Saturday, August 16, 2014

For he who laughs last.




Laughter was your savior
An honorable stigma
To have us brighten,
For a moment,
To make us
Forget
The Present
Worries
Anxieties
Sufferings
The world,
Will always be-
Satiated
With woes.

With wonders
You made us
Laugh, into laughter
From the laughter
You dispensed
Like the morning
Light radiating
In reverse
That river
Unlike Nature's
Out to sea
Your flow
Took life
Just to be-
"The Joke
It really was
meant to be!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams 1951 - 2014

The ironic Pagliacci syndrome; he himself could not laugh though he made millions laugh. Comedy ended in tragedy, which is tragic indeed. 

I believe there are and will be stragglers of the age of tragedy who cannot embrace the human comedy, the ego comedy, the laughable absurdity of self and collective importance. Tragedy is to be subsumed into Comedy, not the other way around.  

Robin Williams.  His merit is truly great.  He has brought the Medicine of laughter to millions; he prescribed transcendence and healing.  True teachers never need preach.      

From a Dzoghcen pericope:

Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing.

Longchenpa (1308-1364)
The Great Perfection’s Self-Liberation in the Nature of Mind

Practice the high Comedy which subsumes tragedy,  Robin Williams.  Continue making laughter and medicine.


  
Robin Williams 
July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014
おん呵呵呵びさんまえい薩婆訶

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Neolithic



The holiday was ordered
Somewhere to be alone 
No doubt it’s for the best
The doctor requires it

You do remember him?
Yes, angular, bald, spectacles
An  enormous lime tree
Outside the practice- swaying

In April, he fiddled, scratched
Around the airless, spotless room
He spoke while grasping phrases
Between breaths like a  trout

Coming up for air- you lit up!
Your face fractured in subtle lines
I never noticed before? “He’s right-
“Somewhere to be alone is best”

And was it four leaden weeks?
Later, after fragmented conversations
Brittany was that land, chosen
For some vague ancestral reason?

Or perhaps you just liked its odd
Curved like finger projections
And indentations that distracts
The mind from the plain facts of life

And death- we never mentioned-
Until we drove the grassy road
It was a mistake, no shortcut-
How the willows simply glistened

Not a vehicle for miles and miles
Fields with poppies, cows with bells
Like Mahler’s tragic sixth you said!
Still pretending to be middle classed!

Cultured, respectable until the bitter- end?
How it was after all the sharp bends
The road just petered out- no abrupt
Transition- just a limestone path-

To a patch of ancient stone circles
You counted, rubbing their surfaces
You knew their meaning and purpose
Smiling, silently alone, finally at peace.

Afterwards you visited that doctor
With his awful pills the size of grenades-
You endured the well greased machines
And got through it- somehow, indifferent, free?




The Dark Energy of Fanaticism.





Consider what's happening in Iraq at the moment. Consider what's happening in the Gaza strip at the moment too.  Then consider what happened in the Balkans during the 1990s. The common thread again is monotheism and the unbalanced sense of self righteous correctness it seems to instill in all who submit to its dictates, regardless of whether they are actually Muslims, Christians or Jews. Monotheism breeds fanaticism in all its forms and the secular versions of it like Communism or Fascism were exactly the same. The treacle like density and opacity of every version of monotheism, can only be fully appreciated when you consider that the fanatical hatred and brutality being displayed by the ISIS (Sunni)  group who are in the process of conducting mass genocide at the moment, is, equally going to be applied not just to Christians, but also the other Muslim groups (Shiites and Kurds) in Iraq. The long withstanding difference between the Sunni and Shiite groups goes back centuries, yet, the substance of the difference between both forms of Islam is slight. The mass executions, rapes, be-headings, live burials, torture, are all done by the gun waving fanatic because he knows he's 100% right, because his God is singular, absolute and 100% right in everything he demands of his followers. Like all monotheism, the Sunni religion seems to prefer obedience and action to both the truth and compassion. There is also perhaps another more controversial thesis too about what happens in situations like Iraq which allows people who are in the classical sense evil to the core, to carry out what they want, to whoever they want, whenever they want without any consequences, and who do what they do "in the name of a religion" without believing any of it themselves. However without the dark energy of the fanatics whirling around their desert, war gods in the first place, the opportunistic evil ones, who believe in nothing, and enjoy being cruel and destructive for the sake of it, would never get their chance to join their holy god inspired brothers in the task of purifying the land for their monotheistic thin pot God.



        

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Hyper- Reality of the Lonely Crowd.



