May 16

Meandering Clouds in my Coffee


I’ve always marvelled at the brilliance of clarity. Simple stories and simple songs. Simple beats and tunes and generally a simple way of life. The unravelling of something as complex as life where things are laid bare as they are, not as how we perceive them. Unfortunately though as participants in life, we tend to make our matters come across as far more complicated as they are. We only manage to understand some of these notions with the benefit of hindsight when we are no longer an active part of that process. Historians do this best when the look back at ‘primitive’ periods of other species or even our ancestors. The irony is that they do not appreciate that there are less than six degrees of separation between their subjects and themselves.

Make no mistake, I too am capable of falling into these traps. I remember when glaring conversation I had with one of my ‘more enlightened’ colleagues a few years ago with regard to life. I will regard this other person as the Professor, since that was what he liked to be called (for some unknown reason). It went something along

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Prof: What’s your dream?

Novembre: To have absolutely nothing to do

Prof: What do you mean

Novembre: I dunno, it’s quite simple, be free of societies obligations

Prof: Hmmm… so you mean like sit on a beach and stuff

Novembre: Yeah, sit on a beach and generally do all my retirement stuff

Prof: Retire?

Novembre: Yeah, I would ideally like to work hard and retire early so that I can have nothing to do

Prof: But if your dream is to simply have nothing to do, why do you have to wait until you retire until you do it?

Novembre: That’s just life?

Prof: Is it? What’s stopping you doing it now?

Novembre: *mind rape* Er… nothing…

Prof: So why do you want to wait?

Novembre: I er… don’t konw

Prof: So why have you placed an imaginry barrier between what you want and what you are going to do?

Novembre:… I have absolutely NO idea…

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I’m not usually caught out with stuff but he definitely had me by the balls that one and it’s one of those conversations that I will remember (in some form) for the rest of my days (infact ironically he just called me up while writing this).

It was a simple unbearing of the truth as it stood, and not my perception of it. My dreams are at my grasp potentially and it was very human of me to put a barrier to it up, when simply there was nothing stopping me obtaining it. That is of course whether it was my dream in the first place or just something my mind had invented (influenced by society and the powers that be) had programmed to keep me occupied.

I’m fairly sure I am not the only person this applies to and more than likely, you should be able to draw a comparison to something you feel you either want/lack in your lives. The enemy here is a combination of society’s conditioning on our abilities to function as individuals (or even more dangerously as groups) and our good ol friend, Cognitive Dissonance, that small voice in your ear that pacifies all that is ill and makes you grow to accepting it. It chips away at your potential and makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. Although it pretends to be your friend, it doesn’t always have your best interests at heart.

In any case, Today I want to present you with a simple film I watched a long time ago and I’m in desperate need of watching again. It’s Jamie Uys 1980 classic ‘The god’s must be crazy’.

Without wanting to spoil it too much, it tells the tale of a utopian society, albeit a fairly small and native one, based in South Africa. Everyone is happy, all basic wills and higher desires are accounted for. Everyone in the village has purpose and drive and they are able to work as a community with shared goals to prosper and grow.

Now all of a sudden, An empty Coca-Cola bottle washes up on shore.

They are isolated tribe and don’t have access to the outside world. They don’t know what to make of this coke bottle but believe its a gift from the gods. Since there is only one of these coke bottles and an increasing focus in trying to decipher its nature and purpose, the previous utopia is hurtled face first into a hellish rambling of simple animals. The harmonic balance of the village has been swept away as now there is something available that isn’t equally available for everyone to persue (whether they chose to or not). Concept of jealousy and ownership now start coming into play in the minds of these inviduals and a unified concept of the village’s growth now turns into individual gains in order to obtain the Coke bottle for themselves.

The story then evolves in a journey to rid the village of this evil by throwing it off the edge of the world but It was the initial story that hit me.

I couldnt have been older than about 10 when I first watched it and even with its comical undertones and extended plot, I got it. It was the story of how the perceived inequality will ultimately lead to disharmony among people. The important word her is the perceived inequality since an empty coke bottle has very little uses and a village who had everything they wanted quickly unravelled ultimately over ‘nothing’.

It’s ultimately the tale of mankind and pretty much every conflict we have entered into as individuals, families communities, religious groups, countries are 99% over the propriety of ‘nothing’.

Just as I previously placed a barrier between myself and obtaining my own goals of ‘nothing’, The obtainment of nothing is reflected throughout history, just because nothing is not equally distributed. Only when nothing is around for all can it stop being a something, can it release its name and therefore its value as a commodity rather than its value as a tool to bring people together. The something has to dissolve into the very fabric of the society and culture.

I mean can you imagine tomorrow if something was released fortelling of a world shortage of air, how the world would completely change as we know it? Something we’ve all put to the back of our minds and taken for granted, something nature takes for granted as we are provided with a breathing reflex at birth, an involuntary action that drives us to survive the egestation from our 5* penthouse coccoon and fight to survive.

That’s almos the same as how the coke bottle affected the village.

In any case, I got it. And with it, my clinch on life started to open, and started the motion which was subsequently followed years on later by other relevations (also accompanied by My Conversation with the Prof). I also realised that a truly free individual is one who isn’t bound by anything, and for that to happen, you can’t go on with life with a clench fisted (either to fight someone with, or to hold on to someone). It’s all about the open palm technique

You see, what I realised is that if my goal really is to have nothing to do, I have to let go and continue on this path to unclenching my fist and letting the sands of importance slide through my fingers. Most of what I’ve ended up holding on to doesn’t particularly matter and never will and until I let go of it, the nothing I dream of will forever been replaced with the nothing I don’t.

Another one of these typical ephany moments come alongside when reading one of Tite Kubo’s poems. It’s goes

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If I don’t wield the Sword,

I can’t protect you.

If I keep wielding the Sword,

I can’t embrace you.

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As you can see, the letting go and cognitive dissonance of the illusion of protection comes heavily into play in this poem and coincides with my own thoughts on the matter. I often attribute this piece to a concept we all firmly hold onto in this day and age, JUSTICE

But again, as we all know, Justice is blind and at the very most, incredibly short sighted.

But that’s a tale for another post, for tonight, I’m going to let that one go…

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