Trusting the world

I once saw the most intriguing insect crawling along the ridge of a bench. It was a creature which reached out with its head, forming an arch, then brought the rest of its body forward, lurching forward pace by pace.

It was young, tiny, new, full of vigour and curiosity for the world. I held out my bag to offer the creature a safer place to crawl upon. It rose up on its ‘haunches’, making a half-arch with its tiny body, reaching up and out to the new surface, buffeted by the wind and tugged upon by gravity. It hung there for a while, ‘sniffing’ out what must have appeared another vast plane of existence.

It would all be so far beyond its tiny comprehension, where it was, where it might be going, what I was, what my intentions were. This creature had no defences, no knowledge but its survival instincts, no obvious direction, no solidarity with its clan. All it could do was trust and drive itself forth. Reaching up, hanging there, it made some kind of ‘decision’ and latched onto the bag, bringing the rest of its body with it.

If beings of greater time-span and superior mind exist in the cosmos, I should imagine we are would appear much the same. With our tiny scope for perception we must always have to trust the world and trust ourselves.

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Pieces of a puzzle

A man of great knowledge may have a hundred pieces to the puzzle. Yet so obsessed is he with growing his hoard of knowledge that he is only focused on attaining more. He keeps his pieces piled high somewhere safe and prides himself on his collection. It shows everyone else how learned he is. Sometimes he takes out a piece of a puzzle and marvels at it, then returns it to the disordered jumble in his vaults.

A man of great wisdom has spent more time thinking about the connection between things, about the whole. He has only found twenty pieces to the puzzle. Yet he can attain greater truth than the man with a hundred pieces. For the wise one can lay out the few pieces he has – perhaps all of the edge pieces, or a significant portion of one part of the puzzle. Through reason he can try to fill in the gaps, make educated guesses, find some kind of direction, deduce what is missing. Whatever happens, the wise man has not been blinded to the wood by the trees. Despite having less pieces he knows more about the truth by his abilities of intuition, the making of connections, inferences and imaginations. Empiricism is a vital part of his truth, but it is only an aid to a deeper form of understanding.

So much for the value of sheer accumulation of knowledge in discovering truth. A man could have the totality of the universe at his finger tips and yet never put it together in a meaningful way.

Know thyself

They want you to deny what is true.

They want you to turn away from what is happening inside your very self.

They want you to heal their wounds and fill the black hole of their souls…

It is no mystery to me where self-destructive energies originate from. The pornography and the drugs and the listless consumption, the social competition and the striving for impossible goals. It is only a mystery to one who dares not to know themselves.

Life is filled with wounds and they can only be healed with acknowledgement. They must be brought out from the depths and overcome with the aid of enlightened witnesses. The work must be done to rid us of their chains before we can move forward.

Yet the great illusions of society; halo-wearing authority and idealized family, protects abusers and wrongdoers and humiliators, forces us to be silent.

Wounds are caused, atrocities committed, but they cannot be spoken of. They must be swallowed down by the sufferer, carried like a great burdening stone so that an abusive tyrant can have his warped rule and his illusion of conscience.

It is a pointless arrangement, no one wins. The tyrant, filled with unacknowledged wounds, is a black hole which swallows all love and encouragement. Until one decides to look within, they are hopeless.

There are those in this world who have elected to be only the mask that they wear. Such people, the ultimate cowards of the human soul, have turned away from their true inner selves. Not only this, these blind would lead those with sight; their way will poison the well for everyone else, and drag all that is good down to their gutter-level. They can do nothing else.

From such wretchedness spring the cruelties of the world we see, the destruction of nature, the wars between nations, consumerist nihilism, the lust to dominate and enslave and abuse and abuse and abuse and abuse and abuse.

These things might be called ‘human nature’ by those who dare not seek the better explanation. They may seem inexplicable to fools who do not even know what lies inside the cavity of their own bodies, such is their ignorance.

Someone who doesn’t even strive to know the very mind they experience the world through, what can they know? Someone blind to their own dreams and their own creative will. What can they say that is of any worth to anyone?

It is no easier to face the world from a place of ignorance. The wraiths of the soul haunt everyone who is scarred, in dreams and extreme emotions. Ignorance is no bliss, but to be reduced to a bovine state, to cage oneself and lash out for the lack of self-knowledge or understanding whenever dark emotions bubble.

