The Broadcast

I’ve been thinking more and more about the idea that everything is relative. Less of an idea, more of a proven theory courtesy of Albert Einstein but surely, if everything is relative, what does that make us? Human beings on Earth, shaping our little patch of reality through culture and science in ways that may seem alien to aliens and even ourselves. I got a glance of an article scrolling through Reddit that said NASA had received a strange radio broadcast not originating from Earth and are currently investigating its nature and origin. If Einstein is to be believed, is the whole point of that futile? Considering what may be a ‘hello’ from a being from say, Alpha Centauri, maybe a ‘fuck off’ to a being from Pocklington, Yorkshire, UK.

If the article is true and not another bit of wonderful clickbait, and NASA does identify extra-terrestrial intelligence, is that not a testament to relativity? In my opinion, relativity and perspective are two sides of the same coin if not the same, as truth is all about perspective as well as human history as I doubt that if the Nazis won World War II, Winston Churchill wouldn’t be on so many damn tourist coffee mugs. So, with that being said, truth is relative comparatively to empirical fact. Yet if facts are true doesn’t that make them inherently relative themselves for a historian or hell, even a simple true-false computer program. That in itself is an ironic notion considering that our brains run on electrical signals similarly to a computer – electrical signals that can be quantified into easy-peasy ones and zeros. Look out Elon Musk because the digital revolution happened way-back-when in the primordial soup, right?

Perhaps we are all just fleshy machines, each with fluctuations in programming along with error messages and decaying moving parts. We see ourselves as so much more. We see metaphysical beings with souls and a purpose in the cosmos. I see no purpose and the absence of purpose and the idea of the divine soul and most would probably call me a depressing twat. Yet doesn’t the freedom of having no purpose and acknowledgement of the finite give us all infinite potentials? Who needs gods when we are all gods in our own right, each of us individuals determining the advancement of an entire species and the physical landscape of the universe around us; creating, elevating, mastering and sometimes destroying. From what I’ve read, that pretty much covers what gods do. Hell, even Zeus was a bit of a fuck boy.

So, I hope that the broadcast from the final frontier did happen and the best and brightest of us do manage to decipher its meaning. To make contact with another species, even if it’s just for a single moment will change the world, humanity and just maybe our perception, and relativity in the universe. Single moments have a habit of doing that in our history. Maybe this one will be the decider to whether we are just meat bags clinging to the surface of the Earth or divine fucking entities destined to just reach out and tame the stars.

Like I say though, the whole thing could have been clickbait.

The Broadcast

Change?

A few weeks ago, I was writing about how much I missed old friends and that we are like a family. Today, after spending only a few days with them, I want to tear my eyes out like Sam Neill in Event Horizon. People in general should avoid making purposefully stupid decisions and also avoid people they don’t trust enough not to stop and think like The Office’s Dwight Schrute, ‘would an idiot do that?’ and ‘not do that thing’. It’s just another stark reminder to me and should be to everyone else, that the things that used to bother us at school will be the same at university and those at university will be the same later in life. Rose tinted glasses of nostalgia only go so far to hiding the fact that your friend is a complete liability when drunk or that another needs more attention than a Tamagotchi or will die as such.

Life’s too short for people to change.

That’s the truth. It’s a double-edged sword since we all don’t have the time to waste in our tiny lives, so little to make room for actual fucking character development only possible through sudden and unexpected dilemmas that were unbelievable even in Lost. It’s the cancerous little optimist in me, being choked on the smog of the reality of human nature, that always expects to be surprised when I come home for a few days. I always assume that I won’t notice the utter bollocks that’s thrown at me or if I do, I’ll be able to dodge it with an unwavering false smile – I was never a very good actor in the first place. My own unwillingness to change and accept is perhaps a perfect example of my point.

