A Long and Lonely Road…

“You can write. Good story well told. No idea where you go with it or if you really want to go down this road, it’s a long hard road being a writer….”
So said Matt, a very good friends of mine, taking time out of his very busy schedule as author, director, screenwriter and generally very interesting family man to review my short story Embodied.
Writing involves losing oneself in other places and times, other people’s lives, inside of the words themselves. We lose ourselves. The great philosopher M. Mathers made mention of this in his deep tract of the same name and, despite what some may think of Eminem’s value as a literary source, he has a point. Writing fiction is where we see this most, I believe. We invent lives, worlds and events and bury ourselves in them, to become them and inhabit them so we can write about them. Another friend of mine spoke about a “cult of multiple personality” in describing a group of fiction writers and he too, is right don’t you think? I mean we, in any given novel, inhabit the heads of 4 or 5 people we invented with the hopes of making them real and believable to other people. We become them, we live as them, we make them real. The late and great Sir Terry Pratchett perhaps put it best. “The better a writer is, the crazier they are..”. So we are here, every last one of us hoping, praying, putting in late nights and long sessions to be utterly, utterly insane because no-one does all that sacrifice and work to be mediorce now do they? We want to be the best there the craziest!
So we walk this long and lonely road collectively alone. Walking inside of our own heads we follow the pack, we set off down another track, we turn round and come back, we set off on our own path and truly go alone? We write, we invent, we create, we become!
Nothing is harder are more difficult than pouring your heart and soul, your everything into a novel, a story, a collection, a blog or any such thing for months, even years and then when the DAY comes, when you see the “published” come on and the excitement threatens to explode to wait….to wait…and then…well….dum de dum….well….nothing. one sale. Diddly squat, zippo, nada. Bummer! It is beyond aweful. You placed a gosh darned piece of your SOUL out there and bared it to the world and not even a solitary handclap?? Well damn. So now what?
I told Matt, in response to his questions at the beginning of this article the following, which i quote;
“you know this is in the blood and being a writer isn’t a concious decision…being brave enough to share it and strong enough to take the criticism; rough enough to dust off and improve…those’re the choices. For me writing is a pleasure, a release, an outlet….I even dare say stuff writes itself! That shorty started very differently and kind of morphed as i wrote it; make sense? You know i don’t know; I write because it is ME….there are so many times when I’m not sure I am writing about my characters or whether they are writing themelves and i am simply observing…the words, often it’s as if the words are in charge and I’m just the one giving them shape..”
So here’s my advice. Your write and self publish, like so many of us do, and it bombs. Find out why…be brave and publish bits of it on groups and blogs, have friends and family read it and listen to what they have to say! Alexandria wasn’t built in a day, the most perfect of paintings were done over the top of older paintings, the best of steel is made by failing over and over and over again! Brush it off, stand up, wipe your hands and carry on!!
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert Kennedy

An Escape from Blame

As I mentioned in my previous article, passing on through it, humans don’t like to take blame. If something happened; either close by or far away, we let it happen one way or another. In fairness, before you all attack me, there are some things far away we can not really do anything about due to distance or circumstance but, in today’s Age of Information of everything is shareable, tweetable and so forth, as Obama started, we can continue in saying “Yes! We can!”.
 
Let us step backwards one moment though and come back from saving the world to beginning where what makes such a thing possible is begun. Let’s begin with this thought;
 
“Everything which ever happened to you is your fault”
 
Think about that for a moment, digest it, mull it over. Now argue with me! That’s right, you do not have control over what other people choose to do, how they are, the things they do. You are right but you can control how you react to those circumstances. I know ths is going to be a tough article because it is one which is most likely to upset a lot of people for a number of simple reasons. There are some things which we genuinely feel we cannot control but ask yourself to consider these scenarios first;
 
A friend of mine was brutally and horribly raped. I cannot even come close to imagining what that is like. Nothing I have lived can give me true understanding of what she went through. This same woman founded a local charity for helping other victims of rape move past the guilt, the suffering, the hate and rebuild their lives.
Another woman I know lost her husband of 40 years to cancer, she now fights for cancer research to be better funded and recognised.
A man who lost both of his legs climbs Mount Everest.
 
Alright; these are extremes but it does not change one simple fact; it is me who decides how I shape my future and how I look at myself. Look at this, I was in a long series of terrible, bad and downright awful relationships, ending with the one I left the US because of. She was controlling, abusive, nasty, hateful and all that stuff; mentally and physically abusive. I let her be. Here’s the thing, I read a while ago letters and emails and cards I had written to her, missives to myself as part of my therapy and my first thought was this “what a spineless little worm!” but this obvious invertibrate was me! I allowed her to control me and I allowed her to get away with all that I did. I did then and always do decide what happens to me and what I deserved. The day I decided that I deserved better was the day that I left No-one could make that decision for me but me.
 
So why, Alan the image from Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Museum clearly displaying the struggle for racial equality? Is this an article about personal struggle or a large struggle? Are they that different really? I experiecne what I allow, we experience what we allow. Surely you cannot say black people are responsibile for what white people did to them? In part yes they are. Why? Fear. Everyone fears to be the frst to stand up and go against the flow, the staus quo, the very tide itself. Ms. Rosa Parkes refused to move ona bus and they beat her. MLK refused to accept the status quo and they killed him. Various black and white people refused to accept division in the world and were harmed, beaten,. even killed for their refusal. Their resistance changed the world and, like that single stone they started the avalanche! By refusing to be beaten they gave courage to everyone else and the movement was begun! So, MLK, Rosa Parkes, Malcolm X and others decided to NOT let things just happen to them and look what they began! After they started others followed. Jim Crowe was destroyed, a black man became president, the N word is no longer acceptable. Why did no-one rise up before? They were surely afraid, they would be singled out and they and their family punished and even killed. It remained that way until along came someone for whom ideals, justice, RIGHT were more important than life itself. Such people are indeed rare and, while I say this I ask myself; would I be one to stand up in the face of tyranny knowing my life is forfeit no matter what I do? Knowing my wife and kids could be harmed because of what I say or do? I truly do not know there but I hope so.
 
