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
February 1, 2011
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There’s about 8 of us. A motley crew of unemployed academics shuffled together in a room to participate in a course on how to successfully apply for jobs. We are here to find the way out of unemployment and get our lives back on track as it were. Today we will be taught how to get through the job interview.
“So why did you study philosophy?” she asks me.
“Because I thought it was interesting.” Not the most elaborate answer, I know, but it’s the short version of the truth.
She smiles a condoning smile: “Yes, that’s the way it is when you’re young and don’t know about the labour market.”
And for a second I feel stupid. Clueless. Because in a way this career consultant woman is right, studying philosophy is not a very smart career move. But then logic and reason return and I realize that what she just said is actually a perfect testimony to everything that’s wrong with our famous western civilization. It’s all about making yourself attractive on the job market. To get ahead of the competition. Adapt to what the almighty Market wants. The greed game. Consumerism. All bottled up in that one remark. Studying philosophy, yes the follies of youth… Read more of this post
January 26, 2011
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Today has been one of those days when everything sort of almost works but not quite. Not one of those days that seem to be dedicated to in-depth explorations of the deepest dimensions of Murphy’s Law, just one of those days when everything, and I do mean everything, turns into a hassle. No matter what you do it ends up being more time-consuming, more stressful and not at all as easy as you anticipated. Things don’t go really wrong, but they don’t really go right either. Like a light version of Murphy’s Law. Read more of this post
January 20, 2011
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I’m at that point in my life when people expect you to have a plan, or actually that you had a plan and that you’re pretty much there now, at the goal or at least closing in on it. As in done with your education and a few steps on in your career. And that you’ve started the obligatory family. Well, I’m done with my education but I don’t have a degree, I have just abandoned my second so-called career and I’m divorced. So I pretty much fail on all points. And yet, I don’t feel like a failure. I actually feel fine. Of course there are things I want to change in my life, there always is, but over all I’m confident that I’m indeed on the right track. To some people that statement is pretty much a declaration of my insanity, but I’m fine with that too. I accept that they have a different understanding of life than I do. I actually do have goals, but mine are a bit more vague. They don’t include a well payed job, a house, two cars, two kids and a flat screen TV. None of those things interest me. None. Not even the well payed job. I actually don’t want to be rich. Of course I don’t want to be poor, being poor sucks and I’ve had plenty of experience in that area, but all I really want is to have enough money to not have to worry about having a roof over my head and food on the table. That’s it. A place to stay and food for the day. No cars, no TV and no kids. I have been informed that this is not a socially acceptable approach to society. More than once. People often look at me with a twinge of pity in their eyes when I say this. Kind of like the way you look at the village idiot. “That poor fool.” Read more of this post
January 11, 2011
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A new year. It always takes some time getting used to. For me at least. For the first few weeks I always write the wrong year on things. Which isn’t that big a deal, but it does function like a reminder that something has changed. And somehow it also makes it feel like something else should have changed, something besides the mere date. A new year, a new beginning. But on the other hand that makes no sense since the change is artificial. We have just all agreed that a new year has begun. According to our calendar this is now a new year. So has anything actually changed? In repercussive ways sure. New laws, new regulations, new taxation periods, new billing periods etc, but do all of these changes have an influence on the bigger metaphysical picture? No idea.
Sometimes it feels like it does. Like it actually does mean something on a more personal level too. And I’m not just thinking about new years resolutions. There is this certain sense of a somewhat clean slate. Like a new beginning of sorts. This could of course be a socially induced feeling, it most likely is, but does that mean that it’s any less real? If I feel like a new year is a new beginning, does that then mean that it actually is? Does my perception determine what becomes my reality? I suppose so. Read more of this post
December 30, 2010
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I suppose you’ve all noticed that it was christmas. It’s pretty impossible to avoid. But this year I almost managed. Or rather, it didn’t really occur to me on a conscious level that it was actually christmas. On christmas eve I found myself sitting on the tram and wondering what was up with all these dressed up people and their bags full of stuff and it took me a while to figure out that they were all on their way to some form of christmas celebration. I wasn’t. It’s been over fifteen years since I last celebrated christmas. I never liked christmas, not even as a child, and I don’t believe in jesus, so it was a very easy decision to make. My parents also took it surprisingly well. Which could have had something to do with how passionate I was about my position. Back then I really hated christmas. I still do, but not quite as passionate. I mean I still loathe the consumerism, the cultural imperialism aspects, the superficial happiness and general tackiness of it all, but I’ve become a lot more indifferent to the phenomenon of christmas over the years. What used to be burning hatred has turned into lukewarm despise. It’s like it doesn’t really concern me anymore. Christmas is something that happens to other people, not me.