The philosophy of mindfulness can feed into this ignorance. To believe you can be a creature of the present is nothing if not naivety. Whilst mindfulness provides useful tools for coping in a hostile capitalist world, it does not answer the question of how to heal our wounded souls, and provides the unreachable vista of ‘living in the present’ to further make us feel like we are falling short of Buddha-like enlightenment. Self-knowledge can only be achieved through the understanding of human beings as total beings – of past, present and future in conflux around our minds. There is no escaping the inner depths, no enlightenment from it, no ultimate control of what occurs down there.

The subconscious root-mind has to claw at us for us to hear, and drag us into its dark domain where we cleave to light and life. Perhaps not everyone gets that call with the same potency. But what happens to human responsibility if knowing the very essence of ourselves is something outside of our control?

You may not be able to dive to the depths whenever you please, but you can have the gate ready to open when the blackness inside calls, to accept the dark passages of our wounded souls and venture into it shield raised and heart steeled when the time is right. There might even be allies near us who can help us in this difficult quest.

All the people who live for illusion, those live-for-nothings, have a chance to accept the truth that they are wounded, that there are no gods on this earth, and that we must take final responsibility for our souls before the end of our days. However destroyed our mental state, however unfair our circumstances and however unsupported we may be, we can strive to be true to ourselves. There are no excuses.

I have often written about the burden of the Sinbearer – one who is hurt by an authority and forced to be silent, to carry that weight. It is a burden which always crushes and destroys, and which serves no purpose.

Here is the truth of the matter – it is you, or him.

Will you speak the truth of his wretchedness, unbind yourself with your own will to freedom and daring, or will you self-destroy in primal acts of repressed rage and frustration, addiction and self-harm?

I know much of this has been rather black and white, good and evil – this is acknowledged. But I believe it is ultimately true, that evil is as real as anything else in the world around you. There is never a time where to be blind to oneself can lead to anything but destruction, and our dying world is proof of this. This is evil itself, the supreme ignorance and supreme indignity upon oneself.

Nature contains suffering and predatory behaviour – it is inevitable that we will suffer somewhat. It is also filled with beauty and a will to live and exert tremendous power on the gaian world which birthed us. In human beings we can largely control the darkness and be Whole together, our will to power can create incredible art and music, our souls can rise to become gentle stewards of our part of the world, creating edens of nature and technology.

This is if we want such a world – we certainly have the potential. And to want such a world, which we could begin to make tomorrow, we must first acknowledge the pain that is inside us all – to liberate ourselves from the rule of the tortured and the insane.

This cannot be done through the power of love and forgiveness alone, though it is a potent force. Thus we must struggle to the last of our strength to acknowledge our will to power, rise up and be seen, heard and understood. To not do so is to live in wretchedness, so what do you have to lose?

I am, I exist, the world is, the world exists

Aged around three I gazed at my hand and thought ‘I can’t believe I am actually here! I can’t believe this is real and I exist!’

I remember it distinctly. I recognized myself, and the stupendous odds of my ever having incarnated.

It took twenty seven years, but just this week it truly hit me that the world actually is, and the world actually fucking exists. It actually is, it really is, it moves through time, it is. I can’t believe it is actually there, its incredible! The stupendous odds of it.

Strange things happen in this universe.

 

 

They hurt people

It is impossible to escape the news, as much as I find it necessary in my current condition. It feeds anxiety, sensationalistic violence and ‘unprecedented’ tragedy, every day.

The news is a narrative, and a sorrowful one. The mind, wishing to predict the future, looks to the past, and projects it outwards. We watch the news, then, to be safe, to gather memories from society’s great ocean.

As with most anxious thoughts and dispositions, there is exaggeration and skewed perception. The news, like an anxious mind, focusses on danger, terror and harm.

But the news only tells of ‘cinematic’ harm, massive harm, sellable harm. The news about the millions of people, elderly, with disabilities, poverty-stricken, living in absolute psychic squalor is few and far between. These drawn out sufferings, if added together in some utilitarian calculus, would far outweigh the pain of war and terror.

This is in the billions: the exploited and the starved. The objectified and the enslaved. Billions, everywhere. Not only overseas, in distant lands and different narratives, but here. Your own elected officials will harm people in your own life time in your own country. This is real and it is happening.

