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.

Old banner:

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New banner:

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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 …

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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.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A choice

As seems to be my whim, I have slipped into my usual summer blogging hiatus. In any case, looking back, the first thing that strikes me is the double irony of my last post ("Daring to reveal"); the irony being, that in reality, virtually no one particularly cares, so any "insights into one's soul" - to use that quixotic catechism - really do not apply.

I find it continually interesting how rather than possessing a stable I, a stable immutable identity, instead identity seems to be an ongoing construction: there is a fundamental foundation, a root, as it were, but upon that the elaborate infrastructure of who you are seems to shift. At least it does for me, and indeed, as reflected in my blogging habits, it does so even on a seasonal basis. Perhaps one of the satisfying things is how all the aspects of oneself can simultaneously diverge/deepen (or can do) and yet retain their cohesion.

In the months that have passed since my last post here, a great deal has changed in my circumstances. Overwhelmingly though, by far the most important change is that I have finally stopped prognosticating and focused my energies into one choice, one career path.

Sometimes it can be a simple matter of a mistaken belief being shattered. For whatever reason, I'd come to the belief that one qualified and registered as a Personal Trainer, that unless you continued to accrue continuous professional development (CPD) points you could not remain active on the register. Once your two year window had expired, if you hadn't added any fresh points, I'd thought your position was lost.

I qualified some years ago, but let it go dormant, for various complicated reasons I won't dwell on here.

Well, this isn't the case, so I am now once again registered as a Personal Trainer & Sports Massage Therapist. I have now renewed this career path with great vigor; I still possess all my training materials, and I have refinanced my money with the bank (something I should have done an age ago, in any case). I have bought fresh equipment and just taken delivery of a massage table. Excitingly, I am going on a Kettlebell course this Saturday so will then be certified to train people with those. I am doing a boxing course in October. I will transition from my current job to a suitable job with a gym in due course; alternatively/additionally,
I will start to build up private one-to-one tuition. I am currently debating redirecting some of my money into getting car and driving lessons and attempting to go private immediately, rather than attached to a gym. There are different trade offs to both which need to be carefully considered.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Daring to reveal

The irony of blogging is that people are attempting to 'connect' through a medium that is essentially alienating (the scenario of millions of people sitting privately alone in their rooms in front of a computer screen). The attraction for the blogger is the possibility of having a dialogue - even if it remains an unspoken one, of a silent reader - with someone remote: and thereby feeling uninhibited in terms of being fundamentally open and communicative.

It of course depends on the nature of the blog: if it is simply a place for covering external entities (i.e. reviews of music, books, art, webpages, etc.; documentary of current affairs or some specialist subject; or perhaps merely a "meta-blog" covering the blog or digital  landscape), or if it is closer to the more quiescent origin of the "blog": namely, an online diary. A public forum for one's private meditations.

The latter is only one remove from the now old-fashioned notion of a  personal diary; somewhere where you scribe your most private thoughts and personal matters. Having a place to record such meditations is, for someone of a more introverted nature, an almost essential part of their self-awareness, of their identity. Of course, nearly everyone would  benefit from a greater degree of internalisation, particularly in this era which overwhelmingly favours everything external and places the highest value in the merely transient experience rather than the subsistent core of actual being.

So, naturally, when asked in common conversation as to how you've been and what you've been up to, the answer would normally consist of a catalogue of activities and "real-world" experiences: not a chart of the movements in your inner landscape. Yet it is the geology of the inner landscape that dictates the real thoroughgoing quality of resultant structures of your external life: for you bring yourself to everything you do; even if, again ironically, the patterns of most human interactions require you to retreat into yourself and project a mere social persona for the situation - most especially at work, of course.

Despite its limitations, language is nevertheless our primary tool for a communication of the deeper aspects of human existence. Yet we use it sparingly by degree of the amount of excess that conventional etiquette requires. Even amongst close friends this remains true: the very vagueness and ambiguity that the modality of human language makes eminently possible is used to merely hint at the underlying mystery of life that we each, as self-conscious beings, must necessary experience  on whatever level. Yet rather than penetrate further, we usually all tend to prefer to skip around this vague abstract space rather than attempt to go into that space with another and share the real authentic experience of being.

Usually it is easier to obliquely point towards or express via the alternative language of art (of whatever type) the more intimate experience of this real inner world than risk having a meaningful conversation about it. Or this is certainly my experience of life so far. Certainly one of the defining characteristics for me in the progression through my twenties is a movement from the more "hard" certainties of the vagaries of human experience to a "softer" ambiguity. Looking back, as a very young man (i.e. 18, 19, 20) one likes to think that one has clearly understood and arrived at certain decisions as to "who" you are and the "what" of truth. Yet in reality I realise now that I ascribed too much importance to things that actually matter little - ultimately - and simultaneously, disregarded or considered "dealt with" things that actually matter the most.

To give a very brief example, consider symbols. Symbols are used with wild abandon today. They're just a collection of lines and graphics, just an abstract logo. Yet the occult power of symbols is phenomenal - literally. A symbol is more than just a handy visual representation of some entity. A symbol is an aggregation of values: moreover, it utilises the power of the supersensible. A materialistic account of the nature of symbols would not be able to do justice to the tremendous power that they wield over the human collective: history demonstrates this point more than ably. The symbol is not merely just the referent of a known quantity: it is also explicates part of the directly inexplicable beyond that motivates all human life. An effective symbol merely grows in power as it ages: it accretes value by acting as a focal point for the accumulation of meanings imbued upon it. As such it becomes all of these things, and yet simultaneously none of them. It becomes both more and less than every meaning put upon it.

