Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Tao of unsaying

The axiomatic indictment of the principal of non-contradiction: what is A cannot, therefore, be not-A. This simple specification already contains the entire ontology of Western materialism. Here, though, we already have a collapse, as the unity that is essential for the operation of difference is subjected to a rectilinear motion of separation, a particular structural scaffolding upon which all the notions of the sensible, of Reason, are conducted. Analytical philosophy always starts with this a priori given truth.

True radical metaphysics, idealism, always objects against this immediate separation. The separation already contains the very movement of its non-identification. The self-identity of identity does not derive its basis from its distinctive separation into these two moments; rather identity presupposes the possibility of this very separation. What is not, can both be and not-be precisely because it does carry these two self-same possibilities. The formal recognition of this principle provides the thematic groundwork of what we call 'spirituality', or placed within a particular enclosure of context, 'religion'. Their purpose is not an explicative agenda into a system of concepts rendered for merely intelligible assessment. Rather, the purposive possibility of this radical divide draws its power from this naked repose, which always hearkens back to the fundamental origin of being as it continually erupts as the non-present presence which necessarily swallows up every individuation and in so doing finds its permanent reconstitution. The energy of this movement finds expression in the 'I'. Levinas, in Totality and Infinity, writes:

It is this perpetual postponing of the hour of treason -- infinitesimal difference between man and non-man -- that implies the disinterestedness of goodness, the desire of the absolutely other or nobility, the dimension of metaphysics.

Here the ethical imperative is revealed in its transcendental force as the power of difference. Power is the possibility of difference, the basis of difference, and that which actuates difference. When this operation is applied to the non-specific presence of separation, a union is achieved which revitalises being through a mode that is pre-dialectical. This is the functional specification of transcendence, which nevertheless remains forever unspecifiable; it is approachable only obliquely, rather in the manner with which a word is both the object of its concept and also forever detached from its concept. The sign hereby is dissolved in its signification and instead its meaning first emerges through this very non-identification. What is explicit is necessarily least so; the confusion on this point leads to a valedictory positivism. When something is grounded, it can only be so to the extent that it is set loose and free, in an interplay of every possibility of its ungrounded-ness. Hence why all concepts and knowledge are always contingent and the mere temporary predilection towards a something-else. This the point of departure that is always the point of return, to apply the Derridean deconstructive impulse. The Hegelian sublation enjoys its conquest of this circular movement, and provides us with the opportunity to say. We necessarily always say that which is already understood, even on occasions when it is formally not understood. Knowledge in this sense is merely a technical completion of a particular language expressed within an agreed dictionary of terms. This dictionary is always self-referential and self-constituting. Mathematics draws its power from its own elaboration of its self-same language. A mathematical truth is a grammatically correct sentence. Every new discovery is an expansion and development of this totality, which nevertheless draws its motivating power from the non-totality of the infinity it transcribes. An infinite number of specifications of this infinity is possible, none of which are this infinity, but all of which are its in-finite expression of the possibility of its non-expression. Hence why the dialectical surpassing and overcoming of the principle of non-contradiction is perhaps the supreme principal, a principle that nevertheless is not just one principle among many, of metaphysics. A metaphysics, that, metaphysically, always repudiates any attempt to reduce it to a set of principles. No such agenda is possible. It draws its concrete indeterminateness from precisely this mode of already surpassing every attempt at its saying. Writing nevertheless provides the means by which the unsayable can be said, by the unique operation of enlivening the very power that, in its possibility of creating differences, finds its greatest power in non-difference, is the superlative unity of its comprehisible non-comprehension.  In alchemical language, here the dispersion into the Waters, of the Fire, finds its rebirth in the Fire that blazes anew, and is given symbolic expression in the six pointed star (two overlapping trinities) of Solomon's Seal. Plato's Ideas were thus misunderstood though the application of an attempted reductionist operation of targeting separation; instead immanence already presupposes the complete identification with what is non-identical.

