June 8, 2011
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a window to the outside world
For me life online started when I was at university. I studied for six years, and when I started, registering for an exam meant going to campus and signing your name on a physical list. When I concluded my studies the exam registration was happening online only. Over the course of those six years the world had changed, or at least the part of the world where I was living.
I fully realize I sound like a grandmother now, but when I grew up you had to make your way to the library or at least go pick up a physical encyclopedia to find information. We didn’t have an encyclopedia in my house, so hence I spent a lot of time at the library. I also dragged quite an impressive amount of books back and forth on a very regular basis, and we’re talking piles at a time here. These days you can just go to wikipedia. I love libraries and I still like spending time there, but I also really like wikipedia. And I truly love the internet.
Obviously the abundance of information that’s right at your finger tips is enough to make me purr with delight, but the other fantastic thing is the quantum leap in communication the internet has brought with it. People aren’t plants and therefore we move around. The internet has provided us with completely new ways to stay in touch over vast geographical distances. Before the internet living in different countries put serious obstacles in the way of having a close and frequent contact. Of course you could stay in touch, but it took time and/or was expensive. Today you can talk to anyone at any time for free.
The interesting thing is also that the person to person communication has been one of the main focuses of development. Finding ways to interact, that seems to be a really big deal in the online version of reality. And probably quite logically so. We’re social animals, we like to have a tribe, belong to a group, be part of a social context, and the internet has opened up several new ways for us to engage in this behavior. We can email, skype, chat, tweet, blog, etc, etc, etc. What ever takes your fancy.
And our fancy it has definitely taken. Read more of this post
May 31, 2011
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at the funfair
There are two kinds of people in this world; those who will give up everything to follow their dreams and those who won’t. The former run a greater risk of becoming happy.
I was having dinner with a friend of mine the other night and we got to talking about the whole adventure versus security thing. Just like me he’s one of those people who won’t settle for what’s safe and comfortable, but who wants to explore the great beyond. Or to put it differently, we both have a tendency to get bored if things start getting predictable. But we both made the observation that this doesn’t seem to be something that applies to everyone, far from it, so we got to talking about why that was. Why are some people willing to settle?
It’s often claimed that happiness is the main pursuit in this thing called life. That happiness is what we all strive for. And even though I do think there’s quite a lot of truth in that claim, I’m not so sure it’s an all in approach for most people. We want happiness, but we’ll settle for convenience. As long as it’s safe and comfortable we’re fine. My friend referred to this as entering cruise control. A lot of people do this when they are in their thirties. The relationship is established, the career is on track and the kids are on the way. Everything in life is pretty much on track so they just go into cruise control. A state of maintaining that status quo. Convenience.
But maintaining the status quo, is that living? What about curiosity? It may have killed the cat, but I’m not all that convinced that applies to humans. Without curiosity we would probably still be, well, apes. Fire, the wheel, agriculture, machines, electricity, the internet, we didn’t just stumble upon all these things while maintaining that status quo. Read more of this post
May 23, 2011
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There’s a lot of talk about rape these days. It’s been all over the headlines again the past week. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is the latest reason and people are falling over themselves trying to comment what happened. Did he do it? I don’t know, and I’m not going to speculate about his guilt. Before him it was Julian Assange. Rape seems to be the thing to do these days if you want to get in the headlines. Yes, I’m being cynical and no, I don’t think either of these men would agree with the saying that all publicity is good publicity, in these cases I think the opposite is probably true. But the debate generated by the charges pressed against these men really makes me want to throw up. The majority of the comments made are enough to render a life time’s worth of nightmares and I constantly find myself wondering if everyone has suddenly gone insane. “It’s not very plausible that Mr Strauss-Kahn would rape a maid, after all he has enough money to buy a prostitute.” Say what?! “Well, if the woman agreed to have sex with Mr Assange once, with a condom, then he can’t really have raped her when he had sex with her in her sleep without a condom.” Excuse me?! It sounds like ramblings from crazy people, but these comments are actually serious opinions expressed by people who have a voice in the media. And it makes me furious, scared and very nauseous. We live in a sick world, I know that, but I didn’t think it was this serious. Or rather, I didn’t want to believe it. Read more of this post
May 17, 2011
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I’m sick right now. Not as in suffering from a life threatening disease or even bedridden, just your average cold and fever. One of those everyday kind of things that happen to most people a few times a year. At best it allows you to just relax and lie on the couch and watch movies or read books and drink tea, and at worst it annoys the hell out of you because you can’t do anything but lie on the couch and watch movies or read books and drink tea.
When you enter that latter stage of frustration there’s pretty much nothing that will prevent your mind from running amok on you. You start thinking about all the things you could do if only you weren’t sick right now, and the fact that you probably wouldn’t do even half of those things if you weren’t sick doesn’t really matter. It’s the illness that prevents you from doing them, not your own lack of motivation or engineering. At least that’s the case in the initial thought loop. But then, as frustration grows, so does the thought clutter in your head, and you start reevaluating every single aspect of your life. Read more of this post
May 17, 2011
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I don’t know how to categorize this text (poetry?), so if you have any suggestions please let me know!