In York, I’m becoming sick of people the same way I was sick of the people here and it’s almost as if my own unrealistic expectations of what makes a half-way decent human being are far too high. They probably are as perhaps it’s a case of personal neuroticism that makes me so wishy-washy towards people. I fully understand anyone to has searched for pastures new and ended up in the same place they were before like demented infinity loop. It’s a daunting and horrible feeling in the gut because it makes me wonder, what if there isn’t a place I like with people I like? It’s the disconnection from the rest of the world that is a wholly lonely feeling.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a connected Earth is accidentally alienating further the disconnected. Life without internet in 2017 is an inconvenience at best and isn’t that the perfect metaphor for connectivity to a human being? Boiled down to clicking ‘like’ on a mildly funny Facebook post. Is the lack of a ‘dislike’ button more telling than the presence of a ‘like’? Maybe if we did have one, our self-destructive nature would see the ‘dislike’ turned into a declaration of war and those community notice boards on Facebook would turn into battlegrounds. Would poppies bloom from our screens out of the ruined soils of the digital no-mans-land?

That was possibly a bit of a tangent but the point still stands. Is it those who see people for who they really are the ones who end up alone? I for one don’t buy into the hopeful modern-day morality plays that Hollywood keeps pumping out. In our limited existences change is totally futile because the changes we make to ourselves or hope others will make have such an equally limited effect on the landscape of our own history, hell, even human history. Let’s all through away that totally misleading optimist in us and all that hope that leads to nothing but disappointment and subsequent frustration in people. We should all be able to stand up, and firmly say with confidence and absolution to those unchanging people: ‘you guys are fucking annoying’.

Change?

Trust

The downfall of all relationships fundamentally, is lack of trust or unrequited trust. Are any of us to blame to not trust someone else with ourselves when we are most exposed? Throughout human history and our own personal histories, there are a plethora of examples to why trusting someone is a stupid idea. Most recently an example that sticks out in my mind is Michelle Carter convincing her vulnerable boyfriend to kill himself. Let’s look at the bigger picture and take a look at Jeremy Corbyn who alluded to quashing student debt only to U-turn on breakfast television. It’s the constant battle between committing to people or person versus self-serving desires. In the case of Jeremy Corbyn, it’s saving his own skin and, in the case of Michelle Carter it’s quite probably an underlying control issue with a splash of psychopathy.

You can’t enter a relationship or elevate a relationship without first trusting someone but doing that you have to be accepting of the fact that trust is not unbreakable. I know someone who is wrestling with the words ‘love’ and ‘trust’ because they are both not mutually exclusive but intrinsically connected as ‘love’ can’t flourish without a solid foundation of ‘trust’. Personally, every time they say it, it makes me cringe and roll my eyes because the very concept of love is in itself, a fallacy created by romantic poets and perpetuated by greetings card companies. Unfortunately, until you can work out at least one of those concepts and whether you buy into it for the object of your affection, there can be no foundation.

As someone who spends their time as the beleaguered side-character in someone else’s movie, I find myself spending most of my time now, clearing up the shit made by words like ‘trust’ and ‘love’ or both. What I find is that people don’t understand that you can’t trust someone else until you start to trust yourself – look at me go, like RuPaul – with the things you expect of others. Yet, maybe there’s people out there who need someone to lean on to be able to begin to trust themselves with even the smallest things like making sure they haven’t lost their phone or are wearing trousers before they leave the house. Personally, I don’t see that as a good start to any relationship, romantic or otherwise, because that’s just parenting plain and simple. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of children yet more and more it’s like the world is just an enormous play group. Everyone is just scrabbling about for the best pens in the box and desperately trying to pair up with someone to hold hands with because that’s how it works in fucking Disney movies. Then, the dream of magic carpet rides collapses when you find out that the kid you’re holding hands with has secretly been helping themselves to your favourite crayons.