"Forget Reality- that's the slogan of our new affluent society" John Galbraith

"People can only handle so much reality" T.S Eliot 

People have always wanted to escape from reality. The many reasons are obvious and well known, boredom, curiosity, the need to be different, the taste for newness or a desire for a sense of otherness, the need to commune with like-minded souls who are different from members of your family or community etc. Traditionally, Religion, the Arts, Sport, Cinema, even Science have been some of the different forms of "structured escape" from reality in the past. All of these types of escape usually involved some type of shared cultural beliefs among those whose were members, like those who belong to certain churches, or, those who support and follow certain football teams for example. Also, membership implicitly implied that the members of such social groupings would be high knowledgeable about their form of escape, and, often even their language would take on a different dialect and become highly nuanced when members would be together. 


Recently, I was at a public discussion held in my own city about the new possibilities for reality and society arising from the social media revolution. At the meeting there were the usual academics, members from various IT companies, Government officials and of course ordinary members of the public (usually under 30) who were daily users of Twitter and Facebook. The level of the discussion despite the grandiose title was decidedly parochial, but, largely most speakers seemed to be overwhelmingly positive in their general acceptance and enthusiasm about almost every facet of data that the social media has to offer society. What struck my mind forcefully at the discussion was the plain fact that the social media revolution dose not actually offer anything really novel in terms of its stated objectives. The form may have changed for our age, but Facebook is essentially nothing more than a collective pen-friend club, and, Twitter despite it claim to be producing a more inclusive and "clued in" society actually diminishes real debate and discussion by allowing users to anonymous make whatever crude or stupid remark comes into their skulls. I don't believe that the social media represents a great creative force akin to the forms of structured escape society had in the past, as essentially due to the lack of structure and shared beliefs that informs the whole social media fabric there is no real community out there in the first place!. You cannot escape reality and create something more real then the everyday world by positing a realm which is simply a running and often banal commentary on the latest general trends and opinions formed by society itself. There can be no transmutation of the mere facts of life by simply getting users to comment ad-nausea on the mere facts once more, and, pretending that this  somehow equates to creative insight and discussion. The traditional forms of escape allow for it members to undergo real states of change, whether this is through their football team winning, from going to a music gig, to writing a short story, all of these activities are based on certain beliefs that allow certain anticipations to arise in the imagination, and this is how they become creative activities. At the discussion, it unnerved me how blind, naive and uncritical many members of the younger generation are regarding the role of technology in society. It struck me at a psychological level that there's a tendency for people, especially, younger people to accept technology as it seems to equate to successful technique in their minds, and knowing how to successfully use an IT app is to be, up-to-date and "ahead of the game" in their world.             


Afterwards I reflected more and I came to the conclusion that unlike the older forms of escape the social media does not represent reality in the first instance, rather it is carefully constructed form of collective ideology called Hyper-Reality. Hyper-Reality is a collective form of a-historical, abstract, laxity that at best just induces users to be nothing than "informed" about the latest trends and stories and to be become "creatively"  involved in the story by adding their own text or tweet. Just like internet porn, it represents a kind of profound negation of our own unique creative potential by serving up what was once genuinely subversive, different and taboo as just another way to join in and loss yourself in the The Lonely Crowd.

      
                        

    

Friday, August 8, 2014

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973

Still a brilliant Album.

http://youtu.be/-xpfkIm26Jk Grey seal 

Your mission bells were wrought by ancient men
The roots were formed by twisted roots
Your roots were twisted then
I was re-born before all life could die
The Phoenix bird will leave this world to fly
If the Phoenix bird can fly then so can I


Who writes lyrics like this anymore!!







Thursday, August 7, 2014

Adventures of the time travelling Philosophers 2014



(The two ancient philosophers return to their time-machine after a night on the tiles in Blackpool England)   



