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Tom V.

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[23 Sep 2009|12:32am]
I am aware that this is probably one of the least read blogs on the net, nevertheless due to its history, I do believe it deserves somewhat of an update.

The month is now September, in the year 2009. Before long, this decade will be over, dawning will be another 10 years of obvious uncertainty, both in my life and things around me also. But before pondering the future, lets just wrap up quickly whats going on at the moment.

My Honour's thesis is due in about 5 and a bit weeks. I've written less than half and its not edited. Nevertheless I push on, wishing for the best from the occasional spurt of writing, 2,000 words here, 3,000 there and I'm sure it'll add up eventually. People keep saying that I should be nervous about it, and I guess I should be, but for some reason, academic pressure has never really been part of my degrees. Eh.

For some bizarre reason, I'm still working at the same restaurant I was at 4 years ago. I just cannot leave this place. Its a pretty crappy job with average pay, but for some reason, I just love it. This casual job has become my beacon of stability. I'll keep working it.

For some reason, my biggest passion at the moment is still my bike. It nearly killed me last year. I keep hearing horrible stories from other riders and the news, but the feeling of riding it is worth so much more than any paranoia socially created.

I guess that's all I can add for now, maybe more later. However, my goal is once I've written the thesis, to post it up online, both here and www.perthstreetbikes.com to share it with people.
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Question [13 Dec 2008|02:07am]
Do we do the things we do because we believe it is the right thing to do, or do we do the things we do because we believe its the things other people expect is the best thing for us to do?
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Flaming Moe's [08 Dec 2008|04:50pm]
When the weight of the world has got you down and you wanna end your life,
Bills to pay, a dead-end job, and problems with your wife,
Well don't throw in the towel 'cause there's a place right down the block,
Where you can drink your misery away...
At Flaming Moes (Let's all go to Flaming Moe's)
When liquor in a mug, can warm you like a hug,
Happiness is just a Flaming Moe's away.
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Schreibhemmung [08 Nov 2008|12:28am]
It's the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, marking the Marxist overthrow of the Russian government. Karl Marx once wrote that "religion is the opium of the people." What is the new opium of the people?

Please LJ, for the love of all gender-neutral divine beings, GET YOUR FUCKING QUOTES RIGHT! K.M. did not say "religion is the opium of the people", he said ""Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."
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High fuel consumption on almost new bike. [28 Aug 2008|10:53am]
About a month ago, yeah thats about right, I bought myself a 2007 Kawasaki ER6-n (I made a post about it asking what you guys thought of that particular bike if you remember). After riding it now pretty much every day, I've both fallen in love with riding someone other than my girlfriend, but grown annoyed at the fuel consumption. It seems after only 180kms, the fuel light comes on intermittendly, and after 200 kms, it stays on for good. When I fill up, it takes about 12~13L, making the consumption a very high 6L/100km (~40mpg I think).

Is that normal?

I just cannot, for the life of me, imagine that an almost new bike, Japanese bike (you know they are nuts about their environmental mumbo jumbo), uses that much fuel? I really want to go for a ride out in the country, but I'm just afraid I'll run out. Is there anything I can check out on the bike to see why it might be drinking like an Irishman? Should I take it back to the dealer and ask them to have a look at it, or do I have to resign myself to riding a bike that will take me less distance than one of those old-people electric scooter things?

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From Hells Heart I Stab at Thee: Capitalism [15 Jul 2008|03:10pm]
Many critiques have been written about Capitalism, often based on the idea that the economic system erodes the ability within individuals to be able to distinguish between wants and needs. And I, to a degree, agree with that. Capitalism creates a system of econommic governance which encourages people to release themselves from the ability to distinguish between wants and needs. As a reslt, wants become needs, and needs become mediocrity. The effect on the individual is obvious - social responsibility erodes along with our abilities. We don't want to pay taxes (which in a properly run system build the strength of the society on all levels) because we want more spending money for ourselves.

But I would like to add something rarely talked about to the debate about the critique of capitalism. I think the economic system further erodes the individuals ablity to be able to understand the relationship between action and consequence. This leads on from the above theory, a continuance if you will. The pursuit of money and products becomes the only path visible and any suggestions for a better route are ignored by the blinded sight of gold in the distance, to be unable to see that the map has been made of gold the whole time.