Reflect on this matter, and your 'I' will return to itself. This permanent return is the basis of everything by being the possibility of anything.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Writing and Difference? How about Reading and Similarity?

Writing is forever opening. It always attempts to point at whatever it isn't. Each word is a signifier, a sign pointing towards a something other than itself, a relativistic network whose origins lie in speech, in the original experiential act, in something prior even to this; at the root of being human. It nevertheless surpasses it origins. To speak with Derrida, it creates a rupture within being itself; and yet, immediately recovers itself.

Regardless of the phenomenology of writing, the relationship between the production of writing - a horrible term; perhaps I should say creation? Or let's leave the words to designate their own origin - and the writer is an interesting one. One such point of interest is the factors governing the impetus to write, versus the impetus to silence, or simply the lack of will to write, to speak, to say anything. Is it because it is an effort? Naturally; as all efforts are capable of being either neglected or slacked off as they pass down the hierarchy of priorities we assign to our choices and actions. Time spent doing one thing is time not spent doing something else. Standard life issues such as tiredness, too much work, lack of coherent quiet time to create a space (mainly in a psychological rather than physical sense; though I suppose for many writers they require specific physical/environmental conditions too; I say this with irony as I type this in my untidy and messy room, with my Chromebook across my lap as I lie back on the bed, a place I spend most of my time when I'm not at work or out running or cycling) conducive to create are all major factors. But I'm principally concerned, here, with what are more the internal factors.

Certainly, reading and writing exist in a fiercely reciprocal tension; the urge to write becomes more insistent the more one reads. I should like to think this is generally true amongst most writers. I should empathise I use the word 'writers' in its most generous and egalitarian sense: a writer is simply any human being who willing writes outside of the strict dictum's of academic or work necessity. To include these pursuits would render the term so wide as to neutralise it of any real meaning since it would end up including almost every human who has at some point passed through any remotely developed education system. So, yes, a writer is one who writes, regardless of form, content or quality; someone who wishes to either communicate or explore some concept, feeling, or expression of the human experience through words. When divorced from any economic imperative, such that it is purely a mode of creative expression (should it somehow end up being monetised, a mere bonus), it reflects back as an innately human concern. Writers write, then stop. Bloggers blog, then stop. Is it because they have said all that they wanted to say? But few such writings have such a teleological endgame. Writing is almost never an endpoint, but rather an eternal beginning (I think here of Derrida once more). Even the mundane aspects mentioned above (time constraints, situation, etc.) do not serve as a particularly satisfactory explanation. Rather, I think it is to to with the tension mentioned above.

Tension. Writing almost becomes a necessity if one becomes prolific in one's reading: prolific we can define here as a relative proportion of the allocation of one's free time versus other activities. (To give an example, albeit extreme; someone who reads for 30 minutes per day could be said to be prolific, in a sense, if they have a job that entails 16 hour days and those 30 minutes are their sum total of free time when they're not trapped in the tyranny of economic survival and they willingly deprive themselves of sleep in order to read something, anything). This close relationship with reading is simply because - and simple is the operative word - no one reads entirely passively. As a reader, the writer already exists in an original and originary relationship with the author of the text. The words are not simply 'consumed'; they are rewritten in an interpretation that constitutes the envelopment of reading. To read is to put oneself in communion with the author, and to write between the lines with every sentence read. Every time you read a book you are in effect writing it too. No matter how brilliant the author, or how inferior your own (perceived) writing skills are. No matter. You're still writing it, in the script of your own life, your own unique sense of the human, the private space that only you have access to, and you alone.

