Keep Dancing

I would like to propose a metaphor.

Let’s assume that you exist.

Not only that you exist but that your existence is consequential. That your actions will actually have an impact on the world.

Now, let’s build on this assumption and say that you exist within a given context. And that the world around you took as much part in shaping you as you have in shaping it. That the things you have let in were there before you were – and will be there after.

That we are only a part of everything else.

Now let’s say that you find yourself in a dark hole, devoid of context. Panicked, you begin to expel parts of yourself to fill the void. Parts that you had gathered from your earlier contexts. Would the fragments within you create a clear picture? Or would you find yourself floating amidst half formed illusions? Two cushions from that sofa, the pillow from your side of the bed, a half prepared sandwich and what looks like a remote control with no batteries. You use looks like because there is no device to use the remote with. Just a remote – and no batteries.

(what is power?)

Now let’s assume that the void consumes faster than you can expel. And that with no contexts to absorb you find yourself  gaining the void. As the emptiness outside begins to see itself mirrored within, so you begin to see more of yourself in the void. And, being an adaptable being, you begin to change, to morph, to move like the void.

(what is power?)

There are only four colours in the world – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Of these only three are actually colours. Black is more the absence of colour. The absence of any light reflecting off the surface. With nothing to echo – and nothing echoing you – you can feel yourself becoming an absence.

“and when we lose ourselves, once more we are lost

And when we found ourselves, once more we are found,

And when we dance, we dance to remind ourselves that

Our feet are still trying, and our hearts are still breaking.”

  • Time

Let’s assume that you once knew how to dance in the bathroom – but they have since taken away all your mirrors. Would you keep the rhythm? Or would you stop, unable to hear the music?

Acujuncture

Sigh.

When it comes down to it we are only asked to carry everything that we can possibly carry and then some more. With our hands full(ly) extended into the future the acid rain burns our palms, erasing the psalms we etched when we still knew how to clench our fists.

Eventually, of course, this becomes uncomfortable in some ways. Our hands grow tired of burning, and, while it doesn’t matter, our minds have often reached the end of the tether as well. Unhinged, uncared, unseen, unimagined, untethered – we begin to scratch and scrap our way back to the beginning. Thinking that perhaps, if we unraveled time far enough we could understand why it is impossible to calculate its circumference. And, if we can’t get around it – how can we possible even claim to want to try and conquer it?

But maybe even getting to conquering is taking it a step too far. Mountain hiking packs were not designed for soldiers to go to war in but rather for mountain climbers to survive their own self destructive urges. So to say that we will conquer while we continue to carry everything else that weighs us down is to ask everything of ourselves – and then some more.

And when we fail to have more to give ourselves we have no one but our selves to blame.

And when we blame ourselves we place a straw on the camel’s back, hide, cover our ears and yell “fire in the hole!”

How expensive is a veterinary chiropractor? #AskingForACamel

Institutionalized

I’d like to conflate a few issues.

Watching Africa Uncensored “In Tribe we Trust” I am reminded of a conversation I once had where it was explained to me that tribe is an ideology. This makes sense. Close communities pass on lessons to their own on how to survive. An tale as old as time – literally. These lessons, become ways of thinking. Ideology is shaped.

In the same breath I am thinking about Institutions and institutional memory. The ways in which an institution (abstract) can remain rigid – despite changes in individuals.

A few definitions:

Institutional Memory: a collective set of facts, concepts, experiences and knowledge held by a group of people.

Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.

This is what I’d like to conflate. What is institutional memory but ideology held in place by a concrete identity (brand/ company – whatever)? It might look like splitting hairs, but what happens if we look at tribe as an institution rather than an idea?

To see something as an institution is to give room to engage it as a concrete, rigid machine. It is to understand that it has been around for long and shaped and morphed itself to adapt to the environment around it. Ideas are subjective. Ideas can be wrong. Ideology can be discarded, debunked. Institutions are collections of ideas, tried and retried, sharpened and consolidated. Institutions create environments of their own. Create their own set of circumstances.

In seeing tribe as an institution – it can be easy to see how we are institutionalized.

How, living within these conflicting environments creates the mess that is now. And how we can begin to map our journey to our own freedoms rather than blindly taking the same steps around an issue without ever really engaging with it.

e-god (egod? egoed)

It’s easy to see how the sun was seen as a god by many cultures. Now, given things we know and take for granted, it seems a bit odd. But, watching the sun set over the misty green interspersed with city, it’s easy to see this. Perhaps in this same way, humans will sit somewhere and think “it’s easy to see how the consciousness became their god. Now, given the things we know and take for granted it seems a bit odd. But, knowing the difficult nature of the ego…” I do not know how to finish that sentence. I have never been to the future. I have tried severally but every time I get there I’m late and it is already the present. This used to frustrate me but I have been toying with wonder rather than control recently (will report on findings of said study).

