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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

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We are all the same People

In the UK, it was Brexit. In the US it is the Orange Fascist. In Africa, including Nigeria, Senegal and other countries, it doesn’t have a name, but it’s the same disease.

Worldwide people are becoming violently nationalist. They are closing themselves in from the rest of the world, and in fact from anything considered different or abnormal, or threatening. The Brexit (Britain + Exit, as I have learned) decision came as a result of decades of globalisation leaving the working class unemployable, abandoned and alone in their homes (From: The Long Read). OF in the United States turned out to be a strikingly similar phenomenon. People suffering from the not so slow and very steady onslaught of outsourcing that closed the factories and mines that were the sole source of income in their towns, chose a lunatic to lead the country because at least he seemed to understand their anger and frustration (From: Cracked).

Across the Atlantic, Africa has been suffering the same symptoms, but perhaps because we Westerners think that our race and society are the default, we haven’t noticed. Over the last ten or so years, African countries across the continent have been waging war on the homosexuals in their lands. It’s not that homosexuality is new, indeed it has been a part of indigenous people’s ritual and mysticism since before history had records. It seems to be that in recent years African countries have been exhibiting symptoms of nationalism, claiming that homosexuality is a Western import designed to destroy their identities as Africans. Many countries, including Nigeria, have criminalized homosexual expression (From: Chikaduah Blog).

Nationalism, it seems, is a disease that is afflicting more and more countries worldwide. Its symptoms are misplaced anger, violence, suppression of sexuality, a hatred of the West, or the “outsiders”, militancy, and draconian control of daily life. It seems that nationalism arises where people feel economically threatened by unseen forces. When we feel threatened, we turn hostile. A natural response that may have served us well many tens of thousands of years ago, this hostile reflex is maladaptive today as our greatest predators are not the roaming lions but in fact our fellow man.

Ever since I was a child I always wanted to know why? what causing that to be the way it is? Today I look at this rising tide of global nationalism and I say, why is it that so many countries exhibit such striking social upheavals, and all so close together in time? Of course it’s not the first time that nationalism has resulted in calamity as Germany and Cambodia have demonstrated in the not-so-distant past with terrible consequence; Perhaps the reasons there is a flare up today are not unrelated? I believe, though I have no research or hard facts to use as proof, that the social upheavals we are experiencing are the manifestation of a deep existential fear that has become the norm of our daily lives as more and more specialisation, digitisation, automation, outsourcing and anonymity pervade every aspect of our lives. We as human beings need to feel as if we are connected to others in a meaningful way, and we need a spirituality that connects us to something greater. The unstoppable onslaught of globalisation has eroded that part of our existence so subtly and yet so thoroughly, that we don’t even understand why we are so dissatisfied.

When I look at the world around me, I see well meaning people with solid work ethics and a honest desire to serve their communities and families and make a meaningful contribution to the world. In the global economy the way we have built it, these people are not valued any more than their ability, on an hourly, minutely, or even secondly basis, to produce a marketable product. Great hulking intangible entities called corporations decide the value of these people based on formulas, and when the numbers don’t add up, they are discarded like depreciated machinery. Of course, if work can be found, then material pleasures abound, so we are supposed to be satisfied with our share of the bargain. Increasingly, however, I find that people look at their houses, their cars, their designer clothes and accessories, their multitude of electronic gadgets and they cannot understand why they feel so empty. With nowhere to point the finger, and no hope to cure the emptiness that results from having no real connection to anything beyond one’s self, people turn to the easiest target they can find to release their anger and frustration. It’s not out of malice, but out of despair that we become so cruel.

I think that we can cure this dis-ease of nationalism. If we view it as the natural and predictable backlash to globalisation and rampant capitalism, and if we understand that its primary path of destruction is through the erosion of meaning and connection in people’s lives, then we have a formula for a cure. I believe that what we need to do is recreate an environment where cooperation, understanding and love can once again flourish. In order to do this, we must break down the barriers that prevent people from building meaningful relationships with each other. A simple concrete solution would be to undo the concrete sprawl and the automobile infrastructure that puts every citizen in a metal (and increasingly plastic) box and hurtles them through space, isolated and protected from contact with any one else. Instead, create cities and towns where people want to be, including public spaces and public transport and bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure. We could also focus on reconnecting people with the sources of their livelihood. Local economies enable people to know the names and even the faces of those who provide them with their food, clothes and other services. Localisation is also much more stable and sustainable than globalisation for a variety of reasons.

