Relaxing is pretty easy 

It has taken great effort to get to a point in which we can sit and have a coffee in relative safety. To gaze across the beautiful blue waters and distant hills without looking for an immediate threat behind us. It is something I try not to take for granted. Some of the worlds most beautiful landscapes are no-go areas for so many reasons, for how long is anyone’s guess.

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This could be due to war, secret government operations, radiation levels. I took this photograph in Rio shortly before my lunch arrived, in the same area as the featured image in this post posted earlier this month. I snapped the image as the person in front of me was using his phone, I don’t know what it is but it seems to add something. It is as if he was oblivious to the view he had in font of him, although I am sure he has seen it a thousand times before.

Thanks to the implementation of police and armed forces we can enjoy time that isn’t spent evading evil. An iced coffee by the sea or drifting in and out of sleep in a hammock. It doesn’t mean danger is never there. Someone holding an umbrella for you doesn’t mean it isn’t raining, even if you are doing little to prevent getting wet. For that I am incredibly grateful. This doesn’t mean that it will stay this way forever.

I was debating with a friend yesterday about what it is to be on the ‘left’. I consider myself a centrist, I have tried speaking to both the left and the right and on both occasions feel like I have been pushed into the centre. The left have been overly trigger happy when it comes to using labels such as bigot and racist and the right have been, well, too bigoted and racist. Where is the middle ground? How can being on either end of the spectrum give us a better overview?

I gave the following analogy, you can of course let me know your thoughts.

A serial killer has successfully escaped jail. Dark, I know but of course a reality. He is walking down a street of a dozen houses. He takes his time knocking on each door, waiting for an answer. Let’s say each resident has one of three views; far left, far right or central. On his first knock, a far right resident answers and kills the killer. There was little time to find out about the man knocking and no time was spared. You can probably tell already that depending on each outcome we have to rewind the clock to the killer walking down the street again, groundhog day style. So here we go again.

He is walking down the street again, on this occasion a far left resident answers. The resident has sympathy for the killer asking for shelter in the rain, invites him in for tea and is killed. Again, little time for discussion. In such a scenario, what is wrong with using the peep hole? Speaking through the door or upper floor window asking why he was knocking at the door at this specific time? If I had any bad feelings about this man, which neighbour would I warn? The right winger that will probably go on his own killing spree, hunting down people of a similar appearance or the left wing one that will accuse me of bigotry or a lack of compassion by refraining to fully commit? I feel the most productive decision would be to speak to other centrists. I know that I have decided to speak only of extremists on both sides, however even the apparent moderate-left have made it difficult to talk to.

Our minds are a wonderful thing, they can seek out irrational behaviour and allow us to calculate whether or not we should be concerned during an encounter. I certainly want to be able to use such an amazing human system, there is nothing wrong with a little unease. We have evolved to take everything with a pinch of salt and treat everything as a possible threat. It is natural and can be life saving. There are plenty of people out there with a strong desire to take this away from us given the chance and if anyone is willing to have conversation, I will make time for conversation. Opinions that contradict our values aren’t the threat, it is the unwillingness to sit down with someone and have that conversation. A lack of desire to understand the thoughts of someone that has a completely different mindset. I know some of my views may offend someone that has a different view, my duty is to realise this and listen, not accuse and evade.

I truly do hope that in the next few months of travelling I meet like minded individuals that will sit down with me and talk, regardless of differences. It seems like this world is increasingly shoot first, talk later.

Good willed insults

I was buying a last minute birthday present on the weekend, shortly before heading to the birthday BBQ that I posted about on Saturday/Sunday. 

‘Don’t forget it’s fathers day soon!’ the girl at the checkout told me. I started blogging about it as I like to write when something is fresh in my mind, I just didn’t get round to posting. I don’t forget Fathers Day but I do get a different feeling when I see advertisements for it in stores. Times change and with that, our perception of so many things.

