Sunday, April 28, 2019


I don't know how often you heard the command: "Don't be negative!", I heard it too often While I don't mind the idea of "being positive", tackling challenges with an optimistic mind set, "Don't be negative" proves to be a contradiction in terms. It takes a double negative to say this, so anyone using it just demands to "Do as I say, not as I do".

So i while appreciate finding the good within the bad, "Don't be negative!" seems like the war cry of those playing the old-fashioned game of domination while preaching cooperation. I heard it a lot while pointing out things that didn't actually work out.

When I studied psychology, I came across an interesting finding. Those diagnosed to be "depressed", often showed a much more realistic attitude to their environment, instead of a positive bias. Now, that might indicate that I'm probably a bit depressed, however, I still think it's much better in a working environment to assess situations realistically than "positively biased".

Luckily, I changed the place of work. I remember one guy I my last working environment inundating with me the mantra "Don't be negative!" while flicking his cigarette butt into the front yard patch which I converted from a public dumping ground into a patch full of usable plants. Hold on a second, Ollie, do you really think it's appropriate to give me a bad time while you're not caring a bit about your immediate environment?

Get me right (doesn't that much better than the double negative: Don't get me wrong?), I like working out things okay. I don't play the blame game, which means if what has to be done can be done I'm in a happy space. Humans seem to be thriving when they manage to solve problems, yet it seems like a minority of people seems only happy when they can create problems for others. Like claiming "Don't be negative!", when someone points out that sailing to another island needs boat, and the one around is leaking.

My memory of past lives certainly sucks. Again, I'm realistic here, not delusional in the way to claim that when I've been pharaoh everyone else had a good life, how the fuck did it all go to shit? Quite obviously, if the Egyptians created an ideal society for all, it hasn't survived. Nevertheless, the pyramids help us to remember that knowledge and craftmanship were probably more advanced than today. If our contemporary society can't build something that has been build thousands of years ago, it's quite obvious that we aren't the most advanced society of this planet.

As mentioned before, pointing out that things don't work out doesn't mean being a "negative nanny". If you want to go on a road trip, and your car doe clue what they are has highest priority. Preventing anyone from fixing the most urgent problem, because it's "negative" to even mention that the car doesn't work, demonstrates a highly delusional mind set.

However, it seems so much easier to make someone feel bad about pointing out the obvious than solving an actual problem. The gratification derived from some other person's emotional distress might not trump the one derived from solving a problem, however, it offers immediate happiness, the most valuable currency in our deeply dysfunctional times. In my experience, no matter how eager you try to ignore a challenge, it doesn't make it go away. Feel free to call me a "negative nanny " for pointing out the obvious.

It seems futile to point out that "Don't be negative" uses a double negative to bring its message home. If someone deliberately uses this phrase, it's to make them feel better on your expense in a social context. It creates a no-win situation for you, and you're probably better off to avoid those people than trying to make the situation work. Most likely, anything you mention in your defence will be construed against you.

Let's end this on a positive note. If you happen to encounter people who label you as "negative", they most likely have no fucking clue what they are talking about. They need support which they won't accept from you, and often haven't even realised how dearly they need it. Don't let their delusional self confidence bring you down - that's what their "Don't be negative" rant is all about.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Life and death

You never know when the reaper calls you. Sometimes, it's a bit more obvious. When my father died, he just went to the hospital one weekend, and on Monday I heard about him passing away. When my brother died of lung cancer, it was less sudden. I had months of denial until I realised how deadly lung cancer is. Luckily, I had a chance to see him before it happened, to have the chats needed in the moments of lucidity while he was sedated with morphine.

Both of them didn't make it to 50, and appeared in my dreams afterwards. While I decided not to worry about my own death, the process of dying, potentially dragging on for months, doesn't sound pleasant at all. I was on the other of the globe while my mother lost her battle against cancer and chemotherapy, witnessing on the phone the turn from optimism to giving up.