I am not sure other mediums of art have quite the same power to both access and reverberate with our deepest sense of being. And as alluded to, there is a sense that the words arise beyond or are otherwise than being (Levinas), through the rupture (Derrida); but I will not dwell on that here. Television and film seem like a more distant, passive, impersonal medium to me. This is not to lapse into a 'snobbery of erudition'. Rather just to describe the subjective experience. They are more impersonal, no matter the realism and force, since I am not employed as a writer in the screenplay of a film to anywhere near the same extent as when I read a book. Everything is made more explicit, so the free interplay of the imagination is somewhat lessened. Perhaps this is because commercial constraints (words are cheap, being almost free to produce; how ironic they're our most precious commodity too, in the true sense of that word) ensure that films cannot take such dramatic risks of abstraction. The alienation of a text is simply one person's rejected manuscript or ignored blog post, to descend into the vulgarities of the purely economic world we live in. The cost is only borne by the frustrated individual; but they probably would have written it anyway. The $100 million dollar film (or even £5000 low budget television episode) is another matter. They are also collective enterprises. By definition, generally one person cannot simultaneously operate the camera, star as the principal actor in one's own screenplay. Unless one includes video blogging, or 'vlogging'. Or an extremely specific and unusual form of film or one-person docu-drama (no doubt they do exist). In any case, generally it is a collective effort, and one usually involving quite a large number of people. This means that it both suffers and gains from the uniformity of collective rationality - however avantgarde. Still, I maintain that thus far nothing has managed to achieve quite the same degree of personal involvement, access to our most deep and private sphere of being as reading, in our participative act of reader-writers.

Music seems much closer. At the limits of abstraction it can certainly stake equal ownership with poetry. It still feels slightly more passive to me though. An author guides a reader and toys with their emotions, or plays with their intellect. So in this sense the musician and the author are identical. Does the musician who passively listens to other music create new music in their listening in the same way that the reader 'writes' in-between the very words that they read? Does listening already contain the precondition of musing (to borrow a pun)? I haven't really written much music (or even attempted to do so), so I cannot say. A different tension exists for words. Words are capable of both incredible concreteness and incredible plasticity depending on their employment (in each an every case this dual-moment is also always residual in every individual word). Music is always confined to a more abstract sphere. Excluding singing and vocals, which in their deployment of words as speech effectively mean that music becomes a form of mixed media, so starts to take on some of the properties of reading.

Anyway, my objective was not really an analysis of the comparative aesthetics of different forms of art and their modes of communication. It was to get back to the strange dilemma whereby the writer who writes, suddenly stops writing. The creative impulse gets stymied.

The source and return is the tension. To write, one must read. The more one reads, paradoxically, though, the more one is afraid of the nudity of one's own words. Have we got anything new to say? Are are words mere detritus to be added to a superabundance of everything else that is out there, everything that has been said in a thousand different ways before?

The terror of originality. No matter. Be unoriginal. The act of issuance is an operation that evokes an affective response within the deepest aspect of your being. Call it egotism, call it narcissism. Or call it the greatest generosity you can give. The best writing is always written for oneself, because it is the authenticity of the words to the inner space of the human that make them so vital, especially in this age of endlessly repeated representation and image; the surface. Writing for an audience does not mean that one is not writing for oneself. Far from it. They are one and the same.

The biggest violence, then, is the violence of silence. Words depend on this infinity as the backdrop upon which their inscriptions derive meaning. Silence, the blank sheet of paper, in its perfection is a virgin that must be despoiled through an act of courage that nevertheless already contains regret as its own moment. You have to start with saying something that probably seems trite, wasted, or irrelevant before you have something of value. Almost any good writer negates themselves more than anyone else. Even valueless writing has a peculiar value, a quality that would be difficult to ascribe, to, say, most daytime television. The depredation of silence gets weakened with each successive act of writing. In this sense, writing is no different from exercise. Effective exercise requires a methodical training regime of regularity, with just the right balance of rest and effort. The same could surely be said of writing. Reading becomes the 'active recovery' of writing. With exercise, it is only in rest and recuperation that you actually get stronger and fitter. Similarly words can only arise from the lived experience of everyday life, and intellectual reflection.

