Thoughts

My general thoughts and musings regarding a wide variety of topics

Thoughts for the Day

Sitting out having a late lunch here in Sydney and I saw a van drive past that was pretty much covered in a mural, however on the back it had a warning.

“Sleeping on Sunday will cause Monday”

Now I’ll admit that I had a chuckle at the notion, however I also smiled due to the utter futility of the sentiment. The continued revolution of our globe is what determines the passage of each day into the next, and our slow journey around the sun determines both the seasons, and the concept of years as we know it. You may hold off on sleep to fight the coming dawn, but in the end dawn will still come and you’ll just feel tired and ultimately have accomplished nothing.

Human nature is an interesting conundrum, we seem to endlessly rebel against things that we cannot change; like the passing of the day, we will grow older. Our features, tastes, interests and associations will change whether we consciously fight them or not. But on the other side of the coin overall we sit and use sentiments that we can’t make a difference, or that is just the way it is in regards to things that we can overall change, if we chose to band together and make a difference.

Whilst I was finishing my lunch a couple of young people came in, and whilst their hearts may have been in the right place I believe their arrow was fired away from the opposing army. They were wearing shirts for Good Deeds Day, and the aim that they had for whatever hashtags instagram would have gotten for it was to buy the girl making coffee a coffee.

Now if I was making coffee all day, the last thing I would probably want for someone to offer to buy for me would be coffee, chances are she got it free anyway. They seemed a little annoyed at being turned down, and asked if they could do anything else for her and she told them that she was happy and good. They then went around asking people in the store if they could pay for their coffee, to which most said no but they did get a yes finally so they felt good.

Meanwhile sitting next to the bin across the road in the rain was a homeless person…

Ramblings for Today

“Religion, society, nature; these are the three struggles of man. These three conflicts are, at the same time, his three needs: it is necessary for him to believe, hence the temple; it is necessary for him to create, hence the city; it is necessary for him to live, hence the plow and the ship. But these three solutions contain three conflicts. The mysterious difficulty of life springs from all three. Man has to deal with obstacles under the form of superstition, under the form of prejudice, and under the form of the elements. A triple ananke (necessity) weighs upon us, the ananke of dogmas, the ananke of laws, the ananke of things. In “Notre Dame de Paris” the author has denounced the first; in “Les Misérables” he has pointed out the second; in this book (Toilers of the Sea) he indicates the third. With these three fatalities which envelop man is mingled the interior fatality, that supreme ananke, the human heart.”
– Hauteville House, March, 1866. Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea, 1866


I’ve often questioned the notion of free will, we all have the innate ability to make a choice; Sometimes it will be the right one, sometimes it will be the wrong one. Life often presents us with situations and events that are outside of our realm of control, even times that we feel unable to make a choice on something either way so we don’t; the thing is that in itself is also a choice. The world with all it’s splendor and beauty innately strives to find a balance, and however complex all the places, people, life and systems that make up this world however in the end like all complex systems it does have a degree of predictability. Sometimes it looks as though the world is a giant domino set placed across the globe, seemingly isolated and unrelated can both be brought down with the right domino falling in the right place. There are some things which tend to be unpredictable, even in people; However in knowning that as a variable it can be quantified and these individuals tend to go against the mold, so whilst it may seem to the casual observer that it is random there can be a degree of predictability to the unpredictable.

So does free will truly exist?

In the intricate tapestry that is our existance is the connections we make with those, and the world around us truly our choice. Or instead is the choice(s) that we make expected, even when we don’t know which way we will turn; Or not turn at all. Is the chaotic world we really live in not really a chaotic system but instead a chessboard. Whilst the order in which the moves are made may not be completely known each of the steps along the way can be predicted and in knowing your oponent in the game you can have an understanding from each move they make what the following will be; Even if a mistake is made sometimes it is still possible to proceed to checkmate. In the context of the world however can it really be a chess board, we are each the master and player of our own game, but also a pawn in a multidimensional chess board. We move our pieces forward, sometimes into the boards of others in which we have an impact on the course of their movements. Moving ever forward, or not at all; Choosing to remain stagnant and motionless which then can have an effect on the flow of the others around you.