Our society doesn't appreciate death, and sometimes just admitting that some of my relatives exited this existence made me feel like an outcast. I didn't really celebrated my 50th birthday much, although I cherished somehow staying for longer in this existence than two out of three of my closest male relatives. Average life expectation doesn't mean much, as millions of people make it up. Individual lives end at some point, below or above this average.

The first funeral I attended since decades brought my own strange relation to death back home, while at the same time aligning it more with my firm believe in reincarnation. We danced, and drank, and had a massive party, to celebrate the member in our midst who was gone. Yet I didn't yet dare to talk his immediate family how they coped with the hole ripped into their lives since then.

Today I found out that the best friend I had in Europe kicked the bucket. He contacted me less than half a year ago to notify me of his battle of cancer, and our last conversations were online. He also appeared in my dreams, but I missed the opportunity to hear his voice before it happened. He died just a day after I found out that my favourite niece was diagnosed with lung cancer.

My niece is in her mid thirties, and maybe the only person I witnessed from birth to adulthood. The last time in went back to Europe was mainly to say hello to her first daughter, as I knew that I wanted to stay in Australia for good. I vaguely remember seeing some bits and pieces I gave her before leaving Germany back then.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don't value "remote" communication, be it phone or social media, as much as face to face. Back when only landline phones were used, I knew how much one could fake it. I still felt compelled to phone my niece, and was surprised about the familiarity of her voice, and how connected I felt while hearing about her journey.

She sent me link to her instagram after our conversation, and that blew me away. She memed her fight against her cancer, which allowed me to see a recent photo. It took me some days to check her account (I'm over facebook, which owns instagram, and no longer much into "social" media). What I found, though, filled me with pride. When I left my home country, I gave her some things I didn't want to throw away.

Seeing these items being posted online, more than decade later than when I left them, made me sentimental. My mother inculcated the importance of family into me, so while my niece grew up, I always intended to influence her in a positive way. I gave her books and mixtapes, lend an ear to hear about her struggles and dreams, wanting to be the crazy uncle supporting her to become the best she wants to be, telling her wild stories her parents probably wouldn't have approved.

It breaks my heart seeing her fighting a potentially lethal cancer. Her artwork, like most visual art, offers an insight to her soul. I don't even know when she started drawing, but it looks like her art made it onto t-shirts and tote bags, and to prominent places in her home. As I love immediacy of interaction, I lost track about someone my heart is connected to. Yet losing someone until the next reincarnation takes more than I take at he moment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Even more feral

Social media, the modern battlefield for consumerists. My former workplace still fights hards for them valuable google reviews, and since the first comment of an unhappy neighbour, which accidentally is my house mate, the number of reviews has increased tenfold.

Honestly, I'd love to put it all behind. Due to utter stupidity on my side, I got confronted with this story again. And while I don't like mudslinging, I appreciate honest feedback. About less than a week ago, I heard about the next rallying call to rescue the reputation of this company, and found about 30 positive reviews floating in in just one evening.

As those reviews remain, I save myself from the copy and paste job of praising the product, its maker, the staff, the environmental highfalutin and so on. Marketing works, and most people taste the image of a product, and not its ingredients. My palate has adapted, though, to the nuances of this fermented product. Other frequent consumers, not being inundated by marketing, also agree that a potentially healthy drink turned into a sugary soft drink.

As I haven't sampled other brands lately, I can't assess how "real" the product from this company tastes in comparison to its competitors. The homebrew I had some months sets the standard of what I consider the real deal, and neither bottles nor kegs of my former employer get close. Anyway, while I'm cautious to prevent to name names, I'm certain if this blog is found it will be used against me.

Before the flood of good reviews came in, customers of the online shop reacted. Viki wrote:
"$19.95 for a ***** and I got two little pieces that didn't do anything.  Shopped on Gumtree and got a large health ***** for $10 that is going gangbusters." Charles commented:
"VEGAN RIP OFF This is the smallest ******** I have ever seen for the price!!! I don't even have a carbon footprint I got but stomped on with this one...  NEVER AGAIN ***..:( :( :( :("

Now, as these reviews refer to the actual product, and not how well the company gets along with its neighbours, it's probably hard to flag this feedback as "inappropriate". The majority of comments I quoted in the first part of this saga have gone by now, although I saw some reappearing temporarily. No idea whether the removed feedback stills gets into the average which now stands at 4.3 stars.

