Closed mindedness

I think I’ve just completed some kind of strange cycle or spiral*.

I came to Bali in 2002 a pretty naive, innocent, innocuous boy amongst mostly people older than me. I didn’t really comprehend everything that was happening. In fact, I don’t think I had a clue. I couldn’t read people, I couldn’t tell what they were thinking, feeling or what they wanted. I was armed with a very basic set of assumptions about the world, which with hindsight, were great. I was the quintessential country bumpkin with deep sense of curiosity. I absorbed what I could identify, I was excited by it all, but ironically I think I thought it was all a bit immature but I also recognised that maybe I was a tad serious and that this was part of why I was here – to let go a little bit, to be a bit more fun.

Nine years later, I feel like I have completed a loop of the spiral. I learnt to really appreciate the moment during uni and to have fun. I physically realised during honours and in getting a job at PwC that your own expectations can be limiting. I nearly didn’t. I learnt at work a bit about people, finally. Previously I thought if I treated people how I wanted to be treated that is what would happen. I thought ‘Management’ as a subject was a waste of time. Not always. Eventually I learnt a bit about girls, but it took a long time. They still astound me on a regular basis and my stupidity probably still astounds them sometimes. I learnt all through this a little about being more open minded, to love and express feelings, to thank my dad and take care of my mum. I met amazing people and I wanted to be like them.

Now, sitting in Bali again – trying to be like the amazing people I know, I feel like I might be losing touch with the open-mindedness and I may have forgotten that first lesson a little bit – How to have fun and appreciate the moment. I think this because I look around me and instead of seeing innocent, ignorant or naive (20 yo) boys who really know how to appreciate the moment, I see drunk obnoxious louts and girls who should have more sense than to like them. Most of them are Australian.

* Why does ‘Spiral’ have downward or negative connotations? A spiral could be upward or downward right? I actually meant an upward spiral – to what I’m not sure but the upwardness in my mind signifies progress. Even though I don’t believe in teh virtues of heaven, hell or the corporate ladder, up is strangely still the way to go.

Whirlpool

The environment here is just damn strange
There are different currents going many different ways
At times I’m stuck in a whirlpool of human emotions, mine and others.

At once
Fighting strongly in the rough chop of intellectual challenge
Enjoying my work
And then
Tiring and drowning under waves of cultural misunderstanding
Despairing the work

Once again
Buoyed and lifted by an unexpected gust of inspiration
Applauding the development world
And then
Depressed and sucked under by carelessness and arrogance
Despising the development world

Once more
Whipped into ecstasy and elation whirling around and around
Meeting new people
And then
Spat into a backwater, still, quiet, deep, cold and devoid of anything remotely human.
All alone

Rythym of Blood

Sweat rolls down my ribs, undulating rapids of bone,
the droplets ripple to the tune of a muscular drum,
pouring out a rythym of blood.

Air catches in my chest, an ivory home
while bile rises in my throat, hairs rise on the dome
my body shakes with the adrenalin rush,
riding on a rythym of blood.

The chase is on and the games begin,
dry lips are licked, rough ‘n’ rice paper thin,
revealing a cheeky grin.

Neurons sparkle and die
Eyes twinkle, I just might fly.
The stomach line twists and twitches,
a muscular drum beats a hymn of blood.

Fingers linger, flesh bumps and shivers,
the mind moves quick and the synapse is lit,
dreams ignite and spread their light.
Savour every moment of it.

Success is changing

Our concept of success is changing to a more sustainable model, finally.

The western world seems to be growing more than a little disenchanted with the pursuit of happyness through material wealth and the security it offers. Happyness, fullfillment and enlightenment (spiritual not religous) have been touted as the replacements. But the movement is not mainstream and I would argue you need to be more than a little enlightened to realise the material wealth dreams you are chasing are as illusive as water in the desert.