I give you the example of the price of oil. I challenge anyone to watch TV for a day and count the amount of times that "rising petrol prices/rising oil prices" is mentioned. I then challenge the same person to also count the amount of times that "declining oil supplies due to a century of wasteful use" is mentioned. We are all aware the the price of oil is rising, but we are unable to see the clear reason why it is. Instead we squabble and waste time and argument over what we can do to reduce the price of oil. We can do better than that.

And for the latest point, I am very much the prime example. The pursuit of money, which I have naively joined, has made my life lonely. My bank balance may be healthy, but my mind is not - much like the world is today. We are swimming in riches, yet we continue to plague ourselves with the same problems that capitalism promised to release us from more than 150 years ago. Is it because we cannot see, we cannot feel? Products have lost their emotion, the identity. Things made feel cold and distant from who we are. The key to humanities happiness lies not in a lab of chemicals, but within our lives.
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On being German [07 Jul 2008|04:43pm]
Not a day has gone by in the past 12 years when I did not hear the name 'Hitler' or the term 'Nazi'. Ever since I moved to this country, I have ever repeatedly been reminded of the past of my country of birth. It is incredibly rare that when someone finds out I was born in Germany, that they do not make Hitler or nazi "jokes".

Yes, jokes. Something tells them that they're actually funny and unique.

First of all, before all the other mumbo jumbo, let me say "you saying that is about as unique as sliced bread". Nothing in the world has been done to death more than Hitler and Nazi 'jokes'. Nonetheless, let me go on.

I would very much agree that Hitler was the most influential person of the 20th Century. When it comes to one single person, I don't think anyone has had any more of an impact upon the world than Hitler. And that can even be said not just for the 20th Century, but probably even all of time. Hundreds of years from now, the name will not have left our consciousness.

Now few people would deny the atrocities commited by him under the name of 'German Supremacy'. (Yes, there are those who deny the holocaust ever happened and there are neo-nazis, but those are fringe groups, similar to the Flat-Earth Society).

What I question however is the association of modern German people to National Socialism. I do not think that there is any other country defined as much by their past today as Germany. The core of the identity given to Germans by outsiders lies at Nazism. It does not matter how you, in essence, feel about the world as a German, you will always be portrayed as a violent, jew-hating, white-supremacist with a stupid moustache.

But that makes me wonder... Why do we not treat other nationalities like that when they go abroad? Why is it that when Australians go overseas, no one asks them 'hey, do you wanna go steal some aboriginal babies?'. Occasionally, the odd hippie here or there will ask the visiting American 'so which country do you want to invade today', but again, that is still a fringe group. Anti-American humour, although it exists in fringe circles, has not grown to the extent that Nazi humour has extended itself into popular culture.

And living here in Australia, as someone who is German, is quite awkward sometimes. When I visit back 'home' sometimes, I am known as the "Australian" whereas here in Australia, I am known as the "German". In essence, I have no nationality attached to me (which I guess contributes to my support of the No Borders network).

But what does truly annoy me is the double standard. Again, people are always more than happy enough to blame me for the holocaust, or make Hitler jokes at my expense. But taking blame for the Stolen Generation is 'not our fault, I had nothing to do with it, it was past politicians, why should I apologise?'. So fucking what? The core of my identity here in Australia is built on the decisions made by past politicians.

And I guess that is why I have tried so hard to actually make myself an interesting person, by studying, taking bizarre jobs, going astray from modern beliefs of living - to create a unique identity. Because if I did not do all these things, if I did just get a job somewhere doing x for years on end, I will end up being known as the Nazi no matter what.

Ah Fuck.
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Schreibhemmung [13 Jun 2008|09:28pm]
Vampires or werewolves?
Oh for f***s sake, would you people think up some decent questions? If you have created a medium that is able to reach this many people over such a diverse range, at least make the questions insightful, stimulating, thought-worthy, not just stupid s*** like this.

And trust me LJ writers, I could pull a thousand questions out of my ass just like that for you people.
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Genetically Modified Foods [04 Jun 2008|10:05pm]
I have a big whinge right here. One about Genetically Modified (GM) Foods. I will jump right into the two reasons why I think they are a joke.

