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Archive for November, 2009

I’m proud to say I am at the half way point of my self-imposed twitter project: one short story on twitter everyday for a year! Check my twitter site here. The ‘tweets’ are anecdotes, short-stories, vignettes, or simply imaginative captions for the photos. They range between humorous and serious!

Here’s a few examples.

It was a traumatic birth. The doctor who used forceps for the delivery was incompetent. The boy learned to adapt.

In the psychedelic hour she will come. From the sky she will drag a dark sun so all can see their buried shadow.

Two armies meet; bold shapes of rationality vs. random strokes of chaos. A war that forever hangs in the balance.

In terms of enlightenment he really was the thorn between two roses; a shadow ignored by the creatures of light.

My Great (×10^100) Grandfather was a grumpy old bugger. But he was a good provider & he looked out for the kids.

All concepts, regardless of the content, substitute the wholeness of reality for the safety of a stepping-stone.

 

I imposed a few rules on myself.  As you can see each story is attached to a photograph. When I am wandering around I take a photo with my mobile phone as something takes my interest . As twitter only allows a 140 character entry, and I have to include the URL linked to the photograph, each story has a maximum of 113 characters.

You can find my twitter site here. Have a look around. You can get a feed from my twitpic site and of course if you want to follow me, I will follow you.

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There is a great line in the REM song (which is also the title): ‘It’s the end of the World as we know it, and I feel fine‘. I used to find this line strange. How can you feel everything is fine if it’s the end of the world? Perhaps you’ve given into substance abuse, and so, have anesthetised yourself to the coming gloom, or perhaps you are nhilistic and couldn’t care less if it is the end of the world. Or perhaps you’ve figured something out which gives you joy even in the face of hopelessness. Regardless I have always loved this line and sing it with great gusto, as it somehow makes sense.

And it possibly is the end of the world as we know it. That is not to say the end of all life, but the world as we have come to know it. We show no signs of reducing our rapacious consumption of goods to which the bounty of the world must perpetually relent her sustenance. Even after 50 years of dire warnings about the future of our civilsation we show absolutely no intention of doing what needs to be done to ensure the survival of our civilsation. Instead we continue to buy bigger machines, buy bigger houses and constantly shop! And the rest of the world that do not have what we wealthy citizens have crave our lifestyle. This is reflected in the growing capitalist economies of China and India and the flow of economic migrants from poorer regions of the world to the wealthy regions of the world.

Meanwhile the world’s climate is becoming more chaotic (even if Australia is full of climate change deniers), the world is running out of potable water and we have a population forever growing and forever demanding more goods and services. We are in a word, stuffed! Having faith that all of humanity will wake up one morning and say, ‘my God we are destorying ourselves, we must change our ways immediately’ is a way to avoid the malaise that such knowledge inspires; though it is a fairly ignorant viewpoint. Go to a local shopping centre and watch the lust on people’s faces as they greedily eat up all the goodies on offer. They ain’t gonna stop. Even though, overall, if you spoke to these people over a coffee they would be concerned about the state of the world and would wish they could do something about it…

Anyway I have accepted it is the end of the world as we know it, and after years of anxiety and anger I feel pretty much fine about it. My reasons are philosophical. Let me begin with a description of karma. I do not see karma as a moral law. I see karma as a natural law that ensures equanimity in existence. At the ground of existence is a harmony that keeps all things in check. This is necessary to ensure order. From order all arises including me here typing on this computer. It is the fundamental coalescing force of existence. (The nature of this existence is left for physicists and mystics to ponder. I have written an earlier blog on this.) Karma is the law which ensures that this state of equanimity is never compromised. Anything that goes to the extreme will be be brought back to a harmonious position through balancing actions.

In the case of our planet, Earth, we have a harmonious system that has developed over billions of years. The huge diversity of life, ecosystems and environments on our planet is testimony to the extraordinary range of possibilities that the harmony of existence implies. Karma works throughout this process causing extinctions, population growths, transformations and whatever is necessary to ensure harmony. The special case connected with homosapiens is our furious pace of change! We have changed things so rapidly due to our extraordinary level of intelligence that the few billion years of fine tuning, which created our planet is being transformed almost overnight. Unfortunately our intelligence does not always translate to wisdom and we have pushed things so far and so rapidly in one direction that karma will inevitably pull things back in another direction.