Apparently budhists monks are among some of the happiest people in the world (Mindfield, Lone Frank). Their success has been attributed to their dedication to meditation or introspection which helps them rationalise externalities (those things they can do little about right now) and their enhances their ability to empathise and forgive.

Five minutes of introspection has shown me that what I appreciate the most in life and those activities that make me happy are not always those things that I spend most of my time pursuing. They should be. No excuses.

Product of your… imagination?

A lot of people think I have a few ‘chips’ on my shoulder, and I do nothing to dispel the notion, in particular I have a abhorration of private schools (although they might have taught me to spell!). Note I said schools, not the students of said schools! But, to drag the conversation back on topic, we are considering what makes you who you are. Yes, I believe private school has the effect of turning people into silver spoon fed selfish brats… but i also think it has the effect of providing upteen more opportunities more bright minds then public school. Which I think is a contributing factor to social class divisions… but hey, thats another topic!

What makes you who you are? This is something I spend a lot of time thinking about… not about what made me who i am, but what makes people who they are in general, what decides how well they will do in life (whatever that means!), how they behave, how they act, etc.

I agree with my lovely sister, Rhian, that the people that care for us are a very lage part in the process of who we are, how we react and what we think. But I don’t think everything that is a part of us is a product of the people who are important to us. I think most things are. Nor do i think that everything that happens to us has a reason or was caused by someone. Logic does not permit us to infer cause and effect from a sequence, just because we won cricket the last time I wore my lucky socks, doesn’t mean they are either lucky or that we will win next time I wear them. Accidents happen and sometimes nobody is genuinely responsible.

Any act of significant influence can create change and have an impact on people. Al Gore and the movie he is promotong, “an inconvenient truth” may change the way some people view the world. Armstrong stepping on the moon may have had the same impact. There are many moments in life that can have a major impact on who we are; a near miss car accident, a winning lottery ticket, an inspirational drunken D&M, a random pay-it-forward moment, a smile from the woman in the red dress and for the chaos theorists, a butterfly flapping its wings…

As for those parents who bring a child into the world that they cannot support, I don’t think it is quite so black and white. I’m sure there are situations where people are responsible for raising children they had no hope of supporting. However I’m also sure that people who were in a position to support a child, had a child and then circumstances change to place them in a position where they can no longer support that child. And what say those of us who are in a position to support a child, but don’t?

So who and what is it that I can blame for me having this tendency to write on my blog when I should be finishing my thesis! Not to menthion the tendency towards addiction to certain computer games!

In the end.

Rhian makes some very good points (here).

I think a lot of us are very obessive these days, but you need to take a wider view of death, money, success and time then usually implied to cover most stereotypes…

For instance, success can mean a lot of things. I’m obsessed to a certain degree with success… but it is success in terms of goals I have set myself. Some people are obsessed with succeding according to societies goals. Success can only be defined in terms of the goals it is measured against.

Which brings us to money… obsession with money could mean an obsession with cold hard cash (think scrooge from Donald Duck), material possessions or freedom. Being obsessed with Death could mean being obsessed with living (fear of death), being obsessed with health or being obsessed with religion (after life)… and although it wasn’t mentioned, some of us are obsessed with being in love!

I think being able to live the lives we live is a product of much more then just the people around us, the people who care about us… but if you think back to the start that you get in this world, the statement has a lot of merit. I never did like the saying that we are all born equal, because clearly the kids on cigerette packets under the heading “Smoking can harm your baby” are clearly not born equal, and that is a product of being born to parents who didn’t care as much as they should have. On the flip side, Kids born malnourished are not born equal. Kids whose familes cannot support them are not born equal… but it is not a product of the people who care for them.

Is feeling loved and wanted all that matters in the end? I’d like to think that along with feeling loved, I’ll feel contented that, as a product of the people who care about me, I did the only thing they ever really asked of me, I tried my best.

What do you want to feel/think in the end? Are you working toward that right now? Is this a meaning of life?