Today I read an article ‘Why reality is too strange for satire’ on the BBC. It was very fitting for what I wanted to write.
Being a physical and mental traveller, I often have episodes where my grasp of reality shifts. Having recently moved back to the Philippines, perhaps aided by a bout of jet-lag, not to mention what has been set out by the spectacle of the news recently, I have had another strong episode of shifting reality (we could also attribute Mercury retrograde and me being a sun sign ruled by Mercury).
Like a number of conceptual artists who’ve performed songs like ‘Dream Awake’ , I’ve been recently very confused between the dream world and the world awake. Perhaps it’s because I feel so happy to be alive that my awake life often is just like a dream, whilst nightmares do appear every now and then, they don’t bother me as I can often quite easily analyse their causes, i.e. self generated anxiety.
Like having a totem from the film Inception to to grips with whether one is in the dream or awake world, when such episodes of shifting reality occur often sparked by unthinkable events like Donald Trump becoming president, I have my own little totem in the form of a tattoo. Only I know and remember what it really felt like when it was etched into my skin with a needle.
Easily visible on my forearm, it’s an Ancient Greek concept revitalised in the 20th century by Martin Heidegger. Pronounced ‘aletheia’, it means truth, that which is unhidden, and reality.
In this most recent episode of shifting reality, I got back to grips with my own reality in realising that reality is not paying complete attention to whatever news you read and see on the screen, and having a handle on how those images may be affecting your daily actions. Knowing that those images of Trump becoming president are not my reality, or the reality. It’s just news. A manifestation of our collective consciousness. And when is there not news in today’s world? Front news headline: ‘Two leaves fell from a tree today in Central Park’. Also a manifestation of our collective consciousness. To be sane in today’s world polluted not only with industrial chemicals in rives and plastic, but also images and noise in our heads, reality begins once you look at and act in the world clearly presented around you through your own very two eyes and not from a screen, like when you go for a walk and look into the smiling (or crying) face of a baby in a pram. If you do happen to go on a walk and see Donald Trump do say hello. This has just been an electronic transmission to go on a walk and see the world through your own two eyes.
It’s hard being vegan. Even for someone like me. I ate cheese yesterday, but didn’t realise I ordered it, but I ate it anyways, because it was in front of me, and I was weak. I ate feta and cream at brunch today. There is regret. It takes a lot of effort to be yourself in today’s world. I didn’t forget to thank and pray for the cows and goats though. You can only pray so much however and if you aren’t taking any action the praying probably isn’t coming from the heart.
So it’s ‘Veganuary’, as disgusting as that may sound to some… But hey! The Animal Agriculture Industry is the number one contributor to green house gases and human induced Climate Change. And if, unlike Trump, you hopefully believe that climate change is real, like me and many others, you’ll decide to go vegan, at least a couple times a week, if not everyday.
Choosing to go vegan however hasn’t just been an ethical issue; being vegan has provided a number of quality of life benefits (aside from making me less anxious and more hopeful that Climate Change will slow down if more people go vegan):
-higher energy levels
-lower food bills (in theory, as meat becomes less and less subsidized, and more vegetables and other crops are planted to feed people and not livestock).
But where do you get your protein from?
When people say that plants have feelings too… Plants don’t show the clear feelings of fear and pain that cows, pigs, chicken, and fish do. Plants don’t quite run away. Plants were designed to be harvested. Humans designed ways to hunt and kill, by choice. Have you ever seen or read about a man killing a deer, antelope or cow just with their teeth? Nope humans aren’t lions.
And if you think that the dairy industry in Europe is humane, small dairy farms seem to be quickly disappearing
And unless you really know where your eggs came from… Don’t eat them.
At the end of the day, since all animals and animal products originate from plants, instead of inefficiently going through animals for nutrients, why not just go straight to plants? Well maybe because more land in the USA, for example, is used for Animal Agriculture rather than edible plant agriculture, so fresh veg is generally more expensive than it ought to be…
Anyways less talk, and more action! Go vegan and plant more vegetables.
American Citizens to the land of America please continue taking to the streets and continue protesting the backwards electoral college until change happens. Urban streets weren’t just invented for cars. They were built as a free place where people can express themselves.
Don’t just let it pass. Hillary is still winning the popular vote; Trump ironically said himself that the electoral college is a disaster. His family didn’t seem look too happy on stage to announce his said victory; not to mention his son’s expressive faces during Trump’s electoral victory speech.
The constitution is a work in progress. The United States of America is a work in progress. It is the duty of every citizen to contribute to this work, by gracefully expressing our sentiments.
I could not be happier to see thousands of citizens taking to the streets to express their outrage at the electoral system, and its ability to allow a narcissistic product of the media that does not understand that his past public actions throughout only the past year, cannot be erased, and will only enable those who do not have the critical strength to make their own moral compasses, but instead to only be driven by false media. Only two days later we are seeing crimes of bigotry, undeniably enabled; by the electorate college system and the hollow, money-driven, superficial, individual it elected.
As the Miss Universe pageant taught us last year; the first announced ‘winner’ isn’t always.
#TAKETOTHESTREETS [with grace]
When you focus on something through your instruments, it expands in ways beyond the initial perception.
When I focus on asparagus, the more I am able to feel its density and texture, etc. Aside from its physical properties, the mind then connects to memories and pulls up the most potent asparagus associations: off-putting odours of urine, images of wine country, and past intimate relationships.
Focused relationships in particular, and their following associations, have taught me many things in our fractal, interconnected world: from knowing to use your ring finger for its gentleness to apply eye cream, to learning a new language.
The next time you have a worthy thought or see something interesting, focus on it, and enjoy where it takes you.