1. Long Term Implications of eating GM Foods: You know what, it may be good that the scientists can prove that GM foods are safe to eat right now. But what about the long term implications of eating said food. How many tests have been done which show what would happen to a person if they ate GM foods over 20 or 30 years. This bugs me, but not as much as point number 2.

2. The cocktail of chemicals. We are eating far too many chemicals. Every food that we eat has so many bizarre ingredients in it and worse, foods that seem natural have been grown with x amount of even more bizarre fertilisers and chemicals. And here is the thing that annoys me most about the vast array of chemicals in foods: yes, I am sure that you can prove that ingesting chemical x right now (or even over the long term) may be acceptable (however most chemicals do cause significant damage to the body over long periods, google 'aspartame') . But what about the impact that chemical x of food x has in combination with chemical y in food y? We don't only live off a single food, we all eat a vast array of foods. If you cannot prove that chemical x in food x is safe for people to eat with all the other chemicals that they ingest in their body, then you shouldn't be allowed to sell food x. Simple as that.

It annoys me that the government has been so complacent when it comes to these ideas. They once again lack common sense, unable to see the long term social implications of their complacancy and only seeing the immediate dollar profit they can make by allowing food x on the market.
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From Hell's Heart I Stab at Thee - Anarchy [02 Jun 2008|09:21pm]
For the first of my 'From Hell's Heart I Stab at Thee' series, I wish to critique a social movement. One that has been in peoples heads since the dawn of social interactions.


The idea of Anarchy is a simple one, and one that every body knows. It is about the absence of formalised laws, which to a lot of people means simply an absence of law in general. I see it differently.

I see law as formalised anarchy. Law is anarchy's concequences sanctioned by the state.

Think about it for a moment. Anarchy at its core is a very basic concept. You can do as many stupid things as you want and there will be no government or police or other similar social institution to stop you. Aha, but that is where people drift off and believe the man in a suit yelling at the academic on television. Anarchy has laws just like every other political system. But instead of the laws being enforced by the state, the government, the law is enforced by the people. In other words, if I kill you, your friends or family or anyone else has the right to kill me. In that way, the people not only enforce the law, they create it, and create it only when they need it.

But the keyword here is concequence. For some bizarre reason, modern people are not equipped mentally to deal with the concequences of their actions. They do not understand that because I drive that petrol prices must go up. They do not understand that if I punch you, you will naturally punch me back. And that is the reason why anarchy cannot work. People are just too stupid.

Anarchy in itself is a genius system of government. But it requires thought, deep thought, at a social level. A plethora of smart human beings.

However we also all know that the larger the groups of people become, the dumber they become.

If we can get people to understand the relationships between their actions and their concequences better, anarchism could in theory work. But like I said above, we already have anarchy now. If I want to, I can go kill someone. But instead of facing the concequences from the people related to the deceased, I will have to face the concequences of the formalised law. Which really means I could get off from the crime if I'm corrupt enough.

At its core, I support anarchy because it allows free thought to flourish, it teaches people the concequences of their actions. But on the other hand I realise that people are just too stupid to live in an anarchaic society. They will just go around killing one another and then try to get away with it... Which now that I think about it is really not all that different from modern law.

We all need something to believe in. And what is more fundamental to human identity than living. Anarchy rids the system of all its formalised shit. No longer would we have to spend all our time and energy working on a system we do not support. Anarchy frees the soul by exterminating law. Law restricts ideas.

If we want to be free, we must forgo law. But by letting go of law, we open ourselves to the world of stupidity. The ultimate Catch-22.
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From Hell's Heart I Stab at Thee - 1 [01 Jun 2008|05:14pm]
My goal in life is to write a critique of everything.

I have an ongoing obsession with tearing to shreds the ideas of existence. And not just the ideas I love, like Socialism, Idealism, Neo-Disestablishmentarianism, Ubuntu. But I also aim to murder the ideas of 'thinkers' such as Rand and Friedman, plagues upon humanity.

In essence, nothing is perfect. Only with ongoing questioning of ideas can we build a better society. However Modern Consumerism has engrained in our thoughts that the only way to build a better society is through exactly that - consuming infinite products of meaningless existence. Yet at every level of said existence, consumerism only amplifies the problems that it claims to cure.

If you see that a road is congested again and again and again, you do not increase the size of the road. How is a solution to a problem more of what caused the problem in the first place?

