Thursday, 23 April 2015

Relativity



What right have I to complain, cry or moan about anything in my life? I live in a beautiful, safe home where there are flowers growing in the back garden and farms and fields fully surrounding me. I have both my parents' full and loving support at the drop of a hat. I have grown up in an area of outstanding natural beauty. I have been to excellent schools for free all my life. I have a large number of people in my world who love me, understand me, and encourage me. Each year my parents have managed to pay for my sister and I to have glorious summer holidays in wonderful countries around the world, and each Christmas we receive gifts, food and warmth.

I do not live in a country plagued with war. I have not watched my family die of a preventable disease, nor seen my village wiped out by an epidemic. I have never had to fight for my education, nor been utterly stripped of any other fundamental human rights. My parents don't have to pay for my health care. I can speak my mind against bodies of power and authority without being beaten senseless in front of a crowd of onlookers or imprisoned or tortured. I can vote in elections. I can wear what I wish, and marry whomever I please. My rights and thoughts and way of life can be oppressed and discriminated against but by society and not by a government with the aim of "keeping me safe". I live in the West, where the general attitude is to uphold democracy and protect all rights wherever possible, and so in most cases I will be protected or supported simply by a general consensus. 

I still complain about the electoral system in the UK, moan about the inaccuracy and unfairness of the education system and cry about most of my personal hurdles and dissatisfaction with life. They say everything is relative but where, exactly, is the truth in this? 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

I am still a feminist.



This is a short one but it is in response to the "Why I'm Not a Feminist" video by Lauren Southern that recently went viral.

Men's issues are entirely included in my view of feminism and the same goes for every feminist I know. In fact, I have not met one feminist who has not defended complete equality which concerns the problems created by sexism for both sexes.

Men's issues are not the fault of women, but the fault of a perpetuating patriarchal society and attitude towards genders. This does not mean that all men are to blame, and that all men do not suffer as a result of this. There is little to dispute, however, the scale or impact of one over the other. I believe in the equality of both men and women, but only one of them has been severely oppressed for hundreds of years and only recently emancipated.

I am still a feminist. Feminism means the belief in equality, for both man and woman, and it always will.

Monday, 6 April 2015

How free are you?

Some people would argue that none of us are free. We are controlled by a state that uses the media to perpetuate fearfulness of everything. Fear of death, illness, homelessness, poverty, the Terror. This fear is then counteracted by some ineffective solution, which normally involves buying stuff to make it all better so we then become constant consumers as well as victims of fear mongering.

The only thing we can't buy to make better is terrorism. So instead we assume the omnipotent state will do what is best and what is right for our safety. We stop asking them questions about it because they are literally the only solution to this terrible enemy, and so then they start to look at our private lives on our private online profiles which we were promised would be totally safe and private. This, of course, is how we will stop the Terrorists. By reading everyone's emails sans permission. Forget all other forms of communication like letter writing, phone calling and plain old speaking, emailing is the one way we will destroy the enemy. Your human rights might just be infringed a little along the way... Sorry. 

Okay so it's supposedly over now, GCHQ were wrong and exploitative and that is official as of 2015.  However, I know a surprisingly large amount of people who were completely fine about the government violating their privacy without their knowledge. This, they assure me, is for the greater good. Also, they say, our lives aren't even that interesting. 

This is a fantastic revelation. 

My life just isn't interesting enough for me to actually care about its privacy. I am so petrified of the Terror that I will literally give up my rights so that a futile attempt can be made to oust any vaguely suspicious looking men whilst villages are burned and innocent citizens are beheaded in a far off land that is confusing and alien to us. I don't mind if my small little life is intruded upon and my private conversations are read by some strange man in Cheltenham to basically no avail. The enemy must be defeated somehow, whoever that enemy might be. Fear the enemy. Fear, fear, terror, fear, war, fight, terror, fear. 

If you are constantly exposed to fear mongering news stories then you start to believe everything you are told. And once this happens, how free are you?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Therapeutic people.


I am always completely fascinated by human interaction. The way we can irritate each other, hurt each other and mean the absolute world to each other just by simply existing is a wonderful thing. Our conversations shape who we are and how we think, we bounce off each other energetically like atoms in the atmosphere and we become individuals with the help and influence of a community around us.

Just by holding someone's hand you can lower your heart rate to calm down as if partaking in some sort of cheap, friendly therapy. Sometimes, babies at first considered still born have been brought to new life just by laying on their mother's bare chest. We are separate, powerful life lines to each other that create societies which once broken down can just be seen as organisms feeding off each other's creativity, work and love. Of course, as love is also hate we can use this power of interaction to commit the most atrocious acts imaginable and turn our healing abilities to harmful ones. This fascinates me also, the ability to control and damage another person, to let another human hurt you. We crave instinctively to push the limits of human interaction, as if a part of us knows naturally the vast impact we can have, in either direction, upon each other.

It could be argued that the true essence of being a human is within our interaction, and therefore this is why our acts of kindness, or displays of affection make our world go round. How utterly a person can soar with the undying support of the random human beings he has ended up having in his life. How wonderful that we never truly live alone because even in the absence of friends or family a person still desires to impress upon or absorb information from or react to the rest of their species. How lovely that if a smile is put upon your face by another person's greeting or action it will run like adrenaline through your memory for the rest of the day, or life.

And so, if struggling to find a solution to the seeming futility of our existence, look to the people you interact with everyday, the conversations you have, the moments you share and then revel in the complete, compelling joy it can bring.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Our Digital Age.