This video for Turkish Airlines is ridiculously amazing.
It started out with a dumpster.
And grew into the baby casa Kasita.
For the nomadic someone who, like me, enjoys minimalist urban home-making but is rarely even more than 50% sure as to which city they will be living in for the next 5 years…
Hoping this project turns out well for the urban aware everywhere.
PS I don’t own that photo, Kasita does.
A historic landmark at the foot of San Francisco’s Little Italy neighbourhood- one of my favourite flat iron buildings in the world. Built in 1907 and owned by Albert and Connie Der Family Trust, one of its most prominent tenants is filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, owner of Cafe Zoetrope occupying the majority of the building’s ground floor. Right across from it is another great place to people watch on the sidewalk under the sun, Réveille Coffee Co’s Northbeach branch.
Good morning, you got a yukata. (Thanks for the photo, Laxa). I remember seeing a beautiful woman dressed in kimono on the Muni months ago, and I regret not asking her for her picture. With a significant Japanese community-it doesn’t feel too odd to wear yukata paired with Onitsuka Tiger’s and leather jacket in San Francisco.
I am a global citizen, but more formally, as much as I would like to trade my passport for a U.K. one, also a citizen of the United States of America (USA). To be a true citizen however, I must actively take part in fashioning the development of this great nation and what it stands for. America classically stands for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure these are lofty ideals, but America and its citizens, many of whom lay dormant, could try a bit harder to act like this is what it stands for.
Dhzhokhar Tsarnaev was born on July 22nd, 1993, in Kyrgyzstan. He’s my age. Escaping potential persecution by ignorance and lack of humanity across the Atlantic, Tsarnaev and his family (his parents, older brother, and two sisters) were granted asylum in the United States. Dhzokhar became a naturalised American citizen uncannily on September 11, 2012.
He lived an interesting and indirectly non-violent life like any other young high school transitioning to college kid, and seemed pretty grateful for his new life in America. He received a scholarship from the City of Cambridge, was on the wrestling team, and enjoyed eating Nutella.
The following month after his tweet about Nutella, on April 15th, 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing occurred taking the lives of three, including that of a young 8 year old boy, and significantly injured hundreds more. On May 15, 2015, Dzhokhar was found guilty and sentenced to death for being the final agent in orchestrating the Boston Marathon Bombing together with his elder brother, Tamerlan-Tamerlan who Dzhokhar seemed to unintentionally drive over to death in a stolen SUV in attempt to flee a police chase in Boston.
Dzhokhar and his family have repeatedly admitted that he is not guilty of his crimes against humanity. His sister and his mother recently painted by the media as dark and evil burka wearing gypsy witches (simply Google for such evidence or read Newsweek) have also claimed that Dzhokhar was framed by the US government. Indeed, there is truth in every lie depending on your ability to see.
When you take into account Guy Debord’s theory of The Society of the Spectacle, Dzhokhar was framed by the US government to set-off pressure cooker bombs in Boston on April 15th, 2013. Dhzhokhar probably saw images, online and maybe even first-hand, of the civilian lives overseas the US government orchestrated to kill as collateral damage, often planned and predicted, in order to achieve a particular military objective. Not to mention Drones. On a note found in the boat where he was captured by the police, Dhozkhar wrote, according to CBS news, that ‘the [Boston] bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims ‘collateral damage’ in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars’.
An eye-for-an-eye never works, and it is the practise of this poisonous philosophy that keeps our poor soul spinning on the wheel of life. The courts have ruled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty. But we are all guilty of his crimes against our humanity. We are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we are Hitler. Killing Dzhokhar by lethal injection is not divine justice. It is only collective egotistical justice that would only poison our humanity even more.
We all have our ‘devils’ and our ‘angels’, but really they are both one in the same. We are all one soul. We just need to learn how to be friends with them. It is a great struggle, a struggle of conceptually blending the identity of every living thing into your own. To accomplish this, that is the greatest lesson we have been placed into our bodies for, called Life.
And with a more or less clear understanding of the meaning of life, I graduate from Cornell University, and thank Ithaca and the University environment for being rather conducive for such a necessary personal discovery, now ready, to truly live the life of the hand I have been dealt.
P.S. If you are consumed by The Society of the Spectacle and afraid of women wearing burka’s and head scarves, take a look at a picture of the Virgin Mary.
Dzhokhar’s elder sister, Ailina, at a court hearing in New York. She herself has a number of criminal offenses on American soil.
A photo of the Virgin Mary who appears, according to stereotypical ignorant American standards popularised by the media, to have been Muslim according to her attire.
Also, as a fashion maniac this passage from The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant is also very fitting supportive material for this post: ‘The next day was sorrow and anguish-for those who had died, listening to the terrible messages the soon-to-be-dead had left on their loved ones’ answering machines. Deep horror and dread, and then nausea. The skies were quiet and empty. London was unnaturally still. We didn’t go out, we didn’t attend parties, we were certain that we were next.
But what I remember best were the arguments, the shrill condemnation not of the men on the planes, guiding them towards their targets, but of American foreign policy and, as often as not, of Americans. ‘You just have to watch Friends,’ someone said to me, ‘to see that Americans are foolish and shallow people.’
So when I looked at those first post 9/11 editions of Vogue,all I could think was that they didn’t matter. That we had been sleepwalking through life; that we were this grotesquely fortunate generation, born after the war, who would enjoy whole lives of peace and prosperity and boundless good fortune, without fear or threat. Seeing a row of handbags in Fenwick a month later, all I could think of were those women in Afghanistan walking like frightened blue ghosts in their burqas through the pitted streets of Kabul.’