Happiness lies not in the abundance of aquisition, it lies in a feeling of self-worth. Only a person that knows that they are worth something can be happy. Modern culture has clearly only amplified the problems of the last millenia. Nothing humanity has ever created has helped us to reach that goal. It only has swept us deeper into the same issues that have plagued us throughout history.

But how do you create, on a social rather than individual level, self-worth in humanity? That question is impossible to immediately answer. No one has ever seemed to apply much thought to it, and from an individual point of view, such a task seems biblical in proportion. Such a task can only be undertaken by a complete paradigm shift. In order to truly build a better world, we must leave behind archaic ideas of individuality in relation to society. We must build the exact opposite, a society that relates to the individual.

Hyper-individualism is the cause of self-rightousness, a topic I discussed here earlier. It is true, that the entire world is created around your perception of the world. If you believe you are always right, then you will be always right. If you believe you are always wrong, then you will be always wrong. No human being can look at the world without the filter of their psyche.

In other words, our experiences shape the way we experience the world. That idea is nothing new, anyone can figure that out for themselves. But maybe we should be trying to shift away from the idea of individual world-views towards the notion of socially created world-views. Individualism, in all its shapes and forms, is really just taking the easy way out. Like I said above, it justifies all our bad decisions.

But change is hard. It requires admission of wrongdoing. And how many people truly thrive on their failures? And on that note, how do we judge what is right if we ignore notions of individualism? It is near impossible to learn the full social implications of all our decisions.

I will continue this in the future. I need to be in a less intoxicated state of mind to further my ideas here. I aim to tear apart, at least in a brief online journal context, as many ideas and notions as humanly possible. It is my goal for the next few months - to stab at the heart of notions born from hell.
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Schreibhemmung [01 Jun 2008|08:06am]
I must say that the questioned posed in writers block are increasingly dumbing down. First the Pirate or Ninja one, now this. Please LJ writers, think of some questions that inspire people to truly think!
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The importance of Protest [17 May 2008|01:02am]
I have written on the subject of protest in this journal before, but some of George Monbiot's "ideas" have reinspired me to elaborate on ideas.

I previously wrote that protest is a fundamental part in democratic nations. I stand by that fully. Leaders in democratic countries have a right to listen to the voice of protests - these leaders were elected by the people to represent the people and thus have a responsibility to listen to the protesters. Protest thus lies at the heart of democracy.

But we all know how much protest and ideas surrounding protest has been demonised in society in recent years - upto the point where anyone taking part in a protest is seen as an extreme leftie and anyone talking about organising a protest might as well have a swastika tattooed on their forehead. The few remaining protests that do still manage to scrape their way through the sieve of red tape and beaurocracy are then covered in the media in terms of how many police it took to stop the protest. Where is the logic in that? Is that not what we were always told happens in totalitarian countries, dictatorships and regimes?

In essence, democratic countries doing their best to stop protest is the least democratic thing they can do. Democracy prides itself on being a government for the people. But in recent years, something within democracy - seemingly the ever-growing strength of economic rationalism - is turning the idealistic form of government into a government for the economy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't governments exist to cater for the people? We are now, through the erosion of protest, living in a world where the people are manipulated to do what is "best" for the economy, rather than the logical working of the economy to ensure what is best for the people.

So in that sense, what is the difference between dictatorships and laissez-faire economics? Both try to crush out dissidents using the military or police as their fundamental 'tool of oppression'. Hang on though, what does this all come down to? Protests are often the result of a lack of human rights, either the fact that they do not nor have they ever existed in a society, or the fact that the right had once existed but is now an idea of the past thanks to new "reform". In other words, erosion of public sector services. Now I agree that taking as many services from the public and putting them into the private sector will build a better economy - that is just common sense. You are making people pay money for things that they once had for free, or free at least via their taxes - add in social responsibility of the individual.

But what seems to be happening is that taxes are staying at the same level they have always been, yet people are being forced to fork out more money for other services. That does not make any sense. If a government choses to withdraw a service from the public sector, it should cut taxes to compensate for the loss of the service. What protests did to build up the public sector - ensuring everyone has police protection, fire service, healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc is being taken away. Now when people protest the removal of these former public services, the police controls them to ensure that the protest achieves as little as possible - that way the politicians get to stay in a job, the economists continue to justify their non-existent job and business owners cash in more because they are running the what-is-now private sector service.

