i love the book

You get them electronically now. You download them on little tablets; Kindles, ipads and whatever else. And I know that’s not actually a bad thing. I know the time will soon be here to take up the Kindle. It’s cheaper for one thing. When I go away anywhere my luggage is heavy – and more than anything else it’s weighed down with too many books (you can’t simply take away one. One day you want fiction…the next non-fiction…you also have some research to do). It’s been a while since I’ve hiked through the rainforest, but my backpack was always loaded with too many books.  Kindle may save my back.

But I like the book.

When I eventually take up whatever little electronic tablet thing, it’ll have its uses, but I won’t swap one for the other. I’ll never let go of the book. The feel of it in your hands. That fresh paper scent of a new book (there are several, all nice), the sheer tactility of the touching the turning of the page, the vivid imagery of the covers even.

I like the book.

And writing…writing! I type, yes I type. But everything I tap out on this cold, soulless piece of hardware has its genesis in a book, scratching out ink lines, my heart and mind etched in my distinctive and by no means dignified looking scrawl. I simply don’t know what to write when seated at my laptop. The keyboard freezes the flow of thoughts that my brain wants to spill out into the world as if someone turns off the oil heater in the middle of winter and the little uninsulated room I live in turns to ice. But when I’m scratching them out through a ball point between the black lined pages of my notebook everything becomes warm, everything thaws; slowly at first but then the trickle becomes an increasing flow. And that book which contains my words, my recollections, my very self – that is a precious object. I keep it near me. I treasure it.

I love the book.

Advertisements

no more piss on me, please

I’m out. I’m done. Today I will delete my facebook account. Today I will step out from under the shadow of the all powerful Zuckerberg. Shake off the shackles. Run towards the light.

That this is a big deal saddens me. Well, such we have become, eh.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m not one of the crazies (much). But…I dunno. I’m no longer comfortable with the amount of power a few have over so many people’s personal info. Facebook isn’t public internet space, it’s the private property of a few shareholders. And the privacy issues are getting worse and continue to do so. It just feels like they’ve got to the point where they feel they can just piss on the public and the public, too addicted to their product, will just take it. Well, today I wash off the pee.

And it just sucks  up so much time, but for what? You stay connected to people…but how many of these dudes from your past do you actually interact with? And when you do, well, think about it – when was the last time you connected with any substance. Our relationships are being trivialised.

And yeah and stuff. Join me. Join me today.

Viva la revolution

in pursuit of…

Oh my. A month since writing. I’ve been busy. Really busy. Except that week I was flat on my back at the beach, of course. Have you missed me, dear reader? Do you, dear reader, in fact actually exist beyond the hopeful world of my imagination? I mean, I know you looove the photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture I posted up awhile back. Not so much my carefully crafted, agonised over, born out of pain words lovingly lavished upon the world. Ah well.

Anyway…

I just bought a new book. Just now. Just walked back in the door a few minutes ago. Aussie book by a guy called David Malouf, novelist whose name I’ve heard before but can’t place on anything. It’s not a novel though, more like an essay I think.

It’s called: The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World. 

I saw the title and thought I want that! The happy life, that is, moreso than the book itself. But I got the book anyway. And not because I foolishly think it holds the answers to the happy life, but it seems like it might be a thoughtful engagement with that universal drive that governs all our lives, the pursuit of happiness, and with that drive as expressed in the bewildering, fast paced, flashing, modern post-modern world. A drive I’ve been thinking about a bit lately. So I’ll read it and let you know what I think. It’s not a big book.

Ah happiness! What the hell art thou? And where are you? I’ve been thinking bout this modern life and how we navigate our way through it. No, strike that. I’ve been thinking about my modern life and how the hell I’m meant to navigate my way through it. Sorry to be selfish.

Thinking bout how we seem to be inextricably tied to the technological inter-connectedness of social media and the power over our private information a few seem to have. About how much of my life gets frittered away on trivial crap, because there’s always something flashing or some trinket or some junk food I can buy. Mainly been thinking about a girl who I liked for so long, finally went out on a date with this week and, I think, blew it merely by being a nervous shy and somewhat awkward little bugger. . I dunno. Not at my absolute cheeriest today.

Anyway, now I’ve offloaded onto you, please do stick around and I’ll endeavour to write something actually interesting soon.

R

will they, won’t they?

Is there a plan to ‘kill’ Facebook? No one seems to be quite sure. A recent Youtube video apparently from worldwide internet activist (hacktivist?) collective Anonymous claims they’re planning to kill the social network on November 5 this year, the 500th anniversary of Guy Faulks Day (I think that’s right). BUT then a tweet on their official Twitter account claimed it was a hoax, and they’re not into doing that kinda thing. Then ANOTHER Tweet admitted that some in their ranks are actually planning it, but others aren’t keen. Watch the vid then I’ll keep talking.

Who knew that Stephen Hawking was an internet hacker anarchist? (OK OK, I stole that from one of the commentors on Youtube, I’m lame). After watching it I found myself wasting eons of time going through their other videos. Apparently they’re also planning to bring the whole  system down over the next year too. Well well.