Perhaps the silence is the chrysalis. People who have a strong wish to write feel it as an almost unbearable urge, even though, paradoxically they may go silent for years, or even an entire lifetime. Perhaps everyone doesn't have a book in them. But we all have words, and at least some of those are worth letting out.

Meanwhile, those who stop reading, have already stopped writing. The urge to write will re-appear as soon as the reading resumes and reaches a certain critical mass; the inverse is also true.

I suppose these are all fairly standard mandates in most published books on writing. Even if I'm merely replicating them, I do so from own personal perspective and in my own words - and in the end, that is all one can ever really ask from life in any venture.

The blog always has the continual tension of change and stasis. Those diligent bloggers, if there are any left in this sunset of blogging, manage to create a smooth narrative through their frequency of new posts. For the rest - probably most of us - who write a-periodically, on and off, there is a necessary discontinuity. One never writes from the same vantage point, as the same person, many months, and especially if it is years, later. One has already moved on. Should one start a fresh blog? A clean sheet? The new book? But perhaps adding a new post to an old blog is ultimately no different from the metaphysical act of adding another sentence to the written paragraph. Writing already contains its own movement, difference within the same, so perhaps one should embrace it. Style, content, whatever change; no matter. We reinvent ourselves continually, but this always occurs on the basis of that which remains continuous within ourselves. In the end, no matter how many published books an author has, they are ultimately the same text, no matter how different.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Continuity? To wander after Sleipnir....

To continue this blog, or to start anew?

Most of the posts I have written for this blog date way back to 2009. That feels like virtually a lifetime ago. A lot can happen in five years; the circumstances of life, one's development as a person.

Yet herein lies the essential paradox of continuity, the grand old philosophical problem of personal identity (or indeed identity in in general); how does something that changes continually yet remain the same? For we each have some "narrative", however shallow or tenuous, with which we identify our "life path". That which allows us to claim that it was me, it was my life. In any eventuality, I have decided on balance to resurrect, or indeed simply just continue, from where I left off. Some of my old posts seem almost foreign to me now... and yet, on the other hand, some appear as keenly relevant to me now as they ever were.

2014 has been emotionally dreadful. Splitting up with L., who I loved with great intensity, and indeed still love (and probably always will), has hit me like a proverbial sledgehammer. The four years with her, her son I., the dog Alfie and Poppy the cat (who I loved to bits) were some of the best of my entire life. Nearly a year on, the gaping emptiness still haunts me. The emotional pain of the loss fuels my cycling training; even when every muscle in your body is afire, it is but a small and temporary pain compared to the abyss of emptiness that opens up with the bittersweet memories of better times. Why is it that the classic catechism of having to lose something to realise how much you valued it holds so true? Yet another cruelty of human existence.

We juggle so many conflicting strands, conflicting personalities, conflicting directions; little wonder we struggle to maintain a coherent path through life.

Blogs are a peculiar thing; a public diary. A cynic could claim that it is the height of narcissism and self-absorption. A depressing analysis could view it is a result of individual alienation and atomisation of society. Whether either of these viewpoints is true or not, the fact is that every blogger writes with the same instinctive desire that every writer has: to be read, to have communicated, to have shared something of the inner world of human existence. Most of these words will go unread, or at best skim read, because the honest truth that we must all admit is that most people's blogs are primarily only really of interest to the author themselves. Let us not flatter ourselves into thinking that most of our words are even necessarily truly worth reading, rather than full of superfluous dross. No matter; I write these words, they go out into the internet void, and even if they only glance across someone's eyeballs for a few seconds on the other side of the planet, then for however brief a moment, some type of connection was made. However shallow or superficial, however inept in delivery, it is something; and something is better than nothing at all. Sometimes the little something is all we really have at times in life.

Banner change #6 to #7

This blog is still alive. Barely...! It will be resurrected. It appears I managed one post in 2011 after a banner change, then nothing since... Hopefully will do better this time. A fresh cosmetic update, a new slate...