But it boils down to this and I will ask you simply; what are you prepared to allow yourself to endure? What do you deserve to suffer? Can you end your suffering or make it matter?
 
Today’s society of share everything on Facebook or tweet it, compose a sad video on YouTube etc is all geared to denying responsibility for our circumstances;
 
My life sucks and and it awful, please pity me! What are YOU doing to make it better? WHAT is wrong with your life? WHY is it like that?
People don’t understand me and treat me awfully. HAVE you tried explaining yourself differently or better? have you tried asking people WHAT they don’t understand?
Everyone criticises me and is cruel. MAYBE criticism is good and your skin needs some thickening? WHAT are they criticising you for? HOW are they criticising you? WHAT are you doing about it?
 
You see maybe I’m weird, maybe I’m odd but I came out of that awful relationship I mentioned and, like I said she put me through the mill and I went through a significant degree of living Hell. When I got clear adn my family were talking to me they may well have noticed something strange; a reticence, an unwillingness to talk about it. Not due to PTSD, bad memories, denial or any of that. I was angry. I was incandescently enraged; not with her; she had behaved as she thought right but with me, myself, for allowing it to happen! I did not want sympathy, I did not want comfort, I did not want understanding. I caused that situation, I let it happen, I did not stop it earlier than I did.I had to make sure it would never happen again! It was me who drive my family sick with worry. Yes she did stuff to me but I allowed her to and I let me do it AFTER she had already shown me what she was; her nature. See look at this, if a dog bites me, I cannot truly be angry at the dog, it is his nature to bite when afraid. If I keep going to where he’s hiding knowing he’ll bite me, then I am to blame and, frankly quite stupid! You laugh but we have all been guilty. That job, those relationships, that family, those friends, that lifestyle, We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it. Until it became enough, right?
 
What made Rosa Parkes decide not to move back on the bus that day? What made Dr. King start preaching as he did? What made Ghandi refuse to back down? Why did Jesus start preaching, John the Baptist? We may never truly know why but we do know one thing for sure; they did. We know they did and we also know this; we can too, even if our Big Moment is smaller, more personal, it doesn’t change the most important part of what saying “this shall continue no more” involves. The bravery; the sheer undeniable unshakeable faith in doing what is Right! Not everyone is brave enough and to teach and every last one of you who won your struggle; whether you changed the world or your job; I here today salute you! I salute you all! Here is the secret I can now tell you;
 
“It doesn’t matter what others think, it matters what you think, period. Your struggle is yours alone, your victory, huge! Fight on and be proud you fought, but fight!”
 
Let’s be honest, everyone can post on Facebook and receive sympathy but very few can fight like lions to change their world and maybe other people’s. Very few, remember that.

Social Media Slavery?

I begin this with a caveat; I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently because I have been excluded from Facebook for what appears to be forevermore…
 
The strange thing I noticed was somewhat disturbing…
 
Now, I am a smoker but one that is conscious that he is addicted to a substance that is not necessary for – is actually detrimental to – his continued existence. I know what addiction pangs feel like when one’s poison is even temporarily denied.
 
I was feeling this same anxiety and what I call ‘the twitches’ when denied access to Facebook. I felt that something was missing and was quite keen to get back to that shared social space. I was even somewhat apathetic towards alternative media sources and also despondent in its absence.
 
I actually found that I no longer knew what to do with my free time…
 
A Surprising Truth
 
To date, 3.5 Billion people, or 45% of the world’s population use some for of Social Media daily. Of that number a massive 68% use Facebook daily, spending an average of three hours a day (that they admit to) on that or other social media sources.
 
That is quite significant and, owing to ease of access through mobile devices, we would guess that the figure is a little higher when it comes to time spent.
 
Add to that figure that 54% of people use social media to research products and services they consider using and 49% of consumers rely on or make use of Social Media Influencer opinion and recommendations and we see that it outranks all other sources of interest and opinion.
 
People, it would appear, live their lives in that virtual space.
 
Don’t get me started on Influencers either, it’s a funny way to get famous isn’t it? Let’s leave it there.
 
“Ok, Boomer” the chorus of inaccurate ironic apathy resounds.
 
A Necessary Evil
 
We, as artists aspiring to fame and recognition must have a social media presence, there is no escaping it. We need to;
 
  1. Engage regularly with a possible audience.
  2. Regularly advertise and expose our work.
  3. Network with other artists in our field, learn the industry and the market.
  4. We need to create and maintain a website.
  5. Run a blog with regular posts (ideally daily)
  6. Participate in on-line social events to gain recognition; contests, competitions, etc.
  7. Create and maintain a professional persona.
 
Among other things. The thing is that we are new to this, all of us, we mostly make it up as we’re going along. We do that or follow the advice of people who claim to be experts, maybe some of them are.
 
You see, one terrible side-effect of our reliance upon Social Media for everything is that we tend to use it as our first and only source of information. It is so easy, with Social Media, to come into contact with inaccurate information and opinion-dressed-as-knowledge and we are, it would appear, inclined to believe it relying on the age-old adage of
 
“well it wasn’t true they wouldn’t let them print/upload/publish it would they?”
 
No-one ever seems to explain who They are and what authority they have over the accuracy of information; we simply entrust them with this great responsibility willy-nilly. If you were to ask me, I might call that a shade irresponsible…
 
Social Responsibility on Social Media
 
Now, let’s be honest, social media is not a nice place. We know well the ‘keyboard warrior’ and troll phenomena which have gained traction over the years. A lot of people dedicate a lot of time to, it would appear, seeking out people who disagree with their opinions so that they can insult those people and anyone else. It is thought OK to verbally attack anyone you don’t agree with or like the look of, use the open to all soapbox to cry out your opinions no matter who they might offend (especially if your opinion is that those people have no right to be offended). It is a place to start rumours, spread inaccurate stories about your hated-persons/group-of choice.
 
