Naked and spectacular
~~ ~~ ~~
Please DONATE if you appreciate my work. I will always give my work away for free and I will never insult you with advertising. I believe in the free distribution of information and art and I feel that all financial contributions can be voluntary. If you appreciate my work, then feel free to make a donation. Funds raised will go towards a life well-lived.
Thank you,
Quinoa Blessed
2017

Total pageviews

2012-11-30

Smiling fully and submissively with my famiy

I travel from across the ocean because I dedicated my life to the human species, and I seek the most pure expression of human nature I can with my imprinted culture and language.  I seek to wash myself of this culture and language to the extent that suits me at any one moment, and I succeed only so far.  When an old man who only speaks Q'eqchi' grasps my hand with some unknown intent and I look into his eyes and can only say, "No entiendo," I realise I have shed little of what was given to me by my culture as a child.

I have found a culture full of refugees of the same culture I try to escape.  They come from North and South America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand; and almost never elsewhere.  They are my brothers and sisters and I do feel comfortable to express myself exuberantly and joyfully when I feel inclined.  We meet only temporarily and always in a different place because we share a distrust of permanence and an avoidance of responsibility.  We meet under many names, but there is a banner that has developed and which many of us wear with pride.  Under this banner many gatherings occur all year round across the planet.

I have met eight times under this banner, for one month at a time.  Over this time I have noticed our own culture developing, some of which is 40 years old, some has developed over many years and some emerges from the experience of a single gathering.  Like the culture that offered us concepts and objects to believe in and buy, this culture is utilised as a limiting factor for the maintenance of a shared experience.  How can a man who is embedded in a culture that he loves use such a cold sentence to describe the sight of 100 people singing, dancing and drumming around a fire under the fullmoon?  The night sky is thick with clouds and the ground is wet with mud, but this is not the reason; perhaps it is the waves of digestive disturbance that I haven't figured out how to avoid.  Perhaps I have cultivated an alienation from my own culture that facilitates the observations that the thoughtful appreciate reading on the internet or in a book at quiet moments.  When I am strong I throw my joy and my love around our Sacred Circle as an alternative to whatever else is going on and the more smiles I give, the more I have to give.  When I am weak I have nothing to offer and cannot accept the oat and hash "blissballs" that circulate as a pathway into the mindset of the crowd, my family, the culture we collectively cultivate and unconsciously consent to at every moment.

It is my job to contradict any culture I see developing around me, I tell myself.  At times of hysteria I promote calm and at times of cultural haze I provoke chaos.  But I also like to sink into the lap or into the gaze of a beautiful person who simply accepts me as I am, lazy or busy, poet or person, sad or happy.  I sleep alone surrounded by too much food and ants who often respect the space I borrowed from them.  My eyes open so wide sometimes that it must seem like a blinding headtorch in the night, perhaps this overwhelms the beautiful I most seek connection with.  I do not know how they respond to my rejection of the drugs - wheat, rice, marijuana, tobacco, hippie slop in huge pots, spiritual noise and new age chatter - or whether they internalise the rejection as if I believe in something different.

I believe only in love, not in The End of the Mayan Calendar or The Law of Attraction or the need for excessive consumption of overcooked grains.  I came here to open my heart and to have the most beautiful people open their hearts to me, I tell myself.  I came here to experience disappointment and love and ecstasy and whatever else I haven't found yet.  I came too far to be able to turn back when I feel sad from eating too many tortillas and peanuts.  I am here and I don't know who will invite me or where, but I will go where the most beautiful lead and I will be ready for whatever I have never experienced before and warms my heart and brings smiles to those around me and allows me to smile fully and submissively with my family.

2012-11-20

Now is the time

We are in the centre of the New World at the End of the Time.  Many of us have travelled from afar to be here together.  We have left behind the stifling comforts of Civilisation to sit in the dirt around the fire.  We have rejected the promise of various forms of success for something more tangible, perhaps a social acceptance that resonates in our bodies and stimulates a feeling some might refer to as the "soul".  Our presence is bolstered by various Native American prophesies; one that announced our new age tribe by name decades before we first came together; one that placed cosmic significance on this specific time and place.  We don't know what we're doing, we are standing together in a circle in a maize field in the rainforest holding hands naked under the sun and the moon.
What are we doing here and how do we find out what we are doing here?  We can listen to our bodies or we can discuss and form a rational religion based on superficial explanations of common understandings.  So many of us are post-Christian and post-Scientific Materialism and post-Adulthood to the point where we resist and deny any point at which a religion seems to form.  Some of us possess watery minds within which a drop of anything colourful can spread rapidly, but many of us wait patiently for that which is simple and proves effective time and again; cooperation, gentleness, love.  Surely we need an empirical source of information.  Luckily, we have our bodies to provide us with all the information we could hope for within a universe in which we are literally manifest as human bodies.  Our bodies are extremely sensitive and malleable and so we can adjust and adapt to many environments and climates.  We learn a lot as travellers and vagabonds, experiencing many variations of reality.  In our rich and civilised First World homes we frequent Health Food shops, choosing to expose ourselves only to the best consumables available.

When we come together here in ceremony outside of the concrete and education we grew up with we choose to desensitise our bodies with chapattis, wheat grains refined into flour, mixed with flour and burned to a crisp on the fire until they form crusts of indigestible delight for those who identify as hippies.  We carry around huge pots of overcooked post-food to serve to one another with filthy hands in our Sacred Cirlce.  We reach out our various containers like refugees, desperately begging for more mass to fill our bulging bellies, craving the nutrition that has been deliberately boiled out of our hippie slop.  Having shared our meal and still feeling joyful almost to the point of being overwhelmed with the beauty of our environment and each other and the envigoration of life, we must further desensitise our bodies with the smoking of tobacco and marijuana.  Our goal is surely the reduction of intensity of the fullness of experience of a life devoid of distraction and toxic influence.  Everything we need to know is contained in that moment of silence after our collective AUM, seconds before the inevitable noise necessary to organise the feeding of 200 people.

We try to work hard and we try to enjoy free time, we become agitated to leave and we plan to form communities with dreams of sustainability and the relief of the alleviation of nomadism.  We are free from the idiotic ideologies of all societies and yet we are trapped by our own addictions and traumas.  We hope for far more than we are willing to accept when it is offered to us, but we anticipate great change soon.  Our dreams creep into our waking minds as memories when we don't smoke too much before bed.  We are forced into fasting when our bodies become sick with parasites that beg us to starve them.  There is so much waiting for us when we decide to allow it that our imaginations fail us.  What if we take our clothes off forever?  What if we only ever speak the truth, even when it provokes emotion?  What if we eat and smoke no more and only drink the water and breathe the air that is clean and full of goddess?  What if we accept fully the divinity of creating the state of our bodies that maintains the state of our world?

2012-11-06

Behind the cultural haze

Having surrendered to the will of the universe in which I exist, I continue to find myself at home in places that I could not previously have imagined.

I was warned about travelling through Central America by people who have never been here and know nothing about it.  I forget what I am supposed to worry about here.  Years ago I chose a life without stress, I'm not sure I would be alive today otherwise.  I also chose to listen to my body, and the pain of loneliness and boredom has pushed me into situations that could appear to be dangerous or stressful.  I can only push myself as far as I feel comfortable.

I do not speak the local language, I don't know how many people do, or when they get the opportunity to do so.  There is a common Spanish that is mostly spoken, and my grasp of even this language is thin.  I could not have come here without the knowledge that I was walking into the wet tropical forest to find 100 brothers and sisters from all over the world who blessedly speak in a common English.  Can I remain in this bubble of international love and hippie culture?

