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Monthly Archives: February 2006

I haven’t posted anything in a while, and its probably more symptomatic of traveling rather then any indication to abandon the written word, but recently its been hard to put things into words. I have many ideas floating ethereally but none have come within grasping distance and crystallized in to anything that I would feel warrants a mention over here. I have a sense that something big is going on just below the surface and that I need to work it all out before I ever commit it to paper rather then trying to commit it to paper in an effort to work it out. I guess it’s a matter of things happening when they’re ready to happen.

I’m starting to adopt a no-nonsense attitude to life. Life is a rough and difficult place. Every day every thing you do will throw out a challenge at you. Even to do nothing is a challenge to yourself. I know people who are chronically unable to do nothing. And I think it’s a useful ability to have. To sit and wait, to endure and overcome are virtues that are increasingly uncommon in our modern world, and they are ones that I’m aware of as well but increasingly I find them in conflict with this desire to brook no nonsense.

There are certain things in life you have to do, certain challenges you have to rise to meet. And I’m not talking of great and glorious things. I’m talking about all those nasty little things that you like to ignore because they’re not as fun as playing games and chatting on MSN. Things like laundry and organization. Things like putting away what you took out, sorting your cupboard so that you can find what you want. Putting your pens away after you’ve used them. They’re all very trivial examples but I think they are what distinguishes the mind who lives in the present and is willing to engage with the world from that which is inclined to live in its bubble, and pretend that its bubble is meaningful because it offers sanctuary. I’m not impressed nor am I truly inclined to tolerate. But against my inclination I do because there are other things that are more important than that, but then you question the value of what you’re gaining compared to what you’re sacrificing. Peace for anger and frustration, fake amiability to avoid confrontation. Prices worth paying?

I’m also beginning to question my inclination to pull the slack for others, which is really what this post is all about. In one of my previous posts I said that part of being aware and responsive was a necessary corollary of being in such a state, but now I’m wondering why it is, and if it isn’t better to let others know what you think of them and their actions. The downside to this is that obviously you come across as a grumpy person, with a very abrasive personality that does no one any credit. Least of all yourself. Yet people do need to be reminded, and it seems gentle suggestions are about as useful as the paper they’re written on, i.e. totally worthless. It’s only when one gets angry or when one uses sarcasm or bite to make one’s point come across that you seem the change in behaviour that you desire. My parents have done it to me, and I understand why it works now, because that is what it seems to need to kick the lethargy and self-centered focus of most people from out under them.

And you know what, kicking the self-centered focus of people out from under them really seems like a good thing to do from my own slightly curmudgeonly perspective. Most people like I said are in the bubble. You need to puncture the bubble. The only way this can happen is if you do something dramatic or strong enough to puncture it, otherwise people keep going their merry way oblivious to the consequences and costs of their actions on other people.

On the other hand I’m sure that I’m guilty of doing this myself, but even if that’s the case I know that a gentle word is going to have as much impact as a wooden sword on the Enterprise, and that if you really want to make an impact you’re going to have to smash the hull pretty hard to get a response. Of course smashing hulls resonate long after they are struck, but the stress produced is neither beneficial to the hull nor in its long term interests. The analogy is apt if a little thin I feel. I don’t like being struck hard either for that matter, but I do know it works. And at the moment ‘just works’ is a very tempting idea.