Moirai; The sisters of fate from Greek mythology (along with their various representations in contemporary cultures) weave the tapestry of our multiverse, and in their infinite story even the gods are but threads to weave intertwining and interacting making their mark on the world and the lives of others when it is required.

This is a song that holds a lot of meaning to me. It is a representation of the person that I not necessarily chose, but through inaction being my choice made me.

I have been called a lot of things throughout my life; Stubborn, arrogant, humble, strong, intelligent, wise, an asshole, happy, upbeat, feared, and even amazing/wonderful. This song holds a lot of meaning because I had chosen to become something that I wasn’t; hollow and faceless. Faith in myself is something that I’ve never had, whilst I have been thankful for the compliments I have received, criticisms have also been accurate and those have been easier to believe and take to heart, and the compliments dismissed as incorrect or just a matter of opinion. To those who have called me strong, whilst I can be a rock; Solid, unmovable, providing strength, and support. The truth is far from that, I am weak and a coward. Something taken as a strength, going with the flow; Water off a ducks back and preferring to allow things to take their course, providing advice and general support is what I believe to be a weakness. I make the cowards choice in choosing not to act. I try to do no harm, I’d rather do damage to myself in the form of doubt, uncertainty, and fear than face the prospect of hurting someone else. But sometimes this choice causes the harm I try to avoid, there are many choices that I’ve made in the past, and choices that I failed to make has caused pain and made it feel like I really can’t do anything right and because of that I gave up and because of that I became one of the hollow and faceless.

I am neither light nor dark, strong nor weak, wise nor naieve. I am flawed, and imperfect; But I am me and I shall be what I need to be. A student, philosopher, warrior, and servant of Ananke

At least Buddhists don’t question my right to exist…

Ugh, now I’m in a bad mood and I really wonder about our place in the world with so many judgmental groups that are ready to believe that I do not have a right to exist based on my circumstances or my choices.

There are those that believe I must be killed; converted; a misguided fool, because I’m pagan.

Now I do not believe in religious indoctrination don’t get me wrong, exposure to religion sure however don’t keep it narrowed down or enforce that other paths are wrong and that you’ll go to hell if you believe that. Faith and religion should be a personal choice for each of us to explore and develop if we so wish, if you look at the world and see / feel that there is nothing there that’s perfectly fine, but it’s a belief just like mine.

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I don’t think you’re wrong for holding it or seek to treat you any differently because of it. We all share our time on a spinning globe rocketing around the sun together and if we were all the same it would be a rather boring place. But intolerance does not make it a brighter future; shaming, attacking, excluding those that choose to have/not have faith serves to further divide us and in the end only serves our own ego.

There are those that believe I shouldn’t have rights because I choose to smoke.

Ok on this one I am somewhat on the side of the attackers, but believe there should be some level of middle ground. Now a lot of smokers can be inconsiderate in where/when they smoke and hold the view that aside from indoors they should have the right to smoke anywhere that is public. Now I don’t quite share this view; people that do not smoke are perfectly entitled to have areas that are smoke free which is why when I smoke I avoid others, and in areas where it is not permitted (even in a wide area) I make sure that I am in an area where it is not banned.

Now that being said, bans are also perfectly understandable and acceptable; however it is also a form of discrimination based on choice. Singapore I thought did this reasonably well with small smokers areas around the place it allows for segregation but not ostracisation. In regards to the burden that we place on the health care system, have you seen the price of cigarettes?! Them and alcohol are two of the highest taxed luxury goods on the market today, through the levies that are placed on them, the additional GST, premiums on health insurance as well as regular income tax I think the income generated more than negates the possible medical cost expenditure. It would be why they are not banned outright.

And to those who wish me dead already, this view does not make you “righteous”, wishing harm on another makes you an asshole. Congratulations.

I should die because I’m fat

Yep I’m fat, but aside from the new doctor who listed off all the things I would have wrong with me ordered a barrage of tests a few years ago (after I had already lost 30kg) everything still comes back in the dead middle of healthy. Most of the time I am not a big eater aside from when I was younger or have done a day of heavier physical activity, and yes it’s something that can be changed.