I look at the locals and we both grin stupidly.  Am I the retard who can't even speak Spanish?  Am I the exotic foreigner, equally hilarious and intriguing?  Or am I just another human being?  I am rich in this country.  One US dollar is worth almost eight quetzales and everything is considerably cheaper.  Still we haggle and try to talk down the price, fearful that we might be ripped off by a quetzale or two.  We gringoes bring in our phones and our laptops and leave them in our Made in China tents and then we shout our complaints when they disappear.  In Cobán, the local town, the cellphone companies announce the importance of their products on the streets and the thirdworlders clamour to buy into the advertised glory of Western Civilisation.  There are so many things that we didn't know we didn't have.

I am always an outsider, at least as long as it takes me to have a conversation in Spanish, but I am with my friends so it is okay.  Sometimes I want to escape to Civilisation somewhere, but it is too far away and I won't know anyone there and I will need money to survive and my meagre savings won't last for long.  I think about San Francisco, where I spent five days with my friends on the way to Guatemala, and I yearn for the convenience and the good food and entertainment and English.  Instead I sludge through endless mud and rain, cross lines of ants carrying huge pieces of cut leaves into their underground cities, and end my day curled awkwardly by the fire on a brother's lap or laid out alone in my tiny stolen tent surrounded by my belongings and food.  I wonder at the life I chose for myself and how far away it is from what I was educated for.  Here, the currency is touch and music; in town, the currency is quetzales and smiles.

My brother discusses the possibility of buying land; it is cheap, and here we can be free and be together.  We are all searching for something we cannot name, we searched each other out from across the globe and together we know we feel the same about something.  We span the American continents, all of Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.  I notice a distinct dark patch across much of the populated globe.  We agree that we reject much of what we were taught to value, though a lot of it we are addicted to.  We say, "No alcohol, no drugs, no meat," though we suck into our lungs a lot of tobacco, marijuana and industrial grains.  I reject oats and wheat, though I am smitten by a new love of corn.  We expect the world is changing, though we make plans as though it has always been like this and always will be.  I feel my love for the new people around me grow much more rapidly than my ability to speak Spanish, but I fantasise about the most beautiful and cause awkward inabilities to behave normally in their presence.

I am confused human being, placing myself in environments in which my habitual behaviours are not appropriate or useful, forcing myself to discover what it really is I am doing, behind all the thoughts, behind the cultural haze that binds and confuses me, behind the throbbing in my loins to the beating heart in my chest.

2012-10-18

The next journey

Hello to all my friends, readers and potential lovers.  I have completed my story of the most recent journey around Australia and have recorded it in audio form.  I look forward to sharing it with you and with all the friends you feel would benefit from it.  Feel free to make requests for these materials, and I will get them online when the moment presents itself to me.

I don't know what access I will have to the abstract digital dimension of the internet from now on.  Today I fly far away to what has been called the New World, but which geologically is the old world.  A great man will meet me at the airport and hug me and together we will go visit another great man, who will not get the opportunity to hug me because we will be surrounded by thousands of other people who are coming to visit him too.  The latter great man is Bob Dylan and the continent is North America.

From humble civilised beginnings this journey will wander deep into the unknown, the uncivilised, the chaos of nature and the otherworlds.  I don't know about these places either, so I cannot explain them, but I am being called into the depths of the unknown and I am not afraid.  I know I will be strong enough to fulfill my role when I arrive there because I trust that the strength necessary will be waiting upon my arrival.

2012-10-11

Transformation

The world is about to be transformed beyond recognition.  What does this mean?  Our current powers of perception cannot imagine what has never been perceived before. Is this true?  I don't know, I only experience this universe through the conduit of my body; my senses, my emotions, my intuitions and my rationalisations are all I have to go by.  Whatever I felt limited by in the past will no longer be a problem for me.  Where I am going the only problem I can forsee is that all of the excuses I have used to justify my inadequacy and apathy will fall away and reveal the truth of my presence, my purpose and the naked beauty and power of my body, embedded in my environment, embedded in the moment in which I live, surrounded by the people who give my life meaning and whose lives I enrich.  I will see you when I get there.

2012-08-08

I run from everything I don't want to face and when I have finished running, when I have arrived at the destination where I allow myself to rest for a moment, there it is waiting for me.  I have trouble sometimes perceiving the reality of the situation among all of the literary and moral projections I apply onto the world I understand to exist.  I am not this person called Me, I am an entity manifest in time and space from somewhere that my manifest rational consciousness cannot understand or perceive.  Time passes at increasingly rapid rates and I throw away the richest moments my ancestors could have imagined.  Everyone I know is embedded in a menagerie of culture that they refer to as "normal" and yet I can relate to them as a true presence when I look through the veil of culture and see the innocent child behind it waiting for me to notice her.  I am a man at the moment and the fullness of this experience is physical and intellectual and joyous.  I have energy and exuberance and I want to serve and love in the way that comes most naturally to me and this is what I do.  My life is structured around opportunities to love people.  Even when I am surrounded by hundreds of people I cannot love them if I do not "know" them or if someone I do "know" does not introduce me to them, so I go where I "know" people and specifically where I am able to be appreciated.  These are the places where my gifts are received and therefore my life has meaning and purpose.  I apologise to those whose expectations I do not fulfill; actually I do not.  My family sometimes expect different things from life.  There is a completely separate reason for my family and I to be together; not like others, we are together cos we enrich each others' lives; my family and I are present together merely so we can experience states of being drastically different from what we would normally project or accept.

2012-08-06

The uniformed vigilantes

Having sat through over 50 films in the New Zealand International Film Festival I have taken a walk a few metres down the road to the Imax cinema to see the The Dark Knight Rises.  There were 150 films screening over 2.5 weeks and the festival closed yesterday.  Having seen so many films with so much variety it must be asked, why do so many people want to see instead want to see the new Batman film?  It also must be asked, why did someone decide to bring a gun and shoot up one of the US screenings of the film?

There were 100s of screenings as a part of the film festival here in Auckland and at none of them was there any fatal violence.  I did happen to be present for a minor terrorist threat at one screening about a Russian journalist who had been murdered.  I was the usher and so when a well-dressed middle-aged heterosexual couple exited the theatre they talked to me.  "We're probably just being paranoid," they told me, "but it's not worth the risk."  It was shortly after the Batman shootings and the nature of the documentary was political and there was a man sitting in the front row with lots of bags.  "I don't know what he's doing," they reported, "but he's not watching the film."  Wearing my volunteer t-shirt and my official staff card around my neck I quietly approach the front of the auditorium and sit behind the old man in the front row.  He has something on his lap, what appears to be a pad and pen and he is asleep.  It seems the real threat has left the building and it was middle-class paranoia.

Why should the middle-class be paranoid when they have the authority, power and moral conviction of Western Civilisation behind them?  I have just watched 50 films of various styles, various subjects and various perspectives.  Some of them I agreed with more than others, others I opposed; some offered me exuberance, others solemn revelation.  These films were mostly produced independently of the major studios that produce the multiplex popcorn accompaniments.  They were produced by passionate filmmakers who had something to express to the world, whether it was the loss of the death of their lover or the potential loss of the last pristine ocean on the planet.  These films were produced, selected and screened to overcome the persistent illusion and apathy that is overcoming our culture.  Who do they serve?  Most of them make little or no money.  They are not being shown at the multiplexes because they do not serve the culture of consumption that keeps the multiplexes alive.  I hesitate to suggest that they serve truth because "truth" is a word that has been rendered meaningless by politicians and their media allies.  But truth persists amongst illusion and the truth we can receive with our perceptions and process with our brains is manifest in this world in myriad forms which may appear sometimes to contradict each other.  The film festival does not select one three hour film to hand over to the masses for its consumption; it offers 150 films from many different nations representing many different truths; uniting the truth is the passion of the human beings who decide to dedicate their lives to manifesting the images in their head on the screen.