Time for an analogy. I picture a nail embedded in wood as an image of the point of harmony to which existence is held. The actions of existence are like a rubber band hanging off the nail. They will stretch in any number of directions depending on the circumstances. This is one of the extraordinary aspects of existence, it is harmonious and ordered yet it can take on many forms. One only has to reflect on the diversity of existence to appreciate this. The law of karma is analogous to the elasticity of the rubber band. If it stretches to far from a state of harmony it will bounce back. In the case of humanity we are stretching the rubber band to breaking point here on Earth, and it is going to bounce back. The form of this change is hard to predict. But pretty clearly, by recent events around the world it is going to be catastrophic.

The question arises as to why humanity would knowingly walk towards its own doom when it knows that it is walking towards its own doom? Not only that, we also have all the solutions to ensure our survival and the flourishing of our civilisation(s). And we have the intelligence and the imagination to pull it off. So what stops us? I don’t know! But I try to imagine a person who holds a gun to their head and is surrounded by loved ones who tell them they will help and that they will be there for them. But still they shoot. Why? Do they hate their self? Are they inherently selfish? Do they have an unexplained death wish? Are they blind to the love that surrounds them? Can these questions be translated to humanity at large? I am sure their are psychologists with some answers somewhere.

So getting back to the song. I feel fine because I am sure that universal processes are playing our whether or not humanity is able to hear it. Humans are a fine and extraordinary emergence from the ground of existence as is all life on Earth. If we were to destroy ourselves it would be tragic, but it would not be the end. It would mean a major transformation in existence on Earth as we know it, due to the laws of karma, but it would not be the end of life. The dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteor collision. They were grandiose creatures whose life ended with a type of climate change that will dwarf ours and yet life found a way and thrived, including our mammal ancestors.

I continue to fight for this beautiful world and the amazing creatures that live on it – humans and otherwise – but if it is the end of the world as we know it, it is not the end of all the world’s as existence knows it, and so yeah, I feel fine about that.

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Exhausted

I am recovering from the efforts of putting on two musical evenings in Melbourne. ‘Blow the Fuse’ and ‘hiddensounds @ Horse Bazaar’. Its hard putting on events. You work your ass off to promote the event and bring in a crowd and in the end its your solid core of friends who come to support you. And I’m not complaining as it makes for a fun evening. But in the end I am left thinking, ‘why didn’t I just do that at home?’ Bring all my mates to my house, put it on in the backyard and have a good time. No need to charge that way, and the kids can come along and have a good time as well. Not to mention the fact I have control over my own sound system, rather than having to get to know another system that more often than not has been thrashed around. Here’s some photos of Bulke playing at ‘Blow the Fuse’. Get ready for a gig in my backyard soon 😉

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My blog is late this week and I deeply apologise! I am madly busy getting two gigs together for this week: Blow the Fuse and hiddensounds @ horse bazaar. If you are on facebook you will easily find both events. As preparation for the hiddensounds gig has obsessed my mind for the past week I am going to talk about it.

hiddensounds is my experimental project. And my set up for the gig this Saturday is growing exponentially. I now have a sampler, a synthesizer, a lap top, a bass guitar, a 6-string guitar, vocals and a mixing desk. They are all wired up by by midi and audio. I also have a vj, Paul Rodgers, shooting out images behind my head. So it is going to be a multimedia performance that deals with most of the senses (taste is beer – there is a bar – smell is electricity!). With my set I am exploring different aspects of musical expression. I am starting with a singer-songwriter approach and then moving into soundscapes where I will be overlapping the energy waves of various scenarios including the ocean, a football crowd and passing footsteps. This will meld into an exploration of frequency beats mimicking the movement of a bird’s ear drum as it engages with the magnetic field of the Earth. Then a space-rock exploration in the old krautrock sense of the word. Experimentation to me means not just playing around with sounds but also horizontally mashing up genres. In the end it’s about creating an effect that is exciting! Hope you can make it. All the details are in the poster below.

'horse bazaar' poster

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