Apologies for the lack of coherance and clarity in this post.
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The Relationship between Employer and Employee [15 May 2008|04:46pm]
I wrote this first part about the relationship between Employers and Employees about 6 months ago now - Mid December to Early January

The employee-employer relationship is a twofold one. We must remember that the roles of each must be kept in harmony, for when one falls out of their roles and fails to respect the other; both parties will end up in disarray.
Firstly, the employee must be grateful to the employer for having been given the opportunity to be employed. The employee must respect the employer because they are giving the employee a form of sustenance. Without an employer, the employee would perish. [edit: I guess that is a slightly grim view to take, but reiterating, without some sort of employer, the employee has a slimmer chance of survival. Think about this for yourself.]
However, secondly, and I believe just as importantly, the employer must always respect the rights of the employee. The employer must recognise that the employee is taking their valuable time and energy and dedicating it to the endeavours of the employer. For that dedication, the employer must be grateful to their fullest extent.
Only when both parties recognise this can the operation flourish. Furthermore however, it is the employer’s duty to ensure that the employee is kept happy, not just in the work environment, but also outside it. All operations are a harmonious balance of relationships and it is the duty of the employer to ensure that the relationships are kept in said balance. If the employer fails to sustain these relationships in balance, then the operation will fail.
What I mean by harmonious balance is simple. Every operation is a network of relationships, no matter what the outcome of the operation may be, classified by duties in respect to the operation. The size and length of the network obviously differs between operations, but the relationships are nonetheless identical. Employer A communicates to Employer B who then communicates to Employer C (and so on), who thus communicates the outcome of the operation while still fulfilling their duties. It is this network of relationships that sustains the operation. It is therefore fair to say that when rifts appear in the network, the operation will fail to meet its intended outcome.

And I wrote this follow-up today

A lot of that first piece was either unclear or ambiguous. Let me elaborate.

First of all the relationship from the employees point of view. Every person that is employed by an enterprise has a responsibility to follow the instructions of the employer to the best of their abilities [There is lee-way in this matter which I will get to later however]. The employee must always keep in the back of their mind the fact that they were given the chance of employment, of work, within the enterprise. As a result of this opportunity of employment, the employee is better able to cope within the outside world, not just financially, but also socially due to the relationships the employee makes within the enterprise. The key point here is the opportunity, the single action that allows the employee to sustain a certain level of existence within a given society.

But the relationship is equally important from the employers point of view. It is always the responsibility of the employer that the employee is able to carry out their skills at the best of their abilities. A good employer is one that understands the outside relationships that the employee has and respects them, in order to keep the employee happy. When the employee is kept happy, he or she is much better able to work on the tasks at hand and as a result, productivity goes up. Pay is an important notion because underpay will make your employee worry about how to afford food and transport and other basic services and as a result will be unable to concentrate on the task. Overpay is equally dangerous in that the employee will thus remove themselves from the job more, devoting their time and energy to the things that their money can now buy.

But at what point can the employee say that although they are both physically and mentally able to do a task, they refuse? The ethics dilemma should arise when fundamental human values intrude on a job, when a task feels immoral to its very core. Guards in a concentration camp "were just doing their job" but that does not make their actions ethical. They should have, as a whole, understood that what they were doing was wrong and as a whole protested. The point is that the employer is not God. Although the employee has responsibilities towards the employer, the employer has a responsibility to ensure that socially, the tasks given to the employee are ethical.
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Institutionalisation [15 May 2008|12:26am]
I few nights ago I was lying in bed, wondering why in the world I still work at the Witchs now that I have a "real" full-time job. And it didn't take very long for me to figure out the answer - Institutionalisation.

Most people have seen the Shawshank Redemption, and for those who have not, rent it, buy, download it for all I care, just watch it. There is one scene when one of the inmates faces the prospect of being released, set free from prison and ends up hanging himself. To us, who are clearly not in the situation, we fail to understand why anyone would do that, why anyone would take their life after hearing the news that they would be released from prison, would be set free. Isn't that what you spend your entire prison life looking forward to? But it really makes a lot of sense.