Down the road, despite rapid and widespread news about one lunatic shooting up a screening, The Dark Knight Rises screens in multiple cinemas all day every day and the masses march in to see it.  What does Warner Brothers have to offer them?  Gotham City is New York City and its period of peace is about to come to an end.  The terrorists hit first Wall Street to steal all the fake money.  They hate rich people.  Eventually they occupy the city spouting rhetoric about how they are going to give the city back to the people and throw the rich onto the streets.  They disempower the police and take over the city with uncompromising violence, advanced technology and synchronised hierarchical organisation.  Their tactics are those of the military, their rhetoric is anarchist and their intention is to serve their deranged and ugly leader.  The masked vigilante is of course an outlaw, but he has two things in common with the police; one, he is good (as opposed to evil) and two, he wears a mask (aka uniform).  The masked vigilante and the uniformed police serve the same purpose, to save the precious city from the terrorists.  In Imax the city glistens like the jewels of the rich as it is filmed from helicopters on 70mm film.  We see these shots throughout the film and towards the end it is described as "beautiful".  The film never leaves the city, except for one brief moment when Batman emerges into some middle-eastern wilderness before suddenly appearing back in the city.  The unmasked anarchist terrorists block off the Manhattan island from the rest of the world and no one leave or arrive; they threaten to destroy everything with a nuclear bomb inadvertently built by the heroes.  It is basically inevitable that this bomb will explode and kill 12 million Gotham New Yorkers but of course it does not because the uniforms and masks are placed upon the human bodies of the heroes of this city and they restore the city to its rightful rulers, the police.  Eventually the bomb is taken from the city as it is about to explode and in its final seconds hovers above the ocean.  Batman, serving the city that he loves, sacrifices not only himself, as is made explicit, but the ocean, a blue nothingness possessing neither a face nor a mask and the mushrooms can be seen by the Gotham New Yorkers sprouting out of the ocean that they may not realise is the blood of the planet they live on.

Can Batman die?  When I was a child I watched reruns of Adam West as Batman on TV.  At the end of every episode Batman would be in some inescapable situation that he would promptly escape from at the beginning of the following episode.  When I was a child a series of four Batman films was released between 1989 and 1997 that told the story with much more sophistication and violence for a more sophisticated and cynical world.  In 2005 a new Batman rose with considerably more sophistication and certainly in these latest three films an increasing degree of violence which finally erupted from the screen and into the cinema.  Batman is a symbol the film keeps telling us, and we all know that symbols cannot die.  It doesn't matter how many police the baddies kill, there will always be more.  Even if Batman is blown up by a nuclear bomb he, having served his people, having sacrificed his fortune and his life for them, receives eternal life, in the only way our secular minds can understand, happily ever after; in other words, marriage, heterosexual monogamy and financial stability.

Why would someone choose to bring a gun in and shoot up such an inspirational story?  Is it because screen violence provokes real violence?  Or is it because the same mythical tendency that makes violent gods appealing in violent times is exactly the same tendency that makes "superheroes" appealing in violent times?  When the people began to realise that their religious institutions no longer served them, when they were under the impression that even God worked for the synagogue, a man stood up and moved the power of God away from the religious institutions that served only the maintenance of their own power and returned it to the earth and the people of the earth.  Eventually the teachings of the revolutionary anarchist were manipulated by another religious institution that merely strives to maintain their own power.  What can we do if even God works for the church?  When these comic-book superheroes emerged they suggested that power can emerge from outside of the power structures.  They had no faces, they were like gods.  They fought crime though they were not a part of the police force.  It is 2012 and everybody knows that all our institutions are now corrupt.  All we have are the independent filmmakers, the vigilantes, those who exist outside of the system that not only is corrupt but corrupts those who enter into its mechanisms.  What can we do if even Batman is on the side of the police?  Why would we fight for the revolution, though their propaganda makes more sense, because, as this film proves, they are much more than the institutions, much more violent, they are literally evil.

What can we do?  We can submit to this film; considerately, for us intelligent masses it is much more sophisticated and therefore convincing than any similar film that has preceded it, though it maintains the sound-effects of punching and shooting violence that has become a gentle purr, the soundtrack of our modern lives.  If we submit to the film we realise that even in the most extreme circumstances, against insurmountable odds, we will be saved, poor helpless masses that we are.  The baddies that oppose the status quo will be stopped by our heroes in uniform and the nuclear bomb that our best people produced will be dropped into the vast ocean that will forgive us all our mistakes, even our nuclear mistakes.  Those who wear masks and uniforms are not weak like us because they overcome their humanity with their uniforms.

If our world consists only of what we see in films like this, and this is undoubtedly one of the more sophisticated examples on offer today, if we do not have access to a great film festival or some other culturally rich and diverse source, what do we do if the thesis of the film fails to overcome the pain inside us?  What do we do if the certainty of wrongness swelling up inside us is no longer able to be ignored?  It used to be that the ultimate image of powerlessness we possessed as a society was self-immolation by dowsing oneself in petrol and burning alive.  This image is outdated.  Today our primary image of complete and utter powerlessness is a killing spree with a gun with the certainty that you will not make it out of the school or cinema alive.  How could we be so hopeless?

2012-07-31

Films about the life of humans

The New Zealand International Film Festival continues here in Auckland and today there was another interestingly synchronistic double-feature.

Policeman is an Israeli film about a tribe of Police Fighters and a tribe of Revolutionary Socialists.  We are brought into each of their worlds and then we see their violent interaction.

Dead Europe is an Australian film about a man visiting the village of his Greek father for the first time and discovering the lingering hatred and violence throughout Europe.

Both of these films have very bleak views of the price of confronting the damaged nature of our societies.  The idealistic youngsters in the first film feel compelled to address the economic imbalance in Israel.  "It is time for the poor to get rich and the rich to start dying,"  they announce.  They are not the only ones to feel this way.  Last year there was a massive demonstation in Tel Aviv involving half a million people (1/16th of the population of the state) in favour of significant changes to government, social and economic behaviour.  As unprecedented numbers of people around the world have discovered in recent years even peaceful demonstations against governments and corporations eventually end with dispersion or destruction from Riot Police.  However, the characters in this film are quite happy to use violence themselves and thus justify a rapid and uncompromising violence from Police.  What can be done to change society if any mass attempt leads to anti-human Police violence?  Policeman shows that terrorists and police are groups made up of human beings and that one group does violence much more successfully than the other.

Dead Europe has an equally hopeless but much less concise story to tell.  Ambiguity and depravity emerge from every dank corner of Europe that the protagonist encounters, revealing little that can be made sense of.  It is a sprawling trashy and convoluted mythical exploration of why Australia came to be a European colony.  Why would anyone want to leave Europe for this new continent, you might ask?  Tony Krawitz's film suggests that perhaps it is because Europe is dead, a cesspool of generations of dehumanising violence, exploitation and self-abuse.  The only solution, it seems, is to leave and never return.  There is no hope for a land that has been the stage for so many centuries of incomprehensible and unjustifiable acts, we can only give our lives and our passports to our children while they still possess the hope to venture out into the world for a better life, leaving behind the continent where it all happened and the habits of the parents who allowed it all to continue.