To name something is to give it power; yet to attempt to name something tends to distill it down into something that as yet it is not. An empty nominalism.

In the mundane sphere, every powerful brand knows the power of symbol: the most powerful corporations can project and extend their power through their mere brand logo. Successful brands cause people to "buy into" their brand - particularly in the world of fashion. Buying the particular brand isn't just about buying into the particular qualities, features, or look of the item in question: more importantly, it is buying into a collective shared position towards the world. It is about expressing status and self-identity. I use "self-identity" in an ironic sense, since this movement towards the outer is in fact the movement away from self-identity and self-knowledge towards the commodity "self" and a lack of self-knowledge.

Incidentally, this isn't a one-sided diatribe against fashion or indeed any type of brands: some brands do rightly possess power because their products are of a good quality or their clothes do have style. It is possible for fashion and style, on some level, to exhibit itself as "living art".

Anyway, wrapping up the asides to return to my original point: some things are a lot more important than you realise, and for all its abuses language is probably the most potent tool we have for communicating authentic human experience about the deepest aspects of life.

Yet we rarely use it, or certainly nowhere near as much as we should, with even our closest friends. Instead we merely make the quick quip or the brief soliloquy, exchange the knowing glance, and nod and merely say "I understand". Which we do - but only up to point.

So, to come full circle back to my original discussion about blogs, so that "shyness of exposing identity" - or perhaps you could call it simply intimacy? - expands even to the online sphere of blogs. Namely: I have some very good real world friends, but in actuality, virtually none of them know of the existence of this blog at all.

It could well be an act of too much self-absorption to consider that anyone else really wants to read this: perhaps the vast majority of all diaries are of little interest to anyone except the author? Yet one has to believe that when one is discussing the commonalities of base human existence, that perhaps one has something that is of interest to someone else.

I guess what we want to know is: what is their experience of life? What is being a human for them? And most importantly, how does it compare to mine?

In reading Hegel at the moment, I fully grasp, appreciate, and now pretty much agree with his point that true self-consciousness only comes about with the recognition of another self-consciousness. Self-consciousness emerges from the interaction with another knowing self-consciousness. Extending that logic then, I hope that perhaps by knowing other people better, I come to know myself better.

Incidentally, being in a close, loving relationship doesn't automatically guarantee this greater self-awareness. We tend to think of such an arrangement as being the best place to foster real genuine human communication, but as we all know well, sometimes relationships proceed  far too much on always assuming you can "read their mind" and often, even in this most intimate of human arrangements, the two (or more!) people do not necessarily really open up. Sharing the intimate deepest level of human experience shouldn't just necessarily be restricted to your lover, or a close family member: you should probably extend it to your close friends too. For if they are real friends, they will probably welcome going on this journey with you. And any stable relationship has no fear about deeper friendships with other people outside that relationship, since they know they will always reserve a certain key core (particularly around the sexual psyche) only for each other. Rightfully so. Such a movement can only have positive effects on their own relationship by enriching it. Certainly I became too insular with my lover when I last had a long term relationship some years ago; we ended up secluding nearly everyone else from our own little world; eventually this has a weakening effect on your relationship as you deny a whole range of other human interactions and connections.

I have often been described as "too intense" by various people - fatefully, normally by the female in question during botched (at an early stage) attempts at romance. I think I'm finally coming to understand what this fully means. However, if by my very desire for openness they find that intimidating, I feel sad both for my loss and theirs. For they made a hasty assumption as to the type of man I am, or who I can be to be around - I do have a lighter, humorous side! - and do not desire to dominate anyone through an authoritarian personality (though I do believe that is is healthy to have an interplay of power between two people; playing with power, by alternating roles, helps to avoid one person becoming too dominant). Simultaneously, perhaps it is through an unconscious belief that they do not have "enough" self to give back: again, they have prematurely shot themselves down. Or finally, perhaps because I am too "cerebral" they think I destroy the "mystery" of human experience by attempting to understand it: I would argue the contrary is in fact true. The mystery becomes more powerful the better you understand it.

Or, the final resting point of self-analysis: perhaps they simply don't like me and I talk too much.


In any case, I have decided to "open up" this blog to a few select friends. It's here if they ever want to read it. It seemed rather disingenuous to risk sharing my "inner world" with complete strangers on the other side of the planet, and yet not do so with people I've know for years who live just a few streets away.

I'll never have the more meaningful interactions I seek without taking the risk to open up more. I do not know whether any of these words in the ether are of any real genuine interest to them, or whether in fact, I simply ramble on far too much, in my own running dialogue with myself. But perhaps they will learn a few new things about me - and in return, I will learn more about them. They may perhaps find some things that are rather surprising: certainly, it is true to say that I consider that I don't really know hardly any of my friends, so I believe that likewise that applies towards me. Not on a truly deep level. We skirt around the outside, getting some semblance of each other, without ever really knowing that person. (Obviously men tend to be far worse, in general, at "emotional openness" than women). Dare we open up to each other?

All the modern tools for connecting actually tend to end up acting as masks and blinds. You construct a Facebook persona: but that Facebook persona is not you. It is merely a strange analogue. Everyone then interacts and has a relationship with this analogue rather than with you.


The modern world tends to alienate us all: we need to try and reverse this trend towards us all becoming individual atoms completely tied up in our own small microcosmos.