At times, that does seem like that is all it is.
 
The corporations that run it are not free from controversy either.
 
 
 
 
 
In all honesty, none of these companies feel any need to actually do anything about any of that because they are safe and certain in the knowledge that we need them now, we cannot go on without them because they amalgamated and crushed all competitors.
 
They are half right though, we need them…
 
Of course, there will be another article on social media and its denizens another time because it warrants a while article of its own, so we will not explore both sides of the ecology of social media here., we’ll come back to that tomorrow perhaps.
 
Conclusion
 
The purpose of this article was to open a few eyes to the fact that we are quite addicted. In spite of all the negative things we know about our poison, we still support and make excuses for it; as if it were a relative who is either violent or an embarrassment in public. You try to smooth off the rough edges that you know, deep down, are there. You hide the black eyes and bruises, you tolerate the social exile.
 
You know it only ever thinks about itself and what it wants no matter how sweetly it tries to tell you otherwise when it’s in one of its good moods…
 
Its built to suck you in and keep you there because there’s a lot of money to make in them there isles and that is part of the reason we are sailing them…

The Human Animal

I originally wrote this article in the hidden backwaters of my much forgotten WordPress account back in 2008 or so, maybe even 2007, I honestly forget now. I was – haha – inspired by the little picture here above and, in typical oddball writer fashion I began making stories and thinking about this strange image…It was doing the rounds for Facebook of whatever served as a medium for the rounds being done in at the time. I, of course, entered ‘Social Commentary’ mode and began to take off on mental wanderings.
 
It is a well known fact that writers are arrogant little buggers almost universally. We all think we are the best, that our insight into current events hold The Answer. That our social commentary, as represented in our latest work, is going to affect The Big Change! We all feel like M. Night Shyamalan’s character in The Lady in the Water as we go off on a writing binge, knowing we are going to do it this time. We might even be right. However, how we see, perceive and think about things, often in a very non-linear and very much odd fashion, that makes us writers isn’t it? We start by observing, commenting and then making out our own little sequences of explanation.
 
As I said, I wrote this long ago but am resurrecting it now because it’s just as valid now as it was then. Also I like the photo, the fake chimera looks cute and slightly pensive. Finally, I was thinking about some things related to this very topic earlier on today, let’s see whether I add them on or not…
 
 
How can we humans say we are not animals? Can one look around the world today and observe animals on the TV, in zoos or, for the more fortunate, in the wild and not say we are so unlike them? Are humans, as it has often been said, just a thin veneer of civilisation away from the ‘roughened beast’ and not as superior as we like to believe?
 
It seems human civilisation, in many ways, exists simply to prove the animals wrong, societal norms and rules, laws; they exist to try and hide what we secretly know and are deeply afraid of. If the rules went away, if the consequences were no longer there, if no-one were to judge….
Watch the wars and the conflict around the world and, when we break it down, it can be seen as the ago old act of marking and expanding (or defending) one’s territory, of establishing dominance, ensuring feeding and breeding rights. War is one example, fame is another, business is yet another. In all three we will tread upon, ‘defeat and cause to retreat (tail a-tween legs) our rivals and detractors in order to gain the dominance and success we think is ours by right. And what is this success but achievement of the most deeply programmed of biological goals? Look at how the young and not so young idolise the famous, the successful and why? Because success is shown as someone who has good genes to pass on, will mother or father good children and bring success and therefore status to anyone who is closely involved with them. So are we so unlike animals, the wolves and lions and other pack animals who have their Alphas who the others challenge or fawn upon, even emulate? Can we say we are so different or even better than them? Or are we actually worse?
 
Think of the war stories we keep hearing about. When Order breaks down, brutality, survival and killing become all too common, think of the stories we always hear about. The rapes, the murders, the doing as thou wilt which becomes all too common. The Rule of The Gun makes men believe they are above other laws, that they are the law and so can do as they please. Every major war or extended conflict which has taken place ever has been witness to this behaviour. Every single one.
 
Add to all this that we humans have something ‘other’ which animals apparently lack, the seat of conscience and reasoning. Some call it the soul, the ki, the yin and yang, the anima; many different names for the same thing; we have a knowledge and understanding of the concept of the future and our place in it, of our own mortality. We know what the possible consequences of our actions may be. We can choose to do or not to do a thing. An animal, we are told, behaves according to it’s nature, a human can overcome or alter their nature. We have the moral judgement, no matter the creed or person who drives or inspires that creed, of what is right and what is wrong. We can, in effect be better than animals – so many say – by doing that which gives us no immediate or noticeable benefit, improves our status not at all and may even cost us more than it gains for us. All the religious doctrines of the world touch upon the same thing, have the same laws, to do well by others has it’s own reward. That to take advantage of or damage others is not right, and we know this down to the very depth of our souls. We seem to have a hardwired desire to help those less fortunate than us, to preserve and protect our own children or even the children of others and to revile the murderer, the rapist, the selfish boor who takes but does not give back and so…animals do that too don’t they?
Maybe they do it in a more bestial, less ‘human’ way but your dog will protect you if you’re attacked, all baboons protect their young, elephants have been observed mourning their dead. These instincts are built in deep in order to allow groups of the same species to live and to survive together. But we break the rules, many of us consider ourselves only above the herd and will disadvantage many without blinking.
 
So are we worse than animals in that we choose to bend or even smash what appear to be the ultimate set in built in rules of Nature or have we reached the point where we are so many, that our prejudices and beliefs now define who our herd or pack are? No longer do species or genetics matter but country, religion, region, belief, idealistic viewpoint. But we crossed the single line which no ‘lower animal’ has crossed, we kill for the things they merely posture and frighten each other for in the most part. To kill a threat to your species is one thing and can be considered right, to kill for words on a page or shouted by a demagogue can never be.
So, back to the initial premise; are we better or worse than animals? Some would still say better, because we’re at the top of the food-chain and yes, as a species indeed we are but place one human or family against one African predator and we see that we are like ants, in huge numbers we are safe. Others will say we are worse because we have the intelligence, the judgement and the ability to choose, to improve, to REASON our actions and overcome our ‘baser’ instincts yet we do what some animals do (and others no animal would ever do) for pleasure or satisfaction. Others would say we are the same because all we do is just the same as any animal does, just exaggerated by our ability to study and reason these actions through and our vastly superior numbers.
 