What is god but an ego unchecked?

What has man built that god has not wrecked?

Other popular gods include animals, paintings in the sky, large men and bad guy characters from children’s animations. These gods, across the board possess certain characteristics. Allness and everythingness are important. Also, an element of everywhereness, all seeingness, or all knowingness is also important. Knowledge, from god’s perspective, is perfect and contains every capable context possible for every situation between every being for all time. Perhaps this explains the extremities. Extreme anger, extreme good, extreme generosity, extreme kindness, extreme strength – just a lotness in general. Sometimes, they are surprised – but only by other gods (and to be honest, wasn’t this just mainly the Greeks? And what they really had was a god like parliament – makes for much better entertainment to be honest).

Whose god sent you, tell me their name.

Whose god sent you, show me their shame

What we all seem to agree on is that some gods must have been lazier than others. Or maybe not lazier but had different personalities, different ways of treating their. Like, the white god must be some kind of abusive – he lets it winter there for months. I can barely stand July in Nairobi. But, he did give them guns – so he is not all good for nothing. Maybe our gods are disappointed at us. Like any other African parents “look at them, they couldn’t even beat Yaweh’s kids at a simple game of conquest, now every-time we go for dinner Yaweh is talking., he just keeps talking, he never stops.” Meanwhile, we’re looking back at them like “well, if you had given us guns though…”

Which gods do you speak of?

Whose love do you possess?

Whicb magic holds your feet up,

When all you need is rest.

Where do you lay your head

Upon which lie do you lie?

 

Now tell me a story

A story once told

Of how what was ash

Turned into gold

 

Now tell me a story

A story once told

Of the meek and the scared

Of the strong and the bold

 

Now tell me a story

Don’t stop till you’re done

Tell me the story

of how you see your sun.

The Poet, the poeted and the poetee

One must agree though that grasping at straws is only useful if your mind understands the concept of holding on. Otherwise to clutch at straws is to guarantee not only ones own destruction, but that of straws as well. Maybe this is why straws are wary of humans.

“I met a straw once” Mr x. He didn’t like being called Mr x but sadly, that was his name. He rarely spoke so the rest of the table was sat at attention at the sound of his voice. Even Ms d, who was always chattering off to herself sat silent for a bit.

“I know, it was the oddest thing, the straw must have been an absent minded straw or something. I actually surprised it. It seemed to be looking down at the ground as if something was going to leap right out of the earth.”

“Did it?” Ms d, who was eagerly listening now. Straws, after all, were more a modern myth than a real thing. No one had ever even met anyone who had met anyone who had met a straw. Let alone startled one. I had once had a dream about meeting a straw. Not only any straw – the last straw. Another thing of fable. But it was a dream, and besides, if I met the last straw then which straw did Mr x meet. Or perhaps it was the same straw?

“Of course not. I tipped my hat and went along my way”

“Wait, that’s it?”

“Of course, what business do I have interfering a straw staring at the ground. I hear it went on to break the camel’s back but that was for totally unrelated reasons, and a lot later.”

“I would like to meet a straw, I’d imagine I’d get everything I want, a house, a car, a beach – why if I had a straw I would…” Ms d had left us once more to her own mind.

Still, I couldn’t help but think, do straws drown?

From their slumber

They woke the sleeping giants from their eternal slumber.

The great protectors of the realm, once silenced – stripped of their power, had gone into a thousand years of sleep. And it is during this sleep that they ravaged the land, stripped it of its minerals and its vitamins. Left it barren – unable to give life to the people.

And the people

the people

The people tore their garments and raved in the streets. Drapped themselves in sackcloth and looked to old gods forgotten. And gods, gaining men, gained power. And they used this power to stir controversy in the sleeping protectors dreamed. Filled their slumber with terrors of the night.

In this way, the protectors knew it is was time. Time to come alive. Time to end their sleep. Time for them to, once again, defend that land that was taken from their custody at the end of the great war. Time to take back the minds. Time to take back the hearts. Time to take back the imagination, the freedom, the frames, the language, the peace, the power, the control. Time to give the land back its due, to set spark to the sun that life may grow anew.

Time to bring the future to the present.

Now the ground trembles as the sleeping giants stir. And the people – those that know – sit in silent celebration, for they know it is coming.They have heard the rumble, they have felt the tremors.

And the people

the people wait

in bated breath

as the giants take their place.