A confession: when I watched this video, I felt this quiet guilty hope that they do wipe out Facebook on November 5. Guilty, because I’m on Facebook. Very hypocritical I know. Guilty because if I don’t like Facebook, doesn’t mean that choice should be made for everyone when I can just close my account (but they’ll still sell all my info to the Freemasons!) I think maybe it’s just that deep down I have something of a revolutionary streak in me. Yeah, when I was a teenager I had the whole New World Order thing pegged. I knew what was going on. Really, I wanted, and still want, to be caught up into something bigger than me. I guess I feel like for so long I’ve been cruising along on the highway of being comfortable, of – well working hard, yes, but at the same time cruising in an entertainment culture, one where everything’s offered to you on a plate, more and more as more and more technology gets created, but where none of it seems to be overwhelmingly significant somehow. We can communicate with effortless ease with people all around the world, but what do we have to say to each other? I don’t really think carrying out an operation like erasing Facebook is a good or useful idea, and most of this group agree. I say the feeling I had arises as a misdirected attempt to grab a hold of something else. Something bigger.

See, whether you think Anonymous are onto something or whether you think they’re a bunch of delusional wannabes, they live under this meta narrative, this overarching story that explains the world (a concept much maligned today), revolving  around the domination of the world by the powerful few, and the epic struggle between good and evil for justice and equality where they stand defiantly on behalf of the human race. (If you think I’m overstating the case, watch this). As a Christian I also believe in an overarching story behind the world. A story involving a battle between good and evil – and I have wondered at times whether the world wide church has lost the revolutionary and activist nature it once had at the beginning. How has it happened that the group of people claiming to follow Jesus Christ can be seen by so many as being The Man himself? But then I remember that the Bible has a lot to say about The System, particularly in the books of Daniel and Revelation. People go on and on about the details of these books, but at their heart is the acknowledgement of the system, the empires, the power holders, who ruthlessly crush the people of the world under their feet for their own gain. But what the Bible talks about isn’t one small group of men and women who hold the world in their hands who need to be brought down by the very essence of humanity. Rather, its the cycle of history. One empire rises to crush the world, and is eventually brought low by those who will rise to become the next empire…and so on and so on. The System, the Empire, the New World Order doesn’t reside in a particular political or economic structure, or behind one set of laws. It resides in the heart of man. In the very essence of humanity. The other difference that the Bible brings to bear is the solution. For it doesn’t rest in any number of us getting together to bring about change, as good as that might be in and of itself. It can never be the final solution. The cycle ends with the ushering in of another Kingdom. Not a kingdom of humanity, but
the Kingdom of God. Not a corrupt and despotic kingdom, but one in which the pride, greed, selfishness and power struggles of  humanity are destroyed and replaced with justice, compassion and peace.  A Kingdom not under the reign of a usurper, a cruel and capricious dictator or a Machiavellian prince, nor exposed to the chaotic lack of leadership envisaged by Anonymous, but under the reign of the One who won the victory over death, who wipes clean the guilt and shame of all those who trust in him,who gives life:  Jesus Christ.

technology: say goodbye to your brain

http://www.news.com.au/technology/switched-on-world-is-killing-creativity-expert-warns/story-e6frfro0-1226064491905

My friend thinks that within a couple of decades they’ll have the internet connected directly into our heads. Personally I think this is a bad thing. It’s annoying enough when people try to hack my facebook account, without the added hassles of them hacking into my brain.

We all thought the technological revolution would make the world better, and there have, of course, been many benefits. But now someone reckons that being switched on so much has undermined the normal human potential for creativity and inventiveness. Now when we’re bored, instead of dealing with it by pushing ourselves and striving to create, we simply hop online and consume downloadable info. And we don’t sleep.

Is technology making us boring? Or were we already boring, but in different ways? Before getting all connected, were most of us just sitting around staring blankly at TV we didn’t like, and before that sitting around drawing rooms whiling away the hours in mindless chit-chat and gossip, or were people actually engaged in living creatively simply because they had too, now changed by the instantly downloadable world of flashy graphics and bucket loads of both useful and totally redundant info? And is THIS BLOG part of the solution, or part of the problem?! (Erm…I’m gonna go with solution).

Think about facebook. How much time do I spend just wasting time, fluffing the days away, frittering away opportunities for real relationships, real imagination, actually stretching myself? And that includes just relaxing and taking it easy. I used to do that by doing things I actually enjoyed. Now too often when people ask me what I did that evening, I don’t have much to say.

A vow! the interwebs will no longer suck my brains out through my eyes! As much. No, I’m not going to retreat to some mountain cave in the Black Sea region. But I will from this day forth begin  extricating its sticky fingers from my hair! Actually, I already got rid of my switched on mobile for the cheapest nastiest lump of plastic around. This has been good for me.  We wanted to make life simpler, and somehow it got a lot more complicated and stressful.

Here’s to taking my life back. Cheers.