Others would say it doesn’t matter, because in a generation or few, there’ll be no animals to compare ourselves to anymore, because we’ll have wiped them all out. And here, in this fact lies what makes us better or worse than any animal – depending on your viewpoint – so scared are we, with our reason and intelligence, of being just another animal, the thinking animal, that we have embarked on the largest and worst war of all, the war against Nature herself in order to prove to our confused minds that we are better than animal, that Nature has no power over us at all. Now there is a thing no other animal does so judge for yourself.
 
Judging…that’s the other side. I have also ascribed to a rather unpopular view of evolution. I think that maybe evolution happened as Darwin etc. described it but am also of the onion that they got it wrong. You see; here is my premise. Humans like to think that they are special, right? They like to think that they are superior and the very Apex of Creation’s Ladder. All religions give us hints of that. Earth was special. The Human race was special. This or that Nation, People or Ethnicity was special. This interpretation of the Bible is the right one and everyone else goes to Hell for Heresy. I am a Christian, by the way, as many of you know. I believe in God and Jesus, though, not in some fancy building or man wearing a dress which costs more than their average congregation earns in a year, between them all. So what does that make me? Me I suppose, I’ll have to make up a word, I suppose. Come on writer-man, do your thing!
 
Oh, I did it again didn’t I? Right! So, the human race thinks that they have to be the best and the top of the chain, right? Stands to reason that we evolved from a predator because they’re the best right? We had to have been carnivores at least, stands to reason. Except for some very vital evidence no-one likes to talk about.
 
That’s right! There are many thing we SHOULD have in common with our purported ancestors but don’t. Things we should have IF we direct-line evolved from them. Things like higher strength, endurance, larger teeth, better eye-sight, a digestive system which is actually built to digest red meat well….we need a Missing Link and there isn’t one! See this is the biggest misdirection in human history. There is no missing link. We will never find it but they will keep ‘looking’, want to know why? The human race doesn’t want to admit to it’s actual roots does it?
Take a look at human behaviour with me and answer for me a few questions as we go along. Ready? Look at our teeth. OK. Now, look at our behaviour, when disaster strikes what do we do? Look at what happens when panic sets in on a group of humans. Look at how we blindly ‘follow the leader’. Look at how we want to belong and be accepted. Sound like familiar behaviour? Sounds a lot like herd behaviour to me, what about you? But chimpanzees do… apophenia. Coined by German neurologist Klaus Conrad, it means looking for patterns where there are none, something humans do a lot of. Trying to find similarities which we are desperate to find. It’s not fudging the facts as such, we’re not doing it on purpose…
 
Now, before you get all excited; I am not going on the whole meat-eaters vs vegetarians angle here. I don’t care what you choose to put in your body nor by which orifice it gains egress. Humans enjoy making generalisations and assumptions too but we’ll get to that another time. I’m simply looking at the evidence we do have and not the evidence we are certain we will find one of these days to prove what we want to be proven.
 
Look at your average human and tell me one thing, your average human, not Chuck Norris clones or people who’re like how you think you are. How long would one of them last in the wild? Now, take your dog, evolved from wolves, domesticated by man. Most breeds couldn’t look less like wolves if they tried. For example;
 
I still bet you cash money that this spoiled little bugger, this seemingly ineffectual puffball of an animal would last at least twice as long as your average person would. See here’s the thing. When you read about people surviving in the wild by themselves you realise there is one vitally important thing that they learn in the process. A man, by himself, will struggle to bring down large enough game for himself and be able to eat and carry it because we have no natural adaptations for it. We have to make things to kill with, we have to make fire to cook it with, we cannot eat raw meat, we don’t have the teeth for it.
 
There was a favourite story of mine which spoke about the last human in existence 9 million years into the future and lost in his space craft. About the time he was in stasis (the reason for his advanced age and absence of other humans), a feline race had evolved in pretty much man-shape. The elite and the best had all killed one another in a religious war and left the idiot behind. He was the last member of his species too. If we did evolve from carnivores, we evolved from the idiots, the retards, those lacking even the most basic means of survival. If we evolved from meat-eaters, we evolved from a bloody useless one!
 
The only thing we seem to have kept from said ancestor is our love of violence and fighting. So maybe there was a carnivorous ancestor of ours somewhere along the chain of our history. Either that or we came from some rather belligerent omnivores/opportunistic omnivores. It really would explain an awful lot, right?

How The Truth Became Unfashionable

 propaganda
We live in a world which is, as most of us are aware, dominated by information. Thanks to smart-phones, smart TV’s, tablets, phablets, crablets (that one isn’t real) – smart everything except for people – we are connected and appraised of events from around the corner or around the world twenty-four hours a day. We never miss a single thing. If a politician farts quietly while leaving an interview, somebody will tweet, twerp, fwerp or burp about it. You can guarantee it.
SMXLL

 In fact, you can pretty much guarantee that should you get shot, murdered, assaulted or hit by a car these days, people will, thankfully be on hand with a telephone…to film your final moments and share them on social media later with a frowny face or two…maybe even a frowny face with a tear falling from one eye if you’re lucky. Did you think I was going to say that would call 999 / 911? Oh dear me, somebody has been living under a rock for a while, haven’t they now? That would indeed be responsibile and the right thing to do but how many likes would they get for that? How many followers? Come now! Who wants to accept responsibility these days?
This leads me onto my principle, actual point, I’ll be back to social media later on, don’t worry, it’s important but I have other things to cover first. Social media plays a very large role in what I’m about to talk about, actually a very large part so we will be coming back here.
Lets talk about lies, shall we? Untruths. Misdirections. Misleading statements. Falsehood. Or, as they are more popularly termed  – in a very nice and nonjudgemental fashion – today,  alternative facts.
SMXLL