It’s also something I work on, at my fittest I was walking every day for several hours, cycling 50km on the weekend and hitting the gym several days a week and was never under 120kg. Does it mean that I’m a burden, nope I can hike the jungles of Nepal on my own thank you very much. I may not be able to run a marathon (yet) but overall aside from being a smoker I lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle and still tackle anything.

Should I die because of my size, again nope.

Finally the trigger for this tirade.

Militant vegan questions meat eaters’ right to live

Oh really? Come on!

There is a diverse ecosystem on this planet we call home; plants, animals, single celled organisms that all contribute to a rather diverse food web each with their own biology and needs. We have those whose digestive system and needs stem from plant matter, the carnivores that consume them and then the omnivores that derive their required nutrients from both sources. Now as a species we all possess similar biochemistry, however there is diversity and mutation and different people process (or are unable to do so) the food that we consume in different ways. With the exception of those whose makeup has a reaction to certain things our place in ecology is a virus. Ok well no it’s really an omnivore we just act like a virus in our consumption of everything around us.

Everything from our teeth to digestive systems are designed to process nutrients from both animal and plant matter. Unless your digestive system has issues with processing something in an “ordinary” scenario we should eat a variety of plants, red meat, white meat and fish to form a balanced diet to provide all that our bodies need. When deviating from our defined biology we tend to then need to load up on other things to ensure that the things we are missing from what we are not consuming is met.

Being a vegetarian or vegan unless you can’t actually process meat is a lifestyle choice.

Should someone die for your choice?

I understand the ethical argument that drives many people to that path, the right to eat another living thing or the way in which they are bred and slaughtered for food however as we are sentient and capable of reasonable thought we have this choice. It is not unnatural to eat meat, herbivores eat only plants, carnivores eat the herbivores and the omnivores eat whatever happens to be around. Meat is murder is very true but it is a contribution to the circle of life. Could I kill an animal, I honestly don’t believe that I could however that being said human social interaction is based on supply and demand, I have skills in which I can use to provide to somebody that can do so and they in turn provide me with the meat which forms a part of my diet.

Don’t source your meat or eggs from chains, instead from where animals have a decent standard of living before they become dinner is considerably more responsible than forsaking our bodies design and place in attempting to maintain order in the ecosystem around us. In the end we make our own choices in regards to our diets, for those that choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle it’s understandable and noble, however it doesn’t mean it is how things should be it is still just a choice which should be respected. Just as omnivores are not monsters.

In the end I think as a species we are far too judgmental, and confrontational. As much as I don’t like it I am also guilty of the same failings at times, effectively branding those who wish me dead as assholes is effectively doing the same thing. I often wonder how we will end up as a species, I hope that we grow up.


Source: https://au.news.yahoo.com/sa/a/28501830/do-people-who-eat-meat-deserve-to-continue-living/
Image Source: http://schmolzanderson.com/?attachment_id=2932

Thought for the day

“Once you realize that the road is the goal,
and that you are always on the road,
not to reach a goal but to
enjoy its beauty and its wisdom,
life ceases to be a task and
becomes natural and simple.
In itself an ecstasy.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~

The pen is mightier than the sword

Ordinarily I am not a fan of advertisements however they are useful in introducing you to new products and services that you may not otherwise be exposed to. But occasionally there are advertisements with messages, or that stop and make you think or even smile. And whilst this may be an advertisement for online content services the message used in it’s delivery made me smile.

There is an old saying being “The pen is mightier than the sword”, however in my opinion this is slightly inaccurate. Whilst skill certainly does play a part in swordplay anybody can pick up a sharp instrument and use it to cause harm to another, whereas with the pen the power does not lie in the instrument itself but they who weild it. Words hold power, but unlike the sword which is used to protect or injure the words can bring joy, sorrow, harm or healing and in the hands of a master wordsmith they are truly a powerful weapon.