When it was just the Holocaust, or just the Khmer Rouge, it was easy for us to say that a few bad apples had spoiled the harvest, but today we are seeing the same behaviors manifesting the world wide. I can only conclude that we are all the same people reacting to the same threats, even if they are only perceived subconsciously. Many people, in fact most people, still subscribe to the Story of the continuous March of Progress which tells us that our world is now, and has always been, steadily rising from the squalor to which we were born, on a path to our own engineered salvation. But once, not so long ago, we lived in a world where the default was to be loved not just by your parents, but by your entire society, to be well fed and free from both external deadlines and authoritative coercion, to spend our days in leisure and play, with full confidence that tomorrow the world would bestow upon us yet another great bounty worthy of a feast. I believe that we can once again inhabit this world. I don’t presume to say that it will be easy to find or reconstruct, but I see rays of hope shining through the despair. We are one people, and increasingly we will be harder pressed to recognized the truth of that, and I believe that in the end Truth will prevail.

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Love

LOVE

When I was a freshman in college, I wrote an essay. It was supposed to be a college admissions essay where I explained how I was a perfect fit for the university I was applying to. Instead, I wrote about love. Continue reading “Love”

愛情

最近愛情についてよく考えている。愛情って恋と違うんだ。恋はどちらかと言えばロマンチクなイメージだけど、愛情はもっと深く、他人のことを人間として大事にする気持ちだと思う。

Continue reading “愛情”

Priorities

For years now I have been fighting with various degrees of depression, dejection, loneliness, ennui, and existential terror. I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t think my experience is unordinary. On the contrary, I think most people are lonely; most people are dejected; most people feel an intense lack of purpose in their lives; most people are just worn threadbare and wishing for a break from the unceasing trudgery. In the last three years I’ve made impressive progress in managing my various distresses and I’d like to share them with you.

Continue reading “Priorities”

The Best and Only Reason for Homosexual Advocacy

If ever there was a reason to advocate for the rights and acknowledgment of the gays and lesbians among us it is because in doing so we can save our fellow humans from a lifetime of suffering and existential pain. Continue reading “The Best and Only Reason for Homosexual Advocacy”

The War Within Our Midst

I try not to read the news. It almost always makes me sad. The other day I took a risk and decided, for the first time in half a year, to see what was rolling through my twitter feed. I picked up this article from Films For Action because I trust their coverage to be meaningful.

Source: John Pilger on ISIS: Only When We See the War Criminals In Our Midst Will the Blood Begin to Dry

And it made me sad. It made me so, very, very sad.

Continue reading “The War Within Our Midst”

image
Amber loves her milks.

This is a weasel. She makes my heart happy. I love her. I tell her this frequently, but she doesn’t care. She’s too busy stashing tubes and murdering jingle toys.

At nine years old, she’s quite the old lady, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t notice. She only seems bothered by my inadequacy as a human to better predict her desires.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll have her. Every day that she wakes and makes demands of me is a treasure.

Weasels is wonderful.

In the Quiet Stillness

Yesterday was my precious Sunday practice. After 92 brutal kilometers of climbing, chasing, hair raising descending, and generally wallowing in the pain cave, I came home to collapse on my living room floor.

My nap yesterday gave me the precious chance to wake up early this morning. Up a whole hour before the sun, my mind took its time to slowly wake up to the day and to my existence. It’s funny how the world of dreams and the world of waking, and the world of society outside are all so different from each other. At once I am the same person in each of them, and yet I am very, very different.

This morning, in the quiet stillness of dawn, I am filled with an aching appreciation for all the people who have touched me in this life so far. There are those who I meet in my regular life, and there are those who I have never met, and there are those who I used to know well who have now, for the distance between us, faded into my memory of them. To all of you, regardless of where our paths put us now, at one time we crossed, and perhaps we will cross again, but even if that never happens, I want you know that you are with me in my heart.

When my own life becomes too heavy to bear, I think of those of you who believed in me and it gives me the strength to get up just one more time and to push on that one extra step. When I fear that my dreams are too big for my tiny existence, I remember when you refused to doubt me, and I choose to believe you instead of the nagging voices in my own psyche. And then, when the quiet of morning arrives and I have the freedom to look at all that I have done and all that I have yet to do, I remember you and I secretly hope that one day, when I’ve traveled this path that I’ve set out for myself, that you might be able to share in my victory.

So, to all of you*, thank you. I hope I can be worthy of everything you believed of me.


*Peggy, Lloyd, Secret anonymous blog-stalker, you’re in this too.

The Woman in Me

I don’t expect many people to understand or be able to empathize with what I am about to write.

But then, perhaps I should.

Continue reading “The Woman in Me”

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