I believe we used to call them lies but that could be Russians hacking the Merriam Webster database in order to make me think that. That is what they do isn’t it? They want to destroy our freedom and replace it with their freedom which isn’t even communism anymore so…..well…yes…right…ah…I don’t know! See that is just it, the age old trick; keep them confused and fighting while we control what they know and fight about.  Let me summarise The Rules right here;
  1. Identify the Enemy. Ideally someone who looks a little different, acts a little differently or speaks differently. Someone who can be held responsible for everything which has gone wrong since things were better; everything from The Economy to the store running out of peanut butter last night
  2. Identify their Agenda. They want to destroy something we consider important. Taco Tuesday for example. Those £%&*$£”* Mexicans want us to eat Tacos every day! They plan to introduce Fajita Law into America! Our Grandfather’s father died in the battle of Ruby Tuesdays to defend our right to American versions of foreign cuisine on set days of the week goddammit!
  3. Identify the Group which is Right. Make it so that one of the Values the target population holds dear is betrayed by not supporting The Group. Identify those who have left the Group as having copulated with the wives of goats from Afghanistani muslim, lesbian, mixed race, transsexual haters of Freedom and Truth!
  4. Identify your Stand. Choose something nebulous and undefinable. Identify how They are attacking said Value and the Group is defending it but don’t tell people how either is carrying out their activity. Choose something like Freedom, the Right to Bare Feet, Freedom to sacrifice cats to Anubis every 3rd Friday evening, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Just be sure to focus on the fact that Jesus or (diety of choice) is said to approve of said value.
  5. Alternate your Facts. Now you have established that the Donut Hating, Spanish Speaking, Grey-Haired, People from Around the Corner will do anything to destroy your right to eat a donut with enough calories to fuel a battalion of horses for breakfast and will take all of your donuts from you, we can now ensure that nobody will believe anything they say. They will lie to undermine our basic right to sugary fried dough snacks, they will not attack directly, that is not their style, they will try to discredit and negatively influence people about us. They will talk about the C-word and the F-word, they will bribe doctors to talk about calories, health and life expectancy but it will all be lies! Lies I tell you!
SMLXL

We used to call it propaganda and it was used to manipulate perfectly reasonable people into doing rather stupid and objectionable things. Nothing like what is going on today then right?
MXLLSSLXLM
Well, OK, the fellows on the left ARE better dressed and somewhat more organised, this is true. Both groups, however are convinced that folks who don’t look like they do (for which said folks are extremely grateful each and every day) are responsible for every Ill of Society and that removal of said people (though they do not view them as people, oh no, not at all) will Make Everything Great Again, just like that. It’s magic. Actually I am not joking, it is!
We know the sky is blue, except when it’s night time or cloudy or any weather condition you would care to name. I used that example intentionally because it is very open to interpretation. There are a large number of people here who will come up with all kinds of alternatives and caveats. That is the point, an illustration for this excercise.
Let’s illustrate;
  1. The sky is blue. This is fact. During the day, they firmament surely does take on an azure cast which is rather apparent.
  2. But what about when it’s cloudy? Well, it’s still blue underneath the clouds isn’t it?
  3. It might be but how do you know? Well that’s what I heard and read and what they taught me.
  4. Oh what THEY taught you? Yes, my teachers and …
  5. No! Servants of the Donut Haters! Eh what?
  6. They want you not to think for yourself. How do you know the sky is always blue? It goes black at night. Maybe cloudy is the sky changing colour, right? Not all cloudy days are the same colour. Well that is true…
  7. And the Donut-Hating Transsexual orang-utans from China don’t like colors other than blue. They don’t? But why?
  8. Nobody knows. They do say that Donuts make blue look bad on people who eat them and only want people who don’t eat donuts to be able to wear blue. But I like blue, it brings out my eyes they tell me. My friends and family I mean. Good Donut Eaters I can trust!
  9. That’s right! They are trying to take both out Donuts and the colour blue away from us! I have heard too that they want to change the colour of the sky in order to keep blue for themselves. They’ll start with our Donuts but they’ll want waffles next, then churros… No! They can’t do that! Hows can we stop them?
SMLXL

Ok, ok I may have simplified slightly for cheap comedic cracks but the principles are sound. You’ve seen it today. Something will happen and the truth of the situation is obvious right? Some guys buys a load of assault weapons and murders innocent people, the answer is simple; why does no-one else see that? How could people think that living exclusively on donuts and nothing else will make you look like Arnold Swarzenegger in his prime, who could possibly believe that to be true? Then you see people who do and will vehemently defend that point of view against all detractors, defend it more viciously that they would defend their own children. They will also defend as strongly ALL opinions of their Group from anyone who does not belong to it and may be a hidden traitor. Lets us entertain ourselves with some examples from real world social media interactions but altered to protect anonimity and to add amusement;
  1. You I think yellow frosting on strawberry donuts is just silly, Dunky-Dream are just being ridiculous….How dare you! Dunky-Dream are the defenders of donut freedom and protect us from the evils of salad munchers who will take all our blue away! What are you doing? Do you want they to be blue so that only you and your lot can eat them?
  2. Roland Runce forcing a diabetic to eat a donut on television is evil and he really is a bad President! You hate donuts and you hate Jesus! Jesus ate 12 donuts a day, it’s in the bible, Mister, you go read that! People who don’t eat donuts shouldn’t be living here! Let them go back to Diabetia or wherever they come from! Hail Runce! Make Donuts Breakfast Again!
  3. Maybe square donuts would be cool? I mean they’d be easier to box and carry around…Maybe Bob Amba has a good point…Square donuts? You are going to Hell sir! Donuts have been round since they were invented in Jesus times because the Earth was round back then . The hole in the middle is to remind us that we are always missing something, God’s love! Love God and love donuts and love America! If you don’t like your donuts round, get out you freedom hating, homosexual cat sniffer! Bob Amba destroyed America and now Runce will save us!
  4. Dunky-Dream doesn’t sell diabetic, gluten-free diet donuts since Runce became President. Five people have died now from mistakenly eating the wrong donut and Runce says nothing! I suppose you want all your Anti-American donuts to be blue too don’t you so Ordinary Americans can’t eat them, only your 1%! Runce is making donuts better for everyone, not like Bob Amba making folks eat all those fancy donuts that don’t even have real sugar in them! Trying to make normal decent folks eat that evil! Thank God and Baby Jesus for sending Runce to lead us!
  5. Blue donuts for Freedom! Runce is trying to make the blue ones evil and replace them all with yellow ones. Stop him before it’s too late! God save  President Ronald Ray Runce from people like you! Refusing to eat yellow donuts shows that you hate freedom and disrespect your veterans! You want us all to be muslim communists who only eat falafals or something like that! Those rich black fellows who ate blue donuts on TV during the Dunky-Dream anthem should be fired! Stand up and eat your yellow donuts with pride!
  6. The new Yellow Donut Frosting has a chemical in it which makes us all like cats! Dog lovers unite before They try to wipe us out! You and your nasty smelly butt-sniffers can keep your nasty blue donuts from North Korea! You just want to end freedom and force your blue on everyone! You want to free up the cats so that your Chinese masters can eat them! Defend your cats and buy my special Cats for Runce yellow collars today! Miaows for Runce!
SMLXL