Slaves all to ‘progress’, more aptly described as fear of stillness and re-evaluation. The juggernaught carries on, humanity is swept away. Chugging oil in its engine, it breathes out thick clouds of noxious smoke.

Fortunately, it will slow and eventually grind to a halt. There is much cause for optimism as humanity evolves, and I have no doubt we can grow from our pain, if we finally learn from it.

The antidote to anxiety does not lie in the cause of anxiety. One that takes cannot give, one that silences cannot implore, one that demeans cannot exalt. We must look beyond the societies around us for answers. We must plumb the depths of our histories, reaching back to stone circles and we must dream to the future where things improve and technology is used for the common good. We must dare to imagine something beyond capitalism, or amoral systems which can never provide for the most important thing of all. Human, plant and animal wellbeing, safety, encouragement and happiness.

They harm people every day, but you never hear about it in the news. Well, you can hear about it here. Now that we have these shared nodes of consciousness, let us expand until we reach critical mass. Let us undo these shackles of thought and throw off the heavy weights of despondency. Evolution is unstoppable, be part of it, and make sure you are evolving mankind in the right way.

It is possible. It is only the part of the mind that builds predictions based on anxiety that says it is not. That is a worm of the mind, planted by those who harm people.

New Places

Blog,

I often go on an upward spiral when I remember you. Of late, my handwriting has become so bad my notes are like hieroglyphics! Nonetheless, plentiful wisdoms await, yearning for their chance to the see light.

Writing in this notepad is like finding seeds in a meadow, and expressing them the digging, tilling and planting. Looking back, what I have written is often good advice on the right track; glimmers of what is to come all but presaged. But to embody truth takes something else I cannot quite put my finger on. The words say what would be best for me to do, but this awareness alone has to become practiced and truly embedded someplace deep within. That ‘someplace’ is a mystery beyond us all. As unknowable as the forces behind the cosmos.

And even if we know the right path, day to day bad habits pulls us away. Into tunnel-vision, into bad routines, into negative thinking patterns. I am prone to a lot of this, and the isolation and sadness and frustration that follows.

Of course, even that last paragraph is quite unnecessarily gloomy! Things are not bad now, just wobbly and (occasionally) boring. I have made great steps toward recovery, and crossed a threshold of understanding today.

It is about giving the body the time it needs to process things and heal. I will trust myself and those around me. I will trust the flux of all-things we are contained within.

Life has humbled me; my being turned out to be more than just a mind and its expectations. I must learn to live at a new rhythm, away from impossible expectations and unhealthy obsessions.

Reading has helped enormously. Although anxious and vulnerable, the power of words has a much bigger impact on me. Music too. I experience it now with the vivacity of a child. The world is scary and wonderful again at the same time.

But writing, like a mirror, reflects and expresses. I have created a narrative and history here, through Nyteshade, and I am happy that you are travelling along with me.

At one time, this was the only solace in a harsh and demeaning Winter time. Now the spore has landed and grown into a mushroom, I promise to be more active and restore this good habit!

I want to feel good. I want to be well.

That is self-love, writing is self-love. Please express yourself too. Say how you are, say how you will meet Nyteshade in the dark, colourful glade. Say something whimsical and silly, or just be.

Just bring a quill and parchment!

Loss (the instability of consciousness)

Imagine sitting in a chair that is hard and uncomfortable. No matter how you wriggle, you always end up with an ache somewhere. The top of the chair digs in to your back, so you hunch further down into it, but that only makes things worse in the long run. So you go back to how you were at first, having forgotten the feeling of a wooden bar against the top of your spine. You turn sideways, but now your neck is cranked at an awkward angle and in futility you begin to massage your shoulders. So you hunch down.

This is what my consciousness feels like inside my head. Disjointed, disorientated, confused. Uncomfortable with itself, it struggles between uncomfortable places.

I believe this is for two reasons, both metaphysical and intellectual: the first is that I have not accepted that there is no centre, that consciousness is intrinsically afloat on a stormy sea, and the second is that change and loss is the nature of all things.

I will focus on the second. Everything comes from something and dissolves back into that something. Change is a blessing when you are in pain, for it won’t be forever. But it is not a nice though to think that what is familiar to you, people and places, will someday cease to exist. This is especially true when we have a strong sense of memory and the places that made us happy.