Even though I didn't want to, let's quote a five star review from the night of upvoting, as it presents the mixed approach of selling product and "community engagement". Gav wrote: "awesome brews and a real hub for community. i would love to see them host way more events at their brewery with lots of sustainable tunes to bring happiness to all of Brunswick. Could only be better if the tunes were loud enough to hear it from my place !"

Dear Gav, just move into one of the about twenty or so properties close enough. It's just, those people living here already for decades don't seem to share your enthusiasm. Paul steps in for his mom, who most likely doesn't engage on social media. "Every time I visit my mother all I can hear is horrible techno music coming from down the street. She will not open a window or even venture out into her beloved garden because of these disrespectful people.  techno music all day and then live bands on the weekends blasting out onto the street. She can't move. Over 40 years in her home and some tool is trying to drive her and her neighbours out. Respect your neighbours. There is no need for your music to be played so loud that all can hear it down the street. You do not realise what you are doing to the mental state of people who just want to get by. please consider."

I did the emphasis, for good reasons. I remember a neighbour coming into the warehouse stating something similar - that the sounds coming from the warehouse were meant to drive him out of his home. Unsurprisingly, when I mentioned today that I considered some of the negative feedback coming genuinely from real existing neighbours, I was again blamed for not convincing my housemate to withdraw her comment.

Carl sounds like someone who visited the place which once was flagged as "HQ". He writes: "Scary people. Unfriendly. Unclean premises." As I experienced quite different moods while working there, and various characters as visitors or extreme short-term staff, I have no difficulty imagining getting such an impression on a first visit. After all, I spend lots of time, especially when I had the hunch that things aren't working out the way I envisaged, in maintaining the front yard to create a pleasant impression.

I have to admit, the last quote might actually been inspired by social media sympathy, and not by the unique experience this business offer. Sally wrote: "A lot of great reviews is a very short period of time, no doubt most of them are just rubbish reviews designed to boost your rating, seems they have no problems criticizing people but when people do it to them they throw a tantrum like a bunch of 5 year old's, man up you bunch of pansies or go back to Healesville.

Pluggers review of this sh--t hole is the best and funniest I have read in a long time, need to put this one up on twitter, love the writing on board out the front by the way LOL"

Unfortunately, I haven't found pluggers review, I could do with some funny stuff while I'm confronted with lots of challenges. Telling this story provides me with some relief after a real life encounter with this severe storm in a teacup. I got reminded today to pick my team - which is ridiculous as life isn't a competition. I'm with team humanity.

Since I have left facebook I'm no longer exposed to vicious online battles, which usually exceeds how most people would interact in real life, even in conflict. I walked away from a work environment with an extremely volatile boss, as I don't believe in the "my way or the highway" mythos for lasting cooperation. I worked enough with change management systems to realise that individuals resisting to change themselves will not change anything around them for the better.

I might have burned a bridge, but sometimes bridges connect fertile grounds to wasteland.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Going feral

While I was still working in the distribution warehouse next door, I tended the front yard garden for pleasure and as immediate therapy. Digging my hands into the soil, watching the variety of plants flowering, growing and attracting bees helped me to cope with a boss who seemed to miss the good old times of feudalism. Gardening combines the pleasures of immediate and delayed gratification. Picking a tomato or passion fruit, munching on some fresh parsley, mint or pineapple sage gives a hit of pleasure straight away, establishing some new plant in the mixture and waiting for it to thrive works on delayed gratification.

Pottering about the front yard also provided a great opportunity to get in touch with the neighbourhood, invite them to help themselves to some fresh produce, and have a friendly yarn about what else goes on in the unmarked yet busy place. I intended to create an appealing space, mainly to balance the never ending disorganised chaos which still typifies the remainder of the space.