Socrates  “So what is this place? My friend?”
Plato “A mystery within another mystery”
Socrates “Ah Peanuts! A mystery with a mystery, typical of you”
Plato “Alright great and noble one we’ve arrived in the year 2014.. What a peasant!” 
Socrates “Humour at last, after 3000 years of being locked in this grubby time machine with you singing the virtues of the ideal, no wonder the Tudors nearly had us beheaded….so anyway what of philosophy in these times? What of her noble calling, her receiving in mankind’s hands, the torch flame touched in the passing away of Night”
Plato “Talk about me being flowery…..well good friend
she makes no such demands any more, now she merely whispers that we must observe ourselves in our own image and compare ourselves to every other self’s opinion without any critical judgement”
Socrates “What a load of peanuts”
Plato “Indeed… they’ve even created this little (showing a tablet) space filled with whispers commenting on the whispers of other opinions called twitters”
Socrates “Twitters…What would that stuffy Frenchman from Rouen think…who we met…”
Plato “I say he’ll fall off his horse again!”
Socrates “Sounds rather banal! But still would like to see his pompous bum hit the ground again nevertheless”
Plato “Indeed, why, you’ve have become very cynical these days?”
Socrates “Well, smarty pants it’s not philosophy is it!”
Plato “Correction, it’s not philosophy as we know it” 
Socrates “Oh please, don’t reference that play from the year 1963, with men and women, colored into one garment, going into the void…I still recovered from that yet!”
Plato “ But to be serious for a moment, cynicism with regard to the state of philosophy in this time is not totally without warrant…most people have not interest in being their true self, the accept this world as the one only true realm.
Socrates “And of course how can you be anything greater than your natural self is you believe there’s nothing more than the material world?”
Plato “ Therein lays the rub!”
Socrates “Obviously your books must bore them!” 
Plato “Obviously!..but if you have lived your whole live in a prison then how do you know any different”
Socrates “Very true…hence the twitter book! You’re beginning to sound like a true weary philosopher, or, a one eyed poet from another time”
Plato “Poet, perish the thought”
Socrates “Alright boy genius get me a good ale…doubt it will be up to the Tudor’s style…and start figuring which button to press next” 
Plato” No you don’t my friend, night is coming and we need to be sober to get this crate going!” 
Socrates “Sober what a spoil sport…!” 

Plato's Dry Soul


   
"Water me, I'm a pot plant"




I don't think Plato liked the world much. Like Baudelaire’s seven horrible little dwarf men, I don't think he was merely indifferent to to its vicissitudes. One derives from his books, a man, who was born to be the philosopher in the classical religious sense. His haughty scorn for everything "human, all to human" is never very far away, and, one senses with this most peculiar and sheltered man, a person who never once let himself go, even, in the drinking parties he attends he always appears to be the sober one . This ever present self vigilance of himself combined with his natural distrustful to the passions of others, sets the context out of which he writes on many topics.. Although he seems to have genuinely appreciated women, and advocated for their equality with men in many matters, there is nevertheless the sense of a man, who was afraid of the "feminine". This fear (common enough in his society) he equated with the irrational which was something that many Greeks appeared to have a deep seated anxiety about as it was synonymous with chaos and disorder in their social universe.

Plato was nevertheless an excellent writer. His ideas are clear and interesting and he employs a huge range of literary techniques in his writing to get his ideas over to this audience. His metaphors of the Cave in the Republic and of the three sexes in the Symposium are quite exceptional in the history of western philosophy. However, as he gets older, the views darken, especially those in relation to the fate of mankind and towards the created world in general. Additionally, despite the fact that he's rarely boring to read, there is almost no humour or wit to found in most of his writings. Humour one generally finds is more abundant in the works of writers who've experienced the world, and got dirtied by it, and yet lived to tell the tale. With Plato there is never this sense at all. In fact you get sense that he becomes even more aloof and detached for the "rag and bone world of experience" as his hair gets grayer, as a result his dislike of the world becomes even more intractable with age. The only thing that moves him passionately eventually is the beauty of the ideal over all sensuous experiences, including those of the arts and music, which he derides as false copies of the ideal. As a consequent, the ideal person or philosopher must be a man or indeed women, who ruthlessly restraints themselves from all sensuous involvement in the world, they must devote themselves to serving the state in a selfish or altruistic manner (the guardians), they must be rational in all matters, and preferably if men, conduct themselves in real friendships only with other men (the famous platonic relationship). It's difficult to appreciate the impact this one man had on western culture, and how his own personal (aristocratic) distaste for the world would become even more concentrated through Christianity, who's troubled legacy we're only beginning to awake from. Salvation to Plato was the soul gone dry and detached, ready to be join the abstract Gods in contemplation of higher things once the soul has shed the dross of its mortal desire ridden attractions. Even in an posthumous existence there is no sensory or sensuous reward, even the personal detached ego is swallowed up into this pure metaphysical realm of ideas and Gods. In this key sense, Plato should be understood more as world renouncing religious ascetic rather than a philosopher in the normal modern sense of that concept. However, if Plato happens to be on the metaphysical money, I think the human race will be in the created world for a very, very, long time to come!
  



Where once there was a home.





Smoldering mess.
Charred mortar
Black like hell
And twisted iron
Who could believe it.

A snarling monster.
Like a primordial demon
Worked his overtime, last night.
There was chaos and fear

But, no water to be had.
He was here too, helpless,
What could he do, but watch
The Devil, reduce, reduce, reduce

To that ubiquitous colour.
Now gentle smoke, blue flame
Purr like a satisfied tiger
Lazing in the morning sun.

It’s difficult to imagine him.
When yesterday was yesterday,
When this was other than is,
With the world alright for him.