It would be easy to understand emerging from this double-feature devoid of hope for any type of future or instead choosing a denial that replaces the difficult face of reality.  I emerged onto the rainy night street of Auckland, however, with a clarity and a peace that is the result of powerful art experiences bringing to world into focus.  It would be easy to have no hope, some might say; but I disagree.  Hope is essential and logical and there was a third film today which exemplified the hope that I continue to experience.

Winter Nomads began my day, before this double-feature.  It is a Swiss documentary about a man and a woman, donkeys, dogs and a huge flock of sheep performing the traditional winter practice of moving the herd around to glean the final vegetation of the year from every available grassland.  These two humans live a simple life with their animals, in the snow, relaxing by the fire in the evening, sleeping in the tent with the dogs.  The practice is going out of fashion and some progressive locals oppose their tradition but when we sit with these people we realise what a human being is and receive a palpable peaceful suggestion about how human beings might live.

2012-07-27

from Anarchy – a novel I can't be bothered finishing


The stage was set for another democracy performance.  This elaborate and expensive play had been performed once every three years in New Zealand for many years.  It was nothing new.  And yet each and every time there was the promise of something new, something special.  The possibility that the act of democracy would elect an individual who would create profound change in our world, in our country.  An individual who would go that extra mile, who would take it further than anyone had taken it before.  Who would align with the values and the needs of the Mainstream Kiwi and our government would explode in bursts of colour and light, symbolic balloons and streamers would erupt from the beehive like a swarm of love and leadership.  But every year the country ended up with a spineless slug, of sufficient matter to fit into any square hole or ergonomic office chair that happened to already be lying around in parliament.  They were the anti-revolutionists.  Heading, with every passing year, as New Zealanders values become broader and more open-minded due to inevitable creep of globalisation and secularism, towards centrism; the entire political spectrum shrinking into a dash and readily becoming a full stop.  A This-Is-What-You-Get end to the wonderful ancient invention known as democracy.  Is the inevitable end to democracy a slow but certain self-consumption?  A swallowing of one's self?

The billboards stood tall and strong like meercats staked to the ground.  At every corner they proudly display the smiling faces of their digestible candidates

I walked down the street and I saw one of those fucking political signs and I said, “Goddamn politicians, make me pay for their propaganda.”  It looked like that thin plasticky shit so I thought I could just yank it off the wood, but it cut my fuckin' hands up and I ended up leaving the stupid thing, completely attached.  And some stupid old lady was staring at me like I was defiling a religious image of Her Majesty Mary of Nazareth or something and I just glared at her like, “what?” and she just kept walking, like pretending she hadn't been giving me the evils and I stared up at that big billboard with that smiling rich prick in the suit and I said, “I'm gonna fuckin' destroy you and your shit-eating grin.”
            When I got home I told my flatmate Albert about it and he said, “So?” and I said, “Doesn't it piss you off?” and he said, “No.  Why should it?”  And I walked away in a huff.  I live with such morons that I just can't stand it.  If they could at least figure out how to do the dishes properly I wouldn't mind, but even that's a big challenge.  Sometimes I have visions of blowing the back of their heads off with a handgun and then I wonder whether I could get away with it, but I never come up with a good enough plan and I always get bored pretty quickly cause I guess if I was going to shoot someone it would be fucking Winston Peters or John Key.  Don Brash saved his own skin getting out of politics fast enough.  But if I saw him on the street he'd get the hiding of his life.
            I called my mum 'cause I wanted to have a proper conversation with someone and she just told me that we have left-wing and we have right-wing and you may agree with one or the other, but we're lucky that they both balance each other out and what we are left with represents all New Zealanders.  I told her what if you think they're all bloodsucking leeches with as much moral power as a store-brand battery and how can you vote for little electronic bunnies that have no personality and no commitment and have to be wound up by months of public funding and she said, “What?”  I decided to get literal and get eloquent and try to speak in my mother's language and so I asked her what she thought of the concept of anarchy.  “It's an absurd idea,” she told me.  “For starters, how does a country run without any organisation or laws?  For second starters, how can anarchy be a concept and how can it be a political system because as soon as it becomes organised it ceases to be anarchy and without any sort of organisation how is it going to overcome the firmly established institution of democracy?”
            “I'm not about to form an anarchist group, Mum.  I'm just exploring possibilities that offer us a little more than democracy has.”
            “It's futile.”
            It's futile.  You just have no imagination.  The times they are a-changin', Mum.  Democracy has left us with nothing but debt and depression.”
            “Oh, what've you been reading, Henry.”
            “Nothing, you know I don't read.  We've just been having classes at uni.  Everyone's anti-democracy at the moment.  You can get 500 bucks if you set up a club and this guy Jonas wants to set up an anarchy club and he said he's aware of the irony, he wants the money and he wants to stir some shit.”
            Language.
            “I'm just saying what he said.”

Jonas got his $500 and the Anarchists Anti-Club was formed.  Surprisingly for Jonas, people actually turned up to the first meeting.  Many were long-haired, scruffy and unshaven.  Wore dark clothes, slumped shoulders.  Others were well-dressed and confident, with a conspiratorial gleam in their eyes.  The first meeting was not very anarchic, which went along with Jonas's sense of irony, as it was largely taken up by the detailed rantings of an old man who claimed to be part of a failed communist party take-over of parliament.  He then moved to a commune on Waiheke Island and was disappointed to find it as pointless and irritating as flatting with way too many people who wouldn't do the dishes or replace the toilet paper.  He was, at 65, ready for some anarchy.  He was studying again because his wife left him.  These three interweaving stories were the feature attraction of Anarchists Anti-Clubs first successful gathering.  On the way out a giggling and apparently stoned individual kicked over some chairs and drew an anarchists “A” on one of the tables with a vivid.  If the details of this event were at all interesting, I would go into them.  Henry attended, curious.  “Organisation is so boring,” he commented to his girlfriend Michelle on the way out.  “I knooow,” she conceded.

2012-07-26

Beasts of the Southern Wild

The world has been blessed with the spectacular new film Beasts of the Southern Wild by director Benh Zeitlin.  Never have I seen a film that so beautifully and intensely celebrates life, the unavoidable interconnectedness and similitude of all life and the strangeness of our time, its filth and its beauty.

Civilisation itself is confronted with its own perversity and the irresistible brilliance of the film and its six-year-old protagonist, Hushpuppy, challenges the fact that the film is likely to be shown within the same civilisation.  There is no hint of morality or sentimentality, no tenderness around the characters being abducted from their homes and taken to the "Open Arms" shelter or their excessive consumption of alcohol.  There is no such thing as hygiene, dry housing, plastic wrapping or products to be purchased; only that which is sacred is held onto, the vitality and joy of life, the love and community of every form of life.  What is not valued is that which reduces life; sterility, authority, levees, weakness, and these unnecessary elements are avoided without moral questioning.

What are we to think, the audience for this film?  The best of us sit down for a meal together around a table with plates and cutlery eating cuisine with manners; the rest of us perhaps sit on the couch in front of the television eating precooked meals defrosted in the microwave.  In the film the characters pour living seafood onto the table and when a man tries to teach Hushpuppy how to crack open a crab with a knife he is shouted down with chants to the girl, "BEAST IT!  BEAST IT!" and she cracks the shell with her bare hands and sucks out the raw flesh and climbs onto the table in her gumboots and shrieks.