It’s an unfortunate shit sandwich that we all need to accept to both spare ourselves and my nights awake going around in circles with people. Most of the time, trust isn’t based in truth but irrationality and the pedestal we put others on rather than the lines we set for ourselves. Fundamentally, now and always, to prevent constant repeats of history, we need to first set our own standards of trust and – fuck it – love to hold others and ourselves to the mark. Obviously, it’d be easier for humans to be inherently trustworthy and self-less creatures in the first place, but that’s just wishful thinking.

Trust

Making Friends

I got talking for the first time with a new housemate who perhaps, I should have gotten to know better before I moved in with him. He’s five years older than me and the oldest in the house and strangely I got along better with him than perhaps I thought I would or so far, how I have been with housemates my own age. What he said made a lot of sense to me, in that being you never know who people truly are until you have to live with them in a student house. For the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure whether it was that he was genuinely good conversation or that the lack of reliable internet or company that made his presence that much more meaningful – despite this being the second conversation we’ve actually had in person.

The hours of conversation have made me think about what we all expect from life and that ours differ so dramatically considering like me, he is going into his second year of university yet at twenty-four. He was speaking to me about children and how he’d like to settle down in ten years and start a family with a wife, a few kids and a white picket fence. Naturally, this made me think about my future as a family man and the thought of doing the school-run makes me want to hang myself. Yet despite fundamental differences in our envisions for the future, I’m feeling once again a sense of déjà vu: finding common ground amongst the things we both say ‘what the fuck’ at. This common theme with how I seem to bond with people makes me wonder if this is how we as humans, generally connect with people.

I know it’s strange since in the 21st Century we typically see and hear through various forms that love (whatever the fuck that means) brings us together whether it be to find common ground on political issues or humanitarian issues. Is the reality of it all far more cynical? I’m not particularly bothered if so, considering a good complain about people I don’t like or the current state of the political climate is becoming a pastime for me. Perhaps that is the greatest downfall of the modern world – our core belief that love will win the day and singing songs in unison at charity gigs will unite us all forever more. I’m not disputing the feel-good-factor and the buzz from those sorts of things but I don’t suppose the light bulb was invented because we loved candle. Complaining about things and being united in our shared annoyance or how put out we are has led to some of the greatest human advancements. Whinging about horses and how it takes too long to get from place to place led to the combustion engine and in turn, complaining about pollution has led to the UK banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

True, not all our advancements have come from healthy complaining considering a level of unhealthy complaining has led to many a war or skirmish stemming from the very fundamental line: ‘I don’t like that they believe in something different to us’. In a world of expanding atheism and nihilism that phrase is changing quickly to: ‘I don’t like that they believe’. Perhaps that’s a completely other rabbit hole to fall down some other time but my point is, whether we accept it or not, the foundation of human cooperation is based on bitching about things.

I for one, have never made a friend on holiday with a conversation not starting with a moan about the lack of available sun loungers or that the salad is off. Maybe this is just me and once again, I’m over generalising by a few thousand miles but today is a testament to the theory and I’d like to say, I’ve made a new friend.

Hooray for bitching.

Making Friends

The Ban

I’ve just been scrolling through the onslaught of comments about Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military. My first thought was primarily: how the hell does what someone has in their trousers impact on their patriotism or desire to serve in the armed forces? Surely anyone who’s willing to go to places where their legs could get blown off is a feat in itself and whether you’re a man, woman or neither, it warrants respect. I saw a comment which of course came from a balding man with a red face that said: ‘it’s a mental illness, good to get rid’. In my opinion knowing full well that you could die in a war over oil or a religion you don’t believe in or have any stake in is the red flag, not someone wanting to be who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for those who serve in the military both in the UK and elsewhere; with family members serving in the RAF but the thought of it to me, is something I just don’t understand and probably never will – unless of course, I’m conscripted or something. It’s an equation I can’t work out which is ironic as I’m not very good at maths anyway. So, anyone who stands up and proclaims a love for their country so strongly that they’re willing to possibly die for it is deserved of our admiration not persecution.