After all, the company hiding in this massive warehouse markets itself as sustainable operation, engaged in saving the planet and community building. So converting a trashy bit of green strip into a lovely, thriving patch of greenery felt like the right thing to do. Having no pet myself, and believing the marketing spiel kept me on the ball creating a good first impression for visitors fitting the bill of the way the company, or rather its founder and boss, present themselves.

The neighbourhood undergoes quite some massive changes due to gentrification, but most people I got to know while living here where those in for the long haul. I sure noticed some faces which moved into some of the new developments which sprung up lately, yet most of those engaging as neighbours might stay for longer than me. Not only did I quit working next door, our house will be sold soon which means I have to move on. That's another story, which hopefully will have a happy ending.

What a sight

Gardens need tending, even if they have been set up with some permaculture ideas. The mild climate means that any spot which can grow something will be taken over by abundant weeds floating around. The rosemary, which survived probably already for a decade in the front yard. might need no help surviving, but besides this, things go pretty wild. The ivy growing along the fence to the neighbouring property will soon shade out everything beneath it, the passion flower is about to take over the pineapple sage, the ground covering succulent certainly stopped the comfrey from brandishing the abundance of purple flowers which attracted many bees last year.

While the patch isn't that big, it would take probably a day or two of pruning, weeding and mulching to get it back into a presentable and pleasant state. Of course, without caring about the more thirsty plants, a single intervention would probably just help for a month or so, but then, my time here is limited. And it seems like my former boss cares more about his social media image than the impression his place of business gives.

Feral and uncared

My offer to improve the first impression about his space were declined, mainly because of a ridiculous grief over my house mates dislike about the frequent use of the warehouse as entertainment place. A single one star review of his business sparked a conflict which nearly led to mutual intervention orders. While I did my best to remain neutral, I'm now blamed not for bringing my housos in line with his demands, and have to suffer from minor irrelevant consequences of his wrath.

The care about the real life impressions of a feral front yard reflects his care about the "community" he's trying to build. Being present and approachable in front of the warehouse meant that neighbours approached me, but not everybody in earshot of his enterprise is willing to show their dismay about the noise pollution coming from his space. At least not in person. After all, it takes some courage to rock up in the middle of a night to tell a bunch of pissed people that you'd like to have some peace and quiet late at night.

My housemate approached the ongoing noise pollution in a reasonable way, trying to engage the people in a face to face conversation and asking to tone it down. After some unpleasant (and later quite intimidating) responses, she decided to leave a one star rating with the comment: "Would give zero stars if possible." That's when things started to escalate, luckily not to the level of physical violence.

As a single review is obviously capable of single-handedly bringing down an entire business, my former boss knocked fiercer than police on our door, and took about a minute to lose his shit, demanding to remove this review, or else... We managed to ask him to leave and take his temper tantrum with him. As response, he used the A-board, often illegally (without council permit) placed on the pavement, to leave a message: "My neighbour doesn't like music and writes negative reviews on social media. He now gets a concert everyday until he deletes his review. Requests? @nameomittedcozYoucanresearchifyouwantto"

That happened about a month ago, and while I had some relatively normal conversations with him in the meantime, I noticed the grudge he still held today when offering some gardening services. I was surprised, mainly because I had no idea about the other social media stuff which happened since then. He complained bitterly on facebook about the uptight neighbours trying to limit his "right to party" whenever he wants to, and begged his abundant fb followers to leave positive reviews of his business.

I admit, as immediate neighbour I got sometimes annoyed by the random party noises coming from next door, and even while still working there, I sometimes called/texted asking to tone the noise down. In real life conversation, I suggested sound-proofing, as I was certain that our house couldn't be the only one affected. Which seemed an outrageous suggestion, because "all the neighbours love him, just our house causes trouble".