Who are the beasts and who are the domesticated?  What do these children really deserve?  To stay in their home while it drastically changes around them living a full life of chaos and joy and difficulty?  Or do they deserve to be protected from life, sanitised, educated, patronised?  Do our children deserve to live in harmony with their environment, understanding their place in their community, feeling a strong and conscious understanding of the natural world of which they are involved or do they deserve to be locked in houses with airconditioning and soap and shuttled to schools and prescribed activities?  They questions are not addressed by the film, their absence is much louder than their presence ever could be.  What is presented is merely a story of a small girl learning to grow strong while her father dies.  She grew up with none of this civilisation and she is given no reason to choose it, even when those who think that every child deserves to have it forced upon them intervene briefly and ineffectively.

What is undeniable is the intensity possible in life, no matter what the situation; what is undeniable is our severe lack in this department, as we sit in together in a beautiful theatre seeing this life-affirming film, in rows, in clothes and shoes, feeling a swelling of emotion inside our bodies as the music grows loud and the title appears huge on the screen, but sitting there quietly, facing forward.  For some people, I suppose, the veil of their culture is to thick to penetrate and they are thus unable to perceive this world in its purity and beauty, seeing only filth, alcoholism and poverty.  I wonder whether they stumbled into the wrong film, whether their inability or unwillingness to submit to the film's rhythm suggests they should have dedicated their time to a very different type of film, one intended to distract rather than challenge, one designed to reinforce cultural assumptions rather than offer alternatives.  Their are at least two distinct types of film being made and distributed, one is promoted by major companies and shown at multiplexes, one is created with passion by independent filmmakers and shown at film festivals.

These two mediums may share a number of techniques and technologies but they are not remotely similar in intent or effect.  One is commonly called propaganda and is designed to manipulate the viewer into a particular type of perception, one that is defined by an authority figure, in this case the capitalists who run major film studios and the things that they value; namely, money.  The other is commonly known as art and historically has always served to challenge culture, to challenge authority, to derange the senses and throw open sanctioned perceptions to allow a flood of new images, from inside and outside the body.  We are constantly bombarded with imagery and language from many different sources and we do not often consider the importance of choosing what we expose ourselves to.  We may choose advertising, a form openly dedicated to the manipulation and perversion of the human animal into facilitating the mechanisms of modern industrial cities, producing and consuming, working, eating and defecating.  We may choose film festivals, where we are offered many realities from many variations on human culture; we may shun even this and prefer the illegal art of graffiti or unscheduled performance.  Either way, we allow ourselves to be created by those who communicate with us or to us or at us.

It seems to me that life itself is satisfactory and nothing needs to be layered upon it to make it right.  Our heroes in this film, these humans, these animals, these beasts, these filthy outlaws, share their lives with us in the unselfconscious form of drama but without the assumptions hidden in television programmes or action movies, their lives are naked, their buildings are falling apart and their home is flooded.  We are not forced to accept their way of life as normal, because who of us civilised filmgoers could accept it.  I hope that we, having exposed ourselves to such a joyous cinematic expression, are confronted with the implicit messages in the propaganda-type media we expose ourselves to; sitcoms and their assumption of domesticity; advertising and its assumption of material consumption; the news and its assumption that the world is a dangerous place.

The truth is best understood without media intervention and is best perceived without the veil of culture.  It is the responsibility of an adult to seek to destroy the imposed layers of culture and civilisation and connect first with art and then, naked and trembling, with the fullness of life itself; chaotic and yet nurturing; problematic and yet worthwhile; full of conflict and love; never able to be contained or controlled successfully or satisfactorily.

2012-07-13

It is my consistent experience that the world is a welcoming and generous place that is here to nourish, stimulate and support us in a mutually beneficial loving symbiotic relationship. 

Therefore, to love, to worship, to respect, and to always act in consideration for our home, which means our environment, every living being in our environment and especially our body, is the greatest gift we can give with the time and energy of our life and the greatest joy we can experience with our life.

I have discovered one infallible method for learning this.  To practice, refine and constantly improve upon this process is the primary purpose of my life.  All it takes is simply to listen to the land, to everything it has to say.  This need not be an ambiguous or metaphysical experience because the earth is communicating with us in every possible way; when we see the bright fruits catching our eyes hanging plentifully off the trees we know it is time to pick the fruit and the juices will be most sweet when the skins are most bright.  If we listen to all of our neighbours, of all species, and respect their communications then we are establishing and expanding our planet's ability to provide a nourishing and accepting environment for everybody, our role as members of the community of this planet.  Perhaps listening to a human companion is not perfected by focussing on their words, but watching the delight in their eyes as they tell you or the trembling of their hands as they struggle to tell you.  To listen to your body is to learn how to be human and the information of the utmost precision and appropriate specifically to being you in the specific time and place you are in.  Every movement of your body, that which you might call pain, emotion, joy, love, frustration, anxiety or beauty, is a communication of fundamental importance to life on this planet.  To listen is my role and of course the reality of the world that speaks to me is the basis of all my actions.

You are my community and I love you.  I am still human even when I pour my energy into this machine in this cubicled room.

2012-06-30

What amazes me is that we humans, here on Earth at this moment, are facing a crisis on such a scale that its most compelling manifestations are on the level of myths of interplanetary interaction and Apocalypse and the best among us are posting clever phrases and pictures on Facebook to retard the insane ideologies of those in denial about what is going on around us.

The Voluntary Global State

I would like to announce the beginning of an alternative global state.  I concede that democracy, at least theoretically, has some positive qualities, but the fact that it is involuntary I find challenging.

2012-03-28

I am a life-form, not a language-form

I may have said this before, but I suggest that we are in fact the 100% and we constitute all life on this planet.  If we are going to accept some sort of dogma to propagate and believe against all else then surely this is an improvement on the dogma that we are the 99% and we are good and the 1% are evil because they are controlling us.  This is not true.  The 1% are in fact made up of people from the 99% because we are all the 100%.  I suppose the 99%/1% division includes only humans and excludes all other lifeforms on this planet as irrelevant, although without them we are nothing.  We can claim, though it is entirely unsubstantiated, that only humans matter, but even if it is true that we are the dominant and superior lifeform on this planet, we still need every other lifeform to support us so we can continue to live and kill and make posts on the internet, create monolithic political institutions and try to give them legitimacy with names like "government" and by enforcing this governance with brute force and mind-control, create small institutions to oppose the large institutions and while criticising their anti-freedom mind-contol techniques putting them into practice by creating another mini-empire within the confines of an ideology that provides a feeling of safety in a crazy world.

I suggest that the so-called 1% are actually of our own ranks (and despite my criticism of Occupy's rhetoric and sloganing I am definitely on the 99% side of the debate).  I suggest that not only do rich people who are obsessed with their own money or the success of the national economy above the fate of life on this planet imbed themselves in the abstract language constructs that justify their abhorrent behaviour, but we do it ourselves all the time by creating slogans to define ourselves.

If we pay attention to advertising - and if you don't pay attention to advertising you are a fool (unless you can completely remove yourself from its target) - we will notice how our individuality is built up by the way we are allowed to choose which products we want to define us.  I am aware when I go to the movies that I am defined, and I love to be defined, by the fact that I prefer "arthouse" movies to the low-brow uneducated masses who prefer "mainstream" movies, which are so much less intelligent.  I notice this and then I rise above it.  I do not want to define myself by advertising.  I do not want to define myself by the labels "anticapitalist" or "anarchist" because these are merely language-forms to segregate me from my family, the 100%, and I do not want to be defined and bound my language-forms, I am a life-form.