People who are exposed to any social institution, big or small, will inevitably become instiutionalised and thus become philosophical - I believe it is a natural progress of individual evolution. When you do something for a long time, especially such a long time that it becomes a part of who you are as a person, you are bound to become philosophical about it. And that is what institutionalisation is all about - when someone is in prison for forty years then prison will become a part of that person, essentially the only part of that person. Releasing that person would be destroying the identity of that person.

The same works for jobs, if you work in a place for a long time, then it will be harder to quit. That job will become a part of who you are and a part of how you associate yourself with the world around you. Quitting a job that has changed you as a person, made you who you are is an incredibly difficult thing to do because first of all you feel that you have a responsibity towards that job and second that you would be willingly letting go of something that made you who you are is in part mental suicide.

You can even boil this down to abusive relationships and households. You only need to turn on SBS for the news or watch some late night documentaries to hear about cases of domestic abuse. In some cases this abuse goes on for years and years and years but the woman refuses to leave her "partner". Why? Because she associates herself and creates her identity as a person around that destructive relationship. Without being beaten up or mentally abused or what the case may be, she has very little - it has become a part of her life to the extent that she has become institutionalised in that horrible situation. As a result, despite the situation being incredibly destructive and damaging, she stays there.

Institutionalisation defines who we are as a person, and it slows down progress as individuals. Next time you are doing something and wonder why in the world you are doing it, you recognise that its a stupid thing to do yet you still do it, ask yourself if you are institutionalised within? If what you are doing is something that has been built up within you.

It is an incredibly hard thing to explain, but a very easy thing to discover and think about and figure out yourself.

Next: Explaining the relationships between employer and employee
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Self-Rightousness, The Plague of Modern Society [06 May 2008|04:31pm]
All whinging is a result of self-rightousness. And self-rightousness leads to a blurring of the relationship between actions and concequences. If you feel self-rightous about something, then you will always be unable to accept the concequences of your actions, whatever actions they may be, whatever concequences they may be. Modern Society, especially capitalist society is plagued with self-rightousness.

Everyone these days believes that they deserve nothing less than the entire world revolving around them - we have taught Generation Y to grow up like that, now the iGeneration is going up like that and soon the Baby Bonus Generation will grow up like that. However in each successive generation, the problem is amplified.

And tracing this back, it is all the result of the generation born between the two World Wars. They were the ones that gave birth to the baby boomers who thus gave birth to Generation Y. Because the mid-war generation had it so hard, having to endure the pains of the great depression, they did everything they could to give their kids the best possible lives, by empowering them, making them feel like they can do anything and everything. But that ideaology was still very much in its infancy and although the lives of the baby boomers were better than those of the mid-war generation, it would not be until generation Y that we would see significant differences.

The baby boomers developed this "my kids must have a better life than me" ideaology, spread it and built it up as the only possible way to raise people. But somewhere along the lines we lost the struggle of what it means to become human. Through each successive generation, we have lost the ability to raise human beings. I do not believe for a second that intelligence is increasing between generations and to use the old cliche, the proof is in the pudding.

People between the ages of roughly 25 and 5 these days, encompassing the generation of primary, secondary and tertiary education ages, are in essence idiots. Their lack of understanding of the world frightens me, which would not be so much of a problem if they didn't interact with it. But with a globalised society such as today, where everyone has almost unlimited access to a wealth of information and understanding, we are teaching kids to focus on what they shouldn't or needn't learn. And this creates problems because it fails to create people who understand the world and are thus less able to act accordingly within it.

And this is where self-righousness comes back into play. Whether you want to blame the media, education, politics or your parents, people are these days more involved in themselves and less involved in the world. And when they are essentially forced to be involved in the world, they must be taught how it relates back to them. Understanding exists for the sake of understanding, not for the sake of personal relevance. With self-rightousness continuing to be a plague upon the world, peaceful societies will remain an eternal dream.

And this is where I link up the two: self-rightousness and conflict are so tightly linked that there no longer is a line, they are almost one and the same. When you believe your actions are the only right ones, you will inevitably encounter people whose actions contradict yours, although in essence we are identical (see Universal String Theory), the actions, approaches and theories we take to meet identical outcomes are different. And thus conflict is formed, butting heads between ideas and theories to aim for the same outcome on both sides.

