It’s Not Goodbye.

I’ve been neglecting path: ethic. More to the point, I’ve been avoiding it.

It’s not that I have nothing to say. I always have things to say!

But it’s just finding the time to sit down and write it, and write it well. And I’m definitely a proponent of finding the time to write. So when I say, ‘I don’t have the time to write for path: ethic,’ what I’m really saying is that I don’t want to make the time to write it.

That sounds quite rude, especially to those of you who read, so let me explain myself further.

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Intimacy and Expectations.

I read an interview with Jarett Kobek about his novel, I Hate the Internet, the other day, and thought some of what he had to say about celebrity and the internet was particularly interesting. Kobek argues that celebrities have now transcended a distinct personality, gender, or sexuality, and instead, are simply ‘celebrity’, as if it were a whole separate breed of person. Leaving that aside for a moment, I found myself thinking about the whole idea of celebrities when I was watching some Dylan Moran videos later in the evening.

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I See You!

‘If you could choose,’ I said to the Handsome Sidekick one day, a few months ago, ‘would you rather receive recognition from your peers, or from the general public? Bearing in mind that the recognition from your peers might mean that you earn less money, than if you were to become famous in a mainstream sense.’

He thought for a while.

‘I guess… my peers?’ he said. ‘I mean, sure, it would be great to have both. But I suppose I’d rather have people who I know really value this stuff, also think that my stuff is good.’

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘Me too, I think.’

Of course, neither of us is in the position where we have to worry about choosing between the respect and admiration of our peers or our fans! But I have been thinking a lot about recognition lately, for a few reasons.

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FOMO? Well, YOLO, you know.

I hadn’t heard about ‘FOMO’ until I read about it in an article. Apparently, it’s really a thing! Through social media, people can tailor their online presence to appear to have a certain kind of life, and others who view this presentation then fret about why they  don’t have that, too (Fear Of Missing Out).

That’s not news. That’s always happened. It’s always been the case that it’s easy to look at someone else’s life and believe that they have it better. We’ve always imagined that movie stars are all tremendously rich and confident and popular, when the reality is that they’re just people, and while they might have more money at their disposal which means they can afford more ‘stuff’, it doesn’t follow that they’re any more content than your average person.

Their internet persona just makes it seem as if they do.

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A Conversation Between Us.

Step into my imagination, if you will. Our eyes meet across a crowded internet. I motion to the balcony, and we both edge through the crowd and find each other again at a dark green curtain. I draw it aside, and we walk out onto a small area with wrought iron railing and a table and two chairs. The city spreads out below us, spots of light here and there. In the distance, a crescent moon is reflected in the still summer ocean. On the table is a tea service, or a jug of coffee, or perhaps just some water. We smile at each other and sit.

So, I say, as I pour the tea/coffee/water. What brings you here?

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So You go Back in Time to Kill Baby Hitler. Now What?

Recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if, given the opportunity, he would travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby. He answered that of course he would, although he admitted that he didn’t know if or how that would change the course of World War II and history.

The whole time-travel-to-kill-Hitler concept has become a bit of an internet meme, and because of this, seems to have a sense of the absurd about it. It’s as if you can’t say that you would do anything else, with the gift of time travel, without mentioning that first.

This has a couple of major problems, and it bothers me that people treat it with such disregard. Of course, I’m also aware of the absurdity of writing a blog post about the issues of time travel, but it highlights a number of greater concerns.

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Be Kind.

I woke up to the news of the attacks in Paris. It’s so hard to get any kind of perspective on this sort of tragedy, especially since these sorts of tragedies seem to happen all the time. Just a few days ago, Beirut was also rocked by suicide bombings, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

Nobody close to me is affected by these tragedies, so I have the luxury of a more detached, general sadness, rather than the acute grief at losing someone I love. I know that this is the case for many people–there is no direct link with the attacks, and yet, the sense of loss and our empathy for others caught up in all this is overwhelming. In light of that, it’s hard to know how to cope with all that information. How does one process such terrible scenes? As I pondered that, while doing the washing up, I came up with some thoughts:

  1. Do the washing up. Sweep the floor. Make the beds. Do something mindless which gives you a sense of achievement and makes your immediate environment more pleasant.
  2. Donate to the Red Cross, or to Médecins Sans Frontières, or to the WorldWide Fund for Nature, or to the Malala Fund, or to 350.org. These organisations are working to help people and the natural environment which is being affected by every kind of harm.
  3. Ring a friend/parent/child/relative. Or write an email/Skype/send a text. Connect with people you love. Talk about things which are important to both of you. Listen to each other.
  4. Turn off the news. Unless the attacks are taking place near you, you don’t need all that information. Come back to it in an hour. Or a day.
  5. Plant a flower, a tree, a vegetable seedling and take care of it.
  6. Cook a really good meal, or help someone else do it, if you’re not a fan of cooking.
  7. Be kind.

Be kind.

There is so much anger. Those people who blow themselves up, or who go on shooting rampages, or who hit out with weapons or fists: they’re so angry. And you know, some of the time, this anger is justified. Just think back over even the last 100 years. There has been such a lot of wrongdoing, from so many sides. People have been massacred, their rights completely abused, families have been torn apart. Those coordinating any of these attacks, whether it’s a well-organised terrorist group or an individual with a grudge, or just some person who’s had too much to drink… they probably have a right to be angry. Everyone does, don’t they? If we feel slighted, we have a right to be upset about it.

We don’t have a right to kill or hurt other people for it. That’s not OK.

This general sense of being able to get nasty when you’re offended is not limited to terrorists, though. All you have to do is look at what happens when someone says ‘the wrong thing’ on Facebook or Twitter, and how nasty the internet can be. What righteous indignation, what ridicule at the utter ignorance/rudeness/racism/whatever else! How justified we feel, at taking someone to task for their idiocy! Most of the time, this doesn’t result in violence, but the sentiment is the same.

I’m right, you’re wrong.

You’re stupid. I’m superior. 

So this is what I take away from all of this tragedy: those people who are perpetrating such violence, they have a right to be angry, to be offended. They don’t have a right to kill or injure people. But what can I do, personally, about what’s happening in so many other parts of the world? I think of it all as a ripple effect. I can’t change the anger of someone in an ISIS camp who’s preparing to kill as many people as possible, or someone who’s stockpiling weapons to carry out a mass shooting, or someone who’s brewing over a feud and wants to go out and hit anyone they meet. I can’t stop domestic violence; I can’t prevent pub brawls; I can’t curtail gang warfare.

But I can be kind. I can be kind to those around me, regardless of what they look like or how they speak. I can be welcoming. I can be charitable. I can listen. I can be fair. And it won’t stop that mass shooting or that suicide bombing. Not this time, not next time either. The tiny ripples of kindness from me might take forever to do anything, but they will have have an effect. Whether it’s big enough to make a difference, I just don’t know. But I have to try, because the alternative is despair, and that won’t do anybody any good.

The Week Links: in which our blogger takes the weekend off and has a good time.

Of course, my idea of ‘a good time’ is getting to hang out with a friend on Skype, finish all the washing up (even the pots and pans), play scrabble with the Handsome Sidekick., and eat dark chocolate and drink tea with my parents. So, as they say on the internet, ymmv.

Also, after what seems like WEEKS (literally only a few weeks, though), winter abated this weekend, and we had some very spring-y weather. It lifted my spirits considerably!

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The Power of the Passion.

You might remember I mentioned last week that we have new kittens. After we had to put our cat down, and knowing that the remaining one would be following that route soon (sob!), we looked around to see if we could find some more cats to take on. We knew we wanted to get more than one, because when our old guy does die, it would be sad for a new cat to suddenly be in a still unfamiliar place without anyone of its own species. So when we saw an ad for a special deal on two feline friends looking for a home, I rang the number immediately.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger is REALLY REALLY COLD.

Brrr! We’re having some lovely sunny days right now, but the flipside of that is that the nights are very chilly. And so are the mornings!

I missed last week’s links, for which I’m very sorry — we had to put one of our cats down on Saturday, and it was upsetting for everyone. There were also a lot of discussions about death, which was rather exhausting. So I took the time to hang out with the Handsome Sidekick and our Offspring.

Now I’m dragging my feet posting these links, because once I’m done, I’ll no longer have the excuse to stay in the loungeroom with the heater…

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