My experience of Occupy Sydney was not defined by the banners many of my family held up to confront the more peripheral of our family, those bound up in the rat race of Civilisation.  My experience was defined by the presence of the people around me.  They were diversely-minded people.  Urban-dwelling Sydney people, but with many ideas about how the human world worked and how it could work better.  I had many conversations and we often disagreed and we always relished the opportunity to disagree, hear each other out, and to enrich our understanding by incorporating the other person in our perspective.  Even if we do not change our political position, we have enriched our soul by listening to another person and being present for the expression of their soul.

We are the 100%.

2012-02-01

2012-01-25

Pain and beauty

I can only assume God gave me a human body for a reason.  I can only assume that my desires and compulsions serve some purpose.  Perhaps I differ from other people in that I decided that everything I do should benefit me in some way, as opposed to destroying or numbing myself.  This is a life-long process ending inevitably with death.  I have heard theories that the self-fulfilment process continues after death, that after death you transcend these concerns to a higher level or that you cease to exist.  I do not know, I only have memory of experience this side of death and I do not pretend to speculate further.
    I propose that it is possible to know and respond to a personal truth so complete that I can only assume that it benefits me after death, on inconceivable levels and throughout parallel universes in which I may or may not exist.
    You are reading this with a particular mind, a mind that seems to be strongly embedded in a body that is strongly embedded in an environment, this universe.  It seems to me that for most people most of the time they have limited their awareness to this double-layered reality of body and universe.  We struggle as a species and as individuals to maintain and expand a valuable applicable understanding of this body/universe reality while simultaneously aware of an incomprehensibly larger and more complex reality, experienced most commonly through dreams.  We perform many convoluted experiments to understand this body/universe but we primarily get our information through the five senses; taste, smell, hearing, sight and touch.  There is also an intricate network of psychic interconnectedness, but for the purposes of this chapter I will maintain focus on the relationship with the body.
    It is impossible to separate the body and the mind, but what does promote separation is the consciousness.  Unlike the body and the mind, indistinguishable, the consciousness can choose whether or not it listens to the messages of the body.  The body communicates with the consciousness in myriad ways, but today I reduce them to pain and beauty.
    We all know that when we touch something hot the body will send a message of pain to the exact part of the body that requires conscious attention and thus the consciousness disengages the surface of the body from the excessive heat.  Pain is extremely important in knowing how to keep the body alive.  Without pain we will never know we are killing ourselves.  Pain is designed to be avoided.  We don’t want to touch the fire because the pain makes it repulsive.
    However, when we combine this natural pain avoidance instinct with the intellectual superiority complex of the human consciousness we come up with the bizarre idea that pain is “bad”.  It thus becomes a moral imperative to stop all human pain on this planet.  Being a completely hysterical process disguised as logical and with the power of human organisation and technology, this anti-pain campaign causes a lot of pain.
    There is a tendency for governments to ordain themselves with the responsibility of ending human pain and so it is the governments who maintain “defence” forces who are constantly searching for a potential enemy to attack.  Ironically this process causes a lot of pain and despite the evidence that suggests that this process does not in the long-term create peace, it is important for the survival of the governmental organisations that they maintain the appearance of stopping pain through this incredibly painful process.
    The pain of poverty is a pain that seems to span all life-forms and all time.  In the same way that a tree in poor soil, lacking the nutrients to sustain life, will slowly and painfully die, a family who can no longer extract food from their environment because the soil is barren or the animals have emigrated following the destruction of their habitat or because they have forgotten the wisdom of their ancestors about how to live with the land and have the land provide will experience the pain of hunger or starvation.
    I have never felt the pain of true hunger.  This is because I grew up in a culture defined largely by the massive feat of organisation and technology known as Capitalism, a noble effort of humanity to cease the pain of poverty forever.  However, it seems Capitalism has a few painful side-effects.  Primarily, it requires a massive amount of organisation.  It requires the sustained efforts of almost the entire human population from age 18-65 to keep the mechanisms of Capitalism moving.
    To maintain this strict regime of working 40 hours a week for 47 years is apparently very exhausting and leads to alienation, depression, stress, cancer, addiction and of course the feeling of the meaninglessness of existence.  I have memories of some of these painful experiences and tend to link them back to my own behaviour, rather than blaming the system, but I do not experience them anymore and thus do not feel comfortable talking about them.  It seems the above painful symptoms are unavoidable side-effects of those who choose to dedicate their lives to Capitalism in the hope that they never experience the pain of poverty.
    From the moment a child is born into this world they begin to learn.  They learn about their world and their place in the world.  For depictions of a natural, chaotic human education read the novels of Hermann Hesse.  This process, known in Australian tradition as Walkabout, involves a confrontation with nature, where Chaos reigns and the individual must rely on the inconsistent support of synchronicity, God and the kindness of strangers.  One can never predict what will result from this individuation process, destruction, realisation, simplicity or corruption.  It is irremovable from the rhythms of life and the movements of nature and thus fits awkwardly with Civilisation.  Thus Civilisation has provided Education.
    The purpose of Education is to send every child to an identical structured environment to memorise an identical curriculum and thus iron out, as much as possible, the natural variations and discrepancies in the children’s responses to the world.
    It is possible that some children, precocious in their examination but short-sighted in their ignorance, feel some confusion about the state of the world maintained by their culture, seeing the control structures’ apparent anti-human behaviour but not seeing the pain that it alleviates, the equality of thought and behaviour, the alienation from the dangerously chaotic nature of an uncontrolled earth.
    A successful education therefore relieves the child from the pain of self-examination and potential confusion by embedding them deeply in the rhythms of Capitalism, repetitive and therefore reliable, smoothing out the defects and deviations of nature.  Having completed a successful education a successful child will have successfully managed to find a way to contribute while maintaining an arsenal of logical explanations and entertaining distractions from urges encouraging their spiritual fulfilment outside of the civilised mechanisms of Capitalism.
    Just as war can be a painful road to peace, so can Education be a painful process for the child, channelling frustration into bullying, channelling confusion into conformity and self-expression into drug abuse.  But this pain is inevitably necessary to maintain the cultural unity necessary to perpetuate Capitalism and obviate other natural forms of pain.
    The most commonly accepted form of pain is, of course, physical pain, caused by illness or injury.  To alleviate physical pain completely humans have organised the impressively complex Health Industry.  Health, in this context, is painlessness, because pain, deep within the fundamental unexamined belief systems of the Health Industry, is “bad”.
    Pain is manifest as “symptoms” which can be repressed with the aid of drugs like antihistamines, for the repression of the symptoms of allergy, anti-depressants, for the repression of the symptoms of Civilisation, and of course the epitome of the Health Industry, pain killers such as paracetamol and morphine, all of which help the civilised man continue for as long as possible in an unhealthy environment without pain.
    Sometimes it is necessary to target the source of pain by cutting out a cancer or removing an individual from society and placing them in a mental institution or prison and thus tackling the root of the problem and allowing the continuation of an unhealthy environment.
    One of the unavoidable side-effects of the Health Industry is the dependence on drugs and experts that alienates the individual from their own body, what it needs to maintain healthy and heal itself, how it responds to its environment and the substances it consumes.  The Health Industry, it can be said, is addictive.
    The primary intention of the Health Industry in relation to pain is to overcome death, an aim not yet fulfilled.  In light of this failure the Health Industry compromises by withholding death for as long as possible, desperately clinging to the last seconds of life, regardless of their quality.  It seems death, inevitable though it is, is the shameful failure of our anti-pain culture.  Death is the most painful thing of all, the prospect of death, the process of death and the results of death are unbearably painful for a society in so much denial about reality and what it means to be alive.  Who could argue with the necessity of stopping death when it confronts us with our temporality, our deep involvement with the processes of nature, loss and loneliness.
    My mother’s death was the most powerfully transformative pain of my life, stripping me naked of the supportive nurturing aura of love I had experienced since birth and thrusting me fully equipped with the responsibility and autonomy of adulthood into a world far vaster than I anticipated.  My mother killed herself 25 days after my 21st birthday, for which she organised a surprise party for me, designed to lift me out of the depression into which I had sank.
    The depression was caused by a new realisation of the personal and social possibilities of the world and a simultaneous lack of change of lifestyle to match my realisations, excessive use of marijuana and obsessive love.  My mother’s death, unlike her surprise birthday party, rocked my world to the extent that all my foundations collapsed and I was left alone in a terrestrial environment that I slowly discovered was not as dangerous, chaotic or lonely as I had been warned.

