disasters that just seem to happen.
- Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
It's 2 AM in Krakow
And the streets are quiet and still;
Snow is falling from the sky
To decorate the chill;
And though I've seen it fall before,
It still gives me a thrill.
And as we walk in knowing silence
Back to our warm flat,
I let my thoughts drift back towards
Our surreal two-hour chat;
I smile discreetly and tell myself,
'Yes, I'm happy with that.'
The blue-eyed beauty I'd left behind
Was in my life once more,
And now my heart was happy where
Before it was so sore;
A poor start to our Krakow stay
Turned out to be not poor.