Whilst I may not be a master wordsmith, and more often tend to be needlessly verbose I am happy to say that it is rare these days that I have an unkind word to say about anybody, it is easy to speak out in anger but to have a smile upon your face and a kind word for anybody that crosses your path that may need it and the world becomes a brighter place.

Change your words, change your state of mind and you can hope to enact change in the world around you. In the end we are all broken, slightly cracked or searching for our place and we cannot walk the path of another but we can at least make them smile, or not get in their way.

“Words have power. They work. That’s why
poetry can affect people. That’s why music and
lyrics and songs affect people…”
– Sammy Hagar

I Want…

I want…

Those two little words can drive people to accomplish amazing feats but increasingly they represent desires and selfish ambitions for things that more often than not really do not matter at all.

None of us is perfect, even those who are heralded as Saints have their failings and little dark shadows, I’m no different. Lately I have been looking for what it is that I want, and as it turns out there ate a lot of them, and sadly they are mostly unrealistic and also selfish because they would make me feel better.

I want a world where nobody has to live in fear of those around them, of where their next meal will be coming from or if they will be able to survive what the elements dish out this night. I’ve always been an idealist, it’s the core of who I am and the one thing that I never want to change about myself and at the same time it’s the source of a lot of pain and confusion that sometimes I wish I wasn’t but apathy is never someone that I want to be.

To those that see not that which is but could be it leaves the question of what it is to be. We can all torch the lives of those around us to make that one little bit of a difference; but sometimes I wonder if it’s enough?

Yultide Greetings (From the land of the burning sun)

The dichotomy of the world’s longest and shortest day depending on your perspective has drawn to a close and we find ourselves heading into the festive season. This world has seen so much darkness, violence, bigotry, and hatred of late and it is easy to fall into a sense of powerlessness and to lose hope in the world around us. The best way to combat that is refuse to give in.

This period means a bunch of different things to people around the world, but the common theme is that of coming together, spreading warmth, joy, and cheer so instead of focusing on all the negatives find something positive that you can hold on to, and if you feel there is nothing positive around you then create it and be the light that you seek. Even in the darkest of nights, the light can be found for those that take the time to look.
This is also a time of prayer and thoughts for those that are less fortunate as is often preached and taught by religion, but words and thoughts whilst holding power are nothing without action, there are various initiatives abound for helping those in need; the gift trees for families unable to afford presents and food drives to provide Christmas hampers so that a good meal may be shared.
Always remember even if you cannot change the whole world, you can change someones world, try and always make it for the better. To those that share my life I wish you a happy and safe festive season with those you love, and new memories with which to share.

For those after a TLDR version “Be excellent to each other, Party on dudes!” – Bill & Ted

Perspective

Like most days I don’t tend to have formulated plans aside from the usual work day but as the day fined up after the rains of yesterday I thought it would be nice to have a bit of an evening walk. I figured I would mix that with my love of udon noodle soup and stop off at the Japanese place about 1.5km from my place on the way home from work. Stopped off there on the way home, ordered as normal and was really looking forward to the kara udon soup as my body is back in the phase of making me regret it if I don’t have three meals a day at the moment and I have always loved the taste of it from there.

Queue the arrival of the meal, the guy behind the counter had misheard me and thought I had asked for the kara box meal and not the kara udon and that was brought out and needless to say given that I was looking forward to that particular meal I was rather disappointed and was about to tell them they had made a mistake and request the correct meal when something dawned on me and made me feel ashamed in myself. I went there because I was hungry and needed dinner, I didn’t need a particular meal and that fell into the want category and what was provided was more than adequate to fulfill my hunger needs.

So I thanked him for the meal and sat down and ate it.

It is easy to take a lot of things in life for granted, the fact that I have adequate access to a wide variety of food that is safe to eat and the ability to afford the luxury of eating out and not having to make / plan my own meals when there are so many not only in my own country but all the nations of the world that struggle to fulfill that basic need. What the hell gives me the right to be disappointed that my meal wasn’t quite what I ordered, why should it be thrown out (which it likely would have been as it is made fresh) simply because it wasn’t quite what I wanted, but was more than adequate to meet my dietary needs.