By the Neck

There’s a latent pervasive assumption that’s false. Yet somehow because it pervades we don’t see it. It is like the thing that should be most apparent becomes the thing that we refuse to see – instead we trade in the current sea – currencies of now being passed to each other in dark alleys. Vulnerabilities broken and shattered. The things and the people we become slowly becoming us. And the more we chase the beginning, the further we find ourselves from the end

The further we find ourselves from the end the more we wish that it was over.

Perhaps because of the nature of broken telephone there is very little space within the current frames. Perhaps it is latent assumptions that define frames, and in destroying the assumptions we find ourselves destroying the current frames. Frames – the things that hold now together. If time is just a series of passing ideas, then we are trapped by the knowledge of the day.

The thing is the things that should be apparent make themselves apparent. And there’s only so long that one can hang by a noose before their bowels give way.

oh shit.

There I go

Volunteering, punish me,

Self inflicted pain,

way overused

– Put me Through, Anderson Paak

But who’s to blame for the death penalty? The hangman, the judge, the queen or the law?

You walk yourself to the gallows.

For the Caterpillar

In many ways, I know that nothing I tell you will change the course of history. The vanity of time doesn’t allow it to be changed by the whims of men. And the nature of perception is so deeply coded in the ways in which we understand each other – in which we hide from each other. So deeply rooted in the ways in which we are taught to protect ourselves and in the things we are taught to destroy that there is little I can do or say that will stop the universe from coming at you.

And I know enough of you to know that you will not change course – and you shouldn’t. Your destiny lies beyond whatever you are set on facing. And even if it doesn’t, you’re too much like me. Too set on making the universe yield to your will. Too strong headed to break.

Too strong to break – sounds a bit like a mad cow yes?

And, of course, it is this very strength that will break you. Not just once – again and again. It already has. And as you continue to carry weights that are larger than your capacity your capacity begins to grow. But you can only carry what you can carry – and then you can only carry so much more.

“It’s the greatest thing you’d ever imagine

But you’ll never know until you’re there”

But even as I write this words, I realise they appear to be nothingness. A void of platitudes that carry no weight. The cracks never really seem important until they break down the house. And only when looking at the ruins will you properly identify the source – and even then it might not be apparent. So I’m not particularly concerned with your actions, your decisions – you have always been the master of your fate, you just have to figure out the waters (and that’s the easier part).

What I am concerned about is grace.

Amidst whatever life throws at you I wish you grace. Grace that comes from knowledge of circumstance, understanding that the turmoil of the sea has not been caused by your rowing – and cannot be stopped by it. Amidst the chaos I wish you a still soul and a wandering mind. I pray that your soul is always in contact with your skin. That you might find time to feel the wind and smell the rain. That you might catch every sunrise and sunset.

You have chosen to die – and nothing will stop you.

But, till then, I pray that you live.

Uprooting the Tree (Or, There’s the Forest!)

When you finally stumble upon the truth you will be amazed at the number of times you have come across it. The number of times you have shrugged it aside, blocked it, misunderstood it, ran from it, hidden away. By this time, however, it will already be too late for most of the things. And the ways in which the world has changed will fall into place – and the signs will seem demystified.

“Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know you can’t always see when you’re right”

Hopefully, by this time you will have enough experience to understand that there are others, and that the signs differ according to the paths you take. Hopefully, by this time, you will have learned that the intersection is one of the most dangerous places to live and that oncoming traffic will not always be friendly. Hopefully by this time you will have learned how to tread lightly, how to move out of the way while standing your ground. How to stay firm even when your heart is fleeing. How to run when your soul is rooted to the ground.

Hopefully, by this time, you will know that there is a reason there is little to work with. And that those who chose to create more are often demanded to do more. That no matter how far you stretch yourself you will never be able to fill the void in their lives. That there is a reason there have been things that have been regurgitated and re-said.

“(they) said all we ever need is love.

We see the same things

We sing the same songs

We feel the same grief

Bleed the same blood”

 

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? —fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die..?”

Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare

By this time you will have learned how to die.

And get back up again.

Soft Landings

By the time we had begun to take apart the metaphors that we use to keep ourselves up we thought we could fly. Perhaps this, in itself, was a testament to the metaphors – definitions of who we are were always strong enough to adapt to the changing world. But were we?

Robbed of our metaphors we spiraled into a freefall.

We are still falling.

*

According to newton, acceleration due to gravity is a constant 9.8 metres per second squared.

Even at our most still we are seated on a rock that is travelling through space at 460 metres per second, tethered in place by the sun.

We can barely afford to move faster.

*

The faster we fall  the closer the ground gets.

But if no one hears the splat – did it happen?