But think about it - how much easier would your last argument have been solved if the other person had understood your side better? It is just that we are no longer willing to learn about other sides, there is just no time in this world today. As a result of this lack of understanding of other sides and deeper encouragement of understanding of personal relevance, we build self-rightousness as the one true theology of the twenty-first century.

Just like many other entires recently; To be continued
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What is Truth? [04 May 2008|10:40pm]
"Everything we are is the result of what we have thought." - Buddha

That is absolutely true (pun intended, you will understand soon). Our entire life is nothing more than what our brain, our mind interprets us and the world around us to be. In essence it is impossible to prove that anything can really exist outside our mind because everything that we experience is an interpretation of the functions of our brain, and furthermore, our functions are the result of our experiences with ourselves and our socially interpreted world. Numerous experiements have shown that the brain does not know the difference between what it imagines and what it takes in from its five senses. When you see a chair and when you imagine a chair, the same part of the brain lights up and acts and functions in the exact same way. And that brings up the question of what is reality? That knowledge essentially confirms that every belief in everything can truly be true. If I want to believe that I can fly, I just need to imagine I'm flying. The reason however that we do not interpret imagination to be real is because our imagination has been built up to be a false social construct. One of the fundamental things we are all taught when we grow up is to be able to distinguish between imagination and reality. We are taught about the world around us, keyword being taught. We are taught to be able to tell the difference between our mind flying and our physical body flying. But we are never taught that the two are in essence not just linked, but are truly one and the same. Imagination is just as real as reality and reality is just as imaginary as our imagination. Of course if we were taught these ideas, which die-hard scientists would easily dismiss as bogus arguments, we would throw our entire perception of reality into question. Everything that you hear about the world could not be true, or maybe it is true but you just don't know what truth is. Truth then becomes nothing more than an idea that fits best with your preconcieved notions of the world. When we let go of the idea of reality vs. imagination, we lose sight of what interaction we have with the world around us and the interaction we have with our minds. That can, and has done so, lead people into psychosis, an almost brain-fuck like state where the individual has erased their identity due to being overwhelmed with the ideas of what is reality, what is imagination, if everything that exists is only a mental interpretation, do I really exist?
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Buchenwald 2007 [03 May 2008|11:57pm]
For anyone that has ever been to a Concentration Camp before, you will understand this story. For anyone that has never been to one, this story will not even come close to what you will feel when you are there yourself.

During the conclusion my "Euro-Trip" of 2007 I was sitting at my Grandmas place talking about WWII and specifically Concentration Camps and I asked her if she had ever been to one. She replied Yes and mentioned that she had been to Buchenwald outside of Weimar quite a few times. I thought it would be an amazing experience to go to one and thus hastily organised to get myself there. 2 or 3 days later it was all set up. I got on the bus, then train, then another bus totalling 2 hours travelling time and I arrived at what was the second biggest Concentration Camp during WWII - Buchenwald.

I must now say that it is by far the most surreal experience that anyone could ever have. I am an atheist with a complete lack of spirituality, but even I felt that there was something there - I could not quite put my finger on it, but I know that I will not forget that feeling for a long, long time.

I don't quite know how to explain it. I had decided to hire myself a personal tour computer. In short, its a little PDA they give you along with a map. At many places on the map, there are numbers - when you type the numbers into the PDA, you get a wealth of information about that particular area, what happened there, what it was used for, etc. When you look at the pictures on the PDA and hear about it all, it makes you feel a complete loss for humanity, wondering how in the world anyone could have been able to subject fellow human beings through such unbearable pain. But when you then look up, seeing the exact same scenario in the picture, the same trees, the same hills, the same buildings yet nowadays barren with nothing but tourists such as myself, you experience the most surreal emotions you could not even imagine.

It must be a combination of the beauty and the pain that was created in that sole place. And somehow none of that beauty and none of that pain has escaped from the lush landscapes in and around Buchenwald. There is pain in what the guards submitted the "inmates" to, but there is beauty in the ever persistent feeling that life just had to go on for the 250,000 stationed there. Only 50,000 made it out alive, but they left the mark of beautiful humanity on the land. You can truly feel it.

