Dreamworld

It is an odd coincidence that lately I have been able to remember my dreams far more than I used to. Coincidence I say because it would also seem that my dreams have become more interesting than in the past. Obviously though, this could only be a reflection of the fact that I remember, by which I also appropriate more importance to these dreams.

When I think of the dreams I have had lately, I have to say that mostly when I wake up I am confused as to whether what happened in the dream might have happened instead on the day before. Since the events I see fall in line with the things I am concentrating on in ‘real’ life, the similarities only confuse me more.

It might be difficult to describe it any better terms unless this feeling has been experienced in person. But, think of this: Of the things I can remember, the most memorable was something that either happened on Friday or in the dream on that day. I haven’t been able to determine which it was up to this point, and I will probably remain unable to do so. Maybe this inability to categorize it as either is the main reason for which I appreciate it that much — the uncertainty I face is fun.

There have been a number of other events as well, but I will not lay them out here. It was more that I wished to describe the general sensation. In a way, it has made me think I live in a dreamworld. Once I lost the capability to define whether a dream had been a dream, the only way to continue on was to say that anything seen in a dream might have happened in ‘reality’ as well. So, if something went wrong or contrary to plans, it would make more sense to avoid it even if it seems as if the original was part of a dream. It pays to be cautious.

In a way, would a dream not be the subconscious’ way of warning us from things we should not do? And all the more so if it does it in a way where the warnings resonate greatly with daily life and results that I would not see come true.

There is also the small possibility that if my dreams feel real, my reality might have become a dream… How would one go about resolving this particular conundrum?

So, as inconclusive as this post has been, I have said what I meant to say. Life feels more like a dream since my dreams have continued on from the experiences of the day, with this sense of similarity acting as an anchor on life itself. I am still here, and so is the day in which I live. The dreams come at night, but the next morning it might feel as if I have just woken from a long yesterday. And I think I am better off for it.

‘From dream to dream we dream, and today we dream anew.’

I wish to write more…

And I don’t. I even have posts that I manage to plan out in my mind whilst out and about. There is just the small and slightly relevant problem that I almost never manage to write them out once I get back home.

I have tried to think of ideas to make me more consistent in my writing, but I will have to see how that works out.

Right now, while watching ‘A Few Good Men’ once again, I thought that I would at least try putting some sort of a note down here that I can try writing more. A friend of mine recently started blogging, and I was hoping that her consistency would make me fall in line as well. Alas, that particular engine seemed to slow down so now I am wondering what would work best for me.

Until I work that one out, I will point out that I have had in mind to write a few words on British imperialism in the modern day, or at least my impressions on something that might be called as such. [And now that I have written it out, I will have to try doing it in least time possible. And maybe comment on ‘A Few Good Men’ as well. I do like that movie.]

Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness — the ability to forgive anything (or near enough anything) — is quite an important part of everyday life as I see it. I guess, the question is why we need this emotion and why it could be useful, assuming it is so.

I would say that the main quality of being able to forgive lies in oneself: it removes any shackles that we might have to the present or the past, and it allows us to look into the future. A mistake will not make us downtrodden for we know that it was meant to happen — and as soon as it did, it was gone, it could keep us back for no longer. There are new heights to be conquered, and we may not allow ourselves to think that yesterday’s hill-top was as high as our heads could see.

I am not sure if these words make as much sense as I would like them to, but that is the main impression I have. If I position myself into a situation that someone else has been in, I can imagine making that mistake — a mistake that would require forgiveness from someone else. And by that same logic, if I can see myself stepping into it, I can also forgive myself for failing to avoid it. And if I am to forgive myself, I will also forgive others.

Indeed, I think it this empathy that makes me forgive nearly everything (forgive, yes, but not forget — there is a marked difference between the two). The fact that I am more or less able to position myself into a similar situation and go through the very same motions also means that I understand the steps which led to it (as much as someone else can). And it is this understanding that gives the ability to comprehend a situation entirely. Once that has been achieved, could a grudge or a complaint really be kept?

And, I guess, in the end that makes me slightly too understanding, too forgiving: for I see other people who try not to put themselves into the shoes of their compatriots and yet they decry others’ attempts at life. I could not do that, and that counts as strength and weakness both: strength for I try to know the struggle within other people, and weakness for allowing conflicting points of view in one mind.

But as there are no bounds, there are no limits. It is all a question of “If I was there, would I have been wise enough?” And always the answer is the same: “Maybe.”

A pointer on happiness…

I have been writing on rather serious topics lately, or at least that is how it seems to me. In a way, I like writing more serious things because I feel there is more reason to that. In any case, there are plenty of topics that I think about quite regularly and a number of them fall into the more serious category. One of these is “happiness” and how to maintain it.