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She didn’t know my dad died a few years back, I think as I am still in my twenties there is the assumption that I still have both parents. Sadly this isn’t the case for so many people. Does this mean she shouldn’t have said that to me? I don’t think I would say that. As sad as it was to agree that fathers day was coming up and that I should need a reminder, it was a lot better for me to play along. She was being nice, engaging in conversation and for that I have respect. I respect anyone that is trying to be kind, even if that kindness doesn’t have the desired effect. Was I wrong for lying to her? I don’t think so, it would have been inappropriate to make the situation awkward considering how little of my day was taken up by the quick chat.

I guess I could have helped her realise that the reminder may not be relevant for everyone that walks into the store. It is easier for me to realise and be conscious of what I say to people, to learn from these encounters. How often do I say something similar? More often than I would like, I’m sure. I feel it is my duty to take it in good faith and take the goodness out of such a situation instead of poisoning it. 

I wouldn’t ask anyone to stop celebrating it or be too overly cautious of offending by talking about it. Too many people are personally offended and ask for others to work around their personal issues. This happens daily and if we just a little bit better at controlling the inevitable emotions that are triggered everyday, society would be a little more tolerable. Religion has a duty in my opinion to do so with ever more multi-cultural societies.

Like an old cannon looking out to a sea for an army that is no longer a threat, things change and with that, the purpose or meaning. What was once a weapon is now an attraction. What was once a pleasure is now a painful reminder. Our perception of what we see changes and we need to adapt!

The destination 

I love knowing where I am heading. An adventure without a plan is always exciting but if I can prepare, at least I know what will benefit me the most. Life is too short to take the wrong path.


You could apply this to a journey you want to take to a destination you love or want to learn more about. Maybe this applies to a metaphorical path. To learn more about yourself or the universe. Either way, I want to view the horizon if I get the chance. 

Some people don’t and this is fine. It is fine until people go out of their way to obscure the view for everyone, either blocking it completely or distorting it to fit their preference. How is that fair, and why should I settle for your apparent view?

Fear of the unknown is understandable. It fuels us to look the other way. If you want to, go ahead. Just don’t make me do the same. There will be times when I will do the same and I will try my damned hardest to not drag you with me. 


Everywhere I look I see people trying to tempt me with their personal ideology. Thankfully I live in a time and place in which free thinking is valued. This isn’t the case for everyone, some having to settle with the worldview of society or face prison time, possibly death. This really happens, sadly many people who are inspirations for this post won’t be able to view it. Despite the progression of science we are constantly fed contradictory stories depending on where we live. I want to reject these stories and go with evidence. Don’t stop people doing so even if you don’t like it.

When I am gone my ingredients will still be here, travelling through the universe toward the unknown horizon. I want to know where that is going whilst I can, without heavy cultural bias. Even if we can’t see the horizon it is there, often obscured by so many false ones.

Featured image: Ezzif, Reddit

Second image: John Towner, Unsplash

Staring into infinity

That’s all there is to say of this view. A view that is astounding, normalised due to it being the only view we have ever had.

I love the term ‘space’, it’s like the most modest definition of a possibly infinite universe/multiverse. It would be like calling the ocean ‘big puddle’.

No ceiling, no boundaries. If I had the ability to launch into the clouds above, I could go on forever. Why don’t I consider this more often? How does everyday life take my attention away from unbe-fucking-lievable aspects of our reality?

Beyond the blue, pure mystery. Like looking into the depths of the ocean, all we can do is stare and wonder. This amazes me, it also saddens me. The planets I will never visit and the landscapes I will never walk, the possibility of extra terrestrial life and technology they could possess. We are that desperate to cling onto old traditions we lack so much desire to discover. If our priorities are discussing same sex marriage and women keeping their hair covered, should I be surprised we have hardly explored our solar system?

It takes a space shuttle 150 seconds to leave our atmosphere. A very short time but still difficult for us to carry out regularly. We are spiders trying to leave a bathtub, the slippery surface made of closed mindedness and hurt feelings. There are many of us that would love to leave the bathtub but cannot as we are too busy trying to fight for equal rights and evade beheadings. You know, the stupid shit that should be history, still taking place in a world that has the capability for so much more.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the reason I drink alcohol. To forget that some people are offended by it.

Punishment

‘Life is so unfair! He didn’t deserve this, why him?’