But what about the other 200,000 that weren't so lucky? Well that is where one of the moments I'll probably never forget in my life comes in to explain the story. I had been walking around for maybe an hour or so taking in everything I could when I got to the Crematorium. I walked around the top and marvelled at the fact that efficient German engineering could be applied so easily to genocide - bodies were lifed up from the cellar (which I will get to in a minute) up into the room with the incinerators where bed-like-carriers carted the dead into the incinerator where they became no more, vanished into smoke for eternity. It was a human-elimiantion-factory, made you question what it means to suffer, how easy we have it. But it got worse when I went around the back to the cellar. I doubt many tourists ever go there.

It was almost hidden. At the back of the Crematorium behind a wall was the entrance to the stairs that led down to the cellar where the bodies were kept. It felt eerily clinical at first, you could see the chutes where bodies were dropped down from the yard where the dead were loaded into karts and brought here. In the 60 years though since the end of the war, you can still very much feel the hatred eminating from the walls. And finally, to top it all off, when you tilt your head up just slightly, you see the hooks on the walls where people were hooked onto. Me having the visual mind I do freaked out more than anything I have ever before in my life. I felt instantly like I was worth nothing. I almost ran out of there wanting to cry but not being able to. I could feel the hatred almost enter to within me in the cellar. It was something I will never forget.

The entire 2 hour ride back to where I was staying I could not get that out of my head. And even now, more than a year later it is still vividly on my mind as if it were yesterday. Then I imagine what it must have been like for the people that truly lived through the horrors of a working Concentration Camp, that had to be subjected to the pain, the hatred, the constant thought that they could be shot, killed, incinerated within a matter of minutes for simply being who they are.

It truly makes you wonder and question your worth as a human being, wonder what is so important about us, makes us question the value of things we are taught to value when in the end all that really does matter is the fact that our hearts are beating along with those whose hearts beat with us.
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Justification of existence [01 May 2008|10:05pm]
What is the point of doing anything if you have to spend the majority of your time working on justifying it is what you do? It seems as if the study of the humanities and working on furthering the cause of the human spirit as opposed to furthering the cause of the economy has become so undervalued that those who do engage themselves in the practise spend more time arguing for their existence rather than working on what they are truly passionate about.

Anyone who knows me the tiniest bit knows that I am very anti-economy and I will once again air my thoughts here.

It all once again comes to to capitalism. In a society where the only thing of value is that which can be measured in monetary worth, understanding, knowledge, feeling of self-worth as a human being knowing they are a valued part of a greater society is worth less than the train fare to the city tomorrow morning. As a result, because we now value money as the true pursuit of life, anything other is devalued almost by default. Studies that have a truly intrinsic worth must now spend the majority of their time working towards convincing others that they have any value towards the money-orientated society.

That to me seems a tad cruel. Why would anyone feel like they need to justify their existence to those who created (or are working towards) a culture that attempts to stem out dissidents like a totalitarian regime? Why bother, are we not better than that?
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The Identity of Cyclists as a Counter-Culture to Economic Rationalism I [01 May 2008|10:00pm]
As a part of the anti-globalisation movement, cycling has inspiring a lot of people to once again leave their cars behind and pedal to wherever it may be that they need to go. But as a result, those who have chosen not to give up their motor vehicle have thus an almost hatred of those who generate their own power of transportation. And I think this is a relationship that can be linked to capitalism or economic rationalism in general. And its really not that complex.

Cyclists, as I just said, generate their own power, from their own strength, from their own muscles in order to both 1, move themselves forward in both a symbolic and wealth way and 2, use their own personal means of production (to use Marxist terms) to do better for society as a whole. Cycling inspires someone to use their own strength to recognise their worth as a single being as part of a whole society.

Cars do the opposite. Although you are inspired to still move yourself forward, you are essentially made to do so through economic rationalised means. You have to spend significant amounts of money on a car, maintaining a car, refueling it regulary, etc. So in other words, although you could be told you are doing good for ones society by spending (oxymoron?), you are really only building up the economy.

Cars lie at the heart of economic rationalism, they inspire personal movement through avenues (pun intended) of social economic spending.

And bikes do just the opposite of that. They feed the heart of capitalism, in part even making car-culture the counter-culture of cycling. Cycling conveys social responsibility through its own avenues.

To be continued

P.S.: And just a thought for cyclists in Perth - if roads were built like cycleways, no one would be driving a car. Think about it.
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