There’s the argument that medical treatment is costly on the military which surely, coming from the US government is entirely hypocritical considering how badly they failed soldiers in the past by getting them addicted to morphine. That’s another argument entirely but isn’t the whole point of America that it’s an idealistic nation founded on egalitarianism and liberty to do what you want and be who you are? Or I could just be missing the point of ‘land of the free’ entirely.

This whole announcement and reactions to it – which themselves are a real kick in the teeth for anyone with any faith left in humanity – really stirs up the larger question to why everyone is so concerned with what other people do and who other people are. Why are we, as human beings seemingly constantly outraged about people who are different or do things differently to the rest, especially when these people are doing nothing to encroach upon anyone else’s way of life? It’s not a typical conservative issue as seen here in the UK with Scottish Conservatives being openly gay and advocate for all LGBTQ+ rights so I can’t work out what it is. In all fairness to those hoping to pray the gay away from their kids or co-workers, the hot and heavy change of the 21st Century of people no longer being afraid to say might be daunting.

I was in a play in sixth form about transitioning called Pronoun by Evan Placey. There’s a great line that says that the idea of being tolerant is bullshit as to tolerate is something you do when ‘people’s music plays too loudly on the bus’. It’s true, we live currently in an emerging tolerance culture where we are coming out of the era of shame and repression. We’re not at normalising yet apparently because of the amount of unsubstantiated hate I’ve seen in comment sections alone today. It was Frank Underwood in House of Cards who said ‘you can’t get from a no to a yes without a maybe in between’ and as simplistic as it sounds we’re into ‘maybe’ as a global society regarding equal rights for everyone considering how progressive some nations are and how backwards others are – looking at you, Chechnya.

Personally, I think that everyone cares far too much about who or what people are. I honestly couldn’t care if someone was transgender or cisgender or straight or gay or anywhere on the Kinsey Scale. It was in Batman Begins that Rachel said to Bruce: ‘it’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you’. People in general need to take that on board a lot and stop caring about things that will never actually affect their day-to-day lives. I’ve quoted a lot in this but it really goes to show the sorry fucking state of it all when fiction makes more logical sense than our reality featuring Donald Trump.

The Ban

Humanity Market

I realised today after handing out my resumes with an unusual cheery demeanour that in a sense, no matter what job you are in or even if you are unemployed, we are all sales people.  Whether we are good or bad we are all individually pushing a product whether it be overpriced cinema tickets or ourselves to another human being – who perhaps, are selling that they are disinterested in what we have to say. Even the classic phrase ‘I’m not buying what you’re selling’ encapsulates everything about human life right now: whether we buy or sell.

Politicians are the perfect example of sales people in their human disguises to hide their true lizard appearance. Obviously besides that, they sell ideas and policies and speeches on a global scale making them perhaps the next evolution of your humble letting agent turd. Even Alex Jones of InfoWars is trying to sell you reality whatever the fuck it may be coming from him and I still can’t work out if he’s real or just a character like Keith Lemon or Borat. For example, earlier this year we had Theresa May selling the line – God knows why – ‘strong and stable’, a product which fell flat on its face and the people who sold it to her were promptly fired. So as Palpatine from Star Wars put it, ‘ironic’. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t doing too badly, only recently selling pints along with policies and socialist soundbites at Glastonbury.

The terrible, yet actually at times useful, Tinder is an example of people selling themselves en masse to other people for either the classic ‘good time not a long time’ or ‘something long term and serious’. Those four or five photos, description and a favourite song has led to perhaps the greatest open human market ever. It’s an actual manifestation of a clear late-stage capitalist society that we live in where literally even romance revolves around the act of selling and buying.

Maybe it’s not a totally recent thing and maybe as human beings we are all fundamentally buyers and sellers whether we choose to be or not. I’m out selling myself to potential employers for a job while perhaps a thousand years ago a nomad would sell themselves similarly to a chieftain to be a part of the tribe. Which by the way, is an excellent analogy that can be applied to anything like trying to convince the popular kids at school that you’re cool enough to sit with them.