Photo Via

We are not in the middle of an industrial revolution. The youths are not partaking in a grand sexual revolution. Power fashion has been and gone, as have the Punk and New Romantic movements. The government should probably be dismantled and reevaluated but Russell Brand is still being laughed at with the younger generation only rustling their feathers slightly. There may be a big bang of social change and movement about to happen, but its lead up is becoming slow and tedious. It would seem that in this era the air has grown stagnant and our minds are switching off, but if you listen carefully the hum of a gigantic, new age is playing on in the background of our lives.

It has become so subtle that only the select few are aware of it happening, its occurrence being so fast that we forget now to bat an eyelid. It is just This and it is just That nowadays because someone has forgotten to tell the rest of us how to push this age along. The genii are running low in this area because no one has stopped to pick them up on the rush to get to Where We Are Now. And it is today, and this week, and this year that the experts have remembered they left the kids behind and are darting back to get them on the bandwagon. No one left behind a manual for the children of the Digital Age.

Computers have made our lives so simple that we've neglected the questions and the education needed for the next generation to know how to make them better, better, better. This world we've created is so cool that we just say "Wow, isn't that wicked?" and close our eyes and go to sleep because the experts will make everything even cooler tomorrow. But that's the problem, soon there won't be that many experts left. And there's another problem, "experts" is exactly the wrong word to use.

If every child was taught a programming language, which from the new government plans they will be, then there would be a full generation of developers, innovators and creatives to surge the Digital World to its peak and beyond. This new and slightly bizarre industry has a huge, gaping hole where a lot more workers should be working things out like never before. It is a wonder that it is only now that everyone is shouting "Look at this! Look how exciting it is!" like the BBC and its digital partners are starting to do with huge programmes such as Make It Digital. Make It Digital will, hopefully, contribute to inspiring toddlers, infants, and teens into the world of coding so that when the time comes the world will not struggle to recruit an army of digital artists and writers and engineers.

This time and age is so extraordinarily exciting, you just have to open your eyes to know that it's there.

Friday, 6 March 2015

My brain is a swirling mass.

My brain is a swirling mass of unfinished thoughts, questions, stories, ideas, school work, fantasies, identity crises, wishes, hopes and dreams at this moment in time and often it is awfully hard to make any sense of it. 

I have no space in my head to think of any of these things thoroughly and so my mind stretches out room in which I go blank, think of nothing at all, and squeeze everything important into corners I cannot always reach. I know somehow that these empty moments are wasteful because an echo of my subconscious will call for me to return, but I do not always want to return. Thinking of nothing is quiet and calm, safe even, and so slipping into nothingness is a form of escape.

Meditation is not quite the word for it, it is not a conscious effort. It is as if I am floating around as a living being and without something to keep me occupied I can float into a thoughtless expanse where the noise of the rest of my life is muted. 

When your eyes glaze over and your mind leaves the room are you daydreaming? I don't think that I am. When I daydream my mind and my body cannot sit still as I half mindfully make up a story, but when I stare into space it is more like deep sleep when you do not know that you are dreaming. As if my mind whirs on without me and I sit like a carcass left behind from my thoughts. 

Sometimes I will sit staring into space and thinking of nothing for what seems an age, letting minutes slip through my existence like sand through my fingers. I gain nothing from this, I am just on 

pause. 


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Tempestuous literature.



I have come to believe that literature and other arts and I have a somewhat tempestuous relationship. I love it passionately and with great enthusiasm but can be often hit with its wisp of futility in over thought out extracts or introductions that lead me to question the exact purpose of adhering to literature works so vehemently. I also have reason to believe that in reading so extensively I have acquired the necessary understanding in order to write such bullshit sentences as these. It's a dangerous, figurative realm to enter. 

I have written before about the precocious pedestal literature academia sits upon in the sense of its relatively strict "Good" and "Bad" differentiation between various works, but have yet to discuss another of my qualms with the subject. Having had to read through an unbearably long introduction to a modern publication of Hamlet recently with its intrinsically written paragraphs on the contestable source of the infamous Shakespeare play I found myself thinking as I struggled through, "Who really cares about this bollocks?". This is of course no insult upon the ever wondrous language of the Bard, but on the lengthy, ever growing culmination of interpretations and critical analyses of different works in all literature. Who really benefits from this endless stream of other people's opinions? Has it really affected our evolution as intelligent beings? 

Well, truth be told, the answer to the latter is yes and the answer to the former is most likely everyone ever even if you are illiterate. Probably. I am a big hypocrite to express my disdain for the efforts made by academics in breaking down every art work, novel, poem or film created for enjoyment and benefit of both themselves and others for whilst writing an essay I'd rather not waste my time on seems pointlessly labourious I truly enjoy nothing more than having a lively discussion on a book or a play. What I often fail to remember is that where I may not agree or become engaged with every interpretation or a piece of work itself, the simple desire to understand the human condition is prominent in every branch of art and literature and also within those who adore both. Every book written is an attempt to understand something or someone with greater triumph which means that every analysis and interpretation is just a further attempt to break down what it initially sort out to explore and discover. 

This literature world I am wary of entering is not as futile as it sometimes appears to me. It may not be as blatantly useful as the immediate benefits to humanity or nature provided by careers like nursing or charity work or engineering can be, but it is a world dedicated to discovering and investigating a condition we've spent the last few hundred years trying to understand. So maybe I should just button my mouth shut and get on with it.