Old banner:

New banner:

Saturday, 1 January 2011

On belief

The diversification of human consciousness in the modern era carries a concomitant risk of over-specialisation and under-intensification. The possible options for belief and value system are now so wide that unless one can learn to penetrate beyond the vacillating furies, the hyperborean images of illusion, the encircling dragons of superficiality and sentimentality – in short the quixotic attempts at reframing all mysticism under the artificial gravity of the excessive preponderance on rationality and reason – one will end up wandering lost in a vast postmodernist landscape of ultimately rootless emptiness. One will no longer know thyself, and everything will be reduced to a hapless relativistic blur of subjective “qualia”, all equated to be equal in value with all meaning reduced to a mere interpretive act, a mere piece of superficial art. In short, all value must be then imputed, because all inherent value has been stripped. In other words, we become the logical corollary of a computer, unable to determine value except what has been explicitly programmed in.

This is what happens when all a priori has been replaced by all a posteriori. If everything occurs merely through induction, then there is only nature and no nurture, until eventually the subjective observer disappears because they have become nothing except a lens. However, we know this to be not the case on numerous levels.

On the a posteriori level itself, eventually the Scientific program started to come full circle with the development of Quantum Physics where it started to realise that the observer, the subject, in fact does have a direct effect on reality itself. The mere subjective act of observing causes a state change at a subatomic level. The mathematics of this knowledge is present in commonplace technology – everyday consumer electronics. Quantum Physics works; and ironically it represents the first of many incidences where modern science starts to mirror ancient knowledge. Language is not content; the content is in what the language implies. In this respect the mere difference is in the veneer of language – the content start to look more and more alike.

What has been buried ever deeper, however, is the higher initiatory wisdom that lies deep within the human nexus. Today it is largely tapped, often unwittingly, by artists. When an artist is in the “flow” they often describe the experience in terms of a sense of being-for-oneself and one-ness: there is no individuated separate ego, the higher I has been integrated. When asked where the inspiration came from, the response is typically vague or only a ambiguous connection: no wonder, because they have in fact become a conduit or channel for higher energies that are supersensible in origin. The fact that they cannot be delimited by modern scientific materialist tendencies does not mean they are fictitious or non-existent: I do not need a laboratory measurement to confirm my inner experience and microcosmos, and a Dawkins-esque explanation purely in terms of neurobiology, chemical receptors and neural networks in my physical brain does not capture the full immanent – emergent – effect that results from all these factors and more. It is the more that is the key point. The more is not mutually exclusive from the empirically determined factors – such factors have granted us the powers of modern technology; the very computer I type this on, the Internet across which you read this – but is simply integrated with it across other planes. What Dawkins might classify as a delusional belief in my case, I would classify as a higher order of knowledge based on even more direct evidence than any empirical study could replicate.

The classic metaphysical question of the modern sensibility is simply "Do you believe in God?”. The general absurdity of this question is the implication that the term God is something clearly understood by both parties. Again, the content is not in the language, but in what lies beneath the language - specifically the universal. By god do we mean God, gods, Gods, Ain Soph, SPACE, Nirvana, the existential I, the void, the One, Logos, Mind, Demiurge, Good, Monad, Brahma, Zeus, Elohim, Osiris, Odin… a creative principle, a generative force, the “laws of nature"… a supreme universal, the Idea… consciousness itself, an ordering logic…

For the purist Atheist – and by purist I mean someone who not only actively denies the existence of any deity or deities, but indeed of all concepts or beliefs in any higher principle, order or meaning – the only actual logical conclusion from that position is to terminate oneself. The very act of continuing to live serves no function whatsoever and in fact is merely an obstruction from death which is now not only both the start and end point, but the very process itself; to the extent that the process itself (i.e. of not being dead; living) is an irrelevance and indeed, far worse, a serious logical incongruity to their argument!

