#Idea – Centre Vs. Periphery / 16.01.13

In your life there are the familiar things you tend to focus on…

But these things in the centre of your attention are just a tiny, infinitesimally tiny fraction of what is happening out there.

And there’s so much else going on…

On the periphery of your perceptions and experiences are new universes to explore and experiences to have.

But it’s easy to keep focusing on the same things, doing the same things. Getting better at the same things. Specialising in your specialties. Digging deeper into your centre.

Hell, it’s what I’m doing now…

See, I could be out there having any experience.

Meeting new people in new, far away places.

Perhaps….

Sharing this little idea with some person

Perhaps sharing it with you, face to face, somewhere different.

I like this idea.

But I like to write, see…

It’s easy for me to type out my thoughts as they come along. Inherently easier than going out all the time in search of conversation and experience (that’s not to say I haven’t done it many times before…)

And it is easy and familiar for me to be with at all these words on my computer screen.

To ensure I’ve hit my ‘daily quota’…

Your centre is not necessarily a bad place. Your centre anchors you. It’s the place where, if habits are good, life moves along smoothly

It is good to be centred, but not so strongly centred that you become ‘fixed’.

Because sometimes you don’t want live to move along smoothly at all. You want to make fucking quantum leaps in every direction and to suck the marrow out of life’s bones. You want to scream “carpe diem!” and actually have it mean something. To act on it. To live it.

And so the centre must be allowed to move and encompass more of the periphery.

At current, I feel that I am too centred…

And too long staring at the centre often encourages ‘the itch’

Now the itch needs scratching.

There’s a lot on my periphery but I’m not paying attention to it.

Though I should be.

Are you?

rooftop black and white photo
Photo by ardenswayoflife

#Idea – Copywriting Bullshit / 18.02.2013

So, I don’t subject people to rants unless there’s an educational subtext to it. But I’m a footsoldier in the endless war on bullshit, so, THIS is my moral obligation.

Here goes…

There’s a new rule of the internet in headline writing that few are aware of, but once you see it, you’ll absolutely shit brix…

I heard it from Ryan Holiday, who wrote an excellent book called ‘Trust Me, I’m Lying’ – which was, incidentally, an incredible and insightful read.

Anyway, back to the rule…

*Rule*: You can lie as much as you want in your headline PROVIDED you put a question mark at the end of your statement…

Think about it. Then take a look at the titles of the articles you see online. Most especially look at the ads you see, all posing these stupid questions that you are supposed to answer by clicking through….

“Network Marketing Success?”

(No – just an opt in form that’ll try and upsell the perpetual opportunity seekers)

“Get Ripped In 4 Weeks?”

(Not this way you won’t)

“How Do Celebs Get Their Slim Tummies?”

(Clicking through won’t answer the question and it’s certainly not gonna happen with ‘raspberry ketones’, lol)

Et cetera, ad nauseum, ad infinitum…

If you look at it, often the headline wasn’t even a question in the first place, just a vehicle put there to make such blatant bullshit in the title ‘permissible’ and to encourage clicks.

Ruining it for the rest of us?

As a professional word slave, and sometimes ad copywriter perhaps I should feel indignant about such cheap tricks ‘smearing’ the industry. But I’m finding it far more amusing to play a game of ‘spot the bullshit headlines’ instead. And it’s almost too easy these days.

Can’t stop a roaring river with your bare hands, afterall.

So, here’s the goddamn Protip: ***Posing a bullshit statement as a question, doesn’t make it any less bullshit. It just makes it bullshit with a question on the end of it.***

And I’d like us compulsory consumers of advertising to see it for what it is…

Bullshit.

And I’d also like these marketers to either piss off or go sell something worth buying (but they won’t do either of these things – cos it obviously works too well)

The more you know…

P.S – There’s another version of this game where you play ‘spot how many times advertising headlines use the phrase “weird trick”

Again the game is far too easy, and if you write for a living it may harm your self esteem…

bull black and white photo
Photo by stimpsonjake

#Poem – 09.02.13

Enter the anti evangelical
Post angelic
World swallowing
Belief System
Of expression, mostly free
Of ideals upheld
Illusions intact
Wants fulfilled
Free markets
And inviolable capital

Arrayed against it are
You: sometimes spiritual intellectuals
You: mostly practical philosophers
Dreaming unidealistic, unitarian dreams of
Wicked scenes
With your desert God
Fearsome commandments
And eschatological selections
There you go again
With your singular demand
That your explanation
Be the only means
Of understanding

And you think you understand the bigger picture
This place that surrounds you
This political-economic climate
This zero sum game
But you don’t understand
All this world turned to waste
The media circus,
Moral panic
Crashing into moral hazard
Perched on a financial cliff
Hyper inflated
Morality gone to the grave
You want to see an end to it
Oh, but there is no end
It just grows instead
Nobody can stop it

And you can preach as hard as you like
And pray as long as you want
You can send your sons to die
Promise them virgins, honey and paradise
Then watch them scatter into countless, charred pieces
Never to be reassembled
And when they’re all gone
Honourably broken against this thing that you hate
This thing that has abused you
You can mourn
Then pray again
But it won’t work
None of it will work

Cos it’s got more money than you have
More armour than you have bullets to expend
More bullets than you have bodies to throw at it
More adherents than you have converts
More spies than you have faithful
Better press than you
It has sold more people on it’s worldview
And invested more people in it’s way of life

Yes, you can try to break this system
That has built itself into the fabric of the world
You can demand submission
Cry out for justice
Demand a voice

But it goes on anyway
It won’t listen
And it won’t submit

black and white american military photo
Photo by DieselDemon

#Idea – ‘The Slot Machine’ / 13.01.13

Think about a slot machine that unfailingly paid out a very small amount of money.