So when I checked out the google reviews again today, I couldn't help but revel in a bit of schadenfreude. When my housemate left her review, the company had maybe a dozen reviews, the oldest from 2 years ago. When I was working there, I served maybe about 100 people in person, dealing with 1,000s of mail orders. Most people didn't bother with a review, and I guess most people didn't check it to decide whether they would come or not.

Now it's a whopping 54 reviews, not even half as much as a Cafe in the same street which opened a couple of years ago. Unsurprisingly, most of them happened about a month ago, some of them explicitly referring about the nasty neighbours. Niall wrote: "Ignore all these 1 star reviews! **** **** ***** is the best! These immature bully boy tactics because a disgruntled man-baby doesn’t like live music! Wow! Support local, listen to loud music! And number 1 allways love! Not hate!" While he might have checked in this year, I haven't seen him in the neighbourhood for a long time, so I guess his, and his girl friends review reflect facebook solidarity.

Another item of this kind of solidarity: "These guys ran a fundraiser for my friends at their warehouse, and now the neighbour is getting their friends to write fake reviews? I rate that 0 out of 5, and the good people at **** **** 5 out of 5." Hmm. If I find someone offering their space for free to raise funds for a theme camp for a festival (remember, parties are totally sustainable and the best way to change the world for the better), and probably throws some free drinks in the mix, I would absolutely vouch for him.

As mentioned, part of the image of social engagement, and image building works out on social media. "Amazing ********. Wonderful social events. Proprietor is a real environmental activist and a generous kind-hearted gregarious human being" I don't know whether this poster is aware that the warehouse is in a residential area, without liquor license and not classified as entertainment venue. Many of the former, quite fast changing employees might disagree with "kind-hearted", but then, I'm biased.

"Social events" often need a lubricant, and bribing with free booze works like a charm. Yet even pubs are well aware that it's better to have their drunken patronage indoors after 10pm. Well, that doesn't apply to this warehouse, and so unwillingly listening to highly intellectual conversations of pretty pissed people often continued long after midnight.

Another commenter also has nothing but praises: "Great tasting ******** made ethically; solar powered and empty bottles can returned to place of purchase and will be reused.
Be dubious of negative reviews, as they may have ulterior motives."

While the bottles were indeed (illegally) reused up until about two or three years ago, this practice has stopped. Unlike the marketing for it. One of the reasons I stopped working in that place was the obvious discrepancy between what's on the label and what actually happens. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the maverick approach to wash and reuse bottles, and private customers might still get a refund. But just like the front yard, the ethics have gone a bit feral.

Dying and disrespected

So let's have a look at the "ulterior motives" for negative reviews. In my naive view, community literally begins next door, in your immediate neighbourhood. Online communities, just like party communities, seem a bit vapid to me. They might sometimes offer similar benefits like real life communities. I'm totally willing to believe that, despite not having experienced it. Being the old fart I am, I dearly miss the social glue I experienced before the rise of mobile phones and social media.

What do actual neighbours of this company say? "Deplorable people who disturb the peace of neighbours due to “bad comments”. Don’t know how old the people who operate the place are but they need to grow up and not create a public nuisance of themselves in the neighbourhood". This surely sounds like someone having read the sign mentioned earlier. "Not very nice humans operating a business, you need to be able to work with the community not against it." Olivia certainly seems to have doubts about the "community building" aspect of this business.

Paul writes plain and simple "Respect your neighbors." Which just sounds to me like he lives close enough to have an opinion about the things happening in the warehouse. Greg leaves no doubt that he lives close to the place where beautiful social events happen. "About time people spoke up about these idiots, I have two young kids and live within ear shot of that place and for years we have had to listen to foul language and vile and degrading comments made to other people coming from that place, all while hiding inside that building. Don't know whether they have the mind set of a bunch of three year old's or if they really are a bit simple, most people in the area despise them and ignore/avoid them, there have been countless complaints made to both council and police about them over the years, sooner those supremacist are gone the better." (emphasis added by me)