But do you get what it was? What that thing was that hit you? That tremendous force that knocked you to your knees. Had you on your face nailed to the ground. Do you know what that was? Do you? That was life. The whole massive reality of it. That’s what that was. Life. Raw and unfiltered life. With all its crudeness and flaws. The real deal. Life. You can’t run from that. You can try, but you won’t win. No one ever does. There’s no use fighting it, you can’t win. No one does. The best you can do, your very best shot, is to just smile and enjoy the ride. Enjoy it while it lasts, cause it won’t. Nothing ever does. So enjoy it. Make that your one goal, the sole objective, the singular task. Then, and only then, will you ever even have a fighting chance of standing up. To not have to spend the rest of your days on your knees. Enjoy it. That’s the only way to stay up, to stay afloat.
May 10, 2011
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One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me was taking me out to jump in rain puddles. I have never been as close to giving up as I was at that point in my life and that particular day was one of the really bad ones. It was in summer and there had just been a thunderstorm. We were sitting on the couch in my small one bedroom apartment and I was having repeated attacks of panic anxiety followed by endless crying. And he said: “Come on, we’re going to go jump in the rain puddles.” At first I thought “no way, there’s just no way I can do that”, but for some reason I still let him take me outside.
He led my by the hand in that tender way you do with someone you know you need to take care of, someone small and fragile. And I don’t know if it was that or the fact that I hadn’t really jumped in any rain puddles in years, but I felt just like a little child again. Like that little child I once was. The good parts of being that little child. And I started laughing. We both did. Just like two five-year olds. It was in the evening and the sun was just setting, but it was still warm. We got soaking wet and people were staring but it didn’t matter, we just kept laughing and jumping. Read more of this post
As long as I can remember I’ve occupied my head with thoughts about femininity vs. masculinity. Not in the sense of gender confusion, or as in the feeling of having been born with the wrong genitalia, but as in not being comfortable with the assigned role. I was just never very good at being a girl. Not only in my own head but also in the eyes of others. It was, and still is, frequently being pointed out to me that my behavior wasn’t very ‘ladylike’ and that girls “aren’t supposed to like/be/say/do/act like that”. As a kid this type of comments would make me quite uncomfortable and I would spend a lot of time trying to figure out why. What I couldn’t get my head around was what they actually meant because I was a girl, I was very much aware of that, so why wasn’t my behavior or interests considered appropriate for a girl? If I, as a girl, was doing it or into it, didn’t that then by definition make it ‘appropriate for a girl’? The unanimous answer was no. It wasn’t appropriate to like horror movies, metal and dirty jokes, and it wasn’t acceptable to burp and take long strides when you walk, nor was it ok to sit with your legs far apart or state your opinion loudly. And laughing too loud or getting in fights was also off the agenda. It was ok to play with dolls as long as the dolls didn’t get involved in sex or violence and it was ok to play dress-up as long as you dressed up as a princess and not a pirate. But I did both. That was the thing. I actually played princess and pirate. And I liked horror movies and Nancy Drew books. I could never understand why I had to choose. Read more of this post
I am working on this semi-fictional short story right now. I say semi-fictional because it’s based on a real event. Sort of. Actually it’s based on a person I saw at an opening. The rest is pure fiction. All made up by me. But the person exists. I don’t know him and I have never talked to him, but he does exist. I know his name, what he looks like and a little bit about what he does. That’s it. And it’s not like he’s one of these fascinating freaks or anything like that, he’s just a sort of regular guy in the creative scene. I made a few behavioral observations about him that night that for some reason triggered a story in my head. I’ve changed his name, for obvious reasons, but the character is him. Or is it? Not really. How could it be? I don’t even know him. So is the character based on him? Not sure. In order to base something on someone wouldn’t you need to know something about that person? Like I said, I really have a very minimal knowledge of this person, pretty much nothing apart from those few glimpses of pretty normal ‘being at an opening behavior’ I got that evening, so how could the character possibly be based on him? Does it matter? I suppose in the grand scheme of things it’s pretty inconsequential and irrelevant, but in my own head this raises several mildly interesting questions. Read more of this post
April 26, 2011
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This is a performance pice, i.e. written for the spoken format, but since I’ve been getting some requests for the text I thought I’d share it here in written form.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. And those of you who fall between these categories. My intention here tonight is to be pretentious. I would like to share with you some insights I have made through a series of nervous breakthroughs using the method of questions. I intend to proclaim questioning as the origin of knowledge. The ONE thing that keeps us from repeating new versions of the same old mistakes over and over again. What makes us move on. Allows us to reach new insights, gain new and deeper knowledge. Only through questioning can we identify bad ideas and false assumptions. Questioning is the only cure for prejudice. What prevents us from getting lost in a labyrinth of dead-end ideas. Hardcore, old school critical thinking. Questioning. Read more of this post
April 25, 2011
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Music is very important to me. I almost always listen to music. The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is turn on the stereo and I almost never go anywhere without my iPod. I love walking or traveling around in the city with my very own soundtrack. Sometimes I’ll even refrain from taking a call on my mobile just because I don’t want to break that very special magic of the sound mingling with my visual perceptions of what’s happening around me. At home it’s a bit different. There it’s more about filling the room. Without music there’s just this very uncomfortable feeling of emptiness, like a void that needs to be filled. But both situations share the aspect of creating a barrier between me and the outside world, a barrier that allows me to retreat into my own space, my own mind. That’s why I almost always listen to music when I write, it helps me focus, helps me enter that realm that I need to be in to be able to do it. It helps me construct my own bubble where I can create my own universe. Read more of this post