However, in reality, fortunately there very few people who actually hold this position (at least among those who are not mentally ill), though there are many who might superficially claim such a position (presumably for convenience or lack of intellectual rigour). Their very ability to attempt to defend their position is (intellectually and physically, in terms of survival), in itself, entirely a refutation of such a position. Without realising it, they have already imprinted their own metaphysical stamp on reality by their imputation of will.

In fact, expanding the argument, even an inanimate rock achieves this resolution by simply being existent. If I could discard it, it would simply cease to be. But I cannot discard it, because it is necessary. It is necessary because it is existent. This argument is deliberately circular because everything in life operates in actuality, in a circular fashion (hence the preponderance of circular logos, images, and mythological reifications (i.e. the serpent biting its tail). [One does not fully become conscious in the modern era until you can read, write, and “think”; yet you cannot learn how to read, write, and “think” unless you possess the generative force that enables you to undertake this process. You cannot think unless you can learn; but you cannot learn unless you can think. A circular emergence.] When you stand beside me and also confirm that self-same rock, we have thereby already ontologically grounded both ourselves and our nascent reality. We exist, as it were, at the very least, in a Kantian purposive purposelessness. Through the process of life, we can purposively direct ourselves towards a purpose as directed by our supersensible intuition.

Dualism vs. monism – The dualistic philosophy reigned supreme in Europe, dominating the development of Western science. But with the advent of atomic physics, findings based on demonstrable experiment were seen to negate the dualistic theory, and the trend of thought since then has been back towards the monistic conception of ancient Taoists. 

Bruce Lee, “Striking Thoughts”.

I agree with his assertion, from the same book, that “I am, therefore I think”, his direct inversion of Descartes's famous formula. Although in the modern era we are now generally beginning to see the limitations and error of “I think, therefore I am”, this dogma still colours the Western lens of perception as this formula is taken as the starting point for cognition even when the object for consideration is the very nature of this formula (viz. “consciousness”). You cannot induce “consciousness”, and still less, being, from the starting point of the thinker, since thinking itself presupposes that there is an active principle available to do this thinking – i.e. being, I am. Rather, we should instead recognise that a human being is conscious not because they self-think in self-awareness and therefore become characteristically human, but that they are instead human, and as a result of this being-toward-oneself, they are conscious, and thereby subsequently and consequently develop the capacity for thought. You could equate this with Heidegger’s Dasein.

Hence why I dispute all claims to artificial intelligence gaining consciousness in any meaningful sense of the term. It cannot become conscious because it has no being and is therefore rootless, if we can use the Taoist sense of the term. It can however develop extremely useful intelligence in the limited scope of a factual re-presentation of pre-programmed data, or structured methods of acquiring data.

So thank God/Zeus/Monad/<void> for Google!

In any case, we can, on one account, neatly source all of the metaphysical dread of modernity and our present mess to the blind acceptance (acknowledged or not) of the calamity that is “I think, therefore I am”.

Invert this, live your life according to the resultant contrary principle, and everything becomes very different in an entirely beneficial manner.

So, back to that original question about God. Do I believe in God?

My answer to this should hopefully be starting to become somewhat clear from the above discussions. Asked in the modern context, my answer would be the frustratingly obscurantist (to them) response “Yes and no”.

No, I do not believe in the external monotheistic creator figure (already coloured with materialism in the modern era).

No, I do not believe in a wishy-washy New Age polytheism/pantheism or animalism that is highly fashionable (and fills many shrewd pockets with the sale of endless “mind, body, spirit” trinkets!).

Yes, I do believe in something closer to Neo-Platonism, gnosis, and “mysticism” (a word which has acquired derogatory tones due to the discoloration of Western consciousness towards such Knowledge).

Yes, I do believe in principles at the heart of “esoteric” and ancient Mystery religions, Vedic/Taoist/Eastern literature, and on theosophical lines.