It’d also run out of coins quickly as savvy and very cheap people took advantage of its generosity

But people wouldn’t have the same amount of fun playing it. The slot machine would become a ‘job’.

The turning of the handle and watching the numbers spin would no longer be exciting and mysterious, it’d be just a measurable condition of the work process. Some sort of indicator or something.

We would much rather have the small offchance that there could be a big payday, even though statistically ‘the house always wins’. And the danger that losing money presents is compulsive and exciting.

Sure, many want certainty, but once they get it, they grow restless and bored.

And thus, bored, many of us will throw ourselves into and at the big payoff, just for the sake of it. We’ll risk everything, even though there’s a much less risky (though often longer) way to get what we want. Gambling. Hard drink. Drugs. Self harm. Compulsive spending. Running your mouth. Whatever.

Why?

This is partly because we are lazy and we want ‘it’ now. The all pervasive ego demanding ‘immediate gratification’.And it’s partly because we’re fucking bored and the creative urge is also the destructive urge and the destructive urge wants to say ‘fuck it’ and fucking destroy everything just because it can.

Because destruction brings change and renewal, and these bring new and exciting things. Afterall, change is one of the only certainties in this existence.

So there has be a challenge, something to overcome, something new to explore, something to change.

What are the alternatives? The slow death of the easy life. The midlife crisis or existential boredom gnawing at your soul until you can’t face it anymore and you have force a change. And destroy something. Possibly yourself. Until finally, you can FEEL something again. Feel life. Feel vitality. Feel power.

Everybody needs things to conquer, enemies to defeat and effigies to burn. And I guess it really comes down to how we go about it.

Whatever is created will be eventually be destroyed. You, as a creator of things, should remember this…

black and white god photo
Photo by Fountain_Head

#Idea – ‘Goodbye’ / 16.07.14

Wish goodbye to your loved ones like it were the *last* goodbye you were able to give them and perhaps the meeting/parting will go some way to being more emotionally significant.

Often, we only fully appreciate things once they are no longer accessible to us – consider that expression: ‘to take for granted’.

This is an idea I have adapted from the Stoic practice of imagining the things you love being taken away from you. Or put another way: just because you don’t think about it, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Plus, sometimes that goodbye *will* be your last and you might not know this at the time. So in a way, it’s a… precaution.

Many of those who I have loved are not around anymore and I do not feel I showed them that I cared enough when they were.

Even years later, this is not easy to deal with – as I’m sure you know.

As an agnostic I do not draw comfort from some afterlife that offers a second chance at reunion. All evidence I’ve turned up seems to suggest that when they’re gone, they’re gone.

And so I hope not to make the same mistake with those who I am privileged to still have around me today.

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as
the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.” ~ Khalil Gibran

black and white couple photo
Photo by Calvin Lee a.k.a calvin83

#Idea – ‘There Is No Such Thing As Time, There Is No Such Thing As Time Management’ / 28.02.13

There is no such thing as ‘time management’
Time will not let itself be managed
It is not a physical thing.
Not a tangible thing
Time is instead sand slipping through your fingers
The years behind gradually coming to outweigh the years ahead

You get 24 hours, and an indeterminate number of years
We all do. Nobody gets any more than anyone else.
So try not to forget this as you wait your turn
Plan for some far off day
Or soldier through meaningless meetings.

Perhaps instead it’s a matter of ‘priorities management’
Because much as you’d like to, you can’t do everything
And much as we all hate the idea, you’ll leave this world with your ‘to do list’ incomplete
Maybe you need to shrink your list…

So delete all the things that waste your time,
Banish the people who waste your time,
And consider what you want to do with this little gift you were given
Focus on the *important* things
Perhaps time is a granular thing
But try not to grasp at the individual grains…

time black and white photo
Photo by stimpsonjake

 

#Idea – Self Proclaimed Celebrities & Some Thoughts Around Hubris / 16.01.13

There is probably an unwritten rule in which, if someone describes themselves as a ‘visionary’, they aren’t (and you don’t need to look far to find many such ‘visionaries’ extolling their own virtues…)

Just cos you say it, doesn’t make it true, afterall.

It is a matter of reputation…

And you don’t make a reputation with your words. You make it with your deeds. This takes time.

So a person can say about themselves whatever they want. They can believe themselves to be a great person. Perhaps the greatest of all people…

Completely convinced, they can tell others about this, over and over again. And it doesn’t matter how strongly their belief is held, it’s not going to change the outside world to any degree. OK, so maybe it’ll change ever so slightly, perhaps if our ‘visionary’ makes enough of an effort to come across in the right way.

But, as they say, “…you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

Scream your praises at the face of the world. The world doesn’t give a fuck what you say…

It gives a fuck about what you do.

Many attributes have no worth until others buy into them.

And so in some ways being ascribed as a ‘visionary’ is a matter of consensus.

You need a critical mass of people to believe it. You start with the mighty idea *in your head* that your vision is remarkable and then you sell the world on believing this with your deeds. Not your words.

(…unless, perhaps you are a writer?)

And until then you are just one voice crying in the wilderness.

Not a visionary.

black and white sad photo
Photo by vishwaant