This stems from me thinking that one of the main goals of life in general is for a person to remain happy. Therefore, it is very important to establish how exactly that can happen and what are the limitations we set upon our happiness. Because, in the end, it is only us who allow our happiness to be limited by other factors.

One way I tend to maintain my own happiness is by ignoring things that make me unhappier. Or, rather, that is an odd way of putting it when I mean is that I try to ensure that everything I do would add to the sum of how contented I am at any given moment. If I deem something to subtract from that, I avoid that action as much as humanly possible.

And, yet, even though that is what I do, I also avoid avoiding things for the sake of not liking them. There is a very important moment that comes by daily which asks how exactly can I make “this” beneficial for myself — how can I make sure that even if I don’t really enjoy this action that it would work for me, and by that how it would contribute to my day.

The second very important method could be summed up as “avoiding bullshit”. By this I mean that I have no wish or patience for things that take up my time and effort while only causing me grievance. Indeed, why should I waste myself on things that don’t give anything noteworthy back?

And I guess that’s the distinction that needs to be made: the border between what helps one be more positive in some way and what doesn’t. And when that distinction is made, let’s stay on that better side of that border!

What do I keep an eye out for these days?

I’ve often lately thought that the newsitems we see daily go very much into the same categories. This category could be summed up as “trouble”, but I would rather call it “life”. The problem with this “life” is that it is nearly always the same.

I’ll expand on this in a bit, but if we assume that a modern person should keep oneself aware of what is going on in the world there is only so much that one can do — for we have established a set of boundary criteria within which we exist. This means there’s a certain amount of news-sites to be visited, and a certain type of blogs to be visited — depending on the exact interests of a person.

The problem with all the information coming out of these news-sites and blogs for me is that it is more or less the same. Take, for example, BBC News: there’s probably some new article around every day which says that we are doing worse, and the Government is doing worse, and people are generally doing worse. How much of this am I supposed to take? Why is there nothing which broadcasts the new heights we can achieve?

Certainly the world is not in a happy spot at present, but I tend to be somewhat more positive about the general state of affairs than “everything is bad”. This needs a certain set of mind though.

This set of mind has brought me to expect a few good essays on people and philosophy and the general state of life (not to be confused with livelihood) every week. The places where I find these are varied, but there are a number of sources that help. For some reason or another, I’ve found that the Australian media is of particular quality here — the Sydney Morning Herald is my favourite publication therein. They have a rather interesting lifestyle section that I try to read every now and then, and I find SMH to be slightly better than the rest of media with regards to politics.

Because when we come down to the basest of levels, a certain awareness of politics must be preserved. I find, however, that the British are going round and round, achieving more or less nothing at present — I could try guessing the news daily, and I would probably get the items half right. There’s more that I am unaware of in Australia which also makes it slightly more interesting, but I get the feeling that there’s more happening there — more happening with a real sense of direction for the place as well. [Not to mention there’s a set of comedians as brilliant as John Clarke and Bryan Dawe who manage to make the politics into a very good performance.]

This is not true at all for Europe as I see it right now, and that probably has made me slightly despondent in looking for reasonable news from the Continent. But that in turn has made me appreciate certain things more: there’s a fair amount of good essays that do relate to people and education and technology, and there’s a certain look into the future with the question “What is coming up for us?”. And this is what I have been looking for — not the downtrodden tune of the news but something that would act as a whetstone for my mind.

I’m afraid though that I haven’t found any good collective place for this type of journalism, so whenever I do find anything it is more due to chance. And, yet, I know that they are out there — and that gives me hope. And that hope gives me the strength to look, and to share, when I can.

Where to Go?

I lamented not a long time ago that the majority of what I wrote here was of something else, of qualities and ideas, and of thoughts. What I have avoided writing about for a long time is this world, and I am now here to rectify this.

Today, I will just post a short list of places I would like to go to, but since I like these places so very much I think it makes sense to mention them.

As a list, here are the six locations:

  • The Cape
  • Australia: New South Wales/Victoria
  • Japan: Chūbu/Kansai
  • Canada: Alberta/BC
  • Sri Lanka
  • Kenya/Tanzania

Now, to figure out the why (insofar as I ‘want’ to figure that out), I can say the following about the places above:

  • Scenery which should be amazing along with two oceans to explore. I love the seas, and I think the seas there will be different to the ones I am familiar with. And there is also a sense of history different to Europe’s: different to what I am used to.
  • I have always had a difficult explaining this particular one. The best I’ve usually done is said: “I really like the idea of it!” I think I might enjoy it because of what it looks like in my mind — which indeed is the worst way to visit any place at all (I mean, expecting something definite), but in a sense I do not have any expectations. What I do have is a thought that I’ll have a brilliant time there. Also, there is the Lord Howe Island which sounds like an amazing place simply for being named after the Lord Howe.
  • I would like to visit the majority of Japan, including Hokkaidō (though that I would like to see in the winter). These central regions though were the source of a lot of the historic events that Japan has seen in earlier history, and I would like to see what remains of those times. And I would like to see some of the natural monuments in the area (Fuji-san!), but that is maybe more for the sake of saying I’ve done that than for the actual wish to do so.
  • I know people there. I have an idea of what the nature is like. I know I could ski. What else would I need? I don’t think that the question of “Do I want to return?” would ever be a problem in a wintery BC… =)
  • With this wonderful island, my thoughts say: “You have to come here. There is no other way.” My mind responds with an agreement: “On a beach there, you can relax in the evening wind and solve whatever problems you want to solve. You can rest as you haven’t in a long time, and you can read under the setting sun.”
  • I think that what makes me want to see these lands is the same instinct that would take me to Western Russia and the steppes. But there are no steppes any more — we have a large farmland and that is all. Where is the hope to wander the lands and see no one but the birds on the rivers? The savannas are still there though. For now.

I do not know if this is very explanatory, but even in the best of cases I like to explain by way of riddles. At the very least, these places feel right to me. So I can continue thinking of the question: what comes first? Even the first is a good year-and-a-half away in the best of circumstances, but that just makes me want to think of those times even more. This in itself is probably a fault of being human — I cannot just concentrate on the day at hand.

It will remain to be seen if this problem makes for a loss… So, my mind will continue to smile at images from thousands of kilometers away until that time.

Hope

What is hope? Where is hope? How can we create hope?

There is a song that I quite like which includes the lines:

Songs I have sung deep in the silence
Nobody finds hope in defiance

Now, I personally find these lines very intriguing because as far as I am concerned it is the exact opposite: hope is found in defiance. A Google search for “define hope” gave me a result as follows “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. This is as I would have generally thought of “hope”, and I guess the general context for “hope” is that “I have a problem that needs to be solved, but I don’t know how to start. — I hope I can solve it.”

The other option, naturally, which might be a bit closer to my mind is that in a situation where there is no hope — no hope of being saved, no hope of surviving, no hope of external help — the only way to retain sanity is to still appear outwardly defiant, ready to defend oneself from the world.

But maybe this other option is the less used common sense way of reading hope? Could that be where I have gone wrong?

Is the more common sense way of looking at ‘hope’ the one where there is no threat? If this were the case, it would make sense that defiance would not work since this defiance could not be targeted at anything — and defiance without a target would be a useless way to express strength. In effect, that would be wastage.

However, as soon as I bring myself back to the side of hope where there is a defined reason that we would need hope for — say a threat that looms in the foreground. How could we possibly find hope *not* in defiance in a situation like this? The question here could also be ostensibly be phrased as: if one is not defiant, then how can one hope for a positive outcome?

So, in the end I wonder if the take I have on this is not the more common one — and the more reasonable one. But then again, I might have missed some feature of hope. If so, do not hesitate to bring it up!

Thus far though, if you need hope — do not surrender or give in. Problems need to be faced down and solved. Even the most difficult of questions can probably be reasoned in some way or form, but no good can come of just surrendering your position. Be certain of where you stand, and stand proud!

Keeping Up with the Modern Identity

Having pushed any efforts to clean my online identity up onwards for ages, I finally decided to get on with it today. Admittedly, it is a very slow and cumbersome process but I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

I just finished removing rather random people from my Facebook account which is an action I’ll immediately counter by adding a few people I have come to know in the last months. Why? Well… erm… so that I could remove them in three years time, I guess. As an interesting point, I started out with 487 “friends” and got down to “415”. I think I could have been a bit more strict but I’d say it is a good start for something I have not done before.

I also envisage looking through what exactly those ever-more-slippery privacy settings are doing, and then taking a look into my Goodreads and LinkedIn accounts. Maybe add a few more people that I know now. Maybe not. I’m always rather reluctant to add more contacts…

In any case, Facebook should be a bit leaner now. And even if I stop here, I’ll take it to be one step closer to something I should probably be keeping an eye on a bit more often.

I wish this all could be a bit easier though.

Stars

In the end, even stars die out.

That’s the line that came to my mind now. However, it was not what prompted me to start this post: that one was instead… well, another one, but since I put a random episode of ‘Shark’ on, I’ve forgotten. So I need to find it again…

Imagine that we lived on a completely clouded planet, like Venus, and nobody had ever seen the stars or the movements of the sky… I wonder, our culture, our science, would’ve been completely different, our lives would’ve been completely different, so how lucky we are to be on this planet with a transparent atmosphere that allows us to admire the majestic display of the starry night.

Almost on the same topic, but so much more eloquent.

And indeed, I wonder: what would we think about (not that we constantly think about our stars but rather we need it, in my opinion, for those bouts of creativity) if there were no stars we could look up to in our skies.

Would we make the clouds our gods? Or would we find our gods under the ground?