Pain has been one of the guiding forces of my life.  Unlike a recurring dream that repeats again and again if not acknowledged I don’t seem to need so much pain to listen and understand and make appropriate changes.  But sometimes I need a jolt of pain like a dose of ECT.
    Seven years ago I wandered down to the beach one Sunday after work, alone.  I met a group of people who excited and fascinated me, I went home with them and they became my friends.  One man in particular, Darius, 21, I found particularly fascinating and disgusting the first time I met him.  The second time I saw him we realised an intense unspoken connection between the two of us.  We were young and stoned and could not have imagined that this intensity between us was years of evolving friendship stretching backwards through time.
    We were all stoned and Darius cornered me alone in the kitchen.  He picked up a knife and held it towards me and he asked me to lie on the floor so he could cut me open and eat my intestines.  I refused, semi-erect and scared of death.  From this moment on his presence or lack of presence was my only concern, I was in love, I was obsessed.  The deeper I got into this obsessive love the more pain I felt at the slightest rejection, the more impossible it became to tell him how I feel and thus diffuse the situation.  My silent intensity increased, along with my marijuana intake and the pain of his absence would cause me to bang my head against the wall and to punch myself in the face.  I resolved the situation by finally sending him a desperate intense email about months of repressed feelings that I could not possibly say to his face like a human being.  He sent me a short, dismissive callous reply that stabbed my heart figuratively and provoked me to break my relationship with him completely, banish him from my life for a few years until I calm down.  His reply seemed exceptionally mean-spirited at the time but it was just what I needed, a shock of pain, because I had built mental structures and lifestyle structures to facilitate the feeling of a lot of low-level pain.  For some reason I needed that pain and I found a way of manifesting it.  Finally, I felt it intensely enough to change my life, to ease the pain.
    Somehow I knew that I would not see him for years and then our friendship would somehow be renewed.  He moved in with his mother and girlfriend not far from where I was living on the far north west coast of New Zealand and we reunited, free from the need to experience the pain we had caused ourselves and each other six years earlier.
    I fell in love again though, shortly after banishing Darius from my life.  My flatmate’s brother came to visit and he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  Samuel was 15 years old, with long blonde hair and soft white skin.  I wanted to raise him on a pedestal as an artefact of extreme beauty; I wanted to make love to him, fulfil my desire, worship his body and bring him pleasure.  I felt desire, admiration, shame and delight and I didn’t know what to do with this bundle of conflicting emotions and so I did nothing, again repressing my love as a shameful object.  I hid, I made outbursts, I ran away and I mumbled my desire and of course with such chaotic unstable expressions I created no manifestation of our mutual love.
    Three years after the instigation of this internal affair I had only one option left.  Samuel was working as a body piercer and so I decided to have him pierce my nipple.  I sat on his bench and he pushed his sanitised needle through my nipple.  I felt no pain, but a wave of heat passed over my body and I almost fainted.  He laid me back and lifted my legs until I returned to normal.  I invited him to have a drink with me and we had a nice talk; but I told him I “care about” him when I should have told him that I want to make love with him.  This initial meeting became nothing and I made another appointment for my second nipple.  I approached my second piercing differently.  My brother told me that having his nipple pierced was the most painful thing he had experienced.  I wasn’t convinced that my yearning for this beautiful young man was a lesser pain than having a needle shoved through my nipple.
    I lay down on the bench, I closed my eyes and I focussed on my breath.  I felt no pain, no discomfort, just the intensity of the moment wash over me like a single wave from the cleansing ocean.  I stood, thanked him and left.  He was surprised by my abrupt behaviour but I had determined to move on with my life, to provide that last dose of pain and then make room for a new love.  I got the pain I somehow needed through frustrated love until the pain was sufficient and then I chose for it to end.  Why would I cause myself so much pain?  I don’t know, all I know is that I created all the necessary variables to experience and prolong that pain until I was finished with it, then I orchestrated a rather convoluted symbolic situation in which to end the process.  Three years later I have fallen in love many times since and he is but a memory and my friend on Facebook.
    This was 2008, my final year in Auckland.  I truly tried my best to live the life I was educated to live.  I got my degree, I paid my rent, everything was taken away from me when I lost my mother, my home and my life purpose, I wandered around in confusion, I came back to Auckland to try again.  I tried again with Samuel, I hung out with the Hare Krishnas and I wrote and performed poetry.  I returned to Auckland for two full years after my depression and lonely wandering manifested nothing tangible.  A fulfilling life failed to materialise for me in the city, despite my honest attempts.
    I found myself, towards the end of my second year, experiencing the same marijuana-fuelled depression I had run away from last time.  There was so much existential pain in my meaningless life and I had no idea why.  I didn’t know it at the time, having spent my entire life living in houses, but I was suffering from what I would go on to call Domestic Compulsive Disorder.  I didn’t know what I could do differently, all I knew was that my life was meaningless and I had to do something about it.  I smoked more marijuana and stayed home more, with the comforts of television, internet, the bath and my bed.
    I found myself, late one midweek morning, cowering in a corner of the living room in a foetal position, my last cone of marijuana packed into my bong, unsmoked, the banging of my head no longer providing relief from the unavoidable noise of the pain I had made for myself, non-physical but tangibly palpable.  The pain hurt but I can’t say it was bad.
    I saw life as a wave of fluctuating ups and downs, rather than the steep climb from unconsciousness to enlightenment and at that moment, in that room, in that foetal position, I saw clearly the exact moment I hit rock bottom, as I had been aiming for months, and thus began the ascent up the other side.  I instantly felt my energy come back, so strong I felt indignation at my pathetic position and I channelled this manic energy into immediate life change.  I ran around the house smashing my belongings, the useless objects that weighed me down to a life that did not satisfy.  The pain had finally reached a sufficient level to provoke action.  That night I filled two rubbish sacks with useless objects I had accumulated and that sucked up the space around me.  I smashed my bong on the driveway, throwing it from the balcony and unintentionally baptising myself in shit-stinking bong water as it flew from my hand and momentum took the bong and not the water inside.
    So quickly and easily I was free and could spend the next few months clearing out the practical considerations before leaving Auckland for my first invitation to paradise.
    Living a healthy lifestyle in a nurturing inspiring environment I would lay in bed at night in utter peace, I would feel emotions moving through my body like blood, like water.  I tried to understand these feelings, to name them.  I felt happiness and sadness overlap until they were indistinguishable.  I couldn’t look at my life and decide whether I was failing or succeeding and therefore whether my emotions were happy or sad; my life was a blank slate.  I felt confident to do anything, to go anywhere, or to stay put and do nothing.  If I felt sick I would fast and go to bed, but I lived under a skylight on a mezannine and it was too hot there during the day.  I was always happy to get out of bed in the morning and face the brightness and the vast ocean and the sound of its waves rolling up the hill like an amphitheatre.  If I felt depressed or tired I found work to do or I walked the dogs down to the beach and I would return hungry and tired to eat and relax.