Well it will be with that mentality. When life throws a spanner in the works we always look for a reason. Not from a scientific viewpoint as to why shit went down, no. We ask why we deserved it. Why do we have such a lack of self respect?

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If something bad happens to me, I find comfort in the knowledge that it wasn’t a punishment. Obviously an attack by an angry mob would be exempt, I’m talking natural disasters and diseases, miscarriages and motorway accidents. What a pessimistic mindset. To suggest that our suffering may be deserved is ridiculous and should be ridiculed. 

If it turned out that a deity does in fact rule the universe, handing out punishments from afar, who would take pride in having this confirmed?

‘See, I told you God exists and punishes us!’

Does such a person exist, relieved to know that we are pets wearing shock collars wondering why we occasionally get zapped?

Hell yeah they do.

Politics vs religion

10,000 people attended. For the first time I was one of them. I have just attended my first political campaign rally. The soaking wet steps leading up to the famous Sage Gateshead were packed with people, some having to turn around and find another route in.

As you would be able to tell from my blogging habits, politics has never been a passion of mine. I do vote but I never preach about it. I never tell people to vote. I imagine this comes from my dislike of religious propaganda being fed to us from an early age. I don’t think we should make people vote if they do not want to. That would be a problem surely, with people inevitably voting in a party they know nothing about. Surely it would be better to teach the value of voting and create the passion to do so.

I have a strong desire for a freedom to vote, that is for sure. If that was about to be taken away from me, I would fight. During the speeches, I had a couple of questions, linked to what I dislike about the religious aspects of the world. (There had to be a link somewhere, right?!)

Should kids be brought up in a neutral household, not being heavily influenced by the party of their parents?

Undoubtedly they will. I saw young kids holding banners and wearing stickers, clearly oblivious as to what was actually going on. Do parents make politics easier to leave for children compared to religion? Do kids anywhere face being disowned or hated for disagreeing in politics as so many face if they were to leave a faith? It doesn’t seem this is the case. People do not have that deep emotional connection, but feel free to disagree with me on that.

Should people have the right to go door-to-door?

I have a little more time for those trying to get their political view heard, so long as there isn’t a threat of eternal damnation if I disagree. One of the speakers told the crowds not to worry about posting to Facebook and knocking on doors, just get the point out there. This was met with a roar and applause. Could religion get away with such a speech? It would, but I wouldn’t be happy. Not that I am happy with being told what political party to join, I have learned that too many people in this world hold incredibly illogical views. Does this trend change when they enter the voting booth? One can only hope.

These were my main thoughts as I attended, I always find myself alienated in some way and over-analysing when I should be clapping and chanting his or her name. I have a detachment from the crowds, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. I have always wanted to look at such crowds instead of walk with them. It helps me from being dragged into various ideologies which can be hard to leave. This is why I regularly blog from an atheist mindset, I much prefer to be as outside of the circle as I can get, which does make it hard for me to engage as much as I could, or harder to become attached to a movement, with only a couple of exceptions.

 

Legacy

Time….

Is a valuable thing, watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day the clock ticks life away…

Whenever I start a sentence with the word ‘time’ I think of the above lyrics. They just flow in my head and I have to reconsider my original sentence. Sometimes I just let it out and have the song play in my head for hours as a result.

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The lyrics are from the song In The End by Linkin Park, from an album that had a place in my teenage heart back in the early 2000’s. Time, speeding up as we get older, will be around for a long time after we have gone. Our legacy will last even if we don’t.

I read that certain people have been angered recently at McDonald’s for using rainbow containers for their fries. Not at fast food for being unhealthy or anything, at the rainbow and what it represents. It is hilarious to think that the same gay pride haters may be on a surgical table being operated on for a failing heart from constant fast food, relying on someone they hate to save them. Ah, the circle of life.

Time…

 

 

Flies….

The above refers to my all time favourite video game, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. 

Some people will go down in history for providing so much joy, such as musicians and game developers. Some will go down in history as a hindrance, even if they cannot see it whilst they are alive. The duration of time after you are gone will be much longer than the time you are here. Give them something to appreciate and respect when you aren’t here to speak for yourself.