As you may see, there are crazies on both sides of the argument, those identified as the Enemy or Sympathisers of theirs, starts to pick up ideas and behaviours either intentionally contrary to those of the Group or ones the loudest defenders of the Group (or their pet politicians) say the enemy displays – sometimes just as a protest, others to be contrary. Just because they can, you know? Stockholm syndrome is incredible when you notice it actually happening. The Left is behaving in the ways the Right expect them to and vice versa.
Now I have been messing around here a fair bit but I hope you are seeing my points, right? My manner may be less than serious but my point is very serious.
SMXLL

We have Two Truths out there, two versions of the same facts but neither of them is actually accurate. The Left ascribes actions to The Right and accuses them of doing this, that and the other. The Right ascribes actions to The Left and accuses them of going here, there and everywhere. There is some truth to the points of both sides and the current choice for President is far from ideal, there is no denying that one. A failed business man and ex-reality TV star? Not really ideal qualifications for The Big Job now right? Right? Well…let’s think about that one.  Recognise this man?
SLXLM

Most of you will at least know what Tony Blair used to be (The Prime Minister of the UK for those who don’t). Not many will know what he does now. Suffice it to say that he’s set for life. I know some of your will see where I am going and say “But no! Kennedy started that!”. You’re right, he got the experiment going but it wasn’t the right time yet. That’s not why they killed him but it also was. Now we’re ready. In 1997 we were ready. The internet was just taking off, social media hadn’t taken off yet but communication was changing in ways no-one had anticipated. What old Tony started was what we could call “Cult of Personality Politics”. We get the young, dynamic and change-bringing upstart who is going to better the world and everyone goes crazy! The year he (they’re usually men) wins, voter turnout had never been higher, nor had hope or optimism. Realk Change is Coming. The heavy boot of the Right is removed and Ordinary People can rise again. Isn’t that wonderful? Only the change does not come. The Bright Young Man turns out be be rather disappointing and the usual crowd of old and boring politicians berate us with wagging fingers for our stupidity.
Then The Right tried it and look what we ended up with. The Saviour from Oppression was always a tactic of the Left but The Right realised they were drowning so they did something amazing; they adapted. The republican party backed a horse unlike any it had backed before. They actually seized the zeitgeist of today and it  worked!
SMLXL

Let’s take a step back and think about it;
  1. Ask anyone for their Top 10 TV shows of today and I bet you money that 85-90% of them will mention at least one reality TV show.
  2. Ask anyone for a way to contact them and they’ll either give their email or Facebook.
  3. If you need to locate somebody how do you do it (you use Facebook or Google at least).
  4. What happen when you leave the house without your phone these days?
  5. How many people, hold up your hands brothers and sisters for you are safe here, admit to their first thought when the power goes out as being along the lines of “how will I charge my phone/have WiFi?” or something similar?
Be honest. I know I have done it. I also know I don’t watch ‘real TV’ anymore because it’s been taken over by incessantly cloned, talentless drones doing exactly what we do every day but in a exaggerated manner and in the presence of significantly more money than you or I will ever see. I admit to getting into ‘Facebook Scraps” and doling out dire warnings online about the dangers of Trump, what the change he is bringing would really be. I admit it, I have done it. I have berated his ‘foolish’ supporters for their short-sighted blindness. I came to realise how pointless these arguments actually were. As vapid as a reality TV talent show star; here today, gone tomorrow. The world, it turns out, has developed the attemtion span and (an alleged fact) memory of a goldfish.
SMLXL