I suppose this change in attitude is most likely the years of boycotting finally starting to show result. And I guess that’s also why I was actually able to completely forget that it was christmas eve. I just don’t register christmas anymore. Of course I notice the decorations appearing everywhere and the displays in the stores and all that and thus I do realize that christmas in coming up at some point, but that’s it. When people talk about all the shopping they have left I always need a second or two before I compute. “Oh, they are talking about christmas presents!” Because in my world that concept has pretty much stopped existing. Read more of this post
November 17, 2010
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For the past two weeks I have been participating, involuntarily, in a course about how to apply for jobs. I already know how to apply for a job, so that part of the course is a complete waste of time, but I am getting loads of insights to the wonder that is the human psyche. Just now I had following conversation down in the lobby by the elevators:
“Hi I’m the janitor. Where are you going?”
“To the 4th floor.”
“Are you a participant in the course?”
“Then you have to take the stairs.”
“Because that’s the way it is. It’s the rule. Says so on the sign there.”
I looked at him in disbelief and then I looked at the completely deserted lobby. There was really no one else around. The course is taking place in a high-rise building with a multitude of activities happening on the various floors. Office space, a kindergarten, various school type activities etc, so there are times when the elevators are very busy. At those times it does of course make sense to have a rule that says that the people higher up in the building, or the parents with their kids, have right of way to the elevator. But at this particular time the lobby was deserted. No one in sight. But the janitor was still sticking to his point – I should take the stairs. He even went as far as to say that he wanted to see me do that. I contemplated telling him that wouldn’t really be possible since he was actually standing in the elevator as we were having this conversation and the stairs are located in a separate entrance, but then I decided against it seeing as the likelihood of it being a very fruitful discussion was virtually zero. I waited him out and then took the elevator. Read more of this post
October 4, 2010
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“Riot – worthwhile work for everyone.” I have a t-shirt that says that. I bought it because I thought the message made sense. It was back in 2001, just after the riots at the EU summit in the Swedish city Gothenburg had happened, and I was appalled by the reactions from the general public. First there were lots of very violent demonstrations and clashes between the protesters and the police, and then a guy was shot by the police, in Sweden that’s not something that happens every day. In fact, it was pretty much unheard of. But the strange thing was that it was the protests themselves that were questioned, not what the police did. Suddenly the “fight for your right” credo seemed to belong more to the police than to the people. I thought that was scary. And i think that’s why I bought that t-shirt. To make some sort of statement about the right to protest.
So does it help? To protest and challenge the establishment? Is there a point? Yes, I hope so. I hope it helps to raise your voice when you think something is wrong. After all, that is one of the fundamental rights in a democracy, to speak your mind. As citizens we do have a right to protest. And that right should be exercised. Thankfully most of the political establishment realizes and recognizes this. But what strikes me is how few conclusions are drawn from this realization. Read more of this post
September 23, 2010
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Foreigners. Immigrants. There’s a lot of talk about that these days. About how problematic it is. And sure, it is problematic, but not half as problematic as the ugly, brown stained, so-called far right movement that’s emerging from the sewers all over Europe right now. That’s far more problematic. These people who call themselves nationalists and are all about preserving the purity of the race and culture, they are more than problematic. They are actually becoming quite a significant pain in the ass. They are really fucking annoying. Racist, homophobic, xenophobic, paranoid loudmouths that just never shut up about how the immigrants are ruining Europe. As if they themselves weren’t…
I was watching a comedy show the other night and one of the guys was saying: “with all this talk about immigrants and second-generation immigrants, I’m just wondering, when do you actually get there? When are you done with the whole immigration business and just fucking arrive?” Yeah, when indeed. Let’s face it, we’re all immigrants. One way or another. It’s not like there has never been any inflow in the gene pool, otherwise we’d be a world full of really awesome banjo players by now. Mating with close relatives isn’t good, we all know that and we have known it for a very log time. Read more of this post
September 12, 2010
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Last night on my way home I ran into an old “acquaintance”. I hadn’t seen him since new years and I haven’t seem him in daylight since last summer. It was a very brief encounter on the U-Bahn platform and not much was said. But the one thing that struck me was that he had aged. He looked older. I could see that one year that had passed. It was nothing dramatic, just a few more lines here and there, but still a testimony to the passing of time.
It’s happening to me a lot these days. I run into people who I haven’t seen in a while, people my age, and it hits me that they have aged. Noticeably. I can see their age in their faces. Not in a bad way, it’s more like they for the first time actually have an age. Like just started happening. And for some reason that scares me a little. Read more of this post