I haven't met Greg, probably because he might associate me with the warehouse, and therefor ignores/avoids/despises me. No hard feelings, especially as he voices something I tried to communicate to my former boss for some years, without any success. However, it seems like even some random visitors have some doubts about the loving, beautiful people working in that warehouse... Stu writes: "Really friendly people as long as your not Black Asian or gay" and gets immediately backed up by Sally: "Well put Stu, I have heard some of the most derogatory comments directed at people coming from that place"

Just like the comfrey in the corner of the front yard, I guess I'm burned in the neighbourhood. I was visible a lot while I was working in the warehouse, tending for the front yard on a near daily basis. Most likely I will be associated with the nuisance it caused over the years to those "living within ear shot of that place". This attempt to settle down and engage with my neighbours didn't work out. Then again, I will have to move out soon anyway, without even knowing whether my strange situation will allow me to find a roof over my head at all.

The uncertainty about my future does my head in. I learned to appreciate gardening, hanging out with our shared pet, becoming local. I feel as connected to this place as I felt to the place I grew up in. I can only hope not to get as feral as the front yard garden I set up.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

An intimidating climate

Most human activity finds its motivation in two elemental emotions: Love and Fear. This applies even to the most "rational" pastime of humanity, science. In modern society, people don't need any scientific understanding to benefit from the fruits of the creation of systems of knowledge. According to the most popular narratives of civilisation, the "Age of Enlightenment" has replaced the "Dark Age" of religious superstition, often implying that we live in the best times humanity has ever had.

Without a doubt, we cannot remember a time when seven billion of us inhabited this planet, and we have absolutely no record of living in an age of technology and information like we do today. This relates mainly to the fact that record keeping, and systematic investigation of this planet as a whole started not too long ago, compared to the time homo sapiens sapiens crawls over this planet, or the time Mother Earth existed at all.

Our curiosity about what exists now, and existed before us doesn't need facts. Stories have been the glue to keep societies together, fill the gaps in our knowledge in ways which might or might not serve us as a whole. Explorers and traders increased to story pool of relatively isolated clans and tribes, before writing allowed a new form of transmitting myths, narratives and ideas. The invention of the printing press accelerated this process, the internet now provides access to stories from nearly all parts of the world.

We can pick and choose a narrative from a plethora of ideas for any topic of interest. Let's take the origin of humanity as example. The bible claims that we are product of "God", who created everything on this planet in six days about 6,000 years ago. According to science, humanity evolved from ancestral primates a few hundred thousand years ago. Many First Nations people narratives involve a creator as well, as do other mythologies which survived until today. Of course, one of the more interesting stories floating around mixes many sources to describe humanity as genetically engineered by aliens.

The lack of continuous records means we have to refrain to educated guesswork when it comes to our past. We know of our own existence, and if we're lucky, we might be able to trace back our family history for some generations back. While some people want to convince us that they can trace back to people mentioned in the Bible, our collective past as humanity is anything but certain. Luckily, precise knowledge of our history thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands or even millions of years ago has little impact to our ability to survive.

Because our survival in the future poses now the biggest danger ever, one of our own making. At least if we believe in the narratives prescribed by the latest whole world religion, science. Long before the heat death of the entire universe, long before our sun burns out and fails to provide the energy which contributed to the diversity of life on this planet, humanity will change the climate in ways which will make our own survival impossible.

Ironically, the narrative of "Global warming" aka "Climate change" aka "Extreme climate" mimics biblical stories. As "supreme" species of this planet, precipice of evolution, this planet is not only at our disposal, but our carelessness will dispose of it by creating too much carbon dioxide. However, the right kind of sacrifice suggested by the new global priesthood might avert the inevitable climate crisis. Meanwhile, doomsday vaults get constructed for those worthy of surviving the coming climate cataclysm.

Excuse me for sounding like a heretic, or in modern language, being a "climate skeptic". Of course, the term heretic cannot be used here, as it describes someone not following specific religious believes imposed to a society. It would unveil the religious character which has become typical for contemporary science. Yet, the similarities between questioning the immaculate conception of Jesus Christ during the times of the Spanish Inquisition and doubting the "consensus of climate scientists about anthropogenic global warming" suggest that autonomous thought remains even in the "Age of Enlightenment" highly unpopular.