Think about it. Politician X does all kinds of horrible things and it gets forgotten about. If a scandal which could threaten deeper  investigation and unmask the real villain too soon appears, out comes a distraction, a red rag waved in the public’s face until they forget all about it. They will rage and fight both sides of the argument, they will insult each other, they will be divided and conflicted. Right where they are needed to be. You remember what propaganda is for? That’s right, it’s for control. Let’s finish for this week by upsetting just about everyone or, at least 75-80% of you. Let’s look at how propaganda was developed and used by politicians of the Left and Right over the last twenty years. How neither “side” is winning. Neither side needs to, we just need to keep thinking about sides…Left & Right, Liberal & Conservative, etc. etc…Consider this scenario. It might be fiction, maybe itr’s exaggerated, it may even be the undiluted truth….you tell me. I’m a fiction writer so how could you know for sure?
  1. Phase 1: In 1997, Tony Blair’s Labour government started it. Nominally to prevent upset to minorities but soon seen as overdone, Political Correctness was born. One could not call a fat person fat, a black person black, a glass-wearing person short-sighted. One could not point out the disabilities of the disabled. The N word was relegated to where it belonged. Now a lot of this was good. Racism is NEVER acceptable and never should have been. Sexism neither. It went too far though but that was the point. Stage 1: Discredit the Left. Success. Left = Big Governement, Nanny State, too much control, letting immigrants take over. Political rights over actual right. War on Christmas and the Church. White people less important than black, other religions less important than Christians, layabouts who don’t want to work, just pop out more children are more important than working people who pay taxes.
  2. Phase 2: In 2009 Barack Obama became the first black man to be President in a country where black people could not even vote intil the 1970’s andc Jim Crowe laws were still in effect until rather recently indeed. He ran on a raft of equality encouraging legislation and policy. The downtrodden and ignored dared to hope. Little did they realise that Blair did this in the UK and had left ofice just two years previously. He had  been replaced with ineffective and pointless suits without charisma. Obama’s Presidency, of course, saw improvments in the lives of black people, immigrants and the disadvantaged. It of course had a more Libreral lean to policy. He tried to bring free healthcare to all but failed. He tried to bring reforms to many areas but failed. Like Blair he promised big and delivered little. Many people say he gave America a political correctness greater than Blair gave to the UK.
  3. Phase 3: The downtrodden are no longer ethnic minorities or people of this, that or the other. Well actually they are because they still don’t have great jobs, prospects or mansions yet. However, other people are ALSO downtrodden, still not paid attention to and they are starting to realise it. Economic conditions created by banks and other entitities outside of the control of ANY government are responsible but it’s considered wiser for each side of the political spectrum to blame the other. The era of taking no responsibility begins. Assignment of blame is seen as infinitely more important than fixing the actual problem So a saviour of the downtrodden and the ignored who also have money emerged! He would go on to polarise world opinion and politics like none before him but he would be popular no matter what he did. Why? He and those who are behind him have perfected ALL which we have detailed so far today. They have touched the vein of the people who felt left out by the inclusiveness and fairness of the previous governments. They dislike the ones said loud voices blame. They feel excluded and hurt by not being the center of attention, of having to share the stage with others. They are afraid but they don’t want to show the others that they are afraid; neither side does.
  4. Phase 4: Yet to come. A new young and dynamic saviour will come to rescue us from the excesses of Trump and his folks. He will save the oppressed and bring us back from the brink of war and we will love him (or her) for it. The the cycle will begin again because they don’t want us getting on. Oh no, that would not be good. We might start actually thinking if we did that!
So my point today? Some of you are writers, you make your living thinking as others do not. Some of you are bloggers, you do the same. Most of you are intelligent and therefore already know how to think for yourselves and this may well not reach the ones who will not. But for those of us who do; Left or Right; think about this; nobody is right because nobody can actually win. Think of the tic-tac-toe problem in the original War Games movie. For Left to win, Right must lose and vice versa. There is never a way to please ALL the people. Change will always be resisted, people will always want to belong to one team or another, it’s human nature. Maybe though, if we pause and ask ourselves this; who is profitting most from the current state of affairs? Then you’ll see who is winning and who is really in control.
Then you’ll realise our world of fighting online over stupidities is just stupid. They’re just keeping you distracted from what really matters while you are bashing moslems on a forum; berating a christian on facebook; fighting homophobes on instagram. Your bill are getting no cheaper, your gas no more economical, your salary isn’t increasing, your quality of life is no better, your rights as a human being is not better, your bills are rising each and every year. When are you going to realise? You are not winning and they are not here to help you?

Boredom

My favourite quote came to me earlier tonight and it made me think;

Quote for the day “Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders they have managed to invent boredom? Quite astonishing…”(Death in The Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

We look at the world and find that there’s always something to do; read a book, write on your blog, go for a walk, talk to friends but we sit there and be bored and then wonder why everything is so boring and why life’s like that?  We don’t have to be bored but we do seem to like feeling sorry for ourselves!

You see I’ve experienced wonders and inexplicable things which make my mind reel and thoughts light on fire,  I’m conscious of there being truly multitudinous wonders out there for us to explore and discover yet I am still capable of feeling boredom.  But here’s where I’m weird, if I get bored or suffer from some problem I feel the irrepressible need to write it down and share it, even if I do so only with myself and my pen (or keyboard in this case) and try never to wallow, because once you start wallowing you start to like it and then decide to stay there because it’s comfortable, warm and familiar.  It becomes familiar, familiar become habit, habit becomes normal, we become normal…. and of course normal is dangerous.  I always try to remain the opposite of normal because normal is a trap; conformity, fitting in, wanting to change what we naturally are…

So boredom leads to conformity and normality, leads to stagnation, leads to…..where none of us really want to be!

So fight boredom and keep occupied!

Life’s too short to be bored!

The Internet

In the 1960’s someone had an idea; to connect a group of computers together into a common network; they were inspired by the work of the often inadequately lauded Nikola Tesla (the man who pretty much invented the idea of wireless networks we use today, who even proved concept of wireless transmission of electricity only being put into practice now..); how can we make computers be connected and able to view the same information without connecting them together physically?

In 1988 the concept became public and it exploded!  With a literal click of a mouse one could see what was on at the movie theater, talk to a friend, explore parts of the world one would never have to travel to!  I remember the day a certain bespectacled entrepreneur’s company released internet explorer 1 and the internet became colour for all!  It was like the invention of the television, of the home wireless radio, it was BIG!

Since that day in 1992, at Coventry University in England, the world has irrevocably changed.