Good days are the ones we want to hold on to, but inevitably they come and go. And when we really think about it, we were never truly in control of the millions of factors which fed into those good days. Indeed, that is what made them good!

So longing to recreate them is futile. What has been has been. Things are gained and lost. People in our lives also; found and lost.

Trying to predict every factor that feeds into this impossibly complex ‘equation’ that is life / lyfe – such a thing cannot be done. And is not desirable – imagine how terribly contrived it would be if everything fit your dreams to perfection and was entirely of your creation; there would be no other autonomous people, just you directing everything.

Yet insecurity and instability are frightening, so it is understandable that we want a foundation of control. We could talk about balance here, but I feel that will be naive. What balance? What sense of control?

None of us will ever be given one for long. Consciousness, echoing the nature of all-things as transient and permeable and centre-less, cannot sustain itself forever. It evolves by virtue of what it is.

Even this article has no coherent central theme, just fragmented paragraphs loosely linked together. That is more profound then you may think, if you can work your head around it.

Holding on is anxiety, letting go is anxiety!

Perhaps this universe was made as some kind of joke, one that we human beings, limited in power and perception, can never truly see the funny side of. The joke is really cruel because we have the infinite abilities of thought and imagination, without the inner-strength to truly make sense of this great something (which doesn’t have much of a meaning anyway), we are beholden to. Sometimes it is funny, at least when people take it a bit too seriously and fight to hold on to their illusion. But largely it is tragic, and it is only in being together that we can survive in such a universe for long.

God has been taken away from us and there is nothing to take His place. Well, except for the microorganisms which feed on the bloated corpses of the fallen perhaps.

Ha ha.

 

The Pace of Oppression

Oppression is not a solid thing. It is not a tangible entity. I feel it inside me as a pace of life, a compulsion, a chimera of fear and desire and desperation.

A cursory think about the capitalist system reveals the truth of its oppressive nature. What would happen if you decided to take a spontaneous holiday from work? You would become unemployed. To make ends meet you would have to go to a job centre. They would force you to look for work or participate in some kind of scheme to acquire the basics of living. You would be forced to do things equally as unpleasant as work. In other words, beyond set holidays there is no option to ‘opt out’ of this society for any duration of time. You have to be constantly active, most of the time.

This driving force to endlessly do things is the invisible motor of capitalism. It makes people hugely “productive”. So “productive” in fact that they have no time for hobbies, they have no time for relatives, they have no time for volunteering, they have no time for their children, they have no time for those with mental health problems, they have no time for artists. In fact, they have no time for anyone but the busybodies who think that everyone should be forced to do things, all the time (in other words, the bosses profiting from this sorry state of affairs).

As if this false economy of constant motion is somehow a noble end! As if endless consumption and the environmental devastation that follows is an inevitable law of human societies. Please! Do not be such an underachiever.

Human beings who are forced to do things they do not want to do become miserable. And human beings forced to do things they do not want to do, will do so in a half-assed, second-rate way. Left to their own devices, human beings will naturally labour to improve their lot. This is not only because they have to, in order to survive, but also because labour can actually be rather pleasant when done for the common good, and at one’s own pace.  Doubly so when we can actually enjoy the products of our labour, rather than feeding the super rich parasites draining us all.

Pause. Take breath.

We are emotional beings, children of nature. We are not machines waiting to be driven by a crankshaft. Any mechanistic, deterministic view of humanity has to die; we must be liberated from the tyranny of forced work. This race for productivity, to make more and more and more without even having the time to enjoy the fruits of our labour – the quickest way to describe it is a load of old bollocks. The most severe way as a deep waste of potential, and massive cause of anxiety and depression.

To feel like you have to constantly fill your life is a waste of that life. A window is useful because it is an absence of material; a bowl is most useful when it is empty; a wheel runs swifter that has gaps in it. The right to philosophical contemplation, to idle play, to whimsical creation, or just to lie in and have an indulgent wank, is essential to human happiness. Why is our society bent against such simple pleasures and basic securities?

Until the basics of life are provided for, and until labour is performed at our own pace for the common good of all, endless miserable work is the lingering doom we are going to have to live with. This is our inheritance of the archaic capitalist system, which no one really believes in, but the cowardly, uninspired masses go along with for their apathetic lack of hope in humankind.