So in conclusion, we are all prostitutes. Literally every time we open our mouths to tell an anecdote we are selling someone on that story for payment in respect, belief or anything. While there’s a taboo about being a sex worker and constant debate on whether or not it should be legal, the point, when you really think about it, is moot considering none of us are any different fundamentally. Whether you be an Evangelical priest or a nightclub owner we are all selling something and ourselves. No one is clean or exceptional in this massive thriving orgy we call human society. Just check out Tinder and see for yourself.

Humanity Market

Eye of the Beholder

The problem recently with movies is that I can’t ever work out who the villain is in things. The idea of a sympathetic villain has been around since the medieval morality plays like Macbeth and Dr Faustus, but they’ve really come into a life of their own in modern cinema. In the past, we always knew who the villains were in movies whether it be Nazis or something to do with communism. Hell, even fucking super-villains in comic books were colour coordinated being dressed in only secondary colours. It’s as if the fiction has come full circle again from those every-man plays of the dark ages to Injustice: Gods Among Us. Maybe writers on whatever medium are rediscovering that heroes and villains don’t actually exist.

It’s a reinforcement of the whole idea that I keep banging on about – reinforced by my day of binge-watching Netflix – that evil and good is defined in the consequence not the actions themselves. This thought has been evolving in my head and on this blog for a while now and its reflected in the actions of people all around us as well as the ones we see fighting alien armies at the cinema. It’s all about points of view and perspective because strangely even if everyone is telling a person that they are in the wrong based on the consequences of their actions, delusion happens to be a thick defensive line.

So, I was looking through Facebook’s trending section and read about, and the reactions to, Ivanka Trump’s G20 outing. Now what business does the un-elected have to represent the electorate on quite literally the global stage? Some attacked the decision while others defended it with lines literally like ‘Obama did worse’. Personally, I thought it was a dud move and I felt a bit embarrassed for her just looking at the pictures of her awkwardly sat there. It’s similar  to the incident with Buzz Aldrin pulling faces at President Trump’s speech about space; some said it showed the ridiculousness of the president’s position while others said that the former astronaut has horrendous facial twitches. Neither can be confirmed and both hinge on the eye of the beholder. While these examples aren’t about the relationship between good and evil but the point of what can be said on a simplistic level as what makes a good decision or a bad one.

It’s like The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish by Alexander Pushkin, recently made popular again thanks to its morals in a recent episode of Doctor Who. To summarise, the fisherman wishes a number of things from a magic fish who is bargaining for its life. The fish misunderstands the fisherman because it doesn’t perceive things the way that he does and brings ruin on the fisherman in the name of doing good. By the end, the fisherman asks for things to be returned to how they were before wishing never to have met the creature. On one note you can see it as ‘be careful what you wish for’ kind-of story but I see it as a story about perspective and that everyone who takes action on anything believes what they are doing is in the right, despite it being inherently wrong based on the evident conclusion.

Admittedly that was really convoluted and mostly mental masturbation but there’s a point in there somewhere. I doubt people who fight for IS do it thinking that they’re scum for doing what they do likewise to serial killers who often belief themselves on a righteous quest like a twisted fucking Zelda level. Convictions, whatever they are drive us and sometimes the outcome is good and others it’s just shit. There comes a point where I don’t feel sorry at all for those deluded idiots and I just get so incredibly bored. Like I said to a friend just the other day, when the reality of the consequences finally hit home, it’ll fuck them harder than Ron Jeremy.

Maybe that’s why. People are so scared of just waking up from a dreamland made of conviction. It’s time to scrap all the slogans like ‘strong and stable’, ‘make America great again’ and god-damn ‘eat fresh’. We all just need to stick to the one: wake up and smell the fucking coffee.

Eye of the Beholder