Yes, I do believe in a sense closer to the Heathen conception of reality – as far as I can determine, from this historical distance - of the Gods of Northern Europe, before Roman Christianity came along and swept into all aside and collapsed everything into a Church/State sponsored oligarchy of belief (which, in a somewhat distorted form, is still the dominant belief system of the West today – even among the “atheists/agnostics” who likewise align themselves in terms of a differentiation or negation of this self-same belief system, or indeed of entire political systems that are derivative negations from this i.e. communism, totalitarianism (totalitarianism ultimately revolves around the principle of replacing the spiritual leader – i.e. in a monarchy – with a leader on instead purely materialised terms – i.e. a Führer).

So I can say I believe in “God” only if you understand by that I mean that I account for existence with a deism very radically different from the typical Western understanding of the term, and that it encompasses a complex syncretism that operates on many different levels – hence there are Gods and there is God, and that there is no contradiction is this, and there is the One and the Many, the great Monad, and all of this is perfectly logically congruent with an existentialist conception of being.

Perhaps in another life I was a Sufi whirling mystic!

Amen Smile

“’Do What Thou Wilt’ shall be the whole of the law”, which far from decrying all morality, instead inserts us as the primary agents – and legislators - in our causation of reality. An active causation of which, we are not alone in the universe, but operate in participation with higher powers.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Banner change #5 to #6 (and cosmetic update)

As the New Year approaches, so again, it is time to refresh things. A new banner design (just some improvised editing of a photo of mine taken in the local Jesmond Dene park from the summer/autumn), and a new blog theme.

New post/content to follow over weekend.

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New banner:


Sunday, 19 December 2010

The wintry meditation

Very few posts of late on this blog – I have been extraordinarily busy. An enormous amount has changed since the last post. In short – I have made it happen. The last post was a reflection of my resolution to make my Personal Training career a reality. I didn’t have a specific roadmap laid out, but instead just a firm conviction it would happen in a timely fashion.

Which it did, and has. Approximately two months subsequent to that post, I secured an interview for a PT position at the very gym I workout in. I went in with a great deal of confidence and was successful in getting the job – I had an absolute belief that the time was right and I was going to make the transition from my previous job, which, by this point, I was getting well and truly sick of: no challenge, poor salary, no progression, no future; in short, a total waste of my abilities.

It is all now a bona fide reality and I am a self-employed PT operating out of that gym. Despite the difficulty with launching at this time of year (everyone wants to put fitness/health off till the New Year) in addition to the enormously inclement harsh weather conditions that Britain has experiencing over the last month and the transportation difficulties – despite all of this, it is already going extremely well, and I am not too far off having a full sustainable business with a good client base. Come the end of January and the massive influx of new gym members, it should all come together. I have approximately 15 clients now; I expect to double this throughout January which means that by Spring I will be securely established and making a reasonable living.

Personal Training is enormously satisfying and challenging. Every client is different, with a huge difference in basic fitness and proprioception skills, physical history and health/fitness problems – consequently the training always has to be tailored to the individual. There are many factors that come together since it is far more than just a simple 1 hour training session with a person – it is about learning how to interact with the individual, discover how to motivate and get the best out of them, how had to push. adjudge how accurate/realistic their feedback is. Then there is the program design, the periodised progression over time, the many different factors that come together in a unique mix depending on the individual's needs & wants to establish all round fitness (“fitness” for their particular requirements, whether it be simply general health or competitive fitness) – aerobic capacity; anaerobic capacity; strength; strength-endurance; mobility; flexibility; balance, proprioception. We then of course have all the fundamental aspects of biomechanics, posture, movement patterns, muscle activation and firing patterns… Nutrition and lifestyle.