It ended up being a very tasty meal, and certainly silenced my growling stomach which left me feeling content and full, something for which I am grateful for.

Events and plans don’t always go the way we expect, or want them to and whilst we cannot control that how we react and deal with them defines who we are. There are very few things that can ruin your day, unless you choose to allow them the power to do so.

Scottish Independence

So today was a day for the history books, the referendum in Scotland to decide the future of the northern land and whether Britain was to remain great, and the kingdom united. Now I understand a sense of pride in your country, people, and culture as well as having a sense of identity which can be somewhat diluted by being part of another (hell the head of my own country is still Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second) but my own personal opinion is this doesn’t change your history or sense of self and the decision to remain in the United Kingdom is a good one.

The human race tends to suffer from “the grass is greener” syndrome, day in and out we are faced with our share of problems and challenges and sometimes it is easier to look at the grass over the fence and declare it is greener and you would much rather be there. But what if the grass is only greener over there because of the excessive use of fertilizer that makes it hazardous to your health and a picnic on the grass leaves you with massive skin irritation. Now whilst your grass may be a funky brown colour it doesn’t have to stay that way, with love, care and attention your own grass can become just as luscious as your neighbors and without the hazards to your health.

Now I admit that I am on the outside looking in, I live in Australia and whilst I have family in that neck of the woods I don’t face the issues or problems and quite likely have quite a different set of desires compared to them however valid the objections and issues may be with tory rule I do not believe that succession and defining your own borders is the right solution, instead work together with your English counterparts to not only improve Scotland but also the wider society as a whole. There have been words thrown around such as dictatorship and oppression however I do not believe the people using them necessarily understand what they mean… If Scotland was truly under Tory dictatorship or oppressed today would not have happened, protests for independence would result in people being arrested, potentially tortured or even executed. The people wanting and talking about an independent Scotland would not be marching the streets, hosting rallies or wearing yes buttons they would be meeting in secret and having their lives ruled by fear of discovery.

In the end it was a very hot issue and close to the hearts of many, I hope that the verdict does not drive people to do stupid things simply because others did not see things the same way as in the end they can be your friends, neighbors but above all else they are still your countrymen. Take it on the chin that people didn’t agree with you, band together to build a better Scotland and a better United Kingdom for yourselves, your children and the generations to come. One of the few times I will probably agree with what a politician had to say, however Julie Bishop said that the world has enough borders and I tend to agree with her. The world as a whole should more come together to fight the issues that the global community faces and further segregation is a step backwards.

Getting Fed Up

In a lot of ways I am a traditionalist, I believe in manners like greeting the people you interact with on a daily basis and thanking people who provide you service yet the people around me often seem so consumed with their own little world, or their phones (hell even I’m guilty of this plenty of times) but never take the time to look up and interact with those around you. In todays modern 21st century world we are privileged to live in the age of information, we have unprecedented levels of access to news, information and knowledge yet the question I keep on coming back to is why do people choose to cling to ideologies, opinions and run with the line that they are fed as long as they are provided their conveniences and a constant stream of “the best thing ever” to consume their daily existence and remove the need to think.

Why bother when you can just click like?

Sometimes when I feel the most powerless and unable to make a difference in the world I remember the times on my daily commute between the workplace and home when somebody I have smiled at, or wished a good day suddenly seemed to have their complete mood change, in some cases from looking down to suddenly smiling themselves. What if a sea of smiling faces can be brought about by the first person that smiles, hell I don’t know if it can happen but I would love to see it, the world needs more smiling faces; And whilst we will always have our challenges, issues and demons a smiling face can often make the world seem brighter.

Although lately some days it is getting harder and harder to see the positive, and that it’s slowly shrinking and fleeting away from me. I have always tried to be an optimistic idealist and whilst it’s something I hope to never lose today’s society makes it harder and harder to hold onto and it has been driving me into a bit of a rut. There are so many things that I have been thinking about lately, and have been wanting to write on as this blog was originally designed for that purpose but I can’t seem to get myself out of the internalization only rut.