Now there is nowhere we cannot be connected to everyone, anywhere.  Not only do we have computers, laptops, internet tablets but we have smartphones and their like; we have Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Blackberry…..everything we do, everyone we know, every person we meet we can share, follow, message and send pictures; we can document every aspect of our lives over the very air without having to interrupt what we’re doing!  We can tweet our every action, we can update our lives on Facebook, we can share our every good or bad moment on Myspace or Picassa, we can see and share videos in any category on YouTube, we can now even share out location with emerging applications for the smartphone such as FourSquare, Google Latitude and others….we can share our each and deeply personal everything with the whole and entire world should we so choose!  Suddenly for the part of the human race with access to the technology, the world has become a much smaller place; I can even raise money for charity just by going to certain places and checking in, raising “karma points” which i can convert into money for charity!  How did all of this happen?

But of course there is a dark side.  Isn’t there always?  A famous Italian genius once said “I invent ways to make the world a better place but all they are interested in is how we can make them into weapons”; so true an indictment of human nature!  The darkside?  Well the proliferation of internet dating.  At the last web search I did, I found at least 50 separate sites claiming to find me happiness and thew right person for me;  there were sites promising to find me an intimate hookup with a cheating wife or two, hundreds of different places to find me the answers to my need for love, lust or fulfillment.  So herein lies the dark hidden underbelly; why when we are more social, more connected, in a smaller and more open world than ever before are we still so alone and lonely?   Just like the science fiction of the 60’s and 70’s predicted the very technology which was meant to set us free has made us slaves to it, a parasite which has latched onto our hearts and minds and feeds upon our self-esteem, ability to talk to real people, go out there and find people for real.  Despite all the joys, pleasures and opportunities the internet and it’s technologies have brought the human race it still cannot replace that one thing we so desperately need, the closeness and intimacy (sexual or otherwise, even just the voice or eye contact) of another human being!  So the gamut of dating sites, adult encounter sites, hookup and seek and find sites have sprung up like mushrooms on a corpse!

I myself have had encounters with such sites, spent money to become a member and had my desperation taken advantage of.  I have had fake “horny ladies” promise me the same joys promised Odysseus by the Sirens only to attempt to lure me into parting with even more of my hard-earned cash, I have spent money in a way which essentially led me to indirectly flush my cash down the toilet!   A parasitical industry has grown up upon the loneliness and desperation of an increasing disconnected and disenfranchised society, sucking away money, promising to exchange said investment for what is missing, using the very medium which took it away in the first place!  Now of course the internet is not to blame in itself, it simply provided the means to allow some humans to do what they have always done, feed off other humans!  You see we do not understand what is in effect to most of us magic; the lonely see it as a way to leave behind our loneliness but it ends up isolating us even more so we keep trying and trying to find new ways to excise the feeling of aloneness we feel.   Yet we do no more than bring it into even sharper focus and isolate ourselves even further.  It’s the proverbial vicious circle; we are isolated, we seek recourse from said isolation and end up even further isolated and so on ad infinitum.  Of course there are always new parasites waiting to glut themselves on that desperation.

Now, before I get slaughtered here, I know internet dating CAN work, I know this from experience of family members of mine and even my own experience but these cases are rare.  Human desperation makes people do things they would not normally do, make decisions they would normally consider less than advisable.  Is there any way to come back before we lose all of our social skills entirely and simply know how to lol, lmao and roflmao our way into friendships with faceless people we will never even share a preferred beverage or a location with that same person?  Is human communication dead?  hmmmmm

Why am I typing this discussion out to probably strangers rather than having it with friends in a pub/bar/coffee house/beach somewhere?

People

I wonder about people, they are strange and I am apparently one of them!  lol

But for anyone who works with people, you’ll understand where I’m coming from!  People can be so rude and inconsiderate!  I mean, they cut you up at junctions because their time is more important than their fellows; they treat people who are ‘serving’ them as inferiors because what they want is most important….the list goes on and it amazes me often!

I mean, why do people behave like that?  Is it out society or our upbringing?  If that’s the case, then why are not all of us like that?  Why do some of us get upset and confused by what is supposedly “acceptable” human behaviour.  We have conflicts, we have wars and fights, all over essentially nothing!  People harbour hatreds and dislikes over nothing.  People judge other people harshly and only reveal their own failings and insecurities.  People are people because of one simple fact, they don’t actually know what being human means!  Can anyone tell me what it actually means to be human?  Humans spend their entire lives tortured by two things (among others); what life means and that death is stalking them.  We strive to be the best because that way we’ll be remembered when we’re gone.  We’re constantly trying to fit in and decide what behaviour is acceptable and what is not in society because we don’t actually know!  We conform to social norms because we don’t know any better!  Look at children, they don’t judge people on their own, they don’t conform, they don’t feel they have to behave in a certain way in order to make people accept them.  Human adults though, feel they have to behave in a certain way in order to be accepted, people who won’t do this are shunned and people try to make then change in order to conform.  Once children reach a certain age, the same thing happens; they must appreciate a certain kind of music, like certain things, conform to trends and behaviours or they are shunned and even bullied.  And why? Because people are frightened of anything not inside the realms of  “normal” because this invites chjaos and this invites questions, questions they do not know the answers to.

Chaos and change scare the majority of folks, they like things to be constant and inflexible, unchanging.  We’re essentially afraid of the dark, the unfixed, the uncertain.  Our old enemy is chaos, Eris, disorder.  Those who do not follow the herd are potential agents of of chaos and the end of society and are excluded.    All because humans don’t know how to be human on their own, they think that by conforming and following the ‘rules’ they are being human because that’s what the other humans are doing, therefore it must be right!  But no-one remembers why they even do these things!  Ok, now some behaviours like murder, rape, harming of others or children, stealing and so on are against the rules with good reason but most of us instinctively know what right and wrong are; anything which harms others is wrong, anything which benefits others without harming yet others is good.  But some things consider to be good are not necessarily so, some things considered bad are perhaps objectionable at most but we can no longer remember why they are bad; we blindly follow these rules because to do otherwise requires us to think and we don’t seem to good at that on our own!

Tell me, anyone who cares to comment; what do you think makes humans human and why do we follow rules which we don’t even know the reason for?    Are we individuals or are we sheep?  Society needs rules because if chaos were given free rein would it be the end of the human race or a herald of change?  The door is open, the table laid….