Being self-employed is enormously empowering. It places significant demands in terms of having to self-manage everything, but it is also tremendously rewarding because every input has some direct output. I am in charge of my business, I decide how I want to run everything, I make it all happen. It is incredibly liberating after having been stuck in the typical model of being time-bound and simply "passing time” (normally in excruciating boredom) in all my prior jobs. I’m far too busy to get bored these days, there is always so much to do! My current list of tasks, in addition to all the training time I need to do with clients in the gym, comprises building a proper website for my business, deciding how I am going to grow the business, develop all the marketing materials and strategies, decide on what further equipment I need to purchase and how much to invest, develop all my training materials and paperwork for clients (and complete all the existing paperwork for my current clients) – training programs, nutritional plans, lifestyle assessments, and all ancillary materials related to the art of correcting/improving/developing the human physique …


My career takes up an enormous amount of headspace now – which is a good thing – but of course the inner private life remains, that which is directly affected by the overall life consequences of one’s career but which is nevertheless a separate entity. In this respect I am still a quixotically intrigued by the almost impenetrable nature of the male-female divide, that distance I never seem to be able to bridge since entering my late twenties.

For there is still J., the one with the fabulous singing talent, and someone who I’ve always felt a great affinity with whenever I’m around her. We have our considerable differences – on matters such as diet, and on musical taste (though we share a decent region of commonality, on this point, too), but to me it adds to the intrigue. All I know is that whenever I am around her there is an energising quality to our time; and if I am, perhaps, as it were, someone more of the winter and the night – she brings the feeling of spring, all sunlight and joy. I think she is beautiful, warm and charismatic – yet frustratingly remiss in replying or getting back to me, leaving me perplexed; I suppose I should probably take the hint. Me being the fool (and inevitably, hopelessly idealistic on such matters), I can’t entirely give up. Whenever I do see her – which is rarely – it is always memorable. I wonder whether she will always be an enigma to me, or whether one day things might change…

I suppose some would view it as a flaw or make the rather obvious point that I am essentially rather too direct or honest in expressing myself – regardless, I just cannot be bothered with the game. I’ll let someone know if I like them, even if the strategic thing to do is to be more guarded and present yourself as essentially not bothered. Does it transfer a pressure to the other person? Perhaps, but only inasmuch as it means they have to express their inclination or disinclination.

I am someone with fairly intense emotional states, but also, I believe, fundamentally well balanced. I feel quite secure in who I am (especially now). I understand the rationale behind “not getting when you’re looking”, which is all well and good, but I don’t consider myself to have been especially “looking” since I am only interested in a person if I believe there is some genuine potential present – this is contrasted with the emotionally unstable individual who is simply looking for anyone just because they need someone regardless of who they are. Of course I recognise the fact that a psychologist would point out that we will always "choose" to see the potential where it suits us...!

Too much of a thinker, dreamer, or too expressive/"intense”, or simply not physically attractive to them – who knows – but life is proving rather tedious in this dimension as there seems to be scant opportunities presented.

Are we all becoming increasingly insular as individuals in society? Blogging, Facebook, every form of media and art, the multifarious instantaneous methods of communication - all these means of expressing oneself, and yet I sometimes wonder whether we diminish and deflect away from the quality and intensity of face to face interaction because we become so attuned to expressing ourselves through some indirect digital medium – and here I am typing this all on my blog, irony of ironies!

Isn’t it an awful lot easier to communicate something when you can use a technology as the mediator?

Two others I feel compelled to mention:

K. – she who does indeed like to boogie! Very pretty, and really fun to be around. I’d be curious to see her window onto life. Brings out my energetic side!

H. – known her a long time, a close friend. In terms of inner experience, someone I share an enormous amount with. A certain type of music presents the common ground to a deep shared understanding on certain qualities and experiences of life. To understand it automatically implies an a special affinity. A fabulous women; someone whom I can simply be myself around – which is a rare thing indeed.


But in general, I still wander mostly by myself. The wandering has now progressed to a path with both a purpose and direction. But only time will tell whether I continue along that path alone, or whether one day, someone I like might elect to join me. That would be nice. But life doesn’t conform to what is nice, and ultimately you can never bend life to your will; our powers are more limited.

I’m either an inveterate irritating shoe-gazer or a man with a inquisitive searching mind. I look forward to the day when I meet a special women that sees primarily the latter in me! I see life itself as a continual meditation on meaning.