    Pain would pass through me quickly and easily.  The dogs would kindly and lovingly lick my wounds without me having to ask.  Every morning I would feel new, every time I dived naked into the ocean I would emerge refreshed.  When my hair was cut it would rot back into the earth, along with everything else that could not be recycled or fed to the pigs.  I would kneel on the earth to weed the strawberry patch, I would bend down towards the earth to pick my salads, and I would lie down on the earth in the long grass and masturbate looking at the sky.  Pain was not an issue.
    I had lots of friends, Auckland was a good place to make friends, the social networks were well-defined and interconnected.  I described my paradise to them and they told me they would come to visit, but mostly they did not.  Nothing was more special than the days when my friends did come to visit and I accommodated them in my bed or on my floor.  To bring friends to share paradise with me was all the joy I needed and taught me what the next step in my life was.
    The two friends who came to visit me, the only two not trapped by the accumulations and commitments of their lives, inspired me to travel freely with them.  I had all the time in the world, but still there was only time for the most beautiful people and so I dedicated my life to them.  I followed Bill and Lauren until there was more beauty this side of my horizon.  I followed beauty to Australia and returned to paradise to find the dogs dead.  I could not maintain paradise and pursue beauty simultaneously, so I chose beauty, dreaming that one day I would return to paradise with a precious friend to share it with.
    I met four Swedish men in Australia and travelled with them.  We experienced so much joy together, I fell in love with them all and they invited me back to Sweden with them.  I flew to Sweden, I saw my friends and I have not 15 months later returned to New Zealand.
    In 2007 I was searching for a new home and I was blessed to be able to choose from two delightful prospects.  I was shown around one house by a beautiful young man, sexy, friendly, and for this reason only one decision was possible.  I never made love to this sexy young man but somehow I knew when I first looked at him that I was being offered something in him.  Now, four years later, we are about to be in the same country again, drastically different people both, but a persistent connection, manifest in my experience of his luminous beauty and the continued potential of our friendship.
    The world is so open and giving to me.  I do not earn money and yet even material objects are abundant.  Because of my freedom and joy there is a lot of room in my life to pursue what is meaningful to me, to change my mind and pursue the best option, to not know where my actions will take me.
    I marvel at this world’s insistence that pain is bad when it continues to provide me with invaluable information about the world I am living in.  Beauty is the most important thing in my life and I pursue beauty relentlessly, though I don’t know what to do with it when I get it.  It is painful to be rejected, though only for a moment.  When I am accepted the joy can be so overwhelming it could be called pain.  When I’m feeling strong I can lie under the stars, lonely but at peace, feeling the pain of my yearning for my absent lover and smiling at this delicious pain.  Only when I hold my breath is the pain unbearable, when I breathe well I can be sure that I can go outside and urinate and it will soak into the earth.
    When I slash open my thumb or am attacked by Police I can’t help but ask, “Why have I done this to myself?”  “I didn’t mean to,” some might say.  “It was an accident.”  But it is never accidental.  When my presence, my actions and my relationship to my environment are entirely in my control I cannot claim that the results of these variables are accidental.  When I tell my friend that I would like a good cry because I never cry, and then I forget the comment completely, and then I move on with my life and orchestrate a series of events that results unexpectedly in me crying in the rain in Stockholm alone and then I return to my friend and she reminds me of my comment, I wonder if my dedication to the meaning and purpose of my life is entirely the responsibility of consciousness.
    When I am not making conscious plans, pursuing them and succeeding, am I a failure, am I failing to realise my potential, am I being led nowhere by no one?  That cannot be true when I find myself in increasingly surprising and beautiful places with so many exciting and beautiful people.  I have never been able to conceive of plans as complex and delightful as the turns my life has taken.  I would never dare hope for so much love and beauty and my imagination is not great enough to conceive of the wonders I have seen.
    Like Alice following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole I am ready to jump at the right offer and abandon everything I know for the unexpected.  I have been warned of danger by people who barricade themselves in houses but my experience consistently contradicts their threats disguised as advice.
    When I sleep on the bare earth I am safe from snakes and crocodiles and Police.  Even rain usually gives me the night to rest beside the fire.  I find beautiful people and I am not scared of them like I used to be.  I naturally give the most exciting the most attention.  Perhaps I will tell them how I feel, if appropriate, or maybe I will just touch their shoulder and look into their eyes.  Even then I have discovered it is difficult to look into both eyes at once.
    When I do what I am compelled to do I don’t see how I can fail.  My purpose, after all, is to realise myself fully in this world and then dissolve into another world via death.  If I notice a beautiful human my conscious mind may tell me I want to make love to them.  The truth of my body cannot be translated into language however.  Maybe I’m not going to make love to this person, maybe we are simply going to share space with the knowledge that I want to make love and he does not, and maybe this is sufficiently intense and valuable.
    I go to temporary Edens where my tribe gathers and the true movements of life, emerging from the earth, emerging from the space between the humans that excite and terrify us the most, emerging from the subtleties of our bodies, become our guiding forces and are intensified in the natural environment and the familiar social structure of the tribe.  The concept that some emotions or situations are “good” and others “bad” becomes too ludicrous to entertain.  The ups and downs are rich and dynamic, they are my life and I value them.
    One day I am feeling lonely and horny and want to make a connection.  I walk to the waterhole to swim under the sun with my tribe and my frustration is exasperated by my observation that everyone seems to be ignoring me.  I stand amongst the people, interacting with one another, thinking I want their attention but I’m too sad and weak to ask for it.  Eventually I storm off up the path alone.  Everyone else walks slowly together, but I charge ahead, angry at being ignored.  It occurs to me that I obviously want to be alone and thus I walk alone despite my habit of togetherness.  It occurs to me that all day I have wanted to be alone and successfully I have manifested this through the pathetic conscious idea that I desperately need someone to validate me with their attention.  If my intention was personal space then I am amazed that I manipulated my own consciousness to such an extent that I repelled those around me with desperation.  Am I ever not manifesting my intentions when my true will is this powerful and my conscious mind so irrelevant?
    I am not alone in this world.  When I follow a beauty I can only assume he wants to be followed.  We have chosen each other to share this experience.  We have chosen each other before our lives began, we chose each other in another dimension or outside of time, we chose each other via the unconscious psychic network that connects us all.  I don’t know, but I know that we choose beauty to communicate with each other.
    Why am I staring at this child I do not know, how we could be friends I cannot imagine, but your beauty singles you out like a spotlight and rest assured that I have noticed and I am ready to honour or love you the second the opportunity arises.
    The more carefully I listen to the messages of my body, the more it tells me.  It seems there is always a deeper and richer and more complex understanding to be gained from real communication.  Words may be limited in their capacity, but pain and beauty hold an infinite depth of perfect contextualised truth.
    I guess if I calmly and confidently pursue this beauty who presents herself to me I will understand what we mean to each other.  If I respond to the subtle pains of my body with respect and love then I may not need the gross extremes of pain I have created for myself in the past.
    Life is an ever-opening flower of incomprehensible beauty.