If you believe that people should be allowed to work as what they want to be, rather than what they are forced to be, congratulations, you are a liberated socialist.

Feeling Trapped

Feeling trapped and hopeless, you only have to ask yourself one question. The answer to this will determine whether or not you will remain trapped until your body expires, or whether you can change your circumstances. The question is thus: do you want to move forward?

Do you want to take one small step toward your freedom and happiness. If the answer is yes, then you are not truly trapped, nor are you without hope. By taking one small step in the right direction, you are upsetting the cage surrounding you. By taking one small step in the right direction, you are disproving the ideas within and without that you are unable to do anything.

It might feel like a futile step. It might feel like a stab in the dark. But there is nothing wrong with that. There are two reasons to be optimistic about your one small step. The first is that it demonstrates a functional conatus. This nice Latin word is a key concept from the philosophy of Spinoza. Effectively, the essence of any mode (or thing) is its desire to continue existing. Everything has a conatus – a person, a snail, a chair, a wall, a molecule. Everything. By attempting to gain more freedom, you are affirming your will to survival. More than that, you are increasing your power-in-the-world. Your one step forward is not just an intellectual exercise, it is an execution of direct action. You are safe in the knowledge that you are doing what is best for you, and this is a sign of self-love. The second reason to be optimistic about your one small step actually comes from a lack of knowledge. Namely, scepticism about cause and effect. You never know how much of an effect your own small step will take. I liken this to a questing knight, roaming through a harsh cavern alone. She does not know what lurks beyond, but she isn’t going to get out by staying where she is for too long. So, she has one certainty; shield raised before her, sword on guard, she must push forward whatever may come. And this ‘whatever may come’ is a great question indeed, and there are too many variables for it to ever truly be known. Therefore, knowing that the only certainty is to move forward, you can push through the darkness never truly knowing if it is a futile gesture, or will eventually lead to something good. By chance or fortune, the path must reach somewhere.

Looking at my own life, I can see two massive turning points, both small steps. One was setting up a philosophy stall which made no money, at a time when I was ‘trapped’ and living in near absolute poverty. Through the stall I happened to meet someone who saw a light in me. That person, six years later, has helped me find work which will help me survive in this horrible capitalist system without selling too much of my free time. At the time, on the morning of setting up that small, I could never have envisioned meeting her or the effect she would have on my life. The second turning point was around five years ago, volunteering to help plant some birch saplings on a common. I quickly became attached to the saplings and became their primary caregiver. When developers came to destroy the common and the trees, we dug the young woodland out and potted them up. Fortunately a team of cool squatters rode in on their skateboards (true story!) and occupied an abandoned car wash where we could store them. I was ‘trapped’ in a flat again, but eventually took the plunge, bought a tent for eighty quid, and joined the skaters! My first experience of squatting was a huge dose of freedom, which eventually led me to Grow Heathrow; a place of near-total freedom. Those are just two examples of massive positive impacts on my life, growing out of small deeds.

I do not believe that all oppressions are in the mind of the oppressed. That is letting the moneymen and the militaries and the heartless psychopaths who run society off the hook (lol Theresa May). It is also ignoring the sheer negative effect of material deprivation, and our simple mammalian need for warmth, love and nourishment. But there is some degree to which we can oppress ourselves. For in the dark ichor of our minds we might miss the small degree of freedom in us. We must first unmake the ‘woe is me’ attitude, stop engineering the universe against us, and instead recognise where we are disadvantaged and how we will overcome it with our comrades. For freedom, and hope, is simply represented by the will to continue; the will to keep on crawling forward and fighting evil come what may. No one and nothing can extinguish that – it is our essence. Even if it seems we are throwing eggs against a castle wall, it is something; a symbol of resistance and therefore self-worth. You can always manage this, however small a gesture it is.

If you are feeling trapped, as I sometimes do even now, hold on to this light of hope. You are still breathing, and you still have awareness. The seemingly patterned world around you – though it may seem like a solid block, an eternal fortress where there is little of hope or justice – is actually in flux. However slowly it may seem to be evolving, it is. Massive social change could be just around the corner, a tyrannous King could be just about to die of a heart attack, the waves may soon rise and change the priorities of shallow civilizations.

The love of your life might be waiting for you the next time you stand at a bus stop. You will only know if you go out there to meet her.