But the data! Look at the data! Let's be honest, no one does. No one can. We know more about the average American (if we're willing to pay) than about the weather in the US. Cambridge Analytica prides itself to have about 2000-3000 data points for about 250 million US citizens, derived mainly from online activity. If a weather station logged just the temperature on an hourly basis, it would create roughly 9000 records per year. To know as much about the weather as about the habits of US citizens, it would take about 80 millions weather stations in the US. Which don't exist.

70% of the Earth's surface consists of ocean. According to Wikipedia, we have about 1250 buoys collecting weather data. That means a single buoy collects data for an area bigger as the UK, or New Zealand. I guess if someone wanted to suggest that a single weather station suffices to determine the average temperature for the UK, a lot of people would cry foul. Not to mention the drop of ratings for any weather report based on this solitary station, no one would bother checking it out simply because it wouldn't give them any useful information.

We just don't understand the climate. The measurements happen only in few spots, compared the immense volume of the atmosphere and the depth of the ocean. We don't have a thermometer we can stick up the planet's ass to assess whether it's developing a fever. Climate has been defined as the development of weather patterns of 30 years, so most people arguing about this have experienced one or maybe two "climate cycles". While the efforts to collect more data have increases without a doubt over the last decades, it's still by far insufficient for any meaningful conclusion.

The current data collection doesn't allow any proper estimation of average temperature, the longer we go back the worse it gets. Which explains why no existing climate model could simulate what has happened in the last hundred years. The term "global warming" initially used for this fear-mongering narrative leaves a tell-tale sign about the intentions for it.

First Nations people understand themselves as part of nature, and therefor never as radically changed the surface of the planet as colonialism and capitalism did. In these cultures, "ecology" wasn't a niche subject of scientific inquiry, but integral but the way of life and survival. The eradication of indigenous cultures to exploit natural resources also erased the intuitive understanding of our dependency as humanity on a healthy environment.

Carbon dioxide acts as nutrient for plant growth, and excessive amounts of it should lead to bumper crops. But deforestation and polluting the environment lead to a damage to eco-systems essential for the health of the planet despite not being commercially exploitable. The effects of collapsing eco-systems, such as Great Barrier Reef, or species extinction by loss of habitat, are undeniable. Declaring CO2 as solitary culprit just helps to create another playgroup for inane economic games, helping the enemies of humanity to gain more power and influence.

The fear-inducing narrative of climate change exists for quite some time now, and it taps into our innate love for nature. Just like the concept of monarchy, those who put us into misery present themselves as saviours. Just like the kings of the olden days, submission to their cruel game means more hardship for most, more power for those who love to exploit others for their pleasure. We live symbiotic with this planet. The parasites sucking our life blood don't care for the health of our host, Mother Earth.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Between a rock and a hard place

Fate knocked on my door, with the same uncomfortable rhythm like police demanding to enter. A few weeks ago I found out that our house will be put on the market, and today the sign erected in front of it brings this unpleasant reality home: I need to move on.

Before you calls me a whinging loser, take into consideration that I chose some time ago to unplug as much as possible from the matrix. I don't do paper-based things anymore, there's no more document proving my "right" to exist, no more bank account, nothing anyone who doesn't know me would convince them that I'm willing and maybe capable to come up with rent. Which I used to pay in cash, for the last few years.

In comparison to the corporate career I had in front of me some decades ago, my life has become more real, but not easier. On the good side of things, I no longer support the system of self-destruction as much as I used to. While I still can't avoid paying tribute to the mafia running this country in the form of taxes for everyone I consume, consuming less meant the mafia has less to give to their associates. The amount of GST I pay might not even cover the amount of money the government spends on surveilling me.

Living self-sufficient in an urban environment is impossible. Rent, rates, food mean I needed to generate income to survive. My gardening/foraging skills aren't sufficient to feed myself without money, although I encountered at least some ways to cut some corners. Money is our god, just like the title of this blog suggests, but I stopped worshipping long ago. I generated maybe the same amount of money, or even less, as a dole recipient in the last few years, hardly ever going hungry, and luckily never needing to sleep rough.

The most expensive time I experienced since I went on this path was when I was living in a forest in a tent. Having no clue how to hunt, no access to water, no fertile land to grow anything meant a 100 km round trip in a car just to get food and water. I couldn't even store food without a fridge, and hanging out mostly on my own drove me slightly insane. We're social beings, and while living as a hermit works out for a while, it just doesn't work for me.

I feel tired. Regular avenues to seek support simply don't exist for someone like me. I want to go back to a simple life, hell, I live a fairly simple life. Eat, work, sleep. Being in the matrix allowed me to do this in luxurious way, but it meant also supporting the system of self-destruction which is modern society.

Where to go from here? I don't know. When I saw my former homeless neighbour, who was living in her car, last week, I was shocked to see her deteriorating so much. I can't see myself walking aimlessly through the streets, carrying all my belongings with me, finding a sheltered corner to survive another night, living off the scraps charity offers to keep an unwanted soul alive. Suicide seems like a noble choice in comparison.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

To be or... to do

Sometimes, asking for advice just happens to deflect responsibility. Sometimes, it happens out of cluelessness. Sometimes, it doesn't happen at all, instead, the hodge-podge of ancient unsolicited advice just crawls out of the crevices of my memory.

As I spend already quite some time on this planet, I had plenty of times being "unemployed". Most of them didn't bother me much, as I had enough resources to pay my bills and have some fun. This time, I came full circle. Just like before I started working, I'm broke af. Unlike then, there's no one I know to help me out, and not only my age limits how I can potentially make some coin again. Dole isn't an option, and after having spend some time homeless the possibility to lose the roof over my head doesn't entice me at all.

After some rather unpleasant way of earning money, I nearly processed the PTSD related to it and I'm willing to move into the next adventure. How to go about it still puzzles me. Initially, I envisaged offering my services as healer and teacher, promoting these with workshops I held. I underestimated the difficulties to find participants for workshops using traditional ways of advertising. While I gave up fairly soon, it just prevented me from spending more money than I made, and limited my frustration about the downward trend of interest I noticed. I did, and I failed.

Besides this, I spend lots of time to offer my artwork on the street, at least while the weather permitted it. I had moderate success, by far not enough to pay bills, but I thoroughly enjoyed most of the time I spend like this. I was, and I didn't really succeed.

As I grew up in a protestant family, I have no trouble with protestant work ethics. In most jobs I provided those who paid with good value for money, and usually didn't shy away from putting the hard yards in if required. While I pride myself for my professional attitude, I rarely had occupations worthy of putting my heart in. Mostly I felt like a prostitute despite not giving sexual services.

I spend more time in the same place with my last job, mainly because I wanted to believe to work at a place which is part of the solution, not the problem. However, that was just part of the potential of this company, definitively part of its marketing strategy, but not the reality of day to day proceedings. I did as much as I could, but I had to realise that image was more important than facts.

I listened quite a bit to Jordan Peterson lately, and he would advise to do, just like many others prescribing hard work as necessity to succeed. I require only moderate "success", as my material desires have decreased, paying my bills without prostituting myself seems well achievable. All I want is to maintain my integrity.

From a spiritual point of view, the advice was distinctly to be. I undeniably feel attracted to this approach, but I struggle to develop sufficient trust, despite affirmation from my subconscious. I do no longer want to "make things happen", as this led only to ego-driven plans in the past. As I don't notice any divine inspiration, I'd rather trust in a lucky turn of events. Currently, this sounds more like a recipe for shit hitting the fan.

One lesson I surely learned from my last job is that running at full speed without direction is tiring